>  Asia   >  Korea   >  Where to Find Affordable Facials in Seoul + the 10 Steps of a Korean Facial
facials in seoul | spamacy

Is getting a Korean facial a luxury? Probably. But I see it as an essential component of my skin and self-care routine.

Best of all, it doesn’t have to be expensive… especially in a city as beauty-obsessed as this one. Finding high quality, affordable facials in Seoul is easier than you think. You just have to know where to look (and understand a little bit of Korean).

seoul korea cityscape at sunset

There are plenty of affordable spas in beauty-obsessed Seoul. You just have to find them.

But I get it. It actually took years of living here to find the perfect spa. One where I could get a high-quality facial in Seoul, that checks all the boxes I look out for, like serenity, convenience and a good price point.

I’ll fill you in on exactly where that is later on, as well as tips for finding affordable facials in ANY neighbourhood in Seoul. First though, I’ll break down exactly what’s involved in a Korean facial, and why I think it’s important to take care of your skin, right from the start.

*Psst… this post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure.

Korean skincare lessons learned from mom

I didn’t always treat myself to facials in Seoul, but 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 a proper Korean skincare routine to prevent early aging and 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. Not even in my wild party days in Toronto, staying up all night long, dancing in smoke-filled environments.

Has it contributed to me looking younger than my 50 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 here many, many years later, I discovered that Korea’s obsession with beauty was next-level, and that my mom was actually somewhat of a cultural outsider in this regard. She hardly wears make-up and is as UNobsessed with physical appearance as could possibly be.

Three generations of women… at least 1 with her belly button exposed.

This is something she also passed on to me (fortunately, imo), so I’ve never been much into cosmetics, but I do think that proper skincare (and now, regular facials in Seoul) is essential.

Just like my mom.

Why facials in Seoul are an integral part of my skincare routine

Now, as mom to my very own 8 year old crazy monster, I just don’t have the time or patience to do a 10 step Korean skincare routine every night. Truth is, I never did. However I do consider a Korean facial treatment in Seoul every 2 or 3 weeks to be not just a treat, but an integral part of my skincare routine.

bongeunsa temple lanterns

The amount of energy (MINE) consumed by this little peanut is incredible.

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.

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The Steps of a Korean Facial

A facial in Korea is usually made up of 4 broad categories: double cleansing, facial massage, masks, and the application of ampoules and creams. There’s probably some slight variation to this process depending on which spa you visit, but this is basically what you’re signing up for when you book a facial in Seoul.

The entire procedure takes around an hour, and you’ll come out of the room with noticeably hydrated, dewy skin.

facial in seoul | sulwhasoo flagship store

Enter a Korean spa for a facial and you’ll come out with better skin

WHOO SPA in MYEONGDONG  |  Whoo SPA is a favourite of Korean celebrities who flock there for facials in Seoul, massage and treatments utilizing luxurious cosmetic brands like OHUI, Whoo, and SU:M. Be sure to reserve this one at least 2-3 days in advance, as it does get fully reserved. Check services at WHOO Spa here.

Double Cleansing

One of the most important parts of a Korean facial is double cleansing. No facial treatment in Seoul, affordable or not, will skip this essential step.

A double cleansing typically uses an oil based product first to remove make-up and foundation. A second deep cleanser is then applied using products tailored to your skin type.

After your skin is squeaky clean, toner is applied. 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.

It should be noted that toner or “skin,” as it’s often called in Korea, is very different from what we’re used to in North America. Toners in Korea are super moisturizing and add to your skin. You’ll never find a toner here that strips your skin of moisture like they do in North America.

When I get a facial in Seoul, there’s often a short scalp massage included to stimulate the muscles and nerve endings in the head. This service varies from spa to spa. The cleansing process is completed with a hot steamed towel to remove any product residue and a 2nd application of toner.

Korean Facial Massage

The cleansing during a facial in Seoul is followed by a décolleté massage that includes neck and shoulders. They’re not shy about getting close to the breast area. I have even had décolleté massages where they massage all around the breast WITHOUT actually touching the breast itself.

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 Korean 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 massage part of facials in Seoul hit acupressure points and stimulates the skin, leaving it plumped up and glowing.

The massage portion is completed with another hot steam towel and the third application of toner.

YEO YONG GUK TRADITIONAL MEDICINE SPA  |  Treat yourself to a one-of-a kind traditional spa experience in Seoul at Yeo Yong Guk. It’s designated as one of the top 25 MUST-GO Wellness Attractions in Korea by the Korea Tourism Organization. Check services here.

