I got back from Hong Kong last week. We had a great time in that great city. I could go on and on about the trip but for the sake of time, I’m going to focus only on my beauty impressions and purchases.
Before visiting Hong Kong, I did some online research, trying to find stores I’d like to visit that carried skincare. To my surprise, there wasn’t too much available for English speakers, especially Americans. After visiting, I totally get why. Every other store in Hong Kong is a skincare store. I’m not exaggerating. Skincare is huge business there. There are stand alone skincare and beauty stores like Chanel or Estee Lauder. There are “Ulta” type stores like Sasa and Colourmix that carry everything from a variety of brands. There are drugstores that carry stuff that aren’t in US drugstores. There are plenty of Korean shops (except Missha closed down right before I got there). There are luxury department stores like Lane Crawford that carry a lot of the brands you find in the U.S. (like Tom Ford, SK-II). You can stand on a street and look down in any direction and see 5 skincare stores and skin/beauty related spas. So, that’s why there are few online guides! You go there, you venture outside and you’re going to find beauty stores. I mean, you go the highest point of Hong Kong and there is a Tony Moly. You can’t avoid skincare stores if you tried! Just ask my husband, I mean, he tried and he couldn’t avoid standing around in them while I examined each and every one of them.
I did notice that people, even men, really care about skincare. Men were in these stores buying K-Pop boy band branded sheet masks. Young girls were leaving school in their uniforms to go and buy sunscreen. Women applied cushion compacts on the MTR. Cosmetics were everywhere and the focus is more on skincare and complexion than color products. Now saying that, color products are popular. Women do wear makeup but it’s not like the US where women spend a lot more on lipstick than they do facial cleanser. I also love that people carry parasols and wear visors. I admit I felt rather at home in a place that dislikes the sun as much as I do.
A quick comment on fragrance. We’re always told via marketing and industry stuff how perfume is less popular in Asia. I think it’s popular but it’s a different market. Lighter stuff seems to be popular but I *do* smell people in public wearing perfume. People are wearing perfume. Stores are scented with an Elizabeth Arden Green Tea-ish type scents. I smelled a light jasmine in public spaces. Scent is appreciated it’s just not like the big stuff like chypres and celeb scents aren’t popular. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle is popular everywhere…for sure. I smell that wherever I go. But, overall I smelled a lot of a white musk (think The Body Shop White Musk), sheer incense (like the CdG Incense series) and rose (like Jo Malone London Red Roses and Diptyque Eau Rose). I imagine that brands like Fresh, Annick Goutal, Jo Malone London and Diptyque are doing very well in Hong Kong (and after talking to some industry folks, I found out that they are). And Hermessences and Chanel Les Exclusifs are popular too. So what I’m trying to say is that I saw and smelled a lot of perfume; it’s just different. And in my opinion, if I lived in that warm, humid and densely populated city, I’d be wearing lighter scents from the Hermèssence line too! And, geez, this sounds snobby, but I’d so rather smell CdG Avignon on someone than the fruity-sweet celeb scents that I choke on here at the bus stop.
OK, now moving on to my purchases. For the most part, I grabbed whatever. There was nothing on “my list”. My pictures are crappy as I took them when I got back to our dimly lit hotel. Due to traveling, I had to throw out the boxes/packaging of most to make them fit in my luggage so I didn’t retake pics once I got home.
On the first day I hit up a lot of the Korean skincare and makeup stores like Innisfree, Etude house, Tony Moly, Too Cool for School and SkinFood. There are also some smaller local stores that carry a variety of Asian brands. Here’s my haul:
Innisfree Perfumed Body Cleanser in Daphne Blossom
Innisfree Perfume Body Cream in Daphne Blossom
Innisfree Soybean Energy Special Kit – A GWP.
Innisfree Jeje Fig Hand Cream
Innisfree Eco Flower Tint in Rose
Innisfree Sheet Masks
Innisfree No-Sebum Mineral Pact – I was not equipped for the humidity in HK. I picked this up to get me through the day. Really nice product.
Too Cool for School Cat Streets Hand Cream in Lilac – Adorable packaging, smells great.
Too Cool for School Art Class Pigment in a bright orange – I love the orange monochrome face look.
