Cosmetics prices turn your head

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Cosmetics prices turn your head

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Pursuers of beauty beware: the same cosmetic product can have widely different price tags depending on where it is sold.

The JoongAng Ilbo compared the prices of 13 domestic and foreign cosmetic products based on their distribution channels, and the results were all over the map.

It selected three online shopping malls known for cheap prices - Gmarket, Auction, 11th Street - and two Internet duty-free shops, Lotte and Shinsegae. Prices in the duty-free shops were converted from U.S. dollars to won with the exchange rate of 1,011.9 won ($0.98) against the dollar from July 13.

There was a 1,000 won to 6,000 won gap in prices of basic domestic cosmetics products in online malls and the online duty-free shops.

Gmarket sold Iope Moistgen Emulsion Skin Hydration (130 ml) for 22,400 won, 6,945 won cheaper than Lotte’s duty-free shop at 29,345 won. Auction and 11th Street sold the product for 22,500 won.

11th Street sold Laneige Water Sleeping Pack EX (80 ml) for 18,000 won, 3,250 won cheaper than Shinsegae’s duty-free shop at 21,250 won.

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In fact, prices at duty-free shops are more affordable these days due to the appreciation of the won against the dollar, yet the online markets were still much cheaper.

Face washes followed the same trend. Isa Knox X2D2 Turn-Over Cleansing Foam (180 ml) sells for 7,900 won on both Gmarket and Auction, cheaper by 6,200 won, or 45 percent, than the duty-free shops.

Hanskin Super Light Touch BB (30 ml) was the cheapest at Gmarket at 16,900 won.

Foreign brands were cheaper at online duty-free sites. The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil (10 ml), which sells for 10,000 won on the three web outlets, costs only 7,741 won at Shinsegae. Anna Sui lipstick, which sells for 20,500 won to 27,900 won online, sells for 19,783 won at Shinsegae.

L’Occitane Hand Cream Shea Butter (150 ml) sells for 28,333 won at both duty-free shops, 3,467 won cheaper than at Auction.

On the other hand, retail cosmetic brands had price tags all over the map, which shows how tricky it is to be a smart shopper.

Missha M Perfect Cover BB Cream (50 ml) cost 9,210 won at 11th street, 9,600 won at Auction, 12,143 won at Lotte and 12,750 won at Shinsegae.

11th Street sells The Face Shop Extreme Brush Pen Eyeliner for 5,900 won, 1,183 won cheaper than Lotte.

Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask Original (100 ml) costs 9,107 won at Lotte and 10,500 won on Gmarket. Nature Republic Collagen Dream Vitamin C Capsule Foam Cleanser (150 ml) costs 6,900 won on the Internet, while it costs 8,095 won at Lotte and 7,741 won at Shinsegae.

“Since distribution routes and the number of businesses importing cosmetics have greatly increased, customers can dramatically reduce the amount they spend depending on where they buy their products,” said Park Ju-Sang, beauty team manager at Gmarket. “It’s also a good idea to take advantage of hot deals that give temporary discounts.”

BY CHAE YOON-KYUNG [ebusiness@joongang.co.kr]




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