New Year's Eve in San Francisco

*Note: Please excuse the poor quality photos > < I (stupidly) forgot to bring my camera with me that day and had to make do with my iPhone 4 camera. 

**Warning: Picture heavy post ahead!

This is also another overdue post that has been saved as a draft for at least 2 weeks. Anyways~

So on New Year's Eve my dad, brother, and I decided to go to the city (aka San Francisco) to watch the fireworks. While I was there I decided to take a few pictures to share with you guys. We actually didn't do any sightseeing or anything like that since we go there quite often, but I wanted to cover some places where you can buy Korean beauty products in case any of you who are fans of Korean cosmetics decide to visit. Some of them are official retailers and others are shops that are run by a single person. (I'll also share photos of Union Square) So let's get started~

The Face Shop

Location: 1737 Post St

(somewhere inside Japantown)

Front of the store where you can see imagines of Kim Hyun Joong from SS501 ^^
I'm not really sure why it says "Grand Opening" (forgot to take a picture of that) considering that this was open way back near the beginning of 2013, but I think they might've changed ownership or something? The last time I went there was sometime in October and all I can say is that it looks nothing like what you'll see today. Long story short- it was really crowded, messy, and unorganized. And now... well, see for yourself:

A huge rack of nail polishes near the entrance 
Lots of sheet masks on one wall. 
Some of the Christmas gift sets they were offering! Prices were just so-so.
Rows of makeup in the center of the shop.
Some of the skincare lines they offer such as their Chia Seed and Mango Seed lines.
The prices here are at least double the price of the ones in Korea. The cheapest sheet masks are $2 each, and those are probably the only things I'd buy there (and possibly nail polish).

The SA's were just standing near the cashier chatting and didn't bother to walk up to anyone asking if they needed help with something. They aren't exactly friendly either, and I can't comment on how helpful they were since I didn't ask them about anything. Apparently they give a lot of samples now but back in October when I went they didn't give me any samples when I bought a few things.

It's a shame that I don't like The Face Shop that much, considering how accessible it is for me. I'd probably only come here to test out products and get sheet masks.

Kim's Houseware & Gifts

Location: 1600 Geary Blvd
(also located in Japantown)

It sounds like a strange name for a place where you can buy high quality beauty products, but it's true. Along with kitchenware and other household objects, Kim's Houseware & Gifts also sells products from AMOREPACIFIC. And the best part? The prices are EXACTLY the same (and sometimes cheaper) as the ones in Korea if 1,000원= $1. The displays are a bit messy and things are out of place, but I'm not complaining because the prices are just so amazing.

The Laneige display~ Although there's some IOPE and Sulwhasoo products as well.
Display for IOPE
A couple Sulwhasoo products.
Mamonde sheet masks and the IOPE Bio Intensive Conditioning.

The makeup area is a bit of a mess and all of the cushions/pacts are used up, but it was nice to just be able to see all those products.
I reallyyy regret not spending more time in this shop and testing out those products. Sigh I can't believe I had the chance to try out a Sulwhasoo product and I didn't. > < I'll definitely have to visit again! The lady who runs the shop is really nice and helpful. She's Korean so I think because of the language barrier she didn't approach me at first, but when I asked her a couple of questions she was quick to help and suggest products.

I would definitely recommend this place if you're a fan of AMOREPACIFIC's mid to high quality brands. Just the price is enough for me to visit this shop every time I'm in SF. I heard about other people receiving samples and gifts but unfortunately Kim was out of them when I went.


Location: 1500 Taraval St.

Photo taken from Yelp (because I forgot to take a photo myself )
iBeautyshop carries a selection of products from Missha, Tony Moly, Etude House, and other Asian brands. The prices there are a bit expensive compared to their retail prices in Korea but it's definitely worth a visit. They also sell circle lenses, clothes, and accessories. The owner is really nice and when I asked her if I could take a couple pictures for my blog she agreed and gave me a few samples even though I didn't buy anything yet. At first it was just me, but when my dad came in I found out that she was also Chinese and it became a lot easier to converse.

Some of the products they carry. I was really shocked by how tiny the Etude House Precious Sun Mineral BB Cream is.
A closer look at some of the products from Etude House.
She also carries circle lenses ^^

Some of the sheet masks! The prices are really reasonable and the selection is nice too. Some of them are from Taiwanese brands. 
I'd definitely suggest coming here to at least look around. This is the only place I know where you can find products from Etude House and Innisfree. The prices are higher than the ones in Korea, but it's nice to be able to test them out. I would come back here just to stock up on sheet masks. Next time I want to get a pair of circle lenses from there since I've never tried circle lenses before and I really want to. 

Skin Food

Location: 3251 20th Ave
(inside the Stonestown Galleria)

I didn't have time to visit this time, but I'll talk about my experience with this shop when I went there back in October. 

