Posts Tagged ‘Beauty’

Haircut and Magic Straight

I got my hair cut a couple weeks ago. Thank goodness my bangs didn’t turn out bluntly cut across my forehead. I went to a place downtown that one of my friends recommended. Since it’s ridiculously hot and humid in Daegu, I thought it’d be a good idea to straighten my hair before it gets really frizzy. This turned out to be the best decision of the summer!

When I told the stylist that I wanted to straighten my hair, she was like, “Have you ever experienced Magic Straight?”. All I needed to hear was the word “magic” and I was in. I’ve gotten my hair straightened before, but never by magic!

Here’s some info I found online about the magic straight procedure in the US.

My natural hair

One of the few pics of my naturally wavy hair. Ignore my face please.


My hair in the summer


It could be worse. My hair got really dry and frizzy from the humidity.


My hair after Magic Straight

Shiny and new! Ignore the shot please.


Magic Straight – How its done

  1. Shampoo and rinse unwashed hair. First, she cut my hair since I wanted it shorter. You don’t need to get a hair cut before you do the magic perm, but if you’re getting your hair cut anyway you can just do it all in one go.
  2. Brush in the straightening product. It’s almost like getting your hair colored. The stylist brushes the product on in sections and makes sure every strand is coated.
  3. Wrap hair in plastic. They put on a plastic shower cap over my hair.
  4. Apply heat. They placed a revolving heat disc machine behind me and it orbited around my head. I hardly felt the heat so I wondered if it was working. This probably lasted about 30 minutes, I’m not sure.
  5. Rinse out product.
  6. Blowdry hair. Two stylists blowdried my hair at the same time.
  7. Straighten hair with flat irons. This is the second part of the magic straight – shaping the strands straight. After the straightening product is applied and rinsed out, hair can be molded into shape. Two stylists used skinny flat irons and straightened my hair in one inch sections. Pretty time consuming procedure. They had to exaggerate the shape and curled my hair at the bottom so the ends wouldn’t just be stick straight. When she curled my bangs I freaked out and she reassured me that it wouldn’t turn out like that in the end.
  8. Wait for hair to set.
  9. Apply deep conditioning product. This step is optional but I wanted to get it done since my hair was feeling dry and damaged from the crappy hair dryer I’ve been using. After applying the product, they put sections of my hair in rollers to maintain the shape.
  10. Wash hair.
  11. Blow dry and style.
  12. Voila, straight and silky hair!

How long does it take?

The hair cut, magic straight and deep conditioning took about 2 hours or a little more. I was surprised by the stylist’s speed. She must have a lot of experience with magic straightening.

How long does it last?

Most people say that hair should stay straight for 4-6 months. It really depends on how wavy or curly a person’s hair is and how well it handles chemical products. I think my hair stayed fairly straight for about the same amount of time, if not longer. Of course only the part of my hair that was straightened, not the part that grew out after.

  • Important tip: If the stylist forgets to tell you (or if you forget to ask), remember not to wash or shampoo your hair for at least 24 hours. The hair hasn’t completely set yet and it’s best to try to leave it as it is, like don’t put it in a pony tail either.

How much does it cost?

In Korea, it costs around 100,000-130,000 won, which is about $84-$110. It’s significantly cheaper than the price in the US for magic straight or the other kind of straightening. The price depends on where you get it done. I got my hair straightened in a salon downtown, which is more expensive than more local places. But the salon I went to has a stylist my friend recommended and she speaks English pretty well. She’s also really nice :). She will give you a discount if you pay in cash. I think many places in Korea offer a cheaper price if you pay with cash instead of card. Stop by the bank before you head to the salon.

Where can I get it done?

Most salons in Korea should have a stylist that knows how to do this procedure. Magic straight is pretty popular, as are perms and dyeing hair. I think it’d be best to go to a salon someone can recommend, like a friend or teacher at school. Also, it’d be good to find a stylist you can communicate with if you don’t speak much Korean.

Does it work on all kinds of hair?

I’m not quite sure. Everyone’s hair is different and some hair responds better to chemicals than others. If you have really thin or damaged hair, the chemicals might be too strong and further damage your hair. If you have very thick or curly hair, it might not be as effective or it might not stay straight as long as 4-6 months. I don’t know how well magic straight would work for black hair so I would recommend going to a salon and asking a stylist. They might not have much experience with black hair, though. And if you already have chemically treated hair, you should ask the stylist if you can get it chemically straightened.

How do I style my hair after magic straight?

