Here’s the first instalment of my beauty haul at the Sephora in Singapore’s Ion Orchard! Total damage: S$623. Time spent: 40 minutes. Guilt factor: Should be sky high but completely overshadowed by the thrill of exploring every box and sachet 🙂
This is all I could manage in my dash through the aisles of Asia’s largest Sephora (and the second largest worldwide) before people accompanying me had a tantrum. But no worries: Will be back tomorrow. And day after… there is so much more waiting for my shopping cart 😉
Sephora Singapore: How the brands stack up
Till then, a few thoughts about this flagship store. The place is definitely massive and some brands showcased a much better selection of products here than I have seen in the Sephoras’ of Paris and Milan: Singapore actually has the entire range from Bliss along with emerging brands like Soap & Glory and Pop Beauty that sit alongside cult favourites like Fresh, Rosebud and Mario Badescu – none of which I have seen on the Paris and Italy shelves.
Then there is SK-II, which is available only in South East Asia and the USA. Plus, since this is Asia, you will find every kind of BB cream – from international giants like Clinique to indigenous brands such as Skin79. There is also a selection of Chinese, Japanese and Korean face masks, especially of the whitening and collagen-boosting variety. And, of course, most of the Sephora regulars are all here as well, including Stila, Smashbox, Benefit, Philosophy, Makeup Forever HD, Urban Decay, Too Faced… the list is endless.
Sephora Singapore: Missing in action
But there are some notable exceptions, such as Bumble & Bumble, Juice and 21 Drops. The perfume collection was also limited… the men’s was downright dismal. I was looking for something sibling-sized but could not find a single one that was take-homeable. As for keeping with the times, many of the new launches that have been sitting on international shores for weeks now – like Clarisonic’s Acne Brush Head, Sephora’s Pantone Makeup Collection, Bare Minerals Ready Foundation and Guerlain’s Pucci Terracotta range still haven’t made their way to Singapore.
Sephora Singapore: A walk-through
Another strange thing is the way products are laid out… there are 3-4 stands of the same brand scattered through the sort, often not even within viewing distance of each other. For example, the bath range from Bliss is right at the entrance, then the face products suddenly pop up in the middle of the store, while the rest is near the sales counter. There must be a logic to this – or maybe it’s just the Singapore way of doing things – but I sure found it confusing!
Oh! And they don’t really believe in giving samples. I even asked for a few teensy cleansers and was given a couple extremely reluctantly. This is so different from other Sephoras, where they load you with travel-size bottles, tiny perfume vials and whole rolls of pouches.
Sephora Singapore: Product pricing
But my biggest bugbear is that most prices are 20-30% higher here than in many other countries. For example, I shelled out S$59 (US$47) for the Bliss No Zit Sherlock Mask, while it retails for US$38 elsewhere in the world. Similarly, the Bare Minerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen for is for S$55 (US$44), while I could have picked it up for US$28 in other places. Ok, now this is depressing me after buying up half the store 🙁
Sephora Singapore: Summing it up…
But on the whole, the Singapore Sephora is an experience that I would highly recommend. Come here for the gorgeously cheerful ambience, the superbly curated selection of both mainstream and niche products, a generous VIB loyalty program (though I do wish that Sephora would amalgamate all countries and create one loyalty program worldwide) and that undefinable beauty buzz that is so Sephora. I would definitely go back if I am in Singapore and don’t have a European or US trip planned on the visible horizon!
Update: Later, I visited the Sephora store at VivoCity and while it’s smaller than the one at Ion Orchard, it is far better laid out, has friendlier staff (Kate and Melissa… I am talking about you!) and is easier to navigate. This is the one I am going to be frequenting from now on!
What about you? What has been your best/worst Sephora experience to date?