Customs duty, Korean Skincare, Korean website, Shopping guide, Uncategorized

Korean Website which ships to India | A shopping guide


The website has a very basic and simple user interface. But the operations are smooth and I haven’t faced any difficulty while shopping with them.

This post is not sponsored. I love the website and their customer service, hence I made this shopping guide.


  • The website has a lot of products and a lot of brands, DO NOT GET DISTRACTED AND CONFUSED.
  • In the navigation bar, hover/click on the special offers tab -> special deal. Check their bestseller sale page and weekly deal sale page (new products every week and great discounts, maximum 3 products per week is added here)
  • special offers tab-> sample shop (find deluxe sample or 10 pieces sachet sample packet)




  • Make optimum use of your wishlist, add the products you want to buy to your wishlist and monitor it from time to time for any price changes. Make a purchase when there is a sale.
  • Some brands like Laneige, Tony Moly, Etude House etc., maintain consistent price and usually don’t fluctuate. But brands like Skinfood, Secret Key, Innisfree etc., have price fluctuations depending on sale or any offer.
  •  Don’t use the navigation to shop by product type, it can be time consuming and confusing to find specific product. Shop by Brands instead or search for the product.
  • Use the 10% discount coupon. It pops up from time to time when you add item to your cart or when you open the page.

  • You need to share the website link in any of the platforms mentioned below.



  • The website offers weight based shipping. What does it mean? Shipping charges vary from order to order depending on the weight of the products in the cart.  As you can see in the image below, the shipping varies depending on the product weight.
  • Choose K-packet. Don’t exceed 1.8 kg weight(your cart will show the total product weight. K-packet takes anywhere between 10-25 days to arrive depending on the holidays in between. I usually get my orders in 10-15 days. You also get a tracking number when you use K- packet and chances of not getting customs duty is high when you use K- packet.
  • If you choose EMS, your order will reach you in week and YOU WILL PAY CUSTOMS DUTY 41% and customs handling charges to the logistics company(charges vary depending on the company).


  • It may appear like you are paying extremely high shipping charges but when you buy a couple of items and break down the shipping it is cheaper than any other website.
  • Total shipping value/no of items = individual shipping amount.

  • Add this to your product value and cross verify with other websites which offer free shipping.
  • Install an app “Aftership” from app store and add your tracking number to track it.


  • Currency is USD, if you are shopping using Indian cards. Make sure your card supports international transaction and also prefer using a credit card over a debit card. (in case there is a misuse of card, you won’t incur much loss, since it’s credit card, headache will be for the bank)
  • USE ONLY PAY PAL. It’s safe, secure and easy. Also when you are redirected to Pay Pal page, change currency conversion by bank. It’s set to default as pay pal but change it to bank. Bank conversions are slightly cheaper than pay pal.
  • Capture

Image source: Bank Bazar


  • You get 400 points when you sign up.
  • And 10 points for every 1$ you spend on the website.
  • You can redeem points according to the chart below,



  • Customs duty depends on location, quantity, product value and the logistics company.                                                                                                                                     eg : Maharashtra customs is one tough cookie.
  • Customs duty is 41% of total value declared(including shipping).



  • Always use K-packet to ship.
  • Since it’s weight based shipping there is no minimum order value so shop in small quantities. I don’t exceed 1-1.5 kg limit. This will also reduce the chance of hitting customs.


This is the link to the website

And let me know in comments if you have any difficulty and also if you are going to shop from them. 


Image credits: Cosmetic-Love


TIA’M My Signature C Source (OST C20) | How to layer Vitamin C in your routine

Why do you need Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a powerful anti oxidant which helps achieve brighter and even skin tone, it treats acne scars and hyper-pigmentation. It also has mild exfoliation properties which help in achieving even skin tone.

Vitamin C aka L Ascorbic Acid (will refer as LAA throughout the post) helps in collagen synthesis. Collagen is a protein which boosts skin elasticity and aids in reducing fine lines and also anti ageing.

About TIA’M!

The original OST C20 is now re-branded as TIA’M My Signature C source. Except for the name and package nothing else has changed. TIA’M is the sister company of COSRX.

Brand Claims:

TIA’M My Signature C Source delivers a multitude of complexion benefits for beautifully healthy skin. Pure Vitamin C refine, brighten, balance and tone skin for a radiant appearance.


A metallic orange box which has instructions and ingredients printed in Korean and English. The serum comes in a dark brown sealed bottle, they have provided a pipette/dropper which should be used after breaking the seal. The bottle has the brand label mentioning the product and storage instructions in English and Korean.

