How I learned to stop holding myself back, and started traveling the world.

Beauty, South Korea

Cosmetic Procedures in Seoul: Eyebrow Tattooing/Microblading

“Eyebrows are sisters, not twins.”

I can’t recall where I first heard this quote–a quick Google search brings up a plethora of beauty blogs and supportive memes–but it’s one that I’ve learned to live by as I’ve battled with my eyebrows over the years.  I began waxing when I was 15, trying to form an arch that just wasn’t there naturally.  I was never quite happy with them, and bounced from aesthetician to aesthetician throughout university.  In the USA, I filled them in heavily with Anastasia Beverly Hill’s Dip Brow Pomade, but after my move across the Pacific I found myself following the local trends in South Korea: straighter, softer, and using power and pencil to fill them in.  My arch first softened, then almost completely flattened before settling on a more slight, natural arch.

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  1. College (2012 and earlier): My brows were plucked thin in an attempt to force them into a higher arch that I didn’t naturally have.
  2. Post-College (2013): I finally allowed my brows to grow back in and found a good aesthetician for waxing. I often used brow shadows and pomades to make them crisp and dark.
  3. Pre-Korea (2014): As I reached my mid-twenties, I stopped caring so much about waxing and upkeep. I let my brows fully grow in and allowed my arch to soften.
  4. Korea (2015):  A year into living abroad, local trends began to heavily influence my makeup style.  My brows became even straighter, following the brow trends in Korea.
  5. ‘Now’ (2016 to present): After going from one extreme to the other, my brows have finally found a happy medium.  I kept the thickness I’d picked up in Korea but instead followed my natural shape when filling them in.

In Korea I ditched the brow pomade in favor of softer brow shadows and pencils.  This, however, made my morning routine longer and more tedious. Looking for an alternative, I began to research eyebrow tattooing and microblading.  In Korea, you can get one, the other, or a combination of both.  Here are some examples from the clinic I ended up choosing:

(Click each photo to be taken to the clinic’s homepage with additional examples of each style.)


자연눈썹 “Natural Brows” (Microblading) are done by using a small, thin blade to cut individual hair strokes.  Best for filling in sparse eyebrows and a natural look.


화장눈썹 “Makeup Brows” (Tattooing) are done by using a hand-held tattoo gun.  This looks like makeup and can be done in a very light, subtle color or darker depending on your preference.  There are no little hair strokes and the color is solid.


3D눈썹 “3D Brows” (Combination) are created using both microblading and tattooing techniques.  During your first session, a base layer of color is tattooed, similar to the Makeup Brows.  During the second session, the microblading technique is used to fill in more hair-like details.

Choosing your Clinic

There are many great clinics to choose from in Seoul, but for the most part all three of these variations will cost around ₩200,000-₩250,000.  I paid ₩178,000 at my first session and  the remaining ₩59,600 at my second touch-up session.  Normally Clinic Gyul charges ₩297,000 for all their eyebrow services (in any style), but for the month of February they were offering a 20% discount for a total of ₩237,600.

I surveyed one of the largest Facebook groups for women living here, Expat Women in Korea, and these were the top clinics suggested in Seoul:

After pouring over clinic websites, reading personal testimonies, and checking out before and after pictures, I decided on Clinic Gyul.  I was particularly attracted to the fact that they are exclusively a cosmetic tattoo clinic, offering eyebrow, eyeliner, lip, and hairline tattooing services.  They are not a plastic surgery clinic, and I felt more comfortable going to a place that not only specialized in what I wanted, but had also treated many Korean celebrities and foreign clients.

I contacted them in English via KakaoTalk (clinicgyul1116) and made a reservation for that upcoming weekend.  Overall, they were very flexible with scheduling, and were even able to rebook my appointment on short notice when I had a friend unexpectedly come into town.

The Process

To get to Clinic Gyul, I’d recommend taking the subway to Sinnonhyeon Station (신논현역) on the Express Line 9.  Go out exit 5 and at the top of the stairs look all the way to your left (east).  You can’t miss the clinic, as the doors are right in front of the subway exit!  When you enter the building, the elevators will be to your left.  Either elevator will take you to the 8th floor, where you can find the clinic.


