How To Be a Korean Skincare Addict in Malaysia

Ah, Korean skincare. That beautiful, wondrous, impossibly cute genre of products that promise to beautify, energise and basically fix your skin. How I love thee! When I lived in Korea, I became obsessed with the stuff, heading out every weekend to the sales (there was always one) and coming back with waaaay too much stuff to handle. I loved it all, and it loved me.

And then, I moved to Malaysia. 

Things are a little different here. And when I say a little, I mean a lot. The whole pace of life is much slower in Malaysia, which is quite nice because it’s so hot that you just wanna relaaaax. I love the energy of Korea, but when I was working 10 hour days, it wasn’t so hot. So the lifestyle is one thing, and of course the cosmetics stores are another.

Don’t get me wrong, Malaysia loves shopping. Specifically, shopping malls. And I can’t say that I wasn’t a little bit too excited when I first saw a Sephora in Nu Sentral. I mean, it’s Sephora! It’s what all those beauty bloggers rave about and haul products from and it has everything there! Except… Korean cosmetics.

(Although, I must say, I was very happy to see Laneige being stocked there, yay!)

But there is certainly a trick to being a Korean skincare addict in Malaysia, and that trick is…


Yep, I’ve discovered (through rigorous testing, of course) that the shops here, whilst I am glad they actually are here, just don’t have the range, the prices or the sales like Korea does. I actually dragged Gav out to Sunway Pyramid Mall just to go to Nature Republic, but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy anything. I just couldn’t! Instead, shopping online is pretty much your best friend.

The good thing is, when I first arrived and was really missing Korea (and before all my stuff came), it was nice to know that I could just pop down to The Face Shop or Skinfood at Midvalley Megamall if I really wanted. I did do this a few times, which is actually where I purchased The Face Shop’s Rice Water Bright Cleansing Milk (review here). It did make me feel more connected to Korea, weirdly enough, and I was prepared to hand over a bit more cash to make it happen. However, I have found that looking online can get you both better prices and newer stock.

Another little hack I found was going to where the Korean cosmetics are in Malaysia. One of these places is Ampang. For the uninitiated, Ampang is an area with a lot of Korean and Japanese expats. This obviously excites me, because it means there are Korean-style “marts” there, which have a few K-beauty bits and bobs. Admittedly, there’s not much, and the brands are generally unfamiliar, but hey… I’ll try anything once!


The picture above shows a hand cream and face masks I picked up at a said mart in Ampang. I managed to back a 10-pack of Ryeo Hui Ultra Hydrating Essence Masks (Gold), and a Sooae Snail Hand Cream. Anything for the snails!

Another Korean area I happened to stumble upon was actually near Publika mall, in Mont Kiara. I was dying to go to a cafe called Little Collins, and it just so happened that when we were driving there, I noticed another Korean mart. I think I have a K-radar or something!

Anyway, after our brunch (I had banana french toast, yum), we walked up to see the mart, and that was where I freaked out. It was just like being in Korea — and I hadn’t felt that since I’d actually been in Korea… which makes sense. Anyway, I was in heaven, and then the icing on the cake was when I laid eyes on the Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel at the front of the store. They had 2-for-1 (of course they did… Korean generosity!) so you know, I did what I had to do.

So bottom line is… shop online or go to the Korean areas. Ampang is the main one, but I also found a few gems in Mont Kiara. Also, the Skinlite Essence Masks in the picture were from Sasa, which is basically an Olive Young-type store and which has a range of brands. As Korean skincare is such a hot trend now, it’s definitely accessible — you just need to know where to look.

One last thing I will add, which may sound ridiculous, but hey, that’s me… is to actually go to Korea. I swear, if you’re as into K-beauty as I am, nothing will compare. Nothing! There is a magical feeling you get when you’re in the midst of it all, surrounded by sales and the latest crazes. The samples are insane, the range is unbeatable and oh… it’s just amazing. I know that technically doesn’t count as being a skincare addict in Malaysia but… it’s just the best.

If you’re in Malaysia, how do you go about sourcing your K-beauty products? Have you tried any of these purchases I made at the marts? Let me know in the comments!


Steph x

  1. What did you think of the ryeohui gold mask? I’ve bought one but yet to try. Doing some online research first. Any side effects? Any improvements to complexion? Thanks!

    1. Also haven’t tried it yet! Will keep you posted — it’s been a while since I had a good masking session 🙂

  2. I have always bought my korean skincare online.Nowadays there are lots of korean skincare – tonymoly, innisfree , in subang,ioi city mall, paradigm, laneiges in most shopping complexes, sulwhasoo in Parksons. I love Su:m37 and my source would be ebay, when I’m too lazy,more expensive though, q0010 or gmarket when I’m skint or feeling adventurous. But last week paypal decided to reject my payment just because I filed a non receipt towards a seller in ebay. My options were closed as i couldn’t buy from gmarket. I read skintonics review and searched whamisa malaysia and lo behold, there’s one in Da:men usj. I went last weekend and fell in love. Though it is still more expensive than buying online. I’m now thinking of other alternatives. Seoulnextbyyou and avecko seems good .Have you tried them?

