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!

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.





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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? 🙂


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.

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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.

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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.


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)

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…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!

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, as well as on The Shopping Channel and, 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.


  • 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!