Seoul is synonymous with everything beauty-related – cosmetics, skincare, eyelash extension, facial reconstruction, plastic surgery… you name it, and I am pretty sure they have it.
While not everyone is game to go under the knife, we are still vain deep within us, and wherever possible, we want to look our best. Without cosmetic procedures, we can still have fun at Seoul with the endless streets and alleys of beauty offerings in the happening area of Myeong-dong. Trust me when I say that even the typical men with zero interest in masks and moisturisers will give in and reach out for that bottle of very affordable face lotion. And needless to say, Myeong-dong is a heaven for females. Here is our guide to shopping in Myeong-dong, Seoul.
Situated in the central of the capital city, Myeong-dong is a concentrated area that bustles with life all the way till 11pm. Besides the regular street snacks, coffee joints, random apparel boutiques and lifestyle services parlors, Myeong-dong houses all the local beauty brands – Think Etude House, The Face Shop, Tony Moly, Innisfree, Holika Holika, Aritaum (for Laneige) etc - and is the to-go pad for cosmetic shopping in Seoul.
And if this is not mind-blowing enough, you would squeal upon knowing that there are multiple outlets per brand. Just Etude House alone, we counted 5 outlets, all a stone’s throw away from each other. And that is just what I like, because if you cannot find a particular product in the first outlet you step into, there is always a few more in another outlet – without having to walk much.
I have never seen such a beauty archipelago before, and it is no rocket science to understand why avid beauty lovers spend so many hours there. Apart from the diverse offerings and options and extremely pocket-friendly prices (Etude House is at least 50% cheaper than that of Singapore’s prices, and brands like Innisfree are only available in Korea), you would love to know that in Korea, they practice giving out freebies with purchases. They call that ‘service’, and this service include travel-sized beauty products, masks sheets and cosmetic samples. The amount of freebies is dependent on how much you spend.
After a night of shopping, what better way to retreat into the night than to sit down at one of their many coffee joints and bakeries for a drink and a slice of cake? Household names like Paris Baguette Cafe operates till 0000hrs, and they have take-out options as well.
Are you already excited about what awaits you at Myeong-dong? Well, even if you are not a fan of beauty products, it is still worth a trip to the happening pad. Pig out on street snacks or sip coffee as you people-watch!
And a little reminder for all you crazy shoppers – tax refund forms will only be given upon asking.
Words by Melody Yap, photographs by ladyironchef