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The city where spas never close

From a 24-hour spa to a futuristic skin lab, join a tour to see how Seoul is the beauty capital of the world

Posted: Dec 5, 2018 9:32 PM
Updated: Dec 5, 2018 9:42 PM

In a dustless, clinic-like room, workers in white lab coats get to work on their customers, stretching and pulling their faces with colorful elastic bands.

"It's time for some facial Pilates," says Alicia Yoon, a K-beauty wizard and founder of one of the South Korea's most influential beauty sites, Peach and Lily.

"It doesn't hurt but it is this interesting feeling because your muscles are getting like worked out in a way that you're not used to. A lot of their clients will come here once a week, it's like going to the gym."

With an estimated worth of $13.1 billion in sales in 2018, South Korea is one of the world's top 10 beauty markets.

Here, many believe that regularly nurturing skin is a necessity, rather than an indulgence.

As a result, the capital city of Seoul offers a wide array of traditional and innovative spas.

"It's not this idea that you have to be so flawless and so beautiful but it's part of self-care," says Yoon.

"It's like a thing that you do, that a part of everyday life."

Much like many of us have a family doctor or dentist, many Koreans have family facialists as well.

Korean scrubs

Cutting-edge technologies aside, jjimjilbangs are another beauty tradition every South Korea tourist should experience.

It's a 24-hour bathhouse/beauty arcade that offers sauna treatments as well as a seshin, or a thorough Korean scrub.

"What I love about Seoul the most, is that you feel that the city is alive," says Yoon.

"The spas are usually open 24/7 and it's not so much everything is open late or 24 hours but its more that there is a hustle and bustle about the city.

"There's a real sort of entrepreneurial spirit here. There seems to be this real appetite for life."

To follow Yoon on a spa tour around Seoul, from the city's most loved jjimjilbang to a cutting-edge beauty laboratory, check out the above video.

Dragon Spa, 40-712, Hangangno 3-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea; 010-4223-0001

Skin Lab L, multiple locations

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