Skinfood Cafe Seoul

SkinFood Cafe Seoul

SkinFood has quickly become a favourite brand of mine lately.  The quality of the products paired with their subtle, fun scents, adorable packaging, and affordable price range has got my collection growing quickly.  Imagine my surprise to have found the SkinFood Cafe Seoul!

THE BRAND

According to SkinFood, it “is the first cosmetic brand to root itself in food.  (Their) food philosophy drives (their) product development to ensure that only the highest quality food ingredients are used to create a more beautiful, healthier lifestyle.”  I’ve used products with avocado, tomato, apple, vanilla, and even salmon of all things!  If you’ve seen my 4 Minute makeup routine you’ll recognize a few of those products.  “Food components (like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) deliver targeted nourishment and care. The key to maximizing beauty can be found in the food around us.”

THE DECOR

The decor of the cafe is just like their skincare and cosmetics shops.  There’s bright yellow everywhere!  They have tons of books and motivational quotations framed and selectively placed.  There’s a variety of seating options for the individual guest, group of diners, or cute couple.  There was an adorable couple snacking away sitting on the couch near the photo opp area.  This is a super sweet date spot if you’re looking for all things cutesy without making him uncomfortable.

THE BEST FOOD

The SkinFood Cafe Seoul is, of course, part of the SkinFood cosmetics and skin care brand.  Their attitude towards food isn’t just part of the branding, it’s their core belief.

“Nutritive, wholesome food has the power and the ability to keep skin radiantly beautiful.
SKINFOOD is always searching for the best ingredients to utilize in product development.

The SKINFOOD initiative for the best food ingredients is a journey across the world.
Method matters. As a result, SKINFOOD upholds eco-friendly and
sustainable growing methods as a pillar to our philosophy.
We meet with farmers across the country to ensure that the best food is grown under the best methods.
The journey to discover the best food never ends.
Come with SKINFOOD and discover how food can transform beauty.”

According to the SkinFood Cafe Seoul, “You are what you eat.” and “Healthy skin starts with food.”  I ordered what I remember being named something like the Yummy Yummy Platter which was KRW 12,000 (about $12 Canadian, $10 USD).  There were three slices of baguette.  One was topped with half an avocado, some cherry tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.  Another was topped with grainy mustard pulled chicken and topped with parmesan and a little bit of honey.  Another was topped with rich, clotted cream, blueberries, and mint sprigs.  The baguette was a little crusty and stale, but the toppings were full of flavour.  You can’t go wrong with half an avocado in any meal in my opinion!  The two slider buns were topped with iceberg lettuce, ham, and a Kraft single.  This is a poor girl’s afternoon tea, and I loved it!

Even the bathrooms at the SkinFood Cafe Seoul are cute, clean, and full of SkinFood soaps and lotions to sample before heading on your way!

Go check out the SkinFood Cafe Seoul!  The chic Garosugil area of Apgujeong in Seoul is the perfect place to spend a sunny day, so why not pop into this adorable little cafe?

Color Oops in Korea

lion mane animal roar teeth wild Photographer: Lemuel Butler

What’s in a Mane?

I’m willing to bet this will sound ridiculous to most of you, but my hair is like my mane.  I’ve never really been one to buy into the hysteria of the zodiac or horoscopes, but my August 6th birthday makes me a fiery Leo.  I’ve been accused of being a spy in the past because I change my appearance so often (thanks, Military Man).  Truth be told, I just like changing up my look.  If I’m feeling sad, I’ll pick up a bright and cheerful lipstick.  If I’m feeling a little worse for wear, I’ll add some highlights.  When I’m feeling like I need to take control, bold changes occur.  Sometimes I need Korea color oops, but we’ll get there.

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My Main Mane

My mum says that when I was born I had a healthy mane of beautiful wavy auburn locks.  On day 3, they all fell out.  They were replaced with a light brown which would be sun-kissed, chlorine-washed, and turned into a golden blond in the summer.  I found my first gray hair at the age of 14.  Well, it was found for me.  We were in the high school library and to my shock and dismay I found a friend pulling strand by strand until she found what she was looking for, slid down to the root, and yanked out the follicle.  If what they say is true, then that first silver strand was mighty popular and its family members continue to visit to this day.  My natural hair colour now is a medium to dark brown with lots of bright silver strands throughout.  I guess this is why I feel so comfortable as a chameleon.  Who would realistically want to let that grow out at 29?

