Shopping for Korean skincare and cosmetic products is definitely on the to-do-list for many tourists when visiting, with brands such as Tony Moly, Innisfree, The Body Shop, Too Cool For School, Skin Food, Etude House, Nature Republic, Olive young, Holika-holika etc.
It was a pleasure of shopping for the cosmetic and skincare products in Korea and the products always come with all sort of samples and free gifts. The more you purchase, the more free samples you may get.
These free samples include sunblocks, massage pack etc, which are really convenient to take along for holiday trips as a travel pack.
Too Cool For School - More free samples...
Too Cool For School Free Sample: Glossy Blaster Tint Lipstics.
The message on the product was interesting:
"SOMETIMES LIFE CAN BE BORING. BUT YOU CANNOT! YOU ARE NOT BORING, YOU ARE TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL" Perhaps what it really means - rules are meant to be broken, live a creative life!
Too Cool For School - Art Class Sfumato Eye Shadow
This eye shadow has become one of my favorites, the color combination delivers natural yet mysterious look.
Tony Mony Prestige Jeju Wild Ginseng Essence Special Set
One of the reasons I bought this product was because there was literally a Ginseng inside the Essence and I smelled the Ginseng when I tried the sample. It was hard to resist when I was told the ingredients consists of Jeju Ginseng, Jeju honey extract, 24K gold and it provides elasticity improvement. This definitely is a good gift set, especially gifts for mothers.
Tony Moly - Intense Care 24K Gold Snail Essence
Moist ampoule essence for moisturizing, elasticity, nourishment by ferment snail slime extract including pure gold, ginseng callus extract and EGF.
The photo of the pack with "1+1" sticker shows that they were having a promotion of "buy 1 get 1 free" which was a common promotion in Seoul. Seems like the skin care industries were into encouraging tourists to purchase in bulk for a better price to achieve win-win situation.
Too Cool For School - Egg Cream Mask
This set was a very popular set that I saw many tourists bought it when I was there. When I used the mask, the texture was very creamy, sticky and thick such that it really made my skin feel smoother and hydrated after usage.
Animal Masks are among the popular ones, who doesn't want to look adorable when they are with masks? Sometimes the white masks can be very boring, why not try something creative to have fun?
Tony Moly - Intense Care Snail Hydro-gel Mask
This masks really hydrated my skin when I was in Korea. Since I was so tired after walking for a long day, I thought might as well use it immediately?
In Seoul, many brands actually pack them in bulk - such as 30 sheets or 50 sheets and sell it in bulk too. You may find it very often they sell with "1 + 1" meaning buy one set of masks (says 50 sheets), you get another set (says 50 sheets) for free! The only problem to me, these are very heavy items! It could be a few kilos when you get two sets and do you still have room for your luggage? Well, depends how you plan for your luggage limit. Hope you have more room than I did.
Souvenirs for family and friends
Korea has so many small little items that are adorable and functional. Below are some that I found was fun and are suitable to be used as souvenirs for family and friends:
Blackhead Removal - 3 Steps Sheets
You may find many blackhead removal sheets from the market but perhaps you haven't seen the 3 steps removal sheets?
Step 1: Pore Heating Sheet (to soften the pore)
Step 2: Blackhead Clear Sheet (to remove the blackhead)
Step 3: Pore Tightening Sheet (to tighten the pore)
It makes sense to me to use it with three steps to protect the skin and make sure it doesn't leave with large pores as a result.
Sally's Box Friendly Black Head 3 step Sheet for the black head removal
Tony Moly - Panda's Dream Whilte Hand Cream
Looking at the Panda, it is just too adorable that I couldn't help but to buy that as a souvenir for friends.
Tony Moly - Peach Anti-Aging Hand Cream
This little peach shaped hand cream is very handy to keep and use, the hand cream smells like fresh peaches.
Tony Moly - Banana Hand Milk
I bought this as a souvenir for a friend and it smells really just like real banana.
Tony Moly - Mango Hand Butter
The thick cream butter contains fruity mango fragrance, don't you like the little sticker on it?
The last cute little thing that I would like to mention is sleeping mask. Not that you can't find it in other countries, but do check it out in the accessories shops if you are one of the mask collectors!
1. Buy 1 Get 1 Free Promotion
It is very common for this marketing campaign, sometimes they even told me that it was the last night/ day of the promotion to push the sell. I was glad that I had enough time to consider and realized the promotion remained the same for the week that I was there.
2. Tax Refund
Usually skincare/ cosmetic shops are tax refundable if your total purchase price, tax included, is more than 30,000 won and less than 200,000 won (limited to a total of less than 1,000,000 won for the duration of one's trip in Korea). For more information, please check with the official website of the latest details. Remember to let them know that you are a tourist and bring passport with you when you make purchases, they will assist you with standard tax refund procedures accordingly.
3. Random purchase or focus on favorite brands
You may choose to purchase different products with different brands but you get more negotiation power for better deal when you purchase more. When I was considering if I should increase my purchase, the sale lady threw in a cucumber gel, facial wash and more facial masks for free.
Last but not least, enjoy shopping in Seoul!
A country rich in history, culture. If you have never tried the delicious Korean food, it's colourful culture, or perhaps check out the plastic surgery industry - this definitely is a popular destination for Asia.