The Nail Bar Korea (더네일바 already in Gyeongnidan 경리단길) has opened up a second location in Hannam, Seoul. That Girl Cartier went to scope it out...nail'd it! Where to get gel nails done in Seoul, South Korea (Itaewon & Hannam)

Nail’d it: The Nail Bar (더네일바) Hannam

The Nail Bar Korea Hannam

(더네일바/이태원네일/젤네일)

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!

Phone: 02-7948549 (Gyeongnidan) // 010-650-28549 (Hannam)

카카오톡 // KakaoTalk: thenailbar

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thenailbarkorea

Getting to The Nail Bar Korea (Hannam location)

Gyeongnidan Location: 경리단길 서울 이태원동 658 번지 1층 ☎ 02-7948549

Hannam Location: 한남동이태원로55나길 6/ITAEWON-RO 55NA GIL 6  📲 010-650-28549

 

Whoo Spa dominates the VVIP service (K-Pop/ K-Drama Stars) space in Korea as they use the latest technology and have an exclusive, tucked away location...

Eastasy: Whoo Spa & O Hui Skincare

Whoo Spa dominates the VVIP service (K-Pop/ K-Drama Stars) space in Korea as they use the latest technology and have an exclusive, tucked away location...My experience at Whoo Spa O Hui Sinsa Seoul via Eastacy ICE therapy, refresh care, aromatherapy, massage, and facial

I was recently invited to Whoo Spa in ritzy Sinsa right across the street from Garosugil by a company called Eastasy.  They partner with brands and experiences across Asia and offer massive discounts.  After a whirlwind weekend in Taipei, I was definitely due for a massage.  The experience I had at Whoo Spa was very thorough, as is my breakdown!  Leave any questions in the comments and I’ll get back to you shortly…

My "after" picture from my experience at Whoo Spa with Eastasy
Fresh-faced with just a little mascara and lip balm the day after my Refresh Care experience at Whoo Spa in Sinsa (Seoul, Korea) via Eastasy.

Whoo Spa Atmosphere

Whoo Spa (formerly O Hui Spa) in Sinsa dominates the VVIP spa service space in Korea.  They are very popular because they use the most up to date technology to stay current for their clients.  They have a variety of K-Pop Stars and famous American and Korean actors (Kim Tae-Hee and Shin Min-A use O Hui) who visit due to the great service and tucked away location.  They also sell a vast array of high-quality, exceptional skincare products made from South Korean natural medicinal herbs, from luxurious brands such as O HUI, Whoo, and SU:M 37Clients get 25% off products the same day as their service.  Make sure to check out Eastasy for a wicked deal on packages!

The Whoo Spa Treatments

I opted for the 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.

Upgraded

I was upgraded to the ICE care, which is good for brightening and moisturizing.  This is very similar to a Vitamin C procedure I’ve had previously.  They also offer hot care (for anti-aging), pore tightening, and aqua peeling (generally for patients with acne).  Once my ICE treatment was over, a facial ampoule and an essence was applied, then secured with a molding facial mask pack.  After that, there was revitalizing care before I went on my way.  My back and shoulders were massaged using products from the Gongjinhyang line.  It containes ingredients such as ginseng and cordyceps (a popular fungus used in ancient Chinese medicine).  Throughout the majority of the facial, they places electronic leg and foot boots on and I was treated to a full body experience for the entire two hours.

Personal Preferences

Usually I’m pretty tense when I go for a massage.  I work out quite a bit and lift heavy weights (and all kinds of children daily!).  When I was in Thailand I found that when I asked for medium pressure it just wasn’t enough to get the knots out.  On my questionnaire I still put medium, but the pressure was a lot stronger than I expected.  My masseuse was not shy at all, and whenever she neared my lower back or decolletage I could tell there was certainly no modesty in this treatment.  I would have preferred not to be on a plastic sheet, but I totally understand their hygenic needs.

Whoo Spa dominates the VVIP service (K-Pop/ K-Drama Stars) space in Korea as they use the latest technology and have an exclusive, tucked away location...

Whoo Spa Seoul Massage

There were several areas of my body that could have used very strong pressure: my calves, ankles, and lower back.  I felt like she kind of skimmed those areas focusing primarily on the upper back, middle back, shoulders, and traps.  They needed a lot of attention, but I was much more sensitive in those areas.  I also got a hand massage.  I didn’t realise that I needed one, but it was heaven!

Whoo Spa Seoul Aromatherapy

The aromatherapy aspect of the treatment is not what I expected, and I was glad.  Usually the scents are fairly strong and irritate my allergies.  The earthy, yet still sweet smells were pretty mild.  I got whiffs of honey, lemon, and oaky notes.  If you’ve read my Vineworks Korea article you’ll notice my nose isn’t always spot on, but these pleasant fragrances were neither sickly sweet, nor heavy on the Chinese medicine.  I would likely use them at home, too.

My masseuse used plenty of warm towels (bordering on hot) at the beginning and end of the treatment.  I always want to roll around in warm laundry fresh out of the dryer (I miss dryers living in Korea!) so they felt amazing.  They were also the perfect way to get any remaining oils off before changing and heading home.

 

Whoo (后) SPA (후(后)스파)

Whoo Spa Seoul Facial

My facial was longer than I expected because of the facial massage and surprise upgrade (thank you!).  In terms of the steps, they were pretty similar to what I’ve experienced in the past.  My bubbling, cleansing facial was very effective, however it wasn’t as itchy as I normally find they can be.  I normally have to stay very still or risk 15 minutes of agony wanting to scratch my face.  This was fine.  The ICE facial was a lot colder than I expected.  They placed a cream on my face.  They then pressed a flat, cold, metal plate in circular motions across my whole face.  At some points I questioned the necessity of the low temperature.  They told me this particular one was good for moisture.  They recommended it to me as apparently my skin is quite dry and sensitive.

Image result for su:m37 white award sheet mask

Whoo Spa Aftercare

After my 2 hour treatment whizzed by (I totally fell asleep throughout the molding facial), I was taken to a reception area where tea and a small pastry was waiting for me.  The Whoo Spa manager explained that it was very important to rehydrate the skin within a couple of days.  She presented me with 2 samples of Su:m37 ampoule, and a sheet mask from their “white awards” brightening series.

Directions to Whoo Spa (formerly O Hui Spa)

The Spa itself is tucked away across from Hak-dong Park.  It took me a little while to find, so allow yourself plenty of time if you’re not taking a taxi.  They’re open 10:00am-10:00pm, Monday to Sunday.

From Sinsa Station (Seoul Subway Line 3)

Take Exit 1.  Walk straight and turn right before you reach Yeongdong Tourist Hotel.
Continue walking and look for the spa on your left.

From Hak-dong Station (Seoul Subway Line 7) 

Take Exit 6 Walk straight and turn right on the second street.
Continue swalking straight and you’ll find the spa on your right-hand side.

Displaying 외부사진.jpeg

Big thanks to Eastasy for inviting me to relax my body and revive my skin at Whoo Spa in Sinsa, Seoul, Korea.  This article is in partnership with Eastasy, but all opinions shared with regards to Whoo Spa are my own.  Explore Asia through Eastasy: click here for all kinds of deals on experiences and accomodations in Korea and beyond!

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.

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

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?

Image may contain: 1 person, standing

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!

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!