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Blonde Ambition

When I moved from Busan to Seoul, I decided to try out one of the local hair salons.  What a mistake!  They took me from medium brown to medium blonde…with brown roots.  Time for Korea color oops then?  Not quite!  I actually found a salon supply store in my new neighbourhood and went to work fixing the damage.  Check out my Blonde in Korea post for more info.  I touched up and blended the roots, but only made it to the platinum you see up there over a course of about 5 months.  Then around new year’s eve after a tricky 2 weeks of post-break-up blues, I decided to do something rash.  The hope was to go back to medium brown erring on the chocolate side, but I ended up with practically black hair.

Korea Color Oops

When hair dye works a little bit overtime (as in the case above) or you don’t like the colour, there’s a solution called “color oops”.  You can get it pretty easily at the drugstore in North America.  It turns your hair a hideous shade of orange, then you can apply colour on top.  I’ve only ever used it once back in Canada, but it had the desired effect.  In Korea, however, getting “color oops” isn’t as easy.  I ended up doing what’s referred to as a “bleach cocktail” or “bleach bath” instead.

Bleach Bath Recipe

This weekend I put my hair through absolute hell.  I did 2 Bleach Baths (or Bleach Cocktails – my personal makeshift Korea color oops), did a set of highlights, and then dyed my hair twice.  I started with a bleach bath which is:

  • 1 ounce powder bleach (the blue powder, usually)
  • 1 ounce developer (usually comes with the package and is about 20%)
  • 2 ounces clear shampoo (I used the Innisfree brand)

Mix the ingredients together and apply to WET, towel-dried hair.  Don’t shampoo or condition, just wet your hair, comb is out, and then apply the mixture.  I left the solution in for 30 minutes.  My results came out like this:

Bleach Cocktail Results

As you can see above, my hair was carrot orange.  The Korea color oops I created at home had done its job by stripping away the brown, but I was stuck with some pretty rancid strands.  I applied my re-bonding solution and went to sleep.  Korea color oops step 1 was complete.

After applying “dark blonde” throughout my hair, my locks were pretty much rose gold.  I actually kind of liked the “My Little Pony” look, but it wouldn’t have been work appropriate.  I added some highlights using a cap, but they didn’t pull the colour as I had intended.  Korea color oops round 2 did not turn out as well:

I ended up with yellow roots, pink mid-shaft, and orange tips.  This was not the desired look either.  I applied my Makarizo re-bonding serum again and went to bed.  In the morning, I applied L’Oreal Dark Golden Blonde (6.30).  I know this doesn’t actually make hair blonde again as I had used it in Busan to achieve a light brown look.  That said, I wanted full coverage and knew this would do the trick.

My hair is now coppery red.  I’ll keep this until my roots grow in, then I’ll do all over highlights once more.  I don’t want to go back to platinum blonde, but I think I would like to head back in the direction of a medium ash blonde.  I love being a hair colour chameleon and will probably never stick with one colour for over a year, but we’ll see what happens in the future!

Do you have any experience fixing dramatic hair colour at home?  Have you ever done a DIY hair experiement in another country?  Let me know in the comments!

Makarizo: Korea’s Olaplex Alternative

I put my hair through various levels of hell on a daily basis.  My resilient tendrils no longer shine and gleam like they used to (I was blonde, sue me!)  Now I’m well on my way back to long, luscious locks thanks to Makarizo, an alternative to Olaplex.

Olaplex in Korea That Girl Cartier

Olaplex

Ever since Olaplex hit the market in Korea (check out 7 Seasons Style’s review here), people have been flocking to get their hands on the products.  Olaplex has a variety of products which make big claims.  It’s a “simple three-step process (including) a patented active ingredient that works on a molecular level to seek out broken bonds in the hair that are caused by chemical, thermal, and mechanical damage.  Use Olaplex to restore compromised hair or add it to another service to provide the ultimate breakage insurance.”  Us civilians may buy Olaplex step 3 (at-home treatment) online for US $28 here, but must hit the salon for the remaining products.

