So... very interesting few weeks for me. I arrived back from a holiday to beautiful Florence, rested and ready to get back to work. And then on my first day back I learned the terrifying/exciting news that I was immediately being sent to Hong Kong for a fortnight's work... which at least meant I didn't have to re-pack all my mini toiletries in their 20cm x 20cm sealy bag.
So I went to Hong Kong to work my socks off. It was 98% work, but during the two weeks I did have one brief bit of leisure time. And you know what I did with it - I went beauty shopping. Geographically aided by this cracking blog post by Drivel About Frivol, which walks you through a HK beauty shopping spree, I homed in on the creme-de-la-creme of the Asian beauty market via the shopping mecca that is Causeway Bay, a mall-stuffed few blocks over on the east side of Hong Kong island, next to Victoria Park. I only scratched the surface of what Kate's post recommended due to time restrictions, but I still totally filled my boots.
Hong Kong is famed for being shopping paradise, and it has plenty to offer even the most picky cosmetic-fancier. There are general beauty chains - Sasa, Bonjour - and many stand-alone stores too, from Asia-specific names like Etude House and TonyMoly to global high-enders like Cle de Peau, Bobbi Brown, Shiseido etc. This is in addition to the concessions within other stores. The scale of beauty retail over there is incredible - what would be a department store counter over here is a chain of stand-alones over there, and their market seems to support an incredible diversity of brands, products and price-points. I'll admit that my preference is for the drugstore end, mainly for its novelty value and the way it seems tailored for a culture totally unlike my own.
I've only been back a day or two and have yet to fully delve into and photograph my new Asian beauty stash. But for starters, here's a mascara that I have been wearing both during and after the trip: Fairydrops Platinum Waterproof mascara. I bought this from Sasa, on special, and I paid HKD110 (the RRP is HKD188). At today's exchange rate, this translates as £8.27 (reduced from £14.14).
I've seen Fairydrops mascara on a few Asian beauty top 10 lists, so I was on the alert for it, but it wasn't that prevalent around the stores in HK - in fact I only saw this one waterproof variant sitting by itself in a mascara section. (Hong Kong's beauty stores organise their displays by product function as well as by brand. Confusing at first, intuitive once you are used to it.) Fairydrops is a Japanese brand apparently founded by a celebrity.
I'm unsure whether this stuff actually counts as mascara, or would be better classified as eyelash extensions - it is that enduring, and that flattering. It is black, stuffed with fibres which elongate your lashes, and once dry I have been unable to shift even a flake of it with cleanser, sweat, tears, 30 degree heat/87% humidity, eye-rubbing, 15 hour work days, or anything other than an oil-based cleanser. For the steambath-like streets of Hong Kong, this is the perfect mascara. It would also be suitable for weddings, funerals, swimming pools, beach, SAS missions etc.
If I have a criticism it's that without a bit of skill, the fibres can make your lashes spidery, but this is true of any fibre mascara. It could offer a leeetle more volume too, but since it layers well, this is not a big complaint.
Also, it is brashly and appealingly pink and shiny with interesting full-tube artwork. It has a bristle brush shaped like a tamarind. I basically need to mainline it into my eyelashes forever.