So I just went to Korea with Laneige for a whirlwind three days, an experience I detailed properly in a separate post (because there are so many things to talk about! SO MANY!). The Korean HQ very generously put us up in JW Marriott DongDaeMun, which was both breathtaking and deliciously convenient because it was RIGHT NEXT to the midnight shopping district in Seoul. You know what this means! Running out in between shoots to Skin Food and Olive Young, popping by the stores after the day’s itinerary had wrapped just to check out the goods, so on and so forth.. and boy, Seoul is really a haven of beauty buys.
I told myself I would spend NO MONEY in Seoul because I am trying to be a responsible adult. Unfortunately part of being a responsible adult includes being self-delusional because obviously I spent all my loose change within the first hour of touching down. There’s no way you can fight a WAKEMAKE lipstick, guys. No way. I lost myself for an hour before the business bit of the trip properly begun, walking the aisles – beauty aisles, that is. And I don’t consider myself a beauty junkie, but I do consider myself an excellent gifter.. which is how I justified all my purchases. THEY’RE ALL GIFTS FOR FRIENDS Y’ALL!
But gifting includes testing, trying, and therefore I got two of nearly everything – for myself, and then for friends.. ah. This life. Thankfully I am also still a bit of a OCD freak when it comes to money, because financial prudence is essential to any kind of lifestyle I think. So I am pretty pleased with myself right now because I think I bagged a bunch of the best beauty buys EVER for really great prices. Unfortunately I didn’t actually plan to write this post so I wasn’t keeping track religiously of the exact prices I paid for things, but I have a rough idea of how much each item cost, which I will approximate in this post.
And because sharing is caring, here they are:
1. ARITAUM BIG HAIR BRUSH.
You can laugh. Go ahead. But this is hands down the best thing I bought in korea. I think it cost me 4SGD and it is a MIRACLE BRUSH. I have really fine, bleached-to-death hair, which gets tangled like nobody’s business. I HATE round brushes even though so many beauty bloggers swear by them for styling because they always tangle up my hair so bad that I’m perpetually yanking off half my scalp trying to untangle that shitshow. I’ve got a bunch of reliable hair brushes at home that I use, but I still find that they pull my hair out when I’m trying to brush through. So I’ve been on the lookout for a brush that will be both gentle with my scalp and still work through all the tangles. I bought this big flat brush when I saw it because I forgot to bring my hairbrush to Korea and I didn’t want to use the hotel comb because I know my hair just cant handle it, which is to say I bought this brush rather perfunctorily and without much expectation.
BUT IT IS MAJESTIC.
I wish I had gone back to buy like four more brushes because it is SO GOOD. It runs through my hair like silk and keeps it tangle free. It doesn’t stress out my hair either – there’s very minimal breakage when I comb through. And when I brought it with me on my recent diving trip, my girlfriends all freaked out when they tried it because it was SO GOOD. I would totally recommend buying this whenever one is in korea, and then buying another few more to give to girlfriends who have similar problems with tangled hair and who are terrified of hair loss from YANKING RANDOM COMBS THROUGH THEIR DAMNED HAIR. It’s a perfect gift. And so worth the four bucks. This brush is bae. Trust me on this.
2. MISE EN SCENE PERFECT REPAIR HAIR SERUM
I mean, since we’re on the topic of hair, right?
This serum is something a friend introduced to me three years ago, the first time I stepped foot in Seoul. It’s only available in Korea and on eBay. And it is INCREDIBLE. When I applied this to my hair, I could actually feel my hair drink up the oil. It just soaked it right up, like it was a thirsty little human! And after applying it, I really felt a notable difference in my hair texture each morning after waking up… It contains argan oil, royal jelly, and rose water, for those of you into technical details. I don’t really know what that means specifically but I know argan oil is really good for your hair. And bottles of argan oil are great, but generally expensive too. This 70ml bottle here though? It cost 6,500KRW, which is about eight bucks SGD. TOTAL. STEAL. I buy a few bottles every time I’m in Korea because it’s such a necessity for me, and at such a great price point. I apply it every night after showering before bed, and if I go swimming or diving, a whole ton goes on my hair after to keep it sleek and shiny. It’s worked for me for the past three years, and I swear by it. Recommend!
