Korean Cultural Quirk #1: Korean Facial Masks

Maybe I am biased, but Koreans are beautiful people. Even for a brief trip to the local convenience store, Korean girls, especially Seoulites, have to look good. There’s no such thing as http://www.PeopleAtEMart.com. Koreans have flawless, milky skin and wear highly fashionable and highly adorable outfits. God forbid a Korean girl does not wear outrageously tall heels during her 2 mile walk across town (including up and down several  flights of subway station stairs). Usually, Americans tell foreigners that people in America don’t really look like the celebrities. However, it is reasonable to conclude that many Korean people really do look like the drama stars and K-pop artists.Plastic surgery is just as common in normal citizens as it is in celebrities. It is completely acceptable over there as braces are here. It would be ethnocentric to state that plastic surgery is wrong, so I’ll just leave a neutral tone on that note.

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Kpop sensation, Girls Generation

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Korean girls in Hongdae

                Some beauty comes naturally with genes, but there is effort behind the scenes. Beauty and make-up shops are ubiquitous in Seoul. It isn’t unordinary to pass by three make-up stores in a row on a stroll through Myeong-dong, one of Seoul’s many shopping districts. One popular item you can find in these stores is the Korean facial mask.

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I received Korean facial masks as a gift from my Korean language teacher here in Florida. The instructions were all in Korean, but the silly photos on the back helped decipher the code. I opened the package to reveal a moist, white folded up sheet. Unraveled, the wet sheet is a shape of a face with the mouth, eyes, and nose cut out, resembling a Jason mask. Applied, your face looks absolutely scary but hilarious at the same time. I left it on for about 15 minutes. My face felt cold and slimy, but what the heck, I’m participating in Korean culture! Afterward, my face felt rejuvenated and hydrated.

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That incident was not my only experience with these eerie masks. I also indulged in a session with my Korean sisters and mother. We laid on the ground giggling for fifteen minutes while the hydration took place. My oldest sister proceeded to give me over a dozen masks to take back to America. Additionally,  I purchased my own with flavors like green tea and ginseng. I now use one regularly.

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EXPECTATION

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REALITY.

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2 responses to “Korean Cultural Quirk #1: Korean Facial Masks

  1. I love using these silly little masks, too. Usually when I send a package home to Canada for friends or family, I send them some masks (I love Mango!). They always have the same reaction as I had when I first moved to Korea.. “what the heck is this?!” But now, I can’t get enough. I recently went traveling to Philippines and brought 6 face masks with me.. just in case!
    Koreans also believe one should use a mask if they just finished vigorous exercise, couldn’t sleep the night before, have dry skin, spent most of the day outdoors, or the first signs of acne. So, basically all the time!
    Love the masks, but they can be wasteful. So, I like the idea I got from Adam.. after using the mask on my face… I wash something my house with it. Like the floor or baseboard!

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