seoul korea

Discovering BEYOND Cosmetics

#beyond #exploreseoul #beautydiscovery
Beyond Cosmetics Alice in Wonderland

My first exposure to Beyond Beauty happens during my shopping trip in Myeongdong, Seoul.  The low-key staff there is in big contrast to other beauty stores in the area where I'm often fighting to get away from the sales people who are trying to drag me into their stores.  This is definitely a place I want to re-visit on my next trip to Seoul!

Eco Beauty

Beyond Beauty is an eco-conscious brand that follows 10 core eco values.  These core values focus not only on protecting our skin but also our environment.



Alice in Wonderland

One of Beyond Beauty's main attractions is their Alice in Wonderland collection. The collection consists of cosmetics items - cushions, lip care, nail polish, blushes.  The packaging is absolutely adorable with licensed Disney graphics from Alice in Wonderland.  I'm very bummed, however, that I the shades/colors from this collection don't work too well on my skin tone.  Not there are plenty of other goodies I can still buy!

Good Selection & great Testing Station

Beyond Beauty has a good selections of both skin care and cosmetics.   While this particular location was on the small side,  all the displays were very easy to shop. There's also a neat testing station (photo on right side below) equipped with seating and a sink for ease of product testing and washing up. 

My Goodies

While the brand also carries skin care collections, I am more drawn to their cosmetics items because the packaging is absolutely adorable! 

What I bought from Beyond Cosmetics in Myeongdong, Seoul.


"Lovely-Up Pang Pang Cheek" Blushes from Beyond Beauty brand.

Each one comes with a puff with a cute bow on it.  And with a name like "Lovely Up Pang Pang Cheek", who wouldn't love them?

I chose Apricot 01 (top) and Peach 03 (bottom).  The "peach" shade is a bit deceiving because the actual color, as you can tell, is essentially pink.  Both shades are super light on my medium-tone skin and I have to re-apply about 3 times to get enough color to show.


Eye shadows from Beyond Cosmetics.

Most of their eye shadows are softer tones with lots of shimmer or metallic texture.  Probably ok to use in moderation during the day and most suitable for nighttime use.

Lovely Up Eye Shadow in Pink #01  An eye shadow duo of golden shimmer and matte peach.  Once I dip into the golden shimmer side, I realize why this is called "pink" - Underneath the top layer of shimmery gold, there is a hidden layer of pink shimmer, so when it's applied, this becomes a golden shimmer with a hint of pink. How clever is that?

Single Eye Shadow in Intro Beige #02 A metallic beige shade that is pretty shiny.  I'd recommend using this at nighttime. 

Single Eye Shadow in Mandarin Garden #06  Another metallic shade in sharp orange color.  For both Single's, the effect looks quite different under indoor and natural lighting. 

Indoor vs Natural Light Effect  I notice the difference once I start editing these two swatch photos.  Under indoor light (left below), the two Single Eye Shadow shades are shinier and the Mandarin Garden #06 seems more orange.  Under natural light (right below), the Intro Beige #02 seems somewhat muted while Mandarin Garden #06 is less orange.  This effect is typical of shimmery and metallic eye shadows, and I thought to share this to help you gauge whether it's suitable to use during work hours (under indoor light) based on your line of work.   

Swatches of eye shadows from Beyond Cosmetics. Indoor lighting.
Swatches of eye shadows from Beyond Cosmetics. Natural lighting.


Lip crayon, lip balm, tinted lip from Beyond Beauty.

These lip items vary in color intensity while all three are very moisturizing.  See swatch photo below in this order:

Swatches of lip crayon, lip balm, tinted lip from Beyond Beauty.

Lovely Up Lip Crayon in #08  This is colorless and you can barely see it in the swatch photo, but it is packed with lots of shine.  Strictly for moisturizing & adding shine to lips.  Perfect to use as a base if you're applying matte lipsticks.

Rich Color Tint Balm in #08  The bright red color is intense, like Snow White's lip color.  Very moisturizing.  However, if you get any on your skin during application, it can get quite messy as it is hard to completely remove due to the intense color.

Chiffon Tinted Rouge in #05  Similar to the Tint Balm, this gloss also has intense color.  It is a perfect compliment to the tint balm and can be used alone or together to add more shine to your lips.  I also like the applicator a lot as it has a pointed tip for more precise application and it also picks up just enough product for each stroke.

So lovely...

