Most Singaporean girls who follow my blog would be aware of Watsons' Shibuya Gals corner in various major branches of the store. It has been generally successful, and Dolly Wink lashes used to be perpetually sold out. Now it seems that Guardian, a store of similar genre, has produced its own version- Haraju-Cute!
Haraju-Cute!'s tagline appears to be "きれいになりたい女の子！あつまれ！", or in English, "All the girls who want to be pretty, gather 'round!". Apparently, Haraju-Cute! was launched on the 18th of July, and I came across it in Raffles City on the 19th.
Haraju-Cute! stocks some brands that Shibuya Gals doesn't, such as the reecntly-debuted Rola-endorsed Brigitte. I personally am a huge Rola fan (she is so epicly hilarious in her own whole new level of bimbocity), so I'm excited to see Brigitte reaching Singapore. Haraju-Cute! also stocks the wildly-popular-in-Japan Diamond Beauty, which is great. Through this, many Japanese drugstore brands (which are a whole different level of quality from western drugstore brands, mind you- Japanese drugstore quality could rival that of western department stores) are being introduced to Singapore, so it's an awesome thing. Haraju-Cute! also surprisingly carries AB Mezical Fiber, which means that Singaporeans could potentially begin to gravitate away from the glaringly obvious double-eyelid stickers and towards the more discreet (and expensive) eyelid fibers.
Other brands they stock are not all that new to Singapore, such as Heroine Make, which Watsons also carries, albeit not in the Shibuya Gals section, but rather the Kawaii Corner section. I'm really glad to see so many Japanese brands increasingly fill local stores.
Without further ado, LOTS of pictures (click on them to enlarge)! Click below!!!
The bright pink, patterned concept.
At the Raffles City branch, Haraju-Cute! was right in the middle of the entrance, with the entire shelf of Brigitte products facing all passer-bys. This was definitely what caught my eye as I was speedwalking past.
Sure, they had lipglosses, eyeshadows, liners and mascara etc., but Brigitte's redeeming product would be their lashes. 2 pairs for $22.90, as compared to $24.90 for 2 pairs of Dolly Winks at Watsons.
Heroine Make and AB Mezical
Diamond Beauty- sadly no sightings of Diamond Lashes, though.
Bonavoce, also recently debuted (April), fronted by Darvish Saeko, another popular model (who acted in Dragon Zakura, where I first came to know of her)
Overall, I'd say it's a nice addition to Singapore's Japanese makeup scene, although it really has no impact on me since I'm moving to Tokyo, where there'll be all this and ten million times more. For the rest who aren't like me, though, it's pretty much awesome.
While it's labelled "Harajuku", I'd say the makeup is definitely more along the lines of Shibuya gyaru-kei and less of Harajuku-kei. I wouldn't say it's a spin-off of Watsons' Shibuya Gals, though, because Shibuya Gals attempts to present a more holistic approach to gyaru culture, stocking hair extensions etc. Haraju-Cute!, on the other hand, seems to be doorway to new Japanese brands and lesser-known products to the general Singaporean consumer (who generally takes what they see as all there is, really).
I can definitely see people comparing the two as the respective franchises' own versions as the same thing, but I'd disagree. I like them both and together they serve to benefit me, and that's all I care about. At the moment, Haraju-Cute! is still new so I can't say which I prefer more, but I will say that Watsons' Shibuya Gals has been largely overrated due to the lack of anything similar to it thus far. That may change in the near future, though.
I'm not sure if Haraju-Cute! will be an addition to every Guardian store in Singapore, but as of now I can only confirm its existence in Raffles City and Paragon's branches. I think it's safe to say that most major branches, especially in central town locations, should have this new addition. I'm sure more information will surface as time passes, but your best bet will be to go out and see for yourself. It''s quite worth a looksee, anyway.
Stay tuned, because I have a lot of upcoming posts.