Thursday, June 7, 2012

Myeongdong, Korean Beauty Shopping Mecca

Myeongdong 명동 is a must if you want to shop, especially for Korean skin care and cosmetics! I loved it so much, I went there several times during my trip, kekeke (and I still didn't get to go into every store!).

It is very touristy so there's usually a sea of people. The only time I saw it clearing out was at 10pm, closing time. Its being such a popular tourist destination means you will see and hear a lot of foreigners and in some shops (but not all) the sales assistants speak English, Japanese, and Chinese. (Truthfully I'd only encountered two who spoke fluent English; a sales girl in Nature Republic and in Etude House.) Koreans spoke to me in everything...I found it a bit interesting that they had no clue what ethnicity I am. In my mind, I'd thought Asians could distinguish other Asians, especially if they live in Asia, but apparently that wasn't the case, at least in my experience. They seemed to just randomly guess any Asian ethnicity including Thai, Japanese, Filipino and Chinese. (I was very surprised when one asked me if I was Vietnamese!)

Anyways, on with the pics!

I liked to enter from the Myeongdong exit on the subway near Migliore, a Korean department store.

Kpop idols are much loved in Seoul and you can find their ads and endorsements plastered everywhere and anywhere, but I'll have to do a separate post on that. Here's a huge 4minute endorsement for Shoemarker. (I like 4minute a lot, by the way; that is I like listening to their songs but don't know who's who aside from Hyuna.)

Same crossing or intersection, but looking to the left.

On the left side is a large Nature Republic store (where one of the sales assistant spoke fluent English). I don't know too much about Nature Republic but I do know that their products are nature based and they have had a lot of celebrities to endorse their brand, including Rain and JYJ in the past. I believe current celebrities are Jang Geun Suk (you can spot his large ad), and Kara's Goo Hara, Park Gyuri and Kang Jiyoung (yes, all three girls are from Kara). I found the sales assistants in this store to be very nice, patient and professional.

Etude House. This is where I hauled the most beauty products. One confusing thing about Myeongdong is that there are several branches of the same brand. For example, I think I went to four Etude House shops in Myeongdong! If you ever go to Myeongdong, or Seoul or Korea in general, my tip for beauty hauling is to do a one-time haul at each brand. Why? That way you will get more and better samples (or "service" as I've heard that's what they call it, but truthfully, no one called it anything, they just gave it to me). In the case of Etude House, they have gifts with purchases varying by the amount you spend. Since SHINee is their current face and my favorite Kpop group, of course I wanted anything and everything I could get! (Yes, that's Minho's cardboard cutout in front.)

I found SkinFood and Holika Holika not too far across from that particular Etude House shop. And yes, there are other SkinFood and Holika Holika shops in Myeongdong that I also saw.

I personally really enjoyed shopping at night, keke. I think because I like to stay up late, then take a while to get ready the next morning, and also have time to look up things before I head out for the entire day (didn't want to kill my cell phone battery while I was out, especially since I relied on it for subway information). Shopping outside at night felt very invigorating for me.

Here's another SkinFood location. This one is located more towards the back end of Myeongdong but it's a "corner" store so it looks more impressive and larger.

Innisfree. This one is on the "main" stretch of Myeongdong and across from Etude House. There is another one on the smaller, side street if you walk past Spao and Uniqlo.

A different Etude House (I can tell by the windows). Do you see the steady stream of people?!

Here is a yet another Etude House (different windows), next to another Holika Holika, The Face Shop, and Tony Moly.

I checked out Holika Holika, which was having a 30% sale. Unfortunately I didn't find anything I'd liked (there were only two shades of the Heartful Moisture Lipstick available). The brand looks targeted at girls much younger than me, and when I'd tested a face cream it did not feel good on my skin, so I passed.

Dunkin' Donuts is everywhere in Seoul! I mean everywhere. We don't have Dunkin' Donuts in So Cal except at Camp Pendleton, which is a military base near San Diego. I believe Dunkin' Donuts is similar to Mister Donut, since they were created by two brothers-in-law and most Mister Donut locations in the US became Dunkin' Donuts. (Oh I want a donut!)


Lotte Young Plaza. This is what I consider to be the back entrance to Myeongdong. I did not go inside since I'd heard that it was pricy, and I was all about finding cheap thrills in Seoul.

And lastly, street food. I ate a lot of street food since it's so fast and cheap, and I wanted to spend little time eating and more time shopping! A lot of the street food is fried and not very healthy, but I still thought it was great for a quick bite. Here are some spicy, grilled chicken skewers (my favorite), bacon-wrapped hot dogs (without the buns), and fried fish paste sticks. Yum!

I'm spending a long weekend in San Francisco so I won't post again until after next Monday. I hope you're not getting sick of posts about my Seoul trip since I still have a lot of pictures to share! Next post will be my beauty haul from Myeongdong!


