Or, Stocking Up On Things To Save On Weight-Based Shipping Costs, Is It Worth!?
I have a few skincare goals (here, eventually, I’ll be linking to a post that is currently not yet written) right now, but the one that’s most irresponsible and potentially problematic is my search for sheet masks that are worth investing in. Initially, my plan was to try some of the popular sheet masks that I know are available in bulk from sellers like RoseRoseShop for cheap that I could stock up on, with some nicer more expensive options for special occasions, and a few options that are available from US-based sellers with free or inexpensive shipping for sheet make emergencies (which are becoming more and more unlikely at this point….)
Unfortunately, this meant that I started to research sheet masks pretty religiously, hitting up blogs and reddit and reading reviews in online shops and on Amazon etc., etc., and now I want to try everything. More unfortunately, I want to make sheet mask discoveries and investigate brands that people aren’t using, or want to use but need reviews before they feel comfortable purchasing, or sheet masks that just aren’t available from anywhere. I want to be able to answer questions like “hey, my second cousin’s wife’s brother’s daughter sent me this from Tokyo because she knew I like sheet masks, does anyone have any idea what brand or flavor this is?!?”
All of this was, ostensibly, a way to save money and have both deliciously moisturized skin and relaxing self-care. *headdesk*
Anyway, I decided to write this post because my plan that I didn’t actually do was to organize a cart from one of the big Korean web shops that has cheaper prices but weight-based shipping, figure out where I’d get all of the stuff with free shipping, and do a cost-based comparison analysis to see how much money I’d be saving (or loosing) with that sweet, sweet $55.61 USD shipping charge for 2-week EMS.
(What can I say, I put everything in the cart and went “but I can’t find this cream anywhere and these illi hanbang sheet masks are so cheap I’m sure that I’m saving money, the internet told me I’d save money” and hit BUY.)
So now I’m writing this post to see if I’m right.
OK, GOOD. Note the open eBay cart tab. And the open bank tab. And three reviews. And reddit (more reviews).
I’m seriously going to go through and list each item, why I want it, where else I can find it with free or reduced shipping that I feel comfortable purchasing from, the prices of the item at each shop, the total cost for each purchasing option and conclude with whether or not that hauling in this way is a financially solid decision. To calculate the cost that shipping adds to each item, I’m going to figure out the per gram shipping cost and apply that to each item by weight. Math and time!
Ladykin Vanpir Dark Repair Cream ($29.12, net weight 180g, shipping price $4.81, actual price $33.93): I saw this on Memebox, read some reviews, put it on my wishlist, and decided to get it after I had gone through at least one cream (I have two open night creams and a sealed one currently), and then Memebox stopped carrying it. I get it, it was on sale for almost 50% off when I found it, but god dammit Memebox now I’m really paranoid. I wanted this because vampires, and such science/very ingredient/wow dragon’s blood resin that has lots of badly-scienced articles on untrustworthy websites. But mostly, vampires. I hunted for it (this cream is really the seed of this haul) and found it here, and several other sites that all have weight-based shipping price structures for more money (~$40). So here it was!
Alternate options: TesterKorea ($39.46, weight-based shipping), YESSTYLE ($37.91, free shipping* over $35)
Worth? Definitely. Even with weight-based shipping, KoreaDepart is the least expensive option for this cream.
Ladykin Vanpir Dark Repair Hand Cream ($5.88, net weight 90g, shipping price $2.40, actual price $8.28): Vampires, guys. This is a pretty good price for hand cream, even with shipping, especially given the prices of the rest of this line.
Alternate options: TesterKorea ($10.62, weight-based shipping), YESSTYLE ($4.83, free shipping* over $35)
Worth? it’s cheaper from YESSTYLE. This is the *only* item in my haul that’s cheaper on YESSTYLE, though, meaning I’d have to stray from this list to meet the $35 mark. If I really love this and need more, I’ll probably purchase it there and throw in sheet masks to make the free shipping minimum. I’ll say that the convenience of everything that I want being in one package is worth at least $4.
