one girl's journey across kpop paradise

Category Archives: Beauty

I see a lot of people have been reading my post about the Korean Setting Perm. On it, I mentioned that the curls were quite tight, but that I thought they would loosen up over time. Well I just want to update and say that they no, they haven’t really loosened up at all, and it’s been over eight months. Eight months later and those curls are still holding tight.

Setting perm is described by Koreans as the “elegant” waves versus the digital perm, which is supposed to be curlier and more slightly more fun? I’m not sure how to describe it, but setting perm is what you see when you see classic, sophisticated Korean girls. I don’t think it turned out the way it was supposed to have on my hair because my hair is naturally very frizzy, so I’m sorry if my pictures weren’t of much help to you. Funny thing I just searched up “setting perm before and after” and my picture came up. Maybe I shouldn’t have put such a dismal picture of the after shot (sobs). 

In retrospect, the Korean magic straightener was not nearly as good as the Japanese straighteners I’ve gotten before, so here’s some real advice: definitely go for the Japanese straighteners over the Korean magic one if you want straight hair. Okay, that’s enough talking!

Perhaps I will go back to Hongdae and buy this for my future boyfriend-to-be.

Having been in Korea for almost three months now, I can’t help but notice the plethora of couples around. And my oh my are they cute. Freaking adorable. Couples everywhere, holding hands, giving each other forehead kisses, dwelling behind street corners, hoping no one will see them exchange what may be perceived to be too much PDA. This is Korea, after all.

I wish someone would give me a 'pig-rabbit' :)

What’s cute is that I live on campus, and though foreign students don’t have a curfew, Korean students definitely have a curfew (not to mention gender-specific dorms). They have to be back at the dorm at 12:30 AM and if they’re even one minute late, they have to brave the cold outdoors until 5 AM. Walking home from a late dinner or a coffee session, I often see couples furtively exchange their affections in the dark just as their curfew nears. They act as if they don’t want to leave each other’s side, even though they know their curfew is fast approaching. Sometimes they catch me looking in their direction, and then try to turn away, as if embarrassed. It’s really endearing.


I see them walking hand-in-hand in the subway, on the streets, shopping in Myeongdong, climbing Bukhansan (the only mountain within the city of Seoul) – and sometimes they sport couple T’s. Couple T’s are shirts that couples wear that are identical or complimentary in some way. Usually they are really cute – adorable designs with bright colors – they want to display to the public that they are a thing. As if we wouldn’t already know, from the way they act. Sometimes couples have couple sneakers (also very bright and fun), and others have couple rings. I kind of want to stuff these couple paraphernalia-wearing couples in my suitcase and bring them back with me to the States. Not that I really want to go back to the States. But I kind of have to….at least for now.

The presence of these all these couples normally would kind of faze me…being the romantic that I am, I expected myself to wallow in self-pity. What’s wrong with me? Am I not pretty enough? Do I not stand out? What exactly am I doing wrong? But, having been in Korea for several months, and having met a lot of Korean guys, I can honestly say that I frankly don’t give a rat’s behind about being single in what I consider to be a strong couple culture. I haven’t met anyone who I genuinely feel like I could be in a real relationship with here, and that’s perfectly fine with me.

Granted, I still think Korean guys are the cutest guys in the world (and I’m certainly not alone on this – I’ve met so many girls who could not agree more haha). Maybe it’s just that I’ve matured a bit about the whole thing. How in love are most of these couples anyway? Given the sheltered nature of many Koreans growing up, I expect the campus couples I see daily to have had little experience in dating. Perhaps they found their soulmate, or perhaps they found someone with whom they could pleasantly pass the time. Regardless, I am happy (and not grumpy) to see the love and happiness everywhere. It gives me hope in my future happiness.

So this blog post title today is really lame, I know, but it’s kind of the best thing I could think of. Last Sunday, I did a little photo shoot with lovely Paula, one of my fashion inspirations here in Seoul. She has a great blog, filled mostly of fashion, but also of life, love, and how beautiful Seoul is, which I’ve also discovered myself the two or some months I’ve been here so far.

Paula is working at a vintage shop called OldOld. The store is located near Konkuk station (Line 2). It’s a cute little store in the basement of an old building, but there are a lot of gems just waiting to be discovered. For my friend and I, Paula decided on a knit-only look that was kind of angelic, and to play up that aspect, we shot only on a roof-top. It was a really fun experience, and I’d be happy to work with Paula again for any other fashion ideas she has. She was the first fashion blogger in Seoul that I found, and I was so happy to finally meet her. She’s perhaps even friendlier in person than online, and that’s saying something ^^

So here are some of the photos:

They turned out really nice and artsy, right? I really loved the outfits Paula picked. She’s a natural stylist :) I really love the fashion here in Korea – it was one of the drawing points for me. At long last, I got to work on a fashion project here…I’m grateful :)

Sorry guys – it’s been a while since my last update. I’ve been busy and also it’s been tough lugging around my heavy Canon camera everywhere. So I’ve been lazy about taking pictures. I’ll probably be taking more photos once classes start, since I’ll have more time to upload them on here as well.

