Top 10 Skincare Products to buy in Taiwan
Taipei / Kaohsiung . 2016 . Nov 15 - 22
This post is part of our Kaohsiung / Taipei Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.
Below is a compilation of my top 10 favourite Skincare brands and items to buy from Taiwan. Try them if you are in Taiwan!
#1 Bonanza Jelly MaskTop of my list is this Bonanza Gel Mask, a product of Taiwan and a staple for Taiwanese girls. It is not available at shops in Singapore, though it may be available online. However, it is difficult to verify the authenticity of products that you buy online, especially when there were past cases where fakes were passed off for the real deal. Your best and safest bet would be to buy them from established stores in Taiwan.
Bonanza gel masks comes in at least 7 different kinds of varieties and two sizes - 250g or 550g. The most popular ones and my personal favourites has got to be the blue and purple bottled ones.The blue one is called Bonanza Zymo-excitative Membrane KFM and is cheaper at about NT588 (about SGD$26.80) for the bigger bottle, depending on where you buy it from and whether there was a sale going on. The purple one is called Bonanza Active-Moisture Membraneous KUM and cost about NT850 (about SGD$38.80). Both has the effect of deep cleansing, but the blue one (KFM) concentrates more on whitening while the purple one works more on hydration and tightening of pores.
An almost full range of the Bonanza jelly mask at Paris Strawberry at Shinkuchan, Kaohsiung. For our Singapore climate, I would recommend only the black one (whitening black membraneous) in addition to the blue and purple ones.
Gel masks are definitely not as easy to use as sheet masks, but the benefits to the complexion are definitely there. To bring out the full effects of the Bonanza jelly mask, you will need to slap on a thick layer of it and keep it on for the specified amount of time (according to the instructions for the different varieties of masks) before scrapping it off with a spatula.
An alternative to the Bonanza jelly masks would be Annie’s Way Jelly Mask. They work the same way and also comes in a few variants. Annie’s Way is available at selected SASA outlets in Singapore, but they are way cheaper in Taiwan (only NT350, which was about SGD$16. I bought mine for SGD$32-35 in Singapore! Double the cost!).
In terms of effectiveness, however, I would still prefer the Bonanza jelly masks. Personally, I felt that the cleansing, whitening and tightening effect was a lot more visible with the Bonanza jelly masks.
Where to buy Bonanza Jelly Mask in Taiwan?Your best bet will be the Taiwanese beauty stores - Little Three (小三美日), 86 shop (86 小舖) and Paris Strawberry (巴黎草莓). During my most recent trip to Taiwan in November 2016, the almost full range of Bonanza and Annie’s Way products were available at Paris Strawberry (巴黎草莓) at Shinkuchan, Kaohsiung. At the same location, Little Three (小三美日) and 86 shop (86 小舖) carried only the blue and purple varieties, with Little Three (小三美日) having the cheapest price for both varieties.
#2 Sheet MasksYes, Korea may be the market leader in sheet masks and most other skincare products, but Taiwan also has their own brands of cheap and good masks of established repute.
Perhaps, the brand that has taken Asia by storm and is still wildly popular now are the My Beauty Diary (我的美麗日記) series of sheet masks. With constantly evolving packaging and new variants, its hard to keep track of which are the best in the series, but a general rule of thumb is to understand your skin’s needs before investing in a box.
My Beauty Diary (我的美麗日記) masks are definitely available at Watsons in Singapore, but the prices in Taiwan are so much cheaper, it doesn't make sense not to buy them.
At POYA (寶雅), 2 boxes of My Beauty Diary (我的美麗日記) masks can go for NT419 (about SGD$19.10) while the same box is typically sold at SGD$16.90 for one. Last I checked, even when there was a sale of these masks in Singapore, it is still SGD$12.50 per box - that’s still SGD$25 for 2 boxes.
A direct competitor of the My Beauty Diary (我的美麗日記) masks are the My Scheming (我的心機) masks. It was a relatively unknown brand here, but I bought a whole lot of these masks back in January 2015 at Little Three (小三美日), Taipei to try out and was quite pleased with the results.
While the My Beauty Diary (我的美麗日記) wins in terms of the serum in their sheet masks, the My Scheming (我的心機) masks wins in terms of the texture, thinness and silkiness of their masks.It is said that sheet masks should be as thin as possible to ensure better adherence to the skin and therefore optimal absorption. I think the My Scheming (我的心機) masks performed that function very well. However, it has become rather difficult to find a place that stocks a good range of My Scheming (我的心機) masks, and the best that I could find was the masks being sold in loose forms (and not in a box) at POYA (寶雅).
