FYI: This is where to go beauty shopping in Bangkok
For the longest time, Bangkok has been the buzzword for temple-hopping, cheap shopping, and beach holidays. So, when my gay best friend and I visited for a much-needed break, I had to check out the local beauty scene and find out where Thai girls get their beauty fix. If you're planning a trip to the City of Angels (after all that’s what Bangkok’s Thai name means) over the holidays or in time for summer, here are the places you should check out!
Like most cities, drugstores are the main place to shop for beauty in BKK. Almost every street and mall hosts a Boots, Watsons, or a Tsuruha! While these drugstores have similar selections, they also carry exclusive or in-house brands. You can almost always find Thai brands like Mistine, Snail White, and Srichand.
Boots is a British pharmacy brand that has made its way to almost every Bangkok block. It has its in-house Boots brand, and as well as British and European brands like N°7, Soap and Glory, Catrice, Essence, and Seventeen.
Finally, those who just can’t get enough of their Japanese makeup fix (*ehem, me*) can count on Tsuruha as their go-to. While this chain isn’t as prevalent as Boots or Watsons, I like this drugstore because it carries Japanese beauty staples like Heroine Make, Canmake, Cezanne, Hada Labo, and Curel.
Pricewise, these three drugstores are roughly the same. Do keep an eye out for Watsons’ sale bins or Boots’ Buy-2, Take-1 promos!
In train stations that interconnect lines (such as the BTS and MRT), there are small kiosks that sell affordable, curated beauty products. While their selections are not as extensive as mall stores, they come in handy should you need a quick beauty buy. They also mostly focus on local brands.
This is another curated beauty store that we’ve mostly found in those intersecting train stations. As we have a couple of stores here in Manila, you’ll find familiar names such as Gino McCray, Lansley, and the Bakery.
Siam is to Bangkok as Ximending is to Taipei and Myeongdong to Seoul. The district is a shopper’s paradise, home to many large malls and the famed Pratunam Market. You will find souvenirs, local wares, clothes, food, and beauty products – all within the same area! The shopping malls are also a great place to cool down from the Bangkok heat, and you and your friends can just walk around while enjoying a glass of Thai milk tea.
Lauded as the 10th largest shopping complex in the world, this HUGE mall is packed with seven floors of shopping! Find luxury brands in Isetan and Zen Mega Store, along with Sephora, Illamasqua, Jurlique, La Mer, and Innisfree.
Compared to most other malls, this caters to the upmarket crowd. Its Paragon Department Store houses high-end brands like SK-II, Jil Stuart, Jo Malone, Shiseido, and Shu Uemura. IMO, the one fashion brand you must check out is the Korean Stylenanda, which carries 3CE! It’s only a small shop and the 3CE products available aren’t updated (no Velvet Lip Tint available yet that the PV girls have been ogling, huhu), but they do have their basics. So, if you’ve always wanted to try 3CE, you can find this inside the 2nd floor of the Department Store!
A hotspot for the youthful and trendy, Siam Center carries local Thai designer brands, among others. You can find the Korean brand Åland, which carries COSRX, Heimish, Kocostar, and Abbamart. After comparing prices, I found that these brands were more expensive in Bangkok, so purchase wisely!
You can also find high street names such as Estée Lauder, Yves Saint-Laurent, and Bobbi Brown. Etude House, meanwhile, has a big store that is updated with its Korean counterpart.
I died of envy when I discovered that Thais have access to a total of SIX brick-and-mortar Sephora stores! Two of these are in the Siam area: one in CentralWorld (2nd Floor), and the other in Siam Center (1st floor). Sephora Thailand carries Fenty Beauty, Urban Decay, Lancome, Tarte, Too Faced, and a great selection of their in-house Sephora Collection. They only had certain variants of the Sephora Favorites, which disappointed me, but when compared to the prices of Sephora Philippines, ours is a bit cheaper than theirs.
The newest mall on the block, Siam Square One carries NYX, Karmart, Beautrium, and possibly my most favorite beauty store in Bangkok: EVEANDBOY.
Beautrium is another one-stop shop where you can find affordable local brands beside global ones like Lime Crime, l’Oreal, Peripera, and Collection. Admittedly after exploring EVEANDBOY, I found Beautrium’s selection to be okay.
Finally, on to my FAVORITE store in Bangkok: EVEANDBOY. This place offers a great sampling of different brands for every taste and budget. If you’re strapped for time and can only do your beauty shopping in just one place, head on to EVEANDBOY. Its interior has shades of Sephora, but doesn’t feel as intimidating. They are well-stocked with Korean brands like Moonshot, Peripera, Holika Holika, and TheSaem; as well as Japanese brands like Canmake, Hada Labo, Biore, and Heroine Make. You can also find international brands like Paula’s Choice, La Roche Posay, and Origins. High-end regulars like Urban Decay, Benefit, Bobbi Brown, and Shu Uemura have made this place their home as well. I spent two hours just wandering through EVEANDBOY’s aisles, and I had to stop myself from buying too much!
Some tips when beauty shopping in Bangkok:
Compare prices! Bangkok beauty shopping may be a lot more expensive than here in Manila, so choose what to buy wisely.
Look for Tourist VAT signs in the stores! You can avail of the Tourist VAT exemption if your purchase amounts to 2000 Baht. Read all about it here.
If you can’t find the price on the shelf label, look for the number before these characters on the price tag: บาท (these simply mean “Baht”).
1THB = 1.55 PHP
Have you been to Bangkok? What products have you bought there, and what stores have you checked out? Let us know in the comments!