Korea might basically be the Disney World of beauty. There's no shortage to the inspiration we get from the latest technology in skincare and beauty coming from the other side of the world. Essences and BB cushions? Those were all imports. And lucky for us, Emily is in Seoul right now—on a trip that involves rubber masks and a bang-cutting tool. For a more in-depth look at what Seoul has to offer, Stella Kim told us about her favorite places from her last visit. There's nothing like a virtual vacation to get us through the week.
Here in Seoul, beauty hunting can be overwhelming. The streets of Seoul are as congested as New York. But for the uninitiated, there are different areas to explore. One of my favorite places to shop in the city is the Gangnam district, which carries a style of its own. The way I see it, Gangnam is like Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and other shopping districts like Myeong-dong are more like SoHo. Gangnam's a very upscale district with a ton of great shopping options and food (which you'll definitely want to prioritize on the same plane as beauty).
If you ever find yourself in Seoul, start the day at Miel. It's an art gallery and café that’s a favorite among Seoulites for the cafe americanos and honey-drizzled Belgian waffles (if that isn’t making your mouth water, they’re also topped with bananas and chocolate whipped cream—it’s advised you show up hungry).
After you eat, you’re set to venture off into Garosu-gil, one long street lined with beauty shops and boutiques that eventually branches out to narrow alleys of hidden-gem restaurants and izakayas. If you find yourself in Seoul this spring, make sure to make a pilgrimage to the highly anticipated opening of Style Nanda. Here’s where you can plan on stocking up on their makeup brand, 3 Concept Eyes. Then make your way to Olive Youngor LOHBS, which are the Korean versions of French pharmacies except with the bonus of having entire walls dedicated to sheet masks.
For more of a typical department store experience, Galleria is good. Pass on the designer accessories and head straight to Gourmet 494, a luxury food court located just below ground level. Here you can find an array of food from allover the world. A Seoulite favorite is the ricotta salad, consisting of a generous scoop of sweet, creamy, homemade ricotta cheese, a sprinkle of almond slices, and a drizzle of sweet balsamic vinegar with a side of chewy bread. While you’re there, take a walk around their produce market where even the organic veggies are thoughtfully (artistically?) laid out in colorful rows. Grocery shopping instantly becomes therapeutic. If you’re looking to do some organic and/or natural-beauty hunting, SSG Food Market is another upscale market that features a carefully curated collection of beauty and lifestyle products.
And since we're on a luxury virtual shopping day, getting your nails done is probably in order. My favorite place to go in Seoul is Trend N, which has two floors just for nails. After K-pop singers started a nail-art craze in South Korea around 2009, Trend N began to work closely with big-name performers to design conceptual performance looks that started on the nails and extended to customizable microphones and headsets. Here you'll get a manicure that starts with personalized, nail-design sketches and ends with a complimentary coffee.
If piercings are your thing, Nana is a must-see for all silver jewelry and handmade piercings. You know that nervousness you get when you walk into an intimidating piercing studio? Nonexistent at Nana. The store is filled with rows of sparkling piercings perfectly fitted to your inner conch—or better yet, get a customized piercing with your initials.
Finishing the day in Seoul, 10 Corso Como definitely deserves a better representation than the one in Psy's “ Gentleman' music video. It's the Italian boutique's Seoul branch, and it's a visual feast for culture aficionados. American artist Kris Ruhs designed the space's interior layout, and the visuals enough are well worth the trip. After all, this itinerary hasn't even touched Seoul's award-winning duty-free shopping at Incheon International Airport—save the best for last.
Photos courtesy of the author. Read more postcards here.