Thursday, September 16, 2010

My thoughts on a year done....

I am about 3 weeks away from finishing my first year here in South Korea and recently signed another contract to stay on a second year as an English teacher at my school. So many things about this country have appealed to me in this first year; my job, finding my boyfriend, new friends, Korean food, Korean fashion, how safe the county is, how beautiful the country is, just SO many things have made this year wonderful!

But one other detail about this county has been a constant source of delight and surprise and has managed to nudge me over the borderline from being 'mild cosmetic enthusiast' to 'full blown beauty junkie'- the Korean cosmetic brands and beauty stores. I am 100% in ♥ with the asian brand beauty products available here. For a start the packaging is super cute, I realise this isn't a major selling point for everyone but I am a major packaging whore, if you are one who adores the cute, design-heavy packaging on the likes of brands such as BeneFit then you will LOVE the packaging on some of the beauty products here. I have heard that the Japanese word for cute, 'kawaii', is how you would describe this style of design- think pastels, cute characters and drawings, flowers, hearts... girly!!

The main high-street beauty stores in South Korea are Skin Food, The Face Shop, Etude House, Missha and Tony Moly and I have included some pictures of the Skin Food facade and Etude House interior for you to get a look and feel of the stores- Etude House in particular has such a lovely boudoir/girl's powder room feel that sucks you in straight away. The sheer range of products that all these stores offer is something else; they range cosmetics, hair care, body care, skin care, and it's the skin care ranges in particular that have surprised, intruiged and delighted me here. All kinds of never seen or heard of before treatments, lotions, potions, packs and powders. Korean women take their skin care regime extremely seriously. I have read since being here that the average korean women will use 15 different products on her face in the morning. Yep, 15, and you know what i'm not all that surprised with the plethora of different facial goodies they have stacked on their shelves proclaiming to minimise this, smooth that and nourish the other. I have to admit I have been completely suckered in to all this an most paydays you can see me trawling the cosmetic stores for new treats for my bathroom shelves.

Probably the most exciting thing about my new passion is that the price tags are minimum. Unbelievably, cosmetics here are extremely reasonably priced and this is considering that Korea is not a cheap country. Food and clothes are on par cost-wise with the things I buy back home in the UK, however beauty products here are dirt cheap AND they don't sacrifice on quality because of this either. I find the quality of the products I buy rival any Western brand you can name which cost twice the price. This is, of course, delightful for me and only fuels my urge to splurge even more *sigh*

I have included 2 photographs of my most recent hauls from Skin Food and Etude House. It may look as if I bought out the entire store but in reality I bought only 3 items from Skin Food and 2 items plus some blackead strips from Etude House. Everything else that you see is all freebies that you recieve when you purchase. Oh yeah, in Korea they LOVE doling out the free samples- even if you spend a dollar on a nail file they will throw in some free cotton pads or something in your bag. See? Another reason why am blissfully, hopelessly hooked...

Skin Food Haul

  • Salmon brightening eye cream

  • Avocado rich cream

  • Egg white pack

  • Skin Food mug (freebie)

  • Ancient Rice First serum (16 fee samples)
  • Agave cactus prime gel (6 free samples)

Etude House Haul

  • Happy Teatime Milk Tea Cleansing Foam

  • Blackhead Gommage Massage Peel

  • Chin and Nose peel packs

  • Shower puff (freebie)

  • Baking Powder cleansing foam (freebie)

  • BB Magic Balm (freebie)

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