Korea has always been a place I have wanted to visit for the longest time and it didn’t come to reality until September 2017 when I scored one of the best deals of a lifetime. Actually about two years prior to that, I was suppose to go on a trip with my best friend and we were suppose to hit up Taiwan, Japan and Korea but unfortunately for us, our trip was put into a halt due to the fact that she got her acceptance letter into med. school. So back to present time, I scored a plane ticket to Korea, Taiwan and Japan for only $700!! Yes my friends, $700!! On top of that, I used my travel points and paid only about $420 out of pocket. It was meant to be! So I hit up all the companies I wanted to visit, made appointments with them and made it a point to go and visit since I have been “working” (unpaid work, please don’t mistaken) with these companies for years now. One of the companies I was looking forward to was of course Cosrx’s office. Okay, I think this intro is long enough in itself, so let’s get on with the adventures!
Let’s actually rewind a little. So I actually landed in Seoul on January 24, 2018 at about 4:30 pm. I didn’t get out of the airport until 7:00 pm due to me getting hella lost in the airport, trying to find my Wifi egg rental place, then trying to find the subway/ train, which by the way was right next to the Wifi rental place but apparently I’m blind and can’t read signs.
So I get to Seoul station at about 8:30 pm and I was suppose to find my bus stop which was only suppose to be about a 4-8 minute walk. I knew Korea was going to be cold, but I landed into Korea at the worst time ever. It was -17 degrees Celsius (1.4 Fahrenheit for my American folks) and I honestly thought my face was going to fall off. I was already wearing two pairs of pants, three layers for my top and it was still not warm enough. Lugging around two suitcases and a heavy backpack with my laptop and camera gear is also not fun either. So about 45 minutes of walking around with my suitcase, I apparently walked in a giant circle because by the time I was suppose to hit the location of the bus stop, I was at the other side of Seoul station. I was so pissed at that point, I ended up just talking a cab, which is something I should had did in the first place since my hotel was only a 7 minute car ride from the subway station. That is one tip I’d highly advice you guys to take, especially if you have heavy suitcases with you.
When I finally set eyes on my hotel lobby, I was like HALLELUJAH! A part of me relaxed a little, a little too much. On top of that, I technically didn’t really sleep for about two days since the night before, I didn’t get any rest and I didn’t sleep on the plane either since it was so uncomfortable. So my eyes were red, I was hungry, cold and fatigue. Trying to get out of the cab as fast as possible, I paid the man for the fare and got out of the cab as fast as possible. Carrying my two suitcases and walking towards the entrance, something suddenly dawned upon me.
“How come my back feels so light all of a sudden?” were words I will never forget remembering. I LEFT MY BACKPACK IN THE CAB! I soon as I realized that and turned around, I saw the cab driver leaving. It was like some drama shit, everything kind of happened in slow motion. Stupid me, I started running with my luggage, chasing after the taxi. I should have just dropped it since I could run way faster without it. When I thought I could finally had a chance of catching up when he had to stop at the end of the street to turn right, there he goes…. gone. I was so fucked. My passport, laptop, camera and camera gear was all in there. That was at least $7,000 or more with of stuff. Honestly, if I had to pick, I could let go of all my electronics but passport was something that I had to get back. Either that or I’d be stuck in a foreign country, not knowing what to do.
About to be in tears and my throat hurting so much from breathing in the cold air, I walked towards my hotel lobby once again, this time with my head down and heart broken. What am I suppose to do now? I quickly walked right up to the front desk and begged for them to help me track it down. I first apologized for budging right to the front of the line but I was in a state of panic. They told me since I paid with T money (Korea’s transportation card), we can’t really track it down since it is basically a cash money card. They said, the best option was just to wait it out since there is a high chance of the man coming back with my bag. Now where I’m from, this is something that rarely happens. If you were to lose something, your chances of getting it back and your item bumping into someone with a good heart that will try and get you your things back is slim to none. So still in a state of panic, I asked if they could call me another cab and I’ll go back to Seoul station to see if I can find the guy. So they do that and I’m waiting in the lobby for my second taxi to arrive.
