If you’re anything like us, you squeal whenever you find products from Korea in an unlikely place! K-products can be hard to come by unless you live in a bigger city, like NYC or LA. We’re also not the most patient types, so waiting for online orders to be delivered can be impossible if we get the sudden urge to veg out with a K-drama, ramen and a face mask. So, we went out with the mission to find some K-products right in our neighborhoods and met with some surprisingly convenient spots in the U.S. where you just might score that Korean product you were looking for! Check it out!
The retail giant has everything from food to tires, but did you notice that they also have quite a few Korean foodstuffs? While perusing the shelves, we found Nongshim ramen! We’ve also seen the ramen bowl noodles at our local Publix and Harris Teeter stores, so we’re guessing they’re close to everywhere!
2. World Market
With a title like World Market, it’s no surprise that one would be able to find delicacies and trinkets from all over the world! We were able to find a few Korean food products like canned kimchi and bulgogi sauce as well as Nongshim ramen, but we also, surprisingly, stumbled upon some Korean beauty products as well! Keep your eyes peeled next time you visit this store!
We had noticed that Ulta had been adding a couple of Korea products here and there, but on our last visit, we saw a whole rack dedicated to Korean beauty products from Tony Moly to Skinfood! The plus side is that you can also order some of these products from their store online! The downside is that it feels the products are a bit more pricey than they would normally be if you had bought them straight from their sources. For instance, the Tony Moly “I’M REAL” mask collection can run up to near $4 per mask on Ulta.com! We’re used to getting them for $1.99 per mask at most when we visit Tony Moly stores, and even then, they are usually running 1+1 deals! But hey, we guess that’s the price for having Korean beauty more readily available.
4. TJ Maxx & Marshalls
This had to be one of the more surprising spots on our list! Sure, “Maxxinistas” from all over swear by the deals you can find here, but we had no idea that this included Korean beauty product deals! Remember the nearly $4 masks from Ulta? Well, we found the exact same Tony Moly masks on sale here for just $1.49 per mask! What a great find! And before you ask “Are their beauty products safe? I heard they are all expired”, we ask ourselves the same questions since we should all take extra care before buying any beauty products, as expired products could lead to irritation. But, how can we tell when they expire? Where’s the manufacture date? Well, on Korean products it’s usually the only date you see. Some do print an expiration date as well, but if you see the characters “제조” by a number, that’s the manufacture date. According to Tony Moly’s FAQ, their beauty products are safe to use up to 3 years after the manufacture date, but as a general rule of thumb, they should be used between 12-18 months after the manufacture date for the best quality. As far as where or even how TJX (the mother company of Marshalls and TJ Maxx) gets their hands on Korean beauty products, in this Cosmopolitan interview with TJX’s legal team, they mention that they source their products from “department-store cancellations, a manufacturer making too much product or a closeout deal when a vendor wants to clear merchandise”. From personal experience, we have noticed some dates that seem a little older, like a mask we picked up manufactured in 2015, but from that same haul, we got a mask that has an expiration date year of 2020, so it’s really a crap-shoot! Just be vigilant!
The Take Away
It’s great to see Korean products gaining popularity and accessibility in the United States, and we’re sure as the popularity in Korean products continues to rise, we’ll be able to find even more items like Korean drama DVDs and Kpop merchandise! Have you found Korean products in any surprising places?
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