10 Taiwan beauty products to bring back to Singapore

There's a game-changing beauty industry emerging in Taiwan, where skincare and makeup products are effective AND affordable. Here are our top picks. 

10 Taiwan beauty products to bring back to Singapore
10 Taiwan beauty products to bring back to Singapore
12 Jun 2018

10 Taiwan beauty products to bring back to Singapore

Korean beauty products are endlessly sought after; Japanese beauty products get their share of attention too. But there’s another game-changing beauty industry emerging, and it’s right in Taiwan. Not just the land of delicious street foods and bustling night markets, Taiwan is also a shopping haven for skincare and makeup addicts. Young Taiwanese women take beauty seriously; even the fast food cashiers doll up.

Here are 10 must-buy beauty products that the locals swear by. While you can find these items at select Watsons, Cosmed, and Poya stores across Taiwan, we also recommend perusing Little Three, Paris Strawberry, and 86 Shop. Since different stores offer different discounts, you can compare to get the best deals.

SexyLook face masks
SexyLook face masks
12 Jun 2018

SexyLook face masks

SexyLook masks are available in Singapore, but they are cheaper in Taiwan. In Singapore, you can get a box of five SexyLook masks for S$12.90 in Watsons; in Taiwan, the price goes as low as S$13.43 for ten masks. SexyLook is known for their black cotton mask, which is infused with activated carbon, meant to better absorb dirt and sebum for brighter skin. 

Bring back the new Sexylook Fruits Enzyme and Rice Yeast face mask, which contains 75 kinds of fruit and vegetable enzymes, hyaluronic acid, vitamins, skin repairing CoEnzyme Q10, and Kombucha tea yeast.

What they're good for: Stock these affordable masks in the fridge and feel free to use them whenever you please -- as opposed to those precious, expensive masks that you splurged on and sometimes cannot bear using. 

Integrate makeup
Integrate makeup
12 Jun 2018

Integrate makeup

J-beauty is big in Taiwan. Among the many popular Japanese makeup brands available there (more than in Singapore), Integrate by Shiseido ranks high. We can't rave enough about the Accent Color Eyeshadow CC, a small compact palette offering three easy-to-blend, shimmery shades with a satin finish, and -- the best part -- a genius, built-in base that ensures the eyeshadow doesn't budge or crease.  

Try their new Integrate Water Jelly Crush, a moisturising water-based foundation in a mesh dispenser that provides good coverage and a semi-matte finish. Its lightweight, water-based formula is fitting for oily or combination skin. Unlike some cushion foundations, this has never made us break out. It has great staying power and doesn’t lead to the dreaded “melting face” effect after several hours.

What it's good for: Achieving that natural look. We can imagine using Integrate's makeup in our 20s well into our 30s because instead of being too “out there” and trends-driven they focus on creating quality makeup basics.

Mdmmd Water Drop Cream
Mdmmd Water Drop Cream
12 Jun 2018

Mdmmd Water Drop Cream

This popular Taiwanese skincare brand's bestseller is their Water Drop Cream (approximately S$42), which functions as a 3-in-1 toner, serum and lotion. It stands out for its lightweight, creamy-yet-watery texture. Upon initial application, it looks like lotion. Yet once you massage it into your skin, the consistency changes and becomes like a smooth and silky toner. It's fast-absorbing and doesn't leave any residue behind -- yet it leaves your skin feeling supple, soft and moisturised. 

While it's great to use this multitasking product alone during the day (with sun screen, of course), in the evening, it may feel too "minimal" for those committed to multi-step skincare routines. In that case, since Mdmmd Water Drop Cream is not heavy at all, feel free use it with an additional moisturiser or night cream. 

What it's good for: Prepping your skin before applying makeup as it helps achieve a smoother, more even application. 

L'Herboflore face masks
L'Herboflore face masks
12 Jun 2018

L'Herboflore face masks

People know L'Herboflore for their gorgeous illustrated packaging designed by Taiwan's local artists. Thankfully, the quality of the products matches up. L'Herboflore offers a comprehensive range of sheet masks not only for the face, but for the neck, bust, under eyes, hands, and feet as well. 

