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5 Ways To Maximize Your Korean Spa Experience

Korean spas are all the rage these days. With the rise of Korean Beauty and the help of social media, more and more people are embarking their journeys to the Korean spa. It’s affordable, rejuvenating and leaves your skin baby-soft. What more can you ask for? Here are some tips and tricks that will help enhance your experience there.

1. Wash Before Going Into the Water

As Korean spas are communal bathhouses, they have to be extremely clean. Therefore, it is an unspoken rule that everyone must wash up before soaking in the baths. You don’t have to wash your hair, however. As long as you tie it up, you should be fine. Just make sure there are no strands that dip into the water. Unless you want dirty looks from the Korean grandmas around you, I highly recommend you don’t skip this tip.

2. Rotate Going Into Each Bath

After you wash up, you can finally go into the baths! Most Korean spas have multiple baths—all with different temperatures and benefits. Typically, there will be around four: a warm bath, a scorching hot one, a freezing-to-death one and one with some kind of tea infused in it. The tea water could be filled with Korean ginseng, green tea or even mugwort. The best way to go about the soaking process is to alternate between each bath every five to ten minutes. My grandma used to call this “bath-hopping,” and she said it is really food for blood circulation in your body. Personally, I always start with the warm bath, then head to the hot one, cold one and lastly, the tea one.

3. Exfoliate Like a Pro With These Three Magical Items

Korean spa-goers are HUGE on exfoliation. In the bathhouse, you will see rows of washing stations, each with small plastic stools to sit on. This is the area where you exfoliate. Before you start scrubbing, it is best to soak in hot water for around twenty minutes. This will soften your skin in preparation for the exfoliation. You will need three things when you exfoliate: a hand mitt exfoliator, a bowl of water mixed with Epsom salt and a bar of soap. You could only use the hand mitt and some soap; however, this will not get rid of the layer of dirt on your body. With a dip in the salt water, a swipe of the soap and the scrubber, I guarantee you will see dark eraser-like shavings come off your body. Don’t be scared! This is just dirty, dead skin. Once it is gone, your baby-soft skin will be revealed. Make sure to moisturize after to seal in the hard work!

4. Save the Big Towel for the Very End

When you first come into the spa, you are going to be given one big towel—this will be your only one. Savor it! It is best to not use this towel in the communal bath area. It will get soaking wet, and you will probably end up losing it. I recommend saving it for the very end after you have finished washing up and need to dry off. If you do need towels in the bath area, there will usually be shelves of small hand towels that you can use while “bath-hopping”

5. Maximize the Communal Space

Although Korean spas are separated by gender, there is usually a communal space with sauna rooms, restaurants and sleeping areas. Some spas even have a book room filled with comics! Take advantage of this! If you stop by the restaurants for food, make sure to try the Patbingsu, a Korean shaved ice dessert with red beans, fruit, mochi and condensed milk. It’s perfect for sharing!

Trips to the Korean spa are always nothing short of amazing! It’s a perfect way to unwind, relax, and try something new. During your next trip to the spa, keep in mind a tip or two to maximize your Korean spa experience!


Madeline is the Assistant Director of Event Marketing for UCLA's Chapter of Her Campus. She is a third-year student majoring in Communication Studies. In her free time, she enjoys watching Rom Coms, cooking, and looking at pictures of cute pugs.
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