K-Beauty Review: Bomibox Subscription Box

A few months ago, we had a giveaway that featured a Bomibox and the K-beauty subscription box company was so sweet to offer one to Kultscene for a review. So here we are!

For this K-Beauty Review, I tried out Bomibox’s February box and not a more recent one. Why? I wanted to actually use the products properly before I gave my review, rather than just basing my opinion on one time use, so I took my time and slowly, slowly tried things out. (Sorry, I’m slow!)

Purpletale 5 Steps To Lovely Skin Complete Facial Solution

It includes a foam cleanser, an ampoule to layer underneath a sheet mask, a face cream and a separate neck cream. Seriously, it sounds absolutely wonderful. I tried them all one recent night after waiting months for a night of R&R to try, and here were my thoughts: The cleanser was a bit harsh, which foam cleansers in general are. I prefer powder cleansers in general, but it definitely cleaned away all the dirt and makeup of the day. The ampoule, which kind of smelled like those blow-up balloons in a tube that I used to love as a kid, definitely refreshed my skin. But prior to applying the mask, it didn’t seem like my face had really recovered from the harshness of the cleanser, which made me think that if I were to ever use the cleanser and ampoule as regular products, I’d have to include a mask nightly to ensure that my skin feels as pliant as I prefer.

Speaking of the mask, it was an interesting gel mask that was as thin as a typical cotton sheet mask so I was actually quite surprised when I put it on. I struggled with laying the two separate parts together, which really shouldn’t be a struggle considering that I’ve been masking for years. But I pretty much had to choose whether I wanted to join the two masks together on my cheeks by pulling the top half down and the bottom part up, losing moisture by my eyes and chin areas. I chose not to do that, so there was a gap on both my cheeks, which was odd. The moisture was great, though, so maybe my face is just too big or something for this particular mask. The face and neck cream were great sealants, and I’d definitely suggest them because I really enjoy heavy moisturizers like these for occasional use (see below). Neither were sticky, which was nice, though I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between the pair…
Overall: Good for a one-pack travel set, but I don’t think I’ll buy it again anytime soon because I struggled with a few parts and didn’t love the intensity of the cleanser.

Skinfood Peach Sake Toner

I had seen this a few years ago and wanted to try it out but never did, so here was my chance. I decided to try it at night only while I used a tea tree toner in the morning, since I really like feeling refreshed before going to bed and the peach extract smell sounded like the perfect thing. The extract and rice sake are meant to minimize shine and the appearance of pores, and I didn’t really notice anything much aside from a pick me up of the scent and refreshing moisture. But in retrospect I also didn’t freak out about my pore size so much while using it, so I’m wondering if the one-two punch of a tea tree based toner with this one actually did minimize the appearance of my pores.
Overall: Finished the bottle and can’t wait to buy another! Even if it has no real affect on pores, it’s like a candy pick-me-up in a bottle format for my skin.

Secret Key Snow White Milky Pack

I don’t honestly understand why anyone would ever use this. I’ve used Secret Key creams before, and this one smelled and looked like caked on sunscreen. The pack didn’t really wash off once I used it, leaving white residue. Which I guess is supposed to whiten your skin? I stopped using it after one use because it just confused me…
Overall: I gave this to a friend who is into skin whitening, but it definitely wasn’t for me.

Labiotte Mini Wine Lip Tint in Rose Coral

Wine+color=love. ‘Nuf said.

Labiotte Mini Wine Lip Tint in Rose Coral

But actually. I’ve mentioned these lip tints before in KultScene articles, because they’re really great and filled with color. You need to reapply them pretty frequently, especially if you’re eating, but even if they fade away a bit they’re still really lovely.
Overall: Color is pretty and subtle with a dash of pop, but it’s a stain that doesn’t seem to last as long as some others. I’m fine with reapplying, but that’s a personal preference.

Missha Time Revolution Travel Kit

This contains travel size bottles of the fabled Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence and the Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule. I know that everyone loves the essence, and I even bought a larger bottle to really give it a chance… But I haven’t really seen any noticeable change in my skin. That said, I also haven’t diligently been using it because it feels a bit too light and I’ve been using a heavier serum to offset the weird state my skin is in due to humidity and too much AC from New York’s summer.

The Night Repair Serum is similarly nice but… Not really noticeable? I assumed it’d be more viscous. Would have to get a bigger bottle to really see if it has any effects.
Overall: I’m still using the essence and like the feel of its rather light, watery consistency, so if I notice any changes I’ll update.

Skinfood Honey Lip Treatment

So… I was really excited because I used to use a honey bomb ampoule that was amazing (the Shara Shara one, it’s since been impossible to find) but this didn’t really smell or taste like honey. It was extremely sticky, but didn’t seem to moisturize my lips as much as I wanted. Unlike a normal lip balm, it seem to just coat my lips rather than actual moisten them. It was kind of weird… I tried it out for a while but eventually threw it away…
Overall: Not the best. Doesn’t really seem to rehydrate lips as much as just sit atop of it like sticky honey.

Papa Recipe Bombee Honey Mask

I really liked the honey theme, but this one, unlike the lip treatment, actually smelled like honey. Like, ready to dip the apple in the honey. It was a pretty basic cotton sheet mask otherwise.
Overall: Pleasant scent, pretty average viscosity and moisturizing effect. If I saw it, I would probably buy it because it left my skin feeling supple.

Polotam Water Gel Extra Force Brightening Mask

Honestly, I used this and it was like every other sheet mask out there. I didn’t notice any brightening, but it was nice as a moisturizing mask.
Overall: Basic brightening sheet mask. Not much else to say.

Sample: Polotam Deep Moist Cream

I actually took this one with me overnight and it was really nice and thick. I love the smell of it and the there’s a variety of botanical extracts including oak tree sap, rosemary, lavender, and eucalyptus to help hydrate, calm, and brighten the skin. I usually use gel moisturizers, but I could see this being ideal for the middle of a frigid New York City winter.
Overall: I may invest in a full-size of this in winter, but it’s honestly simply too dense for the summer in New York City.

Overall: Definitely a fun subscription box to try out, and I really enjoyed being able to try out a few things. The Skinfood toner is now one of my faves because of this box, but there are a few things that I felt I could either do without or didn’t really notice their impact. I also would prefer to see less of the brands I’ve already heard a lot about (Skinfood, Missha) but that said I really did enjoy getting a chance to try out some products that I thought I was familiar with but haven’t really given a shot to in the past.

