Kahime and Snow’s Guide to Shopping for Hard-to-Find Korean Products When You Don’t Know Korean

This week’s post is is brought to you by the combined efforts of two Asian beauty bloggers, Lin Lin Hime and Snow White and the Asian Pear, who have joined forces to bring our readers this very special how-to guide on where and how to find Korean beauty products- when you don’t know a lick of Korean but you’re starry-eyed at the amazing selection and prices of products available within Korea, and gloomy over how expensive/limited the selection is from international vendors.

In this post:
  • Details on the buying service that will send you your products 
  • How to locate the products you want 
  • Key search terms, ingredients, and brand names - in Korean 
  • How to collect the data the buying service needs 
  • A pre-made spreadsheet that does all the hard work for you 
  • Bloggers cheerfully sassing one another

Details on the buying service that will send you your products:

Snow: Let’s say that you have already read fanserviced’s excellent picture guide on how to order from Avecko, but you’re still lost and confused on how to find these excellent deals since you don’t speak, read, or write Korean, not to mention currency conversions and buying fees and shipping fees- wait, come back!

I promise this will be easier than you’re thinking, because we have built you a series of resources to help you 1. find a product and 2. figure out what it’s going to cost you, and 3. collect all the data you need for Avecko, without exploding your head.

How to locate the products you want:

Kahime:  It can be quite difficult to shop around on Korean websites when your vocabulary is limited to just a few words or characters or just non-existent in general. I remember when I knew barely any Korean and would bug my friend to translate for me and help me figure out which was what. It can be difficult to navigate those wondrous sites with your eyes on that beautiful Missha Snail cream, but how can you find it when Google Translate is failing and the only thing it gives even semi-correct is BB Cream. I mean, you weren’t even looking for a BB cream! So, I am here to help guide your way to better and cheaper purchases! So usually the first thing you see when you go to a website would be the navigation bar, correct? Well there are two things that are kind of standard when looking for pretties: “화장품,” which means ‘cosmetics’ and “뷰티샵” which is ‘beauty’ (you may also see 뷰티). Once you’ve found these, it’s fairly easy to get to where you want to go. Let’s do some basic words, shall we?

Snow: “[...] would bug my friend to translate for me and help me figure out which was what.” HEY! I resemble that remark!

Kahime: Hehe! Nothing but love Snow, nothin’ but love.

So, say you want to put together a regimen but don’t really know where to start. So, i’ll walk you through each step and give you the translation so you can type in it and start looking!
First of all, lets make sure you’re in the right spot. If you’re looking for skincare, you’re going to want to look for this: 스킨케어. Once you've found that it’ll either list everything humanly possible that could be related to skin care, or it’ll break it down even further. Now, it could be listed under categories like so, or it could be under skin (스킨), eye care (아이케어), sun care (썬케어) or even skin care (cotton wipes) accessories (스킨케어소품). For the sake of all of our sanities, lets do a basic cover shall we?

Key search terms, ingredients, and brand names - in Korean:

딥클렌징오일 - Cleansing Oil
클렌징폼 - Cleansing Foam
토너 - Toner
세럼 - Serum
에멀젼 - Emulsion
에센스 - Essence
앰플 - Ampoule
오일 - Oil
아하 - AHA (More often than not, AHA will be in English)
바하 - BHA (More often than not, BHA will be in English)
모이스처라이저  - Moisturizer
크림 - Cream
마스크 - Mask
로션 - Lotion
자외선 차단제 - Sunscreen

Now, you can of course change things up and mix and match to your liking! It doesn't always have to look like this and not everyone needs 9 thousands steps in their routine. If you have more, most definitely let us know and I can get that for you :) Also, these can go WAY more in depth but I’m trying to keep it simple. If you have any other questions about more in depth skin care translations, feel free to drop me a line at kahime@gmail.com.

Let’s go on and dabble in cosmetics now!

Again, there are a ton of options but lets hit the “basics” first! I mean, if that’s even POSSIBLE (it isn't for me). Just like the navigation bar for skincare, there’s also going to be one for makeup. It should say “베이스메이크업” which can mean base or makeup. Once there, feel free to shop!

CC크림 - CC Cream
프라이머 - Primer
비비크림 - BB Cream
컨실러 - Concealer
파운데이션 - Foundation
파우더 - Powder
블러셔 - Blush
미스트 - Mist **Note: the term ‘mist’ applies to both setting sprays and skincare mists.