Beyond is such a lovely beauty brand.  I wish more e-commerce sties in the U.S. would carry their products!  Among the more legitimate online sources, Koredepart has a small selection, but it is mostly skin care.  I'm definitely re-visiting Beyond shops on my next trip to Seoul!

Are you a Beyond fan?
What are your favorites?


Valentine's Day Gift Guide with Etude House - Part II

Etude House Beauty. Perfect for Valentine's Day gift ideas.

Continuing from Sunday post and sharing more of my Etude House favorites for some Valentine's Day gift inspirations...


Dear My Lips-Talk

Etude House Dear My Enamel and Dear My Wish Lipsticks.

The "Dear My" collection has many spinoff's - Enamel, Wish, Blooming, and Jelly.  They all have their signature bling on the tube with either a bow or pink beads.  I was being good and only bought Enamel and Wish. 

Left to Right:  1) Enamel PK004 "Puzzling Pink"   2) Wish OR202 "Celebrity Wannabe"     3) Wish BE101 "Charming Lady Force".

Left to Right:  1) Enamel PK004 "Puzzling Pink"   2) Wish OR202 "Celebrity Wannabe"     3) Wish BE101 "Charming Lady Force".

Color  The Enamel is more sheer than Wish.  Both collections offer a great degree of shine.  You can see the two swatch photos below for comparisons.  Under direct sunlight - PK004 shows up as more sheer;  OR202 is a neon pink upon application;  BE101 looks very dark in the tube and on my arm, but once applied on my lips, it's a nice rose pink.  I think BE101 is my favorite.

Color swatch: Etude House Dear My Enamel and Dear My Wish Lipsticks

Texture  As I apply these lipsticks , it feels as if they melt onto my lips.  PK004 and BE101 go on smoothly and the colors blend into my lips effortlessly.  OR202 requires some extra work - The neon pink color stands out against my natural lip color, so in order to make it look nice and smooth, I prep my lips with Vaseline lip first and I use my fingers to even out the color.  For a more precise look, I'd recommend using a lip brush. 

Color swatch: Etude House Dear My Enamel and Dear My Wish Lipsticks

Staying Power  The colors transfer quite a bit to the rim of my coffee mug.  However, there is enough color stain that even after a full meal, there's still color on my lips.

Price & Where to Buy  I paid 9,500 won/USD $7.94.  Etude House U.S. website carries both Enamel and Wish at $12.40 per tube.  For other Dear My's, go here


Color In Liquid Lips

Etude House Color In Liquid Lips

Korean beauty brands are just so good at creating interesting package design and that makes using their products so much fun.  When the saleswoman showed me these tubes, I shook my head because I thought these were lipsticks and I already had the three Dear My in my basket.  But then she opened these up and, whoa-la, these are actually liquid lips! 

Inside the tube:  Etude House Color In Liquid Lips

Color  These liquid lips have very vibrant colors.  PK006 "Always In Pink" (left) looks normal pink in the tube and on the applicator, but once applied onto the lips, it looks more neon pink.  As for BE101 "Beige in Caramel" (right), it looks very beige in the tube and on the applicator, and once applied, it looks more like mauve pink.  See the two swatch photos below showing the colors on my arm and on my lips.

Color swatch: Etude House Color In Liquid Lips

Texture  The liquid lips add a great deal of shine and feel good on my lips for the first 20 minutes or so.  After a while, my lips start to feel dry.  It's not terribly dry, but I can definitely feel them tightening a bit and resort to applying some lip balm.  I think it will be a good idea to prep your lips with Vaseline Lip and then apply these babies.  I find the drying effect to be pretty common among liquid lip products, so it's not just isolated to Etude House. 

Color swatch: Etude House Color In Liquid Lips

Application  I soon realize the applicator picks up too much product and keeps pushing the excess product beyond my lip line.  For everyday causal use, I recommend using your fingers to continue spreading and also gently pressing the product onto your lips.  For more precise application, it's best to use a lip brush.  

Staying Power  The colors transfer quite a bit to the rim of my coffee mug.  As a result, expect the initial shine to be gone as soon as you starting eating and drinking.  However, there is enough color stain that, despite this transferring, the color stays on for a long time.

Price & Where to Buy  I paid 9,500 won/USD $7.94.  Etude House U.S. website sells them for $12.40 each.   


