April Haul - Sasa

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Sasa

The OG Asian beauty shopping temptation. Whether it is a physical store or their online site, Sasa is comparable to the Western beauty mecca, Sephora, in terms of variety and store numbers. What makes Sasa more dangerous than the other S brand is the prices. It takes much willpower to browse the store and leave empty-handed. Everything looks nice, sounds promising, and is cheaper than most other (e-)retailers.

My method to avoid temptation? Not visit period. If I don't look I won't be lured. But you know...when the opportunity comes to order with a friend to share the order total load...for free shipping purposes, it gets infinitely more difficult to resist. Oh, I'll just get an item or two. 1 hour, 4 items, and almost $50 later I finally stop myself from browsing anymore.

Let's just say, for comfort's sake, I limited myself well. Of the 4 items I got, half are to satisfy my curiosity and the other half are products I have used before—at least all of them were under USD $15. 23 Years Old's Black Paint Rubar's promise to tackle whiteheads and blackheads earned a place in my cart quickly. I enjoyed using a stick cleansing before and was excited to find another brand at a more affordable price. Papa Recipe's Bombee Honey Pudding Set was the pure impulse purchase. It also claims to help with congestion but I have yet to meet a peel off mask that I could handle. Biore's UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA+++ is a favorite for using on my neck and chest when the warmer humid weather kicks in. Crabtree & Evelyn's Hand Therapy lotions are the only ones I have tried that sink into my skin without leaving a residue behind.

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Sasa Shopping Cart page

Price & Stock

If you can find a particular Asian brand you want on Sasa, it is safe to assume it'll be the cheapest option available on the internet. The only catch is the product availability and price fluctuates a lot. Items go out of stock fairly quickly. If you don't purchase it immediately, the item could get cheaper but more likely than not pricier.

They seem to have a "Price Guarantee" option where customers could submit information to Sasa if a lower price for an item is found elsewhere online. I have never used this feature before nor know of anyone who has so I can't attest to how smoothly that process goes.


Signing up is required to complete the checkout process. I believe shopping on the site will accrue "Bonus Points" which can be then redeemed for various freebies. These points also expire every year end of March.

If the purchase is big enough, USD $155 within 3 months, Sasa may send a "VIP member" invitation. Their site says VIP's get 5% off throughout the year, 2x Bonus Points, birthday surprises, and free gifts.

Shipping Options

Shipping options to the USA and Canada are simple—it is either Free Shipping for orders $70+ or Standard Shipping is $15 for orders below $70. The requirements for other countries are slightly different. Do remember to double check before buying. Since the minimum requirement for free shipping is quite high, I recommend ordering with friends.

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Sasa payment page


The site accepts a bunch of different payments: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal Diners Club International, JCB, Unionpay, Tenpay and Alipay.

It seems pain-free enough and practically every popular option is offered. Bestie did have troubles before when using credit cards in particular. Her issuing bank blocked her payment to Sasa once and on another occasion Sasa declined her payment. We're not really sure what the reasons were. Sometimes Sasa will e-mail to request for credit card confirmation information and other times trying a different credit card fixed the issue.

Maybe next time PayPal is the way to go?

Check Out Process

Other than possible payment hiccups, the rest of the check out process is simple. Shipping and payment information are input into in-screen pop-up windows. Then you accept the Terms and Conditions and press the "Confirm Payment" button to acknowledge the order.

I find the side "Notice" panels really intimidating. It looks like it has so much information even though most of it aren't pertinent to my order. Some "Notices" date back to 2013!


Sasa estimates a delivery time of 8-12 business days. In reality, it took a little over 3 weeks for our purchase. The both of us weren't all too surprised. We don't order from Sasa often but every time we have the delivery time typically takes around 1 month.

We placed the order 4/3. Bestie said they sent a packing notification on 4/5 and dispatched it for delivery on 4/6. Even though she received a tracking number, it was a non-working one. The package arrived 4/26, and on the same day, Sasa sent an email to Bestie saying the order was canceled. What's up with that?

