As you might guess, this year's BeautyAsia had a pretty big crowd, as always. And, just like last year's BeautyAsia 2014 and BeautyAsia 2013, some of the perennial favourites were there - Hakuhodo was there with their gorgeously soft (if expensive!) brushes, and the nail polish distributors were there too. So, without further ado, let's take a dive into what I saw there!
First up, let's talk about skincare. there were quite a few skincare product, mostly in the vein of "OMG LOOK AT HOW NATURAL THIS PRODUCT IS", which was of limited interest to me, since my preferred method of evaluating skincare is via the science rather than just by assuming natural is inherently better for skin. But the natural trend does seem to have picked up, for better or for worse, and there were a number of products featuring interesting natural ingredients.
Like this wax. As far as I can tell, the brand is called Wax Me With Sugar (how very literal), and it is brought in by Nila Singapore. The selling point of this wax, is, of course, that it is 99% natural - basically just sugar, water, and not much else. It's even edible! I tasted it (yes, they dipped a little spatula into the jar and asked me to test it), and it tasted like sweet candy with a bit of a tang - I'm told it tastes this way because of the sugar and lemon water mix. It tastes nice, and if I used it, I would be pretty tempted to eat it!
BeautyAsia 2015: Wax Me With Sugar Body Wax: 99% natural, and edible
Anyway, as a wax, it seemed to be quite effective. The back of my hand was used as a demo for a short while, and basically, the wax was applied, and quickly stripped off, and it seemed to be removing the hairs on the back of my hand quite well. That was certainly interesting, although I do tend to personally shy away from any products containing lemon in significant quantities - it's a preference of mine to avoid citrus oils and extracts since they can be harmful to the skin. The good thing about this, though, is that since it didn't seem to have any oil, I had barely any residue on my skin after the wax had been removed.
BeautyAsia 2015: Wax Me With Sugar Body Wax: A water-based formula makes this fuss-free
Next, there was KU-Gtep's Salmon Roe Brightening Eye Patch, which, as the name suggests, is a hydrogel eye patch, that has salmon roe as a feature ingredient. This is a Korean product, and this product was pretty new to me.
BeautyAsia 2015: KU-Gtep Salmon Roe Brightening Eye Patch
The Salmon Roe Brightening Eye Patches are gold in colour, and stored in a little tub marked "N1".
BeautyAsia 2015: KU-Gtep Salmon Roe Brightening Eye Patch is a gold-coloured hydrogel
The interesting about the eye patches are that they first start off nice and thick and plump on your skin, but then slowly "dissolve" or "melt" into your skin over time. I was told that this is the hydrating ingredients from the patch going into your skin. Anyway, just to see the dissolving effect of the patches, I stuck one on my hand, and kept it on until it melted, and it did indeed seem to undergo that melting process. Here is the patch freshly applied.
BeautyAsia 2015: KU-Gtep Salmon Roe Brightening Eye Patch upon first application
And here is the patch around 2 or 3 hours later. You can see the patch is all flattened out and isn't as thick as it originally was. I'm not sure how this works, but it is certainly very cool. My skin felt slightly softer after use, so I guess it helped with hydrating the skin it was used on. My colleague was thoroughly impressed when she saw the patch on my skin dissolving over time, and immediately asked me where she could get them.
BeautyAsia 2015: KU-Gtep Salmon Roe Brightening Eye Patch 2-3 hours later
Lastly, there was also Jyunka Skincare. Jyunka is a Singaporean brand, created and formulated out of Singapore, but manufactured in France, and one of their trademarks is the use of caviar inside some of their skincare products. I always love seeing local companies take the spotlight, so I just had to visit their booth to check them out. Turns out, Jyunka has a pretty extensive range of skincare products - cleanser, sunscreen, various serums and essences, and moisturizers - and the brand has apparently been around for awhile now.
BeautyAsia 2015: Jyunka Skincare, a local Singaporean brand that is manufactured in France
Next, the haircare! One of the highlights of BeautyAsia this year was from Korean company Daoom Costech, and, following the popularity of natural products, it's a range of ALA-C Black Garlic Shampoo and Conditioner.
BeautyAsia 2015: ALA-C Black Garlic Shampoo and Conditioner
I was told that the black garlic extracts in the shampoo and conditioner can help to care for the scalp, and improve general quality of scalp and hair. I'm not sure exactly how it does that, but it seemed pretty cool.
BeautyAsia 2015: ALA-C Black Garlic Shampoo and Conditioner - apparently the black garlic is to help with scalp care
And, makeup! Highlighted to me was the Shizens Eye Charm, which is a combination of two-step lash primer and mascara. It supposedly gives you long lashes without clumping. The demo I saw seemed pretty effective. Here is an application of the primer:
BeautyAsia 2015: Shizens Eye Charm primer
And here is an application of the mascara. The salesgirl appeared to have been demo-ing the product a few times by the time I visited her booth, and hence the multiple coats of product (which surprisingly, didn't actually look too thick or overdone). This piqued my interest - no matter what mascara I use (and I have tried a few mascaras, believe me), I can never get my lashes to look quite like that. I was impressed.