Rebonding System

MAKARIZO

Makarizo is a Taiwanese product which was originally developed for straightening.  The name is taken from the Greek word for “blessed”.  The product is now made and distributed from Indonesia.  I found it in my second, “secret” salon supply store in Jamsil.  I’m happy to tell you all about it, but the directions require some TLC I wasn’t prepared to share in my article on bottle blondes in Korea.

Olaplex Alternative Makarizo Rebonding System

When I purchased the Hair Recover Drops (KRW 30,000 or just under $30) I was really just looking to replace my argan oil.  With all the buzz about the rebonding systems, I thought I’d give this one a try.  In only 2 uses, I’ve already seen a change in my newly-brunette locks.  It was much easier to hide my shattered hair when I was beachy, bleachy blonde.

The Claim:

“Nourishes dry or damaged hair and split-ends. Adds gloss and sheen. Hair looks healthier and feels silky softer.

HOW TO USE

Before styling, apply a small amount of the drops and massage it into hair. No rinsing out.” – Makarizo website

The Results

I’m pretty thrilled with the results.  I’ve used this product twice as instructed, and have blow-dried my hair both times.  I’ve also put in some subtle highlights using a high-lift colour (not bleach) in the interim.  I straighten my hair pretty much daily.  My hair takes quite a beating, but the Makarizo Rebonding Hair Recovery Drops seem to have made a big difference!  I’m considering delving further into the line to see just how glossy and gorgeous my hair can be in it’s natural (colour) state!

Makarizo Rebonding Hair Recovery Drops and other Makarizo products are available in Jamsil, Seoul, Korea.  Leave me a message in the comments if you’d like to know how to visit my secret salon supply store!

 

My VIP Facial: IPL in Seoul

My IPL Facial experience at VIP Plastic Surgery in Seoul, South Korea. That Girl Cartier

If you follow my Korean adventures on The Toronto Seoulcialite, you may remember that at the end of July 2016 I got botox.  I think we played a little fast and loose with my forehead, but getting my crows feet taken care of was kind of life changing.  After getting botox I went traveling to Thailand.  Rather than the 29 I had just turned (August 6th), people were guessing that I was somewhere between 22 and 24.  As I edge closer to a single, nomadic 30, this was good news!

In 2015, just before coming to Korea, I was tying up some loose ends and used a gift certificate for and IPL facial in Toronto.  The procedure was only about $150, and I thought I was going in for a lovely, relaxing time.  This was not the case at all.  For 15-20 minutes I had a cold gel all over my face and what felt like a tattoo gun piercing my skin at frequent intervals.  It was one of the most painful beauty experiences of my life, and it’s one I would gladly repeat at bi-annual intervals.  The results were amazing.  My gray, Canadian winter skin had colour again.  My broken capillaries were no longer visible.  My IPL experience in Toronto was horrendous.  This blogger’s experience was like my reaction when I had IPL in Toronto.  Traumatic!  I mean, it worked, but it was so painful!

Fast forward nearly two years to Seoul, Korea.  I decided to face my fears and try it out again.  This time, my IPL in Seoul was done by an actual surgeon (the same one who did my botox, actually).  My IPL in Seoul started differently than in Toronto.  In Toronto, they actually shaved every tiny hair off my face (except for my eyebrows, of course).  Then they applied the gel.  Here, the team was confused as to why I would want them removed.  That made me a bit nervous (I was on edge because of my Toronto experience already), but we went ahead.

I don’t know why I was so worried!  The procedure was a breeze and didn’t hurt a bit.  Once the gel was on and I was comfy, we popped some goggles on and my surgeon got to work.  a device was used to deliver a spectral range of light to my skin.  It felt and sounded like the bright light from school pictures.  The whole thing only took 15 to 20 minutes.  My photofacial IPL in Seoul was such a difference to my hot, tattoo gun experience back home!

IPL treatments can be used to help restore the skin’s youthful appearance as it can remove age spots, sun damage, and redness from broken capillaries (something I struggled with after about 25).  This process is called photo rejuvenation.  Since there’s no down-time, it’s great for people on the go.  I was shopping in Sinsa for a friends birthday immediately after.  It’s a non-invasive procedure (it’s a facial, right?) and this round was quick and gentle.

