I first read about Robin Niu from Rouge Deluxe's Kose's Talk Show with Niu Er post. At the time, I was one week away from moving to Japan and trying a new Taiwanese brand was the last thing on my mind. But I'm in Taipei now and seeing Niu Er's skincare brands everywhere naturally makes me curious. Since I needed a peeling gel at the time, and Watsons was (and perhaps still) having this promotion for buy one get one *almost* free (see below), I picked up this Naruko Tea Tree Oil Out Peeling Gel to try.
Combing through the drugstore, to my surprise peeling gels aren't as easily found here as they were in Japan. I searched and searched at many big and small branches of Watsons and Cosmed and could only find a few, this Naruko Tea Tree one included! What's going on? At the Japanese drugstores, there would always be a big and clear section of peeling gels of all sorts and brands, and I do know peeling gels are popular all over Asia. So why can't I find more of them here? What am I missing?
Anyway, this peeling gel is okay, certainly not as effective as Tabibijin Tea Peeling Gel or Laneige Strawberry Yogurt Peeling Gel (old version, the new one is Multiberry Yogurt, which I haven't reviewed). I know this is an unfair comparison since Tabibijin is a spa brand and Laneige is mid range as well. The Naruko one peels okay, but I don't get as many "pulps" as I would with the Tabibijin or Laneige peels. Also, it gets a somewhat foamy and it shouldn't, as I my hands and face started out dry. The foam isn't really thick bubbly foam, more like a fine mousse like thin layer, but I don't get this with Tabibijin or Laneige at all!
That isn't to say this Naruko peeling gel is terrible. It rinses clean and it does leave my skin fresh and soft. So it's really not bad considering the price, especially when I got 2 of it for the price of one! The scent is a bit strong though. It's not an artificial perfumy scent or anything, but between tea tree, alpine, calendula, green tea, spear mint and peppermint oils and extracts, the resulting mix smells a bit like, well, crude oil LOL! No worries, this icky odor dissipate pretty quickly and you'll be able to discern the tea tree and minty fragrances, but consider yourself warned ^.^
Also, let me take this opportunity to declare my love for Watsons, not so much the store itself, but rather their "加1元多1件" promotion, literally "add a dollar, gain another." Basically, add NT$1 (~ $0.03!) to the retail price and get 2 of the same item, effectively a 50% discount or buy 1 get one *almost* free ^.^
No, I didn't go crazy, though I must admit it took all of me not to ^.^ I think what I like most about it is being able to take my time and browse through each aisle to find the goodies scattered about all over the store. The cherry on top is that every once in a while, looking for the promotional items I stumble upon a unadvertised gem, sort of like finding a hidden treasure, where upon I giggle to myself uncontrollably and proceeds to bury the item at the bottom of my basket as if to hide it from others ^.^ I guess I do get a bit nutty after all :P
The 加1元多1件 promotion covers quite a bit of goodies, including the Pond's Pore White Cleansing Oil, which I happened to get a better deal through my local supermarket, having paid NT$20 less (hey, that's $0.70!) for the same 2 bottles. As for the Naruko Tea Tree Oil Out Peeling Gel, through this 加1元多1件 I paid NT$260 (~ $8.90) for 2 tubes, that's about $4.45 each! Just for comparison's sake, the same peeling gel goes for $18.50 on Naruko's US official online shop. Even without the promotions, the NT$259 retail price is still just $8.87, a whole $10 less!
Also spotted at Watsons is this Missha Snail Sheet Mask ^.^