Korea Trip Part 1: Duty Free Shopping

I don’t know why I’m starting this “series” backwards, starting at what I did last – right before I headed back to Hong Kong. I think it’s just the easiest for me to access the products that I just bought instead of rummaging through my luggage! (I also had 2 hours of sleep and just got home from the airport, so excuse me if I don’t make sense anywhere!)

The Incheon Airport in Seoul, Korea, has quite an impressive shopping area after you pass customs and security. It’s full of luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Hermes, Miu Miu, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., etc. It also has a lot of “grouped” stores such as ones that has a bunch of cosmetic brands, or fashion accessory, or food etc. I am so glad I went to the airport early, because there are so much to shop here!

My friend and I had been looking for one product this whole trip, and it’s sold out EVERYWHERE we went. It’s the Innisfree Green Tea Pure Sleeping Pack. We went to at least 10 Innisfree stores, and it’s sold out everywhere, and all the SAs said it’s out everywhere in Korea, and they are having trouble restocking. Quite honestly, I have never heard of “sleeping pack” until I went on this trip with my friend. She’s done her homework about what she’s going to buy, and sleeping packs seem to be one category that she’s crazy about getting. Apparently sleeping pack is like an overnight mask, you put it on 20-30 minutes before you go to bed, and then you leave it on overnight, and you rinse it with just water the next morning. It’s supposed to leave your skin well moisturized and supple, and whatever other claims that particular product has. It’s not a product that you use everyday, according to the SA, you are only supposed to use this once to twice a week.

So we were beyond excited when we saw the Green Tea Pure Sleeping Pack in the duty free at the airport, with a buy 2 get 1 deal! What?! So without thinking, I got two Green Tea Pure Sleeping Packs (80ml each) and one Wine Jelly Sleeping Pack (80ml). I got them for $10USD each, so I paid $20USD for 3 Sleeping Packs, great deal! They go for 12000 won in the free standing stores in Korea (approximately $10.4 USD), so price-wise there isn’t a big difference. How much is it in North America? On yesstyle.ca, the Green Tea one goes for $30CAD, and the Wine Jelly one goes for $22CAD. So I saved $52USD + tax!

Green Tea Pure Sleeping Pack (80ml)

Wine Jelly Sleeping Pack (80ml)

About the products themselves, the Green Tea Pure Sleeping Pack claims to “create a dewy and translucent complexions, it quenches your thirsty skin during your sleep”; and the Wine Jelly Sleeping Pack claims to “create a clear and resilient jelly-like skin with its shape-memory barrier”. Both products are highly raved about so I am very excited to try them!

The next thing I got was an impulse buy… but I couldn’t help it! It’s the Innisfree Green Tea pure Cleansing Foam (150ml). It was also part of the buy 2 get 1 free deal (but can’t be mixed with other products), and it sold for $5USD each. I got two of them and then got a free one… so I ended up with 3 of these for $10USD! LOL! It sells for $12CAD each on yesstyle.ca, I’m glad I picked it up at the airport! I loved the smell of the whole green tea line from Innisfree, so I am very excited to try this!

Green Tea Pure Cleansing Foam (150ml)

That’s all I bought from the duty free, but wait! Here are the samples I got. The SA gave me two “it’s real cucumber mask“, two packettes of the perfect 9 repair serum, a perfect 9 repair skin sample, and a perfect 9 repair lotion. I love how generous they are with samples! If only stores in Canada does that. Also, the SA gave me a handkerchief! It’s a very pretty blue handkerchief with patterns on it, it’s part of the “2012 Innisfree Green Life Campaign”. I don’t really know what this campaign is about as everything was written in Korean, and I have pretty  limited understanding of Korean!

Samples from Innisfree

It’s Real Cucumber Mask

Perfect 9 Repair Lotion (top), Perfect 9 Repair Skin (bottom)

Perfect 9 Repair Serum

The folded cardboard the handkerchief came in

Handkerchief when folded

Opened! How pretty is that?

When you buy cosmetics/skin care at the duty free in Incheon Airport, they put them in a clear plastic bag and seal them. I didn’t see that on the bottom it says “Do not open until final destination, contents may be confiscated if bag is tempered with”, until I got home! I’m glad I didn’t open them on the flight, who knows what would’ve happened?! (Probably nothing LOL!). And to prevent people from resealing it, once you open the seal it says “void” and “opened” on where the plastic strip was, how cool is that? Genius huh?

The Clear Plastic Bag

Consider yourself warned!

Don’t even try to cheat the system!

The domestic brands of skin care definitely sells for cheaper at the Incheon airport (eg Innisfree, Missha, Etude House, etc), but for foreign brands, you might want to be more careful, especially if you are visiting Korea from the US. For example, MAC lipsticks are $21USD! That’s more than even in Canada! They also have a more limited selection of products. So if you are planning of having a shopping spree at the Incheon airport, stick to the domestic brands in Korea, that way you get the most bang for your bucks!

I’ll stop here for now, and go organize the rest of the products I got (which is A LOT), and I will post about them probably by brands, instead of what I got each day (both because it’s easier this way and I bought so much that I forgot what I got when!) I will also be posting about the food I ate, and places I went, after I’m done with my shopping spree posts! 🙂

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4 thoughts on “Korea Trip Part 1: Duty Free Shopping

  1. Holy crap! I jelly! I love Korean brands for skincare and stuff, they’re so awesome! And so much cheaper when you buy them in Asia! I really want to go to Korea one day!!! Can’t wait to read the rest of your hauls 😀

    I lol-ed at your “I didn’t open them on the flight, who knows what would’ve happened?! (Probably nothing LOL!)” 😛

    • Go to Korea someday! I think you’d love it!!! And I can tell you where to go! Kind of.. :p Korea is like heaven for skin care shopping! I couldn’t believe how cheap things are! I have enough skincare for the next 2 years I think.. I will try my best to get through my haul quickly!

  2. I was looking for innisfree shops earlier on the incheon airport website but i couldnt find one T_T !! was this shop in one of the gigantic duty free mall in incheon or is it a separate shop ?? Thank you so muchhhhh kk im bookmarking your page ~ !!

    • From what I can recall it wasn’t an independent Innisfree shop, but it’s one of those duty free shops that sell many different brands of make up/ skin care at the Incheon airport! (If that makes sense).

      Hope that helps! Are you travelling to Korea soon? 🙂

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