As a total beauty junkie, I’m an avid follower of the Hong Kong cosmetics scene – new stores, new brands, new products… the lot!
One of my favourite one-stop-shops in HK for all things pampering and prettifying is FACESSS, a “beauty retail concept” (read: loads of make-up and skincare counters all in one place i.e. total win) whose LAB Concept location in Admiralty has just had its very own makeover… making getting access to more fabulous brands and enticing experiences even easier.
I was invited for a whistlestop tour of the revamped LAB Concept location, so here’s a quick rundown of what’s new that’s cooking in the FACESSS kitchen:
This Korean beauty brand is relatively new to the Hong Kong scene, having only just opened its first standalone store here last year in Causeway Bay (with appropriate crazy queues to match). The fever for all things K-ool clearly doesn’t stop at K-Pop and K-Drama as Innisfree has already opened another few locations in Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui, plus now these new FACESSS concessions too!
In case you aren’t familiar with the brand, I’d describe it as Korea’s version of The Body Shop, with an emphasis on natural ingredients from their very own Jeju Volcanic Island, a UNESCO heritage site. The store in Causeway Bay is a bit tiddly and gets crowded easily, so this concession is definitely a nice addition to the brand’s Hong Kong presence. For me, the FACESSS counter does a better job at displaying their extensive array of make-up (it’s restricted to one small area in the CWB store) and I already spotted plenty of products I intend on making a beeline back to in future, like these cute chubby eye shadow pencils.
Plus the two magic words: NAIL POLISH! I’m sold.
Check out my review of Innisfree hand creams here
I remember when I first moved back here, hunting down a Clarisonic in Hong Kong was like trying to find the last Horcrux! Thankfully, this cult beauty device has become much more easily available in recent years, and in addition to being stocked at JOYCE Beauty, Clarisonic also has a few standalone counters in Lane Crawford and now, FACESSS. Did you know there were quite so many different models and brush heads available (I counted at least six!)? (I clearly didn’t!)
*Cue excited jumping up and down* I LOVE Philosophy. For the longest time, it was a brand I only saw and lusted after in magazines – back in the day, Nottingham wasn’t exactly drowning in high-quality beauty counters either! Finally, this gorgeously-packaged, deliciously-scented US brand became available via Boots in the UK… and I immediately filled my boots (or more accurately, suitcases… with consequent excess baggage anxieties!), lugging back every heavenly shower gel I could get my mitts on. Well, clearly I was too busy rejoicing in my make-up mule abilities to notice Philosophy had actually opened up a counter right here in Hong Kong last year… d’oh!
Philosophy’s simple but stunning typeface-focused packaging has been much-imitated but never bettered, and I love the quirky and cute names and “flavours” they come up with for their products – doesn’t “Hope In A Jar” neatly and sweetly epitomise the basis behind every single beauty product ever created?! And having a shower gel called Birthday Cake cannot fail to make you smile… and then you actually smell the stuff and it’s so scrumptious you want to inhale it, making your shower something to actively look forward to!
I can’t wait to get lugging all my Philosophy favourites from Admiralty back to my flat – a much shorter (and cheaper!) distance than LHR-HKG. Meanwhile, they also have a new “Brighten My Day” range exclusive to Asia that promises to diminish dark spots and brighten skin tone, which I’m interested to put to the test.
Another Korean brand that’s new to FACESSS is Tony Moly, which combines the cutesy aspects of fellow Korean brand Etude House with the more results-based skincare of Innisfree. When I originally moved back to Hong Kong, Tony Moly was only available on a paltry few shelves of selected Watsons and Sasas… then it started popping up as little open counters and kiosks in shopping malls – and now it has standalone stores opening all around HK, plus has been accepted into the beauty mainstream with this FACESSS concession too!
I’ll confess that I’m more familiar with Tony Moly’s cutesy side – as soon as I saw their new Panda’s Dream range, my camera was snapping pics quicker than a baby panda sneezes! However, their best-selling products are actually from their more straight-laced 24k Gold Snail Essence line (short of adding caviar or diamond dust, could this ingredients list be any more Asian?!).
They also had a nifty little electronic gadget designed for use with their Placenta Cream, which apparently helps the product absorb into the skin and improves skin elasticity. I gave the vibration machine a spin and it did feel pretty good; it’s always cool to see further innovation in the beauty scene, and it seems like the Korean brands are streets ahead!
Haircare products are often pretty boring to look at – which is why I love Amika’s fun and vivacious approach to hair! Their colourful psychedelic prints are so eye-catching and inject a real vibrant energy to their products.
Previously, Amika’s FACESSS counter primarily focussed on selling their styling tools… but in a stroke of genius, they’ve now added a blowout bar! It’s about time these started catching on in in Hong Kong as getting a stylish blow-dry or chic updo on-the-go is so suited to our hectic pace of life – and Amika ensure that your blowout experience goes with a bang. Or, to be more accurate, a fizz… as complimentary champers is most definitely included!
I was lucky enough to be treated to a free updo courtesy of Amika and FACESSS, and it was AMAZING – so stay tuned to read more about that soon. P.S. Sneak peek here!
Guess what… it’s another Korean brand! The FACESSS concession marks VIDI VICI’s biggest counter in Hong Kong, and it was cool to see a different side to the Korean beauty game – namely more sophisticated, higher-end, grown-up cosmetics. I got a Le Métier de Beauté vibe from its signature product, the chic Face Case kaleidoscope of complexion powders, featuring a highlighter, cheek blush, contouring blush and finishing powder.
I was too busy snapping pics to actually test out the products (the things I do for this blog!), but I’m looking forward to giving VIDI VICI a whirl in future; I’ve often had good experiences with products like these that are formulated “especially for Asian skin” as the colours tend to work very naturally with my complexion. The massive range of soft creamy lipsticks looked very tempting too… as Arnie said, I’ll be back!
Two more Korean beauty brands… are you sensing a theme here?! It doesn’t take a make-up Einstein to work out that Korean beauty is a massively growing sector here and I think FACESSS has been pretty smart to tap into that market.
MISSHA already has plenty of stores around Hong Kong so I’ll have to admit to tuning out of the PR intro and instead being distracted by all the irglittery nail polish instead! I think MISSHA are particularly famous for their BB Cream… but errrr… glittery nail polish, guys?!?!
Meanwhile, Leaders Clinic has a much more medical vibe and, judging by their counter, their signature products are their sheet masks. SO MANY SHEET MASKS. Personally, I still prefer masks that you spread over your face, like my fave Lush Cupcake or Bliss Triple Oxygen ones; I find that those are better for deep cleansing, which is generally what I want in my masks, whilst the sheet ones are good for intense hydration and moisturising. That being said, sheet masks make amazing presents for Western friends as they’re still so much of an alien concept back home – especially when they see the crazy variety of “flavours” and odd face-shaping and whitening “benefits” available! P.S. Yes, Leaders’ logo confusingly looks like the Swiss flag. Go figure!
In case you hadn’t stopped by the FACESSS at LAB Concept before, they’re also famous for their beauty vending machines – such a cute idea, which they’ve continued to change up with new brands and products ever since they opened in Hong Kong.
As part of the LAB Concept FACESSS makeover, many of the counters are also now offering a plethora of hands-on beauty experiences, including make-up demos, mini pampering treatments, manis and much more! Check out that article here… yep, there’s just way too much FACESSS goodness to fit into one post!
FACESSS locations in Hong Kong:
Stay up to date on all things LAB Concept on their Facebook Page here