Took a single suitcase. Came back with two. Exploring the road shops in Seoul for some unique cosmetic products is such an enjoyable experience for me. Without further ado, here are all the gadgets and gizmos I picked up during my shopping sprees in Korea this winter break!
This winter, I decided to chop of a good six inches off my hair and dyed it a lighter brown – it was a rather bold decision, but I really liked the end result (and now I can cut my shower time in half).
- I got the AMOS softening conditioner that you can basically spray onto your hair whenever, whether it be right after you come out of the shower or on the second/third day after a wash when your hair is feeling a little stiff because of the dry shampoo – it has a green tea and apple peach scent that leaves your hair smelling really fresh. It sprays on really evenly onto your hair and doesn’t weight it down at all.
- The second hair product is the Toni&Guy Volumiser that I purchased at Olive Young. I don’t exactly have thin hair, but my hair doesn’t have a lot of volume so it still tends to look pretty flat most of the time. So I started using this product to give some life to my hair by applying it after I blow dry. The directions say to spray it onto dry hair before styling, but since I don’t give myself blowouts or use a curling/flat iron every single day, I just spray it on and work it into my hair with my fingers.
- I got the Baking Powder Pure Cleansing Foam from Etude House. They used to have a milk cleansing foam that you could apply onto a dry face and I really liked it, so I was kind of disappointed that they didn’t have it in the stores anymore…until I discovered that this one works pretty much the same way. You just massage it onto a dry face until it absorbs all your makeup (I still like to remove my eye/lip makeup beforehand), then you lather it up by adding a little bit of water. The little beads of baking powder really clean out my pores but are gentle enough to be used daily.
- This one is the Olive Cleansing Cream from Nature Republic. I’ve been wanting to experiment with different cleansing methods for a while – and on the days I want a thorough cleanse, I think this cleansing cream would come right after removing my eye/lip makeup. You just take a sizable amount in your fingers and rub it into your face – just as if you’re applying lotion – until all the face makeup melts down. Then I either take a facial tissue or a wet makeup towelette and wipe it off before finishing off with a foam cleanser. Often times a multi-step cleanse can leave my face feeling bare and dried out, but this cleansing cream keeps my face rich and hydrated even after a deep cleanse.
- This cleansing gel was gifted to me from my grandmother, and it’s yet another formula different from just a normal foam cleanser. I haven’t tried it out for long enough to tell if this is more effective or not, but when I use this I feel like I’m giving my face a nice massage.
- I also purchased some bath products, both of which are from Skin Food. First is the Coffee Fit Cream, which helps you attain a firm body! Right before going into the shower, I just massage this cream into my hips, belly, and other parts of my body to keep any cellulite and stretch marks at bay.
- I also got the Quinoa Rich Body Cream – I’m already a big fan of the Quinoa Rich Body Oil, which is also from the same series; so I wasn’t hesitant to purchase this one. It has a very refreshing and soft smell, and personally, I think the consistency of the body butter is easier to work with when you have little time (me basically every morning). While the body oil is good for getting a nice, glow in your skin, the body butter helps retain moisture for a longer period of time.
- I got this Clean Face Spot Corrector from The Face Shop since I’m almost out of my Burt’s Bees blemish stick and I wanted to get something that would sooth and calm any pimples about to rise (You know when you JUST KNOW that one’s about to pop up?!). This spot corrector has a gel-like consistency and doesn’t run or sting or emit a strong herbal odor like the blemish stick, so it’s totally compatible with the rest of my skincare and makeup routine. I think this spot corrector also helps even out the skin tone in dark areas where an old pimple has taken its toll.
- Facial mists were all the rage in Korea ever since a few years ago – and for a reason. They are perfect portable solution for providing constant hydration to your face, especially in the winter! I couldn’t leave Seoul without getting at least one. I purchased the Green Tea Mineral Mist from Innisfree (one of my favorite shops) when they were having a BOGO sale – I got a tall one plus a mini one for about 8,000 won. These cans are much more effective at spraying on fine mist onto your face than just regular spray bottles, so all you need to do is gently tap it into your skin after you’re done spraying (sometimes I don’t even do that – I just leave it be).
- My skin has periods of trouble – especially when it’s close that time of the month. For the longest time I felt like my skin was constantly at an irritated state no matter how well I cleansed and how many face masks I put on at night. So I got the Parsley and Mandarin Toner from Skin Food, designed to soothe irritated skin. For most of 2015 I was using a spray-on Andalou Naturals Illuminating Toner, which I really liked, but since I was almost running out, I wanted to get something that focused less on brightening or anti-aging but was gentler to the skin. Besides the fact that now I have to use cotton pads to apply the toner on my face, I absolutely love this toner! I love the fresh, slightly citrus scent, and After just a a few days of using this toner, my skin feels a lot more stable.
- Last in skincare is just a plain old mini tub of Vaseline, which I normally use for my elbows and feet, but lately I also started using it on my lips as a lip balm alternative, and I’ve found it to be pretty effective.
- I ran out of my Urban Decay Makeup Fixer while I was in Korea, so I purchased this Primer Fixer from Tony Moly. When I hear primer I usually think of a paste-like product applied before all of my makeup, but this fixer pretty much does the same thing when you spray it on AFTER your makeup, and it also holds your makeup so it lasts all day. I’ve found all of Tony Moly’s products smell amazing, which is a plus.
- This Ice Smoothie Base by Secret was gifted to me, and I have mixed feelings about it. It definitely lets me skip primer, moisturizer, and BB/CC cream. Since it comes in a mousse form, I thought it would dissolve thinly onto my skin, but it’s way more pigmented that one would expect. The first time I tried this, I put too much onto my face and had so much trouble wiping it off! However, once you get a sense of how much you have to use, this product really moisturizes my skin and does a pretty good job of covering any imperfections on the skin.