My Castle Hand Cream

Etude House My Castle Hand Cream

Admittedly, this was an impulse purchase.  I was at the cash register and found out I was just one item shy of hitting the minimum needed to get two of their gifts with purchase.  I looked within close proximity and these hand creams were within my reach.

Etude House My Castle Hand Cream - Inside look of the cream texture.
Etude House My Castle Hand Cream - Close up look of the texture on my arm.

Scent I bought "Pink Wish", which is described on Etude House website as "fruity floral" scent.  What I am smelling is indeed some floral fragrance, but surprisingly, I'm also smelling something that reminds me of men's cologne.  I'd say this hand cream scent is not my favorite because of that, but I still love this cute castle design. 

Texture I dip my fingers into the small opening and was surprised to feel the super thick consistency.  I turn the castle upside down and the cream stays in place.  That's how thick this is.  It does absorbs quickly on my skin.

Etude House My Castle Hand Cream - The background story of Etti the Cat.

Little Etti  I almost missed this part, but on the side of the packaging, in really small print, there is the backstory on My Little Castle series.  It's about a cat named Etti who lives in the Pink Castle.  Etti the cat grants beauty wishes to girls with warm and kind hearts, and they know their wishes are coming true when Etti's soft white fur turns pink.  I know I'm a grown woman and all, but this little story just adds even more cuteness to the pink castle!

Price & Where to Buy  I can't remember how much I paid in won.  Etude House U.S. website carries this collection at $7.80 per scent.  However, they are currently out of stock.

And the free samples are just as exciting as the actual purchases themselves.  The Etude House crew is super generous this time!  But I am the most excited about that Magic Any Cushion in the middle - It's actually a power bank!

Etude House free samples.


Hope you've enjoyed this Valentine's Day gift guide! 
What's on your V-Day wishlist?


Valentine's Day Gift Guide with Etude House - Part I

Sharing my Korean skincare finds at Etude House in Seoul, South Korea.

I feel like we've just celebrated New Year, but tomorrow already marks the first day of the most romantic month of the year!  There are so many special Valentine's Day gifts from every beauty brand, but I have to say, using Etude House makes me feel like everyday is Valentine's Day with its pink and red packaging.  This week, I am rounding up some of my favorites that would make great Valentine's Day gifts, whether you're looking for something to treat yourself, gift to girlfriends, or spice up your special dates.


Eau de Perfume

Etude House Eau de Perfume

Confession - I made my selections based on the names for these perfume.  I have my forever-love-affair with Estee Lauder Pleasure, but thought it'd be nice to switch things up every now and then.  And these are wonderful scents and the cute bottles and packaging will definitely make a nice decorating piece on any vanity. 

Scent (From left to right)

Love Me Forever  This is my favorite as it has a clean floral smell that's not too intense.  Etude House's description says "freesia and sweet peach", but I can't really smell those specifically.  Good for everyday use.  

Fresh Me Up  This is the lightest scent of the 4.  It is a citron-based scent with some leafy-green smell mixed in.  Good for everyday use. 

Before You Go  This one has a strong floral along with fruity smell.  I usually like floral scent a lot, but this perfume is a bit too strong for me.  I say good for special occasions because of that. 

Take Me  This scent is ultra seductive.  It has a hint of vanilla mixed in with floral.  The bold red high-heel on the front says it all!  Perfect for adding some sexiness.

Collective bottles that make for great decor on your vanity.

Long-Lasting  I usually spray perfume one time on each of these areas: Upper chest, upper back, and both wrists.  These perfumes have long-lasting scents that stay throughout the day.

Price & Where to Buy   I paid 11,500 won/USD $9.55 at the Etude House store in Seoul.  I also saw them at the Hong Kong store.  However, this collection is not available on Etude House U.S. website.  Selected scents are available on eBay and Amazon, with prices ranging from USD $13.54 to $21.00. 


Sweet Recipe Cupcakes All Over Color

Etude House Sweet Cupcakes All Over Color

When you see these cute "cupcakes" in person, it's truly impossible to resist them!  I know the colors would be too muted for some, but I'm happy to be just looking at them on my vanity.

Etude House Sweet Recipe Cupcakes All Over Color

Collectible Tins  I still cannot get over how cute these cupcake tins are.  I think these make great gifts both for yourself and your girlfriends.  I am also looking forward to when I use up the balm, so that I can re-use these tins as earrings and rings holder! 