One of the things I wanted to do most once getting to Korea was getting my hair done. I have really puffy and frizzy hair, so I hate it, and whenever I go to China, I get it permed straight so I don’t have to bother styling it everyday. Lately I’ve been straightening it whenever I go out, but since the power systems are different in Korea, I haven’t been able to use my straightener. The girls in Korea pretty much all get their hair permed, so I was interested in getting mine done as well. Since I’d gotten my hair straightened many times before, I decided to get a wavy perm this time.

I went to Juno Hair, which was recommended by Eat Your Kimchi, so I knew it would be a good place. I went to the Seoul location near the Seoul National University Station on Line 2. The directions I got for it were slightly wrong – I had to look for like 30 minutes before I found it, but it was right next to the exit. Go out exit 3, turn around and keep walking for a bit and it will be on your left. It’s on the second floor, so go up the stairs.

Thankfully there was a lady there who spoke English, so I could tell her what I wanted. She told me I should get a setting perm for the bottom of my hair and magic straightener for the top part, since my hair is frizzy. She ended up doing my hair. Also, there was another guy who helped out, and he did the shampooing for me. I forget both their names, but I’m sure there aren’t too many female hairdressers there who spoke English, so you’ll probably get the same person I did if you go. The guy who helped was really nice, and kept asking me questions, even though our communication was very stifled and awkward. But he was really cheerful and enthusiastic, so it made the experience fun.

In the end, I had my roots done (my hair is dyed a reddish brown), magic straightener on top, and setting perm for the bottom. It came out to 300,000 Won, which is a lot of money, but decent for the services I received. Here is a before and after:

Sorry the lighting is bad in the after shot, but at least you can see how soft and wavy the hair is :) I really like it – the only thing is – I wish the curls were less tight, but I think they will loosen up over time.

I really enjoyed my Juno experience. If you want to go to get your hair done is Seoul, definitely go to Juno. There are a bunch of other locations in Seoul as well, but I don’t know them and I’m in no position to give directions for them.

Tomorrow we register for classes. I heard that a lot of classes are already full, so I’m a bit worried, but I’m sure everything will turn out fine. Hwaiting!


April 29, 2012: Here’s an update to the perm eight months alter.

Hey look! We found a sticker photo booth in Busan! We jumped at the opportunity and it was SO MUCH FUN! It was in a shopping area in Seo-myeon (or something like that) and the store had about ten+ booths. We picked one near the back – we picked a big one because there was seven of us. We ended up picking 6 shots, and picked backgrounds for all of them. After we were done taking the pictures, we went to this little booth next door to decorate the photos. It was the best thing ever! See, we wrote on ours, put sparkles and hearts all over it, added bunny ears, headbands, tiaras, you name it. The photo booths are from Japan :) All the high-tech, really cute photo booths are always from Japan. They’ve got it going on in terms of photo booths apparently. The whole thing costed 6,000 Won, so less than $6. Among the 7 of us, we spent around a dollar each for this. It was definitely worth it. I would totally recommend you do it if you find it in Korea!

I don’t have the pictures for this right now, but I’ll talk about the amazing video game arcades we found in Busan (I’m sure they’re good in Seoul too). All my dreams and fantasies about video game arcades in Asia were right! The one we went to was packed. There were a lot of boys and girls (mostly boys at specific games like DDR and both girls and guys at more popular games). There was one really popular game in the center of the arcade that was like one of those spin-around rides. The ride is circular with a row of seats along the edges, and people get to sit next to each other and hold onto the bars. The ride bounces up and down rather violently, but it doesn’t look dangerous. In fact, it looked really fun and we all wanted to go on, but the line was like 100+. We made a pact to go on it eventually. We ended up playing a shooting game, but it was in a dark booth, so we were secluded. It was so intense! And then we went one a ‘5D’ ride – it’s one of those rides where you sit on rollercoaster seats and theres a screen in front of you and the ride bumps up and down along with the screen, to simulate the experience of the real thing. I’ve been on tons of these, so it wasn’t that exciting, but the others seemed to enjoy it a lot.

And SK and I really wanted to try the Pump It Up (DDR with diagonal arrows), but there were a lot of guys at the three stations that acted like they owned the place. But whatever, SK and I still went up and played it. We didn’t really understand how to work the machine and this Korean guy there tried to help us out by picking the right stages and and levels. Luckily we didn’t embarass ourselves too much, and it was a whole lot of fun. I’d do it again gladly!

Okay, I’m going to try to get some sleep before we have another full day of activities! Just one more day in Busan before we go back to Seoul. As much as I like Busan, I am really excited to go back to Seoul to buy all the necessary essentials for living (we need pillows, hangers, hair dryers, etc) before we start Orientation and classes! I’m so psyched!

Until next time <3