The sample item was provided by Bomibox, but all reviews are based on the tester’s individual opinions. Email contact@Kultscene.com for more details relating to sponsoring products and posts.

Have you tried, or do you want to try, any of the products that I received in this Bomibox? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

K-Beauty Review: Son & Park Beauty Water

Few K-beauty products are as hyped about as Son & Park’s Beauty Water. The clear toner in a sleek bottle has been touted as a magical toner, or cleansing water, that cleanses, soothes, and freshens the skin. The self-proclaimed “smart cleansing liquid” claims to exfoliate and moisturize skin at once, and make people “instantly feel how young and healthy your skin is.” The Son & Park Beauty Water contains extracts from orange fruit, papaya, willow bark, lavender, rose, bergamot, olive oil, and other naturally hydrating, brightening, and cleansing sources.

It’s a pretty straightforward product, as it’s essentially a really well-marketed toner with a key difference: toners typically balance pH that gets stripped from skin while cleansing while beauty water is more about refreshing the skin overall. The Son & Park Beauty Water is meant to help tidy up your face by refreshing your skin in one easy step rather than keeping around both a toner and an exfoliant. It styles itself as a primer of sorts for other products, and it does seem to help soothe the skin so that it is more absorbent.

Also on Kultscene: K-Beauty Review: Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine


I really like the simplicity of it. The bottle is aesthetically pleasing, very modern looking, and clean cut. The actual solution itself is clear. It looks like water, and has a subtle, minty-citrusy scent. Pour a tiny bit onto a cotton pad, wipe it over your skin, and it actually lives up to it’s claims. Not that the Beauty Water is magical or anything, but my skin did feel smoother and more supple once I used it. I also noticed visible reduction in redness. (There was a bit of tingling the first time I tried it, but the second time I didn’t notice anything).

I decided to try it out to remove makeup, since people rave about the Beauty Water’s ability to remove grime with a single swipe. I wasn’t brave enough to try it out as a full cleanser, so put some lipstick and eyeshadows on my arm and did a quick eyeliner-mascara duo on one eye. And I was incredibly impressed. Not only did one little dab of the Beauty Water on a cotton pad clean the makeup on my arm, but it was also enough to clean my eye makeup. (Sorry– I accidentally deleted the photos!) Without any irritation or rubbing! As someone with major dry eyes, this is really important to me. I don’t think I’ve ever had a smoother all around cleanser. (That said, I’ve avoided micellar waters in the past and this has changed my mind for sure. If you have any favorites, leave a comment and I’ll check it out!)


I tend to use a witch hazel astringent as my toner, which is definitely stronger than this. The Beauty Water did exactly what it said, but I really like something that would make my face feel not only cleansed and smoothed, but also balanced. I still felt a bit greasy after I used it mid-day as a refresher, which isn’t really ideal, but that’s part of the Beauty Water’s properties, since it’s purpose is to hydrate whereas witch hazel tends to dry.

It’s important to note that the Beauty Water is particularly expensive for K-beauty, and usually is sold for anywhere between $20-35 USD. (I got it as a courtesy from Style Korean, where it’s sold for about $33.50.) That’s definitely a negative, but at the same time each use requires very little product and it almost entirely is worth the hype so I understand why people are willing to shell that out and it’s something I’m going to enjoy incorporating into my routine.

Also on Kultscene: K-Beauty Review: Heimish All Clean Balm

Overall Thoughts

It’s a simple product and does what it says. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest the Son & Park Beauty Water as a primary toner for people with incredibly oily skin, since it doesn’t seem to really help reduce oiliness. But if you’re looking for a product that will clean your skin and make it immediately feel smoother and hydrated, this is for you.

Did you try Son & Park’s Beauty Water? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

The sample item was provided by Style Korean, but all reviews are based on the tester’s individual opinions. Email contact@Kultscene.com for more details relating to sponsoring products and posts.

K-Beauty Review: Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine

After months and months of hearing about Neogen’s Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine, it was only a matter of time before I tried out the cleansing pads myself. Aside from being a fan of just about anything wine, the idea of a dual exfoliant pad intrigued me so knew that I had to get my hand on the Neogen product as fast as I could. As someone who gets semi-regular facials, anything in between that will help maintain the luster sounds worthwhile to me. To be honest, when the package arrived from Style Korean with my Neogen product, I stared at it for a while wondering, “will this live up to the hype?”

With its ability to scrub away dead skin and, supposedly, clean and tighten up pores through its combination of resveratrol and the pads’s dual textures– one side features an exfoliating gauze and the other has a soft cotton pad– this is the holy grail of quick fix skincare. Resveratrol, which is found in grapes and therefore wine, is naturally fermented and allegedly helps repair damaged skin and prevents signs of aging. Oh, and did I mention lactic acid and glycolic acid also help as chemical exfoliants?

Essentially, the Gauze Peeling Wine pads were touted as heaven’s gift to K-beauty.

Also on Kultscene: K-Beauty Review: Heimish All Clean Balm

Pros of Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine

Exfoliating side, step 1

Definitely a step up from the cleansing pads I used in high school, which was the last time I attempted to use one of these one-stop exfoliating pads. The dual-sided cushion made the experience doubly fun, since it made the simple swiping a two-step process and made it feel like I was scouring then refreshing my skin. There was also significant visible dirt and and dead skin on the pad, which made it feel like the pad was doing a great job cleansing my skin. After rinsing off the excess moisture, my skin felt immediately softer.

Cons of Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine

Soft side, step 2.

Call it whatever you want, this isn’t a Gauze Peeling Wine but, rather, Gauze Peeling Grape Juice. That doesn’t mean it particularly smells bad, but the initial smell upon opening the lid of the container is sweet, much like wine’s shameful younger sibling drink. Also, just a warning, don’t get too invested in the scrubbing step because the pad is small but it is strong and will rub your skin raw.

Just a note, if you order from Style Korean, the products come directly from Korea so some items, including this one, do not have English directions. I didn’t realize that I had to wash off the excess moisture, and was extremely uncomfortable while writing the review with a sticky face and neck before I rectified my mistake.

