I feel pretty ridiculous posting all of these before and after pictures from my boob job in Seoul. I’ve had a number of messages saying that people appreciate how candid I’ve been about all this (thanks for them!). With that in mind, I’m going to try to press on even though I feel silly and vain. My breast augmentation surgery in Seoul at TL Plastic Surgery with Seoul Cosmetic Surgery was really easy. My recovery was a lot easier than I expected. Every body reacts differently. Maybe it’s because I’m tall, muscular (erring on the heavy side), and generally take pretty good care of myself, but my recovery has been a breeze compared to a few other ladies who have had plastic surgery. Without further adieu, here are some before and after shots!
Boob Job in Seoul Follow Up
A day, a week, a month and 2 months after surgery I had follow up appointments to check the implants, incisions, and the surrounding tissue. I also had laser treatments to aid in the healing process of the incisions. Some other women I know who have had a boob job in Seoul haven’t had as many follow ups, so I’m pretty thrilled with the after-care of TL Plastic Surgery.
Can you believe how tiny my ta-tas were before? people thought I’d go full Dolly Parton with absolutely giant knockers. I didn’t want that! I just wanted nicely shaped breasts which suit my frame and height. I probably could have gone bigger, but didn’t want to look (or feel) fake. I rarely wear a bra now. My back doesn’t hurt. Life’s so much easier!
Wearing a Compression Garment After a Boob Job in Seoul
Wearing a compression garment has actually become more and more comfortable. You’re supposed to wear it for a month after surgery. I’ve seen so many women have issues with their breast implants starting to migrate and widen. My compression garment has actually been on the big side. I’m tall and have a big rib cage, but the tightest setting on my compression garment was still too loose unfortunately. I would advise that if you’re tall and/ or broad like I am, invest in a compression garment that fits your new chest right after your boob job in Seoul. You might want to check into buying one online as I’m not sure how many other compression garment styles are out there. Mine in particular was like a regular bra but without the underwire or the part covering the nipple. Some people compared it to a bondage look from the 70’s.
Are you considering plastic surgery in Korea? Make sure to reach out to the team at Seoul Cosmetic Surgery (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the most transparent Q&A and easiest consultation experience. For more information about getting my breast implants in Seoul, check out the Booby Blog Archives!
Generally, I like the way I look. Having worked hard to drop weight when I came to Korea I felt good about my body. As a tall woman with a muscular, athletic frame, I didn’t always feel very feminine in my looks. For the past 15 years I’ve worn a padded bra simply because my breasts never seemed to come in. It might surprise you how many times I, an accidental Korean Beauty Blogger and small potato on the K-Beauty influencer scene, have been approached about partnering up for plastic surgery. I never felt like anyone took enough time with me to assess my needs or ask me what I wanted, until chatting with Mona.
When Mona from Seoul Cosmetic Surgery asked to work together, I still had the same sort of response. I have had several friends go through the procedure, but just wasn’t sure it was for me. Did I really want foreign objects inside my body forever? Was I ready to leave Korea kicking myself at having not gone through with it? What if they were too big? What if they weren’t big enough? How would my family deal if there was a problem mid-surgery? What if I left my friends and family with a giant Korean mess on their hands? What were the right questions to ask? I wrote an article about what I was considering, and was met with a flurry of comments from supportive friends and aggressively anti-surgery threads.
Why Breast Implants Were the Right Choice For My Body
With all the negativity coming from Facebook comments, I actually received a number of private messages from women in similar situations. I had no idea that there was even a problem until my shirt came off and my doctor said that it would be a complicated surgery.
“Tuberous breasts (or tubular breasts) are a result of a congenital abnormality of the breasts which can occur in both men and women (also see Hypoplasia), one breast or both. During puberty breast development is stymied and the breasts fail to develop normally and fully.” – Panchapakesan V, Brown MH
It turns out that tuberous (also known as “tubular”, “herniated areolar complexes”, “conical breast”, “domen nipple”, “lower pole hypoplasia“, “hypoplastic breasts”, or “constricted” breasts) are pretty common. I always said my breasts looked like sad puppies, but I was unaware another term for these were “Snoopy breasts”. Now I was going from a consultation where I wasn’t even sure I wanted the surgery, to panicking that it wasn’t even going to be possible.
My TL Plastic Surgery Breast Implant Consultation with Seoul Plastic Surgery
Throughout this consultation, I got more information about the remaining steps should the breast augmentation surgery be approved by my surgeon to move forward. I would need to come in for one more consultation (for sizing and remaining questions), then a final appointment for a urine test, blood panel, and EKG (Electrocardiogram). After that, we’d take my “before” photos and get all set for surgery. Mona and Dean from Seoul Cosmetic Surgerywere at TL Plastic Surgerywith my surgeon, Dr. Yim Joonghyuk, and TL’s awesome English-speaking coordinator, Christina, for each appointment.
My main concern when it came to the surgery was how I’d be “out” during throughout my breast implant procedure. It’s most common to be under general anesthesia, but I’ve heard of local anesthesia and sleep sedation for breast augmentation, too. It terrified me that there was a chance I’d wake up mid-surgery unable to communicate. I’m aware of how absolutely ridiculous that sounds, but I was signing myself up for elective plastic surgery. I’d be worried if I wasn’t worried at various steps throughout. What put my mind at ease was asking my plastic surgeon the following:
Questions to Ask a Breast Augmentation Plastic Surgeon
What size would you recommend for my body type? Provided you’ve already researched your surgeon and are working with a trusted medical tourism company like Seoul Cosmetic Surgery, there’s no reason not to take your surgeon’s opinion on size at face value. My surgeon told me that he would want my Motiva breast implants to be, at minimum, 380 cc (if not more!) I thought this was going to be way too big since my friends had gotten only 300 and they looked like massive porn star breasts. Well, considering my current breasts, my height, my body type, and the size of my rib cage and wide shoulders, my doctor was right on the money. I should have gone bigger (maybe 400?), but am honestly very happy with the way my breast implants look. They have appeared very natural since the end of the 2nd week. I was able to go back to the gym then and start power walking without too much discomfort. Before the 2 month anniversary, I was able to run 5 km again.
How will the implants be inserted? It’s very popular to go through the armpit in Korea because of Korean women’s small frames. For foreigners, under the breast insertion is recommended. This makes for a much less painful recovery, and a shorter one, too. The incision scars will also be less obvious.
How large will you make the incisions? With Motiva breast implants, it’s actually possible to have very small incisions. This means your scars won’t be very obvious. Mine are only visible if I raise my arms above my head. They’re pretty dark, but only about 4 cm on each side. On instagram I’ve seen surgeons boasting about incisions as small as 3 cm, so I think we’re doing pretty well!
How do I prepare for surgery? The only advice I got for this was not to smoke (I don’t smoke) or drink a week before surgery. I think more than that it’s important to prepare your body to undergo general anesthesia. Get 8 hours of sleep. Hit the gym. Eat healthy foods and avoid unnecessary junk. Hey – I can’t do it all the time, but when going under the knife it really helped to train my body and prepare properly.
How do I take care of myself post-surgery? Take it easy! Listen to your body and don’t over-do it, but also don’t baby yourself too much. Try to get back to regular, healthy, daily activities. It’s recommended that you don’t smoke and don’t drink for about a month. This really depends on how long they’ve got you on painkillers. Many doctors say you can return to almost all regular activity (yes- that kind)once you’re off pain medication.
