First World Problems- No Sephora in your City


‘Hong Kong World City’. The original ‘city that never sleeps’. We are non-stop. We don’t stop for anything, not even old people, pedestrians or pleasantries. We are busy moving. We only pause to slurp our soup noodles or when at a cashiers to pay for our shopping.

Eating and Shopping the two things that slow us down. We boast of amazing cuisine choices and some pretty shit shopping.

Top Shop only recently came to HK. Pitiful  Boot’s choices and no Soap and Glory. Some lines don’t even make it to HK. Like the Loreal Infallible lines or even Gilette Venus razors!

And still no Sephora. WHAT???!!! WHY ???!!!

Look I love Sasa, but as an expat I don’t want to buy pink-toned Japanese and Korean brands that don’t have English writing.

I want to buy brands I am familiar with. Brands with English packaging and no pictures of snail goo.

I visit Sasa, often. Just because. It’s my kind of porn. I look but don’t touch.

I want snail-free, English packaged brands like Stila, Tarte, Two Faced, Smashbox, Urban Decay, Lorac & NYX.

And to top it all, as a brown skinned expat, HK is simply racist. Beige, pink undertoned makeup  dominate the shelves in HK and Sasa.

The choices for yellow toned, dark makeup is your standard Bobbi Brown and MAC. Boring!

And then there is HK’s step-sister Singapore.  I love Singapore for many many many things and Sephora is one of them.

15 years ago I bought my one and only thing at Sephora, San Francisco. A Nars multiple. Possibly even before they called it a multiple. 15 years later, 26th May 2015 was my second Sephora purchase.


2015-05-26 21.23.49

Tonight’s purchase was more of an educated one. Gleaned from Caroline Hirons, Tati Glam Life Guru and general reviews.

The Smash Box Primer is my first ever primer  purchased. I have only ever used the Porefessional which I received as a sample.

My hygiene levels on my makeup brushes has just gone up with the Beauty Blender Solid brush cleaner disk. I read rave reviews on the internet. Its no different from washing my brushes in mild shampoo but way more convenient. Definitely going to re-purchase.

The Facial Radiance Pads were recommended by Caroline Hirons. I have used them a few times but not wowed. I prefer the Clarins Brightening Toner and Kate Sommerville’s exfoliKate. Those two give immediate glowing results.


2015-05-27 06.13.00
Top- Arm toning cream and Bottom- Orange peel skin eliminator cream only because Tati said it works 🙂

Soap and Glory crazy stuff. Anti Cellulite & Arm toning cream. And 2 Lip plumping glosses.

Also my first ever Stila. Stay All Day Vinyl lip gloss and the one-step Colour Correction serum (I love it!)

2015-05-27 16.27.43

And awesome free gifts, that Sasa doesnt give!

Marc Jacobs, Urban Decay and Fresh free samples? Come on! Also a Sephora Rouge Infusion. Dying to try it.

INITIAL THOUGHTS : Few weeks of use.

Smashbox Foundation Primer oil free – Applies well.  The Porefessional  needs a dab dab dab movement otherwise it balls up but the Smashbox was ok with a light, short sweep movement. I didnt see immediate mattifying, pore-invisibility effect like the Porefessional. But then different jobs to do I guess.

Sexy Motherpucker Lip Plumper: Gloss with subtle colour. Does it make your lips tingle ? It’s a fun vibrating,  zzzzz feeling in the lips. But I cant see a big difference with my pucker.  They feel like gloss and while I dont like that glossy feeling its fun because of the zzzzz feeling and because of that I reach for them more than my Dior Lip plumper

Stila CC: Feels nice on the skin like a serum. Suitable for all skin tones. On lighter skins the CC effect might be more obvious but on my NC 40 skin it’s subtle. But I LOVE IT

Arm Firming, Bottom Toning: Look anyone with half a brain knows they dont work, but Tati said it works (I know about sponsored videos and do not believe everything someone/internet/anyone tells me) but after 3 years of research I trust some and some I dont. So am going to give this a try – along with running 30 mins and avoiding carbs and sweeties 🙂

Stila  Stay All Day Vinyl gloss is thick and a bit difficult to apply. It  feels glossy but my hair keeps sticking on my lips. Dont you hate that ? The YSL Glossy stain rules the market in this category. That’s it.

Free Sample Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick: This is my first every Urban Decay anything ! It feels great on application and gives off that vibe that it will stay on like a mother-fucker. It feels like a matte but not dry. REVIEW TO FOLLOW

The Marc Jacobs free sample on the other hand was patchy and felt like any other cream lipstick. The patchy application I fucking hate especially on my pigmented lips.

The Sephora Rouge Infusion feels like a stain and seems to have good staying power. It feels dry and IS drying, but I need to review it properly.

Jury still out on the Fresh Lip Serum Advanced Therapy. I need to give it a proper run.


The Internet Made Me Buy This

I spent my rent (or 1 Christian Loubotin)  on all this. Perfect husband squeaked when he heard the amount.


But  you know I dont feel guilty.  I have lived on this earth for more than 35 years (not revealing real age here for reasons of Vanity) without using a Toner. I rarely used a facemask. Heck first 21 years of my life I didnt even use a facewash and I lived in Bombay, Mumbai!.

I grew up with Ma slathering me in milk cream, skimmed off the top of the milk as we boiled it, or glycerin (before my bath) and later through high school and college years, a weekly face mask of garbanzo bean flour (besan) mixed with water and a pinch of tumeric. I am blessed with good skin. No breakouts or skin blemishes. Even toned, normal skin. But that was Youth.

Now its time to keep the sagging and drooping at bay. Listening to various beauty vloggers, especially Sali Hughes (beauty editor The Guardian) and the great Caroline Hirons I decided its time to invest and try to keep some signs of ageing at bay. Or rather de-accelarate it. Drooping eye lids, expanding pores and general loss of elasticity and moisture.

