Okay Asia is a huge region. I’m really talking about South East Asia, countries like Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong where I’ve had the opportunity to shop for health and beauty products. However, all of the products that I recommend here can be found at regional high street retailers like GNC, Sasa, Watsons etc. so wherever you find yourself, whether it’s transiting at an airport or passing by a mall, you’ll likely be able to pick up at least two of these items on my best beauty buys from Asia list.
Dr Jart Dermask Water Jet Vital Hydra Solution
With retailers like Selfridges hawking single sheets from this K-beauty brand for as much as £5.50, it’s definitely worth picking up one of my favourite masks when you’re in Asia. A popular high street beauty store called Sasa do a pack of 10 for around £12 but I got mine on offer for a few £ less on promotion. It contains everyone’s favourite ingredient right now – hyaluronic acid – and it hydrates the skin, replenishing it, making it brighter and plumped-up in the morning. It’s also one of the more premium sheet masks made of cellulose fibre, a much more pleasant texture than the papery ones.
Haute tip: Save the excess liquid by storing it in the fridge or seal it with a freezer clip overnight. You can use it the next day as serum!
Locating falsies in Asia is probably easier than hunting down a pack of tampons. Every drug store will sell good quality ones but my favourite place to buy them, particularly in Singapore, is Far East Plaza. For many of you who haven’t ventured to this wonderland, it’s basically an old mall at the end of the most famous shopping district, where tons of independent boutiques and beauty stalls set up camp. Even street style star Yoyo Cao started her label at FEP! If you enter through the main entrance, take the escalator to the second floor and you’ll see a shop selling falsies. They’re kind of expensive. Go directly opposite and you’ll get your packs of eyelashes for $5 cheaper. It’s just as good and they have a wider selection.
Haute tip: I’m a huge fan of fake eyelashes, I wear them almost every time I leave the house so that I don’t damage my genuine ones with tons of mascara. If you’re a pro at application, get the strip lashes that have a transparent band. For volume, go for the ones that are criss-crossed or ‘v-shaped’ as they mimic the appearance of natural lashes. For a realistic yet fluttery look, look for the tight clusters with thin fibres and cut them up into three or four sections so you can better customise the look. Yes, I really do this almost every day and it takes an extra 10 minutes but it’s worth it, okay?
Heat eye masks
One of the only brands I’ve seen in the UK that do warm up eye masks is SpaceMasks, which you can find at Liberty’s or on cult beauty websites like FeelUnique at £15 for a pack of five. Of course, these are far more attractive than the ones I’m about to suggest but then again, you’ll be saving £8-9 with my Asian drugstore version. You can find these at any pharmacy, namely Guardian and Watsons. The downside? Umm, they kind of look like sanitary pads that come with loops for your ears to secure it to your face.
Haute tip: Bring a pack on the plane with you to soothe fatigued eyes (those tiny glaring TV screens!). They come lightly scented and my favourite it lavender, which is soothing and helps you to forget you’re stuck in a metal object 50,000 feet above ground with hundreds of strangers…
Melatonin is a hormone that occurs in your body that helps to regulate the sleeping cycle. However, this is one product not readily available OTC in the UK but surprisingly, to my knowledge it is sold freely in Asia and Australia. Because of this, I’m not suggesting that you buy it if you’re not already familiar with it and have had advice from a doctor to take it. However, if you do have the go ahead, this pill is the best natural alternative to prescription sleeping aids like Ambien and goes for about £16 a bottle. The only downside is that if you take too large of a dose, it makes you groggy in the morning.
Haute tip: Start with 3mg and work your way up to 5mg. You don’t build a tolerance to it but some people need more help than others to get their beauty rest.
You can get these at any drugstore for around £1 and they’re perfect for decanting skincare and makeup to pop in your handbag on the go or for travelling. As the pots are smaller, I find they’re also a bit cleaner because you’re not dunking your fingers into as much product as often.
Haute tip: My personal favourite is the spritzer bottle, which I use for toner, micellar water and even setting spray (I use MAC’s Prep + Prime Fix, £19). A word of caution, I’ve discovered that foundation is a total bitch to transfer product, mainly because it’s so hard to sanitise and clean the container afterwards. You’re better going for a small pump tube like YSL’s Touche Eclat All-In-One-Glow foundation (£33.50) that I’m currently loving.
Etude House foundation
This is one of my favourite cheap foundations ever at only $21.60. Providing medium coverage, it’s buildable and a blissful point between matte and that sheer glow. Great for using as a light concealer when you want your skin to breathe too!