The South Korean capital is the epicenter of the beauty world, dreaming up ever-more-cutting-edge products. Alicia Yoon, who travels there to source makeup and skin care for her retail site, Peach & Lily, shares where to go for facials, saunas, and more, as well as how to get their equivalents stateside.
South Korea: People still go to traditional public bathhouses, but today’s mega-spas have taken the scene by storm. My friends and I spend hours at Siloam Sauna—we visit the ice room, get a massage, and grab samgyetang stew at the restaurant. There’s even karaoke.
United States: My New York City–based Korean American friends and I go to King Spa & Fitness in Palisades Park, N.J., because it feels like a small piece of Seoul. I like to sit in the Hwangtoh Room, a dry sauna that has walls made of a special detoxifying clay.
South Korea: The flagship Lotte Department Store in the Myeong-dong shopping district has the widest selection of brands, including both high-end stalwarts like AmorePacific and more affordable lines like Nuganic and Tony Moly.
United States: In the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, Palace Beauty is a one-stop shop for products from popular skin-care companies like Charmzone, mid-priced lines like Clio, and organic specialists like Aromatica.
South Korea: Shangpree Spa is known for its rigorous training program. Aestheticians go through three years of study before they can even touch a client’s face for one of Shangpree’s customized facials, which lift, firm, and stimulate circulation.
United States: Face size and symmetry is important in modern Korean culture. For a contouring or more intensive reshaping facial, go to Yakson House, which has outposts in New York City and Los Angeles.
South Korea: Everyone in Seoul is obsessed with the finisher, which is a serum made by brands like VDL, Nature Republic, and Espoir. It seals in your moisturizer and primes the skin for makeup application.
United States: The cushion compact, which contains full-coverage, lightweight BB cream, is huge in South Korea, and has just now hit the States. Try Sulwhasoo’s Perfecting Cushion ($60).