Got a crush on K-beauty? Every year, hundreds of tourists head to Korea to stock up on cheap BB creams, face masks and serums. There’s plenty of places to shop around Busan but if it’s all a bit bewildering, fear not — here’s our quick cheat sheet to the city’s beauty-buying hotspots. Happy shopping!
Shinsegae Centum City
Shinsegae currently holds a Guinness World Record for being the largest department store in the world. Although it’s tilted more towards high-end shopping, it’s safe to say that you’ll find plenty of beauty products here, including luxury brands such as Sulwhasoo. Cosmetics are located on the first floor. You can pay a visit to Spaland (also located in Centum City) for some post-shopping relaxation, or even play a round of golf on the shopping centre’s top floors.
Lotte Department Store, Nampo
Korea’s first seaside department store, this is a branch of the enormous Korean mall chain Lotte (they also have a department store in Seomyeon). Cosmetics are on the first floor, and brands range from luxury to high street. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for, and there are lots of helpful staff if you get stuck. Don’t forget to head up to the rooftop park on the 11th floor – it’s currently the largest roof park in Korea and gives a sweeping view over the city.
Nampo-dong is a popular shopping area, as well as a popular downtown hangout. Here, you’ll find most Korean beauty brands, crowded together on Nampo Street (take exit 3 from Nampo subway station and follow the crowds). There are a number of famous tourist attractions around here, so combine your shopping trip with a jaunt up Busan Tower, a visit to Jagalchi Market, or street food at BIFF Square.
Seomyeon is Busan’s hippest hangout, so it’s no wonder that its streets are packed with beauty stores and cosmetics. You might well be able to find all you need without leaving the subway station itself – the station is large and contains numerous shops selling clothes, accessories and beauty products. You can stay underground and head to Seomyeon Underground Mall (which is also good for piercings and body jewellery), or venture above ground to explore some of the city’s largest cosmetic and beauty stores. Although there are stores throughout this area, you’re best heading out of exit 4 or 6 and heading in a south-easterly direction.
Shops to look out for:
Olive Young sells cosmetics and beauty products as well as health supplements, over-the-counter medicine, cosmetic accessories and snacks. It’s one of the more ubiquitous stores, with a branch in most neighbourhoods.
Innisfree specialises in natural beauty, using ingredients from Jeju Island. Jeju’s volcanic rock is credited with multiple beauty benefits, and all Innisfree’s products are eco-friendly, gentle and natural. Its stores sell products ranging from skincare (for both men and women) to makeup, and its most popular line is its clay masks.
Etude House stores are easy to spot – just look for the pink and white dollhouse-style exterior. Its outside is cute, and so is its inside – the brand specialises in skincare and cosmetics targeted to the young and trendy. Very K-pop, it’s a good place to get lip tints and eyeshadow in all shades of peach and blush.
Club Clio sell high-quality cosmetics at an affordable level. Apparently, they’re named after one of the nine Greek Muses, and their namesake was the muse representing ‘honour’ and ‘history’. This may explain why their branding is a little less girly-girl and a little more girl power. It’s good for punchy colours and eyeliner.
Too Cool For School
One of the more elusive cosmetic shops, Too Cool For School stores aren’t as numerous as other brands but well worth looking out for. They target a more arty crowd, have great packaging, and a wider range of colours. Their makeup is good quality but still affordable.
Tony Moly specialises in fun, affordable skincare and cosmetics for men and women, based on natural ingredients. They can be quite quirky: look out for the broccoli, cactus and red wine sheet masks. They’re good for skincare, including lip masks.
LOHBs (the acronym stands for ‘Love, Health and Beauty’) stock a diverse range of goods, including cosmetics, healthcare, vitamins and supplements, skincare and snacks. They tend to be a little larger than other stores, with more of an upmarket drugstore vibe.
The Face Shop
The Face Shop sells…things for your face. Although the name sounds a little blunt to native speakers, it actually specialises in gentle, natural skincare, bath products and cosmetics aimed at both men and women.
Aritaum stock a diverse range of cosmetics, at varying price points. It’s a good one-stop shop if you’re looking to browse what’s on offer. It stocks men’s cosmetics (as well as women’s) and has a great range of nail products.
Like Innisfree and The Face Shop, Skinfood focuses on ‘natural’ makeup. Unlike the other two, however, it does this by focusing on the nutritional content of its products. The idea is to nourish your face in the same way food nourishes your body. It’s a good place to buy face masks – the packaging tells you what nutrients are in each mask and what its effects are, so you can target your skincare routine to your specific needs.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.