Duty Free Beauty Bomb! From Korea & Mexico – Mom’s Back!

My mother just arrived from her business trip which took her to Mexico, Korea, and back.  Even if the timezone change got tiring and it was for work she was actually having a lot of fun.  While in Korea, her stop before coming home, she was accommodated at the Lotte Hotel World which flanked Lotte World Duty Free and for someone who isn’t really a shopper by nature, she was overwhelmed.  Mom texted “Oh my gosh, Jul…you would love this store…”, and I texted back “Really, wow, you know, it’s actually better that I’m not there…” LOL.  Lotte is the biggest Duty Free shop in Korea and one of the biggest Duty Free Stores in the world carrying over 500 premium brands in-store.   Here’s a teaser of what she got me (she followed a list I gave her) for future reviews!  They’re huddled together for a cozy group shot in Mom’s new, quite porcine Mexican mortar and pestle.

CLOCKWISE: Bourjois Healthy Balance Pressed Powder #52 (compared by some as a drugstore dupe of MAC MSF Natural), Bourjois Healthy Mix Gel Foundation Serum #52 (Lisa Eldridge loves this), Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (reco by ViviannaLovesMakeup.com), Benefit They’re Real Mascara, MAC Harmony blush, Shu Uemura Pro Gel Concealer (the original Pro concealer was phased out 🙁 ), and a worldwide favorite, Laneige’s Water Sleeping Pack (another overnight moisture cream).

Just for the sake of sharing what items I initially requested for, here’s the visual list I made for Mom which includes the items that didn’t make it back home due to availability or my regulating the budget for her (like telling her for example not to get any MAC stuff nalang from Korea, not as cheap).

I gave mom a list of 8 items, one or two weren’t available/out of stock, but she substituted items and got me around 7, including just 1 item from Mexico’s Duty Free, MAC Harmony blush.  Go figure, I was asleep when she texted that she was at MAC.  What was absolutely interesting about her Duty Free experience was the form of checkout.  At Lotte in Korea, as a tourist you’re not allowed to bring back your items to your hotel room upon purchase.  This is to prevent reselling of tax-free products within the country.

What happens in Korean duty free stores is your items are individually cleared, bubble-wrapped, sealed together in one big Ziplock cousin and are sent directly to the airport where you will reunite with them only upon your departure from Korea, as seen above in that photo I took before opening them.  So beauty bloggers, hate to bust your bubble but you won’t be allowed any on-location loot shoots or tax-free product reviews on your trip if you buy from Duty Free.  Mom called them quite “effie” aka efficient given that experience.  What blew me away was the delightful price difference on items like the Laneige Sleeping Pack which costs something like Php1500-Php1800 locally, over there in its homeland it amounted to just about Php800-900 when converted.


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MAC and Bobbi Brown – Duty Free Delights from Bangkok

Mom just got back from Phuket and Bangkok.  I didn’t want to send a list over there with her even though she told me to give her one because it was a business trip and she hardly had any time, but last minute yesterday she texted that she’d be at the Duty Free (tax free shopping) area and she asked me what I wanted.  I told her to choose from my pre-selection of 2 MAC brow pencils and a Studio Fix powder, a full coverage powder foundation.  She got both in Bangkok, ‘coz in Duty Free Phuket there wasn’t a MAC store in sight, and she threw in a pair of the highly acclaimed long-wear gel eyeliners of Bobbi Brown as a surprise bonus from in-flight Duty Shopping on board Thai Airways.

CLOCKWISE: MAC Studio Fix Powder NC30 – Price in Bangkok: THB 1190.00, Php 1666.00, US$38 (Orig cost in the U.S. $27),

MAC automatic Brow Pencils “Lingering”, “Brunette”  – Price for each Bangkok: THB 595.00, Php835, US$20 (Orig cost in the U.S. $15)

Bobbi Brown Long -wear Gel Eyeliner DUO SET “Black Ink” and “Sepia Ink” – Price on board Thai Airways : US$47 (Orig individual cost in the U.S. $22 each pot)

That Bobbi Brown bonus was exactly what I wanted to have and I didn’t even tell her that I secretly wanted that.  The truth is I’VE NEVER OWNED ANYTHING BY BOBBI BROWN COSMETICS IN MY ENTIRE LIFE because the price always put me off and I could never part with that much money (by myself)  for just one or two items.  Moms are cool like that and duty free is the best way to go for luxe cosmetics.  She probably remembered that I complimented a friend’s wife at a reception who claimed she was wearing Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner.  I’m super excited to review these items for you.  Happy Holy Thursday!… To full post & COMMENTS...