Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

A Day of Beauty Shopping in Korea: Myeongdong

Posted on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 @ 04:30 PM

In addition to teaching English in Korea, I blog about beauty products and it is definitely important to share with you my love for Myeongdong, the best place for beauty products in Korea. I blog about the American beauty products tand my obsession with them. Living in Korea, I have discovered that there are many differences between beauty products you find in America and the ones sold in Korea.There are so many differences between American and Korean products that I have been shopping like crazy when in Korea!

For starters, beauty product packaging in Korea, is so cute. Most of the time, the packaging entices me to buy the products.  I can't help myself! How cute is a lotion bottle shaped like a peach that smells exactly like a peach? Who wouldn't want that in their bag? And nothing is sweeter than the little bear and doll shaped chapsticks. The unique packaging definitely catches the eye of the buyer!

There are also many products in Korea that expats may consider "weird". For those from Asian countries, skin products that include ingredients like snail, snake, and beans are common. These items are a daily part of most Asian diets so it is acceptable to use on the skin as well. For expats used to fruit and plant ingredients in our skin products, some Korean ingredients in beauty products can seem odd or gross.

Beauty is important in Korea and shopping in Myeongdong  is a must! Myeongdong is the number one spot in all of Korea for everything beauty and cosmetic. Beware: shopping in Myeongdong is hectic - especially because store employees vie for customer attention and try to pull you into stores with free gifts! I am going to highlight for you the best places to shop to help you get through Myeongdong in one piece:


It's Skin

beauty products in Korea

The best seller of the It's Skin product line is the Prestige Creme D' Escargot. It's Skin is one of Korea's top cosmetic lines. Known for products created by dermatologists, it is recommended for those with skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema. I've been itching to try the Prestige Creme D' Escargot face lotion which is made of snail. Korea is is known for products that include snail which claims to help with skin cleaning and whitening, and keeping the skin young. Many Japanese, Chinese and American purchase snail creams as souvenirs and as well as for personal use. 

I have been using Prestige Creme D'Escargot for two months and I am in love with the product. It helps control my psoriasis and has gradually helped to whiten my skin. Having a white face is very popular for Asians. Unfortunately for me and many other English teachers in Korea, I wish my face was not so pale. Regardless of what I want, it shows that the product works extremely well. Although this product is on the expensive side, $60 for a container of snail cream only, it does work extremely well. The container is suggested to last over a three month period, but for those who are looking to achieve quick results, it is important to use more and not to be stingy with the lotion. You will thank yourself later!


beauty products in Korea

One of the newest products in Korea on the shelves of Innisfree is Jeju Island's Soybean Firming Neck Cream. What's so special about this product? Specialists say that they are able to determine the age of a woman based on the wrinkles on the neck. Regardless of how clear your face is and how young you look, without caring for the neck area, it is probably useless. This product aims at reducing and preventing wrinkles in the neck area. 

Soybean is known to help beauty in a variety of ways, especially in increasing skin elasticity and thickness. Therefore, when jeju Island's Soybean Firming Nec Cream is applied daily, it will help to prevent sagging of the skin and wrinkles will fade within a few months. This is no miracle worker, it takes time, but it is suggested you start using the product in your 20s to prevent sagging versus trying to fix it later. This lotion is extremely gentle and great for those with sensitive skin.

The Innisfree Soybean Firming Neck Cream is extremely light in scent. Apply a small amount of this thick lotion to the neck after showering in an upward direction. Remember, upward helps to reduce the sagging look. Most importantly, do not forget the back of the neck! Since the product just launched this month, it will take a while to see if the claimed results prove true.


beauty products in Korea

After my obsession with the Capsule Recipe Packs from the Innisfree store in Korea, I've been spending a lot more time researching and trying out their products. One of my recent beauty pickups is the Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask with scoria and green complex. This special mask contains volcanic ash from Jeju Island, a popular vacation spot in Korea as well as scoria and green complex which is rare ingredients to help the face.


The mask is known to help deep clean with the volcanic clusters and unclog pores, leaving clear skin after use. It is suggested to be used 1-2 times a week after a clean face. Just 10-15 minutes is enough for this mask which slightly hardens over time. Although washing it off is a bit of a fuss, the results leaves your face to be extremely smooth after one use. 

Nature Republic

beauty products in Korea

Nature Republic is the leading Aloe Vera Soothing Gel distributor in Korea. I am obsessed that this gel has 92% aloe vera plant at such a low price! A 300 ml ounce bottle  can be used for both men and women on any part of the body as a soother and moisturizer. I definitely suggest this as a hydrater for  those with sensitive skin or psoriasis. I prefer aloe vera, the natural plant that helps all kinds of skin types,  to using chemically developed lotions. I was so obsessed with Nature Republic, I have picked up extra as souvenirs to bring back home!




Skin Food

beauty products in Korea

The Black Sugar Mask Wash Off is a hit seller at Skin Food. Many travel from all over the world just to pick up this face scrub. Made from black sugar, the sugar particles melt away on your face as your scrub in a circular motion. This wash off is made from great food ingredients that  bring minerals and vitamins to the face, and leave the skin smooth and glowing. I think it is one of the best scrubs that I have used by far. It is definitely one of the products to stock up and bring back home.