3. WAKEMAKE HOLOGRAPHIC NAIL POLISH
This is something I found in Olive Young (their version of a Watsons, I suppose?) and it was suchhhhh a hidden gem. WAKEMAKE has it’s own nail polish line with a ton of great polish colors, but the real treasure was finding a series of holographic colors that you cant really find anywhere else. Holographic nails are a total trend right now, and they’re so eye catching and gorgeous. The problem is, holographic nail polish is mad expensive. Chanel does one for about a hundred bucks, and so do other luxury level brands, starting from at least forty dollars. This is the only decent quality cheap one I’ve found – the WAKEMAKE version is only about 5SGD, and it glides on so smoothly that they could have totally doubled their price and people would still buy it in droves! It comes in three colors – holographic silver, holographic purple, and holographic pink. I obviously bought all three to give away as gifts, and they’ve been all so well received thus far. Would recommend, either for yourself or as gifts for friends!
4. SKIN FOOD BLACK SUGAR SCRUB
This is technically available in Singapore too, but at twice the retail price in Korea. It’s 6,500KRW (or less? I can’t remember) which is about eight bucks… but the singapore stores sell it at fourteen or fifteen dollars. The price difference alone makes it a really good deal for anyone going to Korea, but with such a huge difference you’d be a little bit skeptical…
Which is proof that sometimes life really just gives you one big luck-out. The Skin Food Black Sugar Scrub is an AMAZING product that is easily worth the singapore retail price or more. I have no idea why they price it so low in Korea when it is clearly a superior product. It’s an exfoliating scrub that you apply as the fourth step in your Ten Step Korean Skincare Routine (i know, i know. Koreans! So crazy) and it really just makes your face glow. Everyone I know who’s tried it loves it, and for good reason! Definitely check this out when you go to Korea – and when you buy anything from Korean make up stores, they give you a whole ton of samples as well, so that’s always fun!
PS. The Brown Rice oil cleansing tissue from Skin Food is also a very, very good product. I just didn’t include it here because the price difference between korean and singapore retail price is strangely only about a dollar, so it’s not technically classified a best beauty buy in korea since you can get it back home as well for a similar price!
5. DIY LANEIGE TWO TONE LIP BAR
This is an incredible souvenir for yourself or a really unique gift for a friend because i don’t think you can get this anywhere else in the world. Remember Song Hye Kyo in Descendants of the Sun? She wore the Two Tone Lip Bar and everyone went NUTS all over the world. It was sold out for months after the drama premiered, especially in the shades she used! So already this is a star product and a must buy for anyone headed the Korea way since it’s hard to get in most other parts of the world…
BUT. At the Laneige store in MyeongDong, level two, theres a TWO TONE DIY LIP BAR. This means based on your color consulting and preferences, you can actually MAKE YOUR OWN TWO TONE LIP BAR and have your name engraved on the casing. How insane is that?! It means you can essentially have a lip bar that no one else in the world has… unless you have very basic taste and pick the same thing as everyone else, in which case I can’t help you. But it’s a very, very cool gift nonetheless. It costs 30,000KRW which is about thirty six SGD. This might sound expensive compared to the standard one (25,000KRW), but when you compare it to the Singapore retail price of the standard (non-customised) colors which is 34SGD, then you’ll realise the unique customised one is only two bucks more!!!!!
Do note that they take a couple of days to actually make it for you and so don’t try and get it on your last day in Korea. Get it first, then come back and pick up the finished product a couple of days later!
6. MISSHA ANGLED EYELINER BRUSH
Actually I suspect this is a eyebrow brush, not an eyeliner brush. But I use it for my gel eyeliner, so whatever works, right? I don’t think it’s actually from missha since it’s not branded, but I found it in a Missha store and it cost only about four singapore dollars. Ridiculous! It’s very soft and picks up / applies the gel formula wonderfully, which, coming from someone who’s tried about fifty eyeliner brushes, is rare and fantastic. If you’re a gel liner user, I would recommend picking up one of these brushes in Korea!
And a great side note is – if you have eyelash extensions, the other fluffy end doubles up as a lash comb as long as you’ve not gotten any weird gunk on it by brushing it with mascara or anything. Just close your eyes, hold it to your lash, and twirl.
Ok so those are my top six buys!! Other really good purchases in Korea include the thousand different types of lipsticks you can get there… but these were the really amazing, unique buys that I felt really stood out from the rest. I’m sure there are a ton of other interesting things you can get from Seoul, but I only had little gasps of breaks in between scheduled itin and also I was there only over a weekend, so this isn’t as comprehensive as say a specialised Korean beauty blogger I suppose. But this is the modern world and so we are all entitled to say whatever we want and so I say that these are GREAT.
Till next time! x