What do I do with the stitches? Nothing! Just like when I had my appendix removed, my stitches were dissolvable. The roughest part of surgery is not being able to properly shower for a week. You must protect the incisions with waterproof bandaids. After a week, you’ll be able to shower. The surgical glue will fall off naturally when ready. In the shower you’ll need to softly rub it away. Make sure to follow up with bio-oil or vitamin E to treat the scarred area.
How often will I have follow up appointments? TL Plastic Surgery is very thorough and beyond the “after” photos and general check-ups, they also offered 3 laser treatments as part of my package. These are to help speed up the healing of my incision scars. I was scared, but they took all of 5 minutes and didn’t hurt a bit.
What kind of medication do I need to take? I was given a prescription for Tylenol 3 which includes codeine. I had some discomfort, but no real pain. I didn’t really want to take the pain medication, but felt it might improve the effects of the swelling. After 2 days it was back to work for me, so I stopped. I had 2 days of antibiotics cocktails 3 times a day, then a pack once a day for 2 weeks. I was also on a pill a day to ensure the implant itself didn’t harden. That’s something I took once a day for 2 months.
The most common regret when it comes to breast augmentation procedures (or a “boob job”) is not going big enough. Throughout my consultation I tried on many different sizes of implants under a tight shirt, but none were really indicative of the size they would be once the swelling was gone, my body relaxed, and I got back to the gym. Even though I have 320 cc’s in my right breast and 300 cc’s in my left, my overall breast size hasn’t dramatically increased. My surgeon was well aware that I didn’t want huge breasts getting in my way while exercising, teaching, or anything that would mean an entirely new wardrobe. Since I already wore a padded bra daily, I haven’t had to buy new clothes, I’ve just swapped out the underwire for sports bras (and it feels wonderful!) Not having to wear a bold piece of metal digging into each side daily is the biggest takeaway from this whole experience. I love the way my figure looks. It’s not a change anyone but me would notice, but I didn’t go through with this surgery for anyone else.
None of these “Top 6 Annoying Things After a Boob Job” apply…
I always jump at the opportunity to try a new skincare routine, especially those local to Korea. Leegeehaam is located practically in my backyard – as my office is super close to theirs! When I’m asked to review skincare products I often worry that I won’t be able to give a positive review. I have fairly sensitive skin and can’t handle much in the way of fragrance. I’ve been really lucky lately to have found mild formulas with a hint of scent which actually get the job done. Recommending the following products is easy for a number of reasons. First, the application is simple. I only have 3 steps to fulfill. The formulas are nourishing, but dry quickly enough that I can put my makeup on right away. I’m not exactly a morning person, so when it comes to my morning routine I want to moisturize, pop on a little concealer if I’m looking/ feeling tired, add a little blush, and be well on my merry way.
Backed by leading dermatologists, Leegeehaam (LGH) Cosmetics, formerly Leejiham (LJH) Cosmetics, was first established in year 2000 and it pioneered the concept of cosmeceutical in Korea with its innovative and advanced products, each specialized in treating specific skin concern.
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I tried out the Leegeehaam GROW Hyal B5 Ampoule, HOPE 5a Control Emulsion, and HOPE 5a Control Cream. As you can see above, the 3 products are not from the same line, so you can mix and match to support your moisturizing goals. This trio acts to reduce shine and provide moisture as the temperatures dip colder and colder. This line is a lot more affordable with fewer products to include and lower price-points than my nightly routine (these range from KRW 28,000 – KRW 48,000). This routine is super quick and easy. I would definitely have this as a repurchase in my Korean skincare arsenal. If you’re a girl on the go looking to get into Korean beauty and skincare, this is your gateway…
Right after my shower, I’ll dry my face and pop on the Leegeehaam GROW Hyal B5 Ampoule. This comes with an eye-drop applicator. 2 drops really go a long way! This is the only product from the trio I tried which has much of a fragrance. It’s a very subtle scent which always reminds me a little of chai.
The Hyal B5 Ampoule dries very quickly, so I don’t have to waste too much time before my second step: applying the 5a Control Emulsion. Ampoules and emulsions are designed to prepare your skin to soak up all the moisturizing goodness of a cream, so I don’t skip any of the 3 steps. The emulsion dries fairly quickly, too. Because it has cinnamon as a key ingredient, it has a subtle scent which goes very nicely with the ampoule. This step is designed to reduce excess sebum – the oily, waxy substance which can block pores and contribute to acne break-outs.
I’ll usually wait a couple of minutes before cracking open the 5a Control Cream. The consistency is less cream-like and more gel-like. Again, it has a quick-drying formula which I love in the morning when I’m in a rush. My skin feels soft all day and there’s never any hint of shine.
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Leegeehaam Hyal B5 Line Information
Formulated with true oasis made from 5-Hyaluronic Complex for deep, yet long lasing moisturizing for dehydrated skin suffering from dry, puffy, and rough skin caused by lack of hydration. A strong moisture barrier formed by Vitamin B5 and B3 holds onto rich hydration from 5-Hyaluronic Complex by preventing future water loss, leaving skin hydrated, plump, and glowing all day. Hyal B5 fills, retains, and protects moisture with 5-Hyaluronic Complex and Vitamin B3 & B5 barrier for deep hydration throughout the year.
As known as moisture retaining ampoule, ultra-hydrating formula of 5-Hyaluronic Complex replenishes the skin with deep moisturizing, while retaining moisture inside with visibly improved plumpness and radiance. Special jelly-like texture adheres tightly to the skin for intensive hydration and nourishing, improving fine lines, flakiness, and tightness from dehydration. High concentration of hyaluronic acid restores youthful hydration to dry skin, while vitamin B5 and B3 retains maximum level of moisturizing.
Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule Size
How to Use Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule
Squeeze out 2~3 droplets and apply over the face after toning. Gently pat to absorb better.
Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule Key Ingredients
(Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ascorbyl Propyl Hyaluronate)
Infuses intensive and deep moisturizing to the skin.
Vitamin B5 (panthenol) & B3 (niacinamide)
Forms a moisture barrier on skin surface as it is applied, preventing any moisture loss and at the same time, protects skin from outer stimulation.
Named after a hormone called “5 Alpha Reductase,” which causes abnormal sebum production if imbalanced, the patented and mineral oil free formula of 5 Alpha Control series offers the perfect solution for controlling skin oil and shine. Moreover, it not only removes the unnecessary sebum but at the same time, soothes skin from inflammation to relieve skin trouble, leaving it healthy and refined.
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Emulsion – Product Details
Contains a high concentration of Sepicontrol A5, the key ingredient for shine control, to soothe and balance oily skin. Mineral oil free texture gently controls skin shine and oil, especially around the T-zone without the stickiness. It fills skin with natural moisturizing factors, making it plump and vital with the reduced sebum secretion.
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream – Product Details
Lightweight mineral oil-free technology with patented special formula of LGH is combined together to provide the optimal oil and shine control effect. It is a strongly recommended cream for those who have shiny skin surface but dehydrated inside (a good moisturizing cream for oily skin types).
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream – Size
How to Use Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream
Apply an appropriate amount on face, morning and night.
Leegeehaam Hope 5a Control Cream Key Ingredients
Tightens the widened pores.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
Soothes and relieves acne/trouble skin.
This article was written in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review of Leegeehaam products. ThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.
Over a year ago I wrote an article about the best summer date spots in Seoul. My most enjoyable first date in Seoul, however, was pretty unconventional. Our romance was short-lived and never got very serious. It was before I ever fell in love. It was before I ever truly had my heart broken, too. There were disappointments down the line, of course, but he and I actually still talk to this day. Maybe it has something to do with my best (and longest) first date in Seoul!