The third kind of sheet mask that I highly recommend are the Sexy Look masks. Again, these are available at Watsons in Singapore, but you’ll get them so much cheaper in Taiwan. At POYA (寶雅), one box is sold at NT299 (about SGD13.70), while the same is sold in Singapore at SGD$29.90 when there is a sale!
Sexy Look is famous for their black cotton masks, which contains activated carbon said to be able to extract dirt and impurities from your skin, while delivering whitening and moisturizing effects through the serum that these masks are soaked with.The cleansing effect of these black sheet masks are just so amazing. I can feel my face become squeaky clean right after removal of these masks, without even the need to scrub away at my face!
And since we are on the topic of sheet masks, why not consider Dr Morita as well. In Taiwan, they can be sold for as cheap as 2 boxes for NT289 (about SGD$13.20), whereas the same is sold in Singapore at SGD$11.70 per box during a sale.
My new favourite of sheet masks has got to be these Lovemore masks. They are definitely a made in Taiwan product and come soaked in oriental herbs in addition to ingredients such as snow lotus, bird’s nest, or black pearl. Lovemore may sometimes be available at selected Guardian stores in Singapore, but in general, are difficult to find in physical stores.
Best places to buy sheet masks in TaiwanMost sheet masks are available at the drugstores Cosmed (康是美) and Watsons, although I feel that Cosmed carries a lot more brands and varieties that I prefer compared to Watsons.
However, my absolute favourite place to purchase sheet masks has always been POYA （寶雅) which not only carries most brands and a whole lot of variants from each brand, but also slashes prices quite extensively.It is rather difficult to walk away from POYA without buying a few boxes of sheet masks. The beauty stores - Little Three (小三美日), 86 shop (86 小舖) and Paris Strawberry (巴黎草莓) also carries sheet masks, but they tend to have limited range due to the small sizes of their shops. If there is a specific brand or variant that you are looking for, then you will need to shop around these stores for the best deals in town, and these deals can differ on a weekly basis.
# 3 Dr DouxiYet another Taiwanese brand, and not available at stores in Singapore. They have a huge range of products, but my favourite has got to be their Xin Ni Sung Egg Shell Revital and Lifting Veil. It contains amino acids and proteins from the goodness of egg whites all in one tub. Prolonged use is said to shrink pores and create a tightening and lifting effect. A recent obsession of mine has also been in their range of cleansing clays.
Where to buy Dr Douxi products in Taiwan?You can’t go wrong if you look into the beauty stores - Little Three (小三美日), 86 shop (86 小舖) and Paris Strawberry (巴黎草莓) and POYA (寶雅), although I've seen Dr Douxi products at Cosmed (康是美) a few years back as well.
The products can be priced differently at different stores, so look around for the best deal first before making that purchase.
# 4 Dr WuAvailable at selected Watsons stores in Singapore, this brand has several series of products, but the award winning ones are from the Vitamin C series - Dr Wu Intensive Whitening Serum with Vitamin C+, and the Brightening Eye Serum with Vitamin C.
Although available in Singapore, Dr Wu is much cheaper in its country of origin Taiwan. For example, the Dr Wu Intensive Whitening Serum with Vitamin C+ is retailed at SGD$80.40 in Singapore, while the same product sells for NT1500 (about SGD$68.50) in Taiwan. The Dr Wu Brightening Eye Serum with Vitamin C is retailed in Singapore at SGD$59.90, while it is priced at NT850 (about SGD$38.80) in Taiwan, NT679 (about SGD$31) after discounts.
Where to buy Dr Wu products in Taiwan?Dr Wu products are readily available in drugstores in Taiwan - and by that I am referring to Cosmed (康是美) and Watsons again. They are also available sometimes at Little Three (小三美日), 86 shop (86 小舖) and Paris Strawberry (巴黎草莓), although the range may not be complete at each of these stores. I’ve also seen Dr Wu products retailing at SASA.
# 5 For Beloved OneFor Beloved One is available at Sephora Singapore. Their star product is their bio-cellulose series of masks, usually retailed in Singapore at a box of 3 pieces for SGD$63 at the time of writing (that’s SGD$21 per piece!). In Taiwan where this brand originates, it is slightly cheaper at NT1200 (about SGD$54.80) per box before discounts. At Cosmed, I found that the mask are sold at 70% off for the second item, which means that one box of bio-cellulose mask will average out to be NT780 (about SGD$35.60). What a steal!
Where to buy For Beloved One products in Taiwan?Although For Beloved One is a higher end skincare product, it is retailed at most drugstores - Cosmed (康是美) and Watsons, as well as at SASA and departmental stores.