My IPL in Seoul at VIP Plastic Surgery was 200,00 KRW, however the average price is about 567,174 KRW.  Connect with English-speaking VIP consultants at vipps@vipps.kr

Have you ever had an IPL in Seoul?  What were your experiences here like vs. anywhere else you’ve tried the IPL?  Let us know in the comments below!

Korean Make-up in 4 Minutes

4 Minute Korean Make-up Routine That Girl Cartier

During the week I hate wearing makeup.  I work with kids so I’d rather be able to rub my eyes if I need to than look all done up.  I live in Korea, however, so when I don’t wear makeup I immediately either look super tired or ill.  When prospective students (read: their parents) come to school, I have to look presentable.  This means cheerful-looking and fully made up.  Thankfully, beauty routines in Korea can be either painstakingly long, or ridiculously efficient.  As someone who uses makeup remover wipes, facial cleanser, and moisturizer only (in Korea this is considered “wash n’ go”), I choose the latter.  Here are my steps (and the cheapest links on Amazon) to a quick and easy 4 Minute Korean Make-up Routine.

** I’ve included the cheapest options available on Amazon so that if you want any of the products you won’t be over-paying.  As an Amazon Partner I will make a small commission, but you will not pay more because of it.**

Korean Make-Up

(in 4 minutes!)

Start With…

NATURE REPUBLIC Super Origin Collagen BB Cream

With this BB Cream, a little goes a long way.  Make sure you don’t over-do it or it’ll appear cakey.  I’ve tried a number of BB and CC Creams from Korea and Japan, and when it comes to the first layer Korean make-up is my preference.  I always end up going back to my Nature Republic BB Cream, too.  It has a plant-based collagen.  It lasts all day and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth.  Bonus – I don’t look like a water ghost in photos with this BB cream even though it has SPF 25.

How to use:

I’ll wash my face right when I wake up then apply my daily moisturizer.  This leaves at least a little time for it to soak in before applying any makeup.  Get dressed, put on your coffee if that’s your morning routine, then get to the Korean make-up.

Apply a small amount of the BB cream to your face.  Gently blend in the cream.  I always pay special attention to the area around my nose because it tends to get quite red, but do you, honey-boo.

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Active Ingredients: TITANIUM DIOXIDE 6.4%, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE 3%, ZINC OXIDE 1.9%

INACTIVE INGREDIENTS

WATER, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, DIPROPYLENE GLYCOL, GLYCERIN, TALC, PEG-10 DIMETHICONE, DIMETHICONE, ARBUTIN, HEXYLDECYL MYRISTOYL METHYLAMINOPROPIONATE, DISTEARDIMONIUM HECTORITE, ISOEICOSANE, MAGNESIUM SULFATE, DIMETHICONE/VINYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, SILICA, C12-14 PARETH-3, SEA WATER, VINYL DIMETHICONE/METHICONE SILSESQUIOXANE CROSSPOLYMER, PIPER METHYSTICUM LEAF/ROOT/STEM EXTRACT, IRON OXIDES, PHENOXYETHANOL, ACRYLATES/DIMETHICONE COPOLYMER, METHICONE, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE, ALUMINUM STEARATE, METHYLPARABEN, BETAINE, FRAGRANCE, PROPYLPARABEN, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE,
JASMINUM OFFICINALE (JASMINE) EXTRACT, NELUMBO NUCIFERA FLOWER EXTRACT, ROSE EXTRACT, FREESIA REFRACTA EXTRACT, IRIS VERSICOLOR EXTRACT, LILIUM CANDIDUM BULB EXTRACT, NARCISSUS PSEUDO-NARCISSUS (DAFFODIL) FLOWER EXTRACT, BUTYLPARABEN, ADENOSINE, ACACIA SENEGAL FLOWER/STEM EXTRACT, HYDROGENATED LECITHIN

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

Then put…

Skin Food Salmon Dark Circle Concealer Cream

No.1 Blooming Light Beige

See those dark circles above?  Yeah, so do my kindergarten students!  The first day I used this dark circle concealer cream not only did my kids stop pestering me about my dark and puffy under-eyes, even my boss noticed and gave me a compliment on how naturally beautiful I looked.  Natural, my @$$…but I’ll take it!  Notice the key ingredient in the name?  It doesn’t just look salmon-coloured, it actually has salmon oil in it.  Skin Food’s products usually contain some sort of natural ingredient to “feed the face”.  See if you can find the other edible ingredient later on in the post!