About 3 minutes later, my second cab driver comes. I’m not the most religious person out there, but I do have to say I believe in God and he is always protecting me. I think he made it this way that the cab driver had to take a leak because after he went for his #1, we got into the cab and right when he started the taxi, I saw another orange cab drive right up. I remember thinking in my head “please let that be my ajusshi.” Slowly but surely, I was looking through the front window, waiting to catch a glimpse of if it was him or not. And guess what… IT WAS MY AJUSSHI!
I ran to the front door, swung open the door and there, my black backpack… him holding it and had this smug giggle in his face like he knew I’d be panicking. The same smug face when your father knows you fucked up, and you know you fucked up, but he comes to save the day. That was the face he had and I didn’t care that he was laughing at me because I was about to cry at that point. I gave him the BIGGEST hug and fell to the ground with my bag. After I thanked him about a million times, I gave him some money for his troubles and a little extra and set him on his way. I also had to pay the second fellow for the trip he had to come from Seoul station since that is protocol.
Still starving, I made my way up to my room, unpacked and tried to walk around to find some food. Funny enough, the area I was staying at was almost dead city because I guess the city shuts down at about 9 pm, and the only things open are convenient stores. When I almost gave up to go back to my hotel, there was a little alley way where it was brightly lit and i saw steam rising up. Now if you know there is steam, you know there is something cooking. I walked my ass towards the place and there it was, my saving grace. I sat my butt down and ordered me a tofu stew. I actually wanted a “gamjatang” (감자탕) but the lady said something along the lines of “no we don’t have it”. So I ended up getting me that tofu stew, and honestly it wasn’t that great. The side dishes “banchan (반찬)” aka. side dishes were great though, and I could just have the side dishes and rice. The stew for some reason, they used red chillis and not chilli paste so it didn’t taste as good. But I ate as much as I could and headed back to my hotel to get some rest.
That was my first day. Scared and afraid already of Korea, I huddled into bed, closed my eyes and tried to sleep. I honestly didn’t sleep much that night from the scare I had losing my bag. On top of that, Google map sucks in Korea. Anyways, I had to carry on. What else was I suppose to do. I’m already in Korea, so I might as well try to make it through the two weeks of my vacation.
So this is when day 2 happens. For those of you guys that don’t know, I actually only really had 5 days in Korea. I fucked myself over thinking I had 7 days, but forgot that two of the days I’d be travelling from place to place by plane. So I ended up with only 5 days, and two of the days I was either meeting up with companies or working on a project.
Anyways, my first “real” day in Korea was going to be visiting three companies. Unfortunately for me, this was the only day I could do it since it was the only available weekday I had due to the fact that Monday was solely for the Cosrx project. So my first stop was 107 oneoseven in Seongsu. It was about a 30- 45 minute transit and I had to walk to the office. Note to self, always as the companies for a visual of the building so it would be easier on me since I can’t read maps for shit LOL. Even with Google maps, sometimes it pin points me to the wrong place, which is what happened to me. But one of the beauties of getting lost is seeing cool things like street art. I would have been a lot less pissy if it wasn’t frinkin -15 degrees and my toes felt like it was going to fall off.
On top of my body freezing, my phone was also freezing. I quickly learned that you HAVE to keep all of your devices warm since the freezing weather was actually fucking with my phone, ate all my battery and also made my phone shut down. That’s what I get for going to Korea on the coldest time of winter.
On my way to the 107 oneoseven office, that was when my phone broke. Luckily, I was right beside the office and I knew to get in because Chloe was screaming my name from the 11th floor HAHA. Right before my phone died, she asked “are you wearing neon yellow”. And that is why I wear such bright colors :P.
Right when I got into the building, Chloe treated me to a warm drink which is actually the vinegars but she made it super delicious. She also treated me to one of her favourite snacks, which I thought it was churros at first but I think it is one of those sweet potato snacks. Sorry, my brain was half froze at the time so I couldn’t comprehend much.
This was the first meeting ever, so I didn’t know what to expect. I went in as a blogger, trying to get the latest scoop and also going in to say thank you for working with me all these years. The talk was great, I learned a whole lot more about the brand and I definitely fell a little more in love with their brand and what they are trying to do. For those of you guys that don’t know about 107 oneoseven, they are sold on Beautibi as well as Nordstrom . I’d say the are a relatively small brand for now but what they are doing is something a whole lot bigger and better then what most roadshop brands have to office.
