Koreans are well-known for their smooth, healthy skin and snow white complexions, so it’s no wonder they are ahead of the world in beauty innovation. Unlike their western neighbors, fair skin is always “in” and therefore they stay out of the sun and go to extreme lengths to keep their complexions healthy. Eastern countries are also known for their alternative, often bizarre beauty rituals. From vaginal steam baths to slug serums, Koreans are leading the way in alternative beauty practices. As a huge Korean culture fan (and alternative beauty buff) I’m here to give you the lowdown on Korean beauty secrets.
Even though I’d love to keep these secrets to myself to preserve the underground nature and affordability of K- beauty in America, what Korea knows about self-preservation is way too valuable to contain. In Part I of our coverage of Korean beauty secrets we’re going to discuss Korean spas, also known as Jjimjilbangs. These innovative, spacious, relaxing spas are my best-kept secret for detoxifying and de-stressing the complexion, body, and mind.
Jjimjilbangs have multiple levels where guests can spend countless hours (or days) enjoying its services and amenities. As in Korea, here in the U.S., many families and friends use Korean detox spas as outings which can last days at a time. Jjimjilbangs include an array of steam rooms, hot tubs, showers, heated salt rooms, ice rooms, sleeping facilities, massage tables, and traditional Korean kiln saunas. Often they are themed to include wood, mineral, crystal, and stone decorations to create a calm, relaxing ambiance.
There are two primary parts to traditional Jjimjilbangs: the main area and the bath/pool area. The main co-ed area typically has multiple saunas, restaurants, sleeping areas, computers, game tables, tv rooms, and full service salons where families and friends can enjoy time together. The gender segregated bath area has showers, steam rooms, and herbal pools with different temperatures and therapeutic benefits where guests can relax and detox.
Another great aspect of Korean spas is they’re often open 24 hours, so guests can sleep over after a night out and enjoy the spa services before going home refreshed. If you wish to stay over night, you simply pay an extra fee and you can sleep over and stay as long as you want within a 24 hour period.
Along with the relaxing facilities and beauty services offered at the spa (scrubs, massages, Mugwort steam room a.k.a a vaginal steam bath), what really got me hooked on Korean spas was the way I felt upon leaving. After a few hours, not only does your skin feel and look the best it ever will without products, moisturizers or make-up, but your mind is rejuvenated as well. The combination of salt rooms, steam rooms, saunas, and ice baths cleanses the body from head to toe unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I also find I have a clearer mind and an incredible sense of well-being upon leaving.
Jjimjilbangs truly provide a unique, relaxing experience that everyone should try at least once. Luckily, many large urban areas have Korean culture, so getting an authentic experience is more accessible than one might think. Naturally, the best way to find a Jjimjilbang is to head to a Korean neighborhood. They are not always readily advertised, so you may need to check around with locals to find out where they are, but we promise your search will be worth it. If you’re in the New York area, here are couple to check out:Aura Wellness Spa, 49 W 33rd St New York, NY 10001. Phone number (212) 695-9559
Spa Fitness, 131-10 11th Ave College Point, NY 11356. Phone number (718) 939-6300
King Spa Fitness, 321 Commercial Ave, Palisades Park, NJ 07650 (201) 947-9955
Juvenex Spa, 25 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001. Phone number (646) 733-1330