How to use:

Again, with Korean make-up always use product sparingly as a little goes a long way.  take the pot and lightly dab your ring finger to pick up product.  Apply in soft, short dabs to under the eye.  Pay special attention to the inner corner as that’s where things are typically darkest but can also get cakey-est.  If you want to add a step you can apply some loose powder to set, but personally I don’t have time for that on a week-day morning.

I still look like a ghost, but my dark circles are gonezo, right? 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

Petrolatum, lanolin oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, paraffin, polyethylene, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, sorbitan sesquioleate, glyceryl tribehenate/isostearate/ eicosandioate, microcrystalline wax, tocopherol acetate, salmon egg extract, salmon oil, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7, N-hydroxysuccinimide, chrysin, diacetyl boldine, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, glycerin, steareth-20, propylparaben, fragrance, water, titanium dioxide, iron oxides.

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

Next up…

Son & Park Face Lighting & Shading, Highlighter & Shading Set 

I actually use the “shading presso”, but that’s not currently available on Amazon so here’s the next best thing.  I have developed a technique which combines contouring and just simply mashing bronzer all over your face.  It’s called: get a kabuki brush and a kit that has bronzer and highlighter (then essentially mash it all over your face in an E shape on the left of your face and a 3 shape on the right).  Enjoy!

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

Image result for mac blush

MAC Blush Powder

Find the colour that’s right for you and pop it over your cheekbones, down your nose, and along the hairline.  I don’t think you’d be here if you didn’t know how to use blush.  Don’t overuse it and be sure to blend.  This should be your shortest step.

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

Image result for mac eyebrow brush

Simply Naked Beauty Eyebrow Brush and Color

I use a Mac Brush but the prices on Amazon were insane.  This Simply Naked Beauty Eyebrow Color and Brush were way better bang for your buck!  I usually use the shading presso for double duty and fill in my brows.

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

Maybelline The Magnum Volum’ Express Super Film Mascara 

When I’m in a rush or looking for a more natural look I don’t bother with eye shadow or eye liner.  Winged liner is my absolute fave on the weekends, but come on now…my kidlets don’t give a rat’s about how close to Adele my liner’s lookin’.

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

Skin Food Tomato Jelly Tint Lip #01 Cherry Tomato 

Wearing lipstick is the worst.  It either never lasts or it always lasts…on your teeth.  Skin Food to the rescue!  I’m a huge fan of lip balm and this jelly tint might just be my favourite genius Korean Make-up product.  It has a bright tint which actually does last, plus it’s hugely moisturizing.  Use as you’d normally pop on chapstick.

INGREDIENTS:

TOMATO JELLY TINT LIP #1 CHERRY TOMATO
Polybutene, Diisostearyl Malate, Octyldodecanol, Paraffin, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate/ Hexastearate/Hexarosinate, Microcrystalline Wax, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Hydroxystearic Acid, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Tin Oxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Mica (Ci 77019), Red 6 (Ci 15850), Red 7 (Ci 15850:1), Red 27 (Ci 45410:1), Red 30 (Ci 73360), Iron Oxide (Ci 77491), Barium Sulfate (Ci 77120), Carmine (Ci 75470)

Gotta have it?  Get it on Amazon:

…and there you have it!  4 minutes from drab to fab!  Well…no longer disastrous, at least.

What’s your favourite Korean Make-up product when you’re in a hurry?  Be sure to leave it in the comments so I can check it out!

Blonde Ambition: How to Get Golden Tresses in Korea

Every week on the message boards of Expat Women in Korea I’ll see a post about the plight of being Blonde in Korea.  Maintaining luscious, golden locks isn’t so tough if you have the right tools (or the right stylist – Kimchi Days and Soju Nights recommends JP Hair).  To all the blonde and/ or DIY (Do-It-Yourself) women in Korea, there are two salon supply stores in the Sincheon area (near Jamsil, not Hongdae).