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Where Do I Begin?
A friend and I had planned on going to the Doosan Bears game at Jamsil Stadium. She had come up from Dongtan and had no intention of joining me on a first date in Seoul. Thismilitary manand I had been chatting on and off on tinder for a few weeks. This was before having written about the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date. I was avoiding seriously dating at the time. Since boys were already on their way to the game, so we figured we could all hang out. While sitting in the stands some overly aggressive foreigners started waving at us and one of them even shouted out, “Kate!” We still can’t figure out who they were, but they didn’t end up being the guys from Tinder. Because of that encounter, we almost bailed on the meet up. I’m so glad we didn’t!
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First Date in Seoul Key # 1: Common Interests
I love going to watch live sports, so meeting up at a baseball game was perfect for me. At a baseball game you’ve got the hoopla of the game, the crowds, and the walk up songs. At a baseball game first date in Seoul you’ve got the bonus of cheerleaders, and announcer, and BYOB. If conversation gets boring, get well into the game. If the conversation is riveting, it’s just the Korean league. The field is smaller, the players are slower, and unless watching pop-fly after pop-fly being caught is your thing – it’s pretty repetitive. Not a ball fan? Find something else with an element of distraction or an easy out. If you’re meeting someone for the first time you don’t want to get sucked into a massive time commitment (read: waste of time). If you’re having a good time, however, laissez les bon temps rouler!
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First Date in Seoul Key # 2: Perfect Sunset
Could the sunset pictured above be any more perfect for your first date in Seoul? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite as extraordinary since! We got to canoodle for a bit as the game wrapped up and the sun went to sleep. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight, right? Well our weather the next day was pretty darn perfect as we strolled hand in hand along the stream, but that comes later…
First Date in Seoul Key # 3: Multiple Dates in One
Did you think my perfect first date in Seoul would lead you to a bathhouse crossed with Korean Dave & Buster’s? Well, we’re here! We had been out in Itaewon for dinner and needed somewhere to go before curfew hit. My date was actually with his boss who was totally down to check out Dragon Hill Spa. If you’ve never been to a Korean bath house/ sauna/ jimjilbang, read up on the most luxurious one in Busan! (Privilege check: this probably is best suited to cisgender straight couples. Being on a first date in the actual baths together could prove risky! I’ll let you use your imagination…) Here are my reasons why a jimjilbang is an awesome first date in Seoul.
First Date in Seoul Key # 4: Clean up Your Act!
With 9 different baths in the female sauna area, you’ll be super fresh, clean, and relaxed for the rest of your date. We separated for about 30 minutes and reacquainted fresh-faced, squeaky clean, and in pajamas! If a guy can’t handle me without makeup then I know it’s not going to last, but PJ’s is a whole ‘nother…ballgame!
First Date in Seoul Key # 5: Plenty to Explore
After a quick scrub and some relaxing in the tub, we all met up in the lobby. I used to live in Jamsil (south of the Han River in Seoul), so sometimes we’d crash at Dragon Hill if it was tough getting a taxi home. Since it’s open 24 hours, it’s also the perfect hideout if you want to socialize past curfew. Since the boys were new to Korea, we explored the many different saunas in the huge building. Are you a hot or cold sauna kind of person?
There is a restaurant and a snack bar. Grab a snack of some ramyeon (cup noodles), bingsu – a Korean dessert which is like flavoured “snow” (shaved ice), or a beer to keep you going!
I love getting a little competitive on first dates. Playing plenty of arcade games was a great way to get to know how my date handled victory and defeat! We shared a sneaky little first kiss in the singing room where he sang me his absolute favorite song (and where we screamed Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know”).
Ready to catch some Zzz’s? Head into the indoor (or outdoor if you’re keen on being mosquito breakfast) cinema or any of the sleeping rooms around the jimjilbang. Sleeping together on the first date in Seoul means something a little different here! The best part? In the morning, we got to soak one more time before heading to breakfast in Itaewon.
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You know you’re on a good date when you don’t stop to check your phone or take pictures along the way. Back in the winter of 2016 I took this snap of Chonggyecheon – a stream in Seoul. It was nice ticking this one off my Seoul bucket list. You can walk from Dongdaemun through Namdaemun and up to the palace by following the stream. Who knew just a few months later we’d be walking and talking hand in hand under a noticeably warmer, blue summer sky?
Have you ever been on a truly unconventional first date in Seoul or anywhere else?
As most of you know, I like to simplify my routines whenever possible. As far as beauty goes, I take care of my own blonde, I leave the K-Beauty treatments to the professionals, and my nightly skin care routine has to be easy and effective. I’m over the novelty of buying a gazillion skin care and beauty products in an attempt to find the next best thing in Korea. Now, if I find a product I love, I’ll invest in the set in the hopes that I can save time and money. When I went to Ruby Plastic Surgery for the Eunogo influencer open house, I was gifted a product which had immediate hydrating results on my dry, often sensitive skin. G2Cell’s Intensive Hydrating Capsule Cream was my gateway drug into the entire line. I think the 12-step Korean skincare regimen is kind of absurd, but these 7-steps have made all the difference. I’m high as a kite (on compliments, of course) and my skin has never felt better!
The price per item might shock you, but consider how long each product lasts. When I was buying my masks, moisturizers, ampoules, and essences at places like Olive Young or Etude House (I know, I know), I’d be lucky if they lasted longer than a month. I’ve been using G2Cell products daily since the beginning of October, and the bottles are still about 3/4 full. Investing in products like G2Cell’s means that you won’t be forking over more each month or having to go out of your way to replenish frequently. The ultimate revival line is designed to simulate the effects of botox (cha-ching) by using technology designed for a lifting effect. G2Cell is designed for low-irritation and high-function using ingredients like:
Biometric Water: This water is designed to activate tired cells. It uses natural ingredients with minerals, phospholipids, amino acids, proteins, and peptide solutions.
SYN-COLL: This ingredient generates collagen in the skin. It’s designed for skin regeneration.
Plant-Cell Extracts: Lotus flower callus culture extract rounds out the anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
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G2Cell: DTC Examination
These skincare products have been created with research based on genetics. The idea is that your clinic can test your skin and recommend the ideal line for your skin type. I can’t speak to that as I haven’t done the test, but going into the fall/ winter months the Intensive Hydrating line seems to be the best bet. For more information on the examination, contact C&D Blue Company (email@example.com or visit their website here).
This is the first product I use after removing my make-up. It helps to remove any residue from cosmetics or remover, especially around the eyes. Just a bit of the silky cleansing gel goes a long way. It lathers well and leaves my skin feeling clean without the dry or tight feeling of other cleansers. I keep this bottle right on my sink and use it before bed no matter what!
The G2Cell Ultimate Revival First Essence reminds me a lot of the clarifying lotion (toner) from Clinique. After cleansing, I’ll pop this on a cotton pad and gently wipe in a natural direction (remember to avoid the eye area). It’s amazing just how much dirt, grime, and gunk remains even after double cleansing. The first essence is what prepares your skin to absorb other hydrating products, so it’s a pretty important step!
Once I’ve finished with the first essence, I move onto the G2Cell Intensive Hydrating Ampoule Essence. A couple of pumps are all you really need to get your entire face and neck. This is a very quick drying formula to prepare your skin for further moisturizing.