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Overall Thoughts on Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine

I love the fact that this is a quick, simple pad that exfoliates both mechanically through the pad and chemically through its ingredients. After one use, my skin feels supple and tingly, which is my sign that surely something is happening. Did it live up to the hype? Well, I definitely felt the effect of the product and didn’t notice any irritation. Neogen’s Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine has definitely made me reconsider why I haven’t been using cleansing and exfoliating pads all along.

Did you try the Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

The sample item was provided by Style Korean, but all reviews are based on the tester’s individual opinions. Email contact@Kultscene.com for more details relating to sponsoring products and posts.

K-Beauty Review: Heimish All Clean Balm

After I forgot to replace my near-empty bottles of the oil cleanser and eye makeup remover and opened up my medicine cabinet to find them both with hardly a drop left, I figured it was time to try the Heimish All Clean Balm. I’ve had my eyes on Heimish’s products for a while now so I jumped at the chance to try it. As a member of the Tribe, nothing is more heimish to me than my mother’s comfort food and the smell of chicken soup so a brand using the name, an Yiddish and German word that means “homey” or “comforting” had a lot to live up to. Luckily, after two uses of the All Clean Balm, I definitely became sold on what Heimish describes as the “clean and comfortable beauty” balm.

The product is meant to be a delicate cleanser that removes every bit of makeup and impurity while being safe for sensitive skin. According to Style Korean, the All Clean Balm all that’s meant to stay is hydration and from what I’ve seen, that’s definitely true. I tried the product twice: first on my face after I got my eyes and foundation done at a makeup counter earlier in the day, and then again on my arm when I tested out its ability to clean lipstick. After scooping a small portion out and rubbing it over my face/arm, the Balm became an oil that appeared to liquidate my makeup relatively cleanly.

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The All Clean Balm lives up to its name. It feels and smells clean. It has a gentle eucalyptus scent that reminds me a bit of menthol, but without the tear-inducing overwhelming factor, and a white appearance that reminded me of a translucent bar of soap. In its tub, the product reminded me of coconut oil or shea butter, which makes sense because both are included on the ingredient.

I was able to use only a single scoop to cleanse my whole face, despite the relatively thick makeup I was wearing, so it seems like the small tub can go a long way. The Balm seemed to sooth some redness in my skin, and made quick work of removing the majority of my makeup. After rinsing it off and then using my normal cleansing powder, my face felt smooth and not at all greasy.


On my first use, I felt that the Heimish All Clean Balm didn’t actually remove all of my eye makeup. I didn’t want to rub too much, and I was concerned about getting it in my eyes when it doesn’t technically appear to be an eye-specific product (although I read review after review that said it was safe). I haven’t worn heavy enough makeup since my first trial to warrant using it again, but there was definitely residual mascara. I wear pretty dark mascara just about every day, and a good all-in-one makeup remover seems like a dream to me but I guess I’ll wait and see. The second test, on my arm, literally turned the color to a gelatinous puddle and after I wiped it off that patch of skin was clearly smoother than the surrounding area.

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The Heimish All Clean Balm offered a painless experience at trying a cleansing balm, something I’ve never tried before. The product’s refreshing texture and the crisp scent were a pleasure to put near my face, and I thought it did the job just as well as my previous cleansing oil did but with the bonus that it felt more moisturizing. This is probably something that I’ll be keeping within reach for a while.

Have you tried the Heimish All Clean Balm or any other cleansing balm? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

The sample item was provided by Style Korean, but all reviews are based on the tester’s individual opinions. Email contact@Kultscene.com for more details relating to sponsoring products and posts.

KBS K-drama designer Minjung Lee helps bring characters to life [INTERVIEW]

Minjung Lee Kdrama designer interview

Fashion plays an important part in Korean films and K-dramas—from the Joseon era girls who are free to roam in boy’s clothing to the newly rich women obsessed with name brand items—clothing defines and transforms characters. There may be a reason that so many K-drama plots, both contemporary and historical, feature makeovers. Nothing visually symbolizes change and new confidence quite like new and more flattering clothing. Costume designers know that costumes have a lot to say. According to designer Minjung Lee, no one should take costuming for granted.

The outfits are an essential part of historical Korean dramas, contributing to both character development and cinematography. Historically accurate costumes help recreate eras so vividly that viewers feel temporarily transported in time. Those are the clues that Lee seeks to express when she envisions drama costumes.

Currently a visiting scholar at UC Davis, Lee worked as a costume designer for KBS Artsvision for 10 years. She focused on costume design because of her interest in the history of Korean clothing, but also because she was fascinated by the psychology of fashion.

“I really wanted to read someone’s mind, to understand why they wore what they did,” Lee told KultScene.

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This vision to see clothing as a reflection of personality helped Lee create costumes for characters in a range of KBS historical dramas. From the royal robes created for Kim So Eun in Empress Cheonchu: The Iron Empress to Kim Hyun Joong‘s Inspiring Generation wardrobe, Lee researched and created authentic designs that helped bring the characters to life.

Lee’s first experience creating a costume did not live up to her expectations. It happened in middle school, when her class was planning a costume parade. She knew what she wanted to be but the costume did not exist, so she had to make it.

“I wanted to be a tree but then I thought, how do you make a tree? I had to figure it out, to find out where there were fabric stores in Seoul. My mother didn’t even know. It was my first costume and it was not very good.”

The tree costume, fashioned from nylon tent material, may have disappointed her but that did not discourage Lee from studying fashion for her undergraduate degree then going on to pursue a master’s degree in Korean costume and a PhD in the aesthetics of dress at Seoul National University.

“My mother wanted me to be a doctor, but my talents fell somewhere between the scientific and artistic,” said Lee. “I Ioved to draw but was not talented enough to be an artist. Nothing looked like I wanted it to. Textiles seemed like a good way to combine the scientific and artistic.”

Her university studies included dyeing, printing, design, illustration, and marketing. Lee became so interested in the psychology of clothing that she briefly considered a career in psychology. Then she received her first costume request: The priest at the church she attended asked her to make him an authentic Gogoryeo era (37 BC–668 AD) costume, because he was studying martial arts.

