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!