Do you want to buy cosmetic contacts in Korea?
Circle lenses (AKA those contacts that make your eyes appear cuter and larger with a thick outer ring) are a huge trend here in Asia, maybe even a beauty must with some ages at this point. Wearing these contacts has become as everyday and normal as dying your hair, you cant walk a few feet in some areas without seeing a pretty set enhanced eyes nowadays.
Korea is all about the eyes~ we have over a dozen eye clinics in my small neighborhood alone that will give you an exam, sell you fashionable frames, traditional contacts, or sell you circle lenses! It’s one of the fashion basics here, something many people purchase just like any other contact lens.
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The selection of cosmetic lenses is so large and in demand here that aside from the normal eyeglass stores, many shops have popped up that are dedicated to selling JUST contact lenses! They have LOTS of choices and lots of price ranges… from around 10,000원 to 50,000원 ($10-$50) a pair or about 45,000원 and up for a boxed line of several pairs.
I used to have to pay around $120 a year to renew my contact lens prescription with this exam in the USA!
You do not need a prescription to buy lenses in Korea, and if you need ones with a prescription (this applies to glasses as well) you can just tell them the strength you need and they will fill the order for you, no questions asked.
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If you need your prescription to be checked they will do this for FREE at the shop 99% of the time~ even the tiny little shops that sell JUST contact lenses here seem to have a small machine to give your eyes a checkup. I have had mine checked several times and the result is always consistent too, so I have faith in the machines here~ in fact, they said my USA (paid) prescription was too high and lowered it~ I see just as good now and get less headaches!
HOW ABOUT THAT!? d(^o^)b
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Prescription Circle Lenses for all the styles displayed are almost always in stock and ready to be purchased on the spot. I used to have to wait a week or so for my order to come in back at home, but Korea with normal and circle lenses I have never had to wait for them to come in or special order my prescription~ ah its so great!
They also sell a smaller, but still very nice range of Toric circle lenses at the shops here~ but I am not sure how stocked those styles are since I have not had to buy them…. I would assume they have them ready to go in the shop as well though since most stores have walls filled with inventory! ^^
Generally circle lenses are sold by the piece in Korea + price a pair ♥ these will come in glass bottles~ one for each lens! Higher end or daily wear circle lenses like Acuvue Define and Naturelle are sold by the box though~ you can not buy just a single pair of these… I have tried. Sometimes they will have samples available of the boxed styles, but you have to make nice-nice and buy things first usually.
What kind of choices do you have if you buy circle lenses at a store in Korea??
Korea has lots of lenses to pick from, especially in the specialty shops~ If you want something a bit more fun they have a large selection here of colored and pattern circle lenses! These styles are normally sold by the lens and are very affordable…. around $10-$30 a pair depending on the brand.
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The size and style range at the shops in Korea is not always as dramatic as what you will find online though, so if you are looking for some giant jumbo green contacts you may have to hunt around! Lots of lenses you see online are too large for the overall subtle tastes here in retail locations~ so its best to just go into an actual store and shop around. If you are able to shop online with Korean sites you will find a massive selection though~ Stores sell a ton, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg!
Some of the common color lens styles here offered in stores.
In terms of styles available and stocked in most shops ~ Koreans tend to be mainly about NATURAL/ ENHANCING circle lenses, so you will see LOTS of fun choices for brown,black, and grey style outer rings mainly. Most shops also sell a range of the usual “fancy” colors in green, blue, grey, and purple~ but the amount of styles available can vary depending on the demand in that area~ for example, in one store I had 20 choices of lenses with a brown ring, but only 3 choices for green! ♥
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Above are Acuvue Define lenses, some of the most popular lenses in Korea ATM
Since beauty is all about looking natural in Korea atm lens sizes for enlarging the iris are modest. While some girls do wear the larger contact styles, most opt for the subtle ones currently so they are what is stocked the most in stores. You will easily find circle lenses in Korea around the 14-14.2 mm range….Its rare for me to run into styles larger than 14.5 and I have never seen the crazy jumbo 16mm or 17mm sizes in shops where I live, those sorts of styles and sizes are mainly dealt with online. If you are looking for a huge amount of enlargement you may have a hard time finding what you want in the stores here, but I think the majority of shoppers will still be satisfied with the sizes.
I personally loooove the large amount of 14 mm options here, any circle lens larger than that looks odd on my Caucasian eyes ^^;
Try before you buy~ kinda!
So you are in a shop, but can’t decide between two choices of circle lenses in those little bottles~ Don’t worry! Most of the shops actually have this amazing little plastic eyeball tray that they can place the lens on to see how it looks on an iris!! So clever!! It’s not the same as trying it on, but a lot faster and it does help a lot when picking out ones for color or lenses with unique ring designs! Sadly these sample eyes are only in 2 shades of brown since its Asia~ but it still helps you get an idea!
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Where to buy circle lenses in Korea??