Scent  I try very hard to distinguish the four scents, but at the end, they all smell very similar to me - A sweet fruity scent.  There is a difference in the intensity though.  Raspberry Mousse Cake definitely is the sharpest while the other three are a little lighter and on par with each other.  See photos below for the names of each balm.

Texture  Imagine a softer version of a balm.  If you add even slight pressure to your finger as you dip into the pod, your finger will sink right into the content.  As you can see in the Raspberry Mousse Cake pod that I had a little accident when I first opened the lid. Oops! 

Color & Usage  The colors look pretty intense in the pod and also on the initial scoop.  Once blended in though, they become much more muted.  Note that the swatches on my arm were the result of me applying multiple times until the colors show up in the photo.  I think this works well as a lip balm and natural-looking blush, but maybe too light for your eyes. 

Price & Where to Buy  I paid 6,500 won/USD $5.40.  It's not available on Etude House U.S. website, but I did see them at the Hong Kong store.  Amazon also has selected colors, with prices ranging from $2.98 to $7.15.  Keep in mind that shipping charge could cost more than the cupcake itself.


Dreaming Swan Eye & Cheek

Etude House Dreaming Swan Eye & Cheek

Part of the Dreaming Swan collection, this silky primer powder can be used on eyes and cheeks.  It is said to have a blurring effect that smooths out skin and what caught my eyes is the romantic design and the illustrations. 


Kerrie Hess, Australian fashion illustrator who has worked for Chanel, Louis, Vutton, Lancome Paris.

Collaboration  The illustration on this collection is done as a collaboration with someone I love and admire (and follow on IG) - Kerrie Hess, an illustrator from Australia who has worked on projects with designer powerhouses like Chanel and Louis Vuitton.  Find her on IGand you will see her amazing work.  Her work is ultra romantic and chic, and that is definitely showing through the packaging of this Etude House collection. 


Etude House Dreaming Swan Eye & Cheek

Swan Lake  The beloved ballet serves as the backdrop for Dreaming Swan.  When I open the lid, another element of surprise awaits me - An image of a ballerina embossed on the surface of the primer powder.  Absolutely beautiful.  I am not sure if I can ever bring myself to deface such gorgeous design.

Color swatch: Etude House Dreaming Swan Eye & Cheek

Color /Effect   This powder has an ultra light pink shade with shimmer.  In the swatch photo: A - In order to show some color, I am using a q-tip to pick up more product than normal, press hard on my skin and repeat multiple times.  B - With normal application using a blush brush, an extremely light/almost invisible pink with shimmer can be seen.  The intent of this product is to enhance skin tone, so the ultra light shade is totally acceptable.  

Price & Where to Buy  I paid 13,000 won/USD $10.80.  Etude House U.S. website (Currently out of stock) and Amazon carry this item, ranging from $13.94 to $15.60.

Hope you've enjoyed this edition of Valentine's Day gift guide!  I'll be sharing more of my Etude House favorites later this week, so be sure to check back in later. 
What's on your Valentine's Day wishlist?


Nature Republic - The Body Care Edition

#naturerepublic #exploreseoul #beautydiscovery
Reviewing Nature Republic Body Care Products:  Body Scrub, Body Cream

I hear so much about facial skin care from Korean beauty brands, but I rarely hear about their other skincare lines such as bodycare.  When I was in the Nature Republic store in Myeongdong, Seoul, I finally discovered this whole "new" side of K-beauty that are just as fun.  While my wallet won't thank me for that, my body surely will!


Bath & Nature Body Scrubs

Nature Republic Bath & Nature Body Scrub in Tangerine and Green Tea

The packaging of this NR line is simple and to-the-point.  I love the large image of each item's star ingredient on the front - It's a visual stimulation that creates excitement before I even use the products.  I also have the in-store testers to thank for discovering these scrubs - The scent is amazing!  I've always been an advocate for having testers available at the shelves...because even with the most imaginative souls among us, it's pretty tough to know what the scents would really smell like or how the texture would really feel like.  As soon as I pop open the lids of these body scrubs, it was sensory overload, in a good way. 

Scent  The Tangerine scent is so intense that it feels as if I'm actually eating one.  This sounds bizarre even as I'm typing it, but science does prove that smell and taste work together to help us recognize flavors.  On the other hand, the Green Tea scent doesn't quite remind me of green tea.  I suppose the true smell of green tea isn't fragrant enough, so NR added some more to it.  Nevertheless, it smells heavenly. 

