Hopefully I’m sunning myself on the beach…aka I’m probably chasing Bubba’s crazy butt into the ocean! So if you’re a beauty gal, you’ll love this post! This gorgeous gal is offering her tips for living a beautiful life abroad…Take it away Amanda!
Hello Hooah and Hiccups readers, my name is Amanda, and I blog over at Living in Another Language. My husband and I have been married one month short of three years, and are loving life. About two years ago we were sitting in Portland, Oregon, working 50+ hours a week, and wondering what the heck we were doing with our lives. In February of 2012 We sold everything and moved to South Korea to teach English as a second language.
I love living overseas, but let me tell you…it hasn’t been without it’s struggles. Especially in the beauty department.
I’ve always been pretty much a ‘girly’ girl, and I was pretty apprehensive and skeptical as to what South Korea was going to be able to offer me when it came to anything girl-related (makeup, clothing, salon visits). It wasn’t until after I accidentally got a $180 dollar South Korean manicure that I realized I had every right to be afraid.
Not only are the manicures ridiculously expensive, its rare I find makeup without face whitener (aka face bleach) and shampoo that won’t clean my hair the way it is supposed to. Do I even need to mention the fact that I’m 5’8″ and pants are about as hard to find as giraffes are here?
I’ve lived here 1.7 years, and despite the lack of proper beautification needs, I’m not ready to pack my bags quite yet. Here are my secrets for living as similarly to how I did back in the states while avoiding most Korean beauty services.
1. Get my own gel manicure lamp and polish. I pretty much had a heart attack when I was told my gel manicure set cost me a whopping $210 dollars. You see, I had read on the sign that a gel set was only $50 dollars. What I didn’t realize is that a gel set back home includes nail extensions, where as here each extension costs $15 dollars. So that’s $15 x 10 nails plus the $50 dollar gel on top of it! The manicurist most have realized the beads of sweat dripping off my face, and she graciously gave me a $30 dollar discount.
The entire time I was walking home, I was trying to figure out how I would tell my husband. What I didn’t realize was that he had already received a text mentioning my purchase that had happened on his credit card. I opened the front door and collapsed in his arms. Wouldn’t you know it, he was laughing about it. It had been well over 11 months since my last manicure, and he figured waiting that long had made up for the fact that this one was so expensive.
He surprised me a few weeks later with my very own gel UV lamp and polish…the same type that had been used on me at the salon! I love it, and to this day can’t believe how much they charge.
2. Order my makeup (or have someone send it). One thing I refuse to give up is my makeup. Take everything else away from me: my house, my clothes, my kitchenware, my car…but DON’T touch my makeup. I’ve been using the same brand for the past 5 years, and don’t intend on changing it anytime soon. Luckly I have an amazing younger sister who will send me almost anything. I buy in bulk off of Amazon.com and am usually set for a year. I have found my favorite Maybelline mascara (Falsies) at a local cosmetics store, so that’s +1 for Korea.
3. Stop using shampoo and conditioner. Yes, you’ve read right. After searching for a good shampoo product for an entire year and failed at finding one. The shampoos here are overpriced at $14 dollars a bottle, and they leave you with dandruff and an itchy scalp. YUCK.
In February of this year I tried something crazy. I started the no-poo method. I use only baking soda, vinegar, and of course water to wash and condition my hair. The baking soda is the substitute for shampoo and the vinegar is the substitute for the conditioner. Let me tell you...I love this process! My hair has grown a crazy amount in the past few months, and now I can go 6 days without the slightest amount of grease in my hair. How awesome is that?
4. Order clothing. During my college years I worked at American Eagle. As a result I had way too many clothes in my closet. Having to pack them away in storage was so difficult for me. Stuffing just one suitcase full of clothes for two years? Can I say that was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done? Luckily for me I’ve been able to find stores that ship overseas, including American Eagle. I also have an H&M about 45 minutes for me. Although all the pants are made for short people, at least the shirts fit!
Overall I wouldn’t have life any other way. I’m so thankful to be out of my comfort zone and experiencing new things! My husband and I plan on traveling the world for quite a few more years. The tips I learn now I can hopefully apply in later travels!
“Check out this month’s featured blog: They Call Me Mama”