Savings I missed out on: $3.45
illi Deep Cleaning Oil ($12.01, net weight 280g, shipping price $7.48, actual price $19.49): I’ve been wanting to expand my cleaning oil experience (I’ve used Josie Maran Natural Fallacy Argan Cleansing Oil for over two years) and I’ve heard good things about illi as a brand. Memebox lists this cleansing oil’s MSRP at $42, but has it on sale for $25. When you compare the prices, I didn’t save a lot of money but I’m mad at Memebox and don’t trust them to carry this oil in the future, should I love it (I’m only kind of kidding). I do wish that I had done the cost comparison for this product before I ordered, because I wanted to try the other illi oil (illi Aging Care Cleansing Oil) a little more, and for an additional $5 and ~$10 worth of sheet mask purchases I could’ve tried it easily with free shipping from Memebox. Jolse also carries the Aging Care Cleansing Oil, so I could’ve picked it up there for mo money less problems as well.
Alternate options: Jolse ($23.98, free shipping), TesterKorea ($15.97, weight-based shipping), YESSTYLE ($49.90, free shipping* over $35 but wtf), Memebox ($25, free shipping)
Worth? If I like this oil, then yes. If I hate it and wish I had tried the Age Care Cleansing Oil instead, then no. I’ll get back to you.
Savings I missed out on: really not applicable. If I had gone with the Age Care Cleansing Oil I would’ve spent more money.
illi Lotus Moisture Mask ($1.08, net weight 34g, shipping price $0.91, actual price $1.99, purchased 4): I want to try all of these, for sure, but my skincare needs are definitely focused around hydration and moisture. The illi Lotus Moisture Mask has gotten some good internet press, and I’m hoping that it’ll provide my skin with a blast of moisture on days when I’m feeling particularly dry and flat.
Alternate options: TesterKorea ($0.94, OR 10pk for a value of $0.75/mask with weight-based shipping), Memebox ($3, free shipping)
Worth? I would’ve really gotten value from TesterKorea only if I had purchased the 10pk, and I’m not ready for that commitment just yet. If I love the masks, though, TesterKorea will be my rebuy.
illi Mugwort Calming Mask ($1.08, net weight 34g, shipping price $0.91, actual price $1.99, purchased 4): What does mugwort do? Calming/soothing/brightening, depending on who you ask. After moisture, calming/soothing and brightening are two of my goals, as my skin gets red in weird places more often than I’d like, and I’ve found that using brightening products gives me a papery glow that I really like (think: vampire! Never enough vampire.) This mask ISN’T available from Memebox, dunno why. It and Silk Cocoon (also available from TesterKorea… I sense an order in my future) get left out of most selections. tbh, I can’t wait to try it because I’m a nerd.
Alternate options: TesterKorea ($1.41, OR a 10pk for a value of $0.85/mask with weight-based shipping, but I didn’t find this flavor anywhere else).
Worth? Yes, I do not need 10 of these until I’m sure they’re worth it, and buying single masks is unlikely to be cheaper due to TesterKorea’s shipping pricing. But if I do want to pick up a 10pk, TesterKorea all the way!
illi Ginseng Firming Mask ($1.32, net weight 34g, shipping price $0.91, actual price $2.23, purchased 3): There are a lot of people riding the ginseng train right now, and I am very susceptible to peer pressure. As with the lotus, these masks have been pretty well-received. While firming/anti-aging isn’t super high on my list of goals, it is something I consider, and will definitely be investing in in the future after I get my skin moisture to a place where I can more accurately assess my needs.
Alternate options: TesterKorea ($2.35, OR a 10pks for a value of $1.64/mask with weight-based shiping), YESSTYLE ($5.90, free shipping* over $35), Memebox ($4, free shipping over $35)
Worth? I’m pretty sure that I’m going to love this mask based on the reviews, so it probably would’ve been prudent for me to buy the 10pk from TesterKorea. If my hypothesis is correct, I’ll have to look into their shipping pricing structure.
Savings I missed out on: I bought 3 masks for a total of $6.69, I would’ve spent $16.44 on the TesterKorea 10pk with an additional shipping charge.