Texture  I typically stay away from scrubs because most feel too harsh on the skin.  This one is different.  The initial feel on the skin does seem a bit harsh where I can feel the larger particles.  However, once it is mixed with water, most of those particles dissolve leaving just the right amount to give my skin a mini-exfoliation session.

Left: Green Tea.  Right: Tangerine.

Left: Green Tea.  Right: Tangerine.

After mixing with water.

After mixing with water.

Occasion  As with any skincare products that have exfoliating benefits, it is performing a scrubbing action against our skin.  While it's good to have dead skin removed, it's not good to overdo it because our topmost skin layer serves as a protective barrier.  Too much disruptive actions such as scrubbing will cause the skin to become more sensitive to UV rays.  All of you beauty enthusiasts out there know how much damage UV rays can do to our skin, so it's best to curb the scrubbing to a maximum of once a week. 

When Not to Scrub  The most obvious one is when you have open wound or cut as the scrub will aggravate the injury and burn the skin.  Another scenario is when you have dry flaky skin.  Scrubbing dry flaky skin will cause it to become very sensitive and it's best to skip the scrub and moisturize instead.  The last scenario is during winter months in cold & dry climates.  Skin tends to be drier during this time under such climate, so it's better to pamper your skin with deep moisturization or switch to a brown sugar scrub instead.

Pricing & Where to Shop  I paid 8,800 Won each in Korea, which is approximately USD $7.42.  In the U.S., some online options are RoseRoseShop ($6.29) and KoreaDepart ($7.16).  Surprisingly, there's no markup for these scrubs. 

[Please Note]  I did not order from these sites, so please proceed with caution and read all fine prints.  Also, these sites do not start with "https", meaning any information (personal, payment info, etc.) sent from your browser to these sites is not secured.  However, it's possible that once you get to the payment page, it may change to "https".  Just be aware as you online-shop.

Bath & Nature Body Cream

Nature Republic Bath & Nature Body Cream in Apple Mango

The packaging is again simple and to-the-point.  I smiled as I saw the image of the crisscross-cut mango on the label - It looked so juicy and I couldn't stop thinking about eating one!  I of course wanted to buy more than one scent, but I knew my luggage was dangerously close to the airline weight limit, so I opted to try the apple mango scent.

Scent  To be honest, this smells more like pineapple coconut than apple mango!  Either way, the scent is lovely.  It is a pretty strong fragrance, so I wouldn't recommend this to those who are sensitive to fragrance.   

Texture  When I see "cream" in the description, I picture something thick.  This body cream is in fact thick.  At the same time, the texture feels more like a mousse or souffle.  It feels a little fluffy as I try to scoop up the cream from the jar and once it's on my skin, it feels very moisturizing.

The body cream has a consistency of a mousse or souffle...

The body cream has a consistency of a mousse or souffle...

Once it goes onto my skin, it is thick like a cream.

Once it goes onto my skin, it is thick like a cream.

Occasion  Because of its mousse-like or souffle-like texture, I think this body cream can be used all year long and any time of the day.  While it is thick and very moisturizing, it doesn't feel greasy or sticky on the skin.  This may just become my go-to body cream for traveling! 

Pricing & Where to Shop I paid 12,000 Won in Korea, which is approximately USD $10.00.  In the U.S., some online options are eBay, Amazon, and KoreaDepart, but the price ranges from USD $14.00 to $35.00.  Another option is to visit a Nature Republic stores in the U.S., where the markup is less, at the price of $15.00.

Pamper Your Body Too!

Nature Republic store in Myeongdong, Seoul.

Nature Republic store in Myeongdong, Seoul.

I've been a fan of Nature Republic and was so excited when I finally got to shop at NR in its motherland.  What I love most is their simple, no-fuss labeling that allows me to quickly and easily understand what I'm buying and using.  And then of course I love the wonderful scents from their products.  And these bodycare items are no exception. 

Often times we focus so much on taking care of our facial skin that we neglect what's below the neckline or by the time we're done with our multi-steps facial routine, we're ready to move onto our busy life.  These heavenly-scented scrubs and cream remind me that my body skin is as important as my facial skin, and taking care of both is a must for our complete skin health.  I hope you feel the same way, too!  I've also bought a few other NR products on this trip and will share them with you soon.  In the meantime, tell me about some of your favorite Nature Republic products...would love to hear from you!


Thanks for stopping by!