“This ampoule provides long-lasting hydration and absorbs into the skin quickly. It will also helps the balance of the skin tone, giving the skin a more healthier look. This ampoule retains the moisture balance of the skin and creates a non-sticky moisture barrier which is very smooth. Because of the enhancing skin barrier, it helps provide nutrition and increase the skin’s elasticity. “
I have a couple of gripes about the packaging of this line. I find that the tough plastic makes the G2Cell Intensive Hydrating Emulsion difficult to get out of the bottle. You really do have to hit it to your hand almost like ketchup. This step involves a light cream which absorbs quickly.
G2Cell’s Intensive Hydrating Capsule Cream has got to be my favourite part of the entire line. This is the first product I tried and is what made me fall in love. The week I started using the capsule cream I starting getting compliments on my fresh, glowy, soft skin. The design is to retain “an optimal moisture balance to treat rough and dry skin”. This is a thick moisturizer which signals the finale of your evening skincare routine.
INOSITOL: Excellent hydrating ingredient
AGAVE TEQUILANA LEAF EXTRACT: Outstanding moisturizing and abundant nutrition
FUCUS VESICULOSUS EXTRACT: Supplying moisture to skin and helping moisture barrier creation
“This blending hydrating cream provides moisture and essential nutrients to the skin. The skin absorbs the cream quickly to prolong the moisture and helps in activating the moisture circulation.”
I’m a kindergarten teacher, so by the end of the day my eyes are pretty puffy from staring at a screen, drawing on a boards, and chasing around my rugrats. I’ve used an eye cream since I turned 20 and find I prefer a less viscous formula like the G2Cell Ultimate Revival Eye Cream. Again, the packaging is a bit of a miss as it keeps falling down from its shelf in my medicine cabinet. I also can’t tell how much or how little I’ve used, so I probably won’t know when you re-order until it’s a bit too late. Regardless, I love the fact that it has a pump as well and I only need a pump or two to completely cover the Balenciagas below my lids.
ARGIRELINE (ACETYL HEXAPEPTIDE-8): Reducing the appearance of wrinkles and preventing skin aging
OLANUM LYC OPERSICUM (TOMATO) FRUIT EXTRACT: Helping to maintain skin firmness by antioxidant
“Improving skin texture to leave it soft and smooth with a healthy glow, especially eye contour area. Restoring cream which highly concentrates on wrinkle improvement. Additional lifting effects will improve the wrinkle and tighten up the muscles from beneath. It also prevents skin tissue damaging with antioxidant ingredients within the product.”
Is the Ultimate Revival Draw Mist absolutely essential to my nightly routine? Probably not. I finish up with the final step of spraying the mist in a circular motion. The directions say I can use this before or after applying my make-up. It didn’t really make much of a difference for me as a setting spray, but I haven’t had much luck with those either. If you’re on a budget, I’d probably skip out on the mist. If you’re looking to dramatic change the overall look and feel of your skin, I’d invest in the entire line. I have always had rough patches (even in the humid summer months!), but this year has made all the difference. We’re into the frigid cold of November and I don’t have a dry patch in sight!
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G2Cell “provides a gene based customized product to each person by having gene test, which analyzes the skin type. It’s much more convenient to choose a product before using cosmetic products because you will know which one will fit with your skin.”
This article was written in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review of G2Cell products. ThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.
Before coming to Korea, I read plenty of articles about how Native English Teachers felt they weren’t beautiful enough to live in Korea. I work in Apgujeong (the ritzy part of Seoul) and see plenty of women with rhinoplasty or breast implants. I see men and women who have taken full advantage of the plastic surgery capital of the world. Ashley Perez, a Cuban/Filipino/Korean-American BuzzFeed celebrity wrote the first article I read on the topic. Kayla McColl was another blogger from the early days who I found while looking for places to find protein powder in Korea. She’s documented how her eating disorder began at home but intensified in Korea as she became a bikini fitness competitor. I think she’s removed a few of the articles that had me concerned and has replaced them with stories of how she turned it all around.
Breast Implants and My Fitness Journey
At 5’8″ and about 215 lbs, I was one of those “she’s got a pretty face, but…” characters. I was terrified that I’d get to Korea and be called a monster. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been called names by kids and adults alike, but those actually began when I was approaching a healthy weight. I’m not a small woman by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve worked very hard to learn about nutrition, develop fitness plans (including weight lifting and cardio…ugh, cardio…), and how to balance it all with a social life. Weighing in around 160 lbs now, I’m strong and confident in my fitness accomplishments in Korea. One thing (or a pair, in my case) is missing.
** Want to see the “before” pictures? Click any of the fitness links above ***
Top 5 Reasons Women Consider Breast Implants
Motiva (the brand of breast implants I’ll be getting) has included a list of the top 5 reasons women consider breast implants, and I have to say that they’re pretty spot on. While only 3/5 reasons currently apply, the parameters surrounding my breast augmentation make this surgery a no-brainer for me. I’ve worked hard to improve my body, but as those fitting room pictures will show you – I’m flat as a board.
My Doctor at TL Plastic Surgery (near Apgujeong Station exit 5) understands my reasons and my goals. Dr. Yim Joonghyuk understands that I’m not a Dolly Parton wanna-be. For me, this isn’t “go big or go home” breast implants. The goal is to correct my shape and feel more feminine overall. Furthermore, I don’t want back pain or anything else inhibiting my fitness goals.
I also can’t thank Mona and Dean at Seoul Cosmetic Surgery enough! This dynamic duo truly understands the unique needs of a foreigner in this type of situation. Dean has the contacts, language skills, and business clout, while Mona has the experience, business ethic, and femininity to understand my needs. They both work together seamlessly to ensure the needs to the patient are met while consulting with the clinic. I feel safe in their capable hands.
Breast Implants – To Look Better
Well…duh, right? Growing up, I always thought that I would just…fill out later. I was always a bit of a late bloomer. My teeth came in late, my period too, and I didn’t lose my baby fat until I was well into university. I thought my breasts were the same. Turns out I have constricted breasts. Also known as “tuberous breasts” (thanks, Doc), this congenital abnormality is thought to affect 1 to 5 per cent of breast augmentation patients. If everyone’s look like mine (sad puppies) I can understand why! I’ve never had any “false advertising” complaints, even though I’ve worn a padded bra my entire life. I would imagine most men and women with this condition let it go under the impression they just have crappy tits.
Increase Positive Self-image Perception
“We all know we have to love ourselves the way we are, period. We are unique and perfect already, and that is something that women considering breast augmentation need to understand before even going to the procedure. So first, you have to love yourself, and realize that a breast augmentation can improve physically the beauty you already own. When we feel in our best we increase our self-esteem and of course, our perception of our image and gain high confidence in the way.”
I’m not sure I could have put this better myself. I can run circles around Seoul and do squats til failure, but nothing is going to make “Wit” and “Candor” grow except weight gain or pregnancy. I’m avoiding both.
Correct Uneven Breasts
Most women have asymetrical breasts, but mine are kind of on another level. While both small, my right breast is significantly smaller than my left. This makes buying everything from bras to bikinis to ballgowns a hassle. Some places (rarely in Korea!) will let you buy a small top and medium (er…sometimes large) bottoms. When you’re working with two entirely different cup sizes, you’re not just in hot water at the beach.
About Motiva Implants® Silicone Breast Implants
State-of-the-art shell design that results in a strong and durable breast implant.
Exceptional elasticity for ease of insertion and smaller incisions.
Ultra soft, form-stable filling gel for optimal shape retention and feel.
The most complex and advanced range of implant projections to meet the expectations of both the surgeon and patient.