# 6 NarukoA brand founded by Taiwanese beauty guru Niu’er, Naruko seeks to bring specially formulated skincare that is targetted for Asian skin. Readily available at Watson in Singapore for a few years now, the brand has recently forayed into its own online business. It is good to know that the full range of skincare products is easily available in Taiwan at competitive prices, so pop by and grab those deals if you are in Taiwan.
Where to buy Naruko products in Taiwan?Cosmed (康是美) and Watsons usually carries Naruko products, as do Little Three (小三美日), 86 shop (86 小舖) and Paris Strawberry (巴黎草莓) and POYA (寶雅).
# 7 Dr MoritaI've earlier touched on Dr Morita when introducing sheet masks, but bear in mind that Dr Morita has an entire range of skincare products beyond sheet masks. Dr Morita sheet mask may be available at Watsons in Singapore, but the range is usually limited only to just that. At POYA (寶雅), I found this range of Dr Morita facial cleansers at 2 for NT98 (about SGD$4.50). That’s about slightly more than 2 bucks each! Well, even if they didn’t work as well as I liked, I reckoned its is still easy on the pockets to throw them away.
Where to buy Dr Morita products in Taiwan?You will definitely find the Dr Morita sheet masks at Cosmed (康是美), sometimes at Little Three (小三美日), 86 shop (86 小舖) or Paris Strawberry (巴黎草莓) at incredible prices. POYA (寶雅) usually stocks a good range of Dr Morita products as well.
# 8 Korean Skincare Products
Yes, you’ve read it right. Buy Korean skincare products if you find yourself in Taiwan.
While some Korean skincare products are available in Singapore, I find the brands and range extremely limiting at our physical stores. It forces me to look for sources online which may not be trustworthy (imagine slapping a fake product on your precious face!) In Taiwan, you definitely will not get as good a range as in Korea (prices definitely higher as well), but it is much much better than Singapore. At least, the Korean star products are available at physical stores in Taiwan.
At one Cosmed store at a up-market shopping mall, I find all my favourite Neogen products are available - from left Neogen Real Fresh Foam Cleanser in Cranberry, Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Wine, and Neogen Canadian Clay Pore Cleanser.
Too Cool for School, a Korean skincare and make-up store that has a youthful branding is available at many physical locations in Taiwan.
Where to buy Korean skincare products in Taiwan?Either at the brand’s physical stores itself, or at selected Cosmed (康是美), Little Three (小三美日), 86 shop (86 小舖) or Paris Strawberry (巴黎草莓) stores. Even POYA (寶雅) carries some stocks of Korean masks for sale in loose forms.
# 9 Green Bean Cleansing PowderGenerations of Taiwanese women use this to wash their face. I mean it must be so good that it is passed down from generation to generation right? What’s more, at NT49 (about SGD$2.20), it is so cheap that buying a packet home to try is just so affordable.
Where to buy Green Bean Cleansing Powder in Taiwan?I've definitely seen the bottled forms of the Green Bean Cleansing Powder at Cosmed (康是美), and Watsons and both the bottled form and refill pack at POYA (寶雅).
# 10 Luffa Spring WaterBest for Singapore’s hot and humid weather, Luffa Spring Water comes in a spritzer bottle that promises to deliver calming and anti-inflammatory effects for your skin.
Priced at only NT95 (about SGD$4.30), this has got to be one of the cheapest body mist ever available.
Where to buy Luffa Spring Water in Taiwan?Definitely available at most Cosmed (康是美) and Watsons stores, as well as POYA (寶雅).
# 11 BONUS - Facial Cleansing BrushesI cannot help but sneak in a number 11 into this list. And the prize goes not to a skincare product, but rather, a skincare instrument.
Even in this new age of Clarisonics, I still prefer scrubbing my face the old-fashioned way. But I personally find it extremely tough to find a good facial cleaning brush in Singapore. The last time I found one was at Tokyu Hands at Orchard Central and that brush threatened to set me back by about SGD60 bucks if I remember correctly (obviously I couldn't afford to spend this kind of money on a brush). So imagine my joy when I found these at my favourite shop in Taiwan - POYA (寶雅). The bristles of these brushes are incredibly soft to the touch and gentle on the face, not anything inferior to those at Tokyu Hands but is so much friendlier to the pockets at NT169 (SGD$7.70). I love you so much, POYA.
This concludes my list of recommended skincare products in Taiwan.
So what are your favourite skincare products? We would love to know too - Do share with us! :)
This post is part of our Kaohsiung / Taipei Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.