Tanning in Korea - Where & how?

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This is a post for the ladies. Well, perhaps for some men too. Times are changing and I know my brother for one LOVES to get his tan on! He's totally straight before you ask but these days it's becoming more and more common for men to indulge in a little beauty upkeep too. Nothing wrong with that, in fact I prefer my man not to glow in the dark.

So let's just say this is a post for the pasty people or those who fear being one, like me! :)

Being pasty in Korea can happen all too quickly. Everything is against you. A lack of outdoor space, a lack of sunshine and when it does shine it suddenly feels hotter than the dessert out there! On top of that Koreans don't mind white, in fact it sometimes seems all the beauty products are geared towards it.

In my early days in Korea I remember visiting a MAC store to buy a new bronzing powder. The shop assistant spoke little English and I spoke no Korean. I tried to explain what I wanted, pointing to my skin and saying things like....'me....color...change...brown...white'. You know how it goes I'm sure.
It transpired, when they finally understood me, that MAC Korea at that time didn't stock bronzer or anything remotely close. On one occasion I actually got sold a whitening foundation because I thought it was a mineral one by the way the girl explained it. My face was a whole different shade to my body, awful!

Thankfully things have changed around here, gone are the times when you could only buy SPF 50+!!
You can find tanning oil at Olive Young and Watsons now. The whitening creams are still in abundance here but slowly the fashion is moving away from icy white. Previously in Korea the color of your skin was associated to your class. The people who had tanned skin were the people who worked outdoors, manual laborers and farmers.

Nowadays you'll see girls and guys, especially in Gangnam, Apgujeong and around the cities swimming pools, sporting some seriously bronzed skin. The K-Pop stars have had a part in starting this change in fashions. A large number regularly visit tanning salons (yes, they exist here) to get that year round sun kissed look.

So where are the tanning salons? Where can you get a tan in Korea? Well, they're certainly not as common as in America and England but they are here. There may be some in your area if you ask around and try a search online. If you have no luck then there is a good one at Apgujeong Station called Tan California which I discovered a while ago.

Spray tanning costs around 50,000 won per session. They only sell UV tanning in courses. You can buy 10 sessions (you choose the amount of minutes you want to do) from around 140,000 won. Fancier sunbeds cost more but in my experience don't seem much different. The salon also sometimes sells St. Tropez fake tan and Fake Bake but the price when I enquired was pretty scandalous. (you're actually better going online to get some shipped here.) The salon itself is very clean, well equipped and the owners are really friendly (they also speak a little English).

You can try and turn up but ideally you need to make a reservation or you may have to wait a while. It's usually open late, until around 10. Sometimes it's later though and sometimes earlier so call if you're going late. It's on the 3rd floor. Take a look at the map I made to help you find it.

Tan California - Apgujeong
02 542 5405.

The problem is that sometimes you just want to fake a tan cheaply and easily though, right?!
Back home in England if I was feeling a little fluorescent then I could just pop to the local supermarket and take my pick from tens and tens of fake tan products. Tanning spray, tanning lotion, tanning wipes and gradual tan moisturizer. Lately, I've personally also become very conscious about aging and I don't want to do anything to dramatically increase the aging process or damage my skin so I've been avoiding sunbeds. Since the aforementioned products aren't around here this has lead me to look whiter than I have done since I was a child. *sob sob*
....here is the exciting news..... *drum roll*
....for the first time EVER....I have found....

Not sure about the sexy feel part but they work well.

Okay so perhaps you're not as excited as I am! I think I've been in Korea fake-tan-less too long and as I mentioned I hate being pale. Maybe when I tell you that they're currently on sale for only 4,000 won at selected Olive Young stores you might be a little more excited though.

I've used them a few times now. One application gave me a slight tan, two turned me golden and on the third day I look like I just got back from a week on a sunny tropical island! Finally! Wooohoooo!

The best thing is they go on smoothly, it's much easier to apply than cream, it doesn't make you look orange like some bad fake tans, they don't leave any streaks and they barely smell. AMAZING!

So, pasty white people, if you are sick of looking that way then I urge you to get down to Olive Young (before I beat you to it and buy them all up). Now you know where you can buy fake tan in Korea....you're white days are finally over!


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