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Health, Beauty & Fashion

The Duchess' Midas touch

Sales of products soar after the Duchess of Cambridge reportedly bought or used them.
The Straits Times - July 1, 2011
By: Karen Tee
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The Duchess' Midas touch -- PHOTOS:REUTERS

The Duchess of Cambridge famously caused the website of British high-street label Reiss to crash after she was photographed wearing a dress from the brand.

The nude £175 (S$350) Shola dress also sold out in stores within hours and Reiss is still struggling to keep its shelves stocked with the frock.

Fashion pundits now await eagerly her style parade - she and Prince William kicked off their royal tour of Canada and the United States yesterday - but it seems the Duchess' Midas touch extends to beauty products as well.

Last month, she was spotted buying a tub of Nivea's Visage Pure & Natural Moisturising Day Cream from a Boots pharmacy in London.

The effect was immediate. Mr Ralph Gusko, general manager of the Beiersdorf UK/Ireland Group, which owns Nivea, told the British press that sales of the cream jumped by 85 per cent at Boots after the news spread.

Catherine Middleton (most know her as Kate) fans here who want to sample the cream can get their hands on it next month when it launches exclusively at Watsons for $16.90.

Just like her taste in fashion, the Duchess' beauty regimen is also a high-low combination.

She is known to be a fan of luxury Swiss skincare brand Karin Herzog, which is known for its oxygen products that are said to give skin a healthy glow.

The brand is sold here at about 20 beauty salons, including Basic Essence Holistic Wellness Centre at 04-04 Cluny Court.

Ms Middleton's favourite products include the Professional Cleansing Cream ($75), Vita-A-Kombi 1 anti-wrinkle cream ($128), Vita-A-Kombi 3 Spot Zapper ($72) and Oxygen Face Cream ($92).

Ms Jacqueline Yu, co-owner of Basic Essence, says sales of the products that the Duchess uses has tripled since May.

'Customers often mention that they found out about Karin Herzog from reports of Kate Middleton using this brand,' she adds.

It is no surprise that the Duchess has such strong selling power.

Associate Professor Ang Swee Hoon from National University of Singapore Business School's department of marketing says: 'Kate Middleton does not use only haute couture brands but also middle-of-the-road brands that regular Britons use, hence people can identify with her.

'By buying the same or almost the same item that she has, people hope that they will look more like her and others will look to them as having the same good taste as Kate Middleton.'

When it comes to her beauty regimen, freelance make-up artist Larry Yeo says her clean, natural look 'can be recreated easily on anyone in 10minutes'.

The hallmarks of the brunette's make-up - minimal foundation, dark eyeliner with taupe or pewter eyeshadow and mascara, coral blusher on the apples of her cheeks and light pink lipstick or lipgloss - also flatter Asians, he adds.

She has been seen stocking up on Bobbi Brown products on a few occasions and is said to like its eye make-up and basics such as foundation.

The American brand is loved for its fuss-free aesthetic and is popular with those who prefer barely-there make-up.

Prices start from $33 for eyeshadow, $45 for mascara and $60 for foundation.

She is also loyal to MrJames Pryce, her hairstylist of seven years from London's Richard Ward Salon, who styled her hair for her wedding in April.

So valued are his services that he is travelling with the royal couple on their North American trip.

Even if you do not have a hairstylist on call, MrCasey Chua, the owner of Casey Hair & Beauty Salon in Palais Renaissance, says Kate's long layered locks are versatile and can easily be styled at home.

Simply blow dry with curlers at the end to get her bouncy waves, says MrChua.

To keep your hair in top condition, try Kerastase's Nutritive Bain Satin shampoo ($39) and conditioner ($48, both from Salon 360, B240 Marina Bay Sands), of which she is reportedly a fan.

Urban checks out other beauty balms that celebrities swear by.


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