With so much to eat and drink throughout Chinatown, it’s easy to overlook the abundance of health and wellness also at your fingertips. But if you’re hunting for different ways to treat yourself, Chinatown is a great place to start.
In the past two years, Korean skin care has made waves in the Western beauty market. Face masks, essences and step-by-step moisturizing routines have replaced drying toners and cleansers—investments anyone with problem skin should consider in our dry desert.
Just look to Sephora to see the impact of Korean skin care in the Western market. Brands like Laniege, Dr. Jart and Glow Recipe grace nearly every wall—and have the four- and five-star reviews to back up the claims. Of course, with luxury skin care comes a luxury price tag, but many Korean brands deliver the goods at a affordable price points. Enter Aritaum (4215 Spring Mountain Road #B105, 702 259-5577), the beauty chain owned by AmorePacific, basically the L’Oreal of Korea. The retailer recently opened 70 stores in the United States and Canada, and our Chinatown has one of them.
But why go to Aritaum when you can simply saunter in to Sephora? For one, Aritaum’s prices can’t be beat. Where else can you get face masks for $1.50 apiece? And while they’ve got an assortment of sheet masks for more than $5, the cheapest ones still pack buzz-word ingredients like hyaluronic acid, collagen, tea tree and more.
In the 1940s, Yoon Dokjeong hand-pressed and sold oils to other women in her neighborhood, which led her son, Suh Sungwhan, to found AmorePacific in 1945. It’s now in the top 20 of global cosmetics conglomerates, operating 33 distinct health and beauty brands, from Laniege to Mamonde and Sulwhasoo.
Unlike Sephora, which carries so many products it would be impossible for the employees to know how each one works, Aritaum focuses on AmorePacific brands. If you have a specific skin concern, store employees can help guide you in the right direction.
Before you go, do your research. The Reddit page /r/KoreanBeauty/ has more than 17,000 subscribers and can be a useful tool; you can quickly get a crash course there in the multi-step Korean skin care routine. Start small and always make use of your samples to see what works best for you. The Laniege Lip Sleeping Mask ($20) is my go-to lip-saver any time I wear a drying rouge.
Short on time? Consider a quick pick-me-up for your barking dogs at either XY Foot Spa (4083 Spring Mountain Road, 702-521-2103) or the Foot Spa (5030 Spring Mountain Road, 702-767-1688), then head to T&T Ginseng (4115 Spring Mountain Road #E103, 702-368-3898) for any household wellness needs—the market stocks herbs, teas and other dried goods that can help soothe a variety of ailments.
And if you’re already in Chinatown on a self-care kick, stop in at Mutao Wellness Spa (5685 Spring Mountain Road, 702-998-7676) before calling it a day. Services range from Thai body massages and shampoo massages (for a healthy mind and scalp) to reflexology, cupping and more. After a day out shopping, nothing will relax you faster.