Application of Korean Facial Masks

There are 2 masks applied one on top of the other, during a Korean facial in Seoul. 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 Korean facial, where I fall into the deepest of power naps.

If you’re claustrophobic though, 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 it’s time for the final application of toner during your facial in Seoul.

GANGNAM DE ORIENTAL SPA  |  Explore a broad range of specialised facials and massage, and get pampered in Gangnam by skilled professionals. Check services here.

Ampoules and Creams

Sadly, your facial in Seoul is all but complete at this point. All that’s left to do is apply various ampoules, skin creams, eye cream, and sun protection if you desire.

*Thanks to my niece for letting me photograph her during this Korean facial treatment. I’m sure she didn’t suffer too much. 😉

GINSENG FACIALS AT SPA 1899  |  Relax at Spa 1899, with a signature red ginseng treatment. This highly reviewed spa offers a huge variety of facial and full-body treatments, so you can easily choose the ideal package that’s sure to refresh you, inside and out. Reserve a relaxing skincare or body treatment at Spa 1899 here.

Where I Go for Korean facials in Seoul

I go to Seoul spas not just for Korean skincare, but also to relax and take a much needed break from mom life. 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 when you get an affordable facial in Seoul.

That’s why I went to K Spa in the Jamsil area for several years, before we all got slammed by that global pandemic. It was close to home, and offered something I’ve had trouble finding at a reasonable price in Seoul – quality Korean facials, private rooms, and a silent, spa environment.

V-LINE WITHOUT THE SURGERY  |  Want a V-Line, but don’t want to go under the knife?? Get the slimmer facial shape you want at Lienjang – one of Seoul’s leading dermatology clinics – with their non-surgical V-Line Injection and InMode FX RF Lifting Treatment. Book a Korean dermatology V-Line Treatment here.

K Spa in Jamsil

*2023 update: it seems like K Spa succumbed to the pandemic effect and has closed down or moved. Unfortunately, times have changed, and it’s pretty difficult to find a facial of this quality for this price in Seoul anymore. I’ve updated this guide with where I’m currently going.

I have to be 100% real with you. The easiest way to get a quality facial in Seoul at an affordable price, is if you’ve got some time to spare. And that’s because almost every spa in Korea has a membership program where prices are drastically reduced for the exact same services.

facials in seoul | spamacy jamsil

Most Seoul spas have membership programs with reduced prices.

What this involves is paying a sum of money upfront, and then using the services over time. Every spa in Seoul does this a little bit differently, with most asking you to pay for 10 sessions upfront. But I get it – this is nearly impossible for a traveler to Korea with limited time.

But don’t worry – I’m not going to leave you hanging. I’ll fill you in on where I go, so you could potentially take advantage of this type of offer.

Spamacy Seoul

I’ve been going to Spamacy for around a year now. It has the same private rooms, silent estheticians, high quality products, and peaceful vibes I value when I go for a facial treatment in Seoul.

facials in seoul | spamacy

Private rooms and peaceful vibes at Spamacy.

They offer all the same services, including facial, massage, aquapeel, and also some extras – like special mask packs and specialized treatments based on your specific skin type.

The advantage of Spamacy versus other spas in Seoul though, is that it’s possible to pre-pay a certain amount of money upfront to be used as a credit for any of their services. It’s not necessary to limit yourself with a package of 10 facials – though this is also offered, if you prefer to go that route.

facials in seoul | spamacy

You can use your membership money for ANY services at Spamacy.

The lowest amount available for membership is 500,000 won. This may seem like a lot, but when you realize that a 60 minute facial is 70,000 won for members vs 130,000 won as a non-member, it’s a real no-brainer.

Additionally, you are able to share the 500,000 won, so if you’re traveling with friends or family, this could be a great way to try an affordable facial in Seoul, along with a massage or other services.

How to Book a Facial at Spamacy

Like I said, Spamacy is a skincare chain with many locations all over Seoul. I personally go to the spa location in Jamsil, but you can search their website for other locations closer to you.

Keep in mind that all of the info in this guide has been confirmed for the Jamsil Spamacy location ONLY. You’ll have to confirm details at other locations independently.

facial in seoul | spamacy jamsil

Spamacy uses high quality products tailored to your skin’s needs.

Essential Info

Phone: 02-419-0102 (only if you have a local number and speak a reasonable amount of Korean)

Address: 181-4 Jamsil-dong, 2nd Floor (subway access out of Jamsilsaenae Station, Exit 4 on Line 2)

If you’re booking from overseas, it’s easiest to chat with them on Instagram @spamacy.js. Don’t be shy about contacting them – I cleared this method of booking appointments with them, just for this facial treatment guide.

