April 13, 2009

Monday's Beauty Bits: Beauty Shopping in China

I've just returned from a whirlwind 3-day working trip in Beijing - and here is where my beauty-blogger dedication comes in: I walked to two different malls - Seasons and Parksons - in the financial district of Beijing to do beauty research. And here are some things I learnt:

If you look Chinese but don't speak Mandarin (like me), you REALLY upset the beauty counter sales girls. Much whispering and distress were left in my wake as I made my way through Parkson's beauty hall.

China has a few prestige brands that Malaysia lacks: Fancl, Laneige and Helena Rubenstein are a few I spotted. But before you get too excited...Almost all beauty products I found there cost twice as much as they do in Malaysia. From Revlon to Bobbi Brown, everything was double the price. Boo!

Two things I did manage to buy that were reasonably priced and not available in Malaysia was a bottle of Maybelline Deep Clean Cleansing Oil for RMB89 and Clairol Herbal Essences shampoo and condi in Long Term Relationship at RMB19.90 per 120ml bottle (Note: Ringgit to RMB is about 2 to 1).

China's customs officials are terribly enthusiastic. One actually unscrewed and sniffed all the tiny bottles I had in my carryon! So don't bring anything that smells of petroleum.

17 comments:

Askmewhats said...

So true about looking Chinese and not being able to speak Chinese, my Filipino friend was having a super hard time living in China because everyone is talking to her in Chinese even though she says she doesn't speak Chinese in English! LOL

I on the other hand, acted like I don't understand Chinese if I want to ignore sales person :P

心。葵 @ plue said...

Gasp! China's so expensive!

Though you can do some shopping there, I'm kinda worried about the authenticity of the products... A lot of fake stuff in China apparently :( Both friends in China and those who have been there told me so...

But if you bought them from parkson, I suppose that's alright. :)

Eli said...

They sniffed everything? That's a first.

kahani said...

Nikki: Babe I wouldn't try the "I don't speak Chinese" trick in Parkson - they FOLLOW you around in ever increasing droves whispering and pointing at the freak. >_<

Plue: People who look for a cheap deal will get conned. Which is why I only shopped at the reputable department store, and only bought low-end brands because who'd bother cloning those?

Eli: They not only sniffed everything, they enthusiastically groped my fellow traveller (while swinging the detector device viciously) because he had the audacity to beep as he wandered through the gate.

Lisa said...

Wow, your experience in China is totally different from mine. Even though I can't speak Cantonese, they were still really nice to me and I found that China's service was better than Malaysia! :)

Syen said...

Nikki: You speak Chinese??? Wow.. Mandarin or which dialect? =P

Askmewhats said...

Kahani, TRY IT and they'll think you don't understand them and you listen to them talking about you! :P LOL Gosh, I'm a meanie! LOL

Syen, yes i do :) I speak Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien (not too good but can understand well) :)

Jenn said...

I know this is mean but i always pretend not to understand mandarin (when i do understand and can speak it perfectly well) to my china counterparts. reason being that once they know you speak mandarin, they have the tendancy to step all over your head... the ones from my office anyways! ahaha!! :P

kahani said...

Nikki: Alamak I envy you, I'm such a hopeless banana. Even three years in a mostly chinese speaking university got me nowhere. >_< And yes, it IS mean of you - never thought you had it in you! LOL!

Jenn: This is a whole new perspective on things for me I gotta tell you.

Eli said...

Kahani: Aiyee!! They groped him? And I thought Vietnam was bad. I kept getting questioned for not having a Chinese name.

I hear you on the cloning. Mum bought a Clarins lip gloss in China with suspiciously huge blue glittery bits (she left her lipstick behind and needed something to wear) which made me question her sanity. I still haven't checked if the blue glitter is part of the original.

kahani said...

Lisa: Cantonese? Did you travel to Hong Kong or mainland China?

LyNn said...

i share your pain.
everywhere i go all the SA come bugging me in mandrin.
and i'll be like.
im a freaking banana but thanks for trying.
but i can speak canto la. :P

Lisa said...

Guangzhou, China. :) The people there are lovely.

kahani said...

Lynn: Lol!

Lisa: Oh that's awesome. I haven't been there yet =)

petra said...

emily, one of my hairdressers or pharmacists (can't remember which) said to avoid clairol as the ingredients contain detergent. a shame, as they deliver on what they promise and it is affordable.

on the side, i used dove as you recommended and love it in nz weather. it doesn't work well in malaysia for me.

kahani said...

Pet: If she meant sodium lauryl sulfate, well most things contain it. It's all a matter of how much.

Which dove do you use? I have crazy oily hair and most of their formulas are too heavy for me but hair fall therapy is working. Daily washes though.

petra said...

ok, thanks em!

i use the daily therapy shampoo and conditioner. perfect for drying nz weather but too oilyfying for msia. :(