When my younger sister, who had recently graduated from college, told me that she was moving 7,200 miles away to South Korea for a year or two to teach English -- and that she was flying out in a week--my first thought was, "How can I get her to hook me up with some beauty loot?"
I know, I know. This is my little "Nunu" (as she is affectionately known in the family), and I should have been asking more official, big sister questions about her trip. Where are you teaching? Where are you living? Are you getting paid? Will you be home for Christmas? Passport? Do you want to be a teacher? What about your car? Did you Rosetta Stone Korean? Are you sure you want to do this?
Instead, I was all like, "Cool. Have fun. Can I send you money to send me beauty products? Nail polish in particular? Oh, and anything that smells like watermelon?" #badbigsister
But Nunu is a girl of my own heart. She's addicted to face cream and cuticle oil, too, and she didn't take my unconcern for her well-being personally. We’d both heard about the awesomeness that can be found on Korean beauty store shelves. "I got you," she said.
And she wasn’t even joking. About a month after her stint at an English language learning center had started, I received a shoebox-size package filled to the brim with samples of Korean beauty stuff. There were also five printed photos of my sis throwing up the peace sign (a new picture-taking habit she had acquired). A hand-written note told me to “try everything” and let her know what I liked most and wanted in full-sizes. Oh, yeah, she’s also the practical, lets-be-strategic-about-this one.
I tried it all. In a day. Overzealous, much? Yep.
Maybe because I didn’t exactly know what I was using, since the label text was written in Korean, but the whole time I was trying out the products I felt like I was on an international adventure. And out of the sample package rubble emerged a victor -- Skin Food Platinum Grape Cell Cream, an anti-aging cream made with grape cells and platinum (yes, platinum) particles. I’ve said I could “bathe in a product” before, but I was lying. Totally crying wolf. But not with this stuff. I COULD BATHE/SHOWER/SLEEP/ROLL AROUND FOR HOURS in it. After I pat and press a generous amount into my skin, I’m left with a complexion that rivals any baby’s booty. I sent Nunu the money for the hook-up and my stash arrived a few weeks later.
So, there it is -- I’m bonafide obsessed with the Korean beauty market. Their eyeliners are inkier, the face masks are super hydrating, and the product packaging is so darn cute. I mean, check out this Tony Moly Tomatox Brightening Mask! It’s in an adorable tomato-shaped container. Tony Moly also fllls their products in peach-, tangerine- and cracked-egg-shaped containers.
I was slightly depressed when my sister returned to the States. I’m sure she was like, “Really, you haven’t seen me in over a year, and you’re acting like a punk. Really?” But, I was in mourning. My Skin Food hook up was no more. When I expressed my concern, my sister was like, “Helloooooooo. Amazon.” And there it was.
Clearly, I have the best sister in the world. If you aren’t as lucky, but really want to test out some of the cute and kitschy Korean beauty stuff, go to Soko Glam online. The curated e-shop sells Korean beauty products by way of an NYC headquarters (because shipping to and from Korea is no joke).