This is a little tricky since they are scattered around for the most part! I cant walk 15 min without seeing an eyeglass/contact lens shop or coffee shop here…. seriously! If you are in Seoul it should be very easy to just come across one as long as you keep your eyes open for the shop and banners… they are kinda hard to miss though! Here are the 4 main places….
“Lens Story” one of the more popular contact shop chains in Korea + “Flowers Over Lenses” @ Sillim station
1. Contact lens specialty shops♥ These are small little stores that mainly deal with JUST contacts, you walk in and its a glass counter with all the styles in bottles for you to see! If you need to restock you can also buy brands of plain contacts, eye drops, or cases here as well, they deal with anything contact lens related! This is the best choice if you want to buy many pairs + have lots of choices, but they are not as common as eyeglass stores. These are usually found in trendy hot spots for young crows and students, or around popular metro stations. Basically any area people tend to flock ^^
I recommend the chains Lens Story, O-Lens, or “Flowers over Lenses” in Sillim which is a single location, but really nice!
The word for glasses in Korean is 안경 (an-gyong) so just look for buildings that say 안경 in the name!
2. From eyeglass stores♥ These are large stores and hard to miss… just look for all the glasses or banners outside! They usually sell the boxed brands of nicer daily-wear friendly circle lenses like Acuvue Define or Freshlook Illuminate + some of the cheaper Korean basics. Some stores are stand-alone shops and others are inside larger buildings.
3. Mall Vendor ♥ Lots of the large shopping buildings/malls/centers here will have a contact lens booth set up, often they will deal with glasses as well! A few of the shopping buildings in Dongdaemun have a contact lens guy set up at a booth to take orders and fill them on the spot or within an hour or so while you shop. Most of these that I come across have the machine to check your eyes quickly as well
4. Online ♥ if you can order through a Korean site or have someone help you~ they have so many that it is hard to list them all though! My favorite online shops for fun lenses that are a bit more dramatic are Pinkage and O-Lens which are both pretty popular here as well, especially O-Lens it seems. Both have retail locations throughout Korea as well, but I have not stopped by any of them IRL just yet.
Pinkage has a English version of the site you can shop with apparently!
What to buy? What are the popular lenses here in Korea?
- Acuvue Define circle lenses are currently one of the most popular lenses right now in Seoul because they are super natural looking but the change is noticeable, VERY comfortable, and have UV blocking. These are sold by the box and are available at any of the eye-wear or contact shops here. Currently they have 3 styles~ Vivid, Accent, & Shine ♥ The most popular Acuvue Define lens in Korea is the Accent Style, followed by the Vivid.
My Korean friend was telling me that for most professional jobs and interviews they discourage wearing circle lenses, but if you must this is the brand they suggest since it is such a natural enhancement.
- CHAGALL 샤갈렌즈 is a very natural enhancing black+grey lens here and super popular with Middle and High School students because it is only 14mm in size and the color area is 13.5mm. Many girls online love these lenses because they make your eyes pretty, but teachers can’t notice you have them in ♥ haha sneaky!
♥ this style is also available in Toric for those of you that need it!♥
- Angel Define 엔젤 is another popular lens for Middle and High Schoolers in particular because you can sneak it by the teachers without them noticing. This lens has a larger grey ring in the center vs the Chagall lenses, but the size is pretty much the same~ 14mm lens and slightly larger 13.6mm color area
- DALI Brown 달리 브라운 lenses are some of the more popular brown lenses in Korea atm for a decent amount of enlarging and thin soft brown gradient. Dali overall seems to be well-liked with fans of brown circle lenses here because the Dali Heart and Dali Shiny are also blogged about a ton. It actually took me a while to figure out just what Dali Browns everyone was talking about since they are all brown. If you like brown circle lenses or are not a fan of the traditional black ones you should give these a try~ they create a very sweet innocent look to the eye.
- Tutti Color Lens 뚜띠렌즈 these are some of the more popular “noticeable” lenses here for people that want a unique change and some color. Online the most popular colors are the brown and grey, but the blue and green also show up nice on darker eyes. These have a much more dramatic ring vs some of the other color designs and give a nice large eye effect even though they are still only 14mm in size!
- BT Lens 비티렌즈 is popular in both the grey and the brown colors because it enhances the whole iris color and has a very delicate outer ring design. This one, like a few others listed is still about 14mm in diameter total but a modest 13.2mm of colored area so it does not enlarge too much, but most people seem to really enjoy how vivid and noticeable the color becomes in the light.
♥ Handy Korean ♥
Circle Lens – 써클랜즈
Toric Lens – 난시용 렌즈
Where can I buy circle lens? – 써클랜즈 어디서 살 수 있어요?
My prescription is XXX – 제 눈 돗수는 XXX 이에요
I do not know my prescription – 제 눈 도수 몰라요
Plano/No prescription – 도수 없는 랜즈
I need an exam – 눈 검사 해주세요