Leaders Coconut Bio Mask w/ Blueberry ($1.41, net weight 50g, shipping price $1.34, actual price $2.75): This mask is made out of coconut? Maybe? This I gotta see. Based on my investigating, it seems like these just aren’t available right now, either because people don’t stock them, or they’re being replaced/reformulated. Even if they suck, I want to try out Leaders and there are a lot of expensive masks from them in the corners of the internet to which I have access.
Alternate options: none that I could find. I this is an older/discontinued version of this mask. Here’s the current version.
Leaders Coconut Bio Mask w/ Orange, w. Broccoli ($1.36, net weight 50g, shipping price $1.34, actual price $2.70): (Basically the sames reasons as the blueberry, but these two were priced differently so I couldn’t lump them together.)
Insolution [In Solution] Snail Therapy Skin Clinic (2), Stepsolution [Step Solution] Aquaringer White Velvet (2), Leaders Clinic Step Solution Mela-Tox Black (1), and Leaders Clinic Step Solution Wrinkle Off White Velvet Masks (1) ($1.13, net weight 35g, shipping price $0.93, actual price $2.06): Unlike the Bio Coconut Masks, newer/repackaged versions of these do seem to be available from other shops. The newer/repackaged versions are a lot more expensive, though, so this will be a good way to see if future investing might be worth it.
Alternate options: as with the Coconut Bio masks, these older/discontinued versions aren’t available anywhere that I found. I did find the new version of the Aquaringer here for $4.
Mizon Black Snail
All In One [All-In-One] Cream ($16.34, net weight 250g, shipping price $6.68, actual price $23.02): I was going to get the Mizon Snail All-In-One Cream, but uh, they were out of it, and they were out of the Snail Gel, and goddammit I wanted to try some Mizon snail something. Also, the “black complex” they reference is definitely such science/very ingredient/wow and I’m so excited to put this on my face.
Alternate options: Jolse ($19.99, free shipping), TesterKorea ($51.57, weight-based shipping, also wtf)
Worth? I’m going to say no. I should’ve price-checked this and went with Jolse instead of going “omfg a NEW THING I AIN’T NEVER SEEN BEFORE must buy immediately!”
Savings I missed out on: $3.03
TONYMOLY Timeless Ferment Snail Lip Treatment ($3.52, net weight 75g, shipping price $2.00, actual price $5.52): Ostensibly I became interested in this as a replacement for Pure Smile Snail Lip Treatment, which is really weirdly hard to find in any flavor but “Mix Fruit” and miiiight be being discontinued. Then I bought 3 backups of the Pure Smile, and now my goal is to fill a small clown car with snail lip products.
Alternate options: Jolse ($7.63, free shipping), TesterKorea ($4.36, weight-based shipping), bbcosmetic ($6.33, free shipping)
Worth? Yes, across the board.
Jinsaeng [Ginseng] Gold Hydrogel Mask ($3.02 net weight 40g, shipping price $1.07, actual price $4.09, purchased a 2pk): What is this mask, I don’t even know. The last time I tried a gold hydrogen I was really put-out with how poor it was, but this one is black and has better packaging so I’m sure it’ll be ok. Also, this one is a LOT cheaper so it’s already winning! I’m interested in DEARPACKER in general, their packaging is divine and my standards are weird.
Alternate options: bbcosmetic ($7.52, free shipping)
Worth? Yes, definitely.
Etude House o.2 Therapy Air Mask Ceramide (2), Hyaluronic Acid (2), Snail (2), and Damask Rose (2) ($0.81, net weight 26g, shipping price $0.69, actual price $1.50): Etude House’s I Need You! [Ingredient] line has been discontinued, and lots of people loved them, so fingers-crossed that the 2.0 Therapy Air masks are I Need You! but better. Also, there are fairly cheap and often offered in bundles, so if they are surprisingly good I’ll stock up and use them as basic, everyday masks.
