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5 unexpected places to buy Korean beauty products
You can’t really call it a trend anymore.
Obsessed with sheet masks? Can’t get enough PA+++ sunscreens? That means the Korean beauty bug has bit you, and there’s no going back to your old skincare routine (if you even had one in the first place).
There are tons of great online retailers for K-beauty, from Amazon’s wide selection to Beautytap’s carefully curated offerings. But the only downside is that there’s no way to try the products out before you buy – and thanks to Sephora and stores like it, we expect to be able to see how something looks on us before we fork over our money.
Thanks to its tremendous popularity, American retailers have started to curate Korean beauty products, which solves the issue. But you might be surprised to see just how mainstream Korean beauty has become. Read on, friends. And if you need a primer on what brands are worth your time, check out our guide to Korean beauty brands first.
Yes, they have Korean beauty products
Target was one of the first big retailers to test Korean beauty, adding Laneige to its website in 2017. Its most recent collaboration with Glow Recipe offered K-Beauty routine kits aimed at dry, oily and aging skin types. Depending on location, you can also find Missha, Caolion, and Make P:rem in your local Target. As if you needed any more reason to blow money there, right?
If you’ve always wanted to try Tony Moly products but never gotten around to it, you should swing by your local Ulta. The beauty retailer’s Korean product selection is much more comprehensive than Sephora’s. You can also get a closer look at well-known lines like Skinfood, Goodal, Too Cool for School, COSRX and Mamonde. And as any Ulta shopper already knows, the retailer sends out coupons monthly that can save you money next time you want to splurge.
Sephora climbed on the K-beauty train early with a small, carefully curated line of products. Whereas Ulta’s collection is aimed at affordability, Sephora’s is ideal for the luxury shopper. You can find Glow Recipe, Belif, Amore Pacific, Dr. Jart and more. The retailer also has lots of trial size products around the register if you don’t want to commit to full sizes. Don’t miss out on the Too Cool For School Dinoplatz lip balm!
Walmart is curating K-beauty later some of the other big box retailers, but its selection is thoughtfully curated for the beauty babe on a budget. JJ Young is a recent addition to the wide range of products it carries online, a brand that is an offshoot of K-beauty favorite Caolion. From sheet masks to traditional mud masks, the line is affordable and effective. My personal fave was the three-step sheet masks that come with toner and essence. Ideal for travel when you don’t want to carry all your bottles!
CVS has one of the most interesting selections of K-beauty lines I’ve seen any retailer offer so far. You can buy Peach Slices, JOAH, The Saem, Frudia, JJ Young, Holika Holika, and most recently, Peripera. Since CVS is generous with coupons as well, the smart K-beauty maven should save them up to shop these collections.
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Colette Bennett is a writer and editor who specializes in geek culture, beauty products, and Amazon deals. Her work has appeared on CNN, HLN, Engadget, Kotaku, Colourlovers, and Continue Magazine. She's also given talks on working in news for CNN's Leadership Unplugged program. Bennett also runs popular Korean beauty blog Chok Chok Beauty and regularly slathers her face in snail slime.