Quantity : 30 ml

Ingredients analysis:

Water, Ascorbic Acid, Alcohol, Sodium Lactate, Butylene Glycol, Glucose, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Xanthan Gum, Diethoxyethyl Succinate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Carthamus Tinctorius Flower Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis, Glycerin, Zinc PCA, Panthenol, Niacinamide, t-Butyl Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Beta-Glucan, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ubiquinone, Diisopropyl Adipate
This product contains alcohol. If you are allergic to alcohol, do a patch test before including it in your routine.

The Serum :

  • Smell : Smells like orange flavored cough syrup, it’s a faint scent, it’s not bothersome at all!
  • Texture : Liquid, the viscosity is more like an essence.
  • Appearance : The most important factor, make sure the serum is clear to pale yellow in color. If it’s turning dark yellow or even orange discard the serum as it’s oxidized.

In the image below, you can see some crystalline formation around the bottle neck, this is a common occurrence and the product is still in a good condition.


How to use Vitamin C? (click here)

Since it is a lot of information, I have created separate post for that, click on the link above.


  • This serum is sticky, using it by itself will be uncomfortable but I didn’t face any discomfort because I had several layers of essence/creams after this step so my skin feels normal (as in not sticky).
  • Vitamin C gets oxidized easily, it’s quite difficult to formulate a stable 20% LAA hence it’s required that you use it soon after opening, 3-4 months span. Keep the bottle in the refrigerator. Discard once the serum turns a dark yellow or orange.
  • Vitamin C makes your skin sensitive to light, so it’s best to use it only at night and the next morning use a cleanser to wash it off and don’t forget your sunscreen. (later don’t come crying saying you got a sunburn).
  • Incorporating vitamin C in my routine was quite tricky because it isn’t friendly with many ingredients. I was extra cautious with my night routine because when used with proper care this product is a boon.

I started using this product on November 23, 2017 and I’m writing this post exactly a month later.

First 7 days:

Since I’m a daredevil, I never mixed it with a toner and I applied 3-4 drops onto my face. But I did patch test and I didn’t have any reactions. The serum didn’t burn me but it’s recomended to mix it with a toner if you have very sensitive skin (if you have extremely sensitive skin, opt for a serum with less LAA concentration). After two days I noticed that my skin was quite bright. A week later I noticed some stubborn scars were becoming light (they didn’t magically vanish but I could see that they were lighter than before).

Day 8 – Day 21:

The luminous effect on my face continued and my skin was feeling a lot better and bright with the pigmentation around my mouth also becoming lighter. By now I was generous with the application, I was using 5-6 drops for my face and neck.

But my stupidity kicked in during the second week. I forgot to apply sunscreen and I went bare-faced for a morning walk in the park nearby. And in the next 20 mins I had to come back crying to my mommy saying I got a sun burn. I slathered my favorite snail mucin, my HG Cosrx Snail Mucin to calm down any irritation. I had a red spot, just one but a bad one which will now remind me to never step out of my home without a sunscreen.

Day 22 – Day 30 :

With some extra care, I was able to treat the burn in a couple of days and my skin calmed the hell down at last. By now my acne scars have reduced a lot. It didn’t eliminate them completely but it has done a great job, much better than any other product I have used so far.

But it gave my skin a glow and brightness, it is no longer dull. My skin feels much healthy and it has evened my skin tone as well.

By Day 30 I noticed that I have hit the plateau effect. Plateau effect is where a product is no longer working for me, in skin language it means “Time for a new product.” My skin by now has shown the maximum improvement it can with 20% LAA and it means I should either opt for something with more LAA concentration or use another serum which can treat some other concerns.


  1. The quantity is perfect, a 30 ml bottle lasts you about two months when used daily. Since the product gets oxidized in 3-4 months after opening it is best to use it as fresh as it comes.
  2. The package is small and sturdy bottle, comes with a dropper which makes it easy to apply and also hygienic.
  3. Lives up to all it’s claims- brightening, even tone and does give a healthy radiant skin.
  4. Visible immediate results.
  5. No breakouts.


  1. Storing this is a problem, since it has to be refrigerated.
  2. Carrying this during travels can be tricky, I never threw away it’s carton and used it to store this while traveling.
  3. It is sticky when used by itself.
  4. It has a short life span after which it gets oxidized and loses it’s potency.