This was also our second attempt at ordering from Sasa. We had tried a month earlier and had similar communication mishaps. Sasa requested credit card confirmation information 2 weeks after placing our initial order. After waiting another 2 weeks for our package to arrive, Sasa sent an email one day saying the order had been cancelled altogether. Bestie suspected it was because one of the items on our list was out of stock. It would have been nice if they could have sent the other items and refunded the unavailable one, waited until everything was in stock again, or at the very least notified us of the cancellation earlier.


Sasa will accept returns within 30 days after receiving the package, but the items have to be completely unopened. This basically means you can have a change of heart on the actual act of purchasing but not because you didn't like the item after trying it.

April Haul - Global Lotte & JUNGSAEMMOOL

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Global Lotte Jungsaemmool makeup order

Jung Saem Mool and her namesake beauty products were probably one of the first K-Beauty items I lusted over and could not get my hands on. I loved how natural her makeup style was, good skin and base rank supreme. But the trouble was her first beauty line MULE and her current line JSM are both relatively small indie brands and specific to her salon.

(I believe) Her current beauty range is only available at her physical shops in Gangnam and Myeongdong, via jsmbeauty.com (for those in Korea), and a select few official global e-commerce sites (Lotte, Hyundai, and Galleria). Of course, there are eBay sellers and other unofficial e-sellers scattered across the web; I still don't fully trust those since they aren't verified and their prices are usually quite hiked.

There were two big assumptions I had which kept me from purchasing JUNGSAEMMOOL products via the interwebs. 1) Buying anything from Korea directly would equal pricey, pricey shipping and usually not worth. 2) The promotions shared on Jung Saem Mool's Instagram were for her Korean-based customers only.

It never occurred to me to check Lotte, Hyundai, and Galleria. Curiosity crept up on me last month and I was surprised to find decent deals—they weren't the same deals, but good enough to catch my attention. Not only were all her products sold at their Korean retail value, but there were also 1+1 sets for many of her best sellers.

Despite wanting to order everything available, I narrowed down my choices and picked the one item I did not have anything similar to in my current collection: JUNGSAEMMOOL Artist Concealer Palette in Blend (a.k.a her color correcting palette). It retails for ₩40,000, which equates to around USD $38-40. Considering the price of even a single-shade color corrector at Sephora can be USD $20, JSM's version is pretty affordable. I liked that the colors in this palette looked more muted and creamier in JSM's photos and videos, versus the typical vibrant and drier formulations found in Western brands. It seems easier for color correcting newbies, like myself, to use.

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Jungsaemmool global shopping comparison

I only purchased from 1 of the 3 sites but I gave a thorough enough browse through all of them to be able to make a good recommendation for fellow international Jung Saem Mool followers.

Hmall - Hyundai has the best selection of products. They offer most of her makeup line and skincare line. A majority, if not all, are global shipping approved. Some of her products have a "Benefit Price" that is slightly lower than the retail "Item Price." Hyundai also seems to offer a service called EMS Onepack where multiple items in orders could be bundled up into one. Hmall has their own form of coupons. Generally speaking, it seems like it would be more cost effective, shipping-wise, to purchase from Hmart if ordering multiple items.

Lotte holds the middle ground in terms of product selection. The makeup products available are limited to mainly her bestsellers and only a few items from her skincare line are listed. The only things unique to Lotte are her makeup brushes, which are sold individually and in a set. The prices on Lotte also seem to be consistently full priced, but it seemed like there are more 1+1 and multi-product sets to choose from to balance. The site charges shipping per item's weight. I think Lotte had more potential coupons to use when compared to the other 2 at the time I was browsing. For a single-item order with coupons or those wanting just the JSM brushes, Lotte has an advantage.

Galleria has the weakest selection of products. If Lotte has makeup bestsellers + some skincare + brushes, Galleria offers only the first two. There are also more items excluded from International Shipping at Galleria than what Hyundai and Lotte had. I didn't browse around the site long enough to figure out whether they offered digital coupons. This site calculates shipping via total order's shipping weight. Of the 3, I would gravitate towards and recommend this site the least for JSM Beauty.

