Facial treatment in Seoul: where to go and what to expect

Sulwhasoo Flagship store Gangnam - where to get a facial treatment in Seoul

Last Updated on September 10, 2023 by Ingrid & Alex

Are you planning your South Korea itinerary and would like to try going for a facial treatment in Seoul but are not sure where to go and what to try? I have you covered!

When we moved to Seoul, I knew the city was famous for its skincare, facial treatments, and plastic surgery clinics. However, with that comes the burden of having to choose between hundreds if not thousands of places.

Which one is best, which one has the best prices and best practices, and where to go for easy access and support in your language (if you don’t speak Korean)? These were all questions I asked myself.

If this is your first time visiting Seoul, understanding the city, learning how to get around, choosing the right place to stay, and getting used to the food and the local tastes, can all be a bit overwhelming. You don’t want to waste a lot of time choosing the best place to get a facial treatment in Seoul.

This is why I will help you make the best choice, depending on your budget and desires. Seoul has plenty of great Korean SPAs (jimjilbangs), but the city also has a wide range of high-quality massage and facial places. Here are my top choices.

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Facial treatment in Seoul: where to go & what to know

Should you get a facial in Seoul?

Korean skincare

I would always say yes, you should. As long as you have the time and money, you should not miss having such an experience.

On my first visit to Seoul, I didn’t have the time to go for a treatment, however, the first thing I did once I moved there was book an appointment for a facial.

They not only use high-quality skincare products, suitable for your skin type, but the whole experience is extremely relaxing. Korean skincare has its roots in the traditional way of taking care of yourself, and most products are infused with natural ingredients, that have been proven to have results throughout the years.

Moreover, Koreans are very much used to going to a skincare clinic, and taking care of your skin and appearance is mandatory in their society. Thus, they are very professional and make sure you have a great experience in the salon.

What to expect: What are the steps for a facial treatment in Seoul

That depends a lot on the clinic or salon you choose to go to, but overall the Korean skincare treatment is made up of 4 steps:

Cleansing – this part is very important, especially if you are wearing makeup or even only SPF (sunscreen). You (or the person performing the treatment) will need to clean your face thoroughly so that the face is prepared for the next steps in the routine.

Read also: Where to buy skincare in Seoul

Head & face massage – for the ultimate relaxation. Face massage is particularly important because it helps with lymphatic drainage and improves the appearance of your skin and face overall. Also, it depuffs certain areas of your skin, and the face can look “lifted”.

Hydration – depending on the treatment, they would add various hydration steps. As with the overall Korean skincare routine, they put a lot of emphasis on hydration. For my treatment, I got an intense cleansing and hydration with the tool in the above picture. It doesn’t hurt, but it deep cleans and fills your skin with hydration. The next step was a full-face peel-off mask – it covers the eyes and mouth so you won’t be able to see while you have it on your face. For me, it was relaxing, but you should know that in advance.

Serums, ampoules and cream – this is the last step in the routine and you will be pampered with the products packed with ingredients based on your skin type. The last step of every routine and treatment is sunscreen.

Other treatments might include lasers (if you are looking for anti-aging results) or different LED lights for different skin concerns.

What was my experience getting a facial treatment in Seoul?

When I first got to Seoul I went online looking for the best place in town to go for a facial treatment. I knew nothing about salons, plastic surgery, or dermatology practices, so I searched and searched.

I ended up booking an appointment at a dermatology clinic. They had all kinds of treatments available, and everything looked expensive. It ended up not being the right place for me, so I went back to the internet looking for what I needed.

That’s how I found Shine Beam Clinic.

I first went to the one in Gangnam but found it hard to communicate with the lady there. Moreover, I felt her being a bit too sales-y and trying to make me buy very expensive treatments (thousands of dollars) without even trying one beforehand.

However, I decided to try their clinic in Hongdae and ended up going there monthly.

On my first visit, I sat down with a consultant who tried to understand what I was looking for and what I wanted. Also, she suggested various skincare plans I could choose from and created a special plan designed for my skin and concerns.

The first treatment I got was cleansing and deep hydration.

I had to leave my things in a locker and clean my face in the special area. This is a traditional clinic where they perform treatments in the same open space room, but you can choose to go to fancier places where you will have the room to yourself.

Sinebeam Hongdae

After the lady deep cleaned and hydrated my skin with the above-mentioned tool, she applied a special toner on my T-zone. After that, she applied the peel-off face mask on my whole face (including the eyes and mouth).

Once the treatment was over, I felt my skin was so much more hydrated and glowing.

On other occasions, I chose to have laser facial treatments performed by a dermatologist. The doctor explained the procedure, and also what I needed to do afterward.

How to book a facial in Seoul & how long does it last

That depends a lot on where you choose to go, and you can either book on their website or look for special offers on sites such as Klook or GetYourGuide.