Note : The plateau effect is unique, what happened after one month to me can happen after 45 days or even better you might not even face it, alway remember that everyone’s skin is unique and your mileage may vary.

Would I recommend?

Definetely. It’s a must buy. 5/5

Where to get it from?

I bought mine from Wishtrend. It’s also available on Jolse, Beautynetkorea and Yesstyle.

This review is not sponsored, I purchased the product and all views are my own.

Korean Skincare, Serum, Vitamin C

How to use Vitamin C serum – Do and Don’t | Layering Vitamin C in your routine |

The vitamin C we are talking about is LAA – L Ascorbic Acid.

Check my previous post for a complete review on Vitamin C serum by TIA’M.

  1. AHA/BHA. Vitamin C has exfoliating properties and AHA/BHA are great exfoliants too, double exfoliation would make your skin very sensitive.
  2. Niacinamide – When mixed it changes the formula and causes vitamin C to oxidize. A lot of Vitamin C serum have Niacinamide but they are formulated such that they work together to enhance the effect. However topically applying Niacinamide isn’t safe.
  3. Benzoyl Peroxide, if you have inflammation and acne, the products prescribed by the dermatologist might contain Benzoyl Peroxide. This causes vitamin C to oxidize.
  4. Collagen – when it comes in contact with vitamin C it clots and hence it becomes useless to add further products into your skin.

THE DO’s |What enhances Vitamin C? :[2]

  1. Vitamin E – it enhances absorption rate, I used the Vitamin E toner by The Body Shop and the TIA’M A+ cream in my routine. They compliment each other’s antioxidant effect.
  2. Arbutin – Since arbutin inhibits melanin formation and vitamin C removes pigmentation, they work together to give an enhanced brightening effect.
  3. Peptide – Peptide signals the skin to produce collagen and when peptide meets Vitamin C it boosts the effect.

How to use vitamin C?

Vitamin C is an acid. Especially this particular form of vitamin C (LAA) is pH dependent i.e it penetrates your skin effectively and gives you maximum results when applied at a lower pH level.

pH is measured between 0-14, 0 being most acidic and 14 being most alkaline/basic. 7 is neutral. pH is really a measure of the relative amount of hydrogen and hydroxyl in a water solution. Water that has more free hydrogen ions is acidic, whereas water that has more hydroxyl ions is basic.

  • Our skin falls on the acidic side, the skin barrier also known as the acid mantle helps to retain moisture, keep away toxins and bacteria. Our skin pH is 5.5
  • When the skin becomes alkaline the acid mantle is no longer balanced and hence our skin becomes dry, dull and ages quicker. It also provides a good environment for bad bacteria which causes acne. Hence maintaining skin pH at 5.5-6 is very important. Always use a low pH cleanser.

How to lower skin pH before using LAA?
Method 1: Use a toner which has a pH of (3.5-4.5) to lower skin pH.
Method 2: After cleansing with a low pH cleanser wait for anywhere between 15 minutes to one hour before you apply the Vitamin C serum.

I follow method 2, I have a long gap between the time I wash my face(I do it immediately after returning home) and my routine again restarts two hours later before I am off to bed.

Oil Cleanse/Makeup remover – Low pH gel/foam cleanser – (a big time gap) – vitamin c serum- and so on……..

If you don’t like the wait time, you can buy a pH balancing toner instead.
Oil Cleanse/Makeup remover – Low pH gel/foam cleanser – pH balancing toner – vitamin c serum- and so on……..
How to layer multiple acids?

If you are already using AHA or BHA,

  • You can either use AHA/BHA in one routine and Vitamin C in another routine. But remember that AHA are more sensitive to light than LAA.
  • I rotate my acids and use them on alternate days. This is to be on the safer side and prevent over exfoliation.


Always patch test before you use. If you have sensitive skin, mix the Vitamin C with a toner and use it for a couple of days, later your skin will be able to handle the vitamin C.

Information sources : Internet


Grapes in skin care? Yay or Nay?

Gravitale Skin Revitalizing Gel

Grapes are exceptionally remedial in skin care. They rejuvenate skin and provide a glow to it. Wine bath and wine based product has always intrigued me. Hence trying out this product was exciting and I am in love with the product.

