A round-up of the most budget-friendly, well-stocked sites to feed your Korean beauty products cravings
Say hello to yet another bittersweet quarantine milestone: one full year in our homes, in front of our screens, away from the outside world. Closing in on a full turn around the sun, we can only hope we've seen the worst of what the pandemic has to offer. But really, who knows when all this will end? Here's a thought: if we're going to stay cooped up for another few months, we may as well start hitting refresh on our skin. Undo the damage and breathe some life back into your year-old quarantine skin—with a little help from our cult favorite Korean beauty products.
In the last installment of Where to Buy What, a bird’s eye view column-of-sorts where we lovingly comb over the online beauty retail space in hot pursuit of the absolute best websites to order your skincare and makeup holy grails from, we gave you a compass that pointed you to the general direction of the best Glossier, The Ordinary, Pyunkang Yul, Dear Klairs and Pixi deals. This time around, we fix a more focused lens and gaze on Korean beauty products.
Cleanser! Toner! Serum! Scroll forth and check out.
Images via Go Bloom & Glow
Clear Skin BHA Toner
Gone are the days of harsh physical exfoliants. These days—when skinimalism and nourishment is front and center—gentler chemical exfoliants are a staple in most skincare routines. A favorite product for just that: Isntree's Clear Skin BHA Toner. This Isntree bestseller is available at a regular price of P1200 across all three sites—but is currently on sale for P799 on Seek Space.
Clear Skin 8% AHA Essence
Another popular choice from the brand's Clear Skin line, the 8% AHA Essence can do wonders for all skin types but works especially well for dry to normal skin. The product is available at a regular price of P800 via Go Bloom & Glow and BeautyMNL (where it is currently sold out), and P850 on Seek Space (but is on sale for P749!)
Spot Saver Mugwort Ampoule
Mugwort first waltzed into the skincare spotlight a couple of years ago, and has since sat pretty in the hearts of Korean beauty products aficionados. A superstar ingredient for getting out those pesky under-the-skin bumps that can quite literally last forever, the Spot Saver Mugwort Ampoule incurs a larger splurge than the rest of the Isntree products on this list. In terms of standard prices, the ampoule retails for P1400 on Go Bloom & Glow and P2000 on BeautyMNL and Seek Space. However, even best-sellers aren't exempt from Seek Space's sales. The Spot Saver Mugwort Ampoule is now on sale for P1399 on the platform.
As far as SRP goes, all three platforms boast of similar price tags for Isntree products. However, BeautyMNL seems to be the least stocked of the three online stores. Seek Space, being the brand's official distributor in the Philippines, has the advantage of a steady inventory and constant sales, making it the clear winner for Isntree.
Images via Go Bloom & Glow
Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser
The cleanser that converted many a skincare junkie to the world of K-beauty, the Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser is one of Krave Beauty's failsafes. Gentle and non-stripping, this is exactly the kind of formulation that all skin types can (and usually do) love. The cleanser retails for P1359 on Get Unready With Me, 1400 on Makeup Store MNL and is unavailable on BeautyMNL.
Lasers and treatments help diminish fine lines and slough off dead skin, but the first step begins right by your vanity. The Kale-Lalu-yaHA combines kale, spinach, parsley, aloe and glycolic acid, among other things, to create a unique skin cocktail. The product is available on both Get Unready With Me and Makeup Store MNL for P2050, and P2300 on BeautyMNL.
The Beet Shield
Krave Beauty's signature SPF product is one that is loved all across the beauty landscape. Lightweight, non-comedogenic with no white cast—it's almost too good to be true. Get your SPF at an SRP for P1498 on Get Unready With Me, P1550 on Makeup Store MNL and P1900 on BeautyMNL (currently out of stock).
Factors of price, product range and inventory have spoken: Get Unready With Me is the clear winner when it comes to Krave Beauty products.
Images via Shop Pibu
Real Fresh Foam Green Tea
The cleanser that raised the benchmark for all foam formulas in the world of Korean beauty products and beyond is priced quite similarly all across the board. The Real Fresh Foam Green Tea retails for P800 on Shop Pibu, P850 on K-Beauty Cafe (currently sold out) and P900 on Go Bloom & Glow.