Specialized choice of surface texturing, without the use of foreign materials that can damage the implant shell.
Motiva Implants® SilkSurface™ and VelvetSurface™ are unique surfaces obtained without the use of foreign materials like salt or sugar, with a controlled process designed for a better biocompatibility. Additionally, these nano-surfaces promote a more natural interaction between the implant and the surrounding tissue, allowing the implant to better adapt to the normal movement of the breast.
A New Kind of Confident
Korean beauty standards didn’t propel me to change who I am. This country has enabled me through time and financial flexibility to achieve personal goals. In Busan, I had the time to develop a fitness routine and the stamina to continue while navigating a much busier schedule in Seoul. Going to jimjilbangs (Korean baths) and seeing how little Korean women care about letting it all hang out gives me the confidence to do the same. Taking care of my skin properly and being open to botox has allowed me to look in the mirror and see the girl I’ve always been (rather than the old hag I saw in Osaka).
Plastic Surgery in Korea
I understand that for some Koreans there is a sad reality accompanying some plastic surgery procedures. Competition in the job market is fierce, and some will go under the knife to get a leg up over similarly qualified candidates. That’s not the case in my unique, and yes – privileged, position. Motiva breast implants are designed for active, confident women. They even have a section on their blog dedicated to post-op fitness. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: nobody has ever complained about the size of my breasts. I’ve only personally felt less feminine because of them. I may not be the woman I’ve always wanted to be (physically, emotionally, of career-wise), but I’m well on my way.
The #1 cheapest and most talked about Korean beauty product is the sheetmask. You can find them in any Olive Young, Tony Moly, Etude House, Innisfree, The Face Shop, and more. There seem to be cute new sheetmask options coming out every week! From Star Wars to Pokemon to Placenta, there’s constantly a new Korean sheetmask gimmick. Which masks actually work? I tried a bunch last year, but it wasn’t until I found a brand from a plastic surgery company after an ultrasound hammer treatment that I actually felt a difference. Check out my go-to brands when I choose from my big bag of K-Beauty sheetmasks!
I was introduced to G2CELL at the Euno.go and Ruby Plastic Surgery event. This is by far my favourite sheetmask of the bunch. While the fit isn’t amazing, the results are almost immediate! I had super glowy skin all afternoon and evening after trying it on a Saturday morning.
G2Cell uses Biomimetic Water (composed of minerals, amino acid, peptide) and milk protein from New Zealand milk phospholipid. SYN-COLL is used to used to reduce wrinkles and increase firmness through collagen configuration and the promotion of Hyaluronan. Palmitoyl Tripeptide is also included. Aquaporin protects skin from moisture loss and improves elasticity. Carob Extract prevents wrinkle creation and improves skin elasticity. Elderberry Extract acts as an anti-aging, polyphenol ingredient.
Phospholipid: Linoleic acids play an important role in the human skin’s own synthesis of Ceramide 1. This is a a lipid that is important for intact barrier function. Natural phospholipids contain relatively high amounts of linoleic acids thus resulting in soft, hydrated, and protected skin.
Hyaluronan: Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is found naturally in the body. It is found in the highest concentrations in fluids in the eyes and joints. The hyaluronic acid that is used as medicine is extracted from rooster combs or created by bacteria in a lab.
Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 is used in a number of different anti-aging products because it can communicate with skin cells and boost collagen production. The older your skin gets, the less collagen it produces.
This sheetmask is super creamy, has plenty of essence, but doesn’t drip! I love using this sheetmask before bed, especially if I’m about to fall asleep in a mask. This is a luxurious home sheetmask facial made using the same ingredients you’ll find in a fancy facial treatment at VIP clinic itself in Sinsa! Each sheetmask is used for different skin types and purposes: moisturizing, brightening, anti-aging, firm, and more. VIP also has its own line of facial sheetmask called ‘DR VIP’ White Pearl Mask, which is effective in anti-wrinkle and whitening care.
It is a daily care sheetmask (although a little pricy for daily use) that consists of a soft and fresh essence that moisturizes the skin. It consists of ingredients, such as Glutathione, pomegranate extract and persimmon tree leaf extract, which enhance clean and lively skin. In addition, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 and Noni extract provide healthy and elastic skin.
Glutathione: Glutathione is a substance found in every cell in the body, where it acts as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals and prevent cellular damage. Chemically, glutathione is a simple molecule composed of three protein building blocks or amino acids- cysteine, glutamine and glycine.
Acetyl Hexapeptide-8: Acetyl hexapeptide-8 or acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a synthetic anti-wrinkle cosmetics ingredient. It is a peptide which is a fragment of SNAP-25, a substrate of Botulinum toxin (“Botox in a Jar”).
Noni: Noni juice is a dietary supplement extracted from the exotic fruit noni, and is commonly marketed as a general health tonic. Manufacturers promote noni for lowering cholesterol, promoting healthy blood sugar levels and for cancer fighting benefits.
After you wash your face, apply skin toner.
Then, wear the mask for around 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the product).
After you remove the mask, pat the remaining essence so that it can be absorbed into the skin.
Voila, you’ll experience improved skin!
VIP Plastic Surgery Center Seoul, Korea
For free consultation, please send email at firstname.lastname@example.org
My friends at GlamRecipe have really hooked me up over the past few months through their GlamRecipe StoreFront on Amazon.Both the Vitamin B & C Honey “Ggultamin (Honey Vitamin)” Real Jel Sheetmasks offer tons of essence and actually feel like they make a difference for my skin. I love the 2-step process including a finger peeling pad to remove dirt and dead skin. Even when using a two-step cleansing process (make-up remover and either Banila Clean-It Zero or a foaming facial cleanser), this finger peeling pad always grabs more dirt I’ve not managed to remove.
The sheetmask itself is very wet and full of jelly essence. Once you remove it from the packaging you’ll have plenty of leftover essence. I usually put it on my neck, chest, and shoulders for additional hydration. These masks are great because they hold really securely and you can actually feel the difference in hydration in the morning. These masks I’ll typically use after a big night out to revitalize my tired skin. My personal favourite is the Vitamin C for the mild, citrus and honey scent, but find what works for you!
Common Sheetmask Ingredients
Each sheetmask contains both AHA and BHA. Alpha hydroxy acid products containing lactic acid, tartaric acid, gluconolactone, or glycolic acid are typically applied to sun-damaged and wrinkled skin twice a day. AHAs and BHAs as exfoliants can really change the look and feel of skin for the better!
TWO STEP MASK with FINGER PAD FOR MILD PEELING: for the best effect, dead skin cells should be removed before applying any type of sheetmask. The GGULTAMIN Vitamin C Sheetmask is an all-in-one sheetmask containing a finger peeling pad, which effectively removes dead skin cells and any dirt left on your skin. Containing AHA and BHA the sheetmask delivers a mild peeling effect.
HONEY AND PROPOLIS: each sheetmask contains 33ml of essence with honey and propolis extracts for intense moisturisation. Honey is one of the best natural ingredients to provide and maintain moisture in your skin. Propolis contains Flavonoid, a natural anti-aging ingredient that helps to protect vitamin destruction.
GEL TYPE ESSENCE (33ML): thick jelly texture delivers active ingredients deeply into your skin without drying up. The generous amount of essence allows you to also use it for your face and neck.
Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) B REAL JEL MASK 10 masks for $2799
by COMMON LABS
About the product
VITAMIN B: it contains Vitamin B5 to help stabilize the skin’s barrier, reducing the amount of water lost through the skin. Applying a provitamin B5 formulation to the skin will increase hydration and improve softness and elasticity for your skin.