Note the light teal logo for Clinic Gyul next to the number 8.  The entrance is to the right.


The entrance of the clinic as you step out of the elevator.


The front desk with a view of the consultation rooms (back right).


A panoramic view of the waiting area near the front desk.

When I walked into the service room, I was greeted warmly by the staff.  I checked in for my appointment and filled out a brief English form detailing what I was there for.  This also describes their information release policy, so I’ve attached photos below:

After turning in my form, I had my consultation.  This was conducted entirely in Korean, but I know other foreigners have come here and they do have a translators for English and Chinese speakers available.  In the consultation room, I discussed the three different style options.  While I had originally wanted to do just the microbladed ‘Natural Brows’, the consultant suggested I do the combination ‘3D Brows’.  When I showed her pictures of how I did my brows on a daily basis, she said it would be inconvenient for me to pay for the microblading but then still have to do my brow makeup every day.

After my consultation, I was taken back into the main waiting room where they put numbing cream on my eyebrows.  This was covered with cling film and I had to wait 30-40 minutes for it to take effect.  It’s impossible to feel self-conscious about how goofy you look because almost everyone else in the waiting room is doing the same thing!


The consultation room had great natural light and tons of before and after photos of the clinic’s work.


The bright door to the right is where I snapped my photo. At the end of the hall, the treatment rooms are to the left.


Sitting with my numbing cream in the lobby.  Cute…

Once my 40 minutes were up, an assistant came over and removed the numbing cream.  She then took me down the hall to a small, well-lit room to take ‘before’ photos of my brows.  After this, we continued further down the hall to the treatment room.

In the treatment room, I was introduced to my tattoo artist, Yeong-jeong Lee (이영정), and my translator, Hye-ra Jeong (정혜라).  Don’t worry if your initial consultant doesn’t speak a ton of English because they won’t draw anything on your brows or discuss shape until you’re in the tattooing room.  The clinic will make sure to have a translator available for you once you reach this step!

I showed both women pictures of how I normally did my brows, and explained that I didn’t want them too arched.  I requested that the tattoo follow my natural brow shape underneath because when I add fullness with makeup, I usually penciled it in on the top.  Yeong-jeong played with the shape using a brow pencil and made sure I liked it before we got to work tattooing.


Yeong-jeong marked the center of my brows and focused on giving them fullness on top instead of on bottom.  She kept the arch very soft, as per my request.

For the ‘3D Brow’ style, your first session consists of a ‘base’ tattoo being put down similar to the ‘Makeup Brow’ style.  This heals to be a lighter color, and during your second touch-up session the details are microbladed in like in the ‘Natural Brow’ style.  Yeong-jeong did an initial tattooing and then stopped so I could sit up and check the shape again.  We tweaked it a little bit further and then continued once more.

While I was at the clinic for about two hours, the actual tattooing only took 30 minutes or so.  As someone who has had actual tattoos (painful) and gone though laser tattoo removal (far more painful), this didn’t feel like much.  I would equate the sensation to someone taking a relatively sharp pen-like tool and scratching over your skin.  It feels a little stingy when they go over the same areas repeatedly, but is easy to tolerate.

The Results

It’s very important to note that your eyebrows are most likely not identical, and that tattooing them can only do so much.  For example, my nose is fairly crooked which makes my brows look uneven in the middle, and my head shape makes one eyebrow look ‘shorter’ than the other when, if measured, it actually isn’t!  Some clinics will press a string into your forehead and measure with a ruler to make them mathematically symmetrical, but this doesn’t mean that your brows will necessarily look identical visually.  This is because our faces are not perfectly symmetrical either, so I preferred Clinic Gyul’s methods where they focus on visual symmetry.  I think Yeong-jeong did an amazing job evening them out and making them look balanced on my face:


The end results made my brows look fuller and more even.