Elizavecca Green Piggy Collagen Jelly Pack
Koelf Bulgarian Rose Gel Eye Patch – It’s the eye patch of elves. That’s what the box says.
Yuan Toothpaste in Hinoki – I hate American toothpaste.
Mas Solid Perfume – Super cool Taiwanese brand that makes super cool stuff. This smells like white musk which I smelled on so many women in Hong Kong.
Etude House Baby Pudding Pact – Have a feeling that name won’t do so well in the English market…
Etude House Sheet Masks
And some Georges Barbier journals. No clue why those are in the pic. Whatever.
I didn’t buy any SkinFood, which is one of my favorites mainly because I buy that in the US and have everything that I want from them.
I hit up a Tony Moly on the second day since I realized I didn’t buy anything yet:
Tony Moly Bubble Donkey Milk Foam Cleanser
Tony Moly Peach Hand Cream x 3 – This are now discontinued, so the SA told me. 2014 was the last year for PEACHES!
Tony Moly Sheet Masks – So many sheet masks, like 30. I can’t let Fan Bingbing use more than me.
Tony Moly Changing Magic Sheet Mask – It was a GWP.
And while I’m thinking about it. Everyone has been so generous with samples. I spend more than I’d like to admit at department stores and Sephora in the US and they NEVER give me a sample unless I ask. And frankly, I don’t feel like asking. Samples are powerful little things. I’ve bought so many products based on falling in love with the sample.
Mannings is a drugstore like CVS or something. Here’s my drugstore haul:
Colgate Charcoal Slim Toothbrushes – I use charcoal-infused toothbrushes so I mainly picked these up because they are new and not easy to find in the U.S.
Neutrogena Fine Fairness Sheet Masks
Biore Makeup Remover Gel – Asia gets all of the best Biore products.
Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser
L’Oreal White Perfect Day Cream
Nivea Extra Whitening Deodorant – Everywhere gets better Nivea than the U.S.
Maybelline Baby Lips in Berry Crush – Are these in the U.S.? I don’t know. I just really needed a lip balm at the moment.
Sasa is like an Ulta and it’s the best thing in the world. There’s one on like every block in Hong Kong. They carry skincare, hair products, makeup and fragrance. Some Sasas are better than others. Some Sasas are bigger than others.
Omi Brotherhood Mentum Shea Stick in Rose
Omi Brotherhood Mentum Shea Stick in Sakura – How could I resist floral lip balms? The answer: I didn’t.
Maybelline Jelly Glow in 02 – This is Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush but made in Japan, smaller and well, cuter.
Cosmetex Airy & Easy Creamy Cheek Puff in Pure Pink – A dolly cream blush made in Japan. Apply it like a “stamp”.
3CE Cream Blusher in Baby Orange
3CE Lip Pigment in Bright Orange – 3CE is one of my favorite Korean cosmetics companies (can be found at Style Nanda). I love a good monochrome face look.
Okey & Dokey Lip Treatment in Pink Macaroon – I only bought this because of the cute flying pig.
Lavshuca Flower Syrup Lip Gloss in Red – I feel hard for the Japanese jelly lips.
Banila Tea Party Foam Cleanser in Rose Jasmine
And some sort of eye mask with roses.
I bought a lot of foaming cleansers and I have no clue as to why other than my skin was confused by being “oily” in humidity as if it were some subconscious thing.
I was bored at the airport and ended up shopping at the duty free shops:
Shanghai Tang Spring Jasmine EDP – Gorgeous packaging.
Shanghai Tang Gold Lily EDP – Apparently this is their best seller. It’s like licorice lilies.
Hermès Bar Soaps in Eau de Narcisse Bleu – Fancy Soaps 4 Life is my motto.
Well, that was some of the damage that I did. I also bought some other stuff like goth boy clothes, bags that say stuff like “DON’T LOOK AT ME” and design books. And yes, I’m going to put myself on a cosmetic no-buy until spring because, well, I don’t need to explain why. As you can see, I was on a makeup marathon.
Hong Kong is awesome. I already miss it. Coming back to Seattle, I feel like I live in a tiny village where people and transit are inefficient. And people are skin-neglecting barbarians 🙂 I’m happy to be back to the frugs and tacos but I do miss the energy of that city. I left with a ton of beauty products and a lot of inspiration that I’m going to use throughout the year.
*All pics are mine.