They See Me Haulin’ Part 1: Shopping in LA

In LA, I shopped my way across the city for Asian beauty products. All for you! I’m sorry, I meant me. All for me. By no means is this list meant to be extensive. I only listed places that I already knew of or came across. I hope, however, that this is useful to someone interested in shopping for Asian makeup and skincare. My faves: Image, Beauty Tips, and Takashima–all in the San Gabriel Valley.  Read on for info about stores there and in Koreatown and West LA. Some things to note:

  • Testers for makeup and skincare were common.
  • Prices across stores were basically the same (e.g., $18 for Clio Gelspresso eyeliner), so comparison shopping wasn’t as important as I thought it would be. Now whether those prices beat online prices, I don’t know.  Update: I’ve noticed some wildly disparate prices on some skincare items.  As in some items being 2x higher at one store versus another.  So comparison shopping is important.
  • Pretty much every store that sold Korean makeup sold Clio Gelspresso eyeliners and the full range of Peripera lip products and It’s Skin Babyface makeup.

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY–ATLANTIC SQUARE

1. Beauty Tips/Tips Beauty (Taiwanese, Korean, Japanese) 500 N. Atlantic Blvd., Suite 177, Monterey Park, CA 91754 The entrance is on Atlantic. Although small, it is crammed with products from Taiwanese, Korean, and Japanese brands, including brands that I didn’t see anywhere else. Also carries a healthy selection of American/Western brands, some of which are not commonly found in stores (such as Avene, La Roche Posay, Klorane, Eve Lom). Great for:

  • Forencos makeup (didn’t see elsewhere; Romantic Scandal lipstick #517, featured in “My Love From Another Star,” is for sale.  A pretty medium rose, but too muted for my taste.)
  • Anna Sui makeup (didn’t see elsewhere)
  • Naruko skincare (very extensive; didn’t see elsewhere)
  • For Beloved One skincare (didn’t see elsewhere)
  • Bene Poshe makeup (didn’t see elsewhere)
  • Eve Lom skincare
  • Dr.Jart+ skincare (including its Ctrl-A line for acne)
  • Sekkisei skincare
  • Kose skincare
  • Sanrio character contact lens
  • Sheet masks (seems to be a perpetual deal on these, like buy 3, get 1 free)

01 Beauty Tips Entrance

Forencos, Bebe Poshe, and Sanrio contact lens
Forencos, Bebe Poshe, and Sanrio contact lens
A whole wall of Naruko skincare from Taiwan
A whole wall of Naruko skincare from Taiwan

2. Image (Korean, Japanese) 500 N. Atlantic Blvd., Suite 132, Monterey Park, CA 91754 Located near the main square, this store is great in offering both Korean and Japanese brands including Etude House, which I haven’t seen anywhere else, and the largest selection of 3CE makeup I’ve seen so far (face, lip, eye, and cheek; check out the Stylenanda website for the best makeup styling and realistic swatch photos). The salesperson was so nice. She offered a makeup wipe to clean my swatching hand without me having to ask, and she gave me free samples of skincare that I was interested in, even after I said I wasn’t going to buy any because I had too much skincare at home. Great for:

  • Friendly salespeople
  • 3CE makeup
  • Etude House makeup and skincare (didn’t see elsewhere; check out the lip tints and BB cushions–including the peach, mint, and pink color-correcting cushions)
  • Laduree makeup (didn’t see elsewhere; yes, the Parisian macaron bakery has a makeup line, and an exquisite and expensive one at that: check out the blush comprised of individual flower petals and $95 face powder)
  • Haba skincare
  • Sekkisei skincare
  • O HUI skincare
  • Cure Natural Aqua Gel (claims to be the top-selling exfoliator in Japan)

04 Image Entrance 05 Image Interior3. UPDATE: Pandora Beauty closed and is now The Face Shop, selling The Face Shop products of course. Pandora Beauty (Japanese) 500 N. Atlantic Blvd., Suite 165, Monterey Park, CA 91754 There’s no name on the store, so just look out for the suite number.  The entrance is just off the main square.  It was closed for lunch at the time, so my description is based on what I could see through the windows and what I remember of it from my last visit. Great for:

  • Paul & Joe products
  • Fake eyelashes

06 Pandora Beauty Entrance 07 Pandora Beauty Interior 1 08 Pandora Beauty Interior 2 09 Pandora Beauty Window4. Amore (Korean) 500 N. Atlantic Blvd., Suite 113, Monterey Park, CA 91754 Also near the main square, Amore sells skincare and some makeup from the AmorePacific Corporation family: Laneige, Sulwhasoo, The History of Whoo, and IOPE. Strangely, I don’t recall seeing any AmorePacific there. Great for:

  • Laneige skincare (very extensive)
  • Laneige makeup (though not the latest stuff, like the Water Drop Tints that I reveiwed)
  • IOPE BB cushions (the original BB cushion that sparked the trend)

SAN GABRIEL VALLEY–FOCUS/99 RANCH PLAZA

1. UPDATE: This particular Amore store has converted to an Aritaum and is the first Aritaum in the U.S. outside of the Northeast as far as I know.  My review of Aritaum is here Amore (Korean) 140 W. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, CA 91776 The storefront is visible from the parking lot.  Similar but slightly fewer offerings than the Amore store at Atlantic Square (see above). In particular, the one at Atlantic Square offers more Laneige makeup such mascaras, brow powder, and eyeshadow palettes. 10 Amore Focus Plaza Entrance

Laneige skincare and makeup
Laneige skincare and makeup
More Laneige makeup
More Laneige makeup
IOPE Cushion.  Free furry plush of a cushion with purchase.
IOPE Cushion. Free furry plush with purchase.

