OK, this is a girly and irreverent thread for this site, so if you don't like reading about such topics, consider this fair warning.
So, what kind of skincare or makeup products have you tried here that you liked or disliked, where'd you buy them, how much did they cost, etc.?
I'll start with Ascience (or is it Asience?) shampoo and conditioner. You can buy them at Watsons and probably also 1000 Colors and possibly some of the big supermarkets. I bought a big pump bottle of shampoo for around 50 kuai and a small tube of hair treatment for around 25 kuai, must have been over a year ago because I can't even remember when. They leave my hair soft but not weighed down.
The Shiseido shampoo/conditioner that you can get at Watsons in the pointy-capped bottles are also OK but a little bit more expensive, and I like the Asience just a bit better.
What about face masks? I've just bought my first and I'll write a review once I've been using it for a while?
Has anybody had a facial done here? Or meibai products? Or have moisturizer recommendations? Also where can I find some good (read: effective) nail polish remover?
Awesome thread idea! Wish it was here two years ago.
Shampoo and Conditioner:
When I first came to China, my blonde hair became dry and brittle for the first time in my life. I can't think of what could be the cause except for the hard water in the taps. I've tried many brands, ranging from the Chinese knock-offs of Dove and Pantene to the foreign brands available in Ito Yokado and Metro. The only thing that's proven helpful has been the Shiseido Tsubaki line. I first used the intense damage repair (white bottle), then switched to the yellow version (normal moisturizer) and am now using the red (intense moisturizer). It's important to note that the ones sold at Watsons are made in China, whereas the bottles sold in Metro are imported from Japan. There's a big difference in the quality of the two. I had mistakenly bought the ones at Watsons thinking they were the same, and wound up having to throw it out once a single use dried out my hair.
I haven't sampled many of the Chinese brands, since I brought a lot from back home to last me a while. I have heard that a number of companies used high levels of bleach in their products and are comedogenic. Since I have sensitive skin, I freaked when my supply ran out and after a few months of skin-related hell, I started to use Limi Girl which has been my savior.
Minimized skin troubles, no clogged pores, smooth skin, and perfectly moisturizing for my skin type. I personally recommend the Honey Sweet line for winter (some of the products contain Royal Jelly which is a great way to keep your skin from becoming too dry if you have to drive a scooter in winter), and the Peach line for summer (moisturizing without being overkill). They have a great wash-off mask made from rose water which contains actual rose petals. Smells like heaven!
Tried a few brands, but overall it seems like the large 20rmb bottle from Ikea is not only the best deal, but good quality.
Nail Polish remover:
Every single brand I have tried has been the same. You need to use a lot of elbow grease and rub fiercely to see any results.
I've always liked the Korean brand Skin Food, but it's so much more expensive here. I recommend their Cucumber face mask and hand lotions.
I have a face wash from Limi. I think it is the juicy pear or something. It is a bit drying so I don't use it often. I picked it because it was much cheaper than the other scents. I am frequently overwhelmed by the number of choices even within brands, let alone all the different brands.
I haven't tried the Ikea body wash (didn't even know it existed). Good tip!
Nail polish remover: yeah, that's my experience so far too.
I have a couple of Skin Food nail polishes I bought from a box shop for like 15 RMB each which I thought was reasonable. The colors are really pretty. I'll give their skincare products a try next time I see them.
What about BB creams? I went into one shop and the woman working there patted some Missha BB cream onto the back of my hand, but I couldn't see any appreciable difference between that and the other skin around it so I passed, especially since it cost more than it would have cost even in the States where it's not particularly cheap.
Are the Tsubaki products sold in Metro more expensive than the Watsons ones?
haircare: i really like the ascience conditioner too, particularly in the winter (and even more so when my hair was longer) but unlike mizuiro, my issue here is that most shampoos are TOO moisturizing as i have pretty oily, fine, short hair, whereas, it seems most asians have dry, thick hair. in the past i've used pretty rally (they seemed to dry up and disappear awhile back) mint shampoo, which was a bit pricey at the time, revlon ginger shampoo available at watson's which is still too oily for the summertime, and now i usually stick with manning's brand herbal shampoos for oily hair. i usually get the ginger one, and like all manning's brand stuff, it's a good deal for a huge bottle.