Real Ferment Micro Essence
Meet the rising star of Neogen's product lineup. Notably formulated with over 93% of micro bio fermented complex, this stuff brightens, plumps and moisturizes the skin like a fountain of youth. On Shop Pibu, a 150mL of instant youth retails for P1750—the cheapest regular price of all three sources. K-Beauty Cafe offers the essence at P1900 regularly, but currently has a sale that slashes the price down to P1500. Lastly, Go Bloom & Glow‘s regular price is P2200, the steepest among all three platforms.
Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine
The product that truly put Neogen on the map years ago was its unique, double-textured gauze pads. Still a cult favorite for on-the-fly exfoliation, these bio-peel pads are regularly available on Shop Pibu for P1200 (and for a discounted price of P950 at present!). K-Beauty Cafe, albeit currenty sold out, offers a similarly tempting price drop: a regular price of P1200 and a slashed price of P850. Over on Go Bloom & Glow, the Neogen classic retails for P1295.
This one's a toss-up between all three, which is good news for us folks who love our options. Go Bloom & Glow and Shop Pibu are armed with the best Neogen product range, including more than just the usual best-sellers. Go Bloom & Glow, however, is almost always accompanied by the most painful price tag. Along with inventory and prices, Shop Pibu wins this fight!
Images via Go Bloom & Glow
Acne Pimple Master Patch
Regardless of what you call ‘em—pimple patches, zit stickers, overnight nightmare eradicators—one thing’s for certain: CosRX’s are the quintessential patches of all patches. A pack of 24 patches typically retails for P200 as they do on Skincare Curator and Go Bloom & Glow, although on the latter they’re on sale for P190. Over on K-Beauty Cafe, COSRx’s classic patches retail for a regular price of P170 but are currently on sale for P160.
AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
One hell of a multitasker, COSRx’s unique blend of AHA and BHA brightens, balances and rids the skin of dull, dead cells to unveil a better complexion all around. A 150mL bottle of the stuff retails for P680 on both Skincare Curator and Go Bloom & Glow (currently sold out). As of time of writing, the AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner is available for a slashed price of P520 on K-Beauty Cafe.
Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream
Snail mucin, despite how irking it can sound to skincare newbies, is something of a dream ingredient: it’s lightweight, has hyaluronic acid and is antimicrobial, which is likely why so many K-beauty loyalists swear by COSRx’s Advanced Snail 92 All in One Cream. On both Skincare Curator and Go Bloom & Glow, this well-loved product is available for P1100 a pop. On K-Beauty Cafe, a jar costs P975 but is currently out of stock.
There’s no disagreeing that COSRx is one of the most popular Korean skincare brands, which makes it fairly simple to find it on pretty much any online beauty store. If it’s the best deals you’re after, though, you’ll want to direct your attention to K-Beauty Cafe.
RELATED: Battle of the Drugstore Acne Patches
Images via Althea
Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Rx
Rightfully a cult favorite, the Missha Time Revolution line is one of the most sought-after items where pasalubong or pabili from South Korea is concerned. The most popular item in the product line is arguably the Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence RX, which is available on Althea for P2110 (now on sale for P1430). Other options include Go Bloom & Glow and BeautyMNL, where the product retails for a steep P2700.
Time Revolution Night Repair PROBIO Ampoule
A perfect follow-up to the treatment essence, the Time Revolution Night Repair PROBIO Ampoule is also worth your shopping consideration. On Althea, it’s currently on sale for P1270—a considerable drop from the original price of P2110. Similar to the essence, the cult favorite Missha ampoule retails for P2700 on both Go Bloom & Glow and BeautyMNL.
There’s no questioning it: when it comes to shopping for Missha locally, Althea comes out the smartest choice.
What other skincare, beauty or wellness brands are you looking to cash out for? Let us know what’s on your mind.
Art Mathew Fetalver