LYOCELL SHEET: the GGULTAMIN sheetmask uses a natural Lyocell fiber mask that perfectly adheres to your skin. It provides extra softness and effective absorption of essence.
Honey Mask GGULTAMIN (HONEY VITAMIN) C REAL JEL MASK 10 masks for $2799
by COMMON LABS
About the product
VITAMIN C: the sheetmask contains Vitamin C complex to help brighten, boost collagen, and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
CUPRA SHEET : GGULTAMIN sheetmask uses cupra mask that perfectly adheres to your skin with extra softness and effective absorption of essence.
All XAIVITA Dr. sheetmasks have similar promises. They aim to help “to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which is tired from the external environment and” relieving “skin trouble and due to the soft adhesiveness of the sheet, it makes soft and fresh skin.” Whenever I get a new version of their 3-step sheetmask I’m wary of the strange ingredients. I suggest you try them laying down as these sheetmasks are super wet and drippy. Your skin will feel intensely hydrated almost immediately, so make sure to use this brand before bed so you can let the essence really get to work without obstacles like makeup!
Ampoule: Using the toner after washing, take proper amount of the content and evenly put on whole face.
Lightly touch the face so that the content can be absorbed.
Mask: After cleansing, take out the sheet and apply it over your face. Remove the sheet after 10-20 minutes.
Cream: After the Mask, spread uniformly along skin’s texture and massage gently.
Gold Spider Anti-Wrinkle Cellulose Sheetmask
Fine Dust Protector-Soothing and Moisturizing. 8.88% Gold Spider secretion filtrate helps to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which can become tired from the external environment.
Horse Oil Premium Cellulose Mask
Fine Dust Protector-Moisturizing and Nutrition Supplying Horse oil. Premium secretion filtrate helps to nourish and improve elasticity on the skin, which is tired from the external environment. It relieves skin trouble and due to the soft adhesiveness of the sheet, it makes soft and fresh skin.
The blackhead sheetmask really does bring dirt and grime (blackheads and sebum) to the surface. I haven’t mastered the black stick quite yet, so I’ve been using a peel away mask instead. After that, I use the pore tightening serum which soothes skin quite well. The next day I find my sensitive skin on and around my nose is incredibly soft and the pores appear much smaller!
About the product
BLACKHEAD REMOVAL KIT: a complete kit including a black sheet, pore tightening serum, and black stick work to gently take care of blackheads and pores.
9 NATURAL EXTRACTS: ingredients from lemon balm, sage, witch hazel, mistletoe, peppermint, jack burdock, needle juniper, soapwort, and St. John’s wort work effectively to dissolve blackheads and sebum.
PORE TIGHTENING SERUM: consists of patented active ingredients to tighten pores and soothe skin, resulting in a silky smooth texture.
Go ahead, set up the bubble bath and pour yourself a glass of wine. These awesome Korean sheetmask options will have your skin silky smooth in no time! What are your favourite K-Beauty quick picks? Leave them in the comments so I can give them a try! While some items on this list were gifts from friends, former clients, and current partners, all reviews are honest and opinions are my own. Where to buy links are in pink however none of them are affiliate links.
I’ve always been a bit of a wash n’ wear kind of girl. The kind of girl who used to take her makeup off with just soap and water. I tried a day and night moisturizing combo back in 3rd year university. The cost-benefit analysis of it all became too much. In Canada, my options were high-end department store brands or questionable drug store brands. Why buy a daily AND a nightly moisturizer when they ultimately did the same thing, right? By the time I was 25, the only time I took care of my skin was when I was gifted product at a fashion show or marketing event. Before moving to Seoul, I think I had used a sheet mask once or twice in my life – including the time I had spent in Busan, South Korea! I definitely didn’t think I’d ever brand myself as a Korean Beauty Blogger.
The Insta – Korean Beauty Blogger
Nobody seems to have the time to do anything. I feel like I’m busier than I’ve ever been in my life! Everything has to be fast and direct, which makes the new trend of “Insta-blogging” pretty simple and successful. I own and operate @TorontoSeoulcialite & TorontoSeoulcialite.com, but ThatGirlCartier was just my personal instagram until I bought this domain in December 2016. I always shared my life in Korea, but wanted to differentiate the two accounts further. An old friend suggested I become a Korean Beauty Blogger even though I hadn’t a clue about pH levels, ingredients, or benefits. Usually, sharing favourite products through insta-stories and snap chat stories is far more successful than posting a photo. Adding short reviews to my captions was, however, a great way to explore writing about Korean Beauty products. Cosmetics and Skin Care are more accessible in Korea than your next cup of coffee. The K-Beauty industry has a ton of opportunity, and competition.
The Accidental Korean Beauty Blogger Does Get Botox
Just over a year ago I braved needles for botox. Since then, I’ve managed the upkeep with significantly fewer shots (maybe 3 per eye?) at 6 or 7 month intervals. This means I’ve now had botox to reduce the significance of my crows’ feet three times. The second time I went, my doctor used a much, much smaller needle. I was prepared for agony, but there was actually hardly any pain. This past Thursday, my friends at Eunogo invited me to an information session and demonstration of fillers and botox as part of their Korean Beauty Blogger team. Before coming to Korea, I thought botox and fillers were just for frozen-faced Real Housewives. Now that I’ve had botox, I realize starting at almost 29 was pretty much the perfect time to prevent deeper creases. Was I judgmental at first? Sure. Having had botox doesn’t make a significant difference to my appearance, but it sure helps boost my confidence!
What Other Treatments?
As an accidental Korean Beauty Blogger, I always get asked what treatments I’ve had done and what I would recommend. I am always honest about my experiences and would never recommend you go to a clinic just because they’ve invited me to try their services. The links that follow each have a partnership disclosure. I have not been paid for reviews. If you have any questions about any of the clinics I encourage you to leave a comment, contact me on Facebook, or shoot me an email (email@example.com)! I’ve had people in the past tell me they would die before getting a cosmetic enhancement (some by other Korean Beauty Blogger types!). I’ve had past boyfriends tell me that botox or cosmetic/ plastic surgery is just deception. I think in some ways it can be, but by getting botox I’m not getting a new face, I’ve simply maintaining the one I already have. Let’s keep in mind these are the men who told me wearing makeup was a lie. Please… the next time you see someone with naturally glittery gold eyelids I BEG you to give me a call! The following treatments have been in partnership.
VIP Plastic Surgery has created a proprietary line of skin care items including a sheet mask based on elements of this facial. The idea of using a cold ultrasound hammer for the facial is to “produce ultrasonic wave to adjust main and collateral channels and regulate blood circulation to flow circularly in order to reach the best status of the facial tissues.” It combines the effect of ultrasound capillaries with the skill of ancient massage therapy. “It could enhance immune function in lymphoid tissues so as to achieve vitality and flexibility of facial skin.” I’m not sure if the cold hammer did anything extra for me, but the various essences, ampoules, and creams involved made my skin feel incredibly soft and smooth!
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Botox (Crows’ Feet and Forehead) – VIP Plastic Surgery Clinic c/o Seoul Cosmetic Surgery
My first botox experience was a little intense. They went WAY overboard on my forehead, and I was left with massive bruising and hard bump under one of my eyes. The second time I went in they used a way smaller needle and only a couple of shots for my crows’ feet. It was a lot easier and I was in and out quickly. The deep creases I had beside my eyes are completely gone and I feel like myself again!