Starting from S$2.69, the regular Hydromasks are soaked in fragrant flower and fruit extracts (i.e. moon orchid, mango and lychee extracts). An added bonus? There's zero stickiness as you tap the remaining serum on your skin afterward. It simply leaves your face feeling clean, rejuvenated, and glowy.

If you’re too embarrassed to use face masks on the plane, we have good news: L'Herboflore's ultra thin, “invisible” Silk Masks are great for an inconspicuous in-flight pampering session. At first blush, it’s not obvious that you’re sheet masking. The excellent fit helps.

The “jelly-like” Hyaluronic Acid Moisture Energy Biocellulose Mask is pricey at S$11 each. Compared to regular masks made of fabric fibres, biocellulose fibres have higher water retention, slowing down evaporation so the skin-softening, triple hyaluronic serum penetrates deeper into your skin. Good for prepping for an important event.

While not available at the usual drugstores, you can find L'Herboflore at department stores and various locations

What it's good for: L'Herboflore's face masks make great gifts for friends back home, thanks to the A+ artsy packaging. 

Handme Eyebags Pencil
Handme Eyebags Pencil
12 Jun 2018

Handme Eyebags Pencil

Everyone has those not-so-glamorous items in their makeup bag; you know, the items with (there's no other way to say it) rather "cheap looking" packaging. So why do we keep them around? Because they’re useful. Handme Eyebags Pencil is exactly that.

Walk into Poya and you'll see that recognisable, generic makeup brands like Maybelline, L'Oreal, and Revlon, etc. are openly displayed. But there's a host of barely-heard-of local makeup brands situated in the centre aisles and if you're not careful you might miss them. Thankfully we stumbled upon Handme Eyebags Pencil and despite our initial skepticism, it has proven to be a makeup staple -- for only S$4.43 a stick. Its creamy formula glides on to achieve instant aegyo effect. 

Tip: Apply a bit of eye makeup base or primer before swiping on Handme for better staying power. Don't press too hard; a gentle swipe is all you'll need for subtle shimmer. 

What it's good for: Highlighting your aegyo sal (under eye baby fat) to look younger. Who doesn't like having "eye smiles" to look cheerful and cute?

Shiseido Lip Amulets
Shiseido Lip Amulets
12 Jun 2018

Shiseido Lip Amulets

Adorable packaging aside, we also love these Shiseido Lip Amulets for their mini, pocketable size, perfect for on-the-go touch-ups. This may be the only tube of lipstick we've ever finished -- a delightful rarity when the rest of our makeup bag is overflowing with heavy half-used products. We've faithfully finished numerous tubes of Shiseido Lip Amulet in Pure Red for a DECADE, stocking up on it during each trip to Taiwan. Through all this time, the slick formula has remained consistently moisturising with a sheer and balmy finish. 

Warning: the colour names and swatches on the packaging can be misleading; for instance, Pure Red isn't actually "pure red," but instead brings a lovely, subtle wash of colour to your lips rather than making you look too done up. At only S$4.83 a pop, consider getting the whole “family” for less than $20.

What it's good for: Travelling light, thanks to its nifty size. The stand-out packaging also makes it a cute (and affordable) gift. If anything, the recipient will note that it's from a reputable brand like Shiseido. 

Dr Wu skincare
Dr Wu skincare
12 Jun 2018

Dr Wu skincare

Fans of Dr Wu's range of gentle, clinical skincare will be happy to know that some products can be approximately 20 to 60 percent cheaper in Taiwan. For instance, in Singapore, the popular Dr Wu Brightening Eye Serum with Vitamin C retails for S$59.90, with a discounted price of S$47.92 at Watsons. That's still more expensive than the S$38.14 it costs in Taiwan, not counting the frequent discounts at drugstores (i.e. "Buy Two, Get the 2nd One at 70% Off" in Cosmed). 

Other good deals include Dr Wu Intensive Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid (S$35.87 in Taiwan versus S$59.90 usual price Singapore). Toss in some Capsule Masks too, which cost S$13.42 for three in Taiwan. In Singapore, you'll be forking over S$19.90 to S$22.90 for the same. 

