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What I bought in Seoul – the makeup/skincare edition

Korean beauty haul.jpg

I buy an obsessive amount of Korean skincare/cosmetics every time I visit Seoul. I know whatever I say will sound like I’m defending myself BUT TRUST ME, it’s hard not to – especially when so many good and affordable beauty brands originate from the land of your oppas.

I usually end up not using everything (hoarder alert), so during my trip last month I did my best to stock up on only *essentials*, along with some new things. The verdict is? I failed. Haha. So anyway, decided to put my loot to good use and review some items I got:

Warning: Rambly post ahead with a lot of thoughts and little visuals because I didn’t have time to photograph every item.

1. The Saem’s Pure White Brightening Essence

Prior to my trip, I was doing some research on a good brightening essence to get. Koreans have this intense like 10-step skincare routine or something (I kid you not) which include the usual cleanser, toner and moisturiser, but also other fancy things like emulsions and essences and creams and gels…

I eventually decided to add one more step to my skincare routine and get an essence, and having read pretty good stuff on The Saem‘s Pure White range, picked up the Pure White Brightening Essence! I wasn’t keen to splurge on the entire series, so the pretty nice saleslady said that if I was going to just try one item it would be the essence.

Currently using this after applying my toner, and it definitely provides an instant glow and brightening effect! It doesn’t last throughout the day, but I’m really looking forward to long-term effects.

2. Tony Moly’s Egg Pore Blackhead Steam Balm

I don’t really have a problem with blackheads, but at only ₩8,000 (approx. S$11) it is a super cute product to try. I personally haven’t tried this, but the reviews for it here are fairly decent! Will update if it works. Fingers crossed.

3. Laneige’s BB Cushion

This product doesn’t exactly need an introduction. It’s been around for a couple of years, and despite the amount of BB cushions popping up from every brand, Laneige still remains one of the strongest contenders (Hera and Iope are also highly raved) for its good coverage and excellent branding.

There’s also a Pore Control version, which is great for people looking at a matte finish. This version provides a more glow-y look. Not the smartest option for people living in Singapore, because it’s so humid, but I usually pat some powder over to set everything.

I bought both a refill in True Beige (#13) and Pink Beige (#21). However, while I’ll continue to use Laneige for awhile, I’ll probably also use other wallet-friendly options this year, such as the next item on my list…

4. A’PIEU’s Air-Fit BB Cushion Special Set

I’ve never paid much attention to A’PIEU before last year, because as shallow as it sounds, it seemed minuscule compared to the brand giants in Korea. HOW WRONG I WAS. I profusely apologise to the A’PIEU goddess. For its price, this BB cushion is amazeballs. I actually got a friend to pick this up for me before my trip to Korea – yeah I’m that impatient – and I’m so glad she did.

Besides the fact that A’PIEU releases the cutest packaging for its products (it has so many brand collaborations!), the BB cushion boasts SPF50++, has really good coverage and is also incredibly affordable. This Doraemon special set I got came in a Christmas special while I was in Seoul, and the BB cushion + a refill was only a mind-boggling ₩7,900 (approx. S$10). Definitely re-purchasing ! ! !

It only comes in two shades though (#21 and #23), so would work best for fairer complexions.

5. Audrey Jeanne x Holika Holika’s DoDo Cat Heartful Gel Tint Bar

Yet another special edition item. Gah. The Audrey Jeanne x Holika Holika collaboration isn’t one to pass up because HEY CATS. I actually purchased this along with the BB cushion (review coming up!) because besides the obvious cuteness, I also wanted this free pouch that came along with both items.

I love the little heart-shaped bullet that the Gel Tint Bar product comes in when you unscrew the tube, but it’s also incredibly fragile and I’ve already broken the bottom of my bar. Gulp. I refuse to throw it away, but this makes applying a total pain.

The product itself is actually a really good tinted lip balm though – it gives a really nice shade of pink and has a bit of a sheen to it. There’s also an tinted orange version. I believe this costs something along ₩8,000 won (approx. S$10), which isn’t that cheap considering the amount of good and affordable lip balm options you can get in Seoul.