The birth of the brand all started by a pharmacist (Okran Chung) who ran one of the biggest fermented vinegar brewery in Korea called Hanega. I’m not going to try and make up more of their brand story so I will just write what they have from their website:
“… observed with great interest on how naturally fermented vinegar can help to cure troubled skin and diminish skin aging. She made great effort in researching how it could be produced as a cosmetic product. In the process of research and development, she discovered specially aged vinegar with twenty oriental herbs optimally produces great amount of essential amino acids. With professional artisanship and cutting edge R&D, she successfully produced cosmetic skincare system that helps skin to purify and rejuvenate”
I was talking to Chloe and asked her how she got into the company and she told me that she actually has a degree in fine arts. She then worked for a distribution company and ended up landing a job at 107 oneoseven when it was still in its infant stages. She told me her relationship with fermented vinegar which pretty much saved her life to say the least. When we first got in contact, this was the time around my first breast surgery. She told me a year before that, she had to get a lump removed from her breast as well and luckily it wasn’t cancer. But she had a full body check up due to a severe pain in the stomach. She ended up having to do surgery the next day since they found a tumor in her stomach and the doctors told her it was 99% chance of cancer.
Luckily when it was removed and tests were done, it wasn’t cancer but there was still a huge chunk of her stomach gone. Her health deteriorated, and she ended up getting eczema on her face. I’ve had eczema on my hands and it is the absolute worst thing to get since your skin is always very itchy, bumpy, dead skin peeling, and sometimes it is even inflamed. Steroid creams is only temporary but in the long run, it thins your skin out. Hearing all that, one of her family friends (who was the founder of the brand) ran a fermented vinegar brewery and told her to drink some vinegar every single day which magically boosted her overall health to the point where she didn’t have to do check ups every year. Her doctor said that her health is so good that she can come back in five years. On top of that, she started to use the vinegar on her eczema, which helped peel away all the dead skin and calmed down the bumps and irritation. I can definitely say with confidence that Chloe’s skin is GLOWING. Like not the make up type of glowing because she was actually bare face other then lip tint. I honestly thought she was around my age but GIRLFRIEND WAS 41 YEARS OLD. EXCUSE ME!?!?!
Not only did we have great conversations, Chloe also gave me the K-beauty scoop.
1) Low pH is not a thing in Korea
Apparently low pH is actually not in thing in Korea, it is more of a thing overseas then in Korea. This is because Koreans believe that low pH products aren’t as effective (I think this refers to cleanser). If a cleanser is low pH, the strength of its cleansing abilities is lowered. They prefer to use whatever cleanser works and then balance the pH levels with things like essence, serums, moisturizers. I’m just the messenger, don’t shoot the messenger. Thank you.
2) Moisturizing your elbows and knees.
I have to admit, I’m the worse at moisturizing my body, especially elbows and knees. I always forget that I even have elbows and knees but this is definitely true because I have seen some old people and knees are a definite sign of youth. Heck, I’ve even seen girls put blush on their knees since it looks more youthful. So don’t forget to moisturize those areas, especially since there isn’t a plastic surgery to reverse that (not that I was planning to anyways).
3) Not sure if it is a Chloe thing or a thing thing in Korea… not using heater
One thing I noticed when I went into Chloe’s office was a humidifier, which is very common with Asian countries. I actually wanted to buy one but forgot hehe. I will get one online. But another thing that stood out to me was that Chloe didn’t use heater in her office. She said that she doesn’t use it since it dries out her skin, which is definitely true. But it was like an Igloo in her office HAHA. I’ll definitely consider it but again, I like my toes and fingers attached to my body.
Second stop was at Fireworks, a company that manages a couple of brands including Ciracle and T’iam. For the longest time, I thought T”iam was a sister company of Cosrx but I have mistaken. Anyways, we were talking about T’iams products and some of their new ones such as the “my signature C source” (to the right) which has been repackaged I believe? This product helps brighten the skin, fade acne scars and moisturizes the skin as well.
Another very new product is their “my signature red C serum” which is more of a serum consistency compared to the C source, contains 20% abscorpic acid (vitamin B12) and has Glutathione (brightener, antioxidant, helps with elasticity, dark spot, anti-aging) which helps stabilizes the Vitamin C and also makes the color red.