As you  can see, my brows were quite dark after the initial tattooing.  The ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos were taken the same day.  On the third day I started to occasionally have some tiny itches.  You’ll notice that there’s a fairly large difference between the third and fourth day, as this is when they started to peel.  I didn’t really notice any large peeling, so this didn’t bother me or make me feel self-conscious in any way.  By the fifth or sixth day they were mostly finished peeling, and throughout the whole process the itching was minimal.  By day ten, they had faded to a very soft, natural brown that blended nicely with my real brows.


My right brow needed the most ‘help’ to look fuller, and you can see how differently shaped my brows are naturally.

Overall I’m very happy with the results.  The effect is subtle and natural in person, and the clinic worked well with my natural brow shapes while still making them look even and balanced on my face.  It also makes plucking a lot easier as I can clearly see which hairs are outside of my tattoo lines!


12 days after the initial tattooing, no makeup! (You can see how much the tattooing helps balance out the brow on the left, which is my right brow.)

The Touch-Up (UPDATED 2/7/2017)

I went back to Clinic Gyul on March 25th for my touch-up, as Yeong-jeong was going on maternity leave at the end of the month.  I was once again greeted by the staff and Hye-ra at the front desk, and this time they applied the numbing cream immediately since the color from my first session was already there as a guide.  I actually saw with the cream on a bit longer this time, and was hanging out in the waiting room for about 45min total.  If you’re bored, there is a little refreshment corner to the right of the front desk (if you stand facing it) where you can get water, coffee, juice, and some candy.

In the treatment room, Yeong-jeong carefully checked my brows for evenness and made sure they had healed cleanly.   At this point, you have the opportunity to discuss with the aesthetician any other adjustments you want to make to your shape, or express anything you’re unsatisfied with.  Fortunately I loved my shape and was happy with how my brows had healed, so our conversation was pretty brief!  Yeong-jeong got to work, taking care to check in with me repeatedly and make sure it wasn’t painful.

A close up of my freshly microbladed brow. Note the long, hair-like strokes at the tail end of my brow.

The sensation for the microblading is a bit different from the tattooing as it is done in longer, smoother strokes of a blade instead of a tattoo needle.  In my opinion, it feels like taking the end of a paperclip and scraping it uncomfortably–but not painfully–across your skin.  I would say the pain from both is different, but neither is worse than the other and both are easily tolerable.  If you’re worried about the pain, don’t let this hold you back from having fabulous brows!

Here the before and after results are more subtle, but on the left side you can see how the microblading helped more naturally blend the solid base of color into my natural brows.

Microblading over the solid color base tattoo made it looks like hairs had grown in just the right places. This was especially noticeable on my right side, which was quite sparse at the start.

The microblading itself only took about 30 minutes, after which I was escorted back out to the front desk.  Then, Hye-ra shyly asked me if I had mentioned their clinic at all–apparently several foreign women had come in over the last month mentioning this post!  Apparently quite a few readers went in for consultations and happened to reference this article, which was a surprise to both the clinic and myself.  I just write for fun and enjoy sharing my experiences, so I’m glad people are finding it helpful!  If you have any questions for me–or if you went to Clinic Gyul yourself and want to share your experience–please feel free to leave a comment below!  Thank you for reading, and happy tattooing~

My fully finished brows 3 months after the tattooing, featuring the thank-you soap from Clinic Gyul!

This is NOT a sponsored post!  
The purpose of this post is purely to share my own personal experience and provide relevant links to others interested in similar services.


  1. Erika


    A very informative and good post! 🙂 I am going to Seoul in a couple of weeks and considering doing this procedure too, but wonder if it 100% permanent, like a real tatoo? If so, do they offer also semi permanent treatments. I am trying to inform myself through this clinics website but the translation function doesn’t work very.

