My first visit in Seoul, South Korea was in April of 2010 for a one week vacation. At that time, all I knew about beauty products were brands like Neutrogena, L’Oreal, Ponds, Maybelline – you get the point. Upon my arrival at the airport at the waiting area – there they were the cosmetic shops in fancy bright pink, green and different colors. I also noticed how Korean women have this very flawless and smooth skin which made me wonder what kind of products they used. One of my Korean friends in Seoul told me that Beauty in Korea is a priority – your physical appearance matters in schools, jobs and pretty much in life.
In the next couple of days while I was on vacation, I decided to visit Myungdong (a shopping district in Seoul) and there I saw lots of cosmetic and beauty shops. I visited a bunch of different shop brands, and here are my top three favorites:
1. Etude House – is a brand that sells very cute and affordable skin care and beauty products. They offer a wide range of colors with very adorable packaging (lots of pink). At the moment, they are available in these countries – Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and Philippines.
Etude House is actually my favorite beauty brand from South Korea, the products are very affordable and they are made from high quality. What I like most about them also is that they give free samples of their products in small sachets so you can try them before you’d actually want to purchase a full item.
What items to try?: BB creams, Hair polish, Under eye cream balm, Lip tints, and face masks
Hours of Operation: 8:00 – 23:00
Address: 31-7 Myeongdong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea
2. Skin Food – According to Skin Food’s philosophy “Feed your skin, it deserves a treat”. This company creates their beauty products from ingredients like rice, sugar, fruits, and vegetables. They also have a very earthy packaging – with neutral tones and food themes.
My first purchase from Skin Food was actually online – I got one of their emulsion creams and toners. It was quite refreshing and I really do love their packaging as well.
What items to try?: Face wash, Cleansing oil, Bath salts, and Beauty Serums
Hours of Operation: 8:30 – 23:00
Address: 52-3 Myeong-dong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea
3. Holika Holika – is a very new cosmetic beauty brand in Korea, it was established earlier in 2010. The brand was endorsed by the famous group boy band CN Blue. This brand is quite popular to the youngsters of Korea – the shop exterior and packaging have a very trendy appeal.
This shop in particular caught me off guard especially during the CN blue endorsement – I was walking around Myeongdong and saw CN blue on their window panels. I knew I just had to go inside the shop. I bought face masks which were very cheap about $1 USD for 1 piece (I got 10 of them, and gave them as presents to my friends when I went back to the States).
Hours of Operation: 9:00 – 23:00
Address: 52-11 Myeongdong 2-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea