March 19, 2009

Travel beauty shopping: When in Ho Chi Minh, you buy...

Our guest reviewer, Eli turns travel beauty writer as she prowls the streets of Vietnam's capital city hunting down the best beauty buys. I gotta say though she seems rather fixated on the masks. ;)

When In…

… Ho Chi Minh City, you have to hie yourself over to a supermarket (preferably Citimart) and check out their face mask range. Maybe it’s because the area my parents stays in has a thriving Korean and Japanese expatriate population but our local supermarket had such a wide range of Purederm face masks, I thought I has walked into heaven for a good 5 minutes.

All of my HCMC shopping pics are stuck in Dad’s camera so you’ll have to make do with these pictures:

I got the Purederm Herbal, Pearl Essence and Red Ginseng Essence Masks. They had other types such as strawberry, kiwi and cucumber but I decided to try the most popular ones first. In fact, there were only 2 Red Ginseng Essence Masks left which I quickly grabbed before the Korean lady next to me could reach for them. *looks embarrassed*

The Purederm face masks cost about 11,400 dong (than RM 2.30) each. However, the Red Ginseng Essence mask was priced at 12,800 dong (about RM 2.60). A steal considering that Purederm Anti-Aging and Korean Herbal masks sell for around RM 5+ in Malaysia.

They also carry Purederm anti-wrinkle eye masks. I forgot the exact price but it comes to about RM 10 after conversion, half of what it sells for in Malaysia – around RM 20.

At the same time, I also picked up a few masks from a local Vietnamese company called Vedette. Their products are apparently formulated in France and I couldn’t resist their 5,500 dong (RM 1.10) price tag.

I really like the packaging of the marigold mask. Am planning to compare the Vedette ginseng mask with Purederm’s version.

Verdelle also sells clay-powder type masks. I was intrigued by one which claimed to contain red coral but ended up not buying any because my skin doesn’t work well with clay-based masks.

Oh, and that pack of 25 empty facial masks cost 19,700 dong (around RM 3.90).

Face masks aside, go to Parkson (pronounced “park-sarn” by the Vietnamese) on Dong Khoi Street for cosmetics shopping. Cosmetics there aren’t cheaper but they carry high-end Korean brands such as O Hui and History of Qi (think it’s called History of Whoo in Singapore) which we can’t get in Malaysia. Prepare to be confused by the latter though because the spelling of “Qi” or “Whoo” looks like “fo”.

I fell in love with the liquid foundation from History of Qi. A quick look at the 1,000,000+ dong (RM 200+) price tag quickly made that love affair turn sour. Mum and I also liked their skin essence so we are planning to get a bottle to split during my next holidays.

I didn’t buy anything from Bourjois (they have several outlets in HCMC) as the prices were about the same as in Australia. I was sorely tempted by the mini-Bourjois products (Australia does not carry mini-Bourjois) but Mum was giving me the evil eye.

It was either Mum or a friend who claimed that L’Occitane products are cheaper by a few ringgit in Vietnam. I am not sure as I am not a L’Occitane user but it’s something worth checking out while you are there.

For more on Ho Chi Minh, I recommend looking at a travel guide. =)


LyNn said...

my sister just came back from ho chi minh, vietnam.
but she didnt get me any masks thou.
haha. :P

*p/s: i think your conversion is alittle out.

Askmewhats said...

Never been to HoChiMinh, thanks for telling us some insights about the city and oh those masks!!! :)

Paris B said...

I just got back from HCMC - ate a lot but hardly shopped and bought nothing beauty related! :D

Eli said...

I promise to take pics of the Korean cosmetics counters next time. =P And I just realised that the masks might only be available at supermarkets or shopping centres in expatriate areas. Mum says she'll take a look.

LyNn: Yeah, I think I am off with the conversion. The rate was 1 million dong for RM 190 so we usually just divide by 5.

Nikki: You'll love the food there. Think I gained 2 kilos after a month there.

ParisB: Did you manage to cross the road? ;) Ooh, did you get to try Hue food?

13th Panda said...

I am going ho chin minh soon and I M A SOOOO going to buy those masks you mentioned! are they all tissue mask?cos i luuurrrvvvee tissue masks 'x'

Eli said...

13th Panda: Your nick is making me giggle. Yup, those are tissue masks. Ask your hotel for the nearest Citimart or a Coopmart. They should stock these masks lah.

13th Panda said...

ahaha?why? my nick is funny ker? maybe i need some eye masks too 'x'