In case you haven’t heard the news, Memebox is no longer selling Korean beauty products (not even those from their house brands). Seriously, they’re no longer selling stuff. Period. That means that a whole lot of US-based kbeauty addicts are wondering where to get their favorite products.
There are actually lots of options. I find Amazon Prime to be shockingly reliable; I blew $100 trying to buy frequently counterfeited masks and came up with nothing, so if you stick to Prime (which has stringent seller rules) you’ll most likely be fine. If not, their CS will bail you out. I love shops based in Korea because good ones offer great prices, great CS, and the coolest new products — here’s a list of my favorite shops based in Korea.
People are also going to turn to eBay to get their fix, and I think this might be the right time to share my personal rules for buying Korean beauty on eBay. I actually really like buying kbeauty products on eBay because the rating system cuts down on handling delays. I like shops like TesterKorea, Jolse, and RoseRoseShop, but their handling times can be pretty uneven, meaning that it takes sometimes weeks before my order is shipped.
I started buying Korean beauty products on eBay, and I’ll probably end there, too, long after the trend has cooled and more e-tailers join Memebox in the scrap heap.
That said, I don’t buy from just any eBay shops, and I have some guidelines that have served me well.
How to Shop on eBay for Kbeauty Now that Memebox is Dead
The 99.7% solution
I don’t usually buy from sellers I’ve never shopped with before unless they have a rating of 99.7% or higher and at least 100 ratings. It’s a super high rating for sellers shipping internationally since, hey, sometimes shit happens, and it suggests to me that they’re working hard to get orders out right and that they’ll talk to me quickly if something goes wrong. I’ve dipped below that rating in some instances to get things like limited edition Etude House items (tiny lockers ahaha) and other stuff that won’t be applied to my face, but even then, 99.3% or so is my limit. But for cosmetics, it has to be 99.7%, 99.6% if I’m willing to take a risk.
Don’t buy Korean cosmetics from outside Korea
When you have direct access to the place where all the products are getting made, why would you go with a seller based outside Korea?
There are obviously exceptions — there are some well-known, respected shops that operate outside of Korea that sell authentic goods. In that case, I need to see a plausible “shop story” when I click into the item description that explains why the best selection of Lioele products is being shipped from Texas (real thing, it happens).
The bar goes even higher when commonly counterfeit goods are involved
Part of the reason for sticking to sellers in Korea with super high ratings is because we don’t always know which products are being counterfeited when. TonyMoly fruit and Etude House lipstick? Yeah, fakes are released all the time. Randomass masks? Who knows until it’s been happening for 5 months. If you’re buying something like a fruit, EH lipstick, or Papa Recipe mask though, I’d go with shops that have been around and selling authentic goods for ages (see the list below). Stick with the rules above and counterfeit goods shouldn’t be an issue.
Seller background research
eBay’s relative transparency makes it easy to determine the probability of a seller causing you misery.
I start by looking at any negative reviews. Do they seem like they were left by someone seemingly deranged or hoping to extort money from the seller (it happens)? Do they mention things that really raise red flags for me (handling time issues, no response from CS, counterfeit goods)? Then I do the same with neutral reviews. And I scan the positive reviews to make sure there’s a good number and variety, including a variety of different writing styles from buyers.
If a seller seems good and I like their selection, I’ll follow them so I know that they’ve been vetted by me already. This also means that their new listings end up on my eBay homepage.
eBay kbeauty sellers I like
- iamlove-shop & jolse_cosmetics: this is literally Jolse except with crazy fast handling time. If you care more about speed than samples, this is the spot.
- roseroseshop/rubyrubyshop & bringbringshop: literally RoseRoseShop with shipping already factored in to most prices (or easy to figure out) and fast handling time
- koreacosmetic: newer seller with interesting lineup, especially masks.
- redmint486: seller lists a lot of new releases
- mystery_ju: newer seller with a really interesting, current product lineup
- scine_corp: interesting selection, don’t let the lower rating dissuade you (the neutral review is from someone who broke out from a product and the negative ranking is from someone who said the product they bought was excellent)
- ko-pinkplus: interesting selection from brands I like
- scramble17: longtime seller of lesser-known Korean skincare
- cosmeticmarket2012: doesn’t excite me a ton, but reliable
- kevincosmetic: prices are high, but a good place to scout new products
Things I Bought while Writing this Post
I’m my own worst enabler, I swear…
Any sellers I missed that deserve love?
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