Makeup Apartheid- BB Creams


Before I proceed on this post, the best analysis for BB creams are on youtube.

Wayne Goss MA


Dustin Hunter MA :

Both will tell you BB creams, especially the western ones are all hype and the best ones are the Korean Brands.

Living in HK we have access to the Korean brands so it should all be good. Right ? Wrong.

If you are on the dark side, well anything NC40 upwards , you wont find any that suits you without putting a beautiful ashy-grey cast on you.

Asian brands are all about whitening and have pink undertones and the darkest they go is about 3 shades lighter than my colour.

We live in HK and how do we buy BB creams that work for our skintone? My answer is ‘I am not sure’. HK doesn’t seem to cater to us.

The western brands available in HK are really no better and only about fit my NC40 skintone.

But being a mini beauty junkie I had possess a BB cream(s). So I started with drugstore brands.

Maybelline is available at Sasa, Watsons and Mannings. They have, and this gets me So mad,  the ‘light’, ‘light pink’ and ‘light pinky beige’ shade range . That’s how I will address it because the shades don’t deserve my NC40 respect.

But I love Maybelline and I know they are not the ones practicing this racial divide, HK beauty importers are.

Also the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB got great reviews but not available in HK (another pet peeve, but that’s a whole different rant).

I bought the range available in HK which is the Pure Mineral SPF 50 BB cream. It sits well on my cheeks but can be wee, only wee, bit ashy along the chin and forehead, but disappears in a bit. I like the feel of it, but it could do with slightly yellower under tone.

Also when in doubt with a shade, I don’t pair it with orange or coral makeup because I think those pull out the ‘ashy’. I use blues and pinks.

It’s fine on me but I am not sure it would work for someone darker. Mixing it with the right shade of foundation could work but isn’t the whole idea of BB creams to be that one product that doubles up as skincare plus makeup ?  And personally I cant be bothered with that much effort.

The next one I bought was the Bobbi Brown Medium-Deep SPF 25.  Other than MAC, Bobbi is the only other one that seems to confidently venture into ‘deep/dark’ territory. Also for a western brand it got the very good reviews. I forget whether it was Paula Begoun, cosmetics cop or Wayne Goss.

The Deep looks orange on me and the Med-Deep can look a wee bit light but not ashy. The lady at the counter recommended Med-Deep, so I thanked her and gave her my money.

It feels awesome on the skin and but needs to be well patted-rubbed-patted rubbed in otherwise it seems to ‘sit’ on the skin and can transfer. Also applied sparingly because it has a thicker consistency. It oxidises well on my skin to look natural.

For some make-up junkie obsession reason I decided to buy one more BB cream. This time the Garnier one. Its from Mannings. ONLY ONE SHADE AVAILABLE. Perfect for most of the local population but not me, but I bought it anyway.

Garnier BB cream is the most liquid of them all. Runny.

I love the matte finish, but needs major warming up with a bronzer because I am 3 shades darker  and warmer, than the average Hongkie chic. And never paired with my orange blush or lipgloss. Only dark pinks or browns.

So I now had 3 (western) BB creams in Hong Kong that I was ‘ok’ with but not ecstatic.

Then I went to San Diego for a holiday and lo behold dark shade ranges. I went a bit mad in the makeup department I must say and when I spied the Garnier Med-Deep at RiteAid and jumped at it.

That is my perfect match. Similarly runny and matte. Perfect for summer. I use it sparingly to make it last till my next trip. 

All in all, I have to say that between Hong Kong, US and UK, its the drugstores in the US that are not afraid to go darker.

Even Boots(UK) wasn’t that well stocked in the shade range department. I am not sure what you Brit gals think.

I still have to scope out the stores in Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines to see what they stock.

But either ways I know to get something to match my skintone I need to get a Visa and get on a plane !


A DQ’s Dramatic Debut


Jean Genet’s The Maids is a classic. While the film and Cate Blanchett’s stage show are amongst the best known for the mass audience, most English Literature and Drama students are familiar with it as part of their curriculum.

The Maids - Cate Blanchett

My dabbling with The Maids was recent. Recent as in our closing night was 9th Nov 2013. 5 shows, 4 days. HK Arts Centre.

my boys, my maids
my boys, my maids

My directorial debut and a dream come true. I achieved what I set out to. I learnt a lot, still lots more to learn but I am fulfilled with no regrets.

My love for theatre is not new. Nutured and developed through school and college. Stage is the medium that interests me the most and my medium for expression. I had always thought my future would be on or around the stage.

But when I wanted to study Drama and Theatre my mother said ‘what is the percentage of starving actors v/s starving bankers’.

An MBA was the guaranteed ticket into the plush offices of a ‘foreign’ bank. Bankers hadn’t acquired their Anti-Christ title as yet. At that time in India, being a Banker was the glorious outcome of successful parenting producing ambitious off-spring.

I refused to do the MBA and compromised to do a post graduation in Mass Communications instead.

Mass Communication proved to be fulfilling and the resulting jobs in Ad Agencies  and Television, exciting.

But I grew restless. I needed drama. People call me DQ, drama queen. But that drama needs to be on a stage under spot lights with rows upon rows of a rapt audience.

While I am proud of my appearances on stage as an actor, my true love is directing. Maybe because I fundamentally like telling people what to do .