Snow: Here's a few that I'm moving up here since my cushion obssesion started:
쿠션 - Cushion
에어쿠션 - Air cushion

Kahime: I know what you’re thinking! I know you’re probably wondering: “But I want mascara! I WANT EYESHADOW. I WANT THE PRETTIES. WHERE ARE THEY?!” Okay, okay. We’re getting there, calm down! It sometimes can be under makeup but it’s usually under a different category which is Point Makeup (포인트메이크업). Point makeup usually deals with just the eyes such as liner or shadow, but it can also go as wide as having lip products under there. For space sake, lets just go with the generic stuff~

마스카라 - Mascara
아이라이너 - Eyeliner
아이브로우 - Eyebrow
아이섀도우 - Eyeshadow
립라이너 - Lip liner
립스틱 - Lipstick
립글로스 - Lip gloss
립밤 - Balm
틴트 - Tint

There are also other places to look for products instead of these websites, such as Naver. South Korean Google. It DOMINATES in Korea. You wanna search for Korean pretties? I suggest you use Naver. When you search for products,after typing in what you’re looking for of course, scroll alllllll the way to the bottom (you’ll see the images); this is where you can see the best pricing available (usually) and which website you can buy this product from. There may be a time where you just want to look for the newest starfish or bee cream or you really just don’t have a specific item in mind. Let’s go over some more popular searches to help with this aimless wandering.

화이트닝 - Whitening  - Now, this doesn't necessarily mean WHITENING your skin. Whitening usually applies to a cream, lotion or essence that will help even out the skin tone; Perhaps get rid of acne scarring, chicken pox scars, or quite a few other stubborn things that drive us crazy. So don’t be too worried when you use this term :)
스네일 (크림)  - Snail (cream)
스타피쉬 - Starfish
비타민 C- Vitamin C
로즈 - Rose
벌 - Bee
좌창 - Acne
문제성 피부유형 - Problematic Skin Type
털구멍 - Pore
향수 - Perfume
바디 - Body
헤어 - Hair

Snow: You may also want to search by a specific Brand name, such as Su:m37 (숨37) because you’re stalking down their elusive Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick like a hungry panther in the dead of night, plotting a sneak attack.  (Or maybe that’s just me.)

I've created a giant list of Brand names listed in both English and Korean, which you can find here, so all you need to do is copy and paste the brand name + any keyword (such as one from Kahime’s lists above) into a search engine or a specific online shop, and away you go!

Kahime: I did previously mention Naver (an awesome search engine in general!) but now … what if you've got enough faith in your skills to go off on a rampage and start shopping for things to add to your Aveko order? Well, I have some favorite sites I used while in Korea and back home in the States that I’d love to share with you (These are in no particular order by the way)! Happy Shopping~!

Lotte Mart: http://www.lottemart.com/index.do
Lotte Mall: http://www.lotte.com/
E-Mart: http://emart.ssg.com/
Home&Home: http://www.homeandhome365.com/
HomePlus: http://www.homeplus.co.kr/
Hyundai Mall: http://www.hyundaihmall.com/Home.html
Cosmetic Shop: http://www.cosmeticscop.kr/
Lee Jiham Cosmetics: http://www.ljhmall.com/shop/main/index.php
SidMool: http://www.sidmool.com/
Olive Young: http://www.oliveyoungshop.com/
GS Shop: http://with.gsshop.com/
CJ Mall: http://www.cjmall.com/
Get It Beauty: http://www.getitbeautyshop.com/
El Lotte (Premium Store): http://www.ellotte.com/
The Galleria: http://www.galleria.co.kr/
11st: http://www.11st.co.kr/
Interpark: http://www.interpark.com/
NH Market: http://www.nhmarket.kr/
D&Shop: http://www.dnshop.com/
We Make Price: http://www.wemakeprice.com/

How to collect the data the buying service needs:

Snow: Once you have located the products that you want, your next step will be to prepare your order for Avecko.  Avecko requires specific information to be entered into their system, such as the name of the product, product page url, product details, and price in Korean Won (KRW, or ₩).

As of my order on 12/2/2014, Paypal is converting KRW to USD at a rate of 1 USD = 1060 KRW.***  I have created a spreadsheet that will help you organize all this data and also do all the conversions for you.  Here it is: Snow White and the Asian Pear's Avecko Calculator. I will be working off a USD base but I have also created a version for: (CAD), (AUD), (GBP), (EU), and (SGD).  If you need a sheet built for a specific currency, just send me an email at snowwhiteandthepear@gmail.com and I will be happy to fix one up for you.

*** 2/26/2015 Update:  I have updated the spreadsheet to automatically pull live currency conversion  KRW=USD rates, and automatically generate the rate Paypal offers Avecko.  This means it will always be real-time accurate.  I have verified this rate with both Paypal's customer service and Avecko. I cannot estimate what your local bank/credit company will charge you for the USD > Your Currency rate, but it's usually much cheaper than what Paypal offers.