How to Go Blonde in Korea - That Girl Cartier

How to Go Blonde in Korea - That Girl Cartier

The reason I’m actually blonde in the first place is due to a Korean hair salon f*ck up.  The first time I went in I wanted some warm highlights.  They did a great job of lightening up my practically black hair.  I was so thrilled, I even wrote a blog post about the experience.  Fast forward a few months to about this time last year.  I was heading up to Seoul from Busan to see my boyfriend at the time (he was a military man, but was one of the good guys – they exist!).  I asked that they give me all over highlights.  What I got was not at all what I had asked for!

Being Blonde in Korea - That Girl Cartier

I ended up with auburn (read: orange) hair, and was pretty peeved.  When I moved to Seoul I was told that hair dressers were more familiar with western hair, so when I went in for a cut and the stylists suggested highlights I was more inclined to go for it.  I have no photos, but the colour turned out the opposite of what you see above.  I had blonde hair and chunky dark brown roots.  After hair fail upon fail I took matters into my own hands.

Here are the directions for the salon supply store in Sincheon (by Jamsil in Seoul): take exit 4 of 신천 station. Walk directly out and turn left between the Lotteria and the McDonald’s. Walk about 3 blocks and you’ll see this shop on the left hand side.  The actual address is in the photos above (25 Olympic-ro 12-gil).

The lady speaks a bit of English and is pretty knowledgeable about colours.  She even helped me tone out pineapple yellow with dye since she doesn’t sell toner. The brand is one of the l’Oreal lines (Majirel) so it’s a lot less damaging (and has a lot less copper than typical box dye).

If you’re pulling colour from very dark hair, you’ll likely need to use a bleach.  My personal recommendation (I’m not a hair stylist) would be to get a highlighting cap.  This way you can subtly go from dark to light in a few steps.  Since you’re not paying a hair stylist, you can afford the time and effort it’ll take to go from dark to light safely.  Don’t be hasty, don’t be cheap, take care of yourself.  If you have to do it in a weekend, here’s a how-to guide.  My naturally dark brown hair always goes a brassy orange (because red is tough to pull).  To offset the orange you’ll need to apply colour with a hint of green (check out the color wheel).  I know that’s terrifying, but it works.  I usually combine a 10 and a 7 or an 8 when dying my hair.  My roots are almost always a different colour than the rest of my hair, but I try to ombré so that it doesn’t look chunky. It’s not perfect, but being blonde in Korea is tough!

Image result for hello bubble hair dye 10g

Vanilla gold?  Give it a hard pass.  This blonde in Korea box colour, especially in foam form, isn’t going to give you the change you’re looking for.  It’s just not strong enough to do a dang thing.

I have found a second salon supply store that’s actually closer to my gym and my apartment.  Sincheon is on an angle, however, so instructions would be difficult to follow.  If you’re looking for a greater selection please feel free to message me on my Facebook fan page (and give it a like while you’re at it!).

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Shopping in Korea: A Love (Hate) Letter

 

Shopping in Korea:

“Knock-knock!” 
“Who’s there?”
“A waygookin trying to spend money.”
“Oh f*ck no, not again…”

I love retail.  Shopping is a hobby of mine and it’s hard to beat in Korea.  When shopping in Korea, prices are cheap and clothes are cute.  With the 4 drastically different seasons (cue massive eye-roll from the expat community), there are plenty of opportunities to switch up your look.  Shopping in Korea is a bitch.  It doesn’t have to be, however. Korean retailers could opt to take advantage of the massive number of foreign workers (and their hard-earned won), but for some reason refuse to acknowledge this insane opportunity for profit.  I love you, Korea…but I’ve got some questions for retailers in the land of morning calm.

What’s the deal with “One Size Fits All”?

I fit into your OS clothing most of the time (yes – even non-stretchy stuff), but frequently things are just too short (I’m 5’8″ tall).  Skirt and pant length in Korea call for a whole new article (a belt is not a skirt, ladies).  It’s ridiculous that given the changes in Korea over the past 50 years you still assume that everyone is the same height.  Most of the Korea women in my workplace are actually quite tall.  While many of them are slender, most of them are actually quite voluptuous.  I don’t mean fat, I mean that several of them actually are taller and curvier than I!  Aren’t you tired of operating at a loss having to discount all the clothing that really should be labeled “one size fits 20% of our population”?