Fulfilling that request was a challenge for Lee, as much of the dress history she studied in the past had focused on Western fashion. So she took a class in Korean dress history but there were few illustrations of what Goryeo era clothing actually looked like. Descriptions of Goryeo period clothing was mostly gathered from tomb paintings and the rare intact clothes displayed in museums were those worn by nobles. Rare Goryeo-era artifacts were mostly stored in North Korea, and while Lee attended school even scholarly access was limited.
There was no way to know what colors people wore, or what patterns tailors used. Despite the challenges Lee was determined.

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She contacted the costume department at KBS and asked to visit their storehouse to see costumes of that period. They agreed. “They could have rejected me but they let me look at the clothes in their warehouse.”

Exploring the KBS warehouse was so much fun Lee decided not to major in psychology but take a course in 10th century history. She eventually she became a costume designer at KBS Artsvision.

“After I got acquainted with the people at KBS I knew I had to become a costume designer,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about being a costume designer, no idea what was involved, but I knew I had to do it. I thought if I can interpret raw data into costumes, it will be perfect.”

Part of the motivation was the clothing, but also because Lee herself is a fan of Korean dramas. “I love every kind of TV,” she said. For a decade she worked on a variety of dramas, set in different centuries.

Once she starts working on a drama wardrobe, Lee says it is an all-consuming process and that she can think of nothing else. After she reads the script, Lee begins to research costumes of the period and create a wardrobe that best portrays the characters. She researches textiles and pays painstaking attention to the details–from hats to belts to jewelry– that make clothes seem authentic. Based on her research, she also has to create a budget and stay within it, oversee the production of all the drama’s clothes, manage fittings, and supervise alterations that might be required while filming. After the drama is over, the clothes must be collected and catalogued before storage.

Her roster of dramas includes Empress Cheonchu: The Iron Empress (2007), King Geunchogo: The King of Legend (2010), which she won an award for, The Princess’ Man (2011), Jeon Woo Chi (2013) and Inspiring Generation (2014).

Despite the rigorous research that goes into costume design, some historically accurate details may not be appreciated by a drama’s cast or crew. When Lee’s research led her to design clothing with sleeves that passed the fingertips, the crew was not pleased.

“The staff got mad at me because the sleeves dragged and ripped off, so I had to shorten them,” she said.“[And] sometimes the actors do not feel the clothes are flattering so they have to be altered.”

After years of designing costumes set further in the past, Minjung Lee designed clothes for the 20th century historical drama Inspiring Generation, set during the era of the Japanese Colonial Rule of Korea (1910 to 1945). “The clothes in such dramas are more realistic since they are well documented,” she said. “It makes it less of a challenge, but easier to replicate.”

Lee also hopes to design costumes for films, citing The Royal Tailor, starring Park Shin Hye, as an excellent example of faithful costume replication. “The costume designer was brilliant, one of the best. I actually made my dream come true by pursuing textiles, but I want to be a designer like her. That is my ideal.”

The costumer has written about dress aesthetics in the era represented in Inspiring Generation in her PhD dissertation, “Dress and Ideology during the 20th Century of Korea,” where she examined the clothes and ideology of that time. She presented a paper “Fashioning identity and Ideology in Inspiring Generation” for a Fashion in Fiction conference and recently also spoke about the era at a Fashion Institute of Technology conference in New York.

Minjung Lee is currently living in the U.S. and taking a sabbatical from her design work while serving as a visiting scholar at the University of California-Davis in the Textiles and Clothing/Women and Gender Studies departments. When she returns to Korea in February, she plans to write more about the significance of fashion. “Academia does not always respect dress,” she said. “They take dress for granted and fail to see it in the social context in which it originated.”

What do you think of Lee’s take on K-drama fashion? What’s your favorite historical drama fashion? Share your thoughts about this article in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

K-Beauty review: It’s Skin Dust Defense Bubble Mask

It's Skin Dust Defense Bubble Mask

While I’ve done plenty of masking in my time I had never seen a bubble mask before, so was completely taken back by my recent experience with the It’s Skin Defense Bubble Mask. According to the package, the Dust Defense Bubble Mask “protects and soothes skin from environmental damage, and offers deep hydration.” Which meant… That it was essentially a cleansing mask?

Since I’m such a masking expert, I rarely take the time to actually read directions but I happened to glance at the Bubble Mask’s guide to skin perfection and noticed that these directions were a bit different because of the mask’s nature. Most sheet masks that I’ve used are meant to be delivering moisture and/or some sort of treatment to your face through the serum. It turns out that this sort of mask, since it’s cleansing (even though it doesn’t seem to imply that from it’s description) you’re not supposed to take off and then pat in the remaining moisture. Nope, you’re supposed to wash it all off, since it’s bubbly and supposed to have made your face dust-free.


BUBBLES!!!!!!! It felt like a full on bubble bath for my face. So much foam!!! I may or may not have cupped all the suds in my hand after removing the mask and played with them for a minute.

Finding Nemo Bubbles

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Okay, it may be a bit juvenile, but here’s what happened. When I opened up the mask I had two surprises: First, it was black. Second, it was soapy. Feeling a bit confused, and wondering how much more sudsy it could possibly get, I put the mask on. Ten minutes later, I glanced in the mirror and laughed at myself. It was like a Snapchat filter! The previously black surface of the sheet mask was absolutely covered in the white foam.

All the bubbles!

Looking super attractive with bubbles all over my face. It was thicker than it looks in the picture.


I always remove my makeup with a double cleanse before I mask, and this was no different. The only difference came after I removed the mask, when I realized my face felt raw. Because the Dust Defense Bubble Mask is essentially covered in soap, it seemed like it just cleansed my face again. I had to do some serious moisturizing post-mask, which I’m not a fan of. If I ever get another, I’ll likely do it first thing in the morning, so I don’t have to remove my makeup and will just use it to replacy my morning cleanser.

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I like sheet masks because I can write an article while putting something good on my face. I really wanted to like the It’s Skin Dust Defense Bubble Mask because I live in New York City and I feel like it ideally would be able to help combat the pollutants. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll use it again because it really felt like a cleanser and I don’t need to scrub my face raw. But it was a fun experience, so I may try other bubble masks in the future and see if they don’t dry me out as much.

Have you ever tried a bubble mask? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

This review was not sponsored by It’s Skin, but KultScene is always looking for affiliate and sponsors, particularly for product reviews. Email contact@Kultscene.com for more details.