6. Etude House’s Galaxy Express 999 Nail Polishes

Korean beauty haul 4

nth collaboration item alert! Galaxy Express is a manga series that has teamed up with Etude House to release – what else – galaxy-themed nail products. Got these two glitter polishes for a friend, and I think she’ll really love them! I can’t remember exactly how much these cost, but less than S$3 each.

7. CLIO’s Sharp, So Simple Waterproof Pen Liner

There are reviews out there that call this the best eyeliner in the world. That’s how good CLIO‘s eyeliners are. I refuse to buy anything else.

For its price point (approx. S$10), CLIO is a damn fantastic deal. I first discovered the brand in Watsons (a local drugstore) and tried the black eyeliner in their Kill Black range. They still have that range, which I believe is only different from the ‘So Simple’ series because it’s a little more long-lasting. This time, I bought both the black and brown eyeliners from the ‘So Simple’ series and they work excellently. Defined and sharp, tips enabling you to draw perfectly winged tips and so much more. Major love.

8. Etude House’s Drawing Eye Brow

Another super good item for such an affordable price. Sigh. Sometimes, I don’t know what I’ve done to discover such great products. *Tears* The Drawing Eye Brow, at ₩2,500 (approx. S$3), is a product that is easy-to-use for shaping and filling in brows, even for beginners. Comes with a spoolie on the other end of the pencil for blending.

9. Audrey Jeanne x Holika Holika Face2Change DoDo Cat Glow BB Cushion

Korean beauty haul 3

Yep, this is the BB cushion that I got with the Heartfelt Gel Tint from Holika Holika. I’m aware that this is also the third BB cushion that I’m reviewing in this post. Note to self: stop buying so many!

I haven’t cracked this cushion open yet because I’m using both the Laneige and A’PIEU ones now, along with other BB creams, but at about S$32, this isn’t super cheap. I don’t know, I’m probably too much of an A’PIEU advocate right now. I mean, I could get like three A’PIEU cushions + refills for that price. Heh.

What is special about this cushion is that it has a cute little cat footprint on the cushion itself, which is supposed to be a brightener while the rest of the cushion base acts as the main BB cream coverage. It’s so cute that I’m really hoping it’s a great product. Will update!

10. Innisfree’s Green Tea Mineral Mist

Korean beauty haul 2

Fairly straightforward product. Mineral mists are great as a mid-day perk up, or if you want to give your face a bit of a moisture boost! I use this to freshen up when I get a little sleepy.

11. Banila Co. White Wedding Dream CC SPF50+ PA+++

This was a major disappointment for me. I popped into a Banila Co. along Ewha on a whim to check out some products for Nigel’s sister, and was won over by the wedding-styled packaging of their newest range. Naturally picked up (yet another) cream. This set me back about ₩25,000 (approx. S$30).

Although this boasts high SPF of 50++ and the promise of a really lovely, fair complexion, I just didn’t enjoy the consistency or application of this at all. It’s a lot more oily than any BB cream/liquid foundation I’ve ever used, has a very thin consistency when applied, and is really hard to even out on my face. Just a really strange product, and I’m not sure if I’ll continue using it.

12. Nature Republic Apple Mango Hand Cream

Every cosmetics/skin care brand in Korea has a crazily wide range of hand creams with all sorts of flavours and scents. It’s mad. There’s really no need to buy one from an expensive brand if you’re just looking for a basic cream because the ones in Korea are very cheap, and they do the job. I don’t even use hand creams that much, but I couldn’t resist picking this up (along with a Cotton Baby scent!) for the office. Smells delicious too.

Not pictured, but other things I recommend: Etude House’s Pure Water Baobab Toner and Etude House’s Silk Scarf Moist Hair Mist.



  1. bytheseasideblog

    When I was in seoul- literally brought the whole of Myeongdong back with me haha :p Love your reviews 🙂

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