Where to Buy

Below are online merchants located in Hongkong, Taiwan, Japan, as well as North America, who carry popular Japanese and Korean brands and do ship internationally. I am not affiliated to or endorsed by any of the below merchants, nor do I have any guarantee for your experience. I am currently residing in Japan, but I used to purchase from each without any problems or difficulties.

As I discover or learn of new online merchants, I will continue to add them to this page, so while this list is not an exhaustive list, it is a growing collection.

Adam Beauty, Hong Kong based
Pros:
+ Offers a decent variety of Japanese brands and a few Korean brands
+ Most reasonable pricing, comparable to the Japanese retail price of the product, only with international shipping already included in the price
+ Ship registered mail for only $2 extra!
+ Fast shipping, 3-5 days, items are very well packed and will arrive safely at your door
+ Occasionally, Adam (the seller) will include some freebies with your order, especially if the order is large
Cons:
- Limited stock, only stock several items under each brand
- Color selections are also somewhat limited
- Items are never on sale (perhaps because they're so discounted already?)

DHC, North American branch
Pros:
+ Carry most DHC skincare and makeup items available to the Japanese market, that is, except for the seasonal makeup collections (see the Cons)
+ Prompt shipping with flat fees, will ship free with orders $75+. Personally, I find FANCL's shipping policy a lot more agreeable, especially when I never spend more than $20 at DHC.
Cons:
- Same with FANCL, don't offer the seasonal collections and limited edition makeup items available in Japan.

Facial-shop.com
, Hongkong based
Pros:
+ 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
Cons:
- Huge markups on pretty much every brand and every items, most definitely more expensive than Adam Beauty and Sasa.com, even more expensive than Gooddealer, and is just a tiny bit cheaper than Ichibankao.
- Even with wide variety of brands, product and color selections are limited

FANCL, North American branch
Pros: 
+ Carry most FANCL skincare and makeup items available to the Japanese market, except for the seasonal makeup collections, not unlike DHC North America (see the Cons)
+ Orders $35+ ship free within the US, items well packaged and will arrive safely at your door
+ Freebies are included with every order
+ Occasional sales and promotions
Cons:
- Have a rather complicated and user-unfriendly points reward system. In fact, it was so complicated I didn't even bother to read all the instructions on how to redeem.
- Don't offer the seasonal collections and limited edition makeup items available in Japan. I wouldn't have a problem if these collections aren't so pretty! Grr...I don't get it, why not offer them here too? I'd buy them! So would a bunch of other people! Very disgruntled.

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
Pros:
+ 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
Cons:
- 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...

Gooddealer.com, Hong Kong based
Pros:
+ Offers a wide variety of Japanese brands with much better stock and wider color selections
+ Somewhat decent prices, but more expensive than Adam Beauty
+ Occasionally, certain discontinued items will go on sale with a "special price!" notation next to its name
+ Fast shipping, 3-5 days, items are very well packed and will arrive safely at your door
+ Occasionally, Kevin (the seller) will also include freebies with larger orders
Cons:
- International shipping is charged by the grams + $2 registered mail + a separate handling fee. Generally, a $150 order will incur at least $15 shipping and handling.
- Some items have huge markups!

Ichibankao.com, Japan based
Pros:
+ 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
Cons:
- 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)

Sasa.com, Hong Kong based, think Sephora and then some!
Pros:
+ Fast shipping, 3-5 days
+ $6 Flat fee international shipping for registered mail, free shipping for orders $75+
+ Each order will earn points, and the points can be traded for freebies!
+ A lot of the time, the items ordered also come with promotional freebies or there will be promotional freebies included with each order!
+ Frequent sales and promotional discounts (More often than not I would only pay about half the Japanese retail prices for my makeup!)
+ Vast number of Western, Chinese, Japanese, and some larger Korean brands and products including makeup, skincare, fragrance, personal care, accessories, books!
Cons:
- Without the sales and promotional discounts though, the prices are higher.

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 :)
Pros:
+ 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
Cons:
- 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.

4 comments:

ava1986 said...

thank you for some new sites!! I already shop using some sites listed...gmarket I have been looking at forever but the shipping throws be off maybe I'll order soon...a small quantity of products :D thanks again for the sites.

D. said...

Hi ava1986,

You are very welcome! Thank you for reading ^.^

Linsey Hakikawa-Williams said...

Hi I was wondering if you know anywhere that sells tsubaki hair products?

D. said...

Hi Linsey,

If you're in North America, I'd recommend Truerenu.com. Their prices are higher, but they're very reliable and they ship quickly. If you live near an Asian big grocery you should check there also. Shiseido Tsubaki is well known brand, so the stores should stock them.

Hope this helps!
D.

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