I have a few more online merchants to add to the original list. I'm sure you may have seen/heard of them already, but if you haven't, here are some more to check out :)
Ichibankao.com, Japan based
+ Offers a wide variety of Japanese brands with good color selections, particularly the limited edition collections are always up to date
+ Guarantee authentic items
+ Prices already include international shipping fees
+ Fast shipping, 3-5 days, items are well packed and will arrive safely at your door
+ Kelly (the seller) will occasionally include freebies with larger orders
- Gigantic markups on pretty much every brand and every item
- Does not stock discontinued or hard to find items (but you can certainly email Kelly and ask for a special order)
Facial-shop.com, Hongkong based
+ Offers a decent variety of Western, Japanese, and Korean brands
+ Prices already include international registered shipping, a 5% discount is given to orders with 3+ items
+ Occasionally, Vivian (the seller) will include freebies with the order
+ If you are lucky, you will find some very good deals occasionally
+ Decent shipping, 5-7 days, items are well packaged and will arrive safely at your door
- Huge markups on pretty much every brand and every items, most definitely more expensive than Adam Beauty, a bit more expensive than Gooddealer and Sasa.com, and just a tiny bit cheaper than Ichibankao.
- Even with wide variety of brands, product and color selections are limited
Gmarket.com, South Korea based, think Korean Amazon Marketplace where you can buy Korean cosmetics, clothing, electronics, books, etc., directly from Korean merchants at Korean retail price! I haven't ordered from Gmarket before, not because I don't want to but because of technical difficulties (see the Cons), so I can't really comment much. All the information below are from what I've read about other people's experience with their ordering processes, so please don't bite my head off if I post less than correct information. For further information on Gmarket, including ordering tips and tutorials, please see the links below:
- Lotus Palace's expertise on Gmarket ordering
- Miss Muse's take on Gmarket
+ Guaranteed authentic products
+ Paying retail prices without the middleman's markups, which translate to cheap, cheap, and very cheap Korean cosmetics!
+ The seller will usually include tons, as in heaps, of promotional freebies
- The site only works with PCs and is MAC-hostile :(
- When you check out, you will be charged an international shipping estimate and not the actual shipping cost. This estimate will always be phenomenally high to ensure it covers the actual shipping costs (I've read $30-40 per order!!!). If the shipping is less (and it certainly will be), the extra amount will be returned to your Gmarket membership account as store credit and NOT refunded to your credit card. I don't quite like how this concept works, add in the technical difficulties in operating the site with my PowerBook, sadly I will not be purchasing from this online merchant at all, which is a shame given I've been eyeing so many Korean items...
TrueRenu.com, US based, this is my supplier of Oshima Tsubaki oils and a few other skincare, bath and body things. Of course, all the items I purchase from TrueRenu are also available else where, perhaps even your local Asian grocery store, but in my opinion TrueRenu has some of the more decent pricings, even with the shipping charges. You should always research pricings and compare merchants before buying, but if you don't really mind either way, TrueRenu is a good store to buy from :)
+ Very fast shipping, 1-3 days, items carefully packaged and will arrive safely at your door
+ Occasional freebies are included with your order
+ English information, descriptions, and how-to-use instructions, including a list of ingredients (for those who care), is sent with each Japanese item. I find this rather nice, especially if I'm trying a new item I'm really curious about.
+ A promotional coupon is sent with every order
- Offer a very limited number of brands and products as TrueRenu will only carry a product it deems "natural and not chemical," which in my opinion is really quite subjective and, if anything, a bit pretentious.
See my previous Where to Buy? post.
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