Lashes in the Lush


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Forget the Merlion Key Chains & Nonya Kaya: Cool Asian Beauty Gifts to Bring Back Home during Summer Holidays

Almost summer holidays, meaning a massive migration amongst expats in Singapore that are going home to Europe, the US, Australia or elsewhere outside of Asia. Anticipating on this migration, I find myself picking up increasing amounts of local gifts to bring back home for friends and family. During past visits I already brought back silk kimono’s, chopsticks, all kinds of merchandise with “Can Lah” and local delicacies such as Nonya Kaya. This time I decided to delight the people at home with something more inspiring than another Merlion keychain or Orchid fridge magnet, and -more importantly- stuff that I love myself: Asian Beauty Products. Anything from kawaii cute to Chinese Traditional Medicine weird (from a Western point of view, that is) – find out below what I will bring back home this year!

Etude House “I need you” Sheet Masks

Possibly the cutest sheet masks around that come in a great variety with different ingredients for different purposes: from ‘regulars’ like Tee Tree and Olive Oil to ‘through and through Asian’ like pearl powder, ginseng and snail slime (all very high regarded ingredients within Traditional Chinese Medicine!). These sheet masks can be purchased individually for only 1,90 SGD a piece and make great small gifts; I usually create a set myself by picking 5 Asian ingredients/themes by just wrapping a ribbon around it.

Price: 1,90 SGD
Available at Etude House (find stores here)

It’s Skin – Macaron Tinted Lip and Cheek

A beauty product in the shape of a pink macaron – need I say more?! Besides the cutesy packaging this lip and cheek tint is actually a pretty great product to add a subtle hint of colour on your lips or cheeks; it has a creamy texture and the sweet and delicious scent that "sends happy softness and moisture”.

Price: 10 SGD
Available through Althea (free shipping to Singapore above 50 SGD)

The Face Shop "Myeonghan Miindo" Hwansaenggo Gold Eye Cream

A luxurious gift for your (aging) besties! I first of all love the design of The Face Shop's entire Myeonghan Miindo line, a range of Oriental herbal skincare. This anti-aging eyecream contains 6 year old red ginseng, which is believed to be the highest grade ginseng and is effective to regenerate and slow down the aging process. In addition, the firm and rich cream contains 24K pure gold (250mg) to create bright and resilient skin. Amongst the other wrinkle improving and nourishing essences from traditional Asian plant extracts are camellia oil, lotus flower extract, cordyceps, lingzhi mushroom and fermented bean extract. The Myeonghan Miindo line consist of many other great products in different price categories, starting at 12,90 SGD for a sheet mask. 

N.B. This product contains skin lightening ingredients like licorice extract and niacinamide; these ingredients won't turn you or your friends into pale white ghosts right away, unless you use several products with these ingredients multiple times a day for a longer period of time. In a single eyecream these ingredients won't do any harm to your skin and might even cause good results like lightening up the dark circles under your eyes. Read more about the difference between whitening, lightening and brightening here.

Price: 95 SGD (also available in a gift set - see picture above)
Available at The Face Shop (find stores here)

Majolica Majorca "Lash Gorgeous Wing Neo" Mascara

Mascara formulated with long and short jet black fibers to fill in the gaps between each eyelash for thick, voluminous lashes! So yes, there's actually little pieces of fiber that stick to your eyelashes, like minuscule false lashes with a more natural effect than regular rows of false eyelashes. These fibers stick firmly to your lashes so no worries that the particles will fall into your eyes. I wear contact lenses myself and have no issues whatsoever wearing this product and really love the full voluminous effect it creates (use at least 2 layers of product though). Majolica Majorca is a leading makeup brand in Asia and part of the Shiseido Group - valid arguments to use if your friends initially find the not so Western-looking mascara a bit bizarre (last time I brought this home I was bombarded with a.o."Ieww...did you get this from AliExpress for less than a dollar?!" and "I looks like it has been made in Frankensteins Seoul basement...You seriously expect me to use this?!")

Price: 25,90 SGD
Available at a.o. Watsons (find stores here)

Onsen Japonica "Complete Regimen Box"

Hydrating, nourishing and pampering - this ultimate treat makes the perfect gift for your BFF. An onsen is a Japanese hotspring that the Japanese have been bathing in for centuries already because of the healing powers derived from its mineral content. The products of Onsen Japonica contain pure, certified onsen water that is sourced from the only onsen spring approved by the Japanese government for use in cosmetics. This cool brand offers their complete three-step skincare routine to soothe and rejuvenate the skin at a cellular level in a lovely traditional Japanese Paulownia wooden box. That you actually might want to keep yourself instead of giving it away - happened to me before. Still not convinced? Read my review of Onsen Japonica's Deep Hydrating Cleanser here.

Price: 280 SGD
Available through Onsen Japonica's webshop (free delivery in Singapore) and Sephora's webshop

Piolang "CP-1 Oriental Herbal Hair Cleansing Shampoo & Treatment"

The past decade I have worked in Marketing Communications for several cosmetic brands - as a result, I'm a fool for the incredibly funny Asian product claims and taglines that give me a good laugh and make me love the products even more. Recently I couldn't resist to purchase Piolang's CP-1 Oriental Herbal Hair products as a gift for two another marketing-savvy friends back at home because of the following product promises:

I mean, who can resist "their lover dreaming deep into your subtle scent beside you"?! The products contain a herbal complex consisting of fruits and flowers used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, like Magnolia Kobus Bark extract, Camelia Japonica Seed extract, Evening Primrose extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa root (Moutan or Chinese tree peony) and. In addition, the products contain horse oil – a fascinating ingredient (read my review of a face mask with horse oil here) that is very popular in all kinds of Asian cosmetics.

Price: 16,80 SGD (set of Shampoo + Treatment)
Available through Althea (free shipping to Singapore above 50 SGD)

My Beauty Dairy (Imperial) Bird's Nest Sheet Masks

A true classic and typically South East Asian beauty ingredient: Bird's Nest. Read my review of My Beauty Diary's Imperial Bird's Nest Mask here.

My Beauty Dairy (Imperial) Bird's Nest Mask (10 pcs)
Price: 14,50 SGD

Available at a.o. Watsons (find stores here) & Guardian (find stores here)


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