BeautyAsia 2015: Shizens Eye Charm mascara
Also in makeup, the ever-popular Hakuhodo brushes were here! Hakuhodo has also made an appearance at BeautyAsia 2013 and BeautyAsia 2014, and every year there seem to be lots of people queuing up to buy their brushes. I'm sure by now the brand doesn't need that much introduction, but if you aren't familiar, it's a brand of luxe, high-end brushes with a variety of bristles (goat, squirrel, and other types of exotic-sounding animals) that are super-soft, but also pretty pricey. As a gauge, the prices run from SGD$40+ for a smaller eyeshadow brush, to $200+ for a larger face brush, like a big powder brush.
BeautyAsia 2015: Hakuhodo brushes
I asked the salesgirl to show me which were the most popular brushes they had been selling, and she kindly laid them out for me below. From top to bottom, they are the Kokutan Kinoko Brush (not a bestseller per se, but one of their signature brushes, with Saikoho goat bristles), $344, the G5523 Eye Shadow Brush Round Flat (blue squirrel bristles), $41, J5523 Eye Shadow Brush Round & Flat (goat bristles), $29, J210 Blush Brush Round (Saikoho goat bristles), $69, J110 Blush Brush Round & Flat (Saikoho goat bristles), $83, J531 Powder & Blush Brush L Angled (Saikoho goat bristles), $138. Ouch!
BeautyAsia 2015: Some of the bestsellign Hakuhodo Brushes: Kokutan Kinoko, G5523, J5523, J210, J110, and J531
Speaking of makeup brushes, remember MAC's Masterclass Brush collection, the set of brushes that basically looked like toothbrushes and puzzled beauty junkies the world over? Well, these were seen at BeautyAsia, too! Cailyn has their own oval-shaped, toothbrush-handled makeup brushes, also with synthetic bristles that are pretty soft. Cailyn's version of the toothbrush makeup brush is simply called the O! Wow Brush, and while it felt so weird using a toothbrush-y motion to apply makeup, I had to admit that the soft and dense nature of the bristles meant that they were quite good for buffing in powders and foundations. I can see myself using this much like I use my kabuki brushes, since it has similar bristle density, but I can't imagine getting a light coverage with this brush, or blending, say, blush out very well. Still, it's an interesting concept!
BeautyAsia 2015: Cailyn's O! Wow Brush has a toothbrush-like handle, and very dense, soft bristles
After this, it was nail polish and nail art time! BeautyAsia is often pretty strong when it comes to nail trends, nail polish, and nail art in general, and I wasn't disappointed. Look at all those nail polish racks! As a nail polish junkie, it was like walking into a dream closet, only for polish!
BeautyAsia 2015: Nail polishes on display, ever-popular with shoppers
Yes, there was a rack full of Gelish gel polishes too!
BeautyAsia 2015: Also equally popular were the Gelish polishes
Another tabletop full of Nfu Oh and more gel polishes!
BeautyAsia 2015: Nfu-Oh and more gel polishes
And nail art stuff! Glitter, stickers, decals - you name it, they have it!
BeautyAsia 2015: Tons of nail stickers, decals and other nail art products
There was also a cool machine that printed out designs onto your nails, called the ArtPro Nail Printer. The selling point of this nail printer is that you can print even photos and pictures onto your own nail. So now you can have Ariana grande/Justin Bieber/Taylor Swift/pop star du jour/your own selfies on your very own nails!
BeautyAsia 2015: ArtPro Nail Printer - now you can print your photos on your nails
And so that's the highlights for BeautyAsia 2015. I know you're wondering - did I buy anything? This year, my haul was pretty tame compared to my hauls from 2013 and 2014, although I didn't quite plan it that way. It just happened to be a case of accidental frugality. I had planned to buy nail polish and maybe a couple of brushes, but I couldn't seem to find any cool colours that I liked, so I passed. Unlike previous years, there were no cool duochrome or flakie shades, and some of the brands I was looking for, like Misa and Color Club, didn't seem to be displayed, leaving me with mostly sheers and creams from the larger nail brands like OPI and Essie. While I love those brands, I felt like I already had quite a few cremes in my collection, and was looking to expand into more interesting finishes. So, a large bulk of my "to-buy" wishlist was suddenly removed. So I turned to the Hakuhodo store, and bought this little beauty:
It's the Hakuhodo J104 Powder Brush Round (Saikoho goat bristles), which is a fairly close cousin to the J110 and J531 brushes - they have the same type of handles ahdn hair, except that the J104 is larger than the J110, and the J531 is flat and angled. I had bought the Hakuhodo Kokutan Blush Brush S (Blue squirrel bristles) and (did a comparison post on my blog last year), and I really liked the brush, so this year, I decided I would get a powder brush too. I like my powder brushes big, soft, fluffy, with bristles that are not too dense, and the J104 brush seemed to fit the bill. So I bought it, and I was half-celebrating my haul, and half-chiding myself for being so spendy after that. But it was such a lovely brush, I couldn't resist! And, I didn't buy any nail polish, so it was totally justified, right? Right, people? *crickets chirp*
Anyway, that was my BeautyAsia experience this year. I hope that gave you a glimpse into some of the upcoming trends and products in the region, and I hope that you had a fun time traipsing through the exhibits with me! I'll get around to doing a proper review of the Hakuhodo J104 Powder Brush soon, hopefully - it's on my to-do list!