As any fan of beauty products and cosmetics knows, South Korea is the place to go for all your skincare and makeup needs. Seoul is a city with many charms and beautiful attractions but the many travellers I saw there were primarily preoccupied with the overwhelming amount of beauty stores, especially in Myeondong.
This small section of Seoul is home to approximately 120 beauty stores, which attract around 2 million shoppers every day. Unlike the shops of Sydney, Seoul’s beauty store hub stays open and busy until nearly midnight. The area is easily walkable but faint-hearted shoppers (like yours truly) are easily overawed with the sheer amount of shops and products available.
Luckily for those uninitiated Korean shoppers, we’ve created a list of the four best and broadest Korean beauty shops in Seoul.
This store is more like a Priceline or a Sephora in that you can find a multitude of brands and products, including some that are more niche and harder to find. It’s also relatively cheap (depending on your exchange rate), which is beneficial when you’re buying baskets full of creams and perfumes. Their blender sponge is very popular.
You can’t miss Etude House, mostly because the building is probably pink, cute as a button and filled with masses of great products (the fact that some are cupcake shaped doesn’t distract from their usefulness). They have a wide range of complimentary products, from skincare to makeup, so you won’t have any problem with continuity.
This brand is excellent because it focuses on natural skin products created from food. They believe that the nutrition of food such as organic vegetables, exotic fruits and honey are the best way to nourish the skin. Their egg white pore cleansers and black sugar masks are their bestselling cleansing products and will have your skin feeling soft as a rose petal in no time.
Too Cool for School
This is the go-to place for makeup in Seoul, even if it’s just to give you a taste of what Korean makeup has to offer. They have a fuller cosmetics range than other stores so you have more choices. Apart from their great makeup, the brand is also famous for their Egg Cream masks, which are so popular that Sephora has picked up the line.
Even if you’re just browsing these shops, you will walk away a cosmetics winner. Korean beauty shops love to give away bundles of free samples whether you’re buying or not. It’s a great way to see what you like or what you’d like more of. Some products (like the famous sheet masks) don’t have samples but they can be bought individually if you ask nicely.
Obviously these are just a few of the many many Korean beauty stores in Seoul but these four provide a solid jumping off point for first time visitors to the intimidating bustle of Myeondong. If you’re heading out to hit the stores, remember that the trend in Korea is to have pale skin, so beware of bleaching chemicals in skin moisturisers and priming products.
South Korea is the birthplace of many cosmetic and skincare trends that have swept the world and the nation’s beauty stores continue to uphold this position with continuous innovation. If you can’t get leave for a cosmetics trip to Korea, don’t fret. Many of these stores are online, or have started to make their way into the mainstream through distributors like Sephora. SokoGlam is a Korean beauty blog that will allow you to keep up to date with the latest in Korean cosmetic trends and get your hands on the products.