skincare: i have sensitive skin which breaks out randomly in places while being flaky in others, and can be shiny at times, and my large pores drive me crazy (i'm mid-30s), so i have been pretty frustrated in various attempts to use local skincare: herborist, manning's brands (can you tell i'm a big manning's fan??), stuff at the 国货 shop on 倪家桥路 (featured in a past basi de hen), expensive things from sephora, and others at various price points too numerous to remember. they all make me breakout, are too oily, not oily enough, don't help with my particular skin problems, etc. etc. at one time i LOVED a very inexpensive manning's brand moisturizer which they quit carrying after a few months. boo. i *have* however been happy with using the oil cleansing method (google it) by mixing castor oil brought from abroad with cheap manning's brand facial 'olive' oil (not 100% olive oil) and supplementing that with tiny sample size western/korean/japanese products available at box shops. if you go this route BEWARE of fakes and understand you get what you pay for. if you're fairly certain you haven't got a fake, you'll end up paying a price comparable to whatever fraction the sample is of the regular-sized product's cost abroad, minus the ridiculous import taxes levied on imported goods that you'd pay at someplace like the wangfujing department store. i'm currently using kiehl's midnight repairing serum (or some such name) which makes everything look good in the morning, and if my face is feeling a bit dry, i pat it down with a tiny bit of my castor/olive oil mix.
as for masks, there's a good peel one that you can get in small sachets at manning's which i like for getting rid of blackheads. forget the name, but it's a gel and it's all in english. not too expensive, like 30 apiece or something. others i've tried are ok (limi, l'oreal, nivea, etc.) but don't seem to do much in the way of longterm effects.
body wash: i find that most body wash here is either super-sweet and fruity or super-perfumey, not to mention over-priced for what you get, so again, i go with manning's brand. they have a nice lemongrass exfoliating one i really like and several others i switch between every few months.
nail polish remover: i'd recommend dipping small chunks of cotton in the remover and putting it on the nail and leaving it there for a bit to work its way in first before you start rubbing the polish off, but i've also had good luck with the kind with a nail brush inside (like a regular nail polish) which you use to coat each nail with the remover before you start going at it with cotton. cheap and available at girly stores and box stores.
now what i'd really like to find is a decent body butter for the wintertime that doesn't cost an arm and a leg due to import taxes...most body lotion here tends to be too thin for winter use and with liberal amounts of alcohol in it which defeats the purpose!
btw, i like reading ingredients lists in chinese; i've learned quite a few characters that way! (i know, it's weird...)
+1 to the OCM. You can order castor oil on Taobao. Sellers have it for DIY soapmakers, it seems.
Second the great post idea comment!
I have also been dealing with dried locks and weakened tresses since coming here (the water is a major factor!). Came upon a good cheap and cheerful conditioner on sale at Auchan and picked it up on the advice of the sales assistant:
Bee &Flower Brand.
I've been using it for a few weeks and it is giving good moisture without weighing my hair down or giving me an itchy scalp (as a bonus it is working better than many of the higher price point brands I have tried here).
Warm coconut oil treatments every couple of weeks really help (I've used this in other hard water locales).
I'm almost out of the supply I brought from home.
Any suggestions on where to get coconut oil here?
Hello! Yes...so glad somebody started a thread! What about deoderant? I arrived 2 months ago and brought several sticks with me from home. I use Dove unscented for sensitive skin. I don't care for the perfumed versions. Any recommendations?
I assimilated after a few months and stopped using deodorant entirely. But you can get deodorant at the bigger supermarkets and those other bath/beauty shops like Watsons and Mannings. Also Avon shops sell it. I bought one long, long ago, and it was pretty mild. If you want to go natural, you can get some baking soda and mix it with water to form a paste. Apply that and you'll be odor-free. But it does leave residue on your skin.
@Fishy: I tried the Bee & Flower shampoo but didn't really like it. I love, however, the paper-wrapped soaps that you used to be able to buy everywhere in different scents. Now only the sandalwood (beige paper) seems to be available. Before you could get rose (pink paper) and, my favorite, jasmine (green paper).
@laurel, i don't think what hapa's talking about can really be classified as 'deodorant'. what those shops sell is little more than insipid perfume with a high alcohol (NOT sensitive!) content in a roll-on package. i've never seen good deodorant here, and i use the same one you do, so if i were you, i keep a steady supply going from home, try taobao, or go with the baking soda idea. actually, i may have seen 'degree' deodorant at one of the sabrina's, come to think of it, but don't quote me on that.
@hapa, i've seen the other fragrances of bee&flower soaps in random box shops. will be sure to keep an eye out and let you know more specifically where next time i see one! (and, of course, there's always taobao.)
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