- This product has quickly become one of my favorites! The No-Sebum Mineral Powder by Innisfree was recommended to me by a friend right before I flew over to Korea. It literally acts as an oil-absorbing sheet, except it comes in a powder form and smells minty fresh. After the first few tries, I went back to get two more! I use it in several different ways:
- I dab it on after my face makeup and just leave it there while I do my brows, eyes, and lips, letting it absorb all the oils on my T-zone and the rest of my face
- I apply it throughly right after I’m finished with my makeup routine as a setting powder – I like that it’s not pigmented, so it doesn’t make my face look cakey.
- On second day hair (or third day even), I apply some onto my hairline to absorb and control the oil on my scalp
- The Shiseido Anessa Sunscreen was gifted to me from my mom. Sunscreen is really important (and you have to put it on even if your BB cream or foundation has SPF!), and this sunscreen has a milky consistency and doesn’t clog my pores even after putting on the rest of my makeup on top of it.
- Nature Republic’s Green Tea Pore Primer is a repurchase; I find this Green Tea Primer to be a perfect in-between for moisturizing and pore-covering, so when my face isn’t having too much trouble, I just use this as a daily primer. I can apply a pretty generous amount and not have my face feeling greasy or flaky.
- However, to replace my tiny, empty tube of Benefit’s Porefessional with a more affordable yet powerful pore primer, I did purchase Missha’s Layer Blurring Primer specifically designed to target pores. It basically does the same job, and I just apply it in small portions on any areas of my face where pores are visible.
- Daiso is like a fancy Asian dollar store of your dreams. I found these nail art liquids that have two tips, so you can apply it onto your nails with either a metal tip or a fine tip brush. The clear one is a fast-dry topcoat specifically designed for small and detailed nail art.
- Nature Republic had a end of the year BOGO promotion for all of their nail polish, so I purchased an array of reddish neutrals to match those cold weather vibes. Sadly I have gel nails on my fingers right now, but once these are off I’ll go back to these colors right away!
- This winter I found some unique eye makeup items that I just fell in love with. This one is the Always New Auto Liner from Innisfree; when you screw on the cap, it automatically sharpens the tip, so that you can always be ready to go with a perfectly sharpened eyeliner! I got this nice golden shade (the lightest of the series) to I use before I go in with my darker colored eyeliners. The shimmer is very subtle, so for a natural look I put just this liner on to create a natural looking contour around my eyes and make them look bigger.
- Banila Co. was one of the brands that I have wanted to try out for a while, and during a shopping trip with my mom, we picked up this Cushion Gel Liner at a discount. The container has a netting near the top, so it’s easier to control the amount of gel you want on the brush without the product clumping up. The color is a lovely burgundy (it seems quite red at first, but it blends down into a reddish purple.), and I’ve been rocking it with my nude eye shadow + a touch of coral. This gel liner really warms up the eyes.
- This little sucker is also a repurchase: Etude House’s Proof 10 Eye Primer has a great formula and a nice doe-foot applicator, so you can just dab a little bit on your eyelids to make your eye makeup last all day. It’s quite affordable relative to how much comes in the tube, which is always appreciated!
- I also got the Fox Tail Mascara from Banila Co. – just as the name says, the S-shaped wand resembles a fox’s tail, and the thick part provides volume, while you can use the skinnier tip to coat each lash. Although I’ve used other mascaras that are more lengthening, this mascara really holds the curl, which is crucial for monolids like mine (a couple blinks just straighten out my lashes, sigh). The formula is super powerful, so you don’t have to worry about smearing (the only downside would be that it takes a while for me to remove it at night).
- The last eye makeup item is the Heroine Make Smooth Liquid Eyeliner, which I’ve actually been using for several months before I went to Korea – but I wanted to include it in this haul because I love it so much and I’ve since restocked and gotten myself a few backups! The ink is extremely pigmented, yet the brush is flexible enough to easily create the cat-eye wings that I want. It doesn’t smear as much as the HERA brush liners that I used to use, so I’m very pleased with my choice.
- These hand warmers are necessary for my chronically cold body – just open one up, shake it up, and keep it in your pocket until it’s flaming hot.
- I got this face massager just for the fun of it – I saw so many people on television and YouTube using it, so might as well try it out myself and get that v-shaped jawline!
- I also got this odor-eliminating shoe spray from Daiso to keep my giant shoe collection smelling fresh.
- I found a store called Butter, which kind of felt like a younger, hipster Muji. These DIY Deco Stickers can be applied onto any plastic, glass, or ceramic surface, so I’m planning on trying them out on one of my water bottles or a coffee mug.
- I have been meaning to purchase heel protectors like these for my Steve Madden slip-ons, but whenever I found them, they were too expensive in the US for some reason. There is a store called Jaju (basically the Muji of Korea – must be a relatively new brand since I don’t remembering seeing it the last time I was in Korea), and they cost around a dollar each, so I went ahead and purchased them.
- ArtBox is one of my go-to places for cute (and often very random) things for gifts, crafts, etc. I got these two packets of stickers mostly because they were just so dang cute!
- I guess I could have included these Egg White Pore Strips under the skincare section…? But This was kind of a spontaneous purchase during a visit to Skin Food. One thing that’s different about this one would be that it doesn’t just work on your nose – there are ones designed to fit your forehead and chin as well.
- Last purchase from Daiso. These Magic Sponges can be used to clean the kitchen, the bathroom, and basically any surface that needs a good clean. And all you need is water!
Wow, that was a lot. But I’m glad I got all of these products to enjoy – until next time Korea!