Stephen Alain Ko talks K-beauty chemistry & why there’s no magical skincare recipes

Stephen Alain Ko Talks K-Beauty Chemistry

If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by the mass of K-beauty products littering the cosmetic world, don’t worry. You’re not alone. There’s an abundance of skincare products out there promising you the perfect skin, and we know that it can be overwhelming. To dig a bit deeper and find out what will do the trick (or not), KultScene spoke to cosmetic chemist Stephen Alain Ko. After developing early acne, Ko began dabbling in cosmetic chemistry and by 16 was already creating skincare products for himself and his mom. After pursuing it as a career, Ko became a consultant to multiple companies and an expert in the field, and is developing his own line. We spoke over the phone and asked him some of our top questions about skincare and K-beauty chemistry.

How did you get more involved with K-beauty?
I went to Korea in 2006. That’s kind of when I first noticed the differences regarding how beauty is part of their lifestyle whereas it’s a sort of treatment in the US.

Is K-beauty chemically different than what we see from western beauty companies?
The distribution is usually global so it’s not so much that there’s any chemical difference in the products but there are textural differences. Generally, Korean and Asian products have to be a little thinner, either because the consumer base is used to thinner products or because of the humidity. What really sets it apart is the speed of the marketing. There’s more of an acceptance of a variety of products and people buy more products. In response companies come out with more products, which means you get more varied ingredients and that sort of thing. It’s not that we don’t get them in the west, it just may be that they’re not marketed that way or as frequently.

Speaking to some people that do manufacturing in the US and Korea, it seems like the machines in Korea can swap out products more easily to streamline the process. So I think the big thing about Korea is that they’re able to manufacture more products faster and in a shorter period of time. We’re seeing Korean skincare manufacturers move to the US. Kolmar is a big one. They purchased a big facility in Louisiana or somewhere. We’ll start seeing more products and a faster creation in the US.

K-beauty has risen in popularity. Is it not necessarily because of the products themselves but because of marketing?
The beauty industry itself is almost as close as you can get to an industry that’s based on marketing because it takes months for you to see results in terms of skin care. So getting you to buy products relies on how it’s advertised and promoted, and that’s switching to social media now. K-beauty combines the fun aspect of skincare whereas western beauty focuses on harsher procedures, laser treatments but K-beauty is a bit more fun and approachable. And cheaper, as well.

Also on KultScene: Which “K-Beauty review: Etude House Silk Scarf Damage Protein Ampoule Treatment

When people talk about K-beauty, they throw around a lot of words. Is there actually a chemical difference between serums, ampoules, etc?

If you think about the way pharmaceuticals are designed, it’s a vehicle. A cream, a gel, or whatever and then the active ingredient. The vehicle is used to help the active penetrate and, in some cases, help slow it down to minimize irritation. You may want to get ascorbic acid, you know Vitamin C, so you’d look for something that will keep the ascorbic acid stable and help penetrate deeper. Whether it’s called a serum or ampoule doesn’t really matter. You can market it as a serum, an ampoule, a pressed serum, whatever. There’s no rules or regulations on that.

You mentioned acne and anti-aging medication. Are there any chemicals in particular that people should be looking for or avoiding?
There are ingredients with research behind them from over the decades, ones like ascorbic acid, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A. Niacinamide is one of the newer ones that has some more research behind it. But just because it has a lot of research behind it doesn’t mean that it’s the best one in its category. It’s just that a lot of research is underfunded and a lot of ingredients aren’t probably going to do anything for your skin so there isn’t any incentive [for companies] to go out and spend money to prove that the active ingredient in their product doesn’t do anything. So there’s very little good research indicating what works. As it stands now, it’s kind of a crapshoot. I think in the future, once we develop technologies that are better able to model the effect that ingredients can have on the skin in a shorter, faster time period we’ll have more of an idea.

Where would the average K-beauty aficionado go if they want to do some research?
Most of these studies are posted in journals. Google Scholar is a great place to start. There are databases for Korean university research. A lot of these are paywalled but there is a push to get more access. There’s usually a short result of the research in the abstract, but I suggest people do not make decisions based on the abstract because they’re designed to market the paper and make it seem more enticing so it may leave out what people may want to know to use it on their skin.

So, because the journals aren’t the most accessible, it sounds like the best thing would really be trial and error for someone getting into K-beauty?
Trial and error is definitely the best way someone can figure it out for themselves because studies look at a trial population of people. Just because something’s effective for 70 out of 100 people doesn’t means that you’ll be in that group of people that it’ll be effective for. At the end of the day, there’s always trial and error. For someone looking for new products, it’s probably why bloggers, Youtubers, people on social media are so popular. People tend to find a guru who has similar skin to them and then use product based on recommendations. There’s no rigorous scientific way to discover if a product will work for you. At least not now.

Is there a bare minimum people should be doing for their skin?
At a minimum, people should be cleaning their skin in a way that doesn’t irritate them so as to remove pollutants, oil, dirt, stuff that we pick up during the day. And during the day, we should be using a good sunscreen with good UVA protection. I think that’s the most important thing. Beyond that, it’s kind of dependent on who you are, so you can pick or choose. If you have acne, you might want to use a product that treats acne. If you’re older, you may want to look for anti-aging topicals like Vitamin C. If you have hyper pigmentation, you want products for that. Bare minimum is probably cleaning and sunscreen.

Should people be looking for any specific ingredients when buying K-beauty products or beauty products in general?
For someone who has never used skin care, the biggest difference that they’ll probably see a change in their skin is to switch cleansers to something gentler. In a lot of cases, people are using actual soap, which is a fat treated with alkali and that can be really irritating to the skin. I think a lot of people can just notice a difference by switching to a synthetic cleanser that’s gentler on the skin. There are many anecdotal stories of people who have been treating their acne unsuccessfully with topicals and then they go on a camping trip and don’t bring their products with them and notice their skin improving. A lot of that reason is because they’re no longer additionally irritating their skin.