So how do you use it, since this is a read-only version? Well first you will need to make a copy for your own use.  I created this to help me and my friends make our Avecko order, and I am happy to pass it along to others- I would only ask that you credit where you got it and not claim it as your work.

Let’s get started!

A pre-made spreadsheet that does all the hard work for you:

First, save a copy of my sheet (you will need a google account, or to download it onto your local machine if you have a compatible program):

Then click OK to Save the copy to your drive:

Then just delete the example entries in there (just delete the content for Product Name, Link, Shipping, and Price in ₩, leave the rest of them alone- they will clear as soon as you delete the ₩ price) and you are ready to enter in your own data!

Now the fun begins!

Let’s say that you want to purchase this pretty looking 1+1 (meaning 2 products are included) Missha rose hand cream set from E-Mart (http://emart.ssg.com/) that Kahime recommended, which you found by searching for Rose (로즈) using her list of common search keywords, and you want it because it’s cheap and it will smell pretty. (We understand) 

You’ve got the URL, the translated name of the product (Avecko seems to have no issue identifying things that you ask for in English, but you could always use Google Translate’s ‘Show Original’ option if you want to copypasta the original Korean), the cost in , and the shipping fee (note fanserviced’s warning that the free shipping usually means ordering that $$ amount on that page) so you are ready to enter in that data.

All you have to do is copy and paste the info into your new spreadsheet:

On the page, it said the shipping was ₩2,500, or if over ₩3,300 it would be free:

So the total cost would be ₩3,000 + ₩2,500 shipping.

Kahime: That’s almost the cost of 2 sets of the creams, just get two!  THE UNIVERSE IS TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING HERE, SNOW. YOU NEED THESE IN YOUR LIFE.

Snow: Kahime has a point.  Why get 1 set for ₩5,500 when I could get 2 sets for ₩6,000 with free shipping?!

Never fear, this is easy with the sheet! Just change the Quantity column, delete the Shipping cost, and shazam!

See how it automatically updated the total estimates to reflect that you are ordering two?  Now I just need to find some friends who like pretty smelling hand creams …


Snow: Thank you for your altruistic sacrifice, Kahime, which in no way was related to your earlier enabling of buying more hand creams than I could possibly use on my own, right?

Anyway, we’ll add one more example to the sheet from a different site, using Kahime’s term for snails (스네일) :

I had no idea whatmeant in the Shipping section, so I did some really painful work involving a virtual keyboard, a lot of guesswork, google translate, two bottles of wine, and a llama. (Ok, maybe not the last two.) It turns out, 무료배송 is 'free shipping', so there will be no cost to send this to Avecko. So just keep your eyes peeled for that phrase, and you’re good to go. If you have no idea, Avecko will let you know if there is a shipping cost.

Kahime: Of course it would be snails. When was the last time you made a haul without snails, Snow?

Snow: Never, like a sensible person?

So we'll add it into our sheet and see what the total is:

So, now you are all ready to either send this off to Avecko, share it with the people you are developing a group order with, or fill it with many, many items on your wishlist. I have provided 50 rows of the formulas, so you have plenty of room.

Kahime:  Working with The Snow has been an absolute honor as she’s a favorite blogger of mine and her post are always so full of fabulous information. The way she breaks down all the ingredients? Amazing~! But...I now need a Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick after reading about it from the above. Actually, this has made me want a lot of things! After looking up all the websites I used while in Korea and looking at the whole process of ordering? It’s made me want to get all the pretties! ALL OF THEM.

Snow: It’s been a blast working on the project with Kahime, although somehow in the midst of all this ‘theoretical’ product searching ‘for the purposes of blogging demonstration’ I have managed to find a haul’s worth of things that I need to have and have sent off another order to Avecko. D:  

Kahime has created a monster, as my incessant questions about search terms and Korean sites and whatnot have finally pushed me to start learning Hangul at least, so now I’ve progressed from “Kahiiiiimeeeeee, what does XYZ mean??” to “Kahiiiimeeeee, this syllable makes no sense!  How do you pronounce this?!” which I am not entirely sure is an improvement from her perspective.  Luckily for me, she’s incredibly good-natured!

As always, you can leave your comments below or shoot either (or both!) of us an email at kahime@gmail.com and/or snowwhiteandthepear@gmail.com.


  1. Well my first post didn't stick for some reason lol. Love your posts. I live in the desert too and struggling to find what works for me as i have combination to oily skin, especially under my make up. I'm going to start my own spreadsheet thanks to you!