That Girl Cartier - Shopping in Korea

Why do you insist on being c*nty to foreign shoppers?

“As of September 2015, according to the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, the foreign population in South Korea, including migrant workers, increased to 1.8 million, accounting for 3.4% of the total population.” – Chosun News.  That’s a rise of nearly a quarter of a million people over a period of 4 years.  I would estimate that we’re closer to 2 million migrant workers leading into 2017.  It’s not like we’re new, and it’s clear that we’re not going away (at least not en masse) anytime soon.  You’ve had a significant number of migrant workers in your country since before most of your retail associates were born.  Why won’t you reprimand your employees who are little shits to your customers?

I don’t have a Korean body, but I fit into your clothes just fine.  I’m tired of being told I’m not allowed to try on clothing because I’m wearing makeup.  It’s especially offensive when I don’t have a lick of makeup on.  I’m aware that you think I’ll stretch out your apparel, but newsflash for you Mr. Walter Cronkite – I won’t.  When I’m treated differently because I’m a foreigner, I tell my other foreign friends.  When I’m treated well, I tell my friends, followers, and people in line for coffee.  You complain about how Native English Teachers make more money than Korean.  Guess what?  We spend more, too.  There are plenty of ESL Teachers who don’t have bills to pay off and who enjoy shopping in Korea every…damn…weekend.  Get with the program and train your staff to treat all clients with respect.

Why does your footwear detract from every outfit?

When I moved to Seoul from Busan I was so concerned about not having an adequate wardrobe.  I live and work in an area adjacent to Gangnam.  The first time I went to Apgujeong I actually dressed up.  What a waste of time!  Most people have masks covering their faces (whether it be pollution or surgery).  What I’ve really noticed in both Busan and in Seoul is the footwear.  It’s atrocious!  You see these beautiful women in perfect outfits sullied by filthy, faded, knock off ASICS Sneakers.  You’ve got 7 seconds to make a first impression.  The first thing someone notices about you are your shoes, and you choose these?  At least I have an excuse – I’m waiting for my eBay order to come in because you won’t supply shoes larger than a size 8!

Did you know that there are black people living in your country?

Holy shit!  Korea is no longer a homogeneous society!  Now, you not only have multicultural societies popping up all over Korea, you’ve got their kids, too!  You lucky, lucky industry.  You would think that you’d figure out you’re completely missing the K-Beauty market beyond Asians.  The question I see come up the most in the expat forums is where to buy foundation for darker shades.  We were actually just talking about it this weekend with Star – 87Pages (pictured above with Mika The SeoulChild) and Sam – Expat and the City.  You don’t have to come up with something new altogether.  Places like Olive Young, LoHB (a Lotte brand), and Watson’s would make a killing if they imported products designed for black women.  Know the audience in your industry.

That GIrl Cartier - Shopping in Korea - Son & Park Shading Presso Bronzer

P.S. Big thanks to Olive Young and Son & Park  for bringing in the Shading Presso.  I needed bronzer and was about to spend my life’s savings over online at Sephora.  This product was designed for contouring, but I pretty much just blend it all together and make my face look less pasty.  Beauty blogger in the making right here, ladies and gents.

Korea, I love you but shopping in Korea is bringing me down.  When I want a new pair of kick-ass sneaks I shouldn’t have to go on eBay.  I shouldn’t have to be hustled out of a store, or directed to the men’s section.  Last time I went shopping in Garusogil and had planned on buying outfits for a friend of mine and I.  The dresses fit fine in each store and the prices were reasonable (expensive, in fact, by Korean standards).  They just weren’t what I envisioned for a night out on the town.  I didn’t need to hear “big size-y” while in the fitting room.  Hell – I didn’t need the side-eye when I walked into your boutique.  You need to give your head a big ol’ shake and realize that H&M, Zara, and Forever21 (pictured above) have cornered a market in which you should easily have jurisdiction…you’re just xenophobic.

