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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Shopping for Cosmetics in Taiwan

Recently, several people have asked me what brands are available, what products I like, and where in Taiwan. Since Taiwan is so close to Japan (3 hour flight away), most of their fashion and makeup trends come from there. And, brands are usually 5-10% off the original retail price in Japan. Collections come out usually the same day in Taiwan as Japan.

DRUGSTORE:

Watson's sells Bourjouis(Products that haven't made it to the States yet too!), mini Bourjois as well as Canmake, Majolica Majorca, Lavshuca, Integrate, Fasio, Maybelline and Revlon. Also carries Imju Fiberwig mascara and liner.
Cosmed sells the same as above excluding Bourjouis and Canmake and Fiberwig. These drugstores are available all over the country.

A + 1 (Ace Top 1) is a lesser known drugstore, that I only know for sure 3 locations in Kaohsiung. Each of these drugstores (more like supermarket) sell everything the cheapest it can be (I recommend the one behind SOGO / Shing Kong Mitsukoshi). They also sell the highly sought after SONY CP balms and Markabull gel liner. Another reason I recommend buying here is that they give you an INSANE about of GWPS, everything from makeup, hair treatments to hair pins/jewelry. They sell EVERYTHING, have a blast browsing there! There's both Shiseido and Kanebo drugstore lines, harder to find lines like Mandom, L'egere, Shills...Ahh, I love it. Quick list of brands:
Revlon [can find asia exclusives]
L'Oreal
Fasio
Tiffa
Majolica Majorca
SANA
KATE
Lavshuca
Maybelline [can find asia exclusives]
Aqualabel
Media

DEPARTMENT STORE:

Brands available:
Taipei: DO check out the SOGO Zhongxiao Branch (Zhongxiao-Fuxing Station). It has just about all the brands I will talk about there; plus 1 of 2 JILL STUART counters (And the first NARS counter I saw!) Jill Stuart unfortunately has a limited selection however.

Kaohsiung: The Dreammall is definetly the place to go! With a new PLAZA (Explained below,) K-palette and Gransenbon store in the basement (slightly near Baskin Robbins ice cream) and the Hankyu department store (That is hardly frequented due to more popular and closer ones--you can find past limited editions from a year ago! Complete gem for MAC!) Also, Hanshin department store also sells Stila, Ettusais, Chic Choc, The Body Shop, L'occitane, Ardell false lashes, LUSH, Burt's Bees, Lola.

BRANDS MOST DEPARTMENT STORES CARRY:
Anna Sui, Ipsa, Kanebo (which carries Coffret D'or, Allie and Lunasol, albeit only the current LE palettes from Lunasol sadly), Shiseido counter (that carries Anessa and Maquillage), Beaute De Kose/Esprique Precious, Albion, Sofina, Laneige, Guerlain, Paul & Joe, MUFE, MAC, Bobbi Brown, RMK, Lancome, Clinique, Dior, Chanel, La Mer, Shu Uemura, Cle De Peau Beaute. Popular brand Etude/Etude house is usually carried on the 2nd floor of Department stores--it's not as major a brand. It's actually only carried in Taipei and Taichung now I think.

FAVORITE DEPARTMENT STORE IN KAOHSIUNG (Apart from Hankyu):
Hanshin Arena department store! Opened mid July 2008, it's HUGE and Brand New.Lines included on the 1st floor: NARS, Shu Uemura, Kiehls, MAC, Estee Lauder, Lancome, Giorgio Armani, Dior, La Mer, Cle de Peate, the Shiseido counters, MUFE, Dior, Clinique, (NO RMK), Kanebo counter, Paul & Joe, Dr. Brandt, L'occitane, Chic Choc, Guerlain, Origins, Kiehls, Albion, Laneige, Ipsa, Sofina, Beaute de Kose/Esprique Precious, and also, opened 10/2/08, JILL STUART!! Jill Stuart is also available in the regular Hanshin department store. VOV Candy shop, that carries Castledew, is available in Shing Kong San Rue and Hanshin, on lower level flores.

