Friday, 8 April 2011

Guidelines on Where To Buy KOH Nail Polish


One of the most common questions I get asked by my international readers is "Where can I buy KOH nail polish?".

KOH is a Dutch brand that is mainly known for its wide range of nail polish colours. I thought I'd write a post with guidelines on buying KOH nail polishes. Hopefully, it will give anyone who might be interested a clearer picture.

Note: In the Netherlands, the recommended retail price for a 10ml bottle of KOH nail polish is €14.95.

I will touch on three things:

1. Purchasing through physical stores
2. Purchasing online
3. The cases that you get with your purchase of KOH nail polishes

This is a long-winded article, so please feel free to scroll down to the appropriate section.



Physical Stores

If you live in the Netherlands, you would no doubt already know where to go to get KOH. If you're passing through the Netherlands on holiday, you might want to keep these places in mind:

KOH Experience Shop (de Bijenkorf, Amsterdam)

This is KOH's flagship store and it is, at the moment, the one and only dedicated KOH store in existence. For months, there has been talk of opening new KOH shops in de Bijenkorf in other cities but to-date, none have come into fruition.

Because it is the only one around and is managed directly by KOH, the KOH Experience Shop in Amsterdam is the best place to go to for your KOH needs. There, you can get your manicure done by trained staff but more importantly, the shop has basically the entire KOH product range in its offering - nail products and bodycare products.

The KOH Experience Shop gets a facelift every few months, which is very hard to keep up with. It is on the 2nd Floor of the Dutch upmarket departmental store, de Bijenkorf. de Bijenkorf is located within walking distance (under ten minutes) from the Amsterdam Central Train Station.

KOH Experience Shop
2nd Floor, Bijenkorf Amsterdam
Dam 1
1012 Amsterdam

Update
There is now a second KOH Experience Shop and it is in de Bijenkorf in the city of Eindhoven.

de Bijenkorf
Piazza 1
5611 AE Eindhoven

To get an impression of the shop in Amsterdam and the facelifts it has had, please take a look at my previous posts featuring my personal visits to the shop in:

November 2009
January 2010
November 2010
Updated to include visit in:
October 2011


That's the Nail Polish Heaven for you. If you have the chance, do pay it a visit one day, if only to check out their Wall of Joyful Colours.

Parfumerie stores

In the Netherlands, parfumerie stores are where you would go to to buy mid-range to high-end cosmetics, including the classical brands. KOH is available in some parfumerie chains. The size of the KOH product offering at these parfumerie stores vary depending on the size and location of the stores. Some stock just a selection of KOH Colours (the nail polishes) while the bigger stores with heavier foot traffic may have the full range (though it's usually never as complete as what you'd see at the KOH Experience Shop in de Bijenkorf).

• Mooi
Mooi is a fairly new but fast expanding parfumerie chain. The stores are usually not very big. Some Mooi stores may have a wider range of KOH products than others.

• Douglas
Douglas is an old establishment and has stores all over the country. Standards and size of the KOH product offering differ from store to store. Some have only a small rack tucked away in a corner, with perhaps 20 nail polish colours (bear in mind that KOH has easily more than 120 colours in its range). Some bottles are improperly placed, like a colour from the permanent collection being put in the Limited Edition section. Sometimes, the rack and the bottles are dusty, hinting at neglect and sluggish stock movement of KOH. The big Douglas stores (usually in the city centre) tend to have better and more respectable display areas and offer a wider range of KOH products.

• ICI Paris XL
This is a very common parfumerie chain in the Netherlands. However, there is no need to go looking for KOH products there. ICI Paris no longer stocks KOH.

• Other parfumerie stores
There are many other smaller parfumeries stores that sell KOH products. It is best to view the complete list of stores in the Netherlands on the KOH website. Updated 16 July 2012: This information is currently not available on the new KOH website.

My previous feature: parfumerie stores in the Netherlands.

Other Countries

KOH is also available in some countries outside the Netherlands. You can check the Store Locator section of the website:

- Belgium (Dutch website)
- Belgium (French website)
- Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Russia
Updated 16 July 2012: This information is currently not available on the new KOH website.

KOH is sold in Italy but there is no information on the sales points yet on the website.


Online

This is perhaps more relevant to most of my international readers who are interested in procuring KOH products.

KOH Cosmetics online shop

There were shipping restrictions previously but now, it is possible to purchase KOH products online and they do ship internationally.

