From sleep-deprived to looking like a million–a makeover at HK’s makeup mecca
About a dozen people line up outside Gucci, most of them wearing street-style OOTDs often seen on cool kids’ Instagram posts. Next door, by the entrance of Bulgari, two ladies wait their turn to enter the Italian luxury store. At night, these boutique shops add glitter to fabulous Canton Road.
This is Tsim Sha Tsui, where a statue of Bruce Lee in fighting form awaits tourists; a killer view of the Victoria Harbour wows at 8 p.m. for a 14-minute light show; and a famous bee mascot of a Filipino fastfood giant signals kababayan to come inside for a bite of crispy chicken and sweet spaghetti.
In the midst of it all is Harbour City, a 2 million-square-foot shopping eden that has front-row seats to a spectacular sunset view.
It houses luxury stores Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Prada, famous franchise restaurants Paper Moon and The Cheesecake Factory, and our new favorite, makeup mecca Facesss.
Where do we even begin? A mere list of beauty brands sold here would not suffice.
There’s a sense of euphoria upon seeing Facesss. The black-and-white façade, LED and neon lights from counters and professional “beauty-visors” (beauty advisors) manning the stalls made us feel like glammed-up models ready to strut the runway.
Customers come here for facial treatments, makeup service, brow shaping or scalp analysis. There are over 100 international brands under one roof, from skincare, makeup, hair care to styling, body and fragrance.
It’s an experience that cannot be had when we go online and hit “add to cart.”
“Facesss has been in Hong Kong since 2003 and this (Harbour City) is our flagship and first store in Hong Kong,” Stephanie Chu of Lab Concept said. “Now we have a total of three branches. We are a subsidiary of Lane Crawford, but we are more accessible in terms of our pricing.”
The choices at Facesss range from high-end Dior and SK-II to the more affordable Korean favorite Innisfree and reliable drugstore brand NYX.
“We launched the ‘Be yourself, be beautiful’ campaign. We want our customers to express their individual selves through our diversified makeup products, skincare, lifestyle gadgets,” Chu said.
At the MAC counter by the entrance, a beauty-visor asked if I wanted to try lippies. I was led to a vanity mirror and asked my preferred shade.
“Mauve,” I replied.
She came back with three products—Persistence, a warm brown lipstick with matte finish; the popular Smoked Almond from the Liptensity line; and MAC Prep+Prime, a sort of lip balm for smooth lipstick application.
The Smoked Almond was a winner, and stayed on my lips even after dinner.
I bombarded my beauty-visor with questions. “What do you use on your cheeks? I like your lips, what shade do you use? How do you apply it?” She used MAC Prep+Prime first, then dabbed a bit of Viva Glam lippies in the middle of her lips for a gradient effect.
It was like trying out makeup and watching a YouTube tutorial all at once.
I also sampled Lightful C Quick Finish Compact, a favorite among Asians. It has a light, subtle finish with SPF 50 and comes in six shades, perfect for the extreme metro weather.
On display at NARS were five of their best-selling no-fuss makeup lines for girls on the go. There was cult favorite Radiant Cream Concealer; the Audacious lipstick, which comes in 40 shades; the iconic Orgasm shade blush; Velvet Matte Skin Tint, which has medium, buildable coverage and SPF 30; and the Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in bold colors to make the eyes pop.
Hair problems? Head to Aveda. The beauty-visors here use a powerful camera that magnifies the scalp 600 percent to check hair density and condition. They also provide natural treatments for different hair needs.
Elevatione: Time Stops products, meanwhile, are eye-catchers. This cosmetics line from London is inspired by artist Salvador Dali (yes, the man behind “The Persistence of Memory”), who once said, “Time is not constant, it can be manipulated, stretched, stopped or even reversed.”
Elevatione has Time Stops Repair Your Youth night cream, foamy cleansing gel, eye cream, milky exfoliator. The products come in Dali-inspired packaging.
Across the harbor is another branch of Facesss, located in the 16-floor shopping landmark Times Square in Causeway Bay.
At this branch, Facesss is divided into four categories: Asia Pop, Expressive, Lifestyle and Modern. They also hold exhibits with collaborating brands (we’re talking about a Gudetama meet-and-greet), pop-up stores, claw machines and photo booths.
Under Asia Pop is Cosme Go. It carries best-selling Japanese drugstore products like Koh Gen Do (its Aqua Foundation promises to give that after-facial glow), and Takami Skin Peel (a popular serum that helps minimize pores and works extra hard to get rid of facial gunk and acne).
BareMinerals dubbed its products, “Makeup so pure, you can sleep in it,” and for good reason. This cosmetics company from the United States’ Bay Area uses minerals and fine ingredients to enhance natural beauty.
But really, BareMinerals is for lazy girls who want to skip the rigorous ritual of makeup removal, and plop down on the bed after a long day.
Exclusive at Facesss is the ever-reliable Urban Decay. This company was born in the ’90s to satisfy the alternative beauty color palette (read: not pink or red) of Cisco System cofounder Sandy Lerner and makeup addict Wende Zomnir.
Urban Decay’s neutral Naked Palette is its best-selling makeup yet, and it precedes the “no makeup makeup look” trend.
We checked out the Eyeshadow Primer Potion, a miracle worker of a base to prep the eyelids to avoid creasing, followed by a dab of the new Naked Heat palette for a natural look. The look was sealed with four spritzes of All Nighter, a setting spray for all types of skin.
We figured out one thing after the whole makeover: We could come into this store looking like a sleep-deprived office slave, but we would walk out looking like a million. And we’re willing to fly to Hong Kong again and again just for this.
Follow @FacesssHK and @harbourcity on Facebook and Instagram. This beauty tour was sponsored by Cathay Pacific and Harbour City. Cathay Pacific provides convenient and comfortable flights from Manila to over 200 destinations around the world via connecting flights in Hong Kong. Visit cathaypacific.ph.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.