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    Your Seoul guide to Korean beauty and wellness experiences
    Indulge in a taste of K-beauty at the most popular spas and skin clinics in Seoul
    Guide to Korean beauty and wellness experiences
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    Seoul is Asia’s number one authority on all things beauty-related, spearheading trends like chok chok (a sound meaning hydrated and luminous) skin and fruit juice makeup. It’s also responsible for introducing us to sheet masks, snail mucin and the 10-step skincare routine. How can you not hit a few beauty hotspots while you’re in town? Rest and recharge with facial treatments using the latest skincare technology, full-body massages with time-honoured techniques, traditional Korean bathhouse visits and much more on your next visit to Seoul. 

    Soothing Seoul spas 

    For the latest in luxury, pay a visit to Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul . Sleek and modern, the resort overlooks Seoul’s Namsan Mountain, offering a welcome respite from the bustle of the city. Its signature Royal Banyan treatment includes a massage with a warm herbal pouch dipped in sesame oil, a cucumber cleanse, a jade face massage and an herbal bath, fusing Eastern and Western massage techniques. Another first-rate option is Spa 1899; its broad range of packages promise to target any and all needs, but the restorative red ginseng spa treatments for slow ageing are most popular.  

    If you enjoy shopping for skincare in Myeongdong, it’s worth noting that you can also enjoy massage and beauty treatments from your favourite big brands. At the Areuke Spa (pictured), you’ll learn how to reap the full benefits of Troiareuke skincare. Located in the trendy neighbourhood of Hongdae, the spa offers a 30-minute skin analysis to tailor its facial and body treatments to individual needs. 

    Similarly, at Sulwhasoo’s flagship store in Gangnam, you’ll find the Sulwhasoo Spa and the Sulwhasoo Balance Spa. The former looks to tradition by using jade and white porcelain massagers for purifying and circulation-boosting effects. The latter takes a more modern approach, with a focus on relieving stress and eliminating fatigue from busy routines. Both make use of Sulwhasoo’s quality products for everything from back, leg and abdomen massages to moisturising, brightening and calming facials.  

    Credit: Getty Images

    Must-visit jjimjilbangs 

    While a jjimjilbang is sometimes described as a Korean bathhouse, it’s much more than that. The experience begins in a gender-segregated spa zone where you can shower and bathe in cold and hot tubs or pay extra for a thorough full body scrub that – while rough – will give you baby-soft skin.  

    Afterwards, you can change into the T-shirt and shorts provided and head to the communal area with heated floors for comfortable, all-day lounging. You’ll also find massage treatment rooms, sleeping rooms and kiln saunas where temperatures range from -10°C to 80°C. Be sure to check out the restaurants too – no jjimjilbang visit is complete without trying sauna-style eggs with a nutty, roasted flavour and sikhye, a traditional sweet Korean rice drink.  

    For a convenient jjimjilbang option, ladies can try out the female-only Spa Lei in Gangnam, which features an array of baths, some infused with nutrient-rich mugwort and chrysanthemum loved for its healing properties. The sauna is also open 24 hours a day, making it ideal for those seeking a place to rest before or after your hotel check-in or check-out time.  

    Credit: Getty Images

    Essential skin clinics 

    Seoul’s popular skin clinics offer a wide range of non-invasive and painless procedures catering to different skin types and concerns. One of the most popular treatments is the Aqua Peel, which uses AHA and BHA acids to cleanse and tighten pores, remove blackheads, and improve acne. Also common are laser treatments that reduce the appearance of acne scars, dark spots, and pigmentation, as well as radiofrequency lifting treatments that stimulate collagen formation, reduce cellulite, and improve skin elasticity.  

    No matter what you choose, you’re sure to walk away with glowing, revitalised skin. You’ll find many skin clinics in Gangnam, but Muse Clinic , Me Clinic , GU Seoul Clinic and PPEUM Clinic are among the best-known names. 

    Credit: Getty Images

    Korean personal colour analysis

    For a one-of-a-kind beauty experience in Seoul, make an appointment for a personal colour analysis. How does it work? By draping different-coloured fabrics near your face, an analyst will help you identify the palette best suited to the colour of your skin tone, eye and hair. Colour palettes are divided into four seasons and further split into either cool or warm tones, resulting in eight distinct types that you can apply to every aspect of your lifestyle. 

    In addition to outlining your best everyday colours, analysts can provide practical tips on how to combine flattering colours for your hair, clothing and makeup – giving you a brighter appearance and creating the look of a more even skin tone. Some colour analysts may also offer to check whether your current makeup choices are a good fit, or provide you with a list of products that would be a better match. Check out @cocory_personalcolor and @dustmothjini on Instagram for tourist-friendly services in English.  

    Credit: Getty Images

    Take K-beauty home

    Even if you don’t have a trip to Seoul coming up on your calendar, you can still get your fix of K-beauty when you shop with Cathay. The moisturising Water-full Timeless Water Gel Mask from Sum37 will be a hit at any sleepover, while The History of Whoo’s Hwanyu Imperial Youth Duo Set is perfect for sharing with mum.  

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