The second option is best when you don’t have a local number (most likely you will be asked for one at the moment of the booking). But also because you can take advantage of special offers specifically designed for tourists.

Also, the duration of the treatment depends a lot on what it is. A normal Korean facial will most likely take around one hour, while a laser treatment will take as little as 20 minutes. Usually, you have this information when you choose to book online, and you can choose your desired duration.

Where to go for a facial treatment in Myeongdong

Seoul Digital Nomad

Myeongdong is the place to go to for everything K-Beauty. It is one of the best places to shop for cosmetics, but also an area packed with shops, restaurants, and SPAs.

Read alsoFun things to do in Myeongdong | Where to stay in Myeongdong | How to get from Incheon to Myeongdong

O HUI&WHOO SPA Myeong-dong

Two of the most luxurious Korean beauty brands in one SPA, right in the heart of bustling Myeongdong.

Minutes away from some of the main Seoul attractions, you can relax with a glamorous facial treatment.

They have one-hour facial treatments or different more complex packages including massages ranging between 80 and 180 minutes.

Address: 41 Myeongdong 10-gil, Jung-gu

Korea SPA

A more affordable option, as popular as the other one, offers traditional Korean facial treatments and massages. Choose a foot massage, back massage, the K-SPA package, or the Premium VIP Package.

Address: South Korea, Seoul, Jung-gu, Myeongdong 7-gil, 8 미래빌딩 4층

Where to go for a facial in Gangnam

Gangnam is the home of plastic surgery, and if you end up around Gangnam Station you will be blown away by how many plastic surgery clinics you will see.

If you are interested in getting fillers or any kind of invasive treatment, you can always go on a beauty tour with a Korean-speaking guide.

Read alsoFun things to do in Gangnam | Where to stay in Gangnam

On the other hand, if you only want a facial treatment, here are the best SPAs in Gangnam:

Sulwhasoo

My all-time favorite K-beauty brand, this one is packed with anti-aging ingredients such as ginseng.

Moreover, their SPA in Gangnam is extremely luxurious and also hosts a brand history museum and a rooftop terrace. The place is located right next to Dosan Park, making it easily accessible, and in one of the most important locations in town.

To be fair, it doesn’t get better than this, and if you can make the time and spare the budget, go for it!

You can choose between various signature facials, with a duration between 80 and 130 minutes.

Address: 4F, 18, Dosan-Daero 45-gil, Gangnam-gu

SPA 1899 Daechi

Another luxurious option, where you get a skilled therapist to take care of you on one of the many pampering options.

The products used are top-class, and infused with traditional herbs that will give you great skin.

Address: KT&G Tower, 1002, Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul | 서울시 강남구 대치동 1002 KT&G Tower

Cheongdam Marzia Spa Clinic

Choose from the many facial treatments available, depending on your skin type and needs.

Other FAQ

How much does a facial treatment in Seoul cost?

That depends on the place you choose to go to, but also where you choose to book it.

As mentioned before, you can find plenty of offers online, with prices ranging between 50 USD or less to over 150 USD. It all depends on the products used and the treatment’s duration.

Are facial treatments cheaper in Korea?

The answer to this question really depends on where you are located. In general, facial treatments in Korea can be more affordable than those found in other countries due to the lower cost of living and availability of cheaper materials and products used in the treatments.

However, if you live in a large metropolitan area like Seoul or Busan, prices will likely be higher than those in smaller cities or rural areas.

Additionally, if you plan to visit a beauty clinic in Korea, it is important to be aware of the different types of treatments offered by each one so that you can make an informed decision and get the best value for your money.

Should you tip at a facial clinic in Korea?

Tipping is not expected or custom in Korea, so I wouldn’t.

Should tourists get facial treatments in Korea?

Absolutely! Facial treatments are an excellent way for tourists to enjoy a relaxing and pampering experience while in Korea. There is a wide range of treatment options available, so it’s important to do your research before booking an appointment.

For example, some clinics specialize in anti-aging or whitening facials, while others may offer more holistic approaches like aromatherapy or natural herbal treatments.

No matter what your preference is, you can find something to suit your needs and budget. Plus, as mentioned before, many clinics offer discounts for tourists, so make sure to check in advance.

By Ingrid & Alex

Ingrid A former financial professional, I have been passionate about photography since an early age. My fascination with Korean culture was one of the reasons Alex accepted a business role in Seoul. Alex A former corporate business executive, I am a historical fiction writer. My business career allowed us to live in Seoul and explore South Korea for one year. We fell in love with the country, its culture, food, and people, and we strongly believe you will love it too! Because we know how difficult planning a trip can be, especially to South Korea, we are here to help you out and ensure you have an awesome time there.

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