So are natural products not necessarily better than synthetic?
Whether a chemical comes for a plant or from the petrochemical industry doesn’t have any baring on how it’s going to affect your skin. My suggestion would be to stick to your skincare routine for a long period of time so as to actually understand if it’s working for you or not. I think that some people jump into K-beauty with 20, 30 products. That can be fun. But, you know, down the line, how do you know which product is working? It really depends on the person. If they can afford those 20 products and they enjoy doing it and it’s not a chore to them, then go for it. But if you’re a person on a budget and looking for the best bang for your buck, it’s better to start off slow.

What makes one cleanser better than another?
So, the easiest way to tell is how your skin feels a few hours after. If it feels really tight and there’s redness or irritation it’s usually a good indication that your cleanser is too harsh. There are gentle cleansing waters, usually called micellar water, that are a solution to use with a cotton pad that tend to be gentler than foaming cleansers. It is all down to the formulation. Like sodium laurel sulfate for example is a synthetic cleanser that tends to be very harsh but you can mix it with other surfactants or mixing ingredients to make it very, very gentle on the skin. So even if you see SLS on the ingredients list, it doesn’t mean necessarily that it’ll be irritating. But, on the other hand,if you start with sodium cocoyl isethionate, which is about a half as damaging as SLS, you’ll make a gentler product. The reason SLS is still around in cleansers is because it’s very effective at what it does and is cheaper to acquire. Generally, soaps under the FDA are fats treated with an alkali, so natural soaps, those tend to be very harsh on the skin because the molecular size of the soap molecules tend to be really small and they tend to have a high alkalinity and all that can lead to skin irritation. Some people use soap and SLS and don’t have any issues, but that’s probably down to their skin. I’m not going to argue with them for five hours to get them to switch because if their skin is fine, their skin is fine.

Is micellar water the same thing as a toner then?
It’s hard to say all micellar waters are this and all toners are that because brands can label them different things. In general, toners are water and alcohol or some other kind of solvent. They solute whatever you want to remove off of your skin. Micellar waters are, an easy way to think about it, a diluted gel cleanser that you wipe on the skin using a cotton pad. So they pretty much work the same way but with toners, you tend to encounter ones with alcohol so they can be a bit more drying to the skin. I think toners are designed to be left on the skin and micellar waters you should rinse off. [Micellar waters] are pretty good at removing makeup and sunscreen, plus you’re using a cotton pad to wipe the skin and the friction from that, and the absorbance from that, helps as well.

We see a lot of K-beauty aimed at the face, but what about the hands and the neck?
I think there are sheet masks for other body parts as well but I think we don’t see as many products for other parts because it’s harder for consumers to justify spending money on their hands and body. There, on a whole, isn’t much difference between the skin on your face and skin sun on your body. The main difference is the amount of amount or hair, pores, and sebum production. In term of ingredients, we’re not at the point where we can target things like that. If you can afford it and you want beautiful skin all over, use products everywhere. Also, another difference is that your face definitely gets closer to the UVA than your clothes. The main difference is the cost.

We’ve all heard of the X-step process. Is that part of marketing or is it something people should actually follow?
If you think of the 10-step routine, there’s like 3 million iterations of how you can organize it, so there’s very little research that compares a 10-step routine with a two step routine. Most scientific research is going to focus on one product just because if you do see results, it’s more likely that that product or a certain ingredient is the reason for that result. Whereas if you’re doing a study with like ten different products and your skin gets lighter, you’re not going to be able to say that one product did it; you’ll have to say the entire routine did it which may not be true. There may be products in there that are making things worse. So, in terms of research, there’s nothing that says a 10-step routine is better than a one step routine. For some people, the 10-step routine works for them so that’s what they stick to. It’s hard to give a recommendation for one routine to anyone.

Is there any truth to popular ingredients like snail essence or ginseng being a magical cure all?
All the research I have seen hasn’t been super conclusive, but that may also be because some of those cure alls have not been studied enough. In terms of its efficacy, it’s hard to say because every company has a different snail cream products so they may be using different suppliers and the snail mucin may have a different concentration and density. People do report that their skin improves greatly from using the product, so it may be that they’re using a product that doesn’t irritate them, or they’re using a product where the glycerine is really working for them. It could be that the snail mucin itself is doing something for their skin. It’s hard to say for sure if it’s not in a clinical setting, and there haven’t been enough of those studies. It’s not that it’s useless and that it’s a waste of money, it’s just that we don’t know yet.

Are there any products in particular you think people should be looking into nowadays?
Not really. I tend not to focus on products on the market just because there’s so many of them and I don’t have access to the concentration of ingredients, who their suppliers are, etc. You speak to some suppliers and there are some ingredients that do work really well, but as a consumer, I don’t if they’re at an effective concentration in a commercial product.

Is there any way to determine what’s a great product?

I do get a lot of questions about what’s best and “What should I do for this?” I think people expect that someone in my position would be able to provide really strong answers but, unfortunately, we can’t. [The market is] supersaturated and we just don’t know enough. Conducting human clinical trials are expensive, even if they’re skincare. There isn’t any punishment for putting a product on the market that isn’t super substantiated. In a way, us trying a product and reviewing them is one form of providing that feedback.

You said sunscreen is the number one thing you need during the day. In North America it’s common to see the SPF ranking, but Korean sunscreens also have the PA plus-sign ranking. What does that mean?

The PA system measures protection against UVA. Whereas SPF is a ranking of protection against UVB exposure, essentially protection against sunburns. While UVA doesn’t greatly cause sunburn, it does damage our DNA, which leads to tanning and hyperpigmentation. The PPD method is a test where they shine UVA light on the skin, and measures the tanning response. A PPD of 10 generally means that you can spend 10 times longer under UVA exposure without tanning – compared to if you protected. The PA system compresses the results of the PPD test into four categories. In Japan , PA+ is a PPD of 2-4, PA++ is 4-6, and so on. PA++++ means that the PPD value of that sunscreen is greater than 16. We’re not sure yet what amount of UVA protection we need, but a lot of researchers have suggested that the UVA protection and UVB protection should be about equal, since that mimics the protection offered by shade – and I tend to agree with that. If you’re a person that is prone to tanning or hyperpigmentation, then you should probably look for the highest UVA protection or PA ranking that you can find. In many cases, Korean sunscreens offer better UVA protection than Western sunscreen. They’re also cheaper and tend to apply much nicer to the skin, they also get to use modern sunscreens that provide UVA protection than what’s allowed to be used in the US.
Could you buy a Korean sunscreen at Sephora?

