K Spa: Affordable Facials in Seoul
Some of my earliest childhood memories involve watching my mom carefully cleanse, tone and moisturize her skin before going to sleep. She instilled in me from a very young age, the importance of proper skincare to prevent early aging and skin problems later in life.
It’s something that’s stuck with me.
I can’t remember the last time I went to bed without at least washing my face, putting on toner and moisturizing. It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s probably never happened. Has it contributed to me looking younger than my 44 years? Who can say for certain, but it’s something I make sure I do each and every night, no matter what.
When I moved to Korea many, many years later, I discovered that the country’s obsession with beauty was next-level, and that my mom was actually somewhat of a cultural outsider in this regard, hardly wearing make-up and as UNobsessed with physical appearance as could possibly be.
This is something she also passed on to me (fortunately), so I’ve never been much into cosmetics, but I do think that proper skincare is essential. Just like my mom. ❤
Now, as mom to my very own 2 year old crazy monster, I just don’t have the time or patience to do a 10-14 step Korean skincare routine every night. However I do consider a facial every 2 or 3 weeks to be not just a treat, but an integral part of my skincare routine.
It’s not only a great break for this tired mommy, but I see almost immediate results in my skin, in terms of hydration, health and general glow.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A KOREAN FACIAL
A Korean facial could be divided into 4 broad categories: cleansing, massage, masks, and the application of ampoules and creams. There’s probably some slight variation to the process depending on which spa you visit, but this is basically what you’re signing up for when you book a facial. The entire procedure takes around an hour, and you’ll come out of the room with noticeably hydrated, dewy skin.
The facial begins with a double cleansing that includes make-up removal, first cleansing, application of toner and deep cleansing using products that are tailored to your skin type. There’s usually some kind of gentle exfoliation involved during deep cleansing, but nothing close to the painful extractions we’re used to in North America.
At the spa I go to, there’s a short scalp massage included to stimulate the muscles and nerve endings in the head. The cleansing process is completed with a hot steamed towel to remove any product residue and another application of toner.
The cleansing is followed by a décolleté massage that includes neck and shoulders. They’re not shy about getting close to the breast area, and I have even had décolleté massages where they massage all around the breast WITHOUT actually touching the breast itself, so do not be surprised if this should happen. It’s quite normal.
Next is undeniably my favourite part of the entire process – the facial massage. If I could find a spa where someone just rubbed my face for an entire hour, I’d be all over it, but usually it lasts about 10 incredibly blissful minutes. The facial massage hits acupressure points and stimulates the skin, leaving it plumped up and glowing.
Have you ever had a facial massage? Well they're an important component of any Korean facial, hitting acupressure points, shaping the face and boosting circulation. * If I could find someone to do this for me for an hour, I'd sign up right away 😂, but usually it's about 10 minutes of utter relaxation. * * * * * #kbeauty #koreanbeauty #koreanskincare #facialmassage #kspa #jamsil ##잠실 #seoulite #seoullife #lifeinkorea #kbeautyskincare
The massage portion is completed with another hot steam towel and the third application of toner.
There are 2 masks applied one on top of the other, during a Korean facial. The first is tailored to your skin type and essentially painted onto your face. A thin gauze is placed on top of this mask, and then a very thick modelling mask with collagen is placed on top of the first mask. They use icy cold water to prepare this mask, and it usually covers the ENTIRE face, including eyes and sometimes, the lips.
You’re treated to a short arm and hand massage while the masks are drying, and then the aesthetician leaves the room, so all that goodness can soak into your skin. This is usually the point in the facial, where I fall into the deepest of power naps, but if you’re claustrophobic, you might want to mention this to your aesthetician. The mask could feel suffocating if you were so inclined.
After about 10 minutes, the masks are removed, any residue is cleaned off your face, and there’s a final application of toner.
Applications of Ampoules and Creams
Sadly, the facial is all but complete at this point, and all that’s left to do is apply various ampoules, skin creams, eye cream, and SPF if you desire.
*Thanks to my niece for letting me photograph her during this facial. I’m sure she didn’t suffer too much. 😉
WHERE I GO
I go to the spa not just to take care of my skin, but also to relax and take a much needed break from mom life, so a peaceful atmosphere is super important to me. And that ain’t gonna be possible, if your aesthetician is chattering a million miles a minute to someone else, or if the stranger next to you is snoring (as is unfortunately all too common at “affordable” spas in Seoul).
That’s why I’ve been going to K Spa in the Jamsil area for the last several years. Not just because it’s close to home, but because they offer something I’ve had trouble finding at a reasonable price in Seoul – quality facials, private rooms, and a silent, spa environment.
HOW MUCH IT COSTS
At K Spa, the cheapest facial is 66,000KRW, which is still pretty darn reasonable for what you’re getting if you ask me, but even better are the incredible monthly promotions and events that make it super-affordable to visit regularly.
My most recent packages have included a 40 minute back massage, followed by an hour long facial, short head massage and the application of special ampoules using some kind of high frequency machine (don’t ask me what). 😉
It cost a total of 600,000KRW for a package of 10 sessions, to be used within 6 months, meaning each 1 hour, 40 minute session cost just 60,000KRW each. The total amount needs to be paid upfront, and if you pay in cash, you don’t have to pay any extra VAT.
They speak very limited English, so if you’re visiting for the first time, or interested in finding out more about their promotions and events, it’s best to have a Korean speaker call for you.
Address: 더샵스타파크 B동 306호
K Spa is a little bit tricky to find, because it’s tucked away in the B-block of an officetel, and you have to buzz up to get into the building.
If you want to drive, there’s free parking available on the B1 level of the officetel. Make sure to ask for a stamp or coupon before you leave the spa.
The closest subway station is Jamsil on Line 2. Take exit 7, and walk straight past the McDonalds and 2 separate Starbucks until you reach the traffic lights. Without crossing the street, make a right and walk straight until you pass the Samsung SDS Building.
K Spa is located in the #Starpark building directly behind Home Plus. Don’t go in the main entrance, but take the small sidewalk to the right of Cafe Orchard, until you reach the doors at the back. Buzz #306, and you’re just a short elevator ride away from facial nirvana.
Are you into K-beauty or skincare? Have you tried a Korean facial? Where do you go for affordable skincare in the city? Share your tips in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you. ❤
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