I had tried the IPL Photofacial in Toronto and found it hurt quite a bit (read on for a similar experience with MVP Clinic). At VIP Plastic Surgery, my IPL didn’t hurt at all. The experience was very different as instead of using a device with a lazer to attack small parts of the dermis, the device felt was almost like getting your school picture taken. It didn’t hurt at all! Click the link to see my results.
Here are my before and after pictures from my experience at MH Clinic in Cheongdam. As you can see, my lip fillers weren’t huge, but I did get a defined cupid’s bow and a glossy, puffed up finish. It was such an easy process with Joy from Eunogo helping me every step of the way from filling out my paperwork to getting me into a taxi home! Getting lip fillers was really painful, but the results are definitely worth it!
I went through the process of becoming an actual human popsicle for an article in Groove Korea Magazine. For 30 minutes, the area which had been blown up for my appendectomy back in 2014 was frozen to – 9 degrees celsius. Within a few days I noticed a flatter lower stomach, but I’ll need to go back for 2 more appointments for the full effect. After the procedure, my skin felt like an actual popsicle. I definitely do not recommend you try touching it with your own hand until you’ve thawed as it was pretty frightening! Your nurses will massage the treated areas – let them finish and leave well alone!
Stem-Hydro Skinbooster/ IPL Photofacial – MVP Plastic Surgery
“Stem-Hydro Skinbooster Injections are a brand new approach to nourishing your skin, especially designed to deliver deep skin hydration. This means increasing hydration levels within the skin to deliver lasting moisturisation and improvements on the skin’s surface. Stem-Hydro Skinbooster involves multiple injections of a scientifically customized blend of hyaluronic acid (HA), Stem Cell, collagenstimulating vitamins, injected into the layer of skin just below the surface using a very fine needle.” – MVP Plastic Surgery
For this treatment and the accompanying IPL they actually had me under sedation. That was terrifying to come out of. If you can avoid it, definitely opt for the pain/ numbing cream instead of going under. I woke up crying and then had some incredibly weird dreams. I really didn’t notice much of a difference until now. It’s been about 2 months (my treatment was and I was July 8th) told that I would see results 2 – 3 months after treatment. All of a sudden this weekend I noticed glowy skin, and my friends did too! I’m wondering if it’s this treatment, the use of some of my favourite new products (post coming soon!), or a combination. Either way, my skin is softer than ever…and even a little shiny!
Aroma Resfresh Care package (100 minutes). This package includes a basic facial accompanied by an aromatherapy body massage. The facial was anything but basic! It started with a soft, peeling cleansing. Then, was followed by an exfoliating, deep cleansing, bubbling facial. I got a face slimming massage, too, which included a decolletage massage. While this wasn’t cosmetic or plastic surgery, it was definitely an advanced facial that those considering a lift, botox, or fraxel could try first.
My experience at Ruby Plastic Surgery in the Sinsa area of Seoul, Korea was organized by Eunogo. Eunogo has 60 clinics and medical spas in Seoul. They offer 2 kinds of services: Concierge Service for Plastic Surgery and Eunogo Shops. Eunogo Shops enables a client to book trendy medical spa facials and treatments, while the concierge service is more comprehensive. There are over 1,800 plastic surgery clinics in Korea. Eunogo partners with a clinic based on rigorous testing pertaining to Safety, Expertise (they work with specialized clinics only. You won’t be going to a clinic for rhinoplasty if they specialize in breast augmentation, for example), Convenience (location, facility, and language support), and Patient Satisfaction. Eunogo and the clinics also offer a 1-year guarantee for all services.
My experience at Ruby Plastic Surgery was very quick and easy. Dr. Hu had a very gentle, professional demeanor. He would give me and the other Korean Beauty Blogger quick notices by waiting a couple of 1-2 beats then on 3 he’d say “pain” and insert the needle. I’ve never had an experience whether it be taking an IV, having blood drawn, or getting botox that was so easy and painless! I would definitely recommend getting your botox injections or fillers (lip or facial) by Dr. Hu at Ruby Plastic Surgery.
What’s Next for this Korean Beauty Blogger?
Being open to trying out new procedures (especially ones with needles LOL) has enabled me to become a trusted source for expats and medical tourists in Korea. I probably would have never tried any sort of botox or filler before coming to Korea (or had it not been in partnership), but I’m so glad I did. Looking in the mirror and feeling like an old lady at 28 was a horrible feeling. Now that I’m officially 30, I think I’ll definitely be investing in my botox upkeep once I move back to Toronto in 6 months. By then I’ll no longer be an accidental Korean Beauty Blogger, but I do hope to continue to bring you the latest and greatest technology and advancements in Skin Care and Cosmetic Surgery wherever I end up. What next? Well, look to my Korean Beauty Blogger pals @SkinfullofSeoul and @OhMyGloss above for a hint!
This week, I prepare to bid farewell to my roaries twenties and celebrate entry into the dirty thirty club. This year in particular (29) has been pretty magnificent, but it hasn’t been withoutheartacheanddisappointment.People keep bringing up this idea of Saturn Return. “The longer, more elaborate version: This is the astrological period of our life when the planet Saturn completes its orbit around the Sun, coinciding with the time of our birth. It happens every 29.5 years, so if you have skated by in your late 20s, this period could get you in your late 50s.” Is this where the No Doubt album name originated? Gwen Stefani was 30 or 31 when it was released. I was obsessed with these tracks. I was 13 when Return of Saturn was released, but the lyrics seem more relevant now than ever!
I don’t hold steadfast and true to astrology, but one can find poetry and life lessons in just about anything. The idea that I should learn something from the craziness of my twenties is certainly not lost on me. While I’ve been a teacher in Korea, life in Seoul in Busan has thrown me some curveballs. I’d like to share what teaching and living in Korea has taught me in an elementary kind of way. Here are a few Dr. Seuss memes to, pardon the pun, bring it all full circle.
I’ve Learned to Love My Body
Being naked isn’t a crime. Ajummas (the old gals) at jimjilbangs (bath houses/ spas) strut around, full bush and fupas out with pride. They don’t give a rat’s ass about my curvy stomach and hips or my prickly legs. I’ve worked hard to drop the weightI gained after joining the workforce and quitting my varsity days. Now I’m in the maintenance stage which means I really have to dedicate quite a bit of time and energy to not balloon again. I have to nourish my body even if that means being a hunter for protein and veggies at my own grocery store. Now that I’m mere days away from 30, I know I’m never going to be perfect. Getting a luxurious facial or massage is allowed and should damn well be in the budget. If I want to get botox or lip injections then that’s my own personal choice. Through fitness, nutrition, a Korean skin care regime, and time to treat myself I aim to strike a balance. I strive to be a better me than yesterday.
What the Fuck is this Shit?
Sometimes you’re just not going to have a damn clue what’s on your plate, written on a kid’s test, or walking down a runway. Just learn to roll with it. There’s no point in getting up in arms over something you don’t understand. Culturally – take some time to do some research if you’re even feigning an interest. If you’re living in or even just visiting another country, their customs will likely be foreign to you. Try to figure ’em out. If it’s just some otherexpat prick leaving you scratching your head – dealbreaker. Move the fuck along.
Is dating shitty guys all part of Saturn Return? Looking back on Taipei and Tokyo suuuuuucks. I remember the amazing moments we shared and the distances we traveled together. I try to see the silver lining in it all, but it’s not easy especially when I’m pinpointing the exact moments in Tokyo when he was texting his…less than reputable woman. The best I can do is reflect on the good times and, instead of looking for negatives, think of learning opportunities for the future. I got to feel the bliss of romance in Taiwan and Japan. That’s pretty rad.
