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Award-winning clean beauty brands under one roof |


Award-winning clean beauty brands under one roof

CULTURE VULTURE - Therese Jamora-Garceau - The Philippine Star

Beauty Bar has become a mecca of clean beauty with a slew of new brands from all over the world that are vegan, promote sustainability, and are kind to the planet.

Cool labels like LastObject from Denmark are heading a beauty-industry revolution by introducing eco-friendly alternatives to everyday beauty products, like those cotton pads we use to remove makeup and single-use swabs. LastObject offers round pads and swabs made from durable, non-toxic materials that you can wash in their laundry bags and reuse a hundred — maybe even a thousand! — times, thus ending wasteful single-usage. Their starter kits make great gifts as well.

Vegan skincare

Skin Sapiens is a vegan, natural, cruelty-free skincare brand from the UK that blends active botanicals to care for all skin types, especially sensitive. Their dermatologically tested, fragrance-free cleansers, serums, repair and lip balms are packaged in sustainable materials. I’m a fan of their Glow Kit, which includes a cleansing bar, face serum and cream to enhance your natural glow with vitamins C, E and super-hydrating hyaluronic acid.

Fan favorite Dr. Pawpaw has a new vegan skincare line, with nine multitasking solutions that are ethically sourced and deliver powerful results. Their trademark Papayaluronic formula provides the soothing and nourishing effects of papaya extract teamed with 8x hyaluronic acids, which absorb into all five layers of skin for instant and long-lasting hydration. This innovative mix is complemented by top-level ingredients like bakuchiol, vitamins C and E, and retinol. I recommend the super-charged 4-in-1 face serum that offers the benefits of four serums into one dynamic formula — hydration, anti-redness, brightening and anti-aging — as well as the SPF 50+ PA++++ Day Cream, which not only protects but also hydrates and promotes a healthy skin barrier.

Eco-conscious Greek brand Korres uses ingredients sourced from the Mediterranean countryside to provide beauty benefits, like its Santorini Grape skin- and body-care lines, which harness the antioxidant properties of the Greek fruit. Hero products include the Santorini Grape Velvet Skin Drink, which has resveratrol to replenish and re-texturize skin; Poreless Skin Cream, which mattifies while salicylic acid helps refine pore appearance in 14 days; SkinReset Volcanic Mask, which has clay, BHA and AHAs to detoxify and clarify pores; Renewing Body Cleanser to hydrate while cleansing and Body Smoothing Milk, a creamy lotion that lives up to its name.


A clean cosmetic brand from LA is Bodyography, professional-quality makeup that’s vegan while being on-trend with the latest looks and colors. Their Skin Slip Full Coverage concealer won an Allure Best of Beauty Award, while a celebrity makeup artist pronounced Bodyography’s Glitter Pigment “one of the most amazing shimmery shadows on the market that really catches the light.”


Unicorn Glow is Korean makeup that imparts K-pop radiance with products like Sleek Serum Foundation and Shimmer Stick Eyeshadow.

LOCK offers makeup that is so easy to use that even beginners can produce beauty looks like a pro. Products like Nude Matte Lip and Creamy Blush boast high-performance formulas and trendsetting shades.

Hip Chic is a Korean haircare collection of silicone-free vinegar rinses for scalp and hair that turns flat, frizzy, thin and dry strands into shiny, smooth, bouncy tresses with two variants, Apple Vinegar and Grape Vinegar Rinse.

Home fragrance

Beauty Bar also carries Urban Apothecary, a UK-based home-fragrance brand that blends unique scents to create a luxurious ambience. Award-winning collections include large, weighty scented candles in black glass exuding chic scents like the signature Oudh Geranium, Luxury room sprays and reed diffusers in scents like Cherry Blossom, and Luxury hand-and-body washes and lotions in aromas like Velvet Peony, Smoked Leather and Fig Tree.


All products are available at Beauty Bar.

Essentials for the 5-minute face

For disciples of the five-minute face like myself, Sisley international ambassador for makeup Alexandre Colaianni, who’s been a makeup artist for almost 30 years, working on films with actresses like Natalie Portman and Monica Bellucci, picked a few essentials that every woman should have.

Colaianni is a true believer in Sisley’s philosophy of makeup that’s also skincare, formulated from plant extracts that enhance women’s beauty not only cosmetically but also from within the skin.  His pro tips would be to exfoliate regularly to remove dead cells, then prep with a product like Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask, which he says he brings everywhere when he travels. Even when Colaianni feels tired due to jet lag, people say he doesn’t look tired thanks to this wonder mask’s “instant youth”-giving smoothing, plumping and brightening effect.

