Curly Hair Care in South Korea

It’s no secret that I have curly hair. For those into hair typing, I have a mix of 3b/3c hair. It’s quite fine, and is easily weighed down my too many/too heavy products. Other than cosmetics, my other main concern with moving to Korea was how I was going to get my hair products. Thankfully, exists for my specific hair products (which I’ll talk about in a second), but I have also made some amazing Korean hair care discoveries that have reduced my need to order from iherb constantly.

Photo on 3-1-13 at 5.19 PM

While my hair may seem difficult to manage, it is thankfully very, very low maintenance. I am a 100% wash and go girl. No heat, no manipulation, no twists, no braids. My main hair concerns are the frizzies (which I’m slowly learning to embrace), making sure my hair gets enough moisture because it’s basically a sponge, and not weighing it down, since it’s so fine.

First things first, if you live in Korea, you’re going to want to buy a filter for your shower head. I use a Sonaki filter. The water in Korea is heavily chlorinated, and I for one don’t want to wash my hair with pool water. I found mine at my local Emart, but you can also search for Sonaki filters on

My hair routine is very simple. I co-wash (conditioner wash) my hair once a week with whatever natural conditioner I can find in Korea, and once a month I wash my hair with Dr. Bronner’s for a deep cleansing to remove any build up. I brought 6 bottles of my holy grail Trader Joes Nourish Spa conditioner with me to Korea, but that’s been long gone. I use conditioner way too much to have to keep getting it shipped, so I usually hit up Olive Young and try to find something new. In the past I’ve used L’Oreal Sulfate Free conditioner (gross, don’t do it), the Organix Acai Berry Avocado¬†conditioner¬†(love!), and I’m currently using Aveeno’s Nourish and Moisturize Conditioner (also loooove). I’m not really that picky about conditioner to be honest. I co-wash and then I deep condition my hair in the shower using a mix of SkinFood’s Argan Oil Hair Mask, some stuff I found from Olive Young, and Innisfree’s Camellia Hair Oil Balm. I’ll get into the reviews in a second, but I basically wash my hair and let my makeshift hair mask sit on my hair for another 10/15 minutes while I finish the rest of my shower.

Photo on 4-1-13 at 10.26 AM #2

I may not be picky about my conditioner, but what I AM picky about are my styling products. I have to be really careful to not apply anything too heavy since it weighs my hair down. So after I wash my hair, I section my hair into two and apply Kinky Curly Leave In Conditioner, sometimes mixed with Lush’s R&B or Beautiful Curls Shea Butter Leave In, depending on how I feel. I rake it through using my fingers, and then I just let it air dry. At night, I wear my hair in a pineapple, and in the morning I spritz my hair with a mix of water and leave-in conditioner and I’m good to go!


The two Korean brand deep conditioners I use are the SkinFood Argan Oil Silk Hair Mask Pack, and the Miracle Argan deep repair masque. I found the Miracle Argan masque at my local Olive Young on sale a while ago. I’m not 100% sure it’s an exclusive Korean brand, but I’ve yet to find anything out about it. I’ve already raved and raved over the SkinFood Mask Pack, but I also really like the Miracle Argan masque. All of the ingredients and instructions are in Korean, but I usually leave it on my hair for 10/15 minutes while I’m finishing my shower and rinse with lukewarm water. The tub is quite large, and a little goes a long way. It has a thick, creamy consistency, and leaves my hair super soft.


These are my non-Korean brand hair care products. I order both the Beautiful Curls and Kinky Curly Leave-In conditioners from I buy the Lush R&B hair moisturizer from my local Lush store here in Korea. All three products work great at keeping my hair moisturized and frizz free, without weighing it down. I don’t experience any crunch or flakiness using the products, and there’s very little build up. The Lush R&B smells like HEAVEN. I can’t get enough. I also mix the Kinky Curly Leave in with water in a spray bottle to refresh my hair in the morning.


And next are the three of the Korean brand styling products I use. First is the SkinFood Argan Oil Silk Hair Essence. It’s a lightweight hair serum that I use to seal my hair after applying my leave-in conditioner. It’s not greasy or oily, and it leaves my hair super shiny and silky. It can also be used as a styling serum for heat styling such as blowdrying and flat ironing. Highly recommended!

Now that the humidity is in full fucking force in Korea, I’ve been wearing my hair up in a bun more days than I want to admit. I haven’t used gel in at least 3 or 4 years, as I hate that most gels leave my hair a crunchy, flaky mess. My holy grail smoothing product is Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Smoothing Cream, but it proved no match for 100% humidity. My sleek buns would be a frizzy mess by 10am. I broke down and decided to get the Innisfree Style Garden Soft Hair Gel and it’s fantastic. It’s lightweight, and it doesn’t leave my hair crunchy, nor does it flake. The hold is soft, but strong enough to leave my hair super smooth and frizz free for hours.

Photo on 3-24-13 at 3.43 PM #3

Last is the Innisfree Camellia Oil Balm. OBSESSED. A few weeks ago I stopped by my local Innisfree to check out some nail polish and impulsively picked up this hair balm. I am SO SO SO SO SO glad I did. It’s a miracle. If your hair is damaged, dry, super curly, or you just want some extra nourishment, this balm is for you. If you are an African-American woman who needs a little something extra for your twist or braid outs, this is also for you. When I first opened it, I was alarmed at how similar it resembled hair grease and thought that it would be way to greasy and oily for my hair, but I was wrong. The instructions state you can apply it to your hair before you wash it for a pre-shampoo treatment, or you can use it after you wash your hair for an extra shine and nourishment boost. Personally, I use it both ways. Since using it, I’ve noticed that my hair is super smooth, soft, and shiny. I wore my hair out today and the frizz was definitely kept to a minimum, even in 100% humidity. I think it smells heavenly as well. I’m currently trying to track down the Camellia Oil hair lotion, and I think I may have to scoop up the conditioner from this line as well.

Do you have any hair care products that you love? Share them with me in the comments!


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