Picked up some new kbeauty goodies recently and I was itching to give them all a try last night. I’ve never used Amor Pacific, so I got this little set of a powder exfoliating cleanser and face mist, and they both felt very refreshing and moisturizing, but I would have been down with a bit more tingle for my exfoliation (but that’s just me). A new brightening hydrogel from Dr. Jart+ was also on the agenda, and though it was very slippery, once it finally held on, my skin drank it all in, felt plumper, and definitely seemed a bit more radiant (though that might have just been some extra shininess from all the moisture, but I’ll take it).

This regimen consisted mostly of my current favorites, however: Shiseido Perfect Cleansing Oil, Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Microfoam Cleanser, Lagom Cellus Mist Toner, belif True Cream Aqua Bomb, and Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream. All great products that have so far shown results in keeping my mug smooth and hydrated. I’m still at least going to be making some sort of effort to pare down my regimens and simplify a bit, but sometimes there’s nothing you need so much as a really clean, really nourished and happy complexion.

Spa Day at Sulwhasoo

Last week my aunt, uncle, and wee cousin flew all the way from the Big Apple to visit Seoul! We had a marvelous time galavanting around the city and eating heaps of Korean food. They were great sports as I dragged them around for 6-7 miles a day.  We saw all the of the classics (the Palaces, City Hall, the Chonggyechon, Bukchon, Apgujeong, Dongdaemun, and Gwangjang Market), and ate all of the classics (BBQ, street food/Teokbokki, the plunders of the Lotte & Shinsegae food halls, $5 Korean lattes). A little known about Korea is that there are a ton of private “museums” that are super funky and kitsch. We hit up the Handbag Museum (which was super cool!) and stumbled upon the “Ice Gallery” in Bukcheon, which takes the gold for the weirdest Korean museum I’ve been to. This is a feat, because trust me, there are a LOT in this country: owl museum, sex museum, chocolate museum, etc. 

On the Thursday of their visit, we had a girls day/boys day: my uncle and cousin went to the Korean War museum in Yongsan, and my and my aunt hit up the Sulwhasoo Spa. 

The Low Down

My aunt is the head of all things beautiful (check out her blog!) at Vanity Fair, so she always know’s what is good – she treated me to my first facial, which was a very interesting experience that involved a lot more than the face. Surprised? I certainly was. In fact, the Sulwhasoo “facial” starts off with a foot soak, scrub, and massage – I was cringing given the state of my runners feet. 

The Sulwhasoo Spa is located on the fourth floor of the Lotte Hotel, and while the rest of the hotel has this Vegas thing going on, the decor at the Spa is like a celadon vase: beautiful and understated.  Reservations recommended, because it looks like they can only handle two appointments at a time. 

Anyways, after you pick out a theme scent  – they gave us a choice of Plum, Fir, Sandalwood, and one other thing that I did not particularly like – you are led into a private room to change into a standard issue fuzzy bathrobe and a pair of disposable granny panties. If you’re a facial newbie, tell that to the staff upfront to minimize awkwardness. Over the course of an hour I was pummeled and perfumed by a tiny, porcelain-skinned woman. I recently re-watched Mulan and realized that it’s still quite relevant to my life. You know that scene where her female relatives are getting Mulan all ready for the matchmaker? Totally comparable to the Sulwhasoo experience. 

Post-massage selfie: 

Home girl was not messing around.  That hurt. Afterwards, I had a clay mask and an entire medicine cabinet of Sulwhasoo products applied to my face. Evidence: 

According to my aunt, who gets these on the regular, it was one of the best she’s ever had.  I certainly walked away from the experience feeling like I did Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle proud.  I felt dewy and glowy (and kind of sore from the massage). Thank you Aunt S! And thank you Sulwhasoo! 

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I find Korean beauty culture super fascinating, and think that would be true even if you were 100% uninterested in the actual products themselves. For example, here in Korea, straight men are totally into skin care, and K-beauty is poised to be a major commercial and economic force, particularly given sales growth throughout Asia. (Side note: I recently spoke with someone who covers Korea for Bloomberg, and she shared a fascinating story about Amorepacific’s humble origins in a North Korean home). 

Culturally, I think it is also very interesting to see the global rise of Asian cosmetics brands. By extension, eastern standards of beauty are becoming more prominent in the West.  As an Asian-American woman, I’ve dealt with (not quite fitting into) western standards of beauty ever since I was little. Given this personal experience, it’s hard for me to not be interested in the rise of these companies. That said, I can’t really say that a shift to Korean beauty practices as the global norm would be 100% welcome on my part: it’s not unheard of for Korean women (and a few men) to practice a 12-step beauty routine in both the morning and evening.  Needless to say that’s too high maintenance/too expensive for me – for the everyday, I’ll stick to Mulan’s routine of splashing my face with water and wiping off on my sleeve.

Just received this Email, waiting for my confirmation to DDF (so excited) and Sadick (which interesting enough wasn’t interested in my posting of them, strange) , in any case receiving emails as such is a great reason why you should join Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program.

If you live in cities like New York you can always go to branded stores such as Amore Pacific, Suger, Aveda Macy’s (but only for Le Mer) or any host of places or doctors.

The great thing about Sephora is that they have a huge selection all under one roof, which means more times then not more enticing consumer oriented events, and a wider host of promotional items.

But if your like me you have your favorites ;-) (Two of mine Perricone & DDF acne treatment)