    Very best wishes,


    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Erika,

      Cosmetic tattooing like microblading uses a different kind of ink from regular tattooing, and you will need to get it touched up. If you go to Clinic Gyul or any of the other places mentioned in this post, the brow tattooing will not be permanent! It is typically expected to last for one or two years, after which you will need to have it re-done or touched up. That way, if you want to change your brow shape with the trends in the future, you can easily do so. Don’t worry! It also fades naturally and won’t turn that grey-blue color you might see from some of the old-fashioned makeup tattooing that used to be popular in North America and Europe.

      The staff members at Clinic Gyul definitely speak English, and you can text them on KakaoTalk or email them in English to set up an appointment. The other clinics listed should all be able to help you set up an appointment in English too; just shoot them an email! ^^

  2. Anna

    Thank you for this blog entry! I have just made an appointment with the clinic for next week. I have always been wanting to do that but never really got the guts to finally proceed. Your blog helped me with my decision.

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Anna,

      Let me know how it goes! Your comment actually reminded me to post my follow-up photos–I was even happier with the results after my second session!

  3. Shimin

    Hi Erika ,
    What if I don’t go back and touch up ?
    Because I will be in Seoul only for a week

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Shimin,

      This depends on the type of brow tattooing you choose. If you choose the 3D method, it cannot be completed in only one session. If you choose either the Makeup (solid tattooing) or Natural (microblading only) methods, then you can do these in one session. However, the clinic then cannot guarantee any patchiness as the tattooing really should be touched up after fully healing. If you are only in Seoul for a week and cannot get a touch up, then I would recommend the Natural method!

      • Hollabaughloo

        If one wanted to do the 3D brows like you did (they look fantastic btw) how long do you have to wait to come back for the follow up appointment?

        I will be in Seoul for a week and was hoping to get an appointment scheduled right away when I arrive. Could I feasibly schedule a follow up appointment within a week of the first appointment?

  4. Kary

    I see that you were doing a touch up March 25 but can’t find the blog to it. Would love to see your results

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Kary,

      I just updated it today! It’s on the bottom half of the same post here, so you should be able to see all of the final after photos. I’m going to take one last picture and add it tomorrow morning, since it’s now been 3 months since my touch-up. If you check after July 2nd, you should be able to see that too ^^

  5. Dora

    I ran into your blog while searching for microblading courses in South Korea. I would love to know where your technician got her microblading training in South Korea? I know it may be out of your league but I figured I would ask. Love the results!

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Dora!

      Unfortunately I don’t know their training background, and as my technician didn’t speak any English and my Korean is fairly limited, I wouldn’t know where to start with asking her. Clinic Gyul has a rather large staff though, and they may require them to go through a particular training course. You can read more about their team here if you can understand Korean:

      Sorry I can’t be of more help! ㅠㅠ

  6. Anna

    Hi, very informative Blog entry.
    I would just like to know, how long you have to wait until it is completely healed and when you are able to get your first touch up (when choosing the “3-D method”). I’m in Seoul for a couple of weeks up to a month every year (depending on my work scedule) and i considered microblading my brows, however I’m worried that my stay won’t be long enough.
    Thank you in advance, Anna

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Anna, the technicians at Clinic Gyul in particular allow for the retouching to be done as early as 3 weeks and as late as 3 months. If you stay for up to a month, then you should be able to squeeze it in as long as you book the appointments in advance for both of the days. I’m not sure about other clinics, but if Gyul allows it to be done 3 weeks after then I’d imagine doing it 3-4 weeks after at other places is perfectly okay too. My brows were pretty much done peeling and healed after the 10 days, so 3 weeks should be plenty of time. Hope that helps! ^^

  7. Daniela

    You received the touch up March 25. When did you do the first trial?

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Daniela,
      My first appointment was on February 21, so mybsessions were about a month apart. ^^

  8. Gгeetings! I know this is kinda оff topic but I
    was wondering which bⅼog platform are you using for this site?
    I’m getting sick and tired of Wordpress becauѕe I’ve had issues with hacкers and I’m looking at options
    for another platform. I would be great if you could point me іn the direction of a good platform.