The following are the latest shipping rates:

Within the Netherlands - €1.50 for orders less than €15.00, free otherwise
Within Europe (outside the Netherlands) - €6.16 flat rate
Worldwide (outside Europe) - €15.00 flat rate

So, if you live in the United Kingdom, United States, Brazil or the Philippines, for example, it is actually possible to place an order for KOH nail polishes directly from their website.

However, ridiculous as it seems, KOH has unfortunately overlooked one very important issue: Not everybody understands Dutch. Please see update below.

When you first visit the KOH website, you would be presented with different language options: English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. Its online shop is, guess what, located within the Dutch website. While it made sense in the early days when KOH was small and less well-known internationally, it is certainly a huge oversight on their part now that they do offer worldwide shipping. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

I wouldn't know if they are working on revamping their website but at the moment, I'm just telling you the situation as it is.

The section where you will find the online shop is called KOH For You. Please see update below.

If you would like to place an order, I think you won't have big problems navigating the online shop. You can easily go by the product names and images and click through.

As far as I know, international customers can pay through Paypal.

I won't take you through the order process but I will give you a translation for some of the words/terms used:

bestel - place order
verder winkelen - continue shopping
naar winkelwagen - to shopping cart
wijzig - change
verwijder - remove
volgende stap - next step
terug - back
Het artikel is toegevoegd aan uw winkelwagen - The article has been added to your shopping cart

At some stage, you will be asked to fill in your information: Name, Salutation, Streetname (not house no.), House No., Postcode, City, (choose) Country, Telephone No., Email address, Notes/comment.

The country names are spelt the Dutch way but most of them are easily identifiable. For the less obvious ones, here are some to help you along:

United States - Verenigde Staten
United Kingdom - Groot-Brittannië
Sweden - Zweden

You can check on Google if you're not sure. If you encounter any problems, please contact KOH directly.


Updated 21 Sept 2011
This information has been kindly provided by a reader in the US who placed an online order on the KOH website in May.

Payment is via Paypal, hence the procedure is pretty much standard once a customer logs into Paypal. After a customer has paid for the order, there is apparently no receipt or email from KOH to confirm the items ordered and the payment made. The customer would however receive the standard payment confirmation from Paypal. If you are particularly concerned about this after placing your order, I suggest writing an email to KOH Customer Service for a confirmation and to find out when the package is shipped.

An order takes approximately two weeks to reach an address in the US.


Updated 16 July 2012
Good news! The KOH website has been revamped and is now also available in the English language.

New website: KOH online shop in English.


Zalando Netherlands

KOH products are now also available through Zalando, which is a kind of Asos for continental Europe, I suppose. However, Zalando charges €19.95 per bottle of KOH nail polish.

If you live in the Netherlands, you would be out of your mind to order KOH nail polishes through Zalando. You are in effect overpaying by €5.00!

I don't know why they are overcharging by so much and besides, it has the most useless descriptions for the KOH nail polishes. (At time of writing) For all the KOH polishes, their names are just Red, Blue, Grey, Green, Silver, etc. The actual proper full names of the individual polishes are not given, so how does Zalando expect customers to know exactly which KOH polish they are buying? Go figure! KOH polishes also have numbers and even the numbers are not indicated by Zalando. I rest my case.

Updated: 30 May 2011
Zalando Netherlands has wisely corrected the oversight. The website now shows the appropriate names of the KOH nail polishes. They are still overcharging for these polishes though.

Website: Zalando Nederland

Zalando France

Ditto for Zalando France. I don't know how much KOH nail polishes normally retail for in France but on the Zalando site, they retail for €19.95 per bottle. Colour descriptions are also useless.

Updated: 30 May 2011
Zalando France has also corrected the oversight. The website now shows the appropriate names of the KOH nail polishes.

Website: Zalando France

Zalando Germany and Zalando Austria

Again, KOH nail polishes retail here for €19.95 and €19.50 per bottle respectively. However, Zalando Germany and Zalando Austria have wisely used the actual names of the polishes.

Websites: Zalando Germany and Zalando Austria

Updated 21 Sept 2011
Zalando UK

Zalando UK now offers beauty products on its website, which means that readers in the UK can now easily buy KOH products through Zalando UK. On this website, KOH nail polishes retail for £17.95, which is roughly the abovementioned jacked-up price of €19.95 converted to £s.

Website: Zalando UK

Updated 29 March 2012
Douglas Parfumerie

The Douglas Parfumerie online stores in the Netherlands and Germany also carry the KOH range of products. The range shown on the Dutch website appears limited (price: €14.95) but the one for Germany seems to have a fairly wide range (€19.50).

Websites: Douglas Netherlands and Douglas Germany

These are the online shops that I know of that sell KOH nail polishes. There may be others that I am not aware of.


