Hong Kong might be a veritable shopper’s paradise but, believe it or not, there are still some beauty brands that aren’t available here. Madness! And unfortunately, they just so happen to be some of my favourites too!
So, with the hope that some well-meaning cosmetics distributors are reading this and take pity on a poor make-up addict, here are five of my most-missed – and where to get your fix if you’re desperate!
Oh Urban Decay… how I love thee. Make-up that channels your inner rock star – but at decidedly un-rock star prices! UD’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils are my ultimate eyeliner of all time; available in a gorgeous rainbow of colours, these stunners are soft, creamy and blendable, smudge-proof, water-proof and just about anything else-proof too (I own at least 20)! Their Naked Palette is the ultimate travel companion, comprising every shadow you need to create either an easy daytime look or a smouldering smoky eye, whilst their Primer Potion, which sets eye-shadows in a crease-free wash of vibrant colour for hours, is nothing short of a cult. And yet, you still aren’t sold here. WHY?!
Where to get it: I’m too much of an Urban Decay addict to not have found a few sources! Both www.lookfantastic.com and www.hqhair.com sell Urban Decay with free delivery to Hong Kong; try and wait for some of their frequent discount coupons to make a big bulk buy!
Soap & Glory
Created by Marcia Kilgore, the founder of Bliss Spa and creator of FitFlops, Soap & Glory specialise in luxurious body products… but at prices that make pampering seem a necessity rather than an indulgence! My favourite product of theirs is The Righteous Butter, a ravishingly rich body lotion that will leave your skin meltingly soft and divinely scented (use after their Flake-Away scrub for skin smoother than you thought possible!). I’m also desperate to try their new miracle product, Sit Tight, which claims to get rid of cellulite by doing nothing more strenuous than sitting down – which sounds like my kind of exercise! With its pun-tastic names, retro pink packaging and lush products, we need Soap & Glory here stat!
Where to get it: Soap & Glory goodies are sold at www.boots.co.uk and www.sephora.com; alas, neither of which deliver here! You can also get your mitts on their products at the Sephora in Singapore. So your best bet is to stock up when you’re abroad – or get some kind friend (codename: make-up mule!) to do it for you!
Aussie’s Three Minute Miracle Conditioner does exactly what it says on the tin, turning damaged dry and straggly hair into a well-tamed silky-smooth gorgeously-glossy mane in three minutes flat! Their range of shampoos, conditioners and other hair products tackle all types of hair issues and are unbeatable for the price. Last time my Mum came back from the UK, she practically brought me a suitcase of the stuff!
Where to get it: Despite the fact that Aussie is a mass-market brand that’s ridiculously easy to get hold of pretty much everywhere else in the world, it’s still not made the swim over to the 852 *sob*. Nor can I find any websites that will ship it here – so if you have any tips, let me know!
I miss Boots more than members of my own family! Sasa, Bonjour, Watsons et al can’t even come close to this one-stop shop for your every make-up and skincare need; lipstick, hand cream, hair straighteners, electric toothbrushes and everything in-between, Boots has it all – you can even top up your phone balance, get your photos developed and buy your lunch there too! Their Advantage Card, which builds up points with each purchase to redeem against later buys, is exceptionally generous and totally without comparison to anything here. Their list of brands is exhaustive, including great-value in-house ones and Boots exclusives, like No.7 (and its much-lauded Protect & Perfect serum), Botanics and renowned dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe’s fantastic skincare line. Just the thought of their 3 for 2 offer on Christmas gift sets still makes me misty-eyed (I operated a ‘Buy 2 for me, get 1 for someone else’ system!). Can you tell how much I miss it?!
Where to get it: If you are prepared to do battle with the suitcase-toting crowds, we’ve spotted a few Boots products for sale at Lung Shing Dispensary (28 Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong). Boots also has many stores in Thailand – worth remembering the next time you’re on your hols! Meanwhile, Boots’ Thai website delivers to Singapore (though not Hong Kong… yet!), if you have any friends willing to act as make-up mules on their next visit!
If you love colourful adventurous cosmetics, it can often seem that MAC is your only port of call in HK. Illamasqua takes the daring artistry from the early days of MAC and takes it to the nth degree, thanks to superstar make-up artist and creative director Alex Box. This is make-up not for the faint-hearted – and all the better for it! I particularly love their Liquid Metals, pure molten metal that can be applied anywhere, and their intense Pure Pigments, which are bound to bring out your bold side. They’re also renowned for their matte eye shadows and blushes (great for those who don’t want shimmer in everything), their unusual nail polish colours and their especially innovative seasonal collections (hint: don’t expect spring flowers or festive baubles here!). The fact they have a nail polish named Milf should say it all!
Where to get it: www.illamasqua.com ships to Hong Kong for a flat-rate of £8.50 – and speaking from experience, it arrives super-quickly and immaculately-packaged to boot (try and hold out for one of their sales or discount vouchers to balance out the P&P cost!). Illamasqua is also sold on www.ASOS.com, which as everyone knows by now do free international delivery – although check carefully as not all items are allowed to ship here.
What’s your most missed make-up? Any miracle products we should know about? Let us know in the comments!