Where to Buy Cheap Toiletries in Singapore

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Singapore is one of the top ten countries in the world with the highest cost of living. In Asia, the country holds the top spot. The expensive rent is a given, but you can always resource cheap food through hawkers and food stalls you can find everywhere. But how about toiletries? Well that’s a different story.

cheap and affordable toiletries and home supplies
If you’ve been to Guardian and Watsons in Singapore, you’ll be shocked as to how expensive toiletries can get. For example, the same well-known napkin being sold in the Philippines at around Php 80 for a pack of 20 will cost at SGD 6.90 in Singapore (Php 276; 1 SGD = 40 Php conversion rate as of posting). A global brand feminine wash that’s Php 194 for 250ml at home will cost at SGD 13.90 (or Php 556) in Singapura.

It’s difficult not to convert prices, especially if you’re trying to save money. So I asked my friend (Thank you, Jore!) where she buys her toiletries.

And the answer is Swanston.

Swanston is an essentials store in the heart of Chinatown that sells personal care and home care goods. Whether you’re looking for toothpaste, shampoo, feminine products, skincare, facial wash, makeup, tissue, laundry detergent, cleaning aids and more, this is your go-to place.

toiletries and home supply store with many customers

Their price is definitely cheaper than other personal hygiene stores like Watsons and Guardian. Even in supermarkets like FairPrice, Giants, and Cold Storage, these items are still pricey and some products are sold in bulk and in big containers. If you convert the prices in Swanston, some products are even slightly cheaper there than in most beauty stores and supermarkets in the Philippines!

So my husband and I went for a visit to Swanston to get a few items and here’s what we got:

From Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Listerine mouth wash, St. Ives facial scrub, Kleenex wet tissue, Dynamo liquid detergent, Gatsby oil control film, Colgate toothpaste.

1. Dynamo Power Gel with Downy (2.7 kg): This is basically Ariel liquid detergent with Downy (Ariel is known as Dynamo in Singapore and Malaysia). FairPrice price, SGD 13.35. Swanston price, SGD 6.90 (not sure how much this costs in the PH).

2. Listerine Cool Mint Mouthwash (1000 ml): We ran out of mouthwash and we’re happy to find our go-to brand and variant. FairPrice price, SGD 14.25. Watsons Philippines price (500 ml only), Php 199. Swanston price, SGD 6.50 (cheaper).

3. St. Ives Acne Control Apricot Scrub (6 oz): I forgot my trusted facial scrub at home and I’m thrilled to find it here in its new packaging! So excited to use this after 10 days of no scrubbing! Guardian Price, SGD 7.90 (currently on sale from SGD 9.90). Watsons Philippines price, Php 205. Swanston price, SGD 4.60 (cheaper by Php 21).

4. Kleenex Fresh Hand & Face Moist Wipes (10 pcs x 3 packs): To give you a heads-up, wet tissues in Singapore are super expensive. In restaurants, they even charge you more than SGD 1 for a single piece of moist tissue. Cold Storage price, SGD 3.15. Swanston price, SGD 2.10 (not sure how much this costs in the PH, but it’s reasonable if you convert it at Php 28 per pack for the brand).

5. Gatsby Oil Clear Sheet (70 sheets): This is a must for oily and combination skin girls like me! I can go through one pack in less than a month so I need to have a constant supply of this oil control film. Guardian price, SGD 3.90. Watsons Philippine price, Php 125. Swanston price, SGD 2.60 (cheaper by Php 21).

6. Colgate Triple Action Original Mint (200 g): We’re not supposed to buy a toothpaste, but when I saw people putting boxes of this toothpaste in their basket, I had the urge to get one, too (LOL). Fairprice price, SGD 5.50 for a pack of 2 x 200g (currently on sale from SGD 5.90). Watsons Philippines price (145 ml only), Php 129. Swanston price, SGD 1.60 (cheaper).

receipt of toiletries
Total bill for 6 items is at SGD 24.30 or Php 972.

Aside from Swanston having cheap and affordable selections, you can also buy some products in small or individual quantities, such as a liquid hand wash refill, hand sanitizing gel, and wet tissue. Big containers of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion are also cheaper in Swanston as compared to Watsons or supermarket prices in the Philippines. However, if you’re looking for toothbrush, disposable razor, and face powder, these are still much cheaper back home.

So if you’re traveling to Singapore whether for short or long-term, heading over to Swanston will enable you to save money on products you use on a regular basis.

5 Things You Should Know about Swanston Before Getting There

1. Swanston is easily accessible by bus and MRT (Chinatown station, Downtown Line or the blue line). It’s usually just a 2-minute walk from either the bus or train station.

2. The easiest way to get there is to locate Upper Cross St. You will pass by the side entrance of OG Department Store and will see a flight of stairs. Follow that flight of stairs to the second floor of People’s Park complex and you’ll immediately see Swanston.

toiletries and home supply goods store

3. If you have been to 168 and 999 malls in Divisoria or the tiangge section of Lucky Chinatown Mall Annex (minus the air conditioned space), that’s the kind of look and feel that Swanston has.

4. The store is usually crowded, having a lot of patrons who visit their store daily.

5. They only have one store in Singapore and that is in Chinatown. It will be difficult to drag heavy toiletries and home care supplies especially if you stay far from the area, so bring someone with you if you’re stocking up on these. 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The contents of this entry are purely my opinion and 100% honest based on my travel and shopping experience.

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