DHC: An underrated but great mail-order brand


DHC is a frequent winner in many reader polls in Japanese magazines.
DHC is a frequent winner in many reader polls in Japanese magazines.

For some reason, mail-order brands often have a certain stigma, perhaps because of the image of certain well known direct selling brands in North America. Unlike brands such as Avon or Yves Rocher, which are known to be cheap brands, the mail-order brands in Asia are actually the opposite: they are known to be quite high quality. For example, Sulwhaoo, the prestigious Korean brand, can only be sold through authorized representatives in Korea in a door-to-door sales fashion; the only other place you could buy it is at the airport. If you have used Sulwhasoo, you would know that its hefty price-tags aren’t exactly Avon like.

In Japan, mail-order brands are big business. Think Pola, Sulwhasoo’s counterpart in Japan. Or Fancl (although it does have chains of retail stores throughout Japan). Orbis and HABA are also direct-selling brands. But my favorite mail-order brand has to be DHC, one of the top selling cosmetics and skin care brands in Japan.

DHC has been in the US for years now, operating in the same principles and fashion as in Japan: it mainly sells through the internet or its mail catalog. The brand prides itself on its use of Olive Oil in most of their products as an active ingredient. DHC products hardly contain any additives (most don’t even contain parabens, colorants or fragrances), which is an added bonus to the health-concious users nowadays. Also, most of their makeup products are refillable, with palettes sold separately, so long after you are done with your eyeshadows, you can always refill your palette with another one. This concept has been picked up by Avon and Stila long ago as well. For example, Avon’s Mark (cosmetics) contains many ‘hook ups’ and palettes, and Stila sells refillable eyeshadow pans.

Over the years, I have used several DHC products and each one of them I have recommended to friends and family alike. My most favorite item is the Cleansing Oil. It truly cleanses everything (including waterproof mascara) well without drying my skin; I also love the Mild Lotion, which is the only toner that hydrates my dehydrated combination skin enough. Olive Leaf Cream is another holy grail product I cannot live without. I am also in love with their Olive Oil soaps (in various formulas) – they are the only soaps that don’t overdry my skin.

Even though DHC USA does ship to Canada, I still hesitate to buy unless I am buying a big set or multiple items. They charge US$7.50 in addition to the actual shipping cost, and we Canadians know better than anybody that duties and taxes can add up to more than 20% in addition to the order total (not to mention our declining dollar).Â

Sometimes, I really wish I lived in the US! (or better yet, Japan!)

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