    1. Ooh, Sulwhasoo in Parkson? That’s good to know! I definitely enjoy looking at K-beauty in person and swatching the heck out of them, but for convenience and price, online seems to be the way.

      And thank you for the Whamisa tip! I have been reading about that all over the blogs and my curiosity is getting the better of me. I haven’t tried Soulnextbyyou or Avecko — I generally use W2Beauty or Q-Depot, although I haven’t needed to buy anything for a long time! Lol. Thanks for the tip though… can never have too many K-beauty options 😉

  3. Hello Stephanie! I’m so thrilled to know you’re in Malaysia! Like a lot of people, your article about being a Korean skincare convert kept me hooked on your website. I live in Ampang and have never thought to scour the area for K products (online shopping ftw).

    I’m relatively new to K skincare products, about 2-3 months and I’m loving it.

    I would love to know what kind of products you are using or would suggest for the hot and humid weather in Malaysia?

    I still haven’t settled on a holy grail toner and still shopping around for one.

    Also, do you think it’s wise to pile on all the serums, essence, emulsion, moisturiser in this humidity? I’m really just groping my way in the dark with all these products, they’re so overwhelming!

    1. Hey Lisa! Thanks for your comment 🙂 Ooh you’re in Ampang?! I would definitely make use of your area — I visited around there once (not in the heart of Ampang though), and was obsessed with the Korean marts. Please check it out and let me know how you go, might just have to make another trip there haha 😉

      I feel like I’ve adjusted a bit to the humidity here in Malaysia, but I definitely use lighter products than I was using in the harsh Korean winter. For example, I’m still loving the Missha First Treatment Essence Intensive — it’s really nourishing but absorbs easily and evenly. I never feel sticky with that. I also loved the Nature Republic Bee Venom Toner — that’s one of my all-time favourites.

      In terms of layering products, I’ve lightened my routine a little bit, but still do the Korean skincare routine thing. It just works for my skin like nothing else! Because of the air con here, I find I still need to keep up my moisture levels — so layering light products works for me. I just go a bit easier during the daytime, but do the full routine at night 🙂

      I’d say don’t worry about taking it all in at once — just try it step by step, and see what works for you. I tried a number of things, took advantage of samples and repurchased what worked for my skin. Don’t take it all on at once (because that can be overwhelming!); just take your time and notice what works for you 🙂

      Let me know how you go! Hope this helps <3

  4. Buying from online is your best bet here. Although I agreed the price on some of the online store can’t be compared to the price in Seoul. Times like this I wish I actually bought more skincare while I was in Seoul.

    1. Oh I know! Nothing compares to Seoul — knowing how good it is over there makes it tough for me to purchase K-beauty anywhere else! When I went back in November, I stocked up waaaay too much… but it’s just so hard to resist. Other than that, online is definitely best for KL 😉

  5. I’m sooooo happy I came across your blog! Major love. I’ve just started using korean products. I’m always up for a bargain so check out hermo! I purchased from them once and I loveeeee their service! Super reliable and you’ll get your item in no time. I’m living in malaysia and I have acne prone skin 🙁 do you mind sharing your skin are routine now that you’re living in malaysia? 🙂

    1. Hi Nabilla! So nice to hear from you 🙂 Ooh I have tried Hermo once before, but thank you for the reminder! I can always do with a few more K-beauty resources hehe.

      In terms of my skin routine here, I actually find that the humidity does my skin well (now that I’ve adjusted somewhat) — but it’s more the air con I need to watch out for. My skin can get a bit dry if it’s facing too much air con, so funnily enough I’m still make sure to keep it moisturised. I’m currently using the Beyond Moisture Bloom Toner, followed by the Kiehl’s Night Repair Oil and then The Body Shop’s Vitamin E Face Cream — which is quite a minimal routine for me! But these products are all quite moisturising so it works.

      Hope that helps, and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  6. Hi Stephanie.. I came across to your blog where I google for some review of Nature Republic skin care. I’m so happy to read all of your post. I’m just following K-Drama last 2 months and I fond all the actors are so flawless. So, that is my triggering point to start follow korean beuty secret.
    I do shopping K skincare here :

    1. Hi Nor! Lovely to hear from you 🙂

      Ooh I’m glad you enjoyed my posts — I do love Nature Republic! Which K-drama do you watch? Yes, all of the actresses look like dolls — and a lot of the Korean women look like that in real life, too! So beautiful.

      So glad I could help you — thanks for dropping by! xx

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