A decent person will respond when txted, messaged, or called. Don’t give out your phone number if you have no intention of ever seeing the person again. If you’ve had interactions you don’t want to continue, find a nice way to tell the person. It’s one thing to have a friendship or dating situation fizzle out, but hiding behind technology is so cowardly.
No Fucks Left
Guys, I’m 30. I’m exhausted. This isn’t my first rodeo. If you’re a flakey friend or a douchey date I’m over it. I have zero fucks (red, blue or otherwise) left to give. Sorry if that offends you, but I’m just outta chances to hand out.
If he’s not giving me what I need, I should just move on.
I’m not going to change him. If he wants to become a better version of himself he will. If I can help…great!
Change yourself for yourself. Never change for him.
On the Subject of Impact
Sometimes it’s hard to be a lifestyle blogger with a major focus on dating. The impact of constantly trying to put myself out there has definitely taken a toll. Of course I believe in love and want to find the right companion…for me. The whole idea that I have to work on myself by myself is a little ridiculous, in my opinion. My gal pals keep telling me to stay single and work on myself. I think that’s a load of hooey. I’m definitely a more organized and productive person when in a relationship. I’m a busy person and I really have to carve out time to spend it with the people I like. “Love yourself first” is an over-used phrase. I love myself just fine, thank-you very much. Why is it that the last three men who have tossed those three little words my way suddenly run in the opposite direction when I finally return their affection and say them back? I say “I love you” to my friends constantly. There are plenty of poetic ways to speak and show your affection. By the time I return home I’ll have no partner and no job. Will I have prospects? Who knows…but it’s terrifying to look into the unknown. Hopefully “terrifying” will be spun as “exhilirating” sometime soon.
Most People Are Cunts
This, ladies and gentlemen, is truer than true. While there are some great, salt of the Earth human beings out there, most people are only looking out for #1. I’ve seen countless men and women be treated like absolute shit because they’re just an option and not a priority. So much time is wasted because people are shitty to people. We like to hurt one-another. Plus, let’s talk bloggers. I’ve encountered some amazing, supportive women in Korea. Most people think that expat/ travel/ beauty/ foodie bloggers are all in competition. That’s not true at all. If you look through any of my posts here or on The Toronto Seoulcialite you’ll find I try to take any opportunity to link to the supporters in the community. That said, there are some real assholes around. I don’t know how I’ve been unable to identify the patterns. I want to give everyone a fair chance, but it’s exhausting when people want a piece of you for a free hotel stay or meal. Boys and girls, there’s no such thing as a free meal. If I’m working in contra with a brand there’s a multi-faceted marketing plan to go along with a post. You don’t just get to share 1 sly pic on instagram and live a life of luxury. There’s plenty of work to share around. Stop being cunts and just support one-another, dammit.
Can people on the internet just stop and realise that bloggers are people too? The number of degrading comments and threats I’ve received for discussing fluffed up dating scenarios is insane. You can’t take anything some angry troll with a firewall security blanket says seriously. This one is still something with which I struggle, as these people know exactly who I am (and often where to find me), but they’re safely behind fake profiles with stolen profile pictures (or none at all). I love to get helpful suggestions from readers. They’re few and far between, so if you’ve got something then please go ahead and e-mail me or leave it in the comments. Recently a faceless Korean instagrammer told me to start YouTube as my lengthy posts aren’t always the easiest to understand. That was a great suggestion! Telling me to go back to Canada because I’m clearly someone who couldn’t get a job back home? Not so helpful. Ps. I was the Director of Sales and Marketing for a group of companies back in Toronto. I took a major pay cut to come to Korea and don’t regret it for a second.
In the Apgujeong area of Seoul, Korea, there are so many versions of the same face it’s scary. I don’t want to look like anyone else. I want to feel authentic. I don’t, however, need to have my natural hair colour or bags under my eyes to feel authentic. If someone is telling me I look tired and should ‘take a rest’, maybe I am tired and should slow down. Having blonde hair in Korea constantly means I stand out. Will I keep it back in Canada? Who knows! I definitely feel more like myself as a blonde (having gone back to the dark sideearlier this year). I enjoy the liberties Koreans take with style. Some of the conventions are a little weird (the shortest skirts, most conservative tops, and most heinous shoes). I hope I can feel free enough to stand out with my own personal style when I go back to Toronto.
Those Who Matter Don’t Mind
I don’t think in 30 years I’ve had a birthday as amazing as this one. The most important people showed up and completely showered me with love (and food – the true way to my heart and Seoul). Having all of those people in one room was overwhelming, hysterical, and incredibly fun. I’m amazed and humbled that I can be the brassy, unapologetically honest, wild, and sensitive person I am with the people I have met in Korea. We’re never gunna survive unless we get a little crazy, but I know mine can be a lot to handle. Thank you for showing me all kinds of crazy love. My Saturn Return feels like a positive renaissance. Here’s to the next 30. Peace out, Saturn.
The Nail Bar Korea has opened their second location, this one in Hannam-dong. Finding the location wasn’t exactly simple for our taxi driver, but after a quick call we were swept away to a ritzy new complex. Head down the stairs and you’ll find The Nail Bar Korea right across from a new pasta place I’m obviously now dying to try!
The Nail Bar Korea: Atmosphere
I’ve never been to their Gyeongnidan 경리단길 location, so I can’t comment on size difference too much. I’m pretty sure I’ve passed it and it was quite small in comparison to this sprawling space. I was totally overwhelmed by the large white space with gold accents and en entire wall of nail polish. I came in with an idea of the gel nails I wanted to get, but once I was hit with the wall I became pretty indecisive.
The Nail Bar Korea: Experience
Upon arrival we were greeted and asked if we’d like water or coffee (see iced Americani above). There was a big screen playing old school Whitney, Mariah, and TLC as well as plenty of Katy Perry and Ariana Grande. The owners two adorable pitbulls Butter and Gamja had free reign of the place, too. Perfect for a dog lover like myself, but just be aware there are a couple of cuddly, furry members on staff! My nail designer had spent about 9 months in Australia and spoke perfect English. We talked about life in Seoul, workouts, and different restaurants. She asked me about style and shape every step of the way. She made sure my sensitive skin was comfortable. The took my busted cuticles and made them soft. She took my claw-like talons and gave my tips a much daintier look. This definitely wasn’t an express manicure, however. I expected to be in the chair for about 45 minutes. I left after about 2 hours!
The Nail Bar Korea: Price
This is where I was actually a little shocked. I had been speaking with my nail designer on KakaoTalk the day before our appointments. She sent me their menus and I expected to pay about KRW 50,000 for my manicure. My friend was told that if she wanted a 3rd colour it would cost an extra KRW 10,000 so she opted just for 2 colours (a pale pink with one nail on each hand in a sparkly colour). My nail design included 2 colours and my technician didn’t mention anything about extra costs (for having a design nor for having matte nails). I anticipated there would be a bit of a top up, but since she didn’t say anything I was a little sticker-shocked when it came to paying our tabs. My friend’s pretty pink came to KRW 50,000 (we were told there was a cash discount – nope). Mine came to a whopping KRW 80,000. That’s a pretty penny on a teacher’s salary. I couldn’t believe she didn’t mention there would be a KRW 30,000 increase on what I had been quoted. Make SURE to be clear when discussing your style so that you’re not forking over 40% more than expected…
Contact: The Nail Bar Korea
Make appointments over the phone or via KakaoTalk!