*I saw that Peach & Lily made an announcement recently saying they will carry JUNGSAEMMOOL products soon. I am both excited and uncertain. Hopefully, the price difference isn't too drastic.

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Global Lotte Shopping Cart page

Account & Coupons

A big reason why I chose Lotte, in the end, was because registered users had access to "downloadable" coupons. These are Lotte-issued coupons which go straight to member's account and applicable during the checkout process. As with any other coupons, these have a digital expiration of 1-month and are only good for 1 item in the shopping cart.

I wasn't 100% sure if the coupons I downloaded would be usable towards my order but I tried anyways. Luckily enough both coupons I had worked; I was able to stack a 10% and a 7% discount towards my single item purchase.

Shipping Options

Global Lotte offers a few different choices: EMS, DHL, and sometimes Lotte Express. All are express and expensive, EMS is typically the cheapest.

Since I limited myself to only buying one item, the Order Total estimate at Lotte ended up winning out between the 3 official e-commerce sites. The particular product I wanted had 50% off international shipping and it came with a +1 (freebie) concealer brush from her line.

It seems like each brand that sells on Global Lotte could choose to have their own combination of promotions for products, domestic shipping, and international shipping. Sometimes certain items may have a "Domestic Shipping Fee," which is for the transport of the goods from warehouse to the distribution center or to the airport in Korea.

I also noticed that the shipping price at Lotte is calculated per item versus the overall order weight. Example: Item 1 is 390g. Item 2 is 340g. The shipping price will be ₩40,848 for the 2 items (₩20,424 per item under 500g) instead of ₩24,124 for both items being under 750g.

Tip: Be careful when shopping on the site! Shipping costs could add up quickly, especially if purchasing multiple items or from different brands. It is very possible for shipping to cost more than the actual item itself. Otherwise, I think Global Lotte does a pretty good job at breaking down the fees in the Shopping Cart table.

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Global Lotte payment page


The site accepts a bunch of different payments: credit card, Alipay, PayPal, Tenpay, UnionPay, and WeChatPay.

At first, I chose to pay through credit card and had some trouble. Global Lotte or Eximbay wouldn't process because they detected I had Adblocker enabled on Safari. Even after I paused Adblocker, the site still registered it as on.

Even after I moved to Chrome, which does not have Adblocker in Incognito mode, the website showed the same message. This time, though, I could see the option to press "Allow pop-ups specifically for Eximbay" and was able to finally proceed.

Despite all the fuss, my credit card ended up being declined for an unspecified reason. Global Lotte and Eximbay told me to contact Eximbay's customer service, but who knows how long that could have taken.

Eventually, I ended up using Paypal. It was quick, easy, and headache free.

Check Out Process

It was a little confusing at the end. The checkout process involved a lot of pop-up windows; American e-commerce sites typically have no pop-ups unless it involves 3rd party payment i.e. PayPal.

Even though the end message on the pop-up payment window said "Payment Processing/Order Successful", the main shopping cart page was still on the "Payment" page instead of a new "Complete Order" page.

I eventually decided to check my "Order History" before panicking. Luckily the order did indeed go through. If I panicked, I could have ended up ordering the same thing twice.

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Global Lotte EMS packaging


The entire order went through surprisingly quick for an international order: 4 business days! I chose EMS and therefore wasn't expecting it to take very long to get from the Korean airport to Stateside; it isn't called Express Mail Service for nothing, those are typically very efficient and expedited.

I was just shocked by how quickly Global Lotte processed my order and how short a time their domestic distribution took. My order was placed on 4/11 EST. The website showed my order was in the domestic shipping stage on 4/12 (maybe even 4/11 since I ordered during Korea's morning time). I received an email saying it was shipped (internationally) on 4/14. The package arrived at my door 4/17. It probably could have arrived even earlier if 4/15-16 wasn't a weekend and a major holiday.


