Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My quest to recreate the Korean Bathhouse experience at home

only have one regret.  When I worked full time, my travels included regular visits to Atlanta and L.A.  Both of these cities have local Korean Spa/Bathhouses.  These institutions have been around in Korea and Japan forever.  Its an experience revered as an ultimate beauty treatment.

I'm sure that most of us do at home facials. Maybe we pull out our facial steamer and apply clay mask afterwards.  Yeah.....that's cool.....but it's time for us to graduate to the next level.

The biggest draw of the Korean Sauna is the highly intense body scrub.  And when I say intense, I mean INTENSE.  They scrub you with all of their heart and soul. I heard a couple of accounts where you actually see the pile of dead skin as a reward for the experience you endured.  For some, this rigorous scrubbing is a bit too much, but to me, this sounds like heaven.

You all know that I'm a huge fan of facial and body exfoliation.  I try my best to give myself an adequate scrub in the shower, but there are certain areas I just can't reach.   I'm humble enough to admit that I need professional help.  I'm willing to endure 30 minutes of enthusiastic scrubbing if that means that I get to enjoy "smooth as a baby's butt skin" for summer.

The other key to the Korean Bath House technique is what they use to exfoliate.  It's called an Italy towel, and from what I heard, it rivals the Salux Cloth.  Don't let the name fool you. These babies are directly from Korea.  Since it was quite easy to find online, I went ahead and ordered one.  I made the mistake of ordering from a Korean seller and, weeks later, I'm [impatiently] waiting for it to arrive.  I'm seriously considering placing another order from this seller who ships from the U.S.

If you grab an Italy towel and use it for your own beautification, make sure to loosen the dead skin first by working up a good sweat or standing in a hot steam shower for a while [or both].  That way your hard work produces better results.

While preparing for this post, I did a quick search to see if there are any Korean Spas in my state.  The bad news is there aren't any authentic bathhouses.....but the good news is there is a spot [about 1.5 hours away] that offer "Korean Spa Services."  I'm thinking that means they are non-Koreans who fell in love with the concept and decided to open their own bathhouse.  Works for me!  Now I just need to schedule in some time to make it happen.

Can't wait!

C'mon, you know you want one.

  1. Hello Nadege,
    I am Vanessa the lady from Suriame you met in Orlando in 2014.
    I am still a fan by the way.. I just wanted to let you know that the towel that is used to scrub your body is the same towel I used in China. They sell plenty of it everywhere even in the supermarkets. I used to go to a bath house in China and oo men the experience I had when a older lady scrubed the dust out of my body and you know after such an experience I would tell my friends that I could see my own reflection when looking at my arms... wow... I just wanted to let you know that its indeed like you said a heavenly experience.

  2. I've been, and had the scrub! My city has a few authentic Korean bathhouses. Yes, it was intense! And it lasted a full hour. But I noticed no lasting benefits, as in my skin didn't feel any softer the next day, but I happen to be blessed with really soft skin. I'm not sure if you're aware, maybe you are, but Korean bathhouses (authentic ones, at least) require nudity in a room full of other naked people. Full on nudity. There is no privacy. They scrub you down, in the nude, in a room full of other nude women. Not quite the zen experience I was looking for, but figured I'd throw that out there, in case others aren't aware.

  3. Vanessa!
    How are you darling? I was just thinking about you. Hope all is well! We need to catch up.
    Thanks for sharing your feedback. I'm so looking forward to getting this done. You've convinced me to do it.

  4. Hi Michelle!
    I heard about the full nudity. I'm trying to put myself in more situations where I feel uncomfortable, so I hope this will feel empowering. I remember stepping into a shared dressing room once and feeling a bit awkward. Hopefully I can get over my fears enough to enjoy the scrubbing of my life.

    Oh and congrats on the "being blessed with naturally soft skin" thing. Did you still see exfoliated skin from the experience? If not, do you do anything to keep your skin naturally soft and smooth?

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. NY has some korean spas too! I saw one on groupon last time I was home and I'm kicking myself for not getting it. It included a scrub and massage. I'm currently in LA now and the korean spas here have groupons as well but usually its just for spa admission and doesn't include a discount on a scrub. I may just bite the bullet soon. I have the driest skin and I'm hoping this scrub may help alleviate that.

  6. Kudos! I have to say, it was out of my comfort zone too! If you can get past the nudity, go for it! For me, it was a once in a lifetime event, lol.

    I did notice softer skin immediately, but I wouldn't say the effects were long lasting, except maybe for my feet. For the pain involved, I don't think it was worth it. I'll also be honest here, and say I was a bit concerned about germs. The place did seem clean, but I couldn't help worrying about the fact that other nude women could possibly be contaminating the baths, and other common areas. That's another thing, authentic Korean bathhouses have multiple "baths" with different temperatures, and different benefits. There's also steam rooms, and hot rooms (I forget the actual name of those). In theory, this all sounds great! In reality, I would have felt better had people worn bathing suits for hygienic reasons.

    As far as routines, I really don't do much except to use a moisturizing body wash and regular old Jergens lotion. Freakishly, I don't grow hair on my body and I imagine that helps with softness as I am not having to shave.

  7. My friends and I started going to King Spa in Dallas a few years ago (there's one in Chicago too) now we make it a priority to meet there every quarter. I always get the magic cell scrub. I never noticed a difference just looking at myself but my friends always do. I just started dry brushing at home, but, I need to get this towel.