    1. Awesome, as you know I love spreadsheets and always jump at the chance to use them to make things easier! :)

  2. This post is a godsend!
    If you two ever think about translating this monster, I volunteer for the Spanish one, let's spread this 'addiction' as further as possible XD
    Also, I blame you two for that rose stick coming home, you enablers. My wallet has sworn vengeance, be warned ;)

    1. Have you received your rose stick yet? As an enabler, I am crossing my fingers that it lives up to your expectations! :)

  3. Hi...I am an Asian Beauty novice from India..I dont see or know anyone commenting from my side of the world on Asian Beauty blogs or forums..So.I guess its just me...I came to see urs and Fanserviced-B's posts on Avecko.com service by chance..and loved it...just what I needed..
    I used to drool at US based K beauty shops offering substantially marked up k beauty stuff..and shipping to India from USA is expensive....not to mention USD to Indian rupee conversion chrgs on my card..+ customs.. We dont have INR based Paypal here ..USD is used as basic currency for Paypal txns..I am a clerical employee and have to watch my spending..Ottokhae?!!
    So I bought the occasional Memebox.. now they've stopped shipping to India...sob...To use Avecko-.a major stumbling block as far as I'm concerned is that I have yet to learn hangul..till then rely on google translate and naver for products- deals-bargains-sales- hunting..I'm thinking of getting my first ever k beauty haul shipped via airparcel...isnt that the cheapest option available?
    I'd really love any advice for me before I place my first Avecko order..
    And i cant thank u and Kahime enough for ur awesome spreadsheets..please keep up the good work....

    1. Hi Lidiya!

      It's awesome that Avecko allows you to get your hands on those hard-to-find items again, after Memebox cut off so much of their customer base. :(

      In terms of what to get, I would recommend looking for things that 1. you cannot get from regular vendors, and/or 2. have such deep discounts when bought directly from KR that even with the high shipping cost, you come out ahead. I always read the Korean Post website when I haul from Avecko to get an idea of what the shipping costs will be by weight to my country.

      Let me know if you would like me to create a version of the spreadsheet that calculates your currency cost! :)

    2. Hi Lidiya!

      I am from India too; and I would love to know how that Avecko order went for you. The exorbitant shipping costs and our sad currency conversion rate totally throws me off.

      I did order from RRS; where I had to pay a whopping 1589Rs to Customs to get my order. This combined with shipping costs makes the whole thing so pointless. Especially when my initial order amounted to just 35$ at RRS.

      DHL seems slightly better at handling customs; but then a request for DHL shipping from Korean Vendors is usually around 30-35$.

      And "Cat Cactus" - I would love that very much. Your blog is amazing and I've learned so much - all this while I didn't know I had dehydrated skin; and thanks to you my skin no longer looks prune-y.. once the routine (still incomplete) started going for me; I mistook the bouncy skin as puffy (yet super pretty); but did do a anti-histamine course to be sure. I am a total noob when it comes to skincare as you can see.

  4. Laughing because it's ALL konglish except for bee and acne

    1. Yep. It's not going to be the actual Korean word for snail, it's going be 스네일. *facepalm*

  5. How do I copy your spreadsheet to my google account?
    Do you have to send it to me?

    1. If you go to File you should have a Save As/Save a Copy which should be what you need. :D

  6. Woah fastest reply ever o.o.

    I did it! I'm one step closer to trying the Evercos hangbang masks :)

    Oh and can I order things from the English 11st with Avecko or do I have to use the Korean site because I just want there and its really confusing. I can't even search!

    1. You can absolutely order from the English 11st; did you see my Guide on how to order from them and use their shipping coupon? :D

    2. I read your guide but I can't justify (afford) spending $90 at 11st when all I really want from there are masks.

      So I was wondering if I could avoid crazy shipping fees by buying from English 11st through Avecko?

    3. I have used Avecko to buy from 11st's KR site, actually! Just be aware that your Avecko shipping is probably going to start at $20 USD, due to Koreapost rates, so make sure your overall haul is worth your while.

      I hope that helps! :)

    4. That definitely helps! Thanks as always for your patience.

  7. hi, thanks for this very comprehensive guide. im surprised you didnt use gmarket when shopping in korea. many years ago, it was the only korean shopping website i know of.

    1. Hi there,

      Kahime is actually the one who lived in Korea, she wrote that portion of this post. ;) I have made purchases from Gmarket using Avecko though, because I find that the shipping costs are cheaper than buying from the International Gmarket options. :)

  8. You guys are the best! I'm setting foot in the Avecko waters. Wish me luck! :)

  9. Thanks for giving us such an informative guide. I have a question regarding to the brand name called "Swanicoco" as well as how it's called in Korean because I couldn't find this brand name in your spreadsheet.

  10. Hi your post is really helpful for beginner to explore Kbeauty world lol . Can u tell me between Avecko and Boyah shop which one give a better service and lower price ? THnak you