What is Gravitale?
At Gravitale, they produce topical grade grapes which contains 5.4 times more phenolic antioxidant content than the regular ones. 
The Revitalizing Skin Gel is the first and signature product from the Gravitale range. It is made with whole, crushed Gravitale grapes and delivers a powerful, therapeutic combination  of phenolic antioxidants, alpha hydroxy acids, Vitamin C, and other phyto nutrients to the skin, holistically nourishing and restoring life to the skin from the inside out. 
Gravitale specializes in making vinotherapy products from grapes that they grow themselves in the Nilgiris. Vinotherapy is the process of using grapes and their derivatives in skincare – a concept that does not yet exist in India and they are introducing here for the first time. Their entire approach to sustainable beauty is to develop solutions that improve overall skin wellness and health. 
As quoted by them,
“And naturally, to make the best skincare products, one must start with using only the best ingredients. This is why we took matters into our own hands and decided to grow the grapes ourselves, so we could deliver maximum results without compromising on keeping the products natural, fresh, and extremely safe. Our grapes are special, because we grow them specially and only for our skincare products, which is why they are quite different to the grapes you eat or drink (if you enjoy wine). To my knowledge, no other company in the world cultivates grapes specifically for the skin. Our grapes are actually 5.4 times stronger in phenolic antioxidant content (antioxidants are extremely powerful in fighting signs of aging) than other grapes!”
A simple white tube package with the product name in front and back of the package reads the product information like ingredients and directions.
The product has a mild distinct smell of grapes, . It is made with whole, crushed Gravitale grapes. You can see the peels and seeds too. 
Size : 50 GM
Price : 449
Available online exclusively on Purplle
Apply a thin layer to wet skin and leave it on for anywhere between 10 to 15 mins. Rinse with warm water.
Suits all skin types and use it twice a week for better results.
We call it a ‘one-and-done’ staple product, because in one use, it exfoliates, nourishes, brightens, soothes, hydrates, tightens, softens, and improves skin regeneration all at once, with minimal effort on your part! 
My experience: 
I applied a thin layer as directed. You can feel a mild tingling sensation, which is completely normal. The gel like consistency makes it easier to apply and use. After about 10 minutes I used scrubbing motion to exfoliate my skin and boy was I surprised !
The product stays true to it’s claims. It exfoliated my skin but wasn’t harsh on it. It gave a healthy glow and also made it soft and smooth. The product is hydrating and is indeed a versatile one.
I have used it several times and it hasn’t failed me so far. 
As seen in pic, the area after washing was so soft and smooth. Baby butt smooth to be precise. 
Price. I couldn’t find any con except that it’s priced higher but it’s definitely worth the money.
Would I repurchase?
Of course. I recommend this to all. A must try and a definite re buy.
 Gravitale is a cruelty free brand. It’s 96% natural origin ingredients. It has zero parabens, sulphates and petroleum derivatives. Free from any harmful toxin.
LIP, Lipstick, Skincare, Swatches, Uncategorized

All 10 Lakme enrich lip crayon- swatches and review

Lakme has recently come up with a set of 10 matte lip crayons at a highly competitive price. The lipsticks look exactly like the coloring crayons, so make sure you keep them away from each other.

Price: Rs. 185

Quantity :2.2 g

Shelf life : 24 months

A free sharpener comes with each lip crayon.



A newly formulated lip crayon for soft texture and smooth matte finish. Enriched with highly pigmented formula, it delivers intense color payoff.

A rich mixture of olive oil and jojoba oil conditions your lips. Natural shea and cocoa butter extracts soften and nourish your lips.




  1. Glides smoothly across the lips, finish is semi matte. Very comfortable to wear.
  2. Color pay off is good, the swatches are all one swipe.
  3. All the shades are suitable for Indian skin tone.
  4. The crayon can also be used as a lip liner.
  5. Affordable.
  6. Staying power is a good 4-5 hours, after which it fades away leaving a stain. I had oily food, soda, coffee and still the shade was there on my lips. It lasted me a whole day at work without touch up.
  7. Color coded package, with name and shade number printed on the body.
  8. The formula nourishes and conditions the lips.


  1. Transfers a little.IMG_20170508_123859224_HDR
  2. Not smudge proof.
  3. The shade name is different from shade color. For instance, 10 Blushing Pink is more like a warm peach shade.
  4. Shades like berry red, pink burst have some shimmer which I don’t prefer.

The pros outweigh the cons. I have used lipsticks which cost double the amount and still don’t do a good job. So this is definitely worth buying. I am really glad that Lakme launched these crayons, since off late the market didn’t have many good quality yet affordable lipsticks. Lakme has set the bar high, hope other brands also follow soon.

Favorites : Berry red, mauve magic, shocking pink, blushing pink.

Rating : 4.5/5