From bee venom to snail slime, and face saunas to human placenta cream, we check out the most bizarre beauty products on offer in Hong Kong.
From Cosplay and virtual dating games to crooked vampire teeth (yep, that’s a real thing), Japan and South Korea are leading the way when it comes to weird and wonderful trends – and this extends to the beauty industry too. Browse the shelves in the cosmetic stores and you will find everything from products containing bee venom and snail slime, to devices designed to tone your face muscles, and more. If you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll be pleased to know that many of these bizarre creations have made their way over to the 852, and here are some of the wackiest on offer.
1. Bee Venom Face Mask
While the idea of applying bee venom to your face in the name of skin care sounds scary – and possibly dangerous – it turns out that this can actually have a positively impact on your complexion, without any pain. The natural ingredient first made a buzz a few years ago when the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Middleton reportedly used it, and it is now considered to be the Botox of nature – minus the needles. This is due to its ability to increase blood circulation and stimulate the production of natural collagen and elastin, thus making the skin appear lifted, plumper, and firmer. Incidentally, it's now one of the best selling products from famous Korean beauty brand, Skinfood.
Available to buy for USD10 (5 pc) at Skinfood
2. Egg White Pore Mask
Not just a tasty snack for your stomach, but also your face, egg white (or its more scientific name albumen) is one of nature's highest quality protein sources, and one that is making its way into many beauty products across Asia. The ingredient is said to be an egg-cellent cleanser (sorry, couldn't resist) for congested skin as it deeply penetrates pores, removing clogged-up oil and dead skin cells along with blackheads. It also tightens enlarged pores, minimises their appearance, and regulates excessive sebum, while stimulating the growth of collagen cells and improving the skin's elasticity and resilience. Cracking stuff!
3. Face Slimmer Exercise Mouthpiece
To avoid looking like a hungry carp, you might want to try this one in the privacy of your own home. This weird-looking bendy silicone mouthpiece is designed to train up the muscles around your jaw and lower cheek area, therefore slimming your jawline. The product recommends that you pop it in your mouth for just three minutes a day and say vowel sounds out loud, over and over again, while wearing it to help strengthen the twelve facial expression muscles – and you know, make you feel really silly. But hey, at least this means you don't have to go under the surgeon's knife when your face starts to sag.
Available to buy for USD47 at Japan Trend Shop
4. Snail Slime Face Cream
The thought of slapping snail secretion all over your face might make you want to gag – but bear with us. Snail 'slime' (as it is commonly referred to in Hong Kong) is actually hugely beneficial and nourishing to your skin, and helps to stimulate the formation of collagen, elastin, and other dermal components that help to minimise damage. Sure you could always play it safe with a pot of Nivea or Dove, but where's the fun in that? This particular cream from popular Korean beauty brand, Nature Republic, is so in demand that it's currently sold out online, but fear not, as Hong Kong's one and only branch in Mong Kok has plenty in stock. Just like the snail, you can't escape that quickly!
Available to buy for $660 (for 2 pots) at Nature Republic, Mong Kok, Sai Yeung Choi Street
5. Germanium Sauna Face Mask
At first glance this might resemble something from Friday the 13th – only in pink – but this wacky Japanese invention is actually designed to make you sweat in a good way. The 5-layered face sauna mask aims to tighten and encourage perspiration of the face, thus helping you to achieve a smaller and slimmer look after prolonged use. To use it, simply cleanse your face, put on some face lotion or moisturiser, and strap it on to begin working up a sweat. The mask also comes in gray, so you can buy one for the man in your life to try too, unless he suffers from claustrophobia, in which case that's a horrible idea.
Available to buy for $227 from Rakuten
6. Human Placenta Eye and Lip Cream
Before you grab the nearest sick bag after reading this heading, let us reassure you that this DEVDO eye and lip cream is not actually made from real human placenta, but rather a replication of the nutrients found in it. Phew.After conducting an intensive study on the skin of Asian women, scientistic at a biotechnology research institute in Germany successfully developed HPBRT (Human Placenta Biocell Replica Extract) which contains various minerals, enzymes, nucleic acid, vitamins, carbohydrates, peptides, and proteins that improve the radiance of your complexion, replenish moisture, fade post-acne marks, and smooth out wrinkles, to name a few benefits. That said, you can still find extracts of sheep, horse, and pig placenta in many beauty products across Asia. Hmm.
Available to buy for $255 at Sasa
7. Beijing Opera Aqua Mask
Fancy a night at the opera? These delightfully playful aqua masks from Sasa are guaranteed to make you giggle during your next pamper session at home. But don't laugh too hard as you have to keep it on your face for 10 to 20 minutes to enjoy the full benefits, which include soft and smooth, moisturised skin. Inspired by Bao QingTian, who was a government officer during the reign of Emperor Renzong in China's Song Dynasty, the comical mask contains 750mg of coconut water, a mixture of 50 percent natural coconut juice, and 50 percent coconut water which contains high levels of essential electrolytes and potassium that are great for your skin. The masks also come in tiger, otter, and panda designs if you fancy going wild.
Available to buy for $80 (10 pc) as Sasa
8. Facial Fitness PAO
Oh Ronaldo, what were you thinking? No, this advert was not digitally altered – this weird-looking product from Japan was actually once endorsed by Cristiano Ronaldo himself. Designed to help you tone your facial muscles and achieve a dazzling smile, the PAO facial exerciser is definitely one to use at home rather than in the office where it will certainly cause a distraction. To begin the shape up process, all you have to do is place it in your mouth (without using your teeth to bite down on the holder) and head bang or nod for 30 seconds, twice a day. You might feel ridiculous but no pain, no gain, right?