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi! I’m actually using WordPress, but I’m self-hosting on my own website that I pay for. I’m not big on HTML and web-management, so I hired PeoplesHost to help me with the technical stuff. They’re always quick to respond and really helpful~

  9. Jennifer

    Thank you for sharing your experience on 3D brow tattooing in Seoul! I will be traveling to Seoul in end of September and I am looking for a recommended clinic to get eyebrow microblading / 3D tattooing that looks as natural as possible. However, as I will only be staying for about 2,5 weeks, I was wondering whether I can manage to do both sessions during my stay?
    Thanks for your Feedback

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Jennifer!

      Sorry I wasn’t able to reply sooner–I had surgery a few weeks before your comment and have been in recovery. I know September has just passed so I’m assuming this info won’t be helpful to you now, but I’ll reply just incase anyone else has the same question!

      I’d recommend speaking to the clinic directly about scheduling and seeing what they recommend. At Clinic Gyul you actually pay in two parts, so you would be able to pay for just the one session if you didn’t have time for the second. Judging from my own photos and healing time, it takes around 10 days for the brows to stop peeling and the color to settle. If you have 2.5 weeks, I’d say you’d probably be okay if you have your first session the day after you arrive and your second session the day before you go home.

      If the clinic says you only have time for one session, then definitely go for the natural brows (just microblading) instead of the 3D, as the first session of the 3D is only solid color. I much preferred my brows after the second session because the hair strokes of the microblading make it look much more natural than the solid makeup tattooing. You can see my before and after photos from my first session to see how the makeup part fades ^^

  10. Marion

    How much was the cost?

    • nomadicmadda

      Hello Marion,

      The cost is listed in the blog under the “Choosing Your Clinic” section near the start ^^
      The average cost is ₩200,000-₩250,000, and I personally paid ₩237,600 at Clinic Guyl when they were running a special~

  11. Hi there! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds
    me of my good old room mate! He always kept
    talking about this. I will forward this article to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

    • nomadicmadda

      Thank you! I hope your roommate finds it helpful–I’ve been really happy with my results and feel it was money well-spent!

  12. HereandThere

    Thanks for posting this! I’ve been looking into this technique but I didn’t think it was offered in Korea! Glad to know it is, I just made my appointment for next week and I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to try the 3D brow method. One question, I know this method is performed in two sessions so did your brows look a little awkward after the first session when it was just a solid color? I have sparse brows and I don’t want them to look too caked on. Again, thanks for this info!

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi HereandThere!

      My brows didn’t look too awkward, no. They just looked like I had filled them in with pencil, actually. The color matched really well both when it was darker and as it healed, so t just looked like I had put makeup on!

  13. Hi~ I really enjoyed your post and have been considering getting microblading done for a while. However, I have one concern~ I am fair skinned and blonde (when I dye my hair~^^) and I don’t have super dark eyebrows. Do they have a variety of pigments to choose from or are they fairly dark? Most of the bloggers I have seen have darker hair so it looks super natural on them. I just don’t think I can pull off the Cara Delevingne look for two years. ^^ TIA! ^~^

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi CM!

      Yes, they definitely have pigments for blondes at Clinic Gyul. I haven’t been to the other clinics so I can’t vouch for them, but I spoke with two women who went there after me and they were able to get it done with dark blonde/light brown ink. Everything they do they pre-check with you beforehand, too.

      Personally going a little darker is better than going a little lighter. It’s coming up on a year since I got mine done, and I’ll probably be going in for a touch-up soon. The inks used for cosmetic tattooing are different from real tattoos and definitely fade. All of these clinics in the US and Korea advertise it as lasting two years, but literally every woman I’ve talked to says that’s pretty generous–they’ll be noticeably lighter after a year.

  14. Mary

    Hi there !
    I’m so glad that somehow I ran into your article because I’m going to Korea in April and was contemplating on micro blading my eyebrows. I’m gonna contact them soon to schedule my appointment. My question is… would you happen to know if they are just as skilled in lip color tattooing?

