July 17, 2011

Notes on beauty shopping in HK

HK is a place where you can find most things, sometimes. Erratic stocking, monopoly-run pharmacies and budget cosmetic stores make beauty shopping here a constant treasure hunt rather than a once-a-month stockup. You can score fantastic bargains but sometimes at the price of incredible frustration.

For the most part though I make do and will likely only be stocking up on Himalaya Herbals Neem Face Pack and Silky Girl Mascaras.

Here are some personal notes on beauty shopping in HK. It's still a work in progress:

If you see something you want for a good price at Bonjour, Colourmix, Angel or Sasa, buy it. You may never see it again and very likely not for the same price.

They may have the brand you want, but not the product you want. For example, Clean & Clear Clear Fairness range? Yes. The moisturiser? No. Also, Neutrogena's Deep Clean Toner is conspicuously absent even though the rest of the range is present.

Clinique is cheaper here in general than in Malaysia, and definitely cheaper if bought at discount shops. 

Himalaya Herbals is not available here at all. Not online, not in-store. 

Yes to Carrots was available here but isn't anymore.

Mannings and Watsons are everywhere - but are inconsistent in the brands and items they stalk. If you find something you want to repurchase remember WHICH store you bought it at. Some of the bigger, better stores with hard to find brands are Mannings Plus in Cityplaza, Taikoo and Watsons, Melbourne Plaza, Queen's Road, Central (this one has Lavera and Burt's Bees).

Bourjois is double the price here that it is in England. Boo!

Clairol Herbal Essences used to be everywhere and now I only see it in limited variety in the pharmacies. Some large Welcome grocery stores though have the full range... for some reason.

Speaking of shampoo, easily found sizes are either travel or nearly 1 litre! Finding sizes in between can be tough, larger grocery stores are your best bet.

Affordable cleansing oils are everywhere here and really easy to find.

Etude House is also pricier in HK than it is in Malaysia. They have a real crush on all Korean and Japanese cosmetics here.

Lip balms are strangely hard to find here. Lip Ice is available, but more expensive here than in Malaysia and the watercolour range isn't available. Nivea lipbalms in medicated, hydrocare, natural and strawberry are all that's available here but you will find Labello balms at unexpected places. The full range of EOS lip balms can be found at Sasa Olympic but nowhere else that I've seen.

The largest Canmake counter can be found at CitySuper, Times Square, Causeway Bay.

Maybelline too is very overpriced here.

At present exchange rates, Revlon is slightly cheaper than Malaysia and the selection is better.

Update (14/09/2012)
Giorgio Armani cosmetics, which have pulled out of Malaysia, are available in Hong Kong. They have large boutiques in Alexandra House in Central and in Pacific Place in Admirality. A jar of their coveted Eyes to Kill Intense eyeshadow is HKD250.

Vichy, which has also just pulled out of Malaysia, is also still available here. Tom Ford, Jill Stuart, and Lush are three other (rather high-end) brands available in Hong Kong but not in Malaysia.

YSL cosmetics are slightly cheaper (I believe) when bought directly from their standalone outlets. I picked up one of their Glossy Stains at their store in Pacific Place for HKD240 and it retails at Sogo for HKD256.


Sara said...

Hi, do you know if the korean brands, Banila Co & Clio is available in HK?

Annette said...

This is very helpful, thanks so much for these tips. Keep us constantly updated as trip planning is erratic. :)

Celina (Fables in Fashion) said...

Thanks so much for this post, I may be moving to HK for a few weeks very soon and was super scared given I don't speak the language, will have no family nor friends, so atleast if I know where to shop for makeup, that should help curb my loneliness :)

AskMeWhats said...


I agree on everything you said and I like it that you mentioned the product ranges sold at Watson's and Mannings are inconsistent! I didn't know Lip Ice is cheaper in Malaysia! :) I did purchase one in HK and once in Malaysia. I thought they were priced the same!

Kahani said...

Hi Sara, I'm afraid I haven't noticed them, which is not to say they're not available. Just haven't seen them.

Anette: You're welcome!

Fables: Aww you'll be fine. I don't speak the language and have no family and friends here. I made out ok ;) Drop me an email when you arrive and at the very least I can send you links to forums where you can find activity groups.

Nikki: Hahaha yay for enthusiastic support! Actually, it would depend on the exchange rate, currently I believe it's slightly more expensive here and less well stocked. And this is with the HK dollar being weak against the Msian too! Grr...

Syen said...

Fab write-up babe... this will definitely come in handy for visitors to HK. =)

rinnah said...

You introduced me to the fun of treasure hunting for sample/travel sized stuff in Bonjour and I ended up hauling quite a variety of stuff I've always wanted to try! Lol. I didn't get to go into every single Bonjour/Sasa store that I passed - I'm sure Waifoon was dreading it each time we passed by a store on the street (but she did let me go into the larger stores)... :P

Hanyi said...

Wow! Great post at da right time! I am going to HK next Friday. So excited! At least got some guideline from u. Btw any must go shop for skincare and cosmetic?

Kahani said...

Syen: Thanks m'lady. =)

Rinnah: hehehe... at least she did! Sorry couldn't meet you the last day you were here dear, I was really stuck in a bunch of errands and couldn't have met you before 4. =(

Hanyi: Great! Well, depends what you're looking for. If you want really upscale brands, then Langham Place, Times Square is a must. But do the budget route too, Sasa, Bonjour and Colourmix.

Anonymous said...

Hiya, was just wondering where to buy Himalaya herbals in HK? I bought a truckload back from India last summer and since then I've run out!!! :(
Jo in Beijing :)

Kahani said...

Hi Jo, as I said in the article, you can't. There's just no way. I even wrote into HH Malaysia to ask... no dice.

Fay. H. said...

Very helpful! Thank you ♥

Miss V said...

Nice Post! very observant :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Kahani!
Is Canmake cheaper in HK compared to Malaysia? I find that it is quite pricey in Sasa stores here in Malaysia.

Also, are there any new finds on shopping in HK? Since this post was made quite a while ago. Thank you! :)

Kahani said...

Hi Anon,

Good question I don't buy Canmake so I'm afraid I don't know. But will make an note of some prices for you to compare against the next time I pop by.

haha you're right I should update it soon. Too tired now though work's been nuts!