Beauty City Guide (2) – Taipei

by PJ on Friday, July 11, 2008

in "Beauty City Shopping Guide",all about Japanese cosmetics

(Shin Kong Mitsukoshi
Xinyi New Life Square)
(image from www.skm.com.tw)

Today I continue my Beauty City Guide series, and we are flying from Tokyo to Taipei. (Many thanks to those who kindly let me know that you are looking forward to this post.)

Taipei is probably the place that has the most Japanese beauty brands outside Japan, making it a great city to shop for the best of beauty from East and West. But why do we want to go to Taipei instead of Tokyo? Apart from the fact that, for some people, it might be cheaper to fly to Taiwan than to Japan, there are some other reasons:

1. Many Japanese beauty items are cheaper in Taiwan (by about 5% and often more, depending on the brand).

2. There is usually not much delay in Japanese seasonal releases in Taiwan. (Many seasonal collections are launched almost simultaneously in Japan and Taiwan.)

3. There are numerous GWP and value set events throughout the year with fantastic deals. (I will go back to this later in the post.)

- WHERE TO GO -

If you have One Day

Take the MRT/Metro to Taipei City Hall Station and head to Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store (Xinyi Branch), which is only a few minutes’ walk towards the immediately visible Taipei 101 building. (Please find the MRT route map here.)

The Xinyi Branch, also called the New Life Square, is a complex of four inter-connected buildings. Each is a good department store in its own right, and the four together provide potentially hours of leisurely (or serious) browsing. Almost all the major beauty brands can be found here, including one of the two Jill Stuart counters outside Japan.

If you have more time, head over to Taipei 101 Mall for SOGO Department Store.

One Weekend

Also try:

- SOGO Zhongxiao Branch (Zhongxiao-Fuxing Station). Unlike Xinyi New Life Square, this store has nearly all the major brands under one roof. (It also has the other Jill Stuart counter.) It has been one of my firm favorites despite the huge and flashy New Life Square. The new SOGO Fuxing Branch is nearby.

- Watson’s, one of the drugstore chains in Taiwan. There is one store between the two SOGO stores mentioned above.

- PLAZA at Breeze Center (Zhongxiao-Fuxing Station, more information in English here). Opened in April 2007, this is an overseas branch of the Sony-owned Plaza Style drugstore chain in Japan. It stocks many Japanese beauty brands not usually available in other department stores/ drugstores in Taiwan, including Love Clover, Gransenbon, K-Palette, and Restgenol (many of which are Sony’s own brands). You can see some photos of the store here.

(Updated on September 22, 2009)

It was confirmed that all the Plaza stores in Taiwan would be closing, which is really bad news.

One Week

Also try:

- Dayeh Takashimaya (Zhisan Station, with free shuttle buses between the store and the station, more information in English here). This upmarket department store is off Taipei city center and has a more relaxed feel. It used to have the largest beauty department in Taipei before Xinyi New Life Square was completed. Mitsukoshi Tianmu Branch is nearby.

- Sasa. Banking on the concept of parallel trade, this beauty store’s main branch is next to the SOGO Zhongxiao Store mentioned above. Discounts are offered on most items from various salon/ department store/ drugstore brands. It is a good place to hunt down bargains and past limited-edition items, but staff can sometimes be a little pushy.

- Duty-free galore. The Grand Formosa Regent Taipei claims that its duty-free shop is one of the largest in Asia. It certainly is large, and the beauty department is fairly impressive and features special travel sets not available in department stores. Do bring along your passport and plane tickets to qualify for duty-free prices.

- More department stores: Mitsukoshi Station Branch and Nanjing Branch.

- Away from Taipei: Taichung and Kaohsiung. If you have a week in Taipei, you can certainly take advantage of the new high-speed railway to enjoy day trips outside Taipei. Chung-You and Mitsukoshi in Taichung (50 minutes from Taipei) rival the best department stores in Taipei. (Both are impressively enormous.) As for Kaohsiung (90 minutes, Zuoying Station), my top picks are Han-Shin and Far East.

