Ever since Korean beauty arrived on our shores, people have been flocking to stores to stock up on lip tints and 10-step skin-care must-haves that will make us look kyeopta. Look no further: We’ve compiled an updated shopping list of both new and old K-beauty depots in Manila, and products that are so good, they’ve attained cult status. Ready, set, shop!
Althea: Online K- Shopping Mecca
Not one particular brand, but many! And the more, the merrier. Althea is a cute and glossy beauty e-commerce site, and we love it because it has such a wide selection, and it ships your haul straight from Korea to your doorstep! Your purchase arrives in an adorable pink box, too, like a gift from you to you. (Plus points for the app, which is our new addiction).
1. COC Pro Skin-Adhering Foundation Brush, P180
Skin texture is Korean beauty’s obsession, and makeup should never be exempt to this rule. This brush smooths away all streaks.
2. BAREBLANC Glam Pink Ampoule Cushion, P900
Less foundation and more skin care, this cushion focuses on the long-term effects of a product left on the skin for the rest of the day. Ampoule is basically a superconcentrated booster, much like a serum.
3. MAXCLINIC CATRIN Natural 100 Mineral Sunkill RX SPF46 PA+++, P1120
If sunscreen reapplication is your problem, then go the powder route. This skin protector comes in loose powder form with a handy puff dispenser so you don’t have to bother about brushes or spillage.
4. HELLO SKIN Jumiso First Skin Lightening Mask, P110
Unlike usual sheet masks, this one is extra thin, clings better to skin, and “opens” when you peel off the gauze sheet on top. It’s both brightening and hydrating.
5. NAKEUP FACE C-Cup Lip Tox-tick, P660
Whew, what a mouthful—of a name and of a product. It is a matte, velvety lipstick that reduces lip lines (the wrinkles on your lips, which we’ve never noticed before either!) and plumps lips all while remaining smudge-, streak- and goop-free.
Banila Co.: Purify and Prime
For your pre- and post-makeup concerns, Banila Co. is your best bet. While the brand helps makeup stick to your skin—it offers great primers for all skin types!—it also cleans up well, literally. The cleansing balm sells every three seconds in Korea, making it K-beauty’s most coveted makeup cleanser. This K-beauty brand is located in Glorietta 3.
1. Prime Primers in Matte, P1090
Banila Co.’s array of Prime Primers for several skin types include Hydrating, Blur (for pore minimizing) and Purity (for sensitive skin) variants. The classic Matte remains our fave, though, for sticky Manila weather: It battles unwanted shine and keeps pores at minimum visibility.
2. Clean it Zero, P1090
If you’ve never tried a sherbet-type cleanser, Clean It Zero is a good place to start. Sherbet cleansers are oil based formulas that come in a solid form (much like coconut oil when stored in the fridge). It melts once it comes into contact with skin, and removes even the most stubborn makeup. It’s mess-free in the tub, too, which makes it travel-friendly, and comes with a little spatula so that you don’t contaminate the product with your fingers. The Purity for Sensitive Skin variant is made especially for acne-prone and sensitive skin.
3. Prime Primer Finish Powder, P1090
Now, for the finishing touch: a multi-award winning setting powder! Finely milled and extra-velvety, the Prime Primer Finish Powder not only sets and extends makeup, it also has the same goal of all K-beauty cosmetics: to minimize pores’ appearance
4. Prime Primer Sun SPF 50+PA+++ Fit & Boost, P1090
Fans of multi-use products will love the Prime Primer Sun SPF 50+PA+++ Fit & Boost. It’s a primer, sunscreen, oil control and hydrator all in one. Despite having multiple functions, it never sleeps on any of its tasks. It enhances makeup application like the great primer that it is, and its high SPF and PA rating doesn’t leave a white cast under your base.
