where to get your fill of the K-Beauty craze in Seoul

My love of South Korea everything {okay...minus the food...and a mild, few other things} only expanded upon my second {technically third} visit. Part of that love is, as shallow as it sounds, rooted in their famous 10-step skincare routine. Long? Yes. Tedious? Yeah, kinda. Worth it? Umm...my pores always think so {when I can be fully fussed to do it}.

Truthfully, I haven't fully committed to the lengthy method of skincare {ya girl's got shit to do}, but I do completely buy into every mask, cleanser, and at-home spa treatment. As much as I hate most makeup, I make a whole-hearted exception for K-Beauty {there are some seriously cool vegan-friendly brands, FYI}. 

As I navigated my way through the streets of Myeongdong and Gangam, I made sure I bopped into every beauty store that caught my eye. You can find K-Beauty brands and their storefronts everywhere. From Sephora to order online subscription boxes, everyone knows that Koreans know what they're doing. Yes, this has led to an insane increase in plastic surgery procedures, and it's true that the skin bleaching craze is fully intact...but their intense beauty standards have led to a beauty treatment for everything. 

Here are my personal favourite Korean beauty stores + brands...

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innisfree //

I actually first discovered innisfree upon arrival in China. The shopping centre near my office has the Korean beauty house, which I flocked too in December in hopes to clear and moisturize my poor winter skin before my trip 'home' to Wellington summer in January. I Instantly fell in love with their sleep capsule packs! I swear the tea tree pack fixed my dry skin and helped fix up any redness I was experiencing at the time. The brand has an eco-centred story too {always earning points in my book}. 

Tony Moly //

An American friend of mine introduced me to Tony Moly while I was marvelling at her beauty product collection. So, naturally, while I was in Seoul, I made sure to drop by one of the {thousands, probably} of Tony Moly stores to pick up my favourite sheet masks and pore minimizer. The honey lip masks are also winners in my book. 

Etude House //

The .2 Therapy Masks are unbelievably cheap, taking the guilt out of guilty pleasures.  I've been obsessed with Korean eyebrow pencils since Natalie Jean's blog {R.I.P.} pointed me in their direction and the ones from Etude House have my full seal of approval.  I've never claimed to be the Queen of the Beauty Bag, but I will say the base/primer situation at Etude House makes me feel like I have the pore-less skin of Pony without going to all the delicate work she does {though it all comes in the standard fair shades, since skin bleaching is still a major thing throughout Asia}. 

Cree'mare //

Cree'mare isn't a brand, it's a store. More like a library, really. A library of serums, masks, BB creams and the best K-Beauty brands. I knew I wanted to visit Gangam while in Seoul. Luckily, Cree'mare has a store right near Sinnonhyeon Station {line 9 using the Seoul metro system}.  If you love anything beauty/skin related-- YOU HAVE TO GO TO CREE'MARE. 

E Nature //

This is a vegan K-Beauty brand whose cleansing balm takes off the trickiest of mascara {seriously, I never worry about taking off lash tar these days}. Unfortunately, I'm basically out of my stock...so if anyone wants to send some my way ya girl would be the most appreciative. 

Klairs // 

I first found Klairs line of skin products when searching online for a good Vitamin C Serum. The reviews for Klairs among vegans and activists made it clear-- I had to try it. When I stopped into Cree'mare in Gangam, I made sure to restock their Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum

RE:P //

This brand isn't certified vegan, but it is known for being a company that practices ethical policy. It's also certified cruelty-free {no animal testing, yasss!!}. I've only tried their Bio Fresh Mask with Real Vitality Herb, but I'm already fully sold. Plus...I'm a sucker for pretty, eco-minded packaging. 

You can find these stores and brands all over Seoul city, but Myeongdong shopping district and Gangam have stores I've physically stepped in. If South Korea isn't on your beaut-bucket list, many of the products I've written about in this post can be found online through Korean beauty suppliers, subscriptions boxes, Amazon, and even your local Sephora. 

Let me know what products I'm missing so I can hunt them out on my next trip across the water!