As convenient as that jumbo-size, big-enough-for-a-small-country, mega-bottle of your favourite product may be, usually a small amount is really enough. Bigger isn't always better because bottles often end up half-used, cluttering the bathroom - the victims of boredom or below-par performance. Big bottles are also a pain on holidays and business trips, when the prospect of carting litres of potions around in your hand luggage is enough to make your knees shake.
You could decant each beauty essential into a small plastic container, but gloopy cream rarely goes into small container without a messy fight. How about stocking up on product samples given away at beauty counters? That doesn't work either, since the likelihood of getting a consistent supply of your favourite product is slim.
Just when you were starting to think the situation might be hopeless . . . good news! Beauty brands have finally taken this problem into consideration and rallied to the cause. Prada, realising that small is both beautiful and useful, led the way with its revolutionary skin-care line. Each product comes with a month's supply, packaged in airtight, one-use doses, ensuring hygiene and freshness.
Toiletries company Crabtree & Evelyn, cult holistic beauty brand Aveda, and shampoo guru Philip B have all followed suit with miniature versions of their top products. Moreover, la creme of nail varnishes, OPI, has launched 'Euro Babies' - a miniature set of varnishes in its top-selling colours, which is perfect for emergency re-touches. And Kenzo's latest fragrance 'Flower by Kenzo' now comes in miniature bottles.
Dr Hauschka, Caudalie and Chantecaille have taken the trend further, devising beautifully packaged travel kits, with a compact selection of everything you need on the move. A word of advice: we have noticed a nasty resurgence of vanity cases during our travels. Ladies, they may be big, but they aren't clever. Relegate them to the attic where they belong, and stock up on miniatures: small is now even more beautiful than ever.
1. Shampure conditioner ($45 for 50ml; $130 for 250ml) from Aveda, Lane Crawford, Pacific Place, tel: 2845 1838
2. Travel-size Peach Bloom antiperspirant ($10) from Marks & Spencer, Pacific Place, tel: 2537 1009
3. Flower by Kenzo ($210 for a set of three 4ml bottles) from Seibu, Windsor House, Causeway Bay, tel: 2868 0778
4. Jojoba Oil Conditioner ($30 for 50ml) from Crabtree & Evelyn, Times Square, Causeway Bay, tel: 2506 1168
5. Nourishing Treatment for Body, part of Grape Escape set of six ($120) by Caudalie from Joyce Beauty, 38 Russell Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2970 2319
6. Flower-infused Pure Rose Water and Water Flower Fluid, part of the Jet Set Kit including five products ($890) by Chantecaille from Joyce Beauty
7. Daily Face Care Kit ($120) by Dr Hauschka from Joyce Beauty
8. Peppermint and Avocado shampoo ($65 for 2oz bottle) by Philip B from Joyce Beauty
9. Flower-infused Cleansing Milk, part of the Jet Set Kit including five products ($890) by Chantecaille from Joyce Beauty
10. Euro Babies nail lacquers ($135 for a set of four 3.75ml bottles) by OPI from Ellespa, The Repulse Bay, 109 Repulse Bay Road, tel: 2537 7736, and Sense of Touch, 83A Hollywood Road, Central, tel: 2517 0939
11. Reviving Bio-Firm Concentrate/Face ($990 for a set of 15 sealed monodoses) from Prada Beauty, The Landmark, tel: 2501 0628
12. Ultra-mild Vine Soap, part of Grape Escape set of six ($120) by Caudalie from Joyce Beauty
13. Pure-Fume aromatic candle ($50 for the tea-light candle; $230 for normal size) from Aveda