But to do justice to a piece is to consume it and for it to consume you. To be able to direct something is to know your material so well that it becomes your reality. You know every word, every pause and every emotional arc.  You can not direct a play unless it lives inside you. Thats the only way you can be authentic.

With a job that was fast becoming a career I enjoyed and was proud of, directing over this, would be like holding down two full time jobs. No thank you.

Directing was a dream that was going to remain unfulfilled in this lifetime and I believed it.

And then, it happens, doesn’t it ? Life turns around and throws a curve ball. Catch it and call it an Opportunity or lose it to forever think ‘what if?’

And thats exactly what happened. Out of the blue someone I respected as an actor and as a performer called me. He wanted me to co-direct his venture and as it turned out the lead director was someone I considered a mentor.

A dream come true and yet doable because a co-director meant load shared,  angst shared. It took me half a second to process this.

“Yes, yes definitely yes” I said. Deal signed, sealed, delivered when rather belatedly, I remembered the most important aspect for a director, the SCRIPT.

“What is the script ?” I asked, embarrassed at my failing as a deep thinking ‘director’.

It was Jean Genet’s The Maids. The Maids has a foreward written by none other than Jean Paul Sartre ! Oh why oh why couldn’t it be a simpler play ?

Luckily for me I was blessed with an incredible co-director, fantastic actors and an amazing production crew.

I am not about to put my career on the back burner for Amateur Dramatics but the ease of this project might seduce me into more directorial ventures.

It took as much out of me as my job does, but it wasn’t impossible 🙂 or so I think…..

Samples: Bonjour Cosmetics Hong Kong

2013-08-17 16.34.25

I don’t need to tell you the Sasa explosion that Hong Kong is currently experiencing. As much as I love this twinkling pink glittery heaven of cosmetics it’s still un-nerving to see them mushroom like 7/11s around every street corner. No one needs that much makeup.

I have been in HK a long time and I can safely conclude that this explosion is thanks to our neighbours from the North.

I remember it used to be the Japanese that went around HK in huge Chanel, LV and Prada shopping bags. Now it is our cousins from the North.

And they are equal opportunity shoppers. Not just Prada and Chanel, they love a bargain like any of us and at any given time can be seen in Sasa buying everything that can then be stuffed into gigantic shopping bags.

Sasa has probably never had it so good, resulting in rapidly multiplying Sasa stores, and off-shoots like the Sasa outlet and the never seen before mega Sasa. A shop goes out of business and a Sasa comes up in it’s place.

Thanks to Sasa’s success we have a me-too. Bonjour Cosmetics. Competition is always good. And in this case even better !

Bonjour is less classy than Sasa (oh Sasa I remember your humble beginnings) and especially now that Sasa has become too high and mighty for something things it’s great we have Bonjour.

Great because Bonjour is not too posh for ‘samples’.

Samples from Clinique, Guerlain, Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder and the like. Tiny 3ml and 5 ml samples that all have “NOT FOR SALE” clearly written on their packaging. Not for Sale samples that we can ‘buy’ for a small price.

I don’t mind. HK is notoriously stingy, or rather has a ‘No we dont (wont)’ attitude when it comes to giving away samples in the actual stores. And selling them at these cosmetic shops is legal.

They are not out of date or expired. They are the very same samples that a Sephora, a House of Frasier or Macy’s would give away happily, even if you were merely loitering around their counters.

In HK nothing is free and I have learnt to live with that. So I don’t complain when I pay HKD 69 for a sample of Advanced Night Repair to try out before I go ahead and buy the full size for around HKD 900+.

These samples are the best way to try out products and brands. Buy them once, buy them twice. If it works buy then  buy  the full size.

In the past I purchased and re-purchased samples of Advanced Night Repair before I splurged for the full size one. Around the same time I also sampled the Estée Lauder Even Skintone Illuminator before deciding it was a load of rubbish !



My recent Bonjour haul was cleansers, especially for eye makeup, and eye creams.

I am disappointed with both the Body Shop eye makeup removers they offer and while I know I can always rely on Maybelline, I bought these samples to test out the high end brands without spending fat wads of cash.

Same with the eye creams. Thanks to Paula Begoun I know that any anti-aging formula can not be in a jar and yet most companies are still offering it in jars. So I am still on the look out for the perfect eye cream.

Clinique’s Even Better Eyes Dark Circle corrector is my current favourite and I am on my second bottle, but because its tinted I don’t like wearing it at night before bed. So I bought the Clinique All About Eyes serum and cream samples to see if they are effective. Both are supposed to fight puffiness, so lets see.

While Clinique and MAC are my go to brands for skincare and makeup, I don’t believe in spending silly money for things like cleansers, make up removers and moisturisers. Drugstore brands like Maybelline, Garnier and Olay are good quality and equally effective.

Body Shop is proving to be pretty poor in some of its product pay off, so I have relegated it to the toiletries only department.

But sampling high end to work out just what the hype is all about is great fun.

Thanks to Bonjour’s samples I have discovered  winners and duds.

I love the Estée Lauder Lip Conditioner and between Benefit’s Porefessional and Clinique’s Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector, Benefit wins hands down.

(Benefit was not a sample. It was a mini from a Christmas present )

Bonjour doesn’t sell mini samples of makeup. Its mainly around the skincare range.

The one in TST just before Granville is a good one.