A company like Sephora wouldn’t be able to import it because they have to follow import laws, but you can buy them on Amazon and get them shipped to you. That’s sort of like a gray market. Technically, it’s not legal but I don’t think US customs is going through every package. I don’t think it’s high priority. If you walk into a Sephora or a larger K-beauty retailer in the US, the sunscreens you’re buying there isn’t the same one you’d get in Korea. They sometimes make US versions.

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Is there any benefit from using sunscreen separately from BB cream, foundation, tinted moisturizer?
Anything with the SPF/PA label will be tested in the exact same way. What makes one more effective is the way we use them. If you’re using a foundation or BB cream with UVA PF the main goal is to even out the skin and provide coverage, so you will reach a point where your face gets cakey and that point may come before you reach the protection listed on the label. So, unless you’re using quite a bit it’s still better to stick with a sunscreen first then apply the makeup.

It sounds like K-beauty is far ahead of America in Sunscreen.
K-beauty kind of merges the idea of sunscreen as skincare whereas in the US sunscreen and beauty are kind of separate categories. There are some American brands that have kind of merged the two but US companies are still limited and the technology is behind about 10-15 years.

Any final words?
Set realistic expectations. I get a lot of questions about how to fix something with a product. This isn’t an exact science where we can identify the symptoms and provide a quick fix. Some people won’t have the skin they dream of, unfortunately, it’s just reality. Like there isn’t a product that will turn your skin into a skin in a magazine or even your best friend. A lot of it is down to genetics. Skincare is meant to nudge our skin along. Our skin is great at taking care of itself, unless you have a condition or disease and even then the dermatological treatments aren’t always effective. There are amazing skincare products that can have amazing effects but I think it’s better to be surprised than disappointed. Because, you know, the way that we look is a huge part of our self-esteem and it’s hard to tell someone “I don’t know if your skin will improve,” but we need to be realistic.

Thank you so much, Stephen! 

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Updated Oct 10 with corrections due to transcription errors.

Check out Stephen Alain Ko’s website and follow him on Instagram and Twitter for all of his great cosmetic chemistry insights.

What other questions do you have about K-beauty? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

K-Beauty review: Etude House Silk Scarf Damage Protein Ampoule Treatment

etude house silk scarf damage protein ampoule Treatment

I was in Seoul last summer and bought far too much K-beauty products so I’m still discovering random items in odd corners of my bedroom. I recently found a vial of Etude House Silk Scarf Damage Protein Ampoule Treatment. When I had seen it at an Etude House store sitting there in a hot pink box and looking like I should inject the product directly into my head, I was already sold. Now, months after a botched dye job had left my once virgin-dyed-hair insanely dry at the ends, it was time to test it.

So what is an ampoule anyway? When I bought it, I just liked the shape of the product and assumed they were trying to say, “This will be a fun way to make your hair feel nice.” So I bought one for me and one for my little sister. After a quick Google search, I discovered that Wikipedia defines an ampoule as “a small sealed vial which is used to contain and preserve a sample, usually a solid or liquid.” The Etude House one is a vial in the form of an injection needle, so the Ampoule Treatment is, in fact, technically an ampoule. According to Etude House’s website it “contains 9 kinds of protein other than keratin protein and 17 kinds of amino acids that fill up dry and damaged hair with both moisture and nutrition and coats hair for firm and volumized hair.” (Does it contain keratin plus nine other kinds of protein? I have no ideas based on the English blurb…)

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It smelled really nice! Since I sat with the ampoule on my hair for about 20 minutes, this really mattered to me more than the actually feel of the product, which itself was actually more dense than I expected. Because the ampoule is limited in size rather than in a tub or tube, I didn’t really feel it before putting it in my hair so I thought it may be a gel or liquid, but once I pressed on the pump it turned out that it was a really silky cream. The pearly white color of it gave the product a luxurious, girly feel that’s typical of Etude’s products. Sometimes I feel like the company spends too much time on packaging in a disservice to the product itself, but once I put it in my hair it felt like it was doing its job. I’ve used a few argan oils and conditioning treatments before, but this somehow combined both of those things into one: the Silk Scarf Ampoule Treatment was dense enough that I felt it had some weight (and I could act as if it was really filled with the vitamins it claims to have,) but it seemed to melt in my hair. Kind of reminded me of melting butter on a hot bagel, not going to lie, since it went from being pretty thick to oily slick really easily.

Etude House Silk Scarf Damage Protein Ampoule Treatment


Because of the vial packaging, I couldn’t actually see where I was squirting the ampoule. I didn’t want to first put it on my hand and then pat it on to my hair since there was a relatively small amount of product, but I ended up squirting far too much out on the top of my head and it was quite greasy the next morning. (It probably wouldn’t have the same result with someone who has thicker hair, but I naturally get greasy relatively easily. Not this quickly normally though.)

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The packaging and product itself was pretty and fun to use, which is always a win. I really did feel like the ampoule helped the bottom of my hair restore itself after the treatment- it’s been knotting considerably less, which was something several conditioners hadn’t been able to do. (I hadn’t tried any treatments prior to this and instead was just trying to drown my ends in conditioner…) A few days later, my hair still feels less dry than it did previously.

Post etude house silk scarf damage protein ampoule Treatment

Aside from my hair’s natural grease going into overdrive when I over-saturated the top of my head, this was a pretty great experience of something I bought on a whim because it looked bizarrely cute.

You can get the Etude House Silk Scarf Damage Protein Ampoule Treatment on Amazon or the company’s website. (Although the latter has some convoluted shipping fees since it’s coming from South Korea.)

Have you tried out any of Etude House’s Silk Scarf line? What’s your favorite hair care product? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

This review was not sponsored by Etude House, but KultScene is always looking for affiliate and sponsors, particularly for product reviews. Email contact@Kultscene.com for more details

K-Beauty review: Caolion Premium Hot & Cool Pore Pack Duo

Caolion Premium Hot & Cool Pore Pack Duo

There I was, strolling around Sephora while picking up my long-awaited birthday present (the Marc Jacobs eyeliner is a game changer!) when I happened to notice the Caolion Premium Hot & Cool Pore Pack Duo. With pretty large pores on my nose, which was once dubbed a “strawberry nose” by a blunt facialist, I’m always looking for new, size-reducing items. I usually doubt their efficiency but I can’t help but be drawn in by their promises of blackhead-clearing perfection. I chose to try this one out since it gave me a two-in-one chance to try products I’ve heard good things about, and it was only $30.