SPECIALTY STORE:

PLAZA: Also in Taipei, definetly check out PLAZA at Breeze Center (Zhongxiao-Fuxing Station). Plaza actually is a store from Japan, and there are currently only 2 Plaza stores in Taiwan. This store stocks Canmake, Gransenbon, K-palette [epicly amazing 1 Day Tattoo eyeliner], Sony brand items, Bourjouis, OPI/limited Essie, Love Clover and mini bourjouis. Definetly worth checking out!! The only 2nd Plaza is open in Kaohsiung, located in Dreammall floor 1.

SASA: This store (yes, the same sasa.com) is much liked but personally, I find it boring. There isn't much selection in makeup, more brushes, high end perfumes and skincare. Needless to say, I came out pretty quick.

NOTES:
Most department stores are open until 9:30pm (or 10pm for some in Kaohsiung).

Only unopened items can be returned.

Taiwan does NOT carry Kose Visee.

PRODUCTS / BRANDS I RECOMMEND:
Bourjois: Sleep effect foundation, eyeshadows, blush and eau de gloss
Mini bourjois: Eyeshadows and pigments
Canmake: Cheek Gradation 04, nail polish and gel liner
Majolica Majorca: Eyeshadows (singles and palettes), blushes, nail polish, Lash Expander mascara
Lavshuca: New liquid foundation (tube), eyeshadows, lipsticks
Integrate: Lipglosses, lipsticks and thick eyeliner pencils.
Fasio: Only the mascaras and lipsticks are good from this line in my opinion
Kate: Eyeshadow palettes, gel liners, super sharp liquid liner, loose shadows and lippies. Also, the mascara (gel, which I haven't tried) is super popular.
Gransenbon: Eyeshadows and especially blushes! Their powders are great too.
Love Clover: Blushes and powders in my opinion.
K-palette: Select eyeshadow palettes (don't worry, there are testers!) and the 1 day tattoo liquid liner
Sony brand: Lip balms, lip silicone, mascara and Markabull gel liner
Japanese brand falsies found at plaza are immensely popular
Anna Sui: Her mascara primer, lippies, eyeshadows, loose powder and blushes are all very popular. I like her shadows myself (haven't tried much else from her). Her products are scented strongly with rose though!
Ipsa: Eyeshadows and lipsticks/glosses are very popular from here, and my aunt loves their nail polish
Kanebo Coffret D'or: Of course, the eyeshadow palettes and lippies! Not much else has been tried and tested by the world yet however.
Kanebo Lunasol: Definetly lipsticks, glosses and eyeshadow palettes! Also liquid liners however. Their water liquid/cream foundations are great too!
Shiseido Anessa: Perfect UV sunscreen
Shiseido Maquillage: Gel liners, single eyeshadows, Face design powder/blush
Ettusais: Single eyeshadows and nail polishes
Chic Choc: Brushes really
Beaute De Kose/Esprique Precious: Gel/cream liners, nail polishes, highlighting powder (Guerlain meteorites knockoff), lipsticks
Albion: Face water color is the only definite must have I can think of
Sofina: Raycious powder foundation (to be discontinued!! Sob!)
Sofina Aube: Eyeshadow paletes and lipsticks, most else is very disappointing.
Laneige: They do NOT carry snow crystal here! So...basically...nothing.
Paul & Joe: For sheerer eyeshadows, look here! Also lipsticks and face color powders MUFE: Make up for ever, the full line and with sets!!
RMK: Lipsticks, blushes and eyeshadows are all great! Things to skip are the shadow sticks / gloss sticks! Also recommend the liquid and cream foundations.
Lancome: Definetly get the infamous Erika F here!! Number 144 Ombre Absolute :]
Dior: There are always going to be asia exclusives sometime, like the Summer Star quint!!
Chanel: JCs like Candy are not available in the states :]
Shu Uemura: Everything!! LOL.
Cle De Peau Beaute: Concealer, lippies and eyeshadow quads are all popular, as well as their base makeup.
Etude/Etude House is rumored to be amazing.

Do let me know if there are brands I have missed and I will gladly include them! I hope you found this helpful!

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