This product actually isn’t released into the overseas market yet but it was just launched in Korea. This is their “perfect foot bar” foot soap which retails for 12,800 won. It is a handmade foot soap that contains no artifical fragrance, pigments, hardeners or chemicals. It is made with charcoal, shea butter, honey and tea tree oil. Now again, I’ll admit that I’m lazy when it comes to my body but I think I’ll give this product a try after having to suffer with stinky socks for four days straight. Usually when I wear socks, it is just one use and into the laundry machine. But on this trip, I had to suffer with only one pair that was usable during my time in Japan since my shoes were so tight and I unfortunately had only one pair of thin socks left. It was DISGUSTING. I could feel the sweaty feet throughout the day. So after that, I felt the need to wash my feet WAY more and this product would have totally came in handy. But I had it stored away in the luggage I left at the airport.
On top of that, my job requires me to stand hours a day so my feet does get a beating. I remember one time my friend told me I had the crustiest heels EVER HAHHAHAHA. I laughed so hard because it is true. Hand cream didn’t really help and I’ve tried those foot masks things but they also don’t work. So I’m hoping this product can help me sad feet. Hell, even my guy friend have nicer and softer feet then me T_T.Next stop was Cosrx office! I was only planning on staying for max 2 hours, but I ended up staying up to 4 hours since they wanted to treat me to dinner and we had to wait for the car to come back haha. But coming here was almost like a dream since I’ve only seen short clips of the place in Joan Keem’s vlog. Coming here was definitely surreal and all the staff was a little frightened at how I can be so gitty since it is just an “office” to them. IT’s DISNEYLAND FOR ME!! They expanded so much that they even have the other office on the other side. TWO OFFICES guys. Now that is gangster.
When you first enter, you’ll see a wall of all the products they have ever produced, kind of like a wall of archives. They even have the only discontinued item which is their lovely cream and cushion which is out of production now.
Oh and yes, Cosrx actually has a lab in the office. How cool is that!! Here is where they create magic, test out formulas and I even witness them ordering a while case of dragonfruit, peeling the skin off (and me stealing some of the fruit because I was starving) and doing something with the skin. SO COOL!
They were actually getting ready for me to mix my own AHA liquid! It was all on film so you guys should be able to see the process either Cosrx instagram or website in March. I have my own footage and clips so hopefully I can get that out shortly.
I love peeking into professionals set up their lightening. I had to take a photo of this set up because it is so interesting to me. But this picture actually lays a secret. In between all those sheets of filters and right where the beam of light is is actually an unreleased product, something SUPER exciting that I can not speak of or else they will shoot me HAHA. But rest assure, you guys will go NUTS. They even have a green room where they get their models ready. When I opened the door, there was a staff member hiding away HAHA. I scared the crap out of him, so sorry.. I didn’t know you were taking your break T_T.
Here is me, pretending I work in Cosrx, in my lab coat and sitting at Jimin’s desk. Working hard or hardly working. As you can see, my computer screen is actually non-existent so hardly working is the real statement.
There seems to be a lot missing but that is because I have video footage instead of photos. So when that comes out, I will keep you guys posted. We headed to a super fancy restaurant as a “business trip” which Cosrx actually paid for (THANK YOU Cosrx CEO <3). I actually said hi to the CEO without even knowing he was the CEO! I was expecting the CEO to look like Mr. Rx HAHAHA. Silly me…
*Edit: I actually found a few photos of the delicious food so here ya go~*
Oh and I also lost my leather gloves that day in the car. Sigh… keep losing things. I ended up having to buy another pair at a subway station because it was way too cold to not have a pair. Its only, at least it was only 3,400 won.Where I was staying at (Hotel Shin shin, highly recommend if you want to find a decent place with a nice bathroom and shower for about $70 CDN if you can find it on a deal) in Namdaemun, I was greeted every morning by Sungnuemun gate (aka Namdaemun Gate 숭례문). It is beautiful at night but I always went back to my hotel at 9 pm or so since it is dead city and its creepy at night haha. Plus my feet hurt around that time so it naturally happens that way.
And that was it for my first day in Korea. The people I have met definitely made Korea for me. I surprisingly didn’t buy much cosmetics, not even that much clothes since I didn’t have much time to shop. Haul posts/ videos will come later. For now, I will do the recaps when it is still fresh in my mind. I’m also sure there are TONS of spelling mistakes so please leave in the comments, telling me where they are and also feel free to yell at me HAHA. I know there are tons of mistakes ;P. Thanks in advance.