  1. hahaha~ I could totally relate! I was quite amazed that most of the SA are multi-lingual! There are plenty of chinese tourist around and I overheard the SA explaining the ingredients in Mandarin! I though they would just explain the simple product functions and prices but they even knew the ingredients well enough! Now, that's what I call dedication to job!lolz! Hope you'll have a great weekend in SF! ^_~ oooh~ beauty hauls entry!! my favs!! I just enjoy seeing/reading those entries =)

  2. omg *A* I wanna go to Korea now!! Will definitely think about heading there when I have the time, money and dedication to go alone - will make sure I come to you for guidance in this matter of course ;) Everything looks so appealing in your photos! Esp the huuuuuge posters of k-idols <33

  3. Never sick of travel posts! I think I visited here too! I only stayed in Seoul for two days with my friend from university (she was a 1 year exchange student and went back to Seoul and I missed her so much! XD)

    Yummm street food! :) You did so well not to get lost...really! XD I don't htink I would ever have found this place by myself. I didn't even know what it was called I just blindly followed my friend.............. hah!

  4. Myeongdong looks quite crowded.  I'll have to remember your tip about one time brand hauls when I go eventually. I didn't even realize they had Dunkin Donuts in SK until recently when I was watching a K-drama and DD was one of the sponsors so donuts were showing up everywhere :)

  5. Wow I didn't go to this shopping area when I was in Seoul. Will def put that on my itinerary next time...So convenient that all the famous beauty brands were located near each other. Can't wait to see your haul.

  6. Oh I'd love to shop there, it looks exciting! A bit of Disneyland with all the colorful stores! I really wanna visit Korea too :/

  7. wow looks really fun and interesting there.. so packed! Reminds of Shibuya lol. Not sure if I'd go crazy there, maybe 3 years back I would :P Have fun at SF!

  8. omg 명동 has changed so much!
    no wonder. i haven't gone back for so long.
    i miss those street food more than the road shop cosmetics. lol

    (btw, i am trying the second sheet mask tonight. feels so nice! i will review on them soon. thanks again, Diana!)

  9. Lol I think Asians can't identify other Asians. I'm Hong Kong born and bred and every time I go back people still ask if I'm Malaysian. It could be because I used to live in Africa back then and would be very tan compared to everyone else.
    I laugh every time I see those pop idol endorsed product ads, it's especially hilarious when they have a male pop idol promoting beauty products xD

  10.  LOL it's so true! I think you look very fair skinned in your pictures though. Hmm they'll definitely think I'm Malaysian or even African if I go to Hong Kong then! jk Those idols are so loved, they can sell anything to all the fan boys and fan girls! XP

  11.  Aww when was the last time you were there? I'd love to hear or see pictures of how it was before! I miss the street food too, hehe, there were a lot that I didn't get to try! Would def go back again and eat everything in sight! lol

  12.  Hehe next time I'm in Tokyo, I'll have to go to Shibuya! Aww I know what you mean. I think I would have gone even crazier a few years ago, but now I have (some) self control. :P

  13.  Ohh you should if you can! It's so close to Tokyo, only a two-hour flight! It's definitely a good place to shop if you like Korean beauty brands. =)

  14.  Ohh I'm surprised! I'm guessing you went shopping in other areas. Truthfully there are still a lot of places I didn't get to visit and would love to go to the next time I'm in Seoul! I hope you can go again too!

  15.  Yes! It was a bit of a bummer for me because I really wanted everything SHINee from Etude House, but since I'd shopped at different EH shops in Myeongdong they didn't give me everything. *sigh* So hard with the language barrier, but next time I will be better prepared! Ahhh I resisted Dunkin' Donuts there but now everytime I see my Seoul pictures, I want a donut! keke

  16.  Aww thanks! I don't travel much so I must revel in posting about it while I can, lol. Aww two days is so short, but still better than not being able to visit at all! lol Luckily this place was very easy to find, as long you get off at the Myeongdong subway station, you'll see signs (in English also) and once you exit the subway, you're there! XD

    I too blindly followed Nic in Tokyo, lol. Being able to read and speak even just a little bit helps a lot to not get lost...otherwise, blindly following a friend is the next best thing!

  17.  Oh yes! It is a modern city and so cheap and affordable for renting a cell phone and taking the subway, so not a bad place to visit alone if you can't get someone to travel with you. Definitely let me know in the future when you decide to go! =)

  18.  Their fluency really ranges, hehe. At first I was confused why someone was speaking English to me with a Chinese accent, but then I realized she must be Chinese but fluent in Chinese, English, and Korean! Wow I wish I had that kind of talent for speaking foreign languages.

    hehe I have to split my beauty hauls into several posts, and still have more to post from my trip! XD

  19. I'm loving the pictures from your trip!! Shop! Shop!! I would LOVE to visit Korea..hubby's best friend still has a lot of family there..maybe he can be my tour guide? lol 

  20. Aw thanks! Omgosh, an insider tour guide would be awesome! That way you can avoid the tourist pitfalls that I fell into, lol. Definitely let me know when you plan to go in the future! That way, I can try to sneak into your luggage so you can take me with you! kekeke XP

  21. I've really been enjoying your posts on Seoul. I just moved here a few months ago and I live less than a 10 minute walk from Myeongdong shopping area. It's tempting to go there every day lol but it's cold here now. Thanks for all the info!!

  22. Woah! You're so lucky to be able to go to Korea. My Korea trip got postponed due to studies. Now I'm off to enjoy your hauls!

    Thank you for the article and feel free to visit me at my blog: ^^

  23. so excited to shop,, im goin to stay at astoria hotel myeongdong,, how far or how near are the shopping stores?


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