Clio: Sleek, Chic and Grown-up Makeup
Another newcomer to the local beauty scene, Clio is South Korea’s answer to that sleek, minimalist, professional makeup look. With a great range of shades in its makeup selection and the famed Kill Cover and supplementing lines, it’s the true-blue makeup lover’s go-to if they aren’t satisfied with the usual cutesy glitter finds in many K-beauty shops. Clio is available at Club Clio, 3/F TriNoma.
1 & 5. Pro Artist Liquid Concealer, P820 and Kill Cover Conceal Cushion, P1650
The best base combo if you’re looking for great hydrating coverage: Pro Artist Liquid Concealer and Kill Cover Conceal Cushion. The latter’s cushion is double layered, so it looks like mochi (with the foundation formula as the filling!), which keeps the base clean and unexposed. The liquid concealer, on the other hand, is pigmented enough to cover freckles or even act as foundation.
2. PreStep Egg Pore Primer, p1030
There are plenty of South Korean skin-care products that rely on egg as an ingredient, and the PreStep Egg Pore Primer, is one of them. While it smooths and mattifies, it also soothes and purifies with tea tree—no clogged pores here!
3. The Kill Brow Tinted Tattoo, P750
The Kill Brow Tinted Tattoo is a cool dual-ended brow pen with a markerlike applicator that’s super easy to control and delivers pigment evenly and naturally.
4. Mad Matte Lipstick, P750
If lip tints aren’t your thing, Club Clio is here for you. The Mad Matte Lipstick is an intense matte with a range of shades that’s more varied than the usual Korean brands. It promises to coat your lips without emphasizing the lines (which is common with matte lipsticks).
Laneige: Serious Skincare
One of the K-beauty pioneers in our country, Laneige has already built a steady stream of followers on our shores. Skin care is the name of their game, and while they have some makeup selections too, their overnight “packs,” as non-sheet masks are called in K-world, are always a beauty win. Laneige is located in Shangri-La Plaza.
1. White Dew Tone-up Cream, P2050
An interesting addition to their lineup, the White Dew Tone-up Cream is a non-foundation skin perfector that promises to instantly brighten your skin. It comes with a cute waterdrop-shaped sponge for even application.
2. The Lip Sleeping Mask, P950
The Lip Sleeping Mask is the lip version of the Water Sleeping Mask. This aids exfoliation along with the usual hydration. Slick it on before bed instead of your usual lip balm and wipe away when you wake and ta-da!—hydrated, non-flaky lips.
3. Water Sleeping Mask, P1400
A crowd favorite, many faces have been saved from the adverse effects of all-nighters by the Water Sleeping Mask. It’s made for tired skin with a formula that increases hydration and repair without sparking more flare-ups or sensitivity in stressed-out complexions. Smooth it on and let it cool your skin into a refreshed state as you sleep.
Pure Beauty: Specific Solutions
This brand is fairly new to us Filipinas, having only launched in August, but we’re already hoarding and restocking. After all, its best products specifically combat aging and skin damage caused by pollution, which we all know is a major part of city life. The Pomegranate Urban Shield Antioxidant & Antipollution line has eight steps, but we pared it down to our faves. Pure Beauty is available at Watsons.
IMAGE Pure Beauty
1. Reviving Serum, P1699
Extra pure and potent, the Reviving Serum or ampoule, as the K-beauty world calls it, is an important step in your routine. Not only does it repair, but it also strengthens your skin against aggressors like stress, smoke and pollution.
2. Makeup Remover Facial Cleansing Wipes, P299
First step out of everything is to clean your face. The Makeup Remover Facial Cleansing Wipes does a good job of erasing even waterproof mascara and leaving your skin supple but not greasy.
3. Recharging Mask, P1299
Been a long day? Stick the Recharging Mask in the fridge during your nighttime shower and slather on before bed. It’ll be a cool treat for your skin while you literally recharge.
4. Renewal Night Cream, P1699
While the serum repairs, the Renewal Night Cream strengthens. It rebuilds the skin barrier as you sleep, and evens out tone too.
*This article originally appeared in Preview Magazine November 2017 issue.