Finding a beauty store in Seoul, is one of the easiest things to do, but when it comes to which area to shop as a foreigner can be a bit tricky, so to help all of you who has plans on traveling to Seoul in near future, here is your Beauty Shopping Guide, to find all your favorite Korean beauty products. – The easy way…
A must to-do before leaving your hotel room is to make a list and do a bit research of what products you want to bring back you home. Because as soon as you leave your hotel room the comfort of english letters disappears and everything transforms into Korean and you won’t be able to read the ingredients or ask anyone for help.
So a list with brands and products name will help you on your beauty hunts and if you can provide the shop assistents with pictures of the products,this will get you a long way.
EWHA Woman’s University
This is a small area and one of my favorite for beauty shopping, it has all the brands we know and because it’s close to the University you’ll experience more people speaking english.
The shopping area is easy to get an overview of and if you take the subway, stop EWHA Woman’s University. and take exit 2 and you’ll come right up to the main shopping street, that takes you right down to the university and if you just follow the street you’ll come down to all the side alleys where you can shop clothes and shoes, the local calls it the “Wear” Street and after 4pm the streets are packed and it’s quite fun to experience.
Myeong-Dong is the biggest shopping mecca in Seoul and when it comes to beauty shops, you’ll see the same brands on every street.. Sounds a bit crazy, I know – But it’s true! Believe me…
It’s a really busy and loud area, all the shops has their own speakers towards the streets, playing loud pop/techno music that takes you right back to the 90’s and after 4pm you just have to follow the flow, because there are so many people – So I would recommend to avoid the weekends and go when the shops open around 11am, so you’ll have it all to yourself.
The Gangnam area is more fancy and less crazy than Myeong-Dong. It’s more business minded area, so their is more space around you and less authentic.
And this is a good place you want to survive as a couple or want more breaks between the shopping.
The amount of beauty shops isn’t as big as Myeong-Dong, but their is a famous pharmacy called BOONS which is located just next to exit 11 from Gangnam station.
I’ve talked about this area before, right here, which is the one that’s located close to the Gwanghwamun Palace, there are not many beauty boutiques here, but the korean beauty brand Lyanature, has their three level building in this area, which is definitely a worth spending some time at.
All the big brands as, Tony Moly, Nature Republic, Etude, MISSHA, Innisfree, FaceShop and It’s Skin have multiple stores all over Seoul, especially in Myeong-Dong.
But you’ll also find other stores that will satisfy any beauty Junkie.
Olive Young is located all over Seoul, but the best store is the 2 levels shop which is located in the middle of Myeong-Dong, it’s a crowed place, but they have a large selection of Korean and western brands, hundreds of different sheet masks and all kinds of beauty tools you can think of. – And if it all gets to much you can take a coffee at TwoSome which is located on 1. floor.
Watsons is as Olive Young everywhere Seoul, it’s a typical drugstore and they are not a foreinger friendly, but you can find all the popular Korean products, and even some at a better price
Love Health & Beauty – LOHB is a bit more of a niche chain when it comes to beauty, than the two others and therefore is there not as many of them. You’ll find more international brands as well, but still come across some of the korean brands that can be hard to find.
Good Things To Know
A Korean beauty brand that’s very popular in western contries, and I know that many looks for MIZON but unfortunately their are no retailers in South Korea that sells MIZON, their products are only available online..
And to order, you need a Korean friend or google translate to be able to make a purchase.
But If you do find MIZON in a store, check the expiry date, I did find a few products around the Seoul, but they were all expired, so please keep that in mind.
A lot of the Korean beauty products is sold as “Whitening”, but this doesn’t mean it will bleach your skin, but brighten dull skin tone or lighten hyper pigmentation spots and most of them are safe to use. Off cause some are more harsh than others and if you experiences any irritation remove the products.
The more hard core whitening products comes from Africa and a lot of them contains bleach, so if you have seen any scary pictures, they are most likely not from a Korean Brand.
Most brands has samples on all their products and don’t be afraid to ask – They are more than happy to provide you with samples. every where you’ll get samples with every purchases and I’ve tried so many new products that I have a new list with products I need for my next Seoul visit…
Well ArtBox has nothing to do with beauty – But if you want to buy all the crazy korean accessorize and gadgets, Artbox is the best place to shop. – Have a good trip!