Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

Permanent cosmetics in South Korea

Posted on Tue, Sep 04, 2012 @ 10:23 AM

One thing that has been the same in my daily routine since high school has been putting on eyeliner. Back at home, I never really felt the pressure to look my best daily. Often times I wore sweat pants or running shorts to meet up with friends-- with eyeliner on, of course. Teaching English in Korea, however, there is a constant pressure to look pampered and your best all the time. Image is everything in Korea and it can really affect how people judge you. Being overweight is one thing, but looking sloppy is a direct way for Koreans, in my opinion, to automatically place you in the "ugly and lazy" list.

So seeing that I'm teaching English in the aesthetic capital of the world, why not try out some beauty secrets of Korean females? Looking done up all the time is hard work and Korean women do it everyday. So what's their secret? Permanent cosmetics.

There is a range of permanent cosmetics you can choose from: lipstick, eyebrow, eyeliner, and even eyelashes.

With that said, I have small eyes. If anyone asked me the question, "if you were stuck on a deserted island with one make up product, what would it be?" Without hesitation, I would answer, "eyeliner." This may not be of interest to some people, but putting on eyeliner can be tough and time consuming. 

I have waited to do a blog post on this because I wanted to test it out first. Whether or not the results were bad, I wanted to try it out before I made any judgements about it. So the verdict? AWESOME

I don't consider eyeliner tattoo as a real tattoo. A real tattoo, I have to put a lot of thought into it- what I want on my body and if I want it on there forever. Eyeliner tattoo, on the other hand, is pretty much there to make me look like I always do, but without the effort. In no way am I trying to look perfect the morning after my honeymoon for my future husband. If anything, it's to save me some time in the morning with all the other extra stuff I have to do to get ready.

I went to a place in Gangnam (lower east side of Seoul) where it is full of high end shopping, plastic surgery clinics, and aesthetic businesses. Sounds like a perfect place to get permanent cosmetics, right? 

This place was recommended by a friend who was also recommended by a bunch of pretty receptionists at a plastic surgery clinic (how ironic). For the price of 70,000WON, you get two sessions of eyeliner tattoo. This place is also known for eyelash extensions. 

Before you actually begin the tattoo process, they make you lie down and put on some numbing cream on your eyelids. If older, muscular men cry during their sessions of tattoos on their backs, you can only imagine what the pain would be like on your eyelids. Once the numbing cream has set in, the "artist" (I don't really know what to call them) will begin her work on you.

This is such an unflattering picture of me, but I hope it gives the readers some assurance of what permanent cosmetics is. As you can tell by the picture, the "pen" she is holding is actually the needle. It's very different from the needles used in tattoo parlors. Shaped like a pen, it has a tiny needle and ink. So the actual tattooing process is pretty much the "artist" drawing on the eyeliner as you would on yourself.

So does it hurt? Yes. The actual process did not hurt as much, more like scratching your eyelids. It's when the numbing cream wears off that you actually feel like someone has REALLY scratched your eye to the point it feels raw. This feeling wears off about half an hour later, but you'll tear up a lot during that time. You know what they say: beauty is pain.

Your eyes will swell like you've been crying for a few days. However, healing time is one week and after the second day, you forget that you even went through all of that.

In no way am I promoting permanent cosmetics or selling it as a must for women in Korea. Since I have been wearing eyeliner for years, I signed on to do this on my own, with the possible consequences in mind. Will I go on to do other forms of permanent cosmetics? Probably not. However, I will take advantage of many things Korea has to offer to make "beauty" seem easier.



Teach in Korea!
Aeri Park has had a multicultural history taking her from Seoul to Buenos Aires to Atlanta and back again. She graduated Emory University in 2008 and wanted to experience the culture of the place she was born. Aeri arrived in Suwon in 2010 and is now enjoying her second year teaching in Korea for Chungdahm in Pyeongchon. So far she has most enjoyed the food, fashion, and never ending list of places to explore. Follow Aeri to see where she goes!

Tags: a year in Korea, Gangnam, permanent cosmetics, cosmetic tattoo, eyeliner tattoo, eyelash extensions, Beauty Products in Korea

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