There is no shortage of stores around Ewha Womans University. There are tons of feminine cosmetic and fashion stores just outside the front gates. It seems like every other store is selling shoes, shoes, and more shoes. If you want to go shopping, Ewha is a great place to be.
This is one of the more famous brands in Korea as far as makeup and skin care brands are concerned. Korea is famous for its skin care products and it’s common to hear of Korean 10-step skin care routines. In America it’s common just to use a face cleanser and moisturizer, but in Korea skin care is much more intensive. Starting with facial cleanser, you move onto toners, essences, serums, and creams. Don’t forget about exfoliating and sheet masks! There are so many products here that cover just about every skin problem you never even knew you had. But all this work isn’t for nothing– I notice Koreans have very clean and healthy looking skin in general.
But back to my shopping experience. There are actually two Etude House stores within about a 1 minute walk from each other. Even with steep competition from other skin care stores, Etude House seems to have plenty of customers. The sales associates were very helpful as well.
I bought a facial toner (sometimes called freshener in Korea) and a facial moisturizer. The face cream came with a bonus essence bottle.
I haven’t used these products long enough for a real review, but so far I like them. The products seem to do their job and have a pleasant smell and texture to them. Also, it was very cheap! There was some sort of sale, so normally this would all cost around 22 dollars, but I got it for 13 dollars. Not bad.
For the People
There are tons of clothing stores around Ewha as well. There are plenty of cheap clothes to be found on the streets and in small shops. At For the People, there were a few racks of clothes outside, and the rest of the merchandise was in the store. In general, there were no sizes, only “free-size”, which is one size fits all. I think free-size mainly fits people of small stature, and American size 3-6. There were dressing rooms, but you could only use them to try on jeans (not sure why). I bought a pair of comfy shorts for 5000 won (about 5 USD) and just hoped they would fit me. When I got back to my room, I was relieved to find they fit perfectly. I might have to go back and buy more shorts.
Also, one weird trend I’ve noticed in Korean clothing stores– Bart Simpson is everywhere. Yes, Bart Simpson from the Simpsons cartoon. He’s on hats, t-shirt, handbags and more. Why? I’m not sure. Here are two pictures of t-shirts I saw. There are many more examples, but I haven’t photographed them. I also included a picture of my friend So Hae who bought a Simpsons t-shirt at For the People.
The Orchid Skin
My final shopping adventure was at The Orchid Skin, a cosmetic shop. I wanted to buy some sheet masks. The ladies from the shop stood on the street and basically forced my friend and I to try hand cream. This happens in quite a few cosmetic stores, where sales associates will literally grab you and either try to pull you into the store or give you samples. They can be quite aggressive. The hand cream was really nice, but I wanted sheet masks so I asked the lady and she showed me the mask section. I only wanted to buy a few masks but she was forcefully trying to sell me a whole set. It was difficult for me to explain what I wanted because I don’t speak much Korean, and the sales lady was from China, so Korean was her second-language as well. Eventually I got what I wanted but it was rather frustrating that they were so aggressive in their sales tactics. But I suppose sales is a very tough job.
The masks were 3000 won each (3 USD). I haven’t tried them yet, but I hope they work well! I got a charcoal mask and an aqua mask. One nice thing was my friend and I got free water bottles with our purchase. It’s very important to stay hydrated in this summer heat!