Directions suggest useing three times a week, but using it every other day will work as well. With the warm season coming, the humid atmosphere will leave your face sticky. For those who are going out for a tan, this black sugar wash off will be perfect to wipe away the dead skin and leave you with the smooth underlying layer.


Tony Moly

beauty products in Korea

The product packaging of Tony Moly's heat-activing mask may have changed, but it is still the same great product that I have used over the last few months. I am still in love with the product and want to share it with the world. In addition to the product being one of Tony Moly's best sellers, the product itself and the packaging is definitely an appealing factor to buy.

This heat-activating mask is the perfect product for those with dark marks on the face. A gentle gel scrub with beads helps to rub away dead skin. It is perfect for the winter.  I  recommended this product to a few friends and they fell in love with it too!

Banila Co.


beauty products in Korea

One of the best sellers at Banila Co. is the Primer of Mattifying Balms. With a handful of different primers that the company is known for, the Banila Co Prime Primer is one of the most popular makeup primers in Korea and a well known one, winning an award every year. Developed from their famous bottled-liquid primer line, the balm version helps to maintain hydration in the skin and provide a more even pore base for foundation. I have to grown to love the product because it provides a great makeup base and does help to smooth out the face, much like the Tony Moly Egg Pore product, but this is in fact a great two in one! I just cant get enough of the product and so glad I have it with me on this trip!

Face Shop


beauty product packaging in Korea

Packaging is one thing that automatically catches my eyes and makes me interested in the product. This Vitamin Water resemblance toner comes in three different forms with the selection of Vitamin B, C, and E. Extremely easy to use, simply pat on clean skin to moisturize, soften and increase elasticity. Each is formulated with a concentration of different types of vitamins, depending on your skin type. For those who have troubled skin with random breakouts, go for Vitamin C. For those who have more oily skin, Vitamin E is your choice and Vitamin B for those who have dry skin. 






nail beauty in KoreaThis easy to slip on nail mask helps to pack on the calcium to your nails to promote healthy looking nails. It is perfect for those who always have nail polish on, just like me. Over time, you nails need to breathe and having a nail mask helps to reduce the yellow and hydrates your cuticles. Prepped and coated with a milk liquid, each finger slot is packed with nutrients that help to rejuvenate healthy nails. I am a big fan of this quick and efficient nail mask which is easy to use. This 15-20 minute soak on will leave your nails soft and fresh. I suggest using it before getting a manicure on a set of nail polish free hands. Be sure to pick up this convenient and cheap nail remedy next time you stop by Face Shop!


makeup in korea


Drawing a perfect line is extremely difficult, especially with thick brushes. It is difficult to find a thin brush, especially one that works well. My recent discovery, a makeup store centered around club wear and makeup all night, Clio, has one of the thinnest bristles I have ever found. With a 0.1 mm brush, it allows for any thin design made around the eye area or any other areas for a specific design. It is probably one of the best thin liquid eyeliners that actually works. 

Clio's makeup is targeted to those individuals who are constantly out pulling all nighters. The makeup is known to last throughout the day, into the night, and fights against the heat and sweat. It is one of the makeup brands that are starting to make a stand in Korea. 


makeup in Korea

Missha puts a twist on the cliche face masks with their Near Skin Firming Peptide Shaping V Mask. This complex name is given to a product that microscopically helps to slim down the face and provide a V shaped jaw line. Everyone knows how important a strong jaw line and less of a double chin is. Providing firming and lifting benefits for contouring the face, this gel face mask uses peptides that helps to slim down the face within 20 minutes.


On a clean face, simply apply toner and remove the sticky side from the plastic covering. Center on the jawline and pull to the ears to hold in place. There is a bit of stretch to the product which helps to fit faces of all sizes. After 15-20 minutes, remove the mask and pat the leftover ingredients into the skin to be fully absorbed.


The product may differ from person to person. I did not feel a lot of leftover product on the face because my skin has been a bit dry. Korea's air has been a bit difficult for me to adapt to, but it feels great for the product to soak into my skin quickly. I didn't experience any allergic reactions after having the product on for 20 minutes and results for the slim face is not immediate so it will take a few uses prior before I can guarantee the product to work effectively.

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Graduating with a double major in Communications and Chinese from Rutgers University, it wasn’t long after working in the Big Apple that Cindy Ung decided to take a break from the cliché 9-5 lifestyle and move to Korea to teach English for CDI. Making the bold step to leave her comfortable, mapped out life in the States, she has fallen more in love with the Korean culture as each day passes.  With weekly mountain hikes, weekend road trips, discovering great foods and beauty products, constantly meeting new people, her life in Korea has been everything but mapped out.

Check out Cindy’s blog to get a glimpse of what Korea has to offer!

Tags: Tony Moly, Missha, Clio, Face Shop, Banila Co, Nature Republic, Its Skin, Innisfree, shopping in Korea, food in Korea, myeongdong, Beauty Products in Korea, Weekend activities in Korea

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