The box I received was humongous for the palette and brush I bought. It was much appreciated, after the fact, because the roominess does allow for more padding. Everything came wrapped in an excessively large sheet of bubble wrap, in addition to a bundle of kraft paper. I don't think any amount of smashing would get to the goodies with the amount of stuffing it had.


"Within 7 days after the arrival of the product" is what Global Lotte says. Return shipping fee is waived if the product is damaged; the fee is non-refundable if the buyer has a change of heart.

April Haul - Deciem & The Ordinary

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Deciem The Ordinary Serums

I must be one of the few remaining self-proclaimed beauty junkies to have only recently found out about the Canadian beauty brand Deciem's The Ordinary line. My Instagram and YouTube feed has been filled with posts dedicated to the brand lately. It is touted as a no-frills, targeted, and super affordable skincare line for those who know exactly what skin troubles need fixing and what ingredient is best at fixing it.

A skincare expert, I am definitely not. But the prices of their serums and oils had me researching niacinamides, AHA & BHA's, azelaic acids, and tons of other highly scientific names their products are made of. Even though I felt like everything The Ordinary offers could target something on my face, I chose to tread carefully and not be too impulsive with my first purchase.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%, and 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil were the final 3 that made my list. I mainly wanted to target acne, acne scarring, exfoliation, flakes, and dry skin. The best part was each bottle of 30ml fluid cost under USD $10!

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Deciem Shopping Cart page

Shopping Cart

My order only consisted of The Ordinary's products but Deciem more than welcomes "cherry picking" from all their brands. It makes shopping for multiple skin concerns and across price points extremely easy. It would have been more helpful to see the Free Shipping minimum requirement on the Shopping Cart page first rather than on following Check Out page, but it is neither here nor therea quick Googling can usually give the same information.

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Deciem Check Out page

Check Out Process

Everything is very straightforward. Like their products, the site and check out procedure is fairly barebone yet effective at doing what it needs to do. There aren't any unnecessary distracting texts or photos. Each text box has a purpose and the areas that need attention are appropriately called out. Design-love! Although, I do wish the text was a tad larger by default.

Shipping Options

There isn't much of an option, it is either Free after spending $25 or Standard shipping for an extra $4.99. Considering how affordable everything by The Ordinary is, filling the cart shouldn't be difficult at all.

I assumed they would choose USPS since their free shipping minimum is so low and the specific carrier is never mentioned. It was a nice surprise to see UPS as their delivery choice.

I believe Deciem ships to most cities internationally. But don't quote me on that.

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Deciem Payment page


The US site accepts only Credit Cards issued by Visa and Mastercard and PayPal. This is standard enough, but I could see it might be problematic for other credit card holders.

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Deciem Check Out page


Orders could be placed via accounts or anonymously. I chose to create an account for orderly sake and in case I end up repurchasing from Deciem in the future. I love how detailed their Order History page is; there is information breakdown for everything! The company also sends e-mails with the same information as the order progresses.


Scaringly fast. I placed my order on 4/3 and received the package in my hands 4/6. The website had a note which said they were supposedly experiencing a high volume of orders so the speedy delivery was 100% a surprising. I guess since their USA, or at least East coast, distribution center is in New Jersey, it makes sense for the transport time to be relatively fast. I just didn't expect the whole process to be so quick.

lavlilacs April 2017 haul - Deciem packaging


The padding inside the packaging is very minimal. Don't let the simplicity fool anyone. Even though the boxes of serums are placed in a single layer bubble pouch, the cardboard box which encases everything is extremely sturdy. It, of course, won't be able to handle all my body weight if I really pushed down; thrashes and throws won't stand a chance though. Deciem and The Ordinary definitely does the whole minimalism thing well.


I probably won't be making any returns. But...I thought it would be interesting to share since Bestie pointed out to me recently that Deciem offers returns up to 1 year after purchase. They definitely keep true to their abnormalness.