- WHEN TO GO -

I think the best time to go to Taipei for beauty shopping is between late October and late December. During these two months, all the department store branches take turn to hold the anniversary event. All the events are coordinated so one overlaps another throughout this period when nearly everything in the event is 10% off.

Beauty-wise, apart from the discount, there is a huge array of GWPs and special sets. The limited-edition sets can be especially alluring, as they can be up to 60% off the usual per-ml price. It used to be the case that special sets couldn’t count towards GWP’s, but now many brands allow this to attract more sales. So it is value on top of value (on top of discounts). As far as I know, many special sets from Japanese brands are put together just for the Taiwanese market and are not available in Japan.

(Chanel used to be one of the few brands that didn’t participate in any of the store anniversary events, but now it offers a 5% discount in some events.)

Now nearly all department stores upload their full anniversary event catalogs on-line, so it pays to do a little bit of research.

GWPs and special sets (but not the 10% discount) are also available in Spring Beauty Event (February-March), Mother’s Day Event (April – Mother’s Day), and Mid-Autumn Festival Event (around September). In recent years, there is also a smaller Graduation Season Event in July, which slots in (almost too) comfortably between Mother’s Day and Mid-Autumn Festival. As you can see, there are only a few months when there are no events, so plan your beauty trip ahead of time to shop like a seasoned pro and a unfazed local.

- NOTES -

- Most department stores are open until 9:30pm (or 10pm for some in Kaohsiung).

- Only unopened items may be eligible for refunds.

I hope you will be back next week. We’ll be going to London!

Related Posts:

Jill Stuart Breaks Record

Jill Stuart Launches in Taiwan

All About Japanese Cosmetics

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

心。葵 Saturday, July 12, 2008

hi pj!

i’m definitely heading down to taiwan~ :D i think it’s cheaper than to go to JP. At least, i can converse in Mandarin while in JP i dun quite understand Japanese, other than the basics. >_<

oh my, Xin YI has gransebon and those JP products like love clover, KP, MJ, lavshuca, Sony CP and watever that I’m missing? or izzit solely available in Plaza only? :D

hoping to get on a plane and fly off next year! looking forward to ur London trip!

mini beauty vacation!!!! :D

cheers,
plue

Reply

Becky Saturday, July 12, 2008

Also wanted to let you know that – SOGO Zhongxiao Branch (Zhongxiao-Fuxing Station) also carries NARS, which I haven’t seen anywhere else. I so regret missing out on Plaza Style though, k-palette, gransenbon, and love clover! Anyways, awesome post, and I’ll continue reading these in case I ever go to the cities!

Reply

Jenny Sunday, November 7, 2010

hi i just read this and was wondering where in taipei/taiwan I can find k-palette. please email me back if you can with some locations that sell it for a good price. would you say it is cheaper for k-palette in japan or taiwan?? thanks:)

Reply

Becky Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh and I’ve GOT to tell you, Kaohsiung has a new department store opened by Hanshin called Hanshin Arena (hanshinarea.com.tw) and it’s HUGE. Most counters look like a freakin’ MAC Mini store! Brands I saw were:

Castledew (3rd floor however)
NARS (was amazed to see this!)
Make up for ever
Chic Choc
CdP
Guerlain
Shu uemura
Kanebo (with Coffret D’or and Lunasol)
Dr Brandt
L’occitane
Kiehls
Origins
Estee Lauder
Clinique
Dior
Giorgio Armani
Chanel
Lancome
Paul and Joe
Laneige
Albion

it was huge!! anyways, just a note :]

Reply

dawn. Sunday, July 13, 2008

Make one on UK!!! ^^
I’m going there soon… for the very first time…
I’m actually VERY petrified…
Hope you can advice me more on it.

