Asians know beauty. I don’t mean this in a “we are the most beautiful species on earth” type of way, but that since birth, it’s been instilled in us to apply our eye cream using our fourth finger, have five-step skincare routines (anything less is considered sacrilege), and avoid tanning like a SARS outbreak.
Case in point: We all know the sun is public enemy #1 to beautiful skin. But my mom’s exposure-limiting equipment makes Nigella Lawson (famously taunted by British tabloids for beach-going in a ‘burkini’) look like a novice. Ever seen a woman wearing a beekeeper hat, full length gloves, long sleeves and khaki pants in 101-degree heat? That’s my mom, looking nonplussed as people around her jog in halter tops and micro-shorts. In Asia, my mom’s sun-avoidance is the norm: you’ll find her beekeeper hat and a full selection of sun-protective face masks and gloves alongside eyelash curlers and blackhead strips in 7-11s.
Anyway, Asians’ pre-occupation with beauty means that there are a whole lot of high-quality, not expensive Asian beauty products out there that none of your friends will know about. Then you can say cool things like, “Oh, my mascara is from Japan” when people ask why your eyelashes look so amazing. You can find these products online (Amazon has a surprisingly good supply) and in Japanese grocery stores. Even if you can’t read Japanese, don’t worry: included with each product are helpful picture directions. Click through for my top 5 picks below: