Renee’s Asian cosmetics haul was from Alhambra/Monterey Park in the Los Angeles area. But thankfully Asian cosmetics are increasingly available online from international sellers and even in regular American stores and websites.
First, check out Skin & Tonics’ guide on specialized Asian websites and Amazon and eBay sellers that sell Asian cosmetics. I’ve also successfully bought from TGIWholesale. These sellers tend to be generous with random free samples, but shipping from Asia can take 2-4 weeks and be expensive.
Second, the four American stores/websites below carry various Asian brands, which might come as a surprise. Compared to purchasing from an international seller, they might offer these benefits (of course, it varies by store):
- free returns
- in-store testing
- English ingredients list
- fast/free shipping
- ability to use cashback programs (e.g., Ebates)
- a choice of 3 free samples
Note: Below, I focus on previously hard-to-find brands and brands that are popular in Asia. For that reason, I don’t include brands such as SK-II, Koh Gen Do, and Tatcha, which have been available through department stores and/or are not particularly popular in Asia based on the Asian beauty blogs and YouTube channels I visit.
1. Sephora. Sephora carries the Korean brands AmorePacific and Dr.Jart+ (in store and online).
AmorePacific is a high-end brand emphasizing skincare; even its makeup products incorporate skincare benefits. I’ve purchased its Color Control Cushion Compact (review coming; it’s good). Trivia: AmorePacific is one brand among many owned by AmorePacific Corporation; the others include HERA, Sulwhasoo, IOPE, Innisfree, Etude House, and Laneige and span various price points and demographics. Because these brands all fall under the same umbrella, you’ll notice similar trends and technology used across these brands, such as cushion compacts.
Dr.Jart+ is well known for BB creams and skincare. I’ve tried a couple of the BB creams and, while they fall on the medium beige spectrum (when I’m typically fairer than that), the texture is comfortable and easy to blend.
2. Target. As of this year, Target carries Laneige (in store and online).
Target carries many of Laneige’s skincare offerings but not the makeup (other than the BB Cushion that I’m fond of (review coming)). It does carry the Water Sleeping Mask that Renee reviewed. In store, you must look carefully for the Laneige section. Unlike, say, Sonia Kashuk and NYX, Laneige doesn’t have its own signage and 1/2 of an aisle. Look out for its white and light blue packaging among one of the lower shelves or on one of the endcaps.
3. Beauty.com. Beauty.com includes Anna Sui, Baby Foot, Dr.Ci:Labo, and Paul & Joe. Beauty.com in general is great; it’s like an underrated online-only Sephora and offers a 20%-off sale a couple of times a year.
Anna Sui and Paul & Joe are not Asian brands per se (Anna Sui is American, Paul & Joe is French), but their popularity in Japan exceeds that in America. Mostly their makeup products are offered on Beauty.com.
Baby Foot originated in Japan and is grosser than the name implies (it’s a full-foot peel intended to cause molting as graphically depicted on its website).
Dr.Ci:Labo is a Japanese skincare company. Beauty.com carries several of its skincare products and its BB cream. I just ordered its Super White 377 serum.
4. Drugstore.com. Although related to Beauty.com (you use the same shopping cart when shopping at both), Drugstore.com has a different return policy so I’m mentioning it separately. Drugstore.com sells skincare products from Hada Labo, a Japanese company, in its “International Beauty” section. There’s a wide range of products from Hada Labo’s original line as well as its more recent Tokyo line. (Hada Labo’s Tokyo line is also available on Ulta.com).
Bonus entry: Walmart for selling Taiwanese My Beauty Diary sheet masks. I’m not one to encourage anyone to go to Walmart though.
Lastly, check out Musings of a Muse for her regular reviews of various Asian makeup and skincare products (interspersed with American products). So helpful when you can’t see a product in-person before buying.