Love,

That Girl Cartier

Winter Wonderland: Beating Dry Skin in Korea

Miracle 10 Skin Care Yorkville Toronto

From the time I was 8 until I was around 10 years old, I had some strange breakouts that plagued me (and my poor Mother while we were in France!).  I got teased quite a bit because of it.  When kids called me the traditional, silly, childhood names reserved for acne I wasn’t really bothered because they were mislabeling the issue.  They weren’t zits, but nobody really knew what was going on with my face.  At one point it all just cleared up, and since then I’ve always been the kind of person who found pride in being able to wash my makeup off with soap and water and still have pretty flawless skin.

Since coming to Korea, I’ve made much more of an effort to use a proper cleanser to take off my make-up before bed.  Since I’ve started teaching, my crows feet and forehead wrinkles have gotten out of hand.  It’s sudden, too.  I woke up in Osaka, Japan last summer and smiled at my reflection in the mirror while putting on make-up.  To my sheer horror, there were crows feet.  Aging: not a subtle bitch!  That’s actually why I decided to get botox once I moved to Seoul.

When I wrote this article, I hadn’t gotten botox, but you had better believe that my medicine cabinet had more than a few moisturizers.  Even with my twice daily moisturizing routine, the air quality in Korea combined with the dry winter cold (they don’t heat places like they do in Canada!  I’m constantly wearing my winter coat indoors) has left my skin really dry.  I know that a lot of my friends have had their fair share of weird and unexpected changes in how their bodies react to things in Korea, but the most common issue (beyond gut rot) has been related to skin.

My face is the biggest concern because that’s the only place where the dry skin actually feels itchy.  I don’t want to constantly be scratching my face – I’m (finally) trying to be good to my skin!  One of my kindergarten students actually pointed out that I had some red patches along the lower half of my face closer to the jaw-line.  My bronzer or blush actually clumps up in these patches.  It’s not pretty, y’all.

Miracle 10 Spa in Yorkville Toronto

I think it’s important to note that while this is in no way a sponsored post, The Plastic Surgery Clinic and Miracle10 skincare were in a Brand Ambassador-style partnership back in 2014 and 2015.  Miracle 10 skincare had been very good to me when I was in Toronto and had my lifestyle blog up and running, and my Twitter feed was more Toronto-centric.  I had been given the entire starter line of skincare products  ($249.00 on their website) tailored to my particular skin type.  The scents are very, very subtle (which I loved) and my skin felt fresh, clean, and healthy.  After running out of the products I unfortunately just did not have the money to purchase the set, but now that I’m getting older I think it would be a really wise investment (especially with this air quality and pollution in Asia).  Since their products are available with international shipping on miracle10.com, as well as on The Shopping Channel and Amazon.com, I can’t imagine I’ll have a problem getting them shipped to Seoul.  Fast forward to cleaning out my Busan closets and going through my  beauty collection, I found I actually still had quite a bit of one product left: Super C.

Miracle 10 Super C

Super C is designed for Normal/Maturing and Delicate/Dry Skin.  It helps to refine the appearance of fine lines, refines the texture and tone of the skin, and aids with skin brightening and fortifying.  When I see skin brightening in Korea it usually means whitening agents (eek – bleach!), but since this product is from Canada I felt fine going right ahead.  The Miracle10 skincare  website also provides the following information:

Your unique skin type may need a little extra boost to help it look its radiant best. Super C is 100% pure Vitamin C. This powerful anti-oxidant helps to repair the look of sun damage, hyper-pigmentation, and the signs of aging.

Super C
100% pure topical vitamin C (l-ascorbic acid) is a highly stable antioxidant powder formulated to dissolve into and instantly supercharge any Miracle10 gel or cream formulation. Powerful antioxidant properties may help to repair and heal damaged skin. Super C assists in collagen production and the repair of sun damage to restore vitality, clarity and refinement to all skin types.

Features

  • Over time, skin becomes accustomed to certain ingredients, so it becomes important to adjust your skin care system.
  • This powerful antioxidant instantly dissolves into and supercharges any Miracle 10 cream or gel.
  • Improves skin texture and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Within 2 days and 3 applications my dry patches are almost entirely gone.  I’m pretty thrilled with the change in how those dry patches reacted, and wanted to pass on this little beauty fix to you!  Have you tried any of the Miracle10 products?  Are there any Korean beauty products that corrected an unexpected problem?  Let me know in the comments!