Beauty Treatments in Korea
Seoul is regarded by many as the number one place in the world to get your beauty fix, literally. And I don't just mean plastic surgery. Scattered all across the city are hair salons, beauty spas and even gigantic public baths and steam houses that cater to beauty and wellness.
Koreans take great pride in taking care of appearances and that has led to the rise of facilities that pander to this demand. Get a K-Pop princess hair cut, rejuvenate your body or even take home a new facial feature. Those into beauty and wellness can indulge in the ultimate pampering experience on their trip to Korea.
Also check out this highlights video I've made of our trip, with some popular bloggers from around South East Asia!
Here is an overview of all the beauty treatments and wellness you can expect to see in South Korea.
1. Plastic Surgery in Korea
I wrote a comprehensive article a while ago about plastic surgery in Singapore with some inspirational stories from Singapore bloggers. So you can have a look there for more information.
There is a plastic surgery clinic around every neighbourhood in Korea. It's especially popular in Gangnam and it's common for Koreans to get work done. It's like going to the dentist. And most people accept this new thing which has now become your face. Just make sure you hide all your old pictures or the internet may unleash its fury on you one day.
The most remarkable transformations are always the jaw surgeries as they completely alter the persons facial structure and in turn their life destiny. I am a big advocate of plastic surgery and subscribe to the notion that God didn't make them beautiful, so their doctors did. And it's okay.
No more discriminatory treatment to people just because they lucked out in the gene pool. Its not that bad to be an ugly guy but if you're an ugly girl your life will not be fun. Damn you world. So go make yourself beautiful.
2. Beauty Salons
Koreans love getting their hair done. We went to one of the popular ones called "Ra Beauty Core" in the morning on a weekday and it was teeming with Koreans of both sexes trying to look their morning's best.
All of us LOVED the treatment. They were done in trendy Korean styles and our hair looked so vibrant! Here is a picture of me before and after I got my hair done.
Now this is just an example as there are many of these around Korea. The one we went to was called RA Beauty Core Salon. It can be found at 228 G-five Central Plaza, 1685-8 Seochong-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul, Korea. Tel: +82-2-594-6164
3. Facials / Spas
I've never been to a facial before. So I was thrilled to finally get the chance and I found the whole experience amazing. We were off to Jurlique Spa to get a 1 hour facial. $88,000 WON or about $110 SGD for 1 hour as Jurlique is a more upmarket brand as most girls would know.
I must have went through over 8 different rounds of facial treatments starting from the warm ones and ending with a cold mask which left my face feeling like a brand new Christmas present being unwrapped as she peeled off the cold mask. This is really not my area of expertise but from a newbie perspective I loved my experience here.
Jurlique Spa can be found at Esthetic R & D Center 5th Floor, 47-2, Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul. Tel: +82-2-542-4333/6
4. INHA International Medical Center
In their bid to make it easy for foreigners to have access to the best of Korea's services, the government has set up a massive one stop facility right next to Incheon airport. This way it is just a 10 minute ride away which beats the 1 hour + trip into Seoul if you're just flying in for a quick beauty fix.
With dentistry, plastic surgery, health checkups and even spa facilities, they aim to boost medical tourism in Korea and make it easy for tourists. This was where I had my dental cleaning. It was a lot like the Singapore ones, just a more advanced version. They had a display screen that was attached to pen like microscope that could show me the inside of mouth and demonstrate what she was doing. Oh yea did I mention they do massages too?
INHA Medical Centre's address is 253 Yonghyeon-dong, Nam-gu, Incheon, South Korea +82 32-860-7114
5. Public Baths / Spas
When your visit your first Spa in Korea, you'll probably be like this.
Because there is nothing like this in Singapore! I was amazed when I went to my first Korean Spa at Shinsegae Department Store, Busan. For about $12 you were granted half a day of access in the complex. That's right. They are more of a complex than a spa with multiple floors and its a similar rate all over Seoul too. They are called 찜질방 or "Jim Ji Bang".
The first level is usually the locker area which leads to pools of various temperatures, jacuzzis and public showers with plenty of grooming materials like shaving kits and bath amenities. This is single sex as everyone here is going to be naked so prepare for your body to be ogled by 20 random strangers. And you get to ogle back! If that's your thing.
On the next level there will be Sauna type rooms of varying temperatures for you to chill in. People put on their clothes so from here on out it becomes unisex. On another level there would be massage areas, gyms and heated floors to lie on. On another, restaurants serving food and couches where you can lay back and watch the latest movies, television shows or use the internet.
It's like a one stop enormous unisex chamber of fun and plenty of Korean couples and friends just go here to chill and have a relaxing day. You can even sleep over. How I wish they had this in Singapore!
And that comes to the end! What are some of the best beauty treatments you have had? Have you tried any good ones in Korea? Let us know in the comments!
In the final chapter we take a look at MBC Dramia & Everland Theme Park.
More from our Guide to Seoul, Korea 2013 Holiday:
Disclaimer: Media Invitation. Korean familiarization tour with Korean Air & Korean Tourism Organization. 2-4 were complimentary treatments arranged for us. Would you like to be featured on TheSmartLocal? Contact Us!