Alternate options: Jolse sells 3pks for $4.06, coming to $1.35/mask
Worth? Jolse would’ve been a better option, I wouldn’t have minded having three of each flavor to try. Not worth, but these masks were sort of an impulse buy to pad out the weight and get the maximum value.
Savings I missed out on: not applicable, if I had gone the Jolse route I would’ve spent $16.24 total in order to try all of the flavors I wanted (a total of 12 masks), instead of $10.50 for these 7 masks.
nohj Aqua Soothing Mask Pack Marine Collagen(1), Hyaluronic Acid (1), Manuka Honey (1) ($2.02, net weight 33g, shipping price $0.88, actual price $2.90): I’ve never heard of these, they’re not offered anywhere else, and the closest thing to a review I could find was someone on reddit wondering if they were any good. Well, I’m gonna find out. Also their name was spelled several different ways on KoreaDepart, so good luck!
Alternative options: literally none that I can find. I couldn’t really find reviews either.
Worth? Yes, for the sake of Trying New Fancy Things. The final verdict will come when the masks do and I can actually try them.
Peripera Oil Capture Pack ($7.92, net weight 80g, shipping price $2.14, actual price $10.06): This is the best. I use this product daily and it’s my Holy Grail powder compact. I should’ve bought two, and now I’m actually regretting not doing so after doing this cost comparison and finding it NO WHERE. I found it originally in a physical store in SF Jtown (they no longer stock it), and I’m really surprised that more places don’t carry it.
Alternate options: SokoGlam ($16, free shipping over $50)
Red Velvet (dark burgundy) ($14.08, net weight 20g, shipping price $0.53, actual price $14.61): Vampires, guys. I’m telling you. Also I’ve read/heard several impassioned defenses of kbeauty makeup (apparently people think that it’s poorly pigmented, and they’re wrong) that made me really want to try an actual lipstick instead of a tint. And doing cost comparisons vs. Sephora was really interesting. After factoring in weight-based shipping, all of their heavier stuff was priced on par with Sephora’s pricing. Weird.
Alternate options: TesterKorea ($10.38, weight-based shipping), Sephora ($18, free shipping over $50)
Worth? Yes, I would’ve only saved (an amount less than) $4 with TesterKorea. Maybe if I love the formula, I’ll get the other color from there.
Savings I missed out on: less than $4. Whomp whomp, sad trombone noise.
I’m not going to do the tools because I really just added them to pad out my order weight, but here they are with modified prices:
Skinfood Silicone Cleansing Pad ($1.80, net weight 19g, shipping price $0.51, actual price $2.31)
Nature Republic Beauty Tool Natural 100% Jelly Cleansing Puff (Charcoal) ($2.84, net weight 10g, shipping price $0.27, actual price $3.11)
Notes: TesterKorea had some of the Leaders Clinic masks, at once point, but were entirely sold out so I didn’t bother to do the cost comparison. Also, they were sold only in 10pks, which I didn’t actually want because I’ve never tried Leaders and didn’t research them enough to invest that hard. YESSTYLE does not have the type of shipping they use for $35+ listed, and instead have a really confusing chart where the shipping is based on order price that seems to have no bearing on reality. Suffice to say, it’s not EMS, which I paid for in this haul, so the comparison is not entirely valid. I’m kind of confused, and very glad that KoreaDepart was pretty much cheaper than YESSTYLE across the board.
The pricing differences ended up being a lot more favorable than I was anticipating. Even if I had done all of this work before purchasing, I would’ve ended up saving only $5 or so for sure. Most of the savings I could have found would be dependent on TesterKorea’s pricing. I’m going to say that for me, for these purchases, buying from a shop that uses a weight-based shipping estimate is likely to be a better deal. Most products have three price ranges; “weight-based shipping from Korea,” “‘free’ shipping from Korea,” and “set price/’free’ shipping from the US,” The only real downside is the weight time.
Though… I kind of want to do this for all of my purchases now…. Most of this data is useless for people who aren’t me, and aren’t informed by my particular motivations, but I kind of don’t care. The time I spent researching and organizing this is time I didn’t spend putting more sheet masks and essences into my shopping care, and that’s a good thing.