What it's good for: Sensitive skin. A professional dermatologist with over 40 years of experience in cosmetology, Dr Wu isn't called the "Godfather" of Taiwan's beauty industry for nothing. Whether you are seeking post aesthetic care or suffer from skin problems, breakouts or pigmentation, Dr Wu is a pretty safe bet. The products contain no alcohol, no additives, and do not clog pores. 

Luffa Spring Water toner
Luffa Spring Water toner
12 Jun 2018

Luffa Spring Water toner

Generations of women in Taiwan have used Kuan Yuan Lian's Luffa Spring Water, formulated with 100% pure luffa melon extract, for its calming and inflammatory effects. It's extremely cooling on a hot day and feels just like water, leaving no sticky residue afterward.

Don't mind the humble packaging. Locals swear by this facial mist, and while you shouldn't expect it to perform any miracles at merely S$2.64 for a 50ml bottle, at the very least you'll get to savour the quick hit of hydration and its soothing effects – especially when your skin's dull and parched from being in an air conditioned room all day. Props for containing zero alcohol and being mild enough even for children's skin. 

What it's good for: A pick-me-up any time, anywhere. At such a cheap price, we suggest buying several of these and storing a bottle in your bag and another at your work desk. Spritzing acts as great stress relief. 

L'Oreal Le Stylo Smoky Eyeshadow
L'Oreal Le Stylo Smoky Eyeshadow
12 Jun 2018

L'Oreal Le Stylo Smoky Eyeshadow

Honestly, not everyone has a handful of brushes JUST for applying eyeshadow. Some of us are lazy. Or too busy. Or need to be at some fancy work function in two minutes flat. Enter the 2-in-1 L'Oreal Stylo Smoky Eyeshadow, a dual-ended stick with a highly pigmented, creamy crayon eyeshadow tip on one end, and a built-in kabuki brush on the other for easy blending. Hello, sexy smoky eyes. 

In Singapore, Le Stylo Smoky retails for S$21.90, compared to S$16.51 in Taiwan after discount (usual price is S$17.45, still cheaper than in Singapore). Almond Pink is a pretty shade that brightens up your peepers, but we also recommend Antique Brass for a fail-proof everyday shade. 

What it's good for: 2-minute makeovers on a car ride. One-handed makeup application FTW. 

Mentholatum Lip Baby Crayon
Mentholatum Lip Baby Crayon
12 Jun 2018

Mentholatum Lip Baby Crayon

Mentholatum Lip Baby Crayon leaves the prettiest soft hues that add oomph to your natural lip colour. The formula is ridiculously hydrating with argan oil, and affords a shiny tint with the soothing tingle of peppermint oil. Granted, this doesn't have the best staying power (you'll have to reapply after eating, kissing, and the like), but it's easy enough to swipe on without a mirror, thanks to its chubby tip. Available in four shades, get Mentholatum Lip Baby Crayon for as cheap as S$6.68 in Taiwan. 

What it's good for: It's perfect for daytime wear, fitting for the office or a more casual look. 

Bonus: Facial cotton pads
Bonus: Facial cotton pads
12 Jun 2018

Bonus: Facial cotton pads

Ever used a facial cotton pad soaked in product, only to have it begin to disintegrate and leave little pieces of cotton on your skin? Furry face is not what you asked for. 

Well, after sifting through Taiwan's ridiculously large offering of various facial cotton pads, we have arrived at two top picks.

The first is Shu Zhuan, which wins at removing makeup. Each pad comes with one side that's blissfully smooth, and another side that boasts a double-woven texture with a gentle exfoliation function. Say goodbye to stubborn makeup and grime. You can get 240 pads for approximately S$3.38. They’re even available at the beauty aisle in supermarkets.

The most popular cotton pad amongst Taiwanese girls by far is Lalune Facial Puff, loved for its easy use and affordable price (S$3 at a discount and S$4.25 usual price for 360 pads). It’s great at holding product; since it’s not as thick, you don't feel like you're wasting your essence, toner, micellar water, etc. Great for sensitive skin, and the cotton never, ever sheds. 

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