Just like the same can of Coke varies between $0.70 at value shops, $1.40 at the coffee shop, $5 at restaurants and even $8 or more at hotel lobbies, the same concept applies to the toiletries that you buy month in month out.
If you relish buying your toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, make-up remover, masks etc from chains like Watsons or Guardian because of the rebates you have on your credit cards or the points you chalk up on your loyalty card, you’ll be in for a big surprise at how much cheaper you can get the same toiletries elsewhere.
Some places to look into to find cheaper alternatives for your toiletries include:
Swanston @ Chinatown
Swanston on level 2 of People’s Park Complex Food Centre is THE granddaddy of discount toiletries stores in Singapore. It’s always crowded! You can find not just personal care products like toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel, cotton pads, and more, but also household items like laundry detergent.
The prices are generally already significantly cheaper than chain like Watsons and Guardian, but Swanston also has monthly specials that give you even more bang for your buck.
Even the star products go on sale: This May 2018, Swantons is selling the highly raved Biore makeup remover wipes at the devastating price of $7.80 ($15.60 at Watsons!) and Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief Toothpaste (110g) at just $2.50 (70% off Watson’s $8.15 price tag).
The downside is that Swanston only has one outlet at Chinatown, so if you don’t live nearby, I don’t know how convenient it would be to lug your heavy toiletries home (unless you drive, of course).
Swanston store location: #02-1004/1007 People’s Park Complex, 32 New Market Rd., Singapore 050032
While you’re at People’s Park Complex you might also want to check out another shop on level 3, called Ocean Cosmetics (also known as Sunny Ocean).
Ocean Cosmetics sells personal care toiletries (shampoos, shower gels, and the likes) at comparable prices to Swanston, but the selection is smaller. It is, however, usually less crowded than Swanston, so if you don’t have time to wrestle the crowds at downstairs, you can try to find what you need here.
Like Swanston, Ocean Cosmetics only has one store in Chinatown.
Ocean Cosmetics store location: #03-1058/1060 People’s Park Complex, 32 New Market Rd., Singapore 050032
You won’t find household essentials like detergent here, but Pink Beauty is a beauty junkie’s dream: The beauty retailer stocks a wide range of makeup and cosmetics from popular international brands.
You’ll find the usual local drugstore brands of skincare and shower products at a big discount here. A great find is the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. The 1L bottle is only $22.90 which is just a dollar more than the price of the 16oz/473ml bottle at Watsons ($21.90)! You can also get the Bioderma Sensibio H20 cleansing water (500ml) for $19.90; that’s half the Watsons price of $41.90.
On top of affordable drugstore brands, Pink Beauty also stocks K-beauty brands like Laneige, Innisfree, Dr Jar+, and Holika Holika. A cult favourite, the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask costs $42 at Laneige boutiques but can be found here for a wallet-friendly $29!
Not sure if they have what you want? Check out the online catalogue before heading down. With 5 outlets to cover the central, east, and west heartland areas, Pink Beauty is convenient enough. If you don’t mind the $3 home delivery fee (it’s actually quite cheap), you can even shop online.
Pink Beauty store locations: Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Batok, Clementi, Toa Payoh
Found mainly in heartland neighbourhoods, Venus has 21 outlets packed with quality products at very affordable prices. There are stores at both heartland centrals and malls (like Junction 8, Century Square, Jurong Point, and White Sands), and the range is very extensive, with 475 listed brands on their website.
Venus Beauty is also the exclusive retailer for 15 (not so popular) brands, including Monsoon, Avida, Mizon and Semplice. Aside from the usual drugstore toiletries brands, you can find household essentials and even baby products, which are known to cost quite a bit.
For cheaper baby diapers, try Venus Beauty: You can get the Huggies Gold diaper value pack (4 x 56 per pack) at $67.90—that’s almost $20 off the $87.60 retail price at FairPrice. It’s a great deal because even when it goes on sale at FairPrice, it hardly gets that cheap. In fact, there’s currently an ongoing promotion (until December 2018) for $10 off the Huggies Gold diaper pack, making it $77.80 (which is, well… still more expensive).
However, do note that not everything is cheaper! I noticed that Venus Beauty sells Innisfree’s My Real Squeeze masks, but they’re $3.90 instead of $2, which is the price at Innisfree stores. Prices are cheaper in general, but if you’re looking at branded stuff, I recommend doing a quick price search online first.
There are 21 outlets islandwide, but if you’re cheap AND lazy, you can shop online too. There’s also an online catalogue for convenience. Delivery is free for orders above $50, which is easy to hit when you’re toiletries shopping.
