Two things will happen if you go to Taiwan: first, you will never be hungry thanks to the insane amount of street vendors on every corner (I recommend the ice cream spring roll) and second, beauty options will be bountiful. Whether you’re at Watsons, Cosmed or a larger beauty boutique, Taiwan does not disappoint in their selection of drugstore and high-end beauty picks. It’s no surprise since they are heavily influenced and geographically located near beauty giants such as Japan, South Korea and China.
Unique ingredients make up some of Taiwan’s most popular beauty staples such as silk, ginger, pearl and even snail (don’t knock it ‘til you try it). So I knew I had to experience the wonderful world of Taiwanese beauty for myself. I traveled all over the country to seek the latest in beauty trends and products, and this is what I discovered.
With the help of different eyeliner shades in Taiwan, you can choose to look like you got eight hours of sleep, or eight minutes. A couple swipes of the Lovedrops Urumi Eyeliner in Coral Pink ($21, amazon.com) will highlight the puffiness under eyes to, apparently, make you look youthful. I discovered this trend while at a drugstore in Taiwan, surprised at the amount of soft pink and purple liners on the shelf. You’re probably wondering, “Who wants to purposefully look hungover?” Some Asian women like the look since it can be sexy and mysterious. If looking hungover isn’t for you, I did see a lot of women wear a bright liner such as the Lovedrops Urumi Eyeliner in Ivory White ($20, amazon.com) on their lids. Asian women tend to have monolid shaped eyes so applying a bright liner to the crease of the lid provides a subtle brightness to their appearance.
Snails are naturally slow-moving creatures, but who knew they could also slow down the aging process? Snails protects themselves with the slime from their body, and that slime is packed with nutrients like hyaluronic acid and glycoprotein enzymes, ingredients found in most skincare products. The thought of putting a snail ingredient on your face is a little shudder-inducing, but Taiwanese women swear by it. The Eileen Grace Almighty Snail Repair Essence ($27, beautyskin.sg) contains snail secretion that helps diminish wrinkles by 50%, and after less than two weeks of use, skin is brightened, baby soft and colour complexion is evened out.
I discovered DSY Taiwan Ginger Hair Shampoo ($20, aliexpress) at a night market in Taipei. Ginger is a popular ingredient in various Asian teas, medicine and now, hair. Ginger contains antiseptic prosperities (meaning it can treat infections) so it helps to stop itching that may cause dandruff. Ginger also stimulates blood flow, and blood flow stimulates hair follicles to help with hair growth. Now that winter is moving in, the cold weather can be harsh on your scalp (again, dandruff) and for that reason, any sort of ginger shampoo is the perfect winter hair staple. I also recommend The Body Shop’s Ginger Scalp Shampoo ($10, thebodyshop.ca) for a ginger product to try that is a little closer to home.
Women in Asia have been using pearl powder as their secret beauty ingredient for thousands of years (according to an extremely nice yet talkative woman who gave me an hour-long lecture about it at a department store). She recommends Biomed Food Grade Pearl Powder ($64-$124, alibaba.com). It’s rich in amino acids, trace elements and calcium. You can use pearl powder externally by mixing it with rose water to make a mask or use it as a finishing powder to mattify your skin. You can also ingest pearl powder with a spoonful of honey. The calcium will help strengthen bones and teeth, as well as aid in mood stability if you’re feeling anxious or stressed.
Sheet masks are a Taiwanese beauty classic. One sheet mask in particular that’s super popular in Taiwan is a mask made out of silk. The Lovemore Snow Lotus Revival Mask ($3, melodycosme.com) has amino acids, nutrients and is made of natural silk. Just like a silk pillowcase can improve your hair and skin complexion by preventing moisture loss and hair loss while sleeping, a silk sheet mask will work wonders for the overall health of your skin. I tried it out, and it’s pretty wonderful in reducing redness and making skin supple and soft. BTW, make sure to take the plastic backing off the mask before you use it. I made that mistake the first time around. Whoops.
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