Seoul Punk Rock, Photo Cafes, Fake Hair, and Beauty Product Reviews

March 19, 2014 | Posted by rissvandal


I’d been going a mile a minute, exploring everything I could the moment I got here, but this weekend my body told me it’s time to slow down. I’ve been combating a combo of laryngitis, possibly bronchitis for almost two weeks now. If you’re going overseas, don’t ever just take it for granted that you can just pop into any drugstore and easily  pick up any medication you got at home. I’ve had to go to a Korean friend, explain my symptoms, have them write it out in Korean, and hand a pharmacist the paper like a child with a permission slip. The chance of me ever needing medication for an embarrassing ailment is reason alone to encourage me to master Korean sooner rather than later.



Illness aside, I’ve done my fair share of shopping, seeking out any and all things cute, and I’ve been trying my hardest to resist post-White Day chocolate sales (In Korea, Valentine’s Day is for the men, White Day is for the women). Subway stations and sidewalk sales are quickly becoming my go-to for good discount purchases, but one unique place my friend and I treated ourselves was at Pinkage in Hongdae–a wig and hair extension boutique with an in-house salon. My friend opted for a full head of hair, while I just went with a small set of fake bangs. Wigs range from about $80-140 and fake bangs start in the $20 range for simple front clip ins, while $40 will get you a set of bangs and fringe to cover the entire top of your hair, for a much more natural, seamlessly blended look.

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The boutique is small, but the staff are helpful, allow you to try on the pieces, and they have an English-speaking employee that comes in on weekends. I love the piece I bought, but I unfortunately can’t really wear it without a hat or headband, for fear of the attachment point showing. Pinkage sells quality products, but they’re not really heat resistant (you can use a blow dryer, not a hot iron), which I find to be incredibly unfortunate, especially for some of their higher priced items.  But once you purchase a piece, for only about $5 more, you can get it cut and styled to your specifications.



As much as I love checking out unique fashion items over here, I can sincerely say that when I was preparing to head to Korea, nothing excited me more than the prospect of checking out another county’s punk scene. South Korea’s punk scene is relatively young and small in size compared to that states, and especially as s a foreigner, you have to do a bit of digging to figure out where all the shows are. I had spoken to a few people who had lived in Korea briefly, and the majority of them weren’t even aware you could find much in the country beyond kpop. Thankfully I came across the Korean Punk and Hardcore Facebook page shortly before coming here. Providing constant show updates and flyers, this page is a crucial resource for any newcomers to the scene.

I came here with one particular band I wanted to see ASAP, which was Scumraid. They’re a fast and heavy noise punk band with three members, and most notably, an  badass female drummer. The show I caught was in a small and cramped photo studio, and as one of the videos indicates, I kept getting thrown around which made it hard to film more of the show (and my phone died a few minutes in…we’d drained the battery using my GPS since we got lost for almost two hours wandering the streets trying to find the show).

I intend to talk a whole lot more about the Korean punk scene, but let this just be an introduction. I’d like to devote an entire post to the difference in attitude and atmosphere I can already see when compared to the punk scene in the states. To simply sum things up–the punk scene in Korea has me excited, which is something I haven’t really had the opportunity to be about punk in a while.


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After leaving the punk show, my friend and I wandered into a photo cafe–which is only about half of what you would expect. It was basically a large room with about 10 photo booths, but as far as I could see, there was no coffee, no drinks, and nothing cafe-esque about it. First you pick your photo booth, and there are a number of themes to choose from–glamour, fashion magazine, holiday,or an amalgamation of total randomness. Then you take about 10 images, which are then sent to the digital customization booth for you to write all over and add things to, like sparkles and bows, and cat ears. The end result is an assortment of about 20 photo stickers that, if it’s you’re first time at one of these places, probably look way more weird and awkward than you intended them to.


I’ll be doing 1-2 product reviews each post, but as per a number of requests, here is a look at my daily skincare routine. I will confess, despite my love of cosmetics, before coming to Korea I had little to no skincare routine–all I did was wash my face with either a medicated cleanser or soap and water. But after witnessing impressive prices and results, I’ve since upgraded. I currently start with a Tony Moly AC Control Bubble Foam Cleanser, move on to a Super Collagen Ampoulle Essence, then follow that up with a Total Age Repair Toner, Super Collagen moisturizing cream, and Total Age Repair Royal Cream. All products other than the cleanser come from Etude House.


I’m going to examine the results for a few more weeks before I review the majority of these products, but the one I am ready to give a verdict on is the Tony Moly AC Control Bubble Foam Cleanser. I will no doubt be sticking with this product for good. It’s the most gentle yet effective cleanser I have used to date. As someone who wears large amounts of makeup (often waterproof) on a daily basis, I’ve become dependent on makeup remover . This Tony Moly cleanser, however, has totally erased the need for any makeup removing liquids or pads. With about two pumps, all makeup is washed away, leaving your skin feeling fresh and clean, and without over-drying. The results far exceeded my expectations.


Navigating the world of Korean beauty products can be daunting, and not to mention, excessively tempting. In Etude House you can find a wall of face masks, with vitamins and minerals ranging from A-Z, all costing between $.95-$1.50. That’s not to say all products are created equal, however. I learned that when I got my hands on a bottle of Collagen Water. I mean, I don’t know what I was even expecting, but it did whatever any skeptic readers would assume it would–absolutely nothing. And as an added strike against it, it tasted excessively sweet and had a higher sugar content for something deemed “healthy.”

All that being said, I’m hoping to kick this illness so I can head out to another punk show this weekend and hopefully deliver a few more photos and tales. If you’d like, feel free to leave any questions or comments below ^^


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