Buying Makeup in Korea

Seoul, S. Korea is known as the plastic surgery capital of the world.  The Koreans are extremely into beauty to the point of even having surgery on their faces to look better, even the guys. I knew a girl who worked in one of the offices at KCU when I taught there who was pretty, but her parents were insisting she have plastic surgery. She showed me a very faint, small barely noticeable scar on her cheek, and her parents wanted her to have no flaws at all, so she was going to have plastic surgery.  My daughter has a small scar on her cheek left by a dog who took a hot dog away from her at a barbecue once, but we all just ignore it because she is pretty regardless. We have a Korean friend who went to America, and the summer before he went, he just dropped out of sight and didn’t want to see anyone. When he showed up at the end of the summer, he looked like a completely different person because he was wanting girlfriends in America, so he changed his eyes and his nose with surgery. He looked like someone else, and he got lots of girlfriends in America. Koreans all want to look good, more than any other country wants to look good.  There is lots and lots of makeup for sale!  There are shops everywhere, and you can buy it at the local E-Mart or HomePlus too. Usually, the makeup is cheaper at E-Mart, so we buy it there, but sometimes we can’t find what we want there, so we go to find a special makeup shop.  We don’t like to find the special shops because they are more expensive, but I guess as women, my daughter and I really care what we look like too, but we would never go so far as plastic surgery.  Today, we went to one of those special makeup shops.

We have trouble with the powder at the local E-Mart because an American wants something different out of powder than the Koreans want.  The Koreans actually think it looks good for their skin to shine. They think it shows health, so when you use their powders, it doesn’t shop the shine, but promotes it.  Americans have a different attitude.  We like to use the powder to even out our foundation, cover up, and blusher and to stop our noses from shinning.  We feel a shinny nose means it is oily, and we don’t want that. The powder they sell at E-Mart promotes shine, and we don’t want shine, so we have to look elsewhere for powder.

My Mamonde compact

Once upon a time, a Korean friend gave me a birthday gift. It was a Mamonde powder compact. Finally, I learned that they sell powder in Korea that doesn’t make your skin shine, powder that is a little more like something you would buy in the States.  She had bought it at an expensive makeup store over in Mok Dong.  When it ran out, I insisted she show me where the store was, so my daughter and I went over there and got a Mamonde compact every time we needed powder even if it was expensive because it actually did the job we wanted it to.  However, that shop closed, so we have had to find other places to find our compacts.

We went to the makeup store called Olive Young.
There were even guys shopping in the makeup store.

Today, we went over to the makeup store at Lotte Mall called Olive Young.  I was surprised at how crowded they were! It was like everyone was shopping for makeup, even the guys.  My daughter reminded me that some Korean guys wear makeup even though they aren’t gay. It is just the Korean thing because everyone must look good. I surprised her by telling her that the guys in California were wearing makeup for a while, and they didn’t have to be gay to wear makeup either.  I have a cousin from California who wore makeup when he was in high school in California, and he is a happily married father now, but no longer wears makeup.  I told her I also knew a guy in Romania who used to wear eye liner, and he wasn’t gay. He wore it because he liked girls, and I saw him wearing it when he was out chasing girls. She was surprised because she thought only the Koreans guys did things like that.



The lady with the red backpack is the one who pushed me out of the way, but I just ignored her. The store was packed!


There were so many different kinds of makeup! These are just some of the things they have.


The store was packed. As we were looking for compacts, some woman just walked by and pushed me out of the way because she was trying to get to the makeup she wanted to look at.  That isn’t going to happen in America.  Koreans don’t mind shoving one another to be first or get where they want to be.  My daughter was complaining today about how rude people can get because she was standing next to a table at a restaurant, and the people were getting up. She was waiting because she wanted to sit there, and it was obvious what she was doing.  Just about the time the other people got up, some Koreans came by and pushed her out of the way and sat there themselves.  Each culture has their problems, and being pushy and rude is a problem in Korea even if the people are in general nice. They do it in the streets as they drive, and I just stop and let them all go first because if I don’t, they will cause a wreck trying to be first.  I ignored the woman who pushed me out of the way because I know how some Koreans can get.

My New Revlon Compact

We continued looking for Mamonde, but with all the makeup in that store, they didn’t have any.  They had so many different brands that I didn’t know the difference between any of them.  Finally, I stumbled on a compact from Revlon.  Revlon is an American company. Since America made it, it will do what Americans expect powder to do.  I was very happy because it was even half the price of what we thought we would have to pay for Mamonde. My daughter hasn’t lived in America much, so she didn’t recognize the brand, but I did.  It was the only American thing in the shop that I saw. We found our powder that works the way an American wants it to work!

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