2. Magic Belle (Korean) 140 W. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, CA 91776 On the other side of Amore is Magic Belle. Selling mostly Korean makeup and skincare, it is relatively large and has extensive offerings. It offers a free loyalty program (something like spend $300, get $10). Great for:

  • Sheet masks
  • Paul & Joe products
  • Clio makeup (including Lipnicure liquid lipsticks, which were a rare sight)
  • Browsing random skincare brands

14 Magic Belle Entrance

Clio and It's Skin Babyface
Clio and It’s Skin Babyface
Peripera lip products.  Some great pastel and neon colors!
Peripera lip products. Some great pastel and neon colors!
Oppa Gangnam sheet mask!
Oppa Gangnam sheet mask!
Pobling Sonic Cleanser has long, soft, plush bristles. Way cheaper than a Clarisonic and bristles are softer than even the Delicate or Sensitive brushes
Pobling Sonic Cleanser has long, soft, plush bristles. Way cheaper than a Clarisonic and bristles are softer than even the Delicate or Sensitive brush heads

3. Focus Store 140 W. Valley Blvd., Suite 380, San Gabriel, CA 91776 Located opposite of Daiso on the bottom floor of the tower in the plaza, this store sells various Japanese and Korean hair, makeup, and bath and body items. Nothing really that you couldn’t get at the other stores though, and the salesperson followed me like a hawk. Great for:

  • Toiletries (body wash, face wash, haircare, cotton pads)

19 Focus Department Store Entrance

Store is on righthand side, opposite Daiso, once you enter the building
Store is on righthand side once you enter the building

21 Focus Department Store Interior

Sheet masks for every part of the body.  Mine rang up as "Deary Monkey Breast Buddy"
Sheet masks for EVERY part of the body. Mine rang up as “Deary Monkey Breast Buddy”
Hair tools
Hair tools

4. Takashima (Japanese) 220 W. Valley Blvd., Suite 108, San Gabriel, CA 91776 Located just across the street from the Focus/99 Ranch Plaza (entrance is on Abbott Ave.), Takashima is one of my favorite places to get lost. Mind you, it’s quite tiny so getting physically lost is impossible. But I love getting lost in the sea of beauty and lifestyle products that are so…Japanese. Just inventive things that I’ve never seen elsewhere and that solve problems that I didn’t realize needed solving until that moment. Great for:

  • Unique gifts
  • Men’s makeup and skincare
  • Dr.Ci:Labo skincare
  • Dollywink makeup
  • Canmake makeup
  • Eyeliners and mascara
  • Face massagers
  • Hair tools (e.g., ball-shaped brush, Bumpits, clips to help do a French braid or fake a bob or make a zig zag part)
  • Clothing boosters (e.g., wedge insoles to make you taller, sleeves to protect your arms from the sun)

24 Takashima Entrance

Bust boosters
Bust boosters
Necoco haircare.  Purrrr
Necoco haircare. Purrrr
Eye tools including double-eyelid maker and mascara guard
Eye tools including double-eyelid maker and mascara guard
Eye stretcher.  For why . . . ?
Eye stretcher. For why . . . ?
Face massagers including some Hannibal Lecter mask and lip suctioner
Face massagers including some Hannibal Lecter mask and lip suctioner
Tagline: "boys have to have clean body/have stylish brows/look smart . . .
Real tagline: “boys have to have clean body/have stylish brows/look smart . . .
. . . and have clean skin"
. . . and have clean skin”
How would you feel to discover your boyfriend's lush brows were thanks to a pencil? I imagine Ronaldo keeps this in his dopp kit
Men’s brow kit: I imagine Ronaldo keeps this in his dopp kit
Washable underarm shields that attach to your bra
Washable underarm shields that attach to your bra

WEST LA–SAWTELLE/LITTLE OSAKA

1. Make Asobi (Japanese) 2115 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025 Located in the main single-story strip mall on Sawtelle, Make Asobi has some brands that I didn’t see or notice in great quantities at Takashima (Kate, Hada Labo (on a recent visit, Takashima had lots of Hada Labo stuff), and Haba). Not as many products as Takashima but definitely covers all the major bases. Great for:

  • Kate eye makeup
  • Hada Labo skincare (extensive)
  • Haba skincare (extensive)
  • Fake eyelashes
  • Cure Natural Aqua Gel
  • Randomly has a pricey makeup product from Addiction