KOH Cases


If you are familiar with KOH, you would know that every bottle of KOH nail polish has always come with an elegant case that looks like an oversized lipstick case. As far as I know, they still supply the cases. The design varies from season to season.

In the past, I have heard of instances where ladies were not given the accompanying KOH case with their purchase of KOH nail polish. This happened to customers who were probably new to the brand and didn't know about the cases and it usually happens in smaller parfumerie stores. I don't know if the ignorance of the sales staff is real or feigned. I've experienced this myself - twice - at different smaller parfumerie stores and I had to remind them about the case. This however has never happened at the KOH Experience Shop - the staff know what they are doing.

I've also noticed that the smaller parfumerie stores may not always have the cases with the very latest designs. You may or may not mind getting one from a couple of seasons before.


So, this is just a reminder for whenever you buy KOH nail polishes. If the sales staff forgets, please remind him/her. You are, after all, entitled to the case.


Last Words

I think I've pretty much covered all that's important. I sincerely hope some of you will find these guidelines helpful.

Please note:
I have written this article on my own initiative for the benefit of my readers. I have not been asked or paid by KOH to write this guide.

As mentioned earlier, I get many questions from my international readers on this and as one who lives in the home country of KOH, I thought I'd share some information and tips on buying KOH nail polishes. Please feel free to click on the links to KOH's website. I earn no commissions from them.

If you have any further questions, it would be best to check with KOH Cosmetics directly.


More information:
All my posts on Brand: KOH
KOH website (Updated 16 July 2012 - now in English)

20 comments:

Skulda said...

Thank you for the helpful guide!

Grace London said...

This is *so* helpful, thank you. Off to look at all your previous posts to decide which ones to order ;)

Breigh said...

Wow and I thought OPI was expensive here! haha So it's only at the Beijenkorf in Amsterdam? I'll have to have a look next time I'm there. Maybe they'll bring it to their shop in Rotterdam too at some point! :)

amusedPolish said...

Thanks a lot for this post. I've seen KOH polishes here in Austria (Vienna to be exact) in a little store in Downtown but the prices were similar to the Zalando shop- 20€ for a bottle.
I heard that a German shop also sells KOH, I think it's called Pieper, but I'm not 100% sure.

Witoxicity said...

@Skulda
You're welcome, Skulda! :)

@Grace London
The pleasure's all mine. :) I didn't mention in the article (the article was getting waaay too long!) that there are no nail polish swatches on the KOH website - just pictures of the bottles and the colours are not always accurate. Frankly, the website has a lot of room for improvement.

I have featured quite a number of KOH polishes but they are really just a fraction of what KOH has in its range. I wish I could do more but ouch, my wallet hurts each time I buy KOH. ;P

I forgot to mention that I have a Nail Polish Gallery page for a quick global view of the nail polishes I've shown so far. That might help. The polishes are segregated by brands. :)

@Breigh
Hi, Breigh! Well, they keep saying they will expand with their KOH shops, but to-date, there has been nothing. Anyway, at least you can still get KOH at other parfumerie stores dotted all over the country, like Douglas, if you don't mind the sometimes smaller range on offer. :)

@amusedPolish
You're most welcome! And thank you so much for the extra local information. That might come in handy for other ladies reading this. :)

DinaXYYan said...

Thank you so much for this guide! It's really helpful :)

Michelle said...

The photo of the KOH store is AMAZING!!! I want to go there!!

Anonymous said...

It's a long but very helpful post, I am glad I read it, so job well done my dear. Thanks for sharing this with your readers.

I had a look at their website and to be honest besides the homepage I think it really sucks. Your website is more organized and up to date. Maybe they should hire you for their PR. ;)

Take care, Nicole xx

Witoxicity said...

@Dina
You're welcome. :)

@Michelle
Well, that's why I dubbed it the Nail Polish Heaven. :)

Witoxicity said...

@Nicole
You're most welcome, Nicole. I appreciate that you took the time to read it, long as it is! And thank you for your kind words about my website. Let's just say I like to keep things simple. :) As to your assessment of their website, you took the words right out of my mouth, my dear. There were so many things I wanted to touch on in this article but it just got too long, so I had to cut a few matters out (one of which is a critique of their site). Anyway, whether I say it or not, its shortcomings are quite immediately obvious when one first visits the site. :)

Anonymous said...

Yay thumbs up for the given guidelines! Tnx

I find € 14,95 quite expensive for a nailpolish (though it is really beautiful and to be honest other brands like OPI and RBL are expensive too), but € 19.95 is daylight robbery, you made a point there. Zalando clearly has no experience in selling beauty products as this is way over the top.

