Seoul Glow

Add these Gangnam-style treatments and grooming goods to your skin care regimen.

K-pop to luxury cosmetics, it’s hard not to swoon over South Korea. From touted skin therapies, and courtesy industry professionals, to over-the-counter cult favorites, Korean men keep up appearances, thanks to their devotion to quality skin care. Modeling after these men’s adherence to physical presentation, Korean grooming goods are cropping up on cosmetic counters, as are A-plus East Asian facial remedies around Hawai`i and beyond.

Case: Kaka`ako’s Laka Skin Care and Spa boasts an exclusive Suiso Skin Therapy, using Korea’s-own Suiso Machine. Point: Per Akiko Chun, spa owner, “The H2 Suiso Machine has emerged as the premier therapeutic-grade skin rejuvenation therapy,” on and off the isles.

“We love to pioneer ancient and innovative treatments [of] which the rest of the world may not yet be familiar,” Chun says of introducing the treatment at Laka.

The powerful Suiso remedy is intended to retain moisture, demolishing blemishes, aging, dehydration and various other dull-complexion-causing woes with hydrogen-boosted deep sea water and other minerals.


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How it works: “The H2 Suiso Machine allows the highest concentration of ‘nanotized’ hydrogen molecules to penetrate deep into the cells to eliminate free radicals at their core … maintaining suppleness and elasticity, while effectively removing dirt and impurities from the deepest dermal layer of the skin,” Chun explains.

Perfecting percentages of amino peptides, collagen, vitamin C, etc., into each formula, it’s no wonder that Korean citizens supersede steps cleanse, tone and moisturize. And with every other cosmetic company claiming to be “the best in the business,” pinpointing what sets South Korea apart from industry competition is a matter of experience, preference and formulation. As Korean skin care is frequently viewed to be the most advanced, the high-tech industry boom extends well beyond computer screens to cosmetic counters.

“In my opinion, Korean skin care regimens are sought after because of their quick advancements in beauty-related products and technology,” Chun adds. “Due to a high percentage of demands and expenditures of skin care products, it enables Korea to further explore and conduct numerous clinical testing for up-and-coming skin care regimens.”

Futuristic serums and emulsions or exfoliators and face masks—often laced with exotic, natural ingredients (read: snake venom and snail mucus)—how does one choose between BB cream and bee venom? Just head over to Bloomingdale’s Ala Moana.

“As you know, Asian women are avid beauty enthusiasts,” says Nancy Lueck, director of public relations for Bloomingdae’s Hawai`i. “Proper skin care routines and maintenance are of utmost importance, and the practices of double cleansing and a regular regimen of facials, weekly treatments and hydrating masks are all routine. Men are now joining the legion of fans seeking Korean beauty and treatment brands for anti-aging skin care.”

In fact, per a CNN Money piece profiling South Korea’s men’s demand for cosmetics, AmorePacific cited that 70 percent of South Korean military men use cosmetics, and Euromonitor found: “South Korean men are the world’s top per-capita consumers of skin care products, with four times the purchases of runner-up Denmark.”

“Almost all domestic players have launched men’s lines.” states Minji Kim, an analyst at Euromonitor, who singled out local manufacturers AmorePacific, and international brands Lab Series and Biotherm as industry successes.

Bloomie’s Aritaum boutique is a one-stop shop for gents (and ladies) seeking superior Korean beauty treatments. Here, beauty powerhouse AmorePacific is the proud umbrella carrier of many cherished Korean marques, showcasing Laneige Homme, IOPE and Sulwhasoo, among other prestigious brands.

Lueck points to Laneige Homme’s Dual Action Energy Toner and Essence Lotion for their moisturizing properties, while the high-performance product line’s Active Water Cream mask makes a fine addition to any dapper dude’s top shelf. “Masks are a key part of Eastern skin care routines,” she cites, “[for] which avid Western beauty enthusiasts are now jumping on the bandwagon.”

Seeking something speedy and super-absorbing? Look no further than IOPE Men’s BIOSCIENCE skin care, specially formulated to match men’s pigment needs. IOPE Men’s Brightening Emulsion banishes dullness and discoloration, while its Bio Essence Intensive Conditioning heightens protective skin hydration.

And Sulwhasoo’s For Men collection is designed to energize skin, revive elasticity, restore vitality and defy aging—pretty powerful for these pint-sized products! Sulwhasoo’s secret is its use of Korean medicinal herbs—laced within the Essential Skin Refiner, Moisturizing Fluid For Men et al.—to hydrate and soothe complexions, while delivering essential skin nutrients for a healthy glow.

Time to spare shopping on your lunch hour? Make a pit stop at the flagship’s Beauty At Your Service—where, with a minimum purchase, luxury facial remedies and treatments-of-choice await overworked lads who reserve private, spa-room time in advance (808-664-7733).

In addition to Bloomingdale’s and Laka’s offerings, you’ll find Sulwhasoo and Korean company at T Galleria and other luxury retailers, while South Kroea’s own The Face Shop offers eye-catching cosmetics (enter bee-, snake venom- and snail mucus-packed products here) for gentlemen buyers looking to experiment with fruit from “The Land of the Morning Calm.”

Photos courtesy brands and Laka Skin Care and Spa

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