South Korea Beauty Product Shopping (Wish) List

Before going to South Korea, I tried to do a little bit of research by finding out more about the myriad of South Korean cosmetic brands etc. but after arriving (and stepping foot into Myeongdong) my research did not feel sufficient. There are just too many different brands and too many products from each. I came home with a suitcase full of new things and yet there are things I wish I got and things I just want more of! Here is a list of the things that I got (and would like to get more of):

Beauty Products

Nature Republic Aloe Vera Gel.

You can a big jar for just about 4,000 KRW. It’s almost triple that price if you buy it online. I just like this stuff because it doesn’t feel sticky like most other aloe products I’ve tried.

Clio Gelpresso Eyeliner.

I’m a liquid eyeliner kind of girl, and when I’m not using a liquid eyeliner I’m using a gel eyeliner from a jar. The only problem with that is taking care of that brush. With the gelpresso eyeliner, you’re basically using a gel liner in the form of a pencil.

Too Cool For School Egg Mouse Pack.

I’m a sucker for skin care that is not only cute but convenient. I love this stuff because it’s an instant facial/mask. Check JLe’s review and info

The Face Shop Nail Polish Remover.

It’s one of the few nail polish removers that I’ve tried that not only smells good but also works well.

Laneige Sleeping Pack _ EX.

I read countless reviews on this stuff before leaving for South Korea and therefore it was my number 1 item on my list of things to get. It’s super easy to use, just put it on before going to bed and wash it off when you wake up the next morning. I was so excited when I found a 1+1 deal for it (buy 1 jar and it came with a stack of sample packets equivalent to a jar for free). The sample packets were perfect gifts for my friends and family.

Shopping haul in just 1 day included cosmetics, clothes, tea, K-pop stuff, and tons of samples.

Sheet Masks.

You can never have  too many individual packs of sheet masks. Not only did they make great gifts, but they are so handy when traveling etc. I can’t get myself to spend more than USD$1 on sheet masks anymore, since that was what seemed like the base price for most sheet masks (and even better when there were 1+1 deals). Is it bad that I love falling asleep with it on? They’re just so refreshing.


Things I got after an evening of shopping in the Ehwa (Women’s University) area.


Of course it was not just the cosmetics that filled my suitcases. Other things I want to go back to get include:

  • clothes: I got a couple shirts but didn’t get anythings else. I was second guessing myself and I was a little scared with the sizing since most are only available in 1 size
  • cutes socks: How can you resist the cute animal socks, or the socks with K-pop idols on them? (I refused to buy socks for more than 1,000KRW)
  • accessories: Jewelry, hair accessories, cell phone accessories. We spent quite a bit of time going from one little accessory store to the next. The Ssamzie-gil Complex in Insadong was a unique shopping complex with mostly accessories (some things may be a little more expensive than the things on the streets though).
  • K-pop stuff: As a K-pop fan, I just had to get some albums (they come with free posters!), and other trinkets. My favorites had to be the unique light sticks (I guess I’ll need it if/when I go to their concerts).
  • tea: We came home with quite a bit of tea from O’Sulloc as gifts for our family and they want more. We also picked up some ginseng tea at the airport before leaving since South Korea is known for it’s ginseng.
  • food/snacks: Before leaving we headed to the nearest Home Plus (kind of like a super Walmart or Target here in the US) and picked up some Korean candy as snacks on the plane and of course as gifts. I ended up eating most of it before I could even hand it out as gifts. Too bad I can’t find some of them here in the Korean markets.
Things I wish I got: 
  • Etude House Rosy Tint Lips. I got this as a gift for some of my friends they have not stopped talking about how much they liked it.
  • Nature Republic Collagen Dream Vitamin C Capsule Foam Cleanser contains tiny vitamin capsules that burst during the massaging process to provide active vitamin ingredients directly to the skin. Vitamin C boosts your skin’s elasticity and provides for a brighter and clearer skin tone. I got this for my mom and she loves it. Plus, I’m intrigued by the vitamin capsules.


My recommendations for shopping in South Korea:
  • Did you know “1+1” = BOGO (buy one get one free)?  
  • Budget. Know how much you’re willing to spend on products, you just never know what a sales person can talk you into getting.
  • You will probably walk into the same store multiple times. You don’t always have to buy everything you want from the very first store you walk into.
  • If you don’t want to be bothered by the sales people (as much) speak in English. They’ll follow you around and maybe point out things to you, but they won’t talk your ears out about their products.
  • Too many things to carry? Make your way to the nearest subway station and rent a locker. You can store your stuff there (for a small fee) while you shop for more or go do other things.

Dinner break after an evening of shopping near Ehwa (Women’s University)

San Diego is a little far from South Korea, and we don’t have very many Korean cosmetic stores in Southern California right now. Even for the few brands that we have available, it’s a little pricier and therefore making the shopping in South Korea that much better! What did you get when you were in South Korea that you want to get (or get more of)?


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