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Mary! Since I haven’t had my lips done, I have neither first-hand experience nor have I done much research into which clinics are the best for it. The only thing I can say Iv’e heard is that lip tattooing as a whole isn’t “as worth it” in the opinions of women I personally know who have had it done. It’s a bit more sensitive of an area to tattoo, and the healing sucks because you (obviously) move and use your mouth constantly.

      Clinic Gyul definitely does offer lip tattooing services, which you can see here:

      Just based upon my experience with the clinic alone, they’re really professional, clean, and great at color-matching. They’re also very meticulous with the shape and outline of brows, so I’d imagine they’d be similar with lips. If you do end up getting them done, please come back and let me know what your results are like!

  15. Dagmar

    Please see Instagram link of tape measure a clinic in the US has to mark you up for microblading. Do you know if they have this in Korea? I had old tatts from last century, fading but still there and it is crooked as the woman just used her naked eye (in those days) or it could be that my aging skin has something to do with it too. I need to redo my brows BEFORE I have my browlift as I do not want my PS to lift my brows working with crooked brows.

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Dagmar,

      I can only speak for Clinic Gyul as that’s where I got mine done, and no, they do not use this tape measure. Not only brows, but facial bone structure and features as well are often “sisters, not twins”. No one’s face is perfectly symmetrical, so it actually may not look as even or balanced if you were to perfectly mirror a brow on the left as it is on the right, or vice versa. I personally prefer when a clinic works with my natural features and make sure things are visually (not mathematically) balanced, as one usually does not necessarily equate to the other. So, at Clinic Gyul they use their “naked eyes”, but they also have you check multiple times throughout the process to make sure your brows are visually drawn in exactly how you want them.

      As for having a brow lift, I’ve never personally had this done either but I would image it to be easier for your aesthetician to do the lift with your natural brow shape, then for you to get the brow tattoo AFTER the lift to perfect the balance. I did a quick Google search before replying and the medical consensus also seems to be that you should get the brow tattoo after the brow lift. Your brow tattoos will be over your natural hair anyway, and it’s not like the position of your hairs are moveable. The tattoo when initially being places, however, is. I would consult with your plastic surgeon, but honestly I would think it better to have the brow lift now with your current tattoos fading so the surgeon can see your natural hair, and then have your brows re-tattooed to balance out the new brow lift. You run a higher risk of your brow lift being crooked when the tattooing is aligned with (as the tattooing will be compensating for any imbalance in your natural brow) and then they would look even more crooked when the re-tattooing fades than they do now. Any good plastic surgeon should be able to visually ignore the old tattooing and note where your natural brows are to make the proper alignment for the lift.

  16. Martina

    Just a word of advice for people considering to have this procedure done. Gyul’s clinic quoted price is very much on the higher end of the spectrum. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, only a reflection of the quality of the product you expect to receive. However, something that bothers me a lot about many clinics in the Gangnam area (be it skin treatments, dental procedures, etc.) that I believe needs to be said is that very often they seem to have some “discount” or “event” going on. They will tell you how much the procedure usually costs, but then that thank goodness! it’s XX month and you can get a 5~20% discount. Show up a couple months later when the supposed “event” is over, and the price you get now will be the discounted one they told you before. I understand that property prices in Gangnam are unbelievable high, and upon visiting Gyul’s clinic on 4 occasions I have only positive things to say about the modern facilities and the staff that will have no problem speaking to you in English. That being said, making the customer believe that they are getting some sort of deal is frankly deceiving.

    If you are able to write and understand Korean I advice you to do some research on naver blogs and cafes, or to ask recommendations from Korean friends about where do they get these procedures done.

    I tried microblading for the first time about 1 year ago at a small “beauty center” recommended by a friend and had great results in color, shape and duration for half the price. This time I’m shopping around again, and I wanted to give a try to Gyul’s clinic fully aware of their prices, but seeing that they keep with this practice of giving “discounted” prices made me decide to just go back to my old eyebrow girl once the time is due.

