Shanghai's top beauty blogger on writing, shopping and travel

Shanghai's top beauty blogger on writing, shopping and travel

Popular blogger Kristi Wang explains why Japan and Taiwan are best for beauty shopping
Shanghai beauty blogger
“Unlike many other beauty bloggers, I’m the kind of person who uses a product till its last drop,” says Shanghai-native Kristi Wang.

Kristi Wang turns up for the interview without any trace of makeup. Not exactly what might be expected from a beauty blogger.

“I don't do makeup in daily life, not at all," says the Shanghai-born beauty buff. "Makeup harms your skin while skincare products nurture it.”

In her late twenties, Wang is the brains, and more precisely the face, behind Little K’s Diary, one of the city’s most popular beauty blogs.

“I hope my [blog] entries can serve as a reference, or as a beauty dictionary for myself and my readers.”

Updated three times a week, Wang’s Chinese-language Internet diary attracts around 10,000 daily views by readers not only from China, but around the globe.

Best beauty shopping destinations

Running a beauty blog in China comes at a price.

I love beauty shopping in Japan. There are too many curious and new products there; I can even find worthy items to buy in the smallest supermarket.

-- Kristi Wang, Shanghai beauty blogger

Wang spends about RMB 3,000 (US$470) on beauty buys every month -- a whole month's salary for many Shanghainese -- with most products purchased overseas via friends or when she travels.

“I love beauty shopping in Japan,” states Wang. “There are too many curious and new products there. I can even find worthy items to buy in the smallest supermarket.”

The daytime marketing professional also admits she couldn’t resist the vast selections of facial masks and false eyelashes in Taiwan.

She considers Taiwan the other best beauty shopping destination in Asia.

“I don't have a specific shopping plan before my trips. I am more of an impulse buyer once I come across any beauty boutiques,” giggles the blogger.

The coming of the blog

The seeds of Wang’s interest in skincare were sown during university days when she had to doll up “to look more professional” for part-time jobs.

She sought beauty advice on online forums and soon became a regular contributor, swapping tips and product reviews with a group of fellow beauty enthusiasts.

Three years ago, Wang decided to start Little K’s Diary, a blog that chronicles her purchases and product reviews.

More on CNNGo: Beauty in the eye of the blogger

The online diary has become so popular over the years that it doesn't only draw Wang's loyal readers, but also attractive career opportunities in the beauty industry.

“If I go professional, I will have to think and write in a very commercial way and lose the joy of keeping this diary as a hobby,” says Wang, explaining why she finally turned down numerous job offers.

“I believe many of my readers follow my blog for its honest reviews and I would like to keep it this way.”

Asian girls need mascara

Shanghai beauty bloggerA glimpse of a very small part of Kristi Wang's beauty product collection.

Wang professes to care more about skincare than makeup. The established blogger opts for only natural makeup, such as light foundation and concealers, “because I like to keep things simple.”

If she were to pick one product to travel with her, Wang would go for mascara without a second thought, “particularly [because] for Asian girls, it can really make our eyes stand out.”

And her single beauty tip is to moisturize, moisturize and moisturize.

“Whether you use anti-aging or just regular moisturizer, keeping your skin well-hydrated helps you appear younger,” said Wang, “and Asian brands tend to be better at moisturizing and cleansing.”

Remarkably, despite her massive online presence, Wang has never taken to the idea of buying products off the Internet.

Her advice is to always sample and buy over the counter if you are buying a product for the first time.

“If I have to buy from Taobao, I’ll look for the more established importers … and never go for a purchase that seems too cheap to be true, because it probably is.”

Shanghai beauty bloggerKristi Wang's top 3 Shanghai beauty shopping destinations:

1. Where: Fifth Street, basement, Metro City, 1111 Zhaojiabang Lu, near Caoxi Bei Lu 肇嘉浜路1111号美罗城B1楼五番街, 近漕溪北路, +86 21 6426 1781, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Why: “The stylish Japanese shopping street garners plenty of trendy Japanese brands. Many [customers] go there particularly for pharmaceutical cosmetics store SEGAMI, which provides everything from skincare products to imported snacks.”

2. Where: Sunny Q, Rm. 3-4, 108 Shaanxi Nan Lu 陕西南路108号3-4室, 近巨鹿路, +86 21 5404 1358, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.,
Why: “The supermarket-like Japanese cosmetic and skincare boutique updates stock very quickly. Owned by a Japanese, it is on the same page as the latest Japanese trends. The downside is the products are quite pricey.”

3. Where: Muji (Huaihai Zhong Lu), Rm. 324, 3/F, Infiniti Plaza, 138 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Pu'an Lu 淮海中路138号无限度广场3楼324室, 近普安路, +86 21 6375 6240, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.,
“The brand has quality skincare items, mostly produced in Japan. The prices are not too high, but [I] am looking forward to seeing the China stores have a wider selection.“

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Debbie Yong is a former newspaper journalist whose bad case of itchy feet has brought her across continents in search of an education. The native Singaporean was an English Literature undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, a postgraduate student at the London School of Economics, and is currently completing her Masters at Shanghai’s Fudan University.
Read more about Debbie Yong

Tracy You is a bilingual journalist based in Shanghai and has worked for several publications including as Editor for CNN Travel. She's a fan of history, British TV and Wii Guitar Hero.

Read more about Tracy You