Reply

yun1986 Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hi pj,

I’m staying in Taipei right now and I must say the average tourist will be appalled by the “aggressiveness” of shoppers clamoring for the limited edition bargains available during anniversary events ^^ They started queueing up before the department store gates at dawn!

Oh, and Japanese drugstore brands such as Love Clover, Gransenbon, Hada Riki, Lavshuca etc are now stocked by some Watson’s stores too, at a cheaper price compared to Plaza I think, but not all Watson’s stores carry these brands. One that does would be the Watson’s store near Sogo (ZhongXiao branch) that you mentioned.

I think I enjoy Japan more ^^, because those small cute brands stocked by Plaza are more expensive here :< ... and then there are the CLOTHES~~ooohhhh@@

Anyway, I’m looking forward to your London report~love this series!

Reply

PJ Monday, July 14, 2008

Hi Plue,

As far as I knew when I wrote this post, brands like Gransenbon and Love Clover were only available in the Plaza store in the Breeze Center. But if you have a look at the comment from Yun1986 below, you can see that it seems that they are available in some Watson’s stores as well, which I think is great. But I’d think Plaza would still be worth a visit. :)

On the other hand, Majolica Majorca and Lavshuca are certainly available in some Watson’s stores.

Hope you will have a chance to visit Taipei, and hopefully you will unearth more great places for beauty goodies!

Thank you very much for reading my post again! :)

Reply

PJ Monday, July 14, 2008

Hi Becky,

Thank you so much for sharing all the information!

Indeed, NARS is now available in Taiwan. I think it came to Taiwan around the same time as Jill Stuart did, which was several months ago.

Even though I love Taipei, I have great fondness for Kaohsiung. The city is better planned and easy to navigate, and it has a great buzz to it but is balanced out by a pleasant sense of ease and relaxation. It is great to see that the shopping scene there is still expanding.

I have not been to Kaohsiung for a few years, and I would love to go there again. Hanshin Arena sounds amazing! Thank you very much for taking the time to list all the counters!

Thank you again for your comments and for sharing all the information! :)

Reply

PJ Monday, July 14, 2008

Hi Dawn,

My post on London is scheduled to go up by the end of the week. I hope you will come back and hopefully you will find the post helpful. Also, do please leave a comment if you have any question.

Thank you for posting your comment again! :)

Reply

PJ Monday, July 14, 2008

Hi Yun1986,

Yes, you are right. I have seen photos of people waiting in lines for the department stores to open and of crowds around the counters trying to get their hands on the limited-edition sets. (I have to say those photos do look a little scary. I am a beauty fan, but I don’t think I would want to take part in all the queuing…)

Thank you for letting me know that some Watson’s stores also stock some of the brands in Plaza. I really like the look of Love Clover, and it is great that more places in Taipei are carrying the line.

I certainly agree with you that Tokyo is definitely a better place for shopping. Actually, for me, it is the best place for shopping in the world. :)

Hopefully you will enjoy the post on London later on!

Thank you for your comment. Hope to hear from you again! :)

Reply

G-Dawg Monday, July 14, 2008

I’ve got to get myself to Taiwan! My sister is going in November so she can score some good sales.

That also means it’s time for me to save up money so I can ask her to pick up tons of new stuff for me. =D

Thanks soo much for this post!

Reply

PJ Monday, July 14, 2008

Hi G-Dawg,

You are very welcome!

I hope your sister will have a good time in Taiwan. In terms of beauty shopping, November is such a perfect time! (The anniversary event for SOGO Zhongxiao should be in mid-November if it is the same as previous years.)

Hope she will get some goodies both for herself and for you, and hope you will get to visit Taiwan soon as well. (Do let me know about your experience later on.)

Thank you for posting your comment. Hope to hear from you again! :)

Reply

N. Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thank you so much for these beauty city guides! I normally visit Shanghai but I think I may take advantage of my US citizenship and the fact that Shanghai and Taipei now have direct flights to maybe hop over to Taipei sometime between now and December (I’ll be studying abroad in Shanghai).