Everything here costs at least twice as much as it would cost in Korea, but the selection is pretty big. The shop is actually quite big (compared to The Face Shop) and it doesn't feel crowded at all. They do give you samples with every purchase and sometimes have promotions. 

The SA's are nice and helpful, however... they wouldn't stop asking if I needed any help. Every couple of minutes one would walk by and ask if I had any questions or needed help. On one occasion a SA just asked me if I needed any help and after I politely said no I turned around and another SA was asking me the same thing. I don't mind being checked on every 15-20 minutes but everything 3-5 minutes is a little too much. 

I'm not sure if the customer service is still like that, so do keep in mind that this was a couple months ago. Hopefully it's different now. ^^;

And here are some pictures I took of Union Square. A lot of the shops were closed (not because of New Year's Eve but because they usually close at 7... which is a bit strange) so I just took pictures from the outside. The Christmas decorations were still up so everything was really pretty :)

The ice rink located near the center of the square. There was a huge crowd of people waiting for them to clear the ice so they could skate. On one side of the ice rink you would find a 4-story tall Tiffany & Co.
The Macy's on the other side of the rink! The wait line for the Cheesecake Factory in there was 3 hours long because well, it's the Cheesecake Factory. And also because it's located on the top floor.

A Swarovski shop! The lights/chandeliers are so gorgeous.
I think this was a giant Christmas tree inside Neiman Marcus.
And last but not least some of the window decorations~

I always enjoy going to the city but unfortunately I caught a really bad cold right after I came back. I don't regret going at all however! The fireworks were nice (I'm sorry I don't have any photos to show you guys > <) and I think I'd like to come back again on New Year's Eve this year. 

I hope everyone enjoyed this post and that it helps anyone who's coming to SF. While visiting the usual tourist attractions (the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Fisherman's Wharf, etc.) is fun, they do get boring after awhile. I don't have any suggestions since everyone has their own preferences (like my mom who loves going to the tourist attractions and taking pictures while I don't like it at all), but if you're a fan of Korean beauty products then definitely check out the locations I listed above. 

Thanks for reading! ^^ 


  1. lol, Gloria my experience at the Face Shop was exactly the same. The testers there were DISGUSTING. There was a mask product that literally almost made me gag and some snooty Asian girl was about to open it after me and I told her not to because it was seriously gross (crusty, discolored, crumbling, rotten looking) and she looked at me like I was crazy for talking to her...and then she opened it LOOOL. Stupid girl looked so grossed out hahahaha. I wasn't lying! Nobody moved from the register while I was there either nor asked if we needed help, and the lady behind the register just sat there while she rang our purchases up. When I tried to ask about products she basically just told me "yes it's good" and nothing particularly useful. The girls at Skinfood were the same with me, but they weren't as quite as pushy. I appreciated that they at least tried to help. I would say go check out Sune but it's super expensive.

  2. Oh good I'm glad I'm not the only one. ^^; Haha thank goodness I didn't go around trying things there. Testers are useful but some of them are just so disgusting. Huh "Yes it's good" doesn't help much, it seems like they don't know the products at all. I was thinking about checking out Sune but decided not to since it seemed expensive.

  3. I was only aware of The Face Shop and Skin Food until I went that day. It's definitely nice to know that I can pick up a few Korean products while I'm in the city. Ebay is good for single purchases but I find online shops like Testerkorea better for hauls. ^^

  4. omo...I can't believe I wasn't following you before.... OTL I'm so sorry!! But I just did now~ (I'm so far behind on keeping up with blogger... ;-;)

    But wah...I didn't even know San Fran had Korean beauty stores like iBeautyshop. >< Why am i not living in that part of Californaa?? Dx But now that I know, I will most definitely check those areas out if I'm ever in San Fran~ Looking at your pictures makes me miss the city a lot. :( Being stuck on campus ugh...the worst! I'm glad you had a pretty fun experience though! (And I know what you mean about things getting boring xD You can only take so much then you just need some other activities to do than just being tourists~)

    Thanks for the post Gloria!

    Love, Aimee

  5. It's fine :) I'm kind of behind on so many blog-related things as well.

    I didn't know either which is why this was such a nice surprise :D Which university/college are you attending? I love being in the city (big cities in general really!) so I can only imagine how bad it is to be stuck on campus. The tourist stuff is definitely boring, and even worse since I never really liked them in the first place. ^^; Thanks for reading Aimee :)

  6. Nowadays the Korean beauty shops are just like increases. Even if the local outlets are not available, there are still online shops that available to ship worldwide!

  7. I agree, although it's still nice (and better) to be able to personally test out the products in-store. :)

  8. I know right but local outlets offered a very high price! I sometimes just came to the local outlets just to swatch XD

  9. woah i didn't know san fran had all these korean stores! thats so awesome. The Face Shop just opened a small branch at the mall buts a lot of the time i have to find random places or go to the huge asian mall (which is very far away) to get my asian cosmetic fix. thankfully there's always ebay i suppose.

    A Beautiful Zen


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