Venus Beauty store locations: 21 outlets islandwide
Beauty Language is my personal favourite, because I use the J Beverly Hills haircare range (it’s a store exclusive). The chain started in 2000, and has 27 stores across Singapore, all at shopping malls.
Beauty Language sells mostly hair care, body wash, and cosmetic products, so no household stuff here. This is also not the place to be looking for cheap shampoo and soaps. There is a limited range of drugstore brands, but shoppers mostly go there to pick up the more upmarket brands at a discount.
Think branded perfumes and skincare products from SK-II, Estee Lauder, and Lancome. The largest bottle of SK-II’s award-winning Facial Treatment Essence (330ml) has a suggested retail price of $365, but sells for a ridiculous $255.30 at Beauty Language. That’s over $100 less, and even cheaper than duty-free prices!
The hair care range is also more focused on fancy imported brands like RedKen, L’Oreal Professionnel, and of course, J Beverly Hills.
The store holds frequent clearance sales at the event spaces of shopping malls, so be sure to check their Facebook page for the latest sale updates. Their catalogue and prices are available on their website too. You may also order online or sign up to their mailing list to be notified of promotions.
Beauty Language store locations: 27 outlets islandwide
CK Department Store
Don’t mistake this CK for Calvin Klein! The CK Department store is every auntie’s favourite. And it doesn’t just sell clothes and household goods, it also stocks a very respectable selection of toiletries. The prices are generally competitive so you won’t need to worry about getting ripped off, and as icing on the cake, they often have seasonal specials.
Typically they have purchase-with-purchase sales, plus special discounts for their best sellers that they call ‘star buys’. You can check the ongoing promotions on their website.
One of this month’s star buys is the Oral B Pro-Health Mouth Rinse (500ml) that’s just $4.20 AND buy 1 get 1 free. That amounts to $2.10 per 500ml bottle! This makes the $11.50 price at Watsons seem like daylight robbery! Unlike the rest in this list, CK has its own house brand called myCK. myCK has dishwashing, laundry, and household cleaning detergents, as well as wet and dry wipes and tissues.
The 19 outlets are located at heartland centrals and malls.
CK Department Store locations: 19 outlets islandwide
This beauty and toiletries retailer is quite comprehensive, and best of all, they have an online store. I was introduced to Red Tomatoes by a friend who calls it “the place to buy cheap pads”.
Laurier is considered one of the more expensive sanitary care brands (that is widely available at local personal care stores), and their top product, the Super Slimguard 22.5cm day pads (16s) costs only $2.70 at Red Tomatoes. It’s $5.50 at Watsons!
Red Tomatoes is also a great place to pick up L’Oreal’s range sulfate-free hair care. The Ever series’ shampoos (250m) retail for $15.90 outside, but sell for just $10.59 here. In fact, if you spend $15.41, you can cop the L’Oreal Expert Serie’s salon-standard shampoos (500ml)! Same price, and double the quantity? Talk about value!
Apart from an extensive range of body care and skincare brands, they also sell baby care products like diapers and rash cream. East siders can hit up Red Tomatoes’ two Tampines outlets. For everyone else, there’s the (relatively) more central Ang Mo Kio one.
Red Tomatoes store locations: Tampines St 81, Tampines St 23, Ang Mo Kio Ave 6
Like Beauty Language, British Essential is slightly more atas, and mostly has stores in shopping malls. However, there’s one at Hougang Central, which is a more traditional heartland discount store and focuses mainly on cheap toiletries and makeup from typical drugstore brands like Dove, Olay and Silkygirl.
British Essential does not have an online store, and their Facebook page is quite outdated—the last post was from one year ago. Prices are discount, but there is no way for you to check the exact prices online. Nonetheless, if there’s one near you, there’s no harm heading down to check for products which prices you are familiar with.
British Essential store locations: JCube (Jurong East), Dawson Place, Hougang, I12 Katong, Eastpoint (Simei), Tampines 1, White Sands (Pasir Ris)
Basically a clone of British Essential located in Hougang Central, PS Essentials also sells mainstream toiletries brands. They also do not have a website (and virtually no online presence to speak of), so the only way is to check it out at the physical store.
PS Essentials location: Blk 806 Hougang Central #01-144 Singapore 530806
Have more tips on where to find cheap toiletries? We would love to hear from you.
Keep updated with all the news!
Get the latest personal finance tips and tricks delivered to your inbox!
We promise never to spam you!