I adore your blog! =) And I so look forward to hearing about London, as it is definitely one of the top places I’d like to visit

Reply

PJ Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hi N.,

Thank you for your kind words!

I hope you will have a chance to visit Taipei later on, and do let me know what you think about the city and the beauty shopping.

Thank you very much for your comment!

Reply

Chian Li Friday, November 28, 2008

oOooh! I almost booked a ticket to taiwan!! I so want to go there and shop!!!

but in the end we decided to go to HK instead. Do you have any recommendations on places to shop in HK?

Reply

PJ Friday, November 28, 2008

Hi Kristin,

Thank you for stopping by. :)

Unfortunately, I don’t really have recommendations on places for beauty shopping in Hong Kong. I went there a long time ago and my memory of the particular places for beauty shopping is a bit fuzzy. Plus I have not been following the beauty shopping scene there.

But you might be able to find some information here and there on this very good Hong Kong-based beauty blog:

cellspace.pixnet.net/blog

Hope it helps, and thank you very much for your question. :)

Reply

Chian Li Saturday, November 29, 2008

thanks for your suggestion PJ! :D

Reply

PJ Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hi Kristin,

You are very welcome! :)

Reply

kn.g.suan Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Hi PJ,

I read in the following post that Plaza at Breeze Centre is closing? Can u confirm (since my traditional chinese is rather crap)?

http://haruhii.pixnet.net/blog/post/24934152

If it's true, how sad, just when I am planning my first visit to Taiwan. Btw, do u know if I can get Kiss in TW? I feel like trying the Mat Chiffon Powder which u recommended…

Reply

PJ Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hi Kn.g.suan,

Yes, I think all the Plaza stores in Taiwan are closing, which is really bad news. (I will probably put up a note in the post later on.)

I am not entirely sure if Kiss items are available in Taiwan. But if you are interested in trying products from Kiss, you can try http://www.adambeauty.com and ichibankao.com.

Thank you for stopping by again! :)

Reply

shelbybaby Monday, October 26, 2009

hey there pj! stumbled upon your site while doing a wee bit research on taipei. gotta say your entry was super useful especially that fact on japanese beauty stuff being abit cheaper in taiwan. my mum was enthralled by the idea. many thanx and lovely site!!

Reply

PJ Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hi Shelbybaby,

You are very welcome, and thank you very much for reading this post. :)

Yes, many Japanese cosmetics items in Taiwan can be slightly cheaper than those sold in Japan. Plus, there are often nice gifts with purchases and value sets.

I hope you will have a good time if you or your mother does decide to have a trip to Taipei. :)

Thank you very much for posting your comment! :)

Reply

Jenny Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hi there, just read your site and wondering if you knew more places that WILL have k-palette stocked because I wanted to pick some up on next vacay!

Reply

PJ Monday, November 8, 2010

Hi Jenny,

I just had a look on-line, and it appears that some Watsons stores stock products from K-Palette.

Also, have a look at these two Taiwan-based on-line shops:

http://buy.yahoo.com.tw/?catitemid=42757
http://store.pchome.com.tw/k_palette/

In addition, in case you haven’t, do have a look at my FAQ page for information on on-line shops that carry Japanese cosmetics that deliver internationally.

Hope it helps, and thank you very much for your question! :)

Reply

Tim Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hi! So happy to read this entry because I’m going to Taipei in a few weeks. Do you know if Watson in Taipei carry the brand bourjois? I really want to try their foundations.

Reply

PJ Monday, September 26, 2011

Hi Tim,

Yes, I believe that many (but possibly not all) Watsons shops do carry Bourjois. :)

Thank you for stopping by and for your question! :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

Please note that information on purchasing Japanese cosmetics on-line can be found on my FAQ page.

Thank you very much!

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