Sai Sai vs Ni Ni Khin Zaw: The Great Lipstick War of 2016
AUNG LA NSANG vs Pasternak was almost tame in comparison. Well, almost. The most colourful battle, on which the fate of millions (of kyat) depends, is Myanmar’s Great Lipstick War.
When Ni Ni Khin Zaw launched her line of Kissable Matte Lip Liquid lipsticks on October 8, we didn’t have to wait long before someone else picked up the challenge.
Enter Sai Sai: famed hip hop artist, songwriter, actor and now, as of October 9, a lipstick entrepreneur.
Beauty bloggers and websites were quick to review his product and compare it to Ni Ni Khin Zaw’s matte lipstick. The crowds at Junction Square, however, have already rendered a verdict, gathering in numbers long before the 1pm opening of his launch.
In fact, thanks to the music of Sai Sai Kham Hlaing, Xbox and others, the square looked more like a stage show than a mall.
“I wasn’t there to buy his products, but just to check out the situation. I thought maybe I could take a photo with him,” said Chin Khaing, 25, a Sai Sai fan since she was 14. “But I didn’t get the chance. There was too much jostling. It was more like an album promotion than a product launch.”
Luckily, she said, she had already pre-ordered Sai Sai’s lipstick in suitable quantities.
“It’s soft and feels as good as lip cream, not like other matte lipsticks,” she said, in which could have been a coded slap at Ni Ni Khin Zaw’s Kissable Matte. “All three colours are fine, but I like First Kiss most.”
If Chin Khaing didn’t get to take a picture with the star, plenty of others did. Sai Sai also handed out necklaces, bracelets and lipsticks to the deserving. There were more of them than had come the previous day, people remarked on social media.
“People know about my lipsticks because I’m a celebrity,” said 37-year-old Sai Sai, responding modestly yet well aware of his following. “I wasn’t expecting too much. My audience will buy them when they first come on the market, but they will only keep buying them if they like them. That’s why I wanted to ensure quality. And I promise that the quality is good.”
Back in the trenches, they’re saying Ni Ni’s colours and packaging beat Sai Sai’s. But they also feel less good on the lips because they’re too sticky. Most reviews called Sai Sai’s lip cream light in texture, saturated and long lasting, though easy to remove.
The few undecided can test for themselves soon enough, as Sai Sai’s SAI Sexy and Intelligent lipsticks, which are produced in Korea, and Ni Ni’s Super Red Matte Lipsticks (made in Thailand) can be bought at the Beauty Diary Cosmetic store and elsewhere.
Both celebrities have promised they will introduce more cosmetics, and more colours in their respective lipstick ranges.
Sai Sai’s Sexy and Intelligent comes in three colours, Nude (Be Mine), Dark Pink (First Kiss) and Red (Heart Breaker), all at K12,000,. Ni Ni offers her Super Red lipsticks for K9800 in Red (Diva), Nude (Flawless), Pink (Romance) and Chocolate (Classy).
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Teddy bears and confetti add to Sai Sai’s lipstick launch fanfare on October 8.