I’m back with another treatment review! This was a biggie for me- it included my first ever facial laser treatments at one of the most famous clinics in Seoul- Banobagi. Korean beauty in Seoul is all about facials, treatments and innovative solutions, and Banobagi Clinic are at the forefront of that, with the most up-to-date technology and expert medical staff. So how did I like my experience?
I received this treatment as a prize from Seoul Cosmetic Surgery medical concierge group, at Seoul Blogger Brunch. All opinions are honest, as aaaalways.
DAY 1: Pre-Treatment Consultation
Okay, so with this treatment, different from anything else I’ve had, I actually had an appointment before my main treatment, to discuss all my options and make a plan with the doctor. This was super helpful, and really interesting to hear his analysis of my face. It was immediately apparent that this wasn’t just a facial- this was dermatology at it’s most advanced.
First I had a relaxing makeup removal in the esthetician area. Then I was led to a photo room where they used a Dermavision camera to take photos of my skin, and the doctor used those photos to decide the treatment I’d have.
Because I didn’t want anything at all invasive, we decided on the All in One Therapy. The All-In-One Therapy is a tailored program for each individual, including up to 8 laser treatments in one day, to target a wide variety of skin troubles such as moles, spots, uneven skin tone, acne, acne scars and hair removal, with zero downtime afterwards. Together, the doctor and I created a program individual to me and my needs. We decided on only two laser treatments (because I didn’t want any scabbing afterwards) with the I2PL and Mercury lasers, and a higher number of facial treatments. Those two lasers, and the accompanying skin treatments, would help even out my skin tone, target the pigmentation, and give me a clearer complexion. I was excited, and I really really loved how tailored my treatment was, rather than merely choosing from a menu of facials.
The basic cost of All-In-One Therapy is 2.2 million KRW. This is about $2000 or £1500. Initially, this does sound like a lot, and to be completely honest, I was a little shocked when I first heard that price. But after I’d finished the treatments, when I considered everything I had done, all the machinery used , the doctor’s expertise, the support, the time taken (7 hours split over 3 separate visits), and the insane results that I’ll get to later, it really becomes a very realistic price, if it’s something you’re able to afford. I was informed that 2.2 million is a rough figure- the treatment is tailored individually, so that was the price for what I specifically had done, but it could vary slightly depending on your needs. It’s a premium set of treatments, at one of the top clinics in Seoul, and IMO, a totally fair price based on my experiences, which you’re gonna hear all about, right here right now!
Because (unlike many of the clients Banobagi usually deal with) I didn’t want anything invasive whatsoever, I truly appreciated the support of Mona and Dean from Seoul Cosmetic Surgery, who accompanied me at every step. They asked so many questions to the doctor, ensuring that there was nothing I didn’t know about, and reassuring me that we’d only agree on a program that worked for me.
DAY 2: Main Treatment Day
I arrived on a Saturday at 10.30am and I was told to allow three hours for the entire treatment.
We began with another quick doctor consultation, confirming the treatment and getting information. The doctor was really friendly, and I felt confident in his knowledge and experience. He again explained all the lasers and the treatments I’d be receiving. We had an in-house translator with us, as well as Dean from Seoul Cosmetic Surgery, so there was no language barrier- always a worry when you’re receiving treatments abroad!
We then moved into the esthetician area for the first few steps!
1.First my makeup was removed, in a thoroughly relaxing way.
The room was lined with beds and it was pretty bustling and busy, but this is a clinic rather than a spa, so not surprising. I noticed that the esthetician had been handed notes by the doctor, to ensure they followed the exact program made for me. This was super professional and I really felt like I was in good hands.
2. The esthetician then went onto use a lovely little skin scaling device, which felt great. I wanna see if I can get my hands on one actually…
3. Two serums were brushed all over my face- one whitening and one brightening. All very relaxing and enjoyable!
4. Next we moved onto a 10 minute iontophoresis treatment with the Prism machine.
A gauze was laid on my face with gel brushed over. Iontophoresis is basically the use of mild electrical currents to deliver vitamins and antioxidants more effectively, and deeper, into skin. Because the nutrients go deeper into the skin, the brightening and rejuvenation results are more immediate than products applied to skin surface. I couldn’t feel anything at all while I lay there.
Laser Preparation and Treatment
5. It was now time for numbing cream, ready for the laser treatment. They left the cream on my face for about 50 minutes while I chilled with Mona and Dean in the waiting room.The clinic was craaaazy busy, as it was right before the Chuseok holiday, so I had to wait a little longer than usual. No problem for me, I was thankful to be as numb as possible!
6. First we went to the Mercury laser room. The numbing cream was scraped off with a spatula by an assistant, and then the doctor himself arrived to perform the treatment. I wore protective eye glasses, and the doctor moved the laser across my face, concentrating more in certain areas. The Mercury laser basically just felt very hot on my skin. It wasn’t painful as such, but quite uncomfortable when he held it over areas of skin for longer. I could also smell burning which was a little scary at first, but totally normal. It was over in a flash- literally like 5 minutes, which surprised me. My skin felt slightly hot to touch afterwards, and (no surprise with my skin type, and redness) my face was a little red.
