A Special Custom Beauty Experience: The Etude House Color Factory in Myeong-dong
If you’ve been following along on our Stories, you’ll know that one of my best friends (B from this series!) came to visit for a nonstop whirlwind week through Tokyo and Seoul. Hosting as an expat usually means going to the same tourist spots time after time—which is better than it sounds as you get to see those places through the seasons and ‘for the first time’ each time—but I wanted to fit something a little different and more special into our already packed schedule.
The Etude House flagship store in Myeong-dong has a golden elevator that, with a reservation, takes you up to their Color Factory (which, as its name indicates, is a Willy Wonka world of lipstick palettes, colorful cases, and on-brand decor). There, you’ll receive a one-on-one color consultation (English-friendly) including a small computer scan of your skin tones and type, best colors and shades for you to wear in clothing and beauty products, your ‘season’ (B’s an autumn) and how warm, cool, or muted you lean…and finally the creation of your perfect lipstick shade.
You and the consultant choose two shades each from a wide array of shades in your season, which you test until you can choose a favorite. What you end up choosing might surprise you—B went in wanting a muted, everyday, my-lips-but-better shade but ended up with one of the consultant’s choices, a deep, bright red for special occasions.
While the lipstick is being made in the ‘factory,’ which you can see through a window, you pick a case from the cute Etude House refillable cases and Color Factory exclusives, write what you want engraved on the case (in Korean, English, and/or special characters), and are presented with the results of your consultation, a list of other in-house products that suit your skin tones and type, and a 20% off coupon (which comes in handy during the thirty minutes you’re waiting for your lipstick—touché, Etude House). B ended up picking up two more lip products, a second lipstick case, and a blusher, all for a whopping ~$20 USD.
From start to finish, the process (including the additional shopping) took between one and a half and two hours despite being fairly involved and never feeling rushed. The cost of the consultation and custom lipstick is 25,000 KRW (~$20.65 USD) with a discount if you choose two lipstick shades. Unfortunately, you cannot book two or more people for one reservation—I learned this the hard way thinking ‘two lipsticks’ could mean two people. So, I missed out on a personal experience, but I learned a lot from observing and now have an excuse to bring another friend or family member next time!
You can book your reservation here (and choose the Garosu-gil location if Gangnam is more convenient). If you do go to the flagship store in Myeong-dong, make sure to also stop by Milky Bee for a rose-shaped ice cream (with your choice of layered flavors).