Time to invest in the good stuff.

Mercifully a lot of Caroline’s eye wateringly expensive recommendations are not so easily available in HK so I did a mix of Sali and Caroline’s recommendations.

Sali’s – Clarin’s Brightening Toner. (Caroline recommends an acid toning and none of that rubbish rough beaded traditional scrub) Holy f**k this really works. Literally overnight I was glowing. Yes it has alcohol but minimal enough to even make it to Caroline’s top ten.

Caroline’s – Pericone MD Eye Serum. Look I dont know. I have annoyingly crepey eye lids, where liqiud liner jumps and leaps and wobbles. Lately it seemed to have minimised. Is it working ? Is it a placebo effect ? (Zelens is everyone’s number 1 though)

Caroline’s- I have been using Clinique’s Turnaround Serum for almost 20 odd years, but I kind of felt like my skin needed a boost and I bought the Clinique Smart Serum. So the days I exfoliate/acid tone I will use the Smart Serum and not the Turnaround.

Caroline recommends doing a double cleanse, especially at night. And I didnt know I was double cleansing even before I read Caroline’s more structured approach. This is beacause I detest makeup wipes/ cotton balls because its environmentally horrendous. So I will always cleanse with a cleansing oil or cleansing milk. And because I could feel a residue I always did another cleanse with a soap – Clinique Mild Soap / Body Shop Vit E facial soap.

I love the Take the Day off range and this balm feels like your mother is patting your face saying “I love you, you are so beautiful”. I have a feeling all balms will feel like this.  So I do my first cleanse with this now to take off all makeup and follow it the Body Shop cleansing gel (non- foaming. I hate foaming and so does Caroline, yaay) Caroline actually loves Emma Hardie balm but I haven’t seen it in HK so far.

The Bobbi Brown Extra repair moisturiser is a result of my skin turning up its nose at my cheap drugstore cream. I was using Estee Lauder’s ANR serum, but the moisturiser over it was your everyday, cheap Olay cream. And my skin would turn its nose up at it. I cant explain. It didnt breakout of anything, but I could feel my body turning away from it.

So I needed an excuse to spend on a pampering moisturiser and thankfully Caroline explained why Mineral oil is ineffective for skincare (see the Pixiwood video where she is being interviewed). So now I had a valid reason to spend ! On a non mineral oil, effective moisturier. And because I love Bobbi Brown’s skincare range, on my OWN recommendation, I bought the Extra Repair.

For my skin, its heavy. Plus I live in super humid Hong Kong- so this is a nightime ONLY cream for me. Oh how I love its soft caress. The Illuminating Balm I bought, just because. The rest are just …. Tom Ford is ALL the rage, so I had to have his perfume. I didnt possess an effective Clay Mask ( am still not convinced about Glam Glow or Omorovicza) so bought the Origins one and picked the Aveda stuff for fun. I am enjoying my routine, dont regret my purchase and will post a review after a few months.

All My Reds

It’s only recently I got into Red lipstick territory.  For me this is a result of my age. Age is a wonderful thing. The power and confidence it gives me is astounding (and probably annoying for most)


This means that today I take more risks with colours and less bothered with what ‘people will think’. Colours that drew attention to me, were never even considered. Black, neutrals, browns, plums or peaches were what I chose, until around 2013 when I decided enough is enough, no more being invisible.

I went RED.


Rimmel Apocalips Big Bang was my first RED.  A satiny, glossy Blood Red.

I looked great and felt great. And the Red bug bit me hard.

Bangkok Airport: Loreal’s True Red was my second. A quick buy before taking our connecting flight to Calcutta

This is where I discovered Red has more than one shade. This is a glossy one with a strong Orange undertone.

Inflight dutyfree: Decided to try Lancome and bought a palette and in there sat a small pot of Rouge Mythique 151. I fucking LOVE this colour.

Rich Deep Red. Satin that seems to settle into a comfortable soft matte. Tiny tiny glitter specks gives it a glossy look. I want to OWN this colour but alas its been DISCONTINUED!

I have even wrote to Lisa Eldridge asking if Lancome currently has a dupe for this. Hoping for an answer.

And over time I amassed all the Reds I feel comfortable with.

I have never bought MAC’s Ruby Woo because its horrifically dry on my lips and the colour I prefer is Russian Red.

But I was undecided. Iconic colour (Ruby Woo) over comfort (Russian Red). In the middle of this mulling I got fed up with my indecision and bought MAC’s Salon Rouge as therapy.

But the voices in my head continued. R or R it asked.

In the middle of this internal debate along came Loreal with their Pure Reds. I mostly ignored it till someone said Pure Rouge was a Russian Red dupe. (and it was Frieda Pinto’s Red. ie suits Indian skintone)

And only 98$ HK ? A steal !

So off I went to swatch it. I swatched them all. OMG. The angel’s appeared with harps.

They apply beautifully almost MAC like. Opaque and a comfortable matte.

And the shades of Red ? They are fucking Stand Out Shout Out Red.

I feel like Dita Von Teese. This is real RED for me. I would advise one and all, run to your nearest WATSON’s (not Sasa, not Mannings) and get atleast two !

I bought 2 ofcourse. This one is Pure Vermeil. Coral undertone.

Blake’s Scarletto seemed to have an orange-y undertone to me and Pure Ruby wasn’t as LOUD as Rouge was to me.

I like Loud and dont like Orange. So walked out of Watsons happy that I am not bothered by MAC anymore and had the two shades that were best suited to me!

Will I buy more Reds ? not sure. Currently the shades I own ( except Rouge Mythique) seem to fill my Red-Shade gap.