7. Onto the I2PL, in another different small room. This is a verrrry new laser, and one that I expected a little pain from to be honest. A gel was applied to my face beforehand, and then the doctor started. This laser felt very different to the Mercury. It was exactly as people describe- each zap was like an elastic band pinging off my skin. I have a SUPER low pain threshold (apparently it’s common in redheads, myth or truth I dunno, but it’s true for this ginge), and it was totally bearable for me. I expected worse! Again it only lasted a few minutes, as the doctor moved across different areas of my face. There was no smell this time, and my skin seemed less red afterwards, compared to the Mercury.
OK LASERS DONE. I was literally so worried about these, and they were both completed within about 10 minutes, with minimal pain. Perfecto.
Back to the esthetician table…
8. Now time for one of my favourite treatments in every Korean facial- the modelling mask. This was to cool and bring down redness after the laser. It felt icy cold and incredible on my heated face!
9. This was followed by removal of the mask, and some basic skincare application. I thought at this point we were done, but no! Still more…
10. Last was some gentle light therapy, using a biolight for skin rejuvenation. It’s a very popular treatment in dermatology right now, as the red LED light activates cells to produce new collagen, and helps kickstart the cell’s repair mechanisms. This is perfect after treatments, to help skin recover.
You’re still with me? Great! I know it’s a long one, but I want to share every detail of this with you guys, so you know exactly what it’s all about. That was the end of my first session…three hours later and it was time to go. At the end of this session my skin certainly looked quite glowy, but I was told it would take up to a week to see the full effects, and I would come back in on the Monday for an hour aftercare. There was literally no redness left on my face by this point, I could apply makeup straight away (in their lovely and convenient powder room), and go about my day. This was exactly what I had demanded, and they provided. No disruptions to my busy life!
DAY 3: Aftercare
Back again 2 days later, and this time no lasers, just a rejuvenating facial. I’m gonna keep this brief and lay out the steps the doctor ordered! Again I had a consultation with him. The consultations were an aspect of this clinic that is truly next level. So much detail and attention to each individual’s face and exactly what I needed done. Again he wrote down the treatments he wanted the esthetician to perform, and those notes were passed along to my bedside in the skincare room.
1.Make up removal
2. Dermiocare- Cryocell Therapy. The esthetician brushed an aloe gel all over my face, before using the machine. It felt really cool but so pleasant as she massaged my face (you can see the device in the photo below). The machine basically freezes skin’s surface (although it honestly didn’t feel that cold, just very cool), and uses electrical currents to penetrate skin with moisturizing and soothing ingredients. Because the blood capillaries restrict, from what I understand the ingredients that go into your skin stay in the skin’s surface. The purpose is to calm skin and aid in the reparation process. It’s very common to use this after laser or plastic surgery.
3. Oxygen Treatment with Weyergans machine
This is an anti-aging treatment which uses negative oxygen ions and transfers them to the skin. As the patient, you can’t feel anything at all, but it’s supposed to energize cells, helping collagen synthesis and improving conditions for cell regeneration.
4. Modelling Mask Pack
5. Light Therapy (same as on main treatment day) with the biolight machine.
6. Sunscreen application, and DONE.
Honestly? I was completely taken by surprise, and blown away by my results. My skin is already in pretty decent condition, but I didn’t realize how much it could be improved. About a week after the lasers, as the doctor explained, my skin was GLOWING. Like, really really glowing. I took the below photo in Busan on my trip a week after, with no editing or filters, and although I’m wearing light base makeup, you can really see how incredible my skin looked.
Below is my face before the treatments on the left, and afterwards on the right. It’s a little difficult to see in photos, but if you look carefully you can see my freckles and pigmentation spots (chin and cheek) are significantly faded, and my pores also look smaller too.
It was at this point, a week after the treatments, that I truly appreciated the entire treatment, and deemed it completely worth of the price they charge, considering all aspects and results. I totally didn’t expect my skin to look so good, and I received a number of compliments from people on my complexion! I do think to maintain these results you’d have to continue to return for lasers every so often, and again, it’s going to come down to personal budget limits as to whether that’s possible for you. I’ve been religious with my Vitamin C serum and AHA/BHA use afterwards to try and maintain the results, and at 3 weeks later, my skin is still looking just as fabulous as it did after a week. Long live the glow!
I also want to point out how impressed I’ve been with Mona and Dean at Seoul Cosmetic Surgery. They’ve been so unbelievably supportive, attending every session and ensuring every single aspect is taken care of. I haven’t had to worry about a thing, and I’d HIGHLY recommend using their expertise if you want to delve into Seoul’s dermatology/surgery world. It’s really invaluable to have that inside help.
I’m so impressed, so grateful to Banobagi and Seoul Cosmetic Surgery, and I’m headed back for more treatments soon, which I’l definitely be keeping you guys informed about!
What do you think?! Would love to hear your thoughts.