And not mentioning a name or number with the polish? What are they thinking.....really unprofessional!!! This one is blue, this one is green and we also have pink....duh!! Hope the webdesigner isn't colourblind.

Koh is really into brand imaging, but the funny part is that Zalando is also selling Pieces for € 2,95.....LOL, not really a good choice for brand imaging. ;)
"KTee"xx

Witoxicity said...

@KTee
My pleasure, KTee! I would admit that KOH has a fantastic range of colours. Price-wise, it all has to do with portraying an exclusive brand image, isn't it? The fandango with Zalando Nederland is bordering on the ridiculous (it's not so much the case with the Zalando in other countries because KOH sells for a higher price in stores there anyway, it seems). I think it will be a matter of time before someone realises the folly with the names. LOL @ your observation of a budget brand rubbing shoulders with one that is so conscious of its exclusive brand image. And hey, isn't it funny that in the case of the Pieces nail polishes, the prices on Zalando are the same as what you'd see in the physical stores? Now, that's the right way to do it! :)

Anni said...

I know it's not an excuse, but I think the overpricing may have to do something with the free shipping Zalando offers. Then again, it's weird that the Pieces nail polishes don't carry the 'fee'.

Witoxicity said...

Hi, Anni! Hmmm, that bit about overpricing and free shipping did cross my mind but then again, so many other products they have there (like, as you say, Pieces) are sold at the usual retail price. I have a few theories but oh, never mind! :)

Samantha M said...

I finally did it! After months of lemming, looking over the Koh website longingly, and reading your guidelines over and over, I have purchased my beloved Blue Universe from the website!

I live in the USA, and I was a little afraid of the price and the online ordering process, but thanks to your information, I navigated the site successfully! I can't wait until it arrives! There is no polish anywhere like it!

Thank you so much for your wonderfully helpful site!

Witoxicity said...

@Samantha M
Yay! That's excellent, Samantha! :D The pleasure's all mine. I can understand how 'daunting' it must be, especially having to order from a foreign website in a foreign language. I'm very happy you found this post helpful and am even happier that you ordered Blue Universe! Yes, it's a gorgeous one. If you're worried about anything with regard to this order, don't hesitate to write an email to KOH Customer Service. As mentioned in the update of this post (based on the experience of another reader from the US), you might want to write to KOH to confirm your order and to find out when it's shipped. If there's any other useful information that you think should be added to this post, do let me know. It might come in handy for other ladies too. Well, I hope your Blue Universe will arrive safely. Enjoy! :D

Samantha M said...

Just wanted to follow up and let you know that my Blue Universe arrived today. I believe it was shipped on the 21st of December. I received an email confirmation of my order, as well as an actual mailed receipt, which arrived about 10 days ago. I thought that was nice. Overall, it took a little longer to reach me here in the U.S. than others have said, but I think it was probably delayed by the holidays and it probably spent a couple of days in customs. But it arrived safe and sound, and I am SO THRILLED to finally have it!

Witoxicity said...

@Samantha M
I'm so happy to hear that! It's great that it has arrived safely. Thank you for the extra info on what took place after placing your order. That bit about receiving an actual mailed receipt - that's new to me, but it's certainly a good thing. Well, Samantha, I hope you're showing off Blue Universe on your nails right now. :D

Tokyo Nights said...

Not sure if my first comment went through...

If not, thank you so much for your post!

I've wanted to buy blue universe since I saw it on another blogger's site ages ago. I live in Japan and you can't find it here for love nor money. Even Ebay didn't have it, so I had pretty much given up.

Googling for it on my own didn't turn up any places where I could buy it, so I'm so happy I found your blog. I've ordered it and am now waiting my very own bottle. So excited!

I'd love to own more of their polishes (without paying so much shipping for one tiny little bottle!), so if you're ever interested in an exchange, let me know!

Witoxicity said...

@Tokyo Nights
Hi! Oh, I'm so sorry. Your (first) comment never reached me. It's certainly good that I got this one! :)

Thanks for taking the time to drop me a line, Tokyo Nights. It's always very nice to know that this long post has come in handy for ladies interested in purchasing some KOH polishes. You are most welcome! :D

So, you're been a fan of Blue Universe too, eh? It's a beauty and I'm glad you ordered that one. Yay!! I hope it will arrive safely at your address in Japan. Thanks for the offer to do a swap. That's very kind of you. At the moment, I'm fine here but if I'm interested in getting my hands on some Japanese stuff that I can't get hold of here, I will certainly let you know. Have a lovely week ahead! :)