Just when you think you’ve nailed the Korean look with your double cleansing, wearing a sheet mask every day and low pH life, it appears there’s another whole situation you need to look after—your hair. After all, where would Gianna Jun or Song Hye Kyo be without their perfectly fresh yet coiffed locks? It turns out that in Seoul, hair care inspires a similar level of militant zeal to skin cosmetics.
However, if Korean skincare is founded on a principle of indulgent and holistic self-care, Korean hair care is more about instant results, practicality and portability. But where on earth do I even start, you may ask. Have no fear, we have a simple yet powerful arsenal of tools to help you get K-drama worthy hair.
1. Mini hair straightener
You will find this at everywhere Korean beauty shop. The mini hair straightener is a handy little tool that many Korean girls carry in their bags, whether it’s to resuscitate gentle curls and cowlicks or tame flyaways. If you go for a night out in Seoul, it’s not uncommon to see girls whip this out of their clutch bags in between cocktails. In fact, some restaurants and bars have them in their bathrooms so that patrons can freshen up. Try this one from Lazada.
2. Hot roller
USB-chargeable hot rollers are huge in Korea and one of the most peculiar things you may see in Seoul is girls walking around with a single hot roller placed in their fringe. Perhaps the biggest hair faux pas you can make in Korea is having dull, flat bangs, so a lot of women utilize their time on public transport as an opportunity to either re-awaken or set their curly fringe. Since the hot rollers are USB-chargeable, you can reheat them anywhere. Get yours from Taobao or Amazon.
3. Hair Masks
Sheet masks for your hair? Well, if you’re not opposed to wearing an axe-murderer mask in the quest for beautiful skin, we’re doubting you’ll be opposed to the grandma caps that will give you Rapunzel locks. Just pop on an ETUDE HOUSE Silk Scarf Double Hair Mask for 10 to 15 minutes and see your dry, crunchy hair become the most silky, healthy version of itself.
4. Scalp scalers
These sound kind of terrifying but ‘scaling’ is a major part of Korean beauty from your skin, to your hair and teeth. Koreans strongly believe in the power of exfoliating regularly (but not too regularly) in order to assist the growth of new, healthy cells. Scalp scalers like the innisfree Green Tea Mint Fresh Scalp Scaler, $25 (three x 25ml tubes), get rid of all the gross dead cells clogging up the bottom of your hair follicles around your roots so that new, shiny hair can grow unimpeded.
5. Hair Essence
You’ve looked after your scalp but let’s not leave out your actual hair – it needs some love too, right? Hair essence is a fundamental in Korean hair care and if you’ve ever dyed your hair and regularly straighten it, you need this in your life. It can come in many forms (mist, oil, spray) but it basically delivers moisture straight to your follicles so they don’t look resemble parched straw. The innisfree My Styling Recipe Velvet Base Hair Essence, $19, is a great product to start with.
6. Egg yolks & vinegar
If there are two ingredients Korean women turn to for hair maintenance, it’s vinegar and egg yolks. They’re tried and tested and while there are many DIY formulations beloved by older generations, most younger Koreans prefer a more efficient approach. I mean, just look at this Tonymoly Haeyo Mayo Hair Nutrition Pack. While it looks like something you’d be tempted to put in a sandwich, its ingredients are super effective and not gimmicky at all, with egg, vinegar, shea butter and macadamia seed oil.
Image: TPG/Click Photos
Text: Kelly Im