I love having my hair straight. But I hate the effort it takes to get it straight. Magic straight made my hair super straight. It’s also soft and shiny, which could be due in part to the deep conditioning treatment. Styling my hair in the morning is much easier. I only have to blow dry it and run my hands through and use a brush for minimal styling around my bangs. Takes about 5 minutes. I don’t have to use straightening products or even anti-frizz serum, glossers, balms, etc.


It’s been almost 5 months and my hair is still shiny and straight. I only have to use straightening products along my hairline since it’s grown out the last few months. I think using good, salon-quality shampoo and conditioner has helped maintain the shine. I think my hair has stayed straight because I have fine hair and it wasn’t too wavy to begin with. How is your hair holding up?

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Hand Mirrors

What’s up with the hand mirrors?

Mirror, mirror...

All the girls seem to have one. Instead of carrying around compact mirrors, girls carry mini hand mirrors with ornate designs. They’re kind of like the hand mirrors that came in the vanity sets I used to play with as a little girl. Girls in my class bust out the hand mirrors and fix their hair and just stare at themselves right in the middle of my lesson! I get really mad when they do that. I’m not sure if this is acceptable behavior in Korea, but I find it really rude that they aren’t listening and personally I find it in bad taste to publicly admire yourself in the mirror.

That doesn’t seem to be the case though in Korea. It seems more acceptable for a person to check his or her appearance in the mirror in public. I find it strange sometimes that people are comfortable primping and grooming themselves so openly. Like when people walk past a shiny surface or window to check their reflection. People back home check themselves out too, but we try to do it discreetly or even secretly. Because when we catch someone checking themselves out we find it really funny. Like when I walk into Geisel and try hard not to look at my reflection because I know the people sitting  inside are waiting to catch me checking myself out. I know it’s not just me!

In addition to people carrying their own mini hand mirrors and checking themselves out in every reflective surface they pass, there are full length mirrors in most of the subway stations. I noticed them because every time I walk past, I’m so tempted to look at my reflection! I never do, but I notice that most of the people that walk past the mirror turn their heads to look at their reflections. It should be okay for me to look at myself too, right? I shouldn’t feel vain if everyone else is doing it!

I think I’ll just give in and unabashedly check out my reflection in the subway mirrors and store windows. I just don’t want to make it a habit and keep doing that when I go back home!

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You have such big eyes!

I’ve gotten this comment a lot here so far. Other teachers and female students come up to me to tell me that my eyes are very big. It sounds a bit odd but  it’s a compliment, actually. They think that I have pretty eyes because they are big.

I wanted to write about this earlier. I noticed it when I watched TV or saw ads with celebrities. They all seemed to have big eyes too. I wondered if it was natural or “enhanced.”  So, I did what I usually do and googled it. Boom. Korean celebrities and eye surgery. Hot topic! There are some before and after pics showing models and celebrities that have had their eyes done. Sorry, I don’t feel like posting it on here. Easy to find though if you’re so inclined.

I’ve always been interested in researching and comparing standards of beauty in different Asian countries. I had this conversation with a friend about the rampant rhinoplasty in the Philippines. Many Pilipino celebrities, like many other celebrities around the world, have had their noses done. But this procedure seems especially common among Pilipinos in showbiz.

Here’s the main reason I’m posting this. I feel guilty that my female students admire and compliment my big eyes because I can see that they hold a secret envy. They want to have big eyes like their pop “idols” and Maria Teacher. Maybe it doesn’t sound very serious, but I think it’s more serious than it seems. A few of my female students wear colored contacts that make their eyes appear larger. Here’s a good post about these kind of contacts.  And these are the girls that talk to me about my big eyes.

Another time, I was selecting members for the English Newspaper Club and I read students’ self-introductions. One of the girls talked about hating her eyes and nose and getting plastic surgery in the future. I didn’t know what to say! I just hope girls don’t feel like they have to get surgery so they can have big, beautiful eyes. Or get surgery at all!

There are other products made to create the illusion of bigger eyes. Cosmetic stores sell eyelid glue or tape to create the illusion of double eyelids. I am thinking of getting it just to try it out. I’ll let you all know how it works. I’ll probably end up taping my eyes open!

UPDATE: I bought double eyelid tape from Nature Republic for like 1,200원. I didn’t know how to use it at first. It’s basically a sliver of clear surgical tape. It’s shaped to fit the natural curve of your eyelid and I think you can put it anywhere on your eyelid depending on the size of the double eyelid you want to create. I have double eyelids so I can’t tell how well it really works, but I was able to change the crease in my lids. Strange feeling.

Cheaper than blepharoplasty

It’s clear so it’s not very noticeable and it should be hidden by the fold it creates in the eyelid. If you close your eyes it’s completely visible though! Maybe eyelid glue works better, although it’s probably messy and uncomfortable.


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