Lots of exciting things have been happening on the beauty scene in Hong Kong recently – so here’s a quick recap for any of my fellow make-up junkies…
One of the most popular beauty articles ever on Sassy was the news that Boots was coming back to Hong Kong, although quite a few of you were disappointed that it was via concessions in Mannings shops rather than as stand-alone stores. Well, I thought it was time to give you all a little update – namely, that the Boots range here in Hong Kong is properly awesome!
Trust me, I was as fearful as all of you that we’d be getting a paltry few products at vastly inflated prices, but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at what Mannings has delivered – namely rows and rows of Boots products (often equating to what seems like a third of the store in some locations) from loads of their different in-house brands, all at affordable price points. In fact, there might even be more goodies available here than at my local Boots back home (a small, unloved provincial High Street branch) and the range has now been rolled out to over 20 Mannings stores across Hong Kong (as opposed to the original eight or so), with locations as far afield as Yuen Long, Tuen Mun and Ma On Shan.
There are also lots of new ranges to report on:
Mark Hill – It can be quite hard to find good quality yet reasonably priced haircare here and this extensive range from the celeb hairdresser includes an array of shampoos, conditioners and treatments suited to loads of different hair types – plus they have a great dry shampoo too, yay! I think we can all agree that dry shampoo is one of the greatest inventions of our time, right?
Sabai-arom – This range of body and skincare is inspired by Thai culture and fragrances; Team Sassy has recently become obsessed with their hand creams (Jasmine is our fave!).
Botanics Whitening – Put aside those misgivings about whitening products; this Asia-exclusive range is intended more to protect your skin, brighten dull complexions and reduce hyperpigmentation and dark spots rather than dubiously claiming to change your race overnight, via the properties of natural plant ingredients from Kew Gardens (including mallow and liquorice). Even if the Whitening range isn’t your bag, do check out Botanics’ other lines, including ranges targeted towards sensitive or oily skin; I’ve been trying the All Bright Hydrating Day Cream, which has a lovely light texture, a pleasant fresh scent and boasts SPF 15 too. A definite repurchase, especially as it only costs $84!
Soltan – Definitely not a new range but it’s worth knowing that even Mannings stores that don’t stock the full Boots range DO all carry their award-winning sun protection products. Finding good suncare that was high quality, affordable and hadn’t been tinted a strange colour used to be surprisingly difficult in the ‘Kong, so I’m really pleased that Soltan is now easily available. Without wanting to sound like a public health infomercial, SPF products really are vital in Hong Kong all year round, so stock up!
The best thing about Boots products? They’re almost all as wallet-friendly as they are back in the UK, with the majority of items well under $100.
See all Mannings stores that sell Boots products in Hong Kong here.
MARKS & SPENCERS DOES BEAUTY
If you’ve been keeping up with UK beauty news, you’ll have heard that the Marks & Spencers stores back in Blighty had a bit of a makeover recently – with dedicated new ‘beauty concept’ areas selling not just M&S’s in-house lines, but also some exclusive independent international cosmetics brands too. Well good news for those of you who sighed ‘Great, but not in Hong Kong, is it?!’ because… IT IS!
The Harbour City Marks & Spencer store has been treated to its very own revamp, with the very first dedicated beauty section in Hong Kong. Called Your Beauty, this new (and surprisingly large) area stocks loads of really interesting niche cosmetics and skincare brands from across Europe and the States – many of which are available in Hong Kong for the first time and all of which comply to M&S’s strict cruelty-free policy.
You can now get your mitts on Leighton Denny nail polish, Skyn Iceland skincare (which I am hearing great things about), Pür Minerals make-up, Formula skincare (a range specially formulated for ageing skin), Acorelle natural and organic fragrances, La Maison de Senteurs bath and body products (these smell divine!) and loads more. The only way this could get better? A Percy Pig-themed toiletries range, of course!
Marks & Spencer Beauty, Unit 320A Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, 2926 3344
NEW GOODIES GALORE
If you’re a make-up junkie like me, you will not sleep until every beauty brand you know… and plenty more you didn’t… are easily available in Hong Kong! Well, there are plenty of goodies new(ish) to the ‘Kong, so here’s a quick lowdown:
Cowshed – This cult British spa line, made from 100% organic, Fair Trade botanicals, is renowned for its chic packaging, quirky tongue-in-cheek names and ultra-moisturising body lotions. I never had any idea where to find their stuff in Hong Kong… until Lane Crawford started stocking their goods earlier this year. My current fave? The Knackered Cow range. Think that says it all really! See all Lane Crawford locations in Hong Kong here.
Tatcha – Another cult beauty brand, this time hailing from San Francisco and inspired by Japanese geishas. Hrmmm… I know… I made that face too! Based on ancient geisha beauty rituals with ingredients like green tea, Okinawa red algae and rice bran, these products are all about purifying, nourishing and protecting the skin. I’ve been trying the rather intriguing Polished Rice Enzyme Powder – a luxe take on DIY, you simply add water to this fine pink powder and create a paste that you scrub over your face. This has to be one of the least abrasive exfoliators I’ve ever tried and left my skin squeaky clean, smooth and bright afterwards. Prices are a little on the steep side (the Rice Powder is $600) but if you can’t resist giving new products a go, you’ll definitely want to give Tatcha a try! It’s stocked exclusively in Hong Kong at Joyce Beauty. See all Joyce Beauty locations in Hong Kong here.
American Apparel nail polish – Remember in my post about American Apparel coming to Hong Kong, how I wished their nail polish had made the trip over too? Well, another Sassy dream came true, because now it has! You can get hold of American Apparel’s nail polish line exclusively at their concession in LAB Concept, and if you’re unfamiliar with the range, you’d be surprised at quite how large it is. Concentrating on fashion-forward colours rather than the usual boring pinks and beiges – we’re talking bright neons, crazy glitters, cool on-trend hues and even glow-in-the-dark polishes – I own far too many already! Formulas can be a bit hit or miss depending on the colour but when they get it right, these beauts give OPI and Essie a run for their money.
My current faves are the NEON range for a last-minute hit of summer colour, and African Violet, a flattering mid-purple; the thin rectangular bottles also look very cool… and mean I can jam-pack even more goodies into my nail polish drawer! They’re currently on offer at $165 for three bottles, and normally cost $60 each; pairing with American Apparel crop-tops and skintight leggings is (thankfully!) optional. American Apparel @ LAB Concept, Queensway Plaza, 93 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, 2118 6181
bareMinerals Lipsticks – bareMinerals has quietly crept up into being one of my favourite beauty brands (their pressed READY eyeshadows are amazing) but there used to be one glaring omission in their range… lippies. Well, not anymore! They’ve just launched their new Marvellous Moxie collection of 42 amazing lip products – that’s 18 shades of lippie, 14 lip glosses and 10 lip liners for anyone who’s counting! I road tested the Marvellous Moxie Lipstick ($180) and was super impressed with the results; the formula is ultra-creamy, feels soft and moisturising on the lips and boasts ingredients that actually make your lips look fuller too. I was also equally in love with the packaging – the lipsticks feature a nifty button that you slide to open the cap, meaning no more messy lipstick accidents in your handbag! See all bareMinerals locations in Hong Kong here.
Phew… over and out make-up junkies, time to get some beauty sleep!