32 Make Asobi Entrance

Kate
Kate
Hada Labo
Hada Labo

KOREATOWN–MADANG PLAZA

1. Cosmetic World (Korean) 621 S. Western Ave., Suite 104, Los Angeles, CA 90005 Another relatively large store with a wide range of makeup and skincare brands. Also sells some American brands like Smashbox, although I’d stick to the Asian brands there. Great for:

  • Sheet masks
  • Skincare
  • 3LAB skincare and makeup (their BB creams get rave reviews)
  • Missha makeup

35 Cosmetic World Madang Plaza Entrance 36 Cosmetic World Interior2. The Face Shop (Korean) 621 S. Western Ave., Suite G01-B, Los Angeles, CA 90005 The Face Shop is a beauty brand, so on display are its own extensive line of makeup and skincare. This is one of at least three Face Shops in Koreatown.  This particular one shares a space with a dessert cafe. Great for:

  • Oil and balm cleansers
  • BB cushions
  • Eyeliners (check out the 3-pronged and flat paddle liquid pen versions)
  • Lip products

37 The Face Shop Entrance 38 The Face Shop Interior

Lippies
Lippies
Eye makeup
Eye makeup

20 Replies to “They See Me Haulin’ Part 1: Shopping in LA”

  1. yess I’ve been waiting for a post like this from
    somebody. I’ve just recently dipped
    my toes in korean skincare products and I really want to visit some stores that sell kbeauty for cheap prices. Which stores do you recommend that have the cheapest prices for skincare? I was debating whether to go to the Atlantic square first or the Ranch plaza. Or even miibox?

    1. Ranch Plaza now also has The Face Shop, so that makes is even with Atlantic Square if you want TFS stuff.

      Ahhh, it’s hard to say any one place is reliably cheaper for skincare. Miibox seems to be on average cheaper than other places, but its selection is small (and it has lots of brands that other stores don’t have) so you can’t really compare Miibox to other stores that have lots of stuff you won’t find at Miibox.

      Since you care about price the most, I would say Miibox first to note prices and what Miibox sells. Then when you move onto the next place, you’ll know whether you should pass or buy it because Miibox doesn’t have it/is more $$$. As a beginner, you would benefit from going to Beauty Tips at Atlantic Square. The owner is very knowledgeable and helpful and is pretty on top of trends (she gave me a Leaders coconut gel mask months before Leaders started popping up all the time on the Asian Beauty subreddit). Image Beauty at Atlantic Square is also terrific for sheer variety; the saleswomen are helpful but just lacks a little of that personal touch that Beauty Tips has. Prices vary a lot between them (sometimes one is cheaper, sometimes it’s more expensive).

      For sheet masks, the store across from Daiso at Ranch Plaza and Image at Atlantic Square have decent prices and the broadest selection. Their selection is very different though so it’s worth going to both if sheet masks are your thing.

      Of course, everything is always cheaper online direct from Korea (Rose Rose Shop, Jolse), but I like supporting the brick-and-mortars and getting instant gratification.

      1. Thanks so much for the detailed reply! I mostly want to buy the piggy masks as I heard they were being sold at miibox for a good price. Btw, do you know some websites to buy some products cheaply? I’m wary of sites because the shipping is usually pricey and not worth it.

      2. There are so many! Some popular ones are Jolse, Rose Rose Shop, and Beautynetkorea. I’ve also used TGIWholesale, and Q-depot (which has sent us products for review) has free shipping after a fairly low threshold. You really have to shop around and add up the total cost after shipping to see whether it’s worth it. It’s annoying and time-consuming, and sometimes I end up just going with the cheapest of two or three shops rather than thoroughly comparison shop.

  2. I’m flying into LAX in a couple of days. I’m planning on visiting a few shops from this list. I’ve fallen in love with O HUI (Miracle Moisture line) and HoW (Seol line). Can you recommend a stop that might have a good selection of LG products?

    1. Hi! Magic Belle in San Gabriel, Image Beauty in Monterey Park, and Cosmetic World in Koreatown (all in this post) has the LG brands you’re interested in, but I’m not sure about the exact lines you’re interested in. You can try calling them. Magic Belle definitely has Whoo stuff, but beware that Magic Belle is really overpriced on the rest of their stuff–even compared to other brick and mortars.

      1. Awesome. Thanks so much for the super-speedy response. One more question. Have you tested anything from Sooryehan? It’s from LG, so I assume I will be able to find it at one of these shops? (I had layovers at Incheon Airport recently, and bought a whole bunch of LG/AP skincare/makeup, but Sooryehan was no where to be found. =[. ) It’s another brand I want to try, but reviews are scarce, and samples are hard to come by. I prefer not to go through amazon or eBay. (I bought a “sample kit” from HoW Seol line based on yours and others’ reviews. I didn’t regret it, since I fell in love with it. But I am loath to buy somebody’s FREE SAMPLE that never should’ve been put up for sale!)

      2. I checked with Renee, whose mom got her a whole Sooreyehan set: “Sooryehan can def be found in San Gabriel valley super store near Artland kiosk. It’s like a thinner cheaper version of Whoo. The toner is scrumptious. The moisturizer emulsion thing is too light for winter. Overall still B+. I love the eye cream.” Hope this helps!

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