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Martina,

      I don’t think what Gyul is doing is anything new–it remind me of my mom shopping at Kohl’s or TJ Maxx back in the US. She feels like she’s getting some huge deal because the items are “marked down”, but a lot of those companies actually got in huge trouble because their “sale” prices were never marked or sold at the alleged MSRP. Basically, they got caught using faux-markdowns as a marketing tactic.

      Gyul actually doesn’t really advertise to foreigners, nor is their ad content in English. The impression I got from my visits was that the have a pretty big reputation among Koreans due to the number of Korean celebrities on their client list. When I published the first part of my blog, there wasn’t a single other foreigner in the place on the Saturday I went in for my first appointment. When I went in for my second, they actually pulled me aside and asked about my post because they’d had a noticeable influx of foreigners that they usually didn’t have over the last two months. I didn’t even tell them I’d written anything, and the reach on my site certainly isn’t big, so I think whatever few handfuls of foreigners came in referencing it were way more than the norm.

      I also mentioned in my original post that they’re more expensive than other places. For me, I think that (to a degree) you get what you pay for and I felt comfortable spending what I did at Gyul. It’s the same with the lasering I’ve had done at Wooskin; there are totally cheaper clinics in Korea, but my results from Wooskin have totally won me over and it’s been worth every penny. Everyone has different budgets and goals with their skin care and cosmetics, so I think everyone needs to take anything they read online with a grain of salt and do their own diligent research.

  17. Martina

    I don’t really understand why wouldn’t you post the previous comment I made if, as you say, this post isn’t sponsored. I lived in Korea for more than 10 years and I find it very frustrating that these establishments abuse the fact that most foreigners will look up for information only in English and will find very limited resources that direct them to the same place.

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Martina,

      As you can see, I just approved your other longer comment today–I actually haven’t even checked in on my blog since the end of January when I posted my last Sprout update. I recently quit my job, moved across the country, found a new one, and went back to the US for a bit to spend time with family. Since March I’ve been settling in ay my new workplace, and since writing here is just a hobby for me, things were sort of put on the back burner.

      I can 100% (re-)confirm that I paid for my brow out of my own pocket. I also didn’t tell Guyl that I was writing anything, and it was only when they asked me directly as I was walking out from my second session that I even acknowledge that I had. (I haven’t even gotten around to monetizing this website itself because I genuinely just write these posts for fun–I like documenting and sharing my experiences, and the added bonus is that someone else might find it helpful.) I’ve written out a longer, more thorough response to your previous comment directly, which I hope addresses any concerns you may have had. Apologies for the late reply, and I hope you can understand that it was in no way intentional.


      TL;DR: Your comment (and the other 450 spam comments I just spend 30min clearing out) wasn’t posted because I was off living life in the real world, haha!

  18. Missy Matsuda

    Hi Anna. I’m from the Philippines. Knowing that Korea is most known for cosmetics and beauty enhancements, I searched online and found your blog. Love your tesults.

    I will be taking my vacay in Myeongdong for 8 days, on Apr 30 onwards, and seriously considering doing microblading. You recommended to do natural brows or microblading not 3D, as I don’t have time to go for retouch.

    What’s the difference between just microblading and 3D? Methodology and results?

    What happens if I don’t go for 2nd session which you said should be done within the 1st month? Will it easily fade? How long will it last? Would you recommend to go to a clinic in Manila where I’m based for retouch?

    What did you do when you felt ichiness after the procedure?

    I’m excited to go to Clinic Gyul as you recommend. Maybe check on others just for comparison.

    Thanks much. Looking forward to hear from you.


    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Missy,

      If you look at the start of this blog, it explains the differences between “natural”, “makeup”, and “3D” brow tattooing. You can also search these on youtube to see how they’re done. Micoblading uses a razor blade to cut a hair-like line into your skin, which ink is rubbed into. Tattooing uses a needle and tattoo gun )similar to regular tattoos) to inject pigment into your skin.