Customized Skincare | Individuel Genève

As I’ve aged, I’ve realized that I need something a bit more intensive than regular facials from time to time. The skin sag is sadly all too real. I’m definitely not ready to go under the knife (and likely never will be), but bring on the lasers, skin boosters, and ultrasound therapies is what I say!

customized facial in seoul | individuel genieve

Total skin analysis followed by customized facials at Individuel Geneve.

I recommend checking Individuel Genève in Gangnam, for service in multiple languages, multinational staff, and a full skin analysis. I recently had a customized skincare treatment at their beautiful spa in Seoul, that included ultrasound lifting and MTS / microneedling.

For skincare that’s a bit deeper, with more potential side effects, it was great to have an explanation in a language I’m fully fluent in, (and no, that’s not Korean). I felt totally comfortable and confident going into my skincare treatments.

customized facial in seoul | individuel genieve

Ready to lose the saggy skin, redness, and uneven skin tone!

If you’d like to learn about Individuel Genève, and see the results of my skin treatments, be sure to check out my full guide and review.

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Facials in Seoul: Essential Info and FAQs

How much does a facial in Seoul cost? Facials in Seoul usually cost from 50,000 to 130,000 won for basic treatments. There are also facials in Korea in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars available. It all depends which spa you go to, and which services you get.
Are beauty treatments cheaper in Korea? On average, beauty treatments like facials in Seoul, lasers, and botox are cheaper that in other parts of the world.
Should I tip the aesthetician when I get a facial in Seoul? It's not common practice to tip at hair salons, skincare centres, or Korean spas.
Where can I get affordable facials in Seoul? It's easier to find affordable facials in Seoul, in the shopping areas or malls near big apartment complexes vs in commercial areas.

Have you had a Korean facial? Do you know where to get an affordable facial in Seoul?


  • Purita Servino

    July 2, 2019

    I want to know what is the average price on Skin treament (Skin Whitening, Aqua pill)

  • Ellen Bentley

    May 1, 2019

    Thank you very much for this tip! I went there yesterday and it was bliss. Thanks to your step for step description it was easy to find. I have posted the link to your blog to the South Korean travel planning FB group

  • April 5, 2019

    Awesome post. I am massively into skincare too, have been since I was young. I do a lot of homemade skincare treatments at home, but I have never actually been for a facial though. And this one sounds amazing.
    I’m going to look for a Korean one next time I go to Bangkok 🙂

  • November 9, 2018

    omggg I’m going to Seoul in December..this is perfect advice. Thanks!

  • Lila

    June 18, 2018

    Did your boyfriend get the facial too? I would like to bring male friends along!

  • January 18, 2018

    This is the number one thing I’ll do when in Seoul, Shelley! Thanks for the useful and practical post! Excellent idea when in Seoul on a budget. 😉

    • January 19, 2018

      Yup! A massage or facial is def at the top of my list whenever I visit any country…but Korean facials (and Balinese massages) are my favourite by far. 🙂

  • November 15, 2017

    I’m all on the skincare bandwagon now (probably too late – haha). So, am I right about which one is you in the photo? Or do I have to wait for more reader guesses?!

  • November 14, 2017

    Oh, you are so good to care for your skin so well! I waited way too long to start caring for my face properly. For years I never even washed my face at night, let alone moisturize it! Here in the U.S., these services are sooooo overpriced. I take advantage when traveling but it’s not yet engrained in my routine.

    Oh, and I’ll guess you are on the far right in that old photo! All four of you are adorable!

    • November 15, 2017

      My hubby was the exact same way…I was shocked to find out he never washed his face, let alone did anything else…but like me, it’s a habit he learned from his mom. He’s since learned from me to take care of his skin, and now he’s turned into a little bit of a skincare beast. He’s all over the toners, moisturizers and facials now. Haha…

      Def take advantage if you visit Seoul again. It’s not super super cheap, but def more affordable than North America, and much higher quality too… 🙂

  • Sha

    November 13, 2017

    Nothing better than a facial to relax…I prefer facials over full body massages usually but I actually only do spas when I’m on holiday to relax…hehe

    • November 14, 2017

      Whenever I’m on holiday, I go super crazy on spa packages. In Bali, we did 4 hours of a spa one day, and in Thailand, we had a massage practically everyday. I can’t help myself when it’s soooo damn affordable. Heh Heh. Perhaps you’ll indulge when you visit at Christmas? 🙂

      • Sha

        November 14, 2017

        Hahahaha, maybe if someone gifts one to me for Christmas? If not, it’s too expensive for me to indulge in for now…if it’s in Thailand though, I wouldn’t mind doing one…hehe..;)


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