Myeongdong is definitely one of Seoul’s main shopping district. A place smacked with fashion, beauty and food from mid-high end. I like the hype, the massive number of beauty shops at every turn and every corner and how each brand displays their personality in their quaint little space. Apart from the shop houses, there are also malls like Migliore, Lotte Department Store, Noon Square, Tabby Mall and M Plaza where you can find International Brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Zara, Forever21, Daiso, Uniqlo. If I had only 24 hours in Seoul, Myeongdong is without doubt the place to go!
Korean Beauty brands there include (A-Z): Banila Co, Baviphat, Beauty Credit, Etude House, Hanskin, Innisfree, It’s Skin, Laneige, Missha, Nature Republic, Skinfood, The Face Shop, Tony Moly.
1) Freebies – Many travel programmes have commented that freebies are given even without purchase. However, from my experience, what are in those boxes given are just facial cotton or facial masks of ambiguous brands! You will still need to make a purchase before getting the real samples.
2) Products – Most products are sold in bundles (ie. a pack of 10) so if you are helping a friend to get these loots, get their orders at least in 10s.
3) Language – If you can’t speak Korean, don’t despair! Most shops have BAs that speaks fluent Mandarin!
Korean Beauty Products Tried and Tested!
1) Banila Co
Banila Co, one of Korea’s fastest growing cosmetic brand since its launch in 2005, often known as the Korean alternative to Benefit. Allured by its rosy pink signage, the products speaks up to me with THAT american cosmetic design like a hybrid of Urban Decay, Soap & Glory and Too Faced apart from Benefit. The brand has also won accolades from the editors of Allure Korea for a number of their products. Star products include Prime Primer Classic, Clean It Zero, It Shiny Makeup Base. If you are heading to Tokyo, they have a shop too in Harajuku.
– The Secret Marbling Blusher#03 Temptation (₩20,000)
A mixed pressed tin of gold-orange hues, I use this after my blusher or standalone for a sheer shimmer. Color stays throughout the day and thoughtfully the people of Banila Co also included a mirror on the underside of the cover. SO HANDY!
Baviphat’s products carry these quirky and old-school graphics. Perfect for some inexpensive and nostalgic gifts!
– Nail Polish Shade #5 (₩2,000)
Similar shade to OPI Y’all come back ya hear but the quality is just POOR! Color tarnishes right upon abrasion with any surface, yes even with top coat. So despite the cheap price, stick to your trusty OPI.
– Magic Girls Flash Eye Gel Mask (₩3,000)
Contains arbutin and broccoli extract to relieve tired and dull eyes. I reckon it to be the biggest piece of gel eye mask which encompasses both upper and lower eye area unlike other brands which covers only the lower eye area. Cooling and unique!
– Makeup pouches (₩5,000 – ₩9,000, varies with size)
Love these makeup pouches, they come in an assortment of design and sizes to fit all your makeup stash. Has compartments for brushes / lipgloss. Similar design and also has compartments like those sold in artbox but at a fraction of the price. I find these pouches also similar to those of Benefit’s. VERY AWESOME!
Innisfree, a brand that prides itself as one that uses natural ingredients that hails from the pristine island of Jeju. If you have sensitive skin, then you should find yourself here! As I did not do a thorough research, I missed out the famed Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask! Other products you can try are the Olive Real Power Cream and Green Tea Seed Serum.
– Q10 Collagen Eye Mask (₩3,000)
Contains ingredients like Q10 Collagen and Fungi Extract, I find my lower eye area truly firmer and refreshed. Worth the bucks!
Be Waterful. Laneige, Amore Pacific’s stellar brand, this name needs no introduction. Famed for its Water Bank series that gives your skin a 24 hours continuous hydration. I have always been a fan of their products and yes I was in luck! Got my hands on a NEW PRODUCT. Other products you can stock up on are the Water Bank Gel Cream, Water Bank Essence. Look at the amount of samples that the BA gave! Super hyped!
– Firming Sleeping Pack (₩30,000)
An enhanced version of its sister the Water Sleeping Pack, this is a jar of memory form gel that seeks to solve the problems of dull, dry and sagged skin. Love the texture of the gel and cannot resist playing with it upon every application. I like how hydrated, more plumped and less oily my skin is the next morning when I apply this the previous night.
Skinfood creates its product with the nutritional values of food since 1957. You will see fun products that contain our daily intakes like: Eggs, Raspberry, Kiwi, Aloe Vera, Grapes and even Caviar. Its like a harmony of food therapy on our skins.
– Egg White Nose Pack (Cool Down) (₩500)
Find this interesting. A hydro gel nose patch acting as a cooling down down procedure for firmer and smaller pores after nose pack application. To be reviewed as I have not used them.
6) The Face Shop
The Face Shop, a subsidiary of LG Corporation, is undoubtedly a celebratory success story of South Korean brandname, with over 900 stores in 22 countries. Carrying an inexpensive yet effective range of skincare and makeup for both genders, no wonder its such a big hit. I still vividly remember how my colleagues raved about the products and bought truckloads of it just for Bae Yong Joon’s poster during those Winter Sonata days!
– Raspberry Line & Lift Collagen Eye Patch (₩3,300)
A gel textured eye patch containing raspberry extract targeted for the lower eye area, I find this one of my favourite eye patches as it is non-oily for the delicate eye area while relieving my tired eyebags. Some forum reviews even vouched for its ability to remove fine lines.
– Smile Foot Peeling (₩7,000)
Get delicate and baby-smooth feet after 1 use! Amazed by the results as my feet started flaking off dead skin at the 3rd day after soaking in the liquid. Very effective to remove dead skin or foot calluses!
7) Tony Moly
Tony Moly, a fast growing cosmetic and skincare brand well loved by the locals since its establishment in 2006. Highly famed for its Snail Mucin range of products, containing the highest concentration in the market.
– Tomatox White Massage Pack (₩9,800)
Packed in a cute tomato shaped container, it contains Tomato extract aimed to bring detoxifying as well as brightening magic to the skin. Have used this for a number of times and I find it good for its brightening purposes.
– Intense Care Snail Eye Mask (₩2,500)
Containing snail mucus and collagen, this eye mask (as explained by the BA) is said to target fine lines around the under eye area for a firmer skin. Snail mucus is a I.T. beauty ingredient in Seoul, known for its natural healing properties. Sealed in by its promises, I bought quite a few bundle packs. But these masks really do have a design problem, the gel texture is SO SMOOTH that it keeps slipping down your face. For this, I have not seen improvement on lines and stuff just a reliever to tired eyes. What a disappointment.
– Intense Care Syn-Ake Eye Mask (₩2,500)
This mask is meant to treat deep wrinkles and meant for a higher age group. Syn-ake is a synthetic imitation of a peptide found in the venom of the Temple Viper and it aims to reduce wrinkles by inhibiting muscle contractions. Again, it keeps slipping down my face so I have not seen improvement YET. But the BA told me this product is a total hit and it gets sold out almost instantly. I had to get these at another Tony Moly outlet because the Myeongdong one was stocked out. For that, I will try it again and review soon!
After a round of beauty haul shopping, let’s fill our stomachs with some authentic local dishes!
With no lack of eateries in Myeongdong, it is actually hard to scope down on a few as they all look so good!
To be continued here!