For me, one of the most painful beauty experiences has always been running out of my favorite scents, skin care, and lip products that I discovered on trips to the US or that friends and family gave me as pasalubong from abroad. And I’m sure for a lot of you, Filipina beauty fans, what’s painful is seeing a highly recommended beauty product on Allure or browsing your favorite beauty Instagrammer’s feed, hoping to snag for yourself the month’s holy grail product, only to find out that it’s unavailable in Manila. I can almost understand why people do one of my travel pet peeves: asking me to buy something for them abroad that’s not available in the country (as if I have unlimited foreign currency and baggage allowance when I travel). Unless I offered, of course.
The insatiable thirst to get the “it” products now—no matter where in the world they come from—has become stronger than ever. That’s why people have moved beyond just the balikbayan boxes from relatives abroad to online shopping. But, this just isn’t good enough. So it’s great to see that malls and department stores are keeping up with this demand by bringing our favorite beauty brands from all over the world to the Philippines. One of them is SM Beauty, which has evolved into the haven for beauty products from every corner of the globe.
I was invited to visit SM Beauty at SM Aura recently, and I enjoyed going through the different lanes, some of which had fun activities for us that day. I have always enjoyed browsing the beauty lanes in department stores and discovering beauty products when I was young, and the experience is the same—but now with a whole lot of options we never had back in the day.
Of course I came prepared with my beauty shopping list, which included hair tools, basic toiletries, sunscreen, and hair removal essentials. But the best part of visiting SM Beauty is checking out the latest makeup from cult favorite brands around the world. So if you’re looking to update your makeup stash and your look in time for the new school year, here’s a guide to the brands that can help you achieve the latest trends per region:
Be your school’s resident Song Hye Koh and learn how to perfect straight eyebrows and dewy looks with these time-tested Asian favorites from Korean and Japanese beauty brands now available at SM Beauty, like celeb-recommended K-Palette, 4U2 Cosmetics, Shiseido, Tony Moly, Etude House, Kate Tokyo, Holika Holika, and Canmake Tokyo.
Trendy Western Urban Look
Hollywood glam is always chic and statement-making, so make sure the essentials of how to achieve this look are in your arsenal for when you go out with your school buddies. Products from Maybelline New York, CoverGirl, Revlon, Max Factor, Wet n Wild, L.A. Girl, In2It, BYS, VMV Hypoallergenics, Jordana, Burt’s Bees, and NYX (yes, your favorite!) are available at SM Beauty, so you’re always ready even for an impromptu night out.
Pink Sugar products
Embrace the true beauty of your skin and be proud of your Filipina glow. Student-budget-friendly and proudly home-grown brands—all of which you’ll find in SM beauty—that can help you perfect your look include Fashion 21, Ever Bilena, FS Features & Shades, Happy Skin, Shawill Cosmetics, Pink Sugar, and Nichido.
Pink Sugar lip products
Happy Skin and Pink Sugar are two of my personal faves, especially because of their lip and cheek products. They lessen the amount of makeup you need to bring with you everyday.
Pink Sugar’s Sugar Tint delivers strong pigment that’s easy to blend on your cheeks and puckers. It comes in amazing shades!
Classic Euro Look
Elegance and sophistication never go out of style. For a fool-proof, beauty addict-approved look that’s classroom-appropriate, why not give your makeup a classic European touch? You can shop your Euro beauty essentials like L’Oreal, Sleek Makeup, Catrice Cosmetics, The Body Shop, Essence, Flormar, BeYu, Makeup Factory, Deborah Milano, and Ingrid Cosmetics at SM Beauty.
Special discounts and offers are available to all SM Advantage Card members so make sure to bring this with you. Not yet a member? Apply for your own card and start enjoying all the perks of SMAC members. Registration can be done in-store and would only require a minimal fee of P150.