      At Clinic Gyul, the “natural” method is microblading only, so it will look like fine little hairs. The “makeup” method is tattooing only, so it will look solid. The “3D” method is a combination, so they use the tattoo gun to shade the outer half of your brows and lay a base of color, and then during your second session they use the razor blade to do the fine hairs.

      If you don’t have enough time to do two sessions, then I would just recommend having your brows bladed in the Philippines by an artist who can do both sessions. If your heart is set on getting your brows bladed in Korea, You could do a single session of the makeup tattooing and then have someone back home microblade over it. I really think it would be best to work with the same cosmetic tatooing artist from start to finish, though.

      Hope that helps!

  19. This is beautiful!

  20. Huyen

    Thank you very much for an informative post. I am going to be in Seoul in January, and I am thinking of getting my eyebrows and eyeliner done. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Huyen,

      Sorry for the late reply–as it’s now January 2019, my guess is you’re going to be in Seoul soon, if you aren’t already here! I’m glad the post was helpful for you, and I hope your enjoy your trip ^^

      Happy new year!

  21. Aimi


    Currently, I living for 1 year in Japan. So for me, it’s easy to move to Seoul.
    Do you know what’s the best period for booking ?
    This clinic propose each month some discounts ?

    Thank you for your help 🙂

    • nomadicmadda

      Hello Aimi,

      I think you can book anytime, and yes, I recommend watching their website and Facebook page for current promotions. The best way to contact them is through Kakao, as that’s the most common messaging app. It will be faster than emailing through their website ^^

      Sorry for the late reply, and happy new year!

  22. aimi


    Thank you for your concern. It was very interesting !
    About your discount, How did you have got it ?
    I see sometimes in their website some discounts but they told me that it’s only for koreans…

    Thank you for your help !

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi Aimi,

      Hmm…if they’re differentiating their services for foreigners vs. Koreans, that isn’t cool or okay. If they say that, I’d tell them that doing that is discriminatory and that since you live in Korea, you would expect to be treated the same as any other Korean person when it comes to discounts. I definitely got the discounts without any issue when I first did my microblading, so if they’re now blocking foreigners from that, that’s new. I’ll try sending them a message asking them to clarify. If they’re really discriminating, then I don’t want to be supporting them and recommending their business…

      Thanks for letting me know!

  23. SoSo


    Thank you for writing such an informative post! I realise that it was a little while ago now, so things might have changed a bit. I was just wandering your experience booking with Clinic Gyul? I have contacted them to make an appointment. I only know very basic Korean, otherwise I speak English. I wouldn’t expect even with English speaking consultant for them to be fluent, but hopefully enough for the appointment. The person helping me is reinforcing that they only have very basic English there. I’m not sure if this is to manage my expectations or kindly saying that they don’t speak enough for me to go there if I’m not fluent in Korean. I was just wondering if your experience booking with them was comparable – I’m aware perhaps they have had changes in staff since you went also. I hope this question makes sense!
    Many thanks 🙂

    • nomadicmadda

      Hi SoSo! So sorry for the late reply–all of my blog and YouTube-related social media has been on hold for the last two months.

      At the time I went, they had a translator on-staff who spoke English quite fluently. It’s possible that they’re underselling her just to avoid super high expectations, or (as you said) she may no longer work there. Either way, though, I think you’ll be fine. My post here pretty clearly lays out the three different types of microblading they offer, and also has links directly to their website with their own photos. So just show them the style you’re interested in and it shouldn’t be an issue. The tech will draw them on before any tattooing happens, so don’t be afraid to speak up and be nit-picky during this step! They’re drawing them to make them how YOU want them, so feel free to have them draw and re-draw until you’re satisfied. Even my tech who didn’t speak much English could communicate words like low, high, more, less, straight, arch, etc. when the translator wasn’t around, so I think you’ll be fine ^^ I usually message them over Kakao for booking, which I think also helps them because if the secretary doesn’t speak a ton of English, she can more easily translate your messages. Kakao is used more than any other form of contact, including email, so my guess is that will be the fastest and easiest way to get a hold of them.

      Best of luck, and happy new year!

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