Where do you shop for Beauty Products in Korea?
I usually try and stick to just standalone product reviews on this blog because that was the original premise from which I started out on, but as time goes by, I realise that I have a bunch of other blog ideas, one of which I wanted to delve in today.
I want to know from you – if you live in Korea, or have visited before – where do you shop for beauty products? Which place do you prefer and why?
I will come right out and say it: I’m really boring. I only ever get stuff at Lalavla and Olive Young. Here are my reasons why:
- I hate online shopping with a vengeance;
- I don’t see the point of department store brands when there are veritable gems at the drugstore;
- LOHBS (another major beauty shop-like chemist) is not in my area;
- Garosugil and Dongdaemun, which have indie beauty counters of brands such as Too Cool for School (which I despise on a personal level – read more as to when my attitude soured and why over here) or VDL are too far for me;
- beauty from supermarkets doesn’t do it for me because I cannot collect the same kind of rewards;
- roadside beauty shop brands (It’s Skin, Missha, Innisfree, Etude House, The Saem) increasingly don’t do it for me in terms of quality; and lastly,
- I find browsing the aisles of my local chemists so soothing. If I ever need a pick me up, I’ll stroll to the next Lalavla or Olive Young, and start walking around, testing products as I go along. My mood will have improved 200% by the time I exit.
I just wanted to recount my experiences with Lalavla and Olive Young respectively, seeing as I go there all the time.
Without further ado, let’s take a look. Did I miss any points? Let me know in the comments.
📈 Lalavla Pros 📈
- tends to be cheaper
- usually fantastic value for money
- bulk items feature prominently
- crazy discounts on selected items (50-70%)
- products go on sale rather often, roughly every 2 weeks
- membership through GS25 includes two additional monthly discounts, one for 10% and for 15%, which can be used any day of the month on any number of items
- range includes discount makeup, mostly Essence, supplemented by Wet’n’Wild on occasion
- can use points spent during purchase for additional cashback discounts
- lots of innovative, fun new beauty products
- Cololab nail polishes are the best nail polish range anywhere in Korea – read my review here
- staff very courteous and eager to help at any location that I’ve visited
📉 Lalavla Cons 📉
- lots of bargains to be had but many of those of inferior quality
- many items gimmicky one hit wonders that are fun to use in the moment but that I would not repurchase
- has lots of ‘me too’ products that mimic famous beauty brands without actually coming even close in terms of quality
… and now for the competitor:
🌻 Olive Young Pros 🌻
- many prestigious and well established beauty brands that actually work are only available at Olive Young, such as Dr Jart+, isoi, Nuxe or Beyond the Remedy
- staff very courteous and helpful, just like Lalavla
- great selection of French pharmacy brands
- can get cashback discounts using a CJ one membership card
- overall better quality of items on offer
🥀 Olive Young Cons 🥀
- sales happen a lot less often than Lalavla (~every 4-6 weeks)
- generally more expensive
- feels a little less fun and playful in terms of brand image
- brand comes across a little mature and matronly
- no discount makeup such as Essence, Catrice, ELF, Wet’n’Wild, CoverGirl
- no crazy discounts – 20-30% off original price is usual
- no additional discounts when using CJ one membership card
To recap: I go to Lalavla when I want to buy colour makeup and nail varnish, when I want to try a new beauty product but don’t want to break the bank, when I want to score a bargain or when I want a quick pick-me-up that won’t break the bank.
On the other hand, I prefer Olive Young for skincare – my one true passion – and I just wait for the items I want to go on sale so I don’t end up overspending.
Any preferences on your end?