China is a paradise for beauty and knick knack aficionados! There is a sheer abundance of weird and wonderful products just waiting to be discovered and trialed. Some-absolutely fantastic gems, others-will make you cringe or worse. Here are some I’ve discovered recently during my trips to the local shops, markets and malls.China is known for its massive manufacturing power, producing uncountable amounts of merchandise every week, perhaps even every day! Let’s be honest, quite a lot of it is pure tat. Utterly useless rubbish nobody ever needs or uses. Or so we, the Westerners, think. However, just as there are cultural differences between the Western and Far Eastern worlds, so are the purchasing habits. Of course, we don’t need to make this about East/West division, it can be a purely individual taste case. What one sees as a piece of disgusting, slimy, potentially dangerous and toxic substance, another may hail as the new miracle cream.
One great example is the snail cream. As revolting as it sounds, its got a huge fan base here in Asia. The trend for using this interesting product in facial creams and masks came from Japan-the land of beautiful women with healthy,glowing, and most importantly pure white, skin that more and more often impresses the beauty world with its innovative products and inventions. The said snail cream is supposed to have a fantastic effect on one’s skin, particularly in the form of a face mask. Truth be told, I’ve fallen victim of this trend, too. I can’t quite believe it myself as I’m normally a skeptic when it comes to ‘miracle-ingredients‘ and especially ones derived from animals! I think it’s down to the fact that I seriously doubt the face mask my dear husband purchased for me has any snail substance in it. I’m pretty certain it’s a total lie used by a well-known Chinese cosmetics brand to attract customers. It is also possible that I was tempted by the more-respectable brands advertising using this ingredient in their products. Still, nobody made me try it. It was my own decision. I can’t say the mask has had any negative effect on my skin, neither has it made any positive difference to it. Perhaps it didn’t work because it was of the cheaper kind(an excuse often quoted by the Chinese clientele)? I’m not even going to mention the sheep placenta cream, also seen recently in my local drugstore, as that is just too much…Or is it?
Have you tried such product?
Another strange yet weirdly practical item I’ve seen recently (actually, just yesterday) is the Totoro (the cuddly, Japanese manga character) table lamp/fan combo. I found it in this huge shop inside the Fashion Mall, one of my favourite shopping places in Guangzhou, and simply had to check it out. I’ve never watched Totoro but I’d be stupid/blind not to notice how popular it must be in China.You can find pretty much everything Totoro-themed!From plates and duvet sets to flower pots and notepads.You name it, it’s sold in China. I’m pretty sure you’d be able to find even more on Taobao, I’m only recalling the items I’ve seen in shops. The lamp,shaped like the cartoon creature, looks like it was made of the cheapest plastic available yet it hasn’t lost its charm. It still look cute AND it is fully functional. This battery-operated desk lamp (light coming out of Totoro’s belly-where else?!) serves also as a fan-an ingenious invention perfect for the frazzled and dripping with sweat (a very visual description, I know, but one entirely truthful) citizens of Guangzhou. I love it and if not for the pitying look on my husband’s face, I’d now be the proud owner of this quirky gadget (which I actually need!).
Another one on my list is the genius eye-warming heat pad. Now,this one I do own, all thanks to my caring hubby. How is it that if I find something mildly ridiculous, he disapproves and gives me the ‘You must be bloody kidding me‘ look, but when he buys me something really odd, something I would have never ever picked for myself, like this pantyliner-looking product, I’m supposed to act as if it’s a completely normal item to own/use? Anyway, this curious little thing’s purpose, as far as I can gather from the picture instructions (neither of us can read Japanese so we have no idea what’s in the product-quite bad, or how exactly to use it-probably even worse and potentially-health-threatening) this thing-y is supposed to make your eyes appear all refreshed, youthful and wrinkle-free. I can already imagine myself waving goodbye to my pots of eye-creams and serums!Now that would save me a lot of money! So far I have only tried it once. I can still see, my eyes have not been burned out of their sockets and it did not give me a rash or any other reaction. Always a result. I’ve found this article by no other than the British Beauty Blogger, someone with quite a bit of knowledge on the subject of beauty products, who wrote an interesting review on this precise item (read below).
Of course, Chinese markets and stalls are full of quirky, odd tat, most of which will prove totally useless, but which you’ll buy nonetheless for their ingenuity and the simple fact that you just can’t get them anywhere else. The above products are merely a few examples of what’s available here. Mind-boggling,right?
Have you ever seen/used any weird yet wonderful products?
Yes, you don’t need to tell me exactly what this looks like! Only, this one is divided in the middle and has fabric ear hooks. I’ve already investigated the curious (to us) heated panty liner that a friend brought me back from Japan last year (HERE). Actually, I will flag up that although this was……