I decided to try it out later that night. Upon first glance, I was a bit disappointed that that the step one pack (aka Blackhead Steam Pore Pack to clarify pores and refine complexion) seemed to be a grainy exfoliating mask, which was supposed to be rubbed around first and then left to sit. Since I like to keep my beauty steps separate (I tend to find two-in-one items usually don’t do either of the things the promise…), I was a bit wary but the overall feel of it wasn’t as weird as I thought. The second, considerably thinner, pack (aka Pore Original Pack with calming and cooling effects) was more like a typical clay mask but once I put it on it seemed to disappear from my face after about 15 minutes, as if my skin was absorbing its moisture.


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I really did feel that my pores looked visibly smaller immediately after, plus my face actually looked cleaner, likely because I had just scoured off a layer or three of my skin.

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BEWARE. The burning sensation was a bit much and I got pretty red immediately after using it. I made the error of thinking that if it says “pack,” it’s a mask for my whole face. Apparently that was silly on my part, since the Hot Pack seemed to literally set my face on fire. According to our resident makeup crazed lady, Tammie, that’s precisely how it was supposed to feel but even so… I had actual tears running down my face since it was so intense. It felt like I had just rubbed hot peppers all over my skin. That said, the product overall seemed to work as promised and the cooling sensation of the second step, after burning also a bit, did make my skin feel and look great. So… Yea. Be wary, but the results are worth it.

Also, step two smelled a lot like my niece’s playdoh.

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I definitely am still going to look for a new clay mask with a focus on tightening my overall face, since that was what I was kind of hoping this would be, but I’m definitely going to add the Caolion Pack Duo into my regular skincare routine, particular for my problem eras. My skin looked nearly flawless the next day! I spent a lot of time outside in the heat and humidity of New York City the next day so my pores appear to have gotten a bit larger, but I’m intrigued to see how this product does in the winter. While it did it’s job, the fiery sensation was off-putting. Here’s to finding something that does the job without making me cry!

Have you tried the Caolion Pore Pack Duo? What other K-beauty products would you like us to review? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

This review was not sponsored by Caolion or Sephora but KultScene is always looking for affiliate and sponsors, particularly for product reviews. Email contact@Kultscene.com for more details 

4 Modern Takes on Traditional Korean Hanbok That We Love

modern handbook secret kpop idols korean

Music, films, television shows, and food are some of the mainstays of Korean pop culture nowadays. With more and more interest in South Korean society than ever before (just open up Sephora’s website!), it’s hard to avoid some aspects of the Korean Wave (Hallyu) in our daily lives. While Japanese kimonos and Chinese cheongsams being recognized around the world and often inspire modern styles, Korean hanboks (lit. “Korean clothing”) are starting to slip by the wayside. What was once worn daily has become something meant just for traditional holidays and even that is becoming less popular, no matter how many K-pop stars put on hanbok for the Seollal and Chuseok celebrations. But some fashion forward people, including Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld, are looking back and designing clothing that incorporates the flowing styles to create hanbok for the modern day and age.

1. Modern, Everyday Styles

The designers at the clothing store Sonjjang create the traditional colorful hanbok’s worn on Korean holidays, but also offer updated styles that can be worn every day. Taking the simple folds of hanbok and modifying them to imitate today’s styles, Sonjjang’s Leesle line is simple but sweet and a new take on an old fashion. The pieces often come off as hanbok’s cut down, incorporating shorter skirts (chima) and tighter jackets (jeogori). While many are relatively clean cut and meant for daily wear, some of the hanbok utilize embroidery patterns to make them really pop while others are meant for parties and aren’t all that dissimilar from some prom dresses. Sonjjang even sells hanbok for couples and others based off of dramas, such as what was seen in “The Moon Embraces the Sun.”


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2. Designer, With Time-Honored Touches

Karl Lagerfeld is a big fan of Korean fashion, but it wasn’t until Chanel’s 2016 resort line when he incorporated Korean elements that people realized how enthralled the designer is by Korean clothing. Not only did the fashion show take place in Seoul, but many of the designs showcased that night featured hanbok styles and hairstyles similar to those worn by noblewomen during the Joseon era (1392-1897.) During the show, multiracial models walked down the runway wearing flowing dresses inspired by hanbok, and Chanel even featured multiple modern takes on the hanbok. With a lighter, airier feel than most hanbok, which typically offer full coverage and are made out of rather weighed-down fabrics, Chanel’s take on a classic is an outsider’s proposition on a style of clothing that is starting to get lost over time.

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 5.05.57 PM

3. Combination Hanbok

While many guests wouldn’t really imagine wearing hanbok around a hotel, a recent photoshoot for the Four Seasons Hotel Magazine took place at in a South Korean palace, Unyeonggoong, and paired modern clothing items and accessories with modernized hanboks. Throughout the shoot, the model wears an amalgamation of east-meets-west fashion, often putting classically-inspired chima with modern blouses and designer shoes.

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4. Traditional for Today

The hanbok designed by Kim Hyun Jung can’t be worn, but they’re the most modern of the bunch. Kim, an artist, designs art that explores the modern South Korean woman’s obsession with beauty and fashion through a more nuanced, older lense. In her work, women wearing hanbok pose for Instagram photos, talk on the phone, go rock climbing, and much, much more, all while wearing presumably out-of-date hanbok. The drawings, while anachronistic, reveal a contemporary side to the presumably out-of-style garb.

Fortunately, there’s been a resurgence of popularity in hanbok in South Korea recently. Many young South Koreans have been seen wearing traditionally-styled hanbok as they hang out with one another downtown and at Seoul’s tourist hotspots including Korea’s royal palaces. For instance, on my last trip to Korea I was able to rent a hanbok with my friends while we explored the hanok (classical Korean houses) village of Jeonju, where we were just three of many walking around in hanbok that was easily accessible from vendors. It’s socially accepted dress up for adults and is reviving interest in the hanbok industry by giving a fantastical element to the older fashions.


What’s your favorite update of traditional Korean clothing? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.