Follow with foundation: choose between Phyto-Teint Nude, a soft serum foundation that has a high concentration of hyaluronic acid, or Phyto-Blanc Cushion Foundation with SPF 50 — “It's easy and convenient when you are in a rush,” the makeup artist says.

Next set foundation with Blur Expert, a powder that acts like a filter to create ultra-luminous, perfect skin with a single stroke.

Then get a pretty flush with Le Phyto-Blush, a powder blush with an ultra-caring formula in vibrant, luminous shades.

Finish your quick look with Phyto-Rouge Shine, a cult-classic lipstick in 14 shades that’s like a serum for your lips with its high concentration of hyaluronic acid. “When you use it every day you have deep hydration, maintain a good volume and minimize the development of wrinkles around the mouth,” Colaianni says.


Sisley is available exclusively at Rustan’s The Beauty Source.

Doubling the power of skincare

There’s anti-aging, and then there’s Clarins Double Power Squared, a regimen that Clarins Asia-Pacific training manager Andrew Wallis and Clarins Philippines education manager Pam Aguirre explained to me.

Basically it’s using two of Clarins’ most potent products together — Double Serum and Extra-Firming Moisturizer — to give you even better results. Double Serum is the global anti-aging concentrate so beloved that one bottle sells every eight seconds in the world. With over 20 extracts, it addresses many of the skin concerns that we have: hydration, protection, nutrition, regeneration, and oxygenation.

More specifically, golden turmeric extract allows our skin cells to communicate better and to function properly, while kangaroo flower extract (true to its name) brings bounciness back by increasing collagen-1 production by nearly 200%.  Meanwhile, organic green banana increases collagen-5 by 196%. Together, the two help rebuild our skin structure.

Mitracarpus extract boosts Emilin-1 protein by 133%, which helps generate elastin, while that helpful organic green banana increases fibronectin, helping repair, restore and tighten. “That then gives you that visible, tight and lifted look of more radiant, youthful-looking skin,” Wallis says.

While you can reap all the benefits of this two-product routine at home, the Clarins Skin Spa at Rustan’s has a complete menu of services, whether you want anti-aging, wellness or simply relaxation. First they do an analysis to determine your skin age and the treatment best suited to you. “For the younger ones more prone to fatigue and stress, we have Multi-Active to address fatigue and lack of sleep,” Aguirre says. They also have extra-firming and lifting treatments where they promise you’ll see an immediate difference.

“For men, we have an energizing facial geared towards their specific skin, which is more oily with higher levels of testosterone,” she continues. “We also offer super-relaxing, contouring and firming programs for the body.”

Both Wallis and Aguirre emphasize the importance of exfoliation: “In skincare, especially when using so much of these products, they don't really go through because there's a lot of dead skin blocking it. So one of the biggest keys to younger-looking skin is exfoliation, because you need to keep clearing out the old cells and be ready to accept all of the great ingredients in the products,” Wallis says.


Clarins products and the Clarins Skin Spa are at Rustan’s The Beauty Source.

A powerhouse lab of local brands

Unilab Skin Sciences, Inc. (ULSSI) recently introduced its Powerhouse Lab, personal-care brands formulated for Filipinos by Filipinos, backed by decades of research and rigorously tested for safety.

“We’re really proud to be a local company, with roots that are embedded deeply in the Philippines,” said Kathryn Carag, ULSSI division vice president for marketing. “This nation is not just our home; it’s also our inspiration.”

Added ULSSI division vice president for research and development Madel Carillo, “Our products have been designed specifically for Filipino skin, therefore we have a much deeper understanding of our consumers’ needs.”

Ning Sevilla, operating vice president and division head of Unilab Skin Sciences, Inc. (ULSSI), is proud that these Pinoy brands have gone global, with the Philippines as the global headquarters. “We’re handling eight countries from here: Indonesia Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Thailand.”

I explored ULSSI’s brands more at their booths. At the Hydration Station, I learned that Celeteque Moisturizing Essence has hyaluronic acid to help our skin stay hydrated and prevent dehydration for up to 48 hours.

For kids they have Dirt Bug Sun Total Protection Anti-Mosquito Lotion, while also boasts germ and sun protection. It was dermatologically proven to be hypoallergenic, safe to use on babies and the face, and less sticky than competing brands.

At the Ph Care table they used a litmus test to show how their feminine wash’s pH level is closer to the pH level of women’s intimate area, which is recommended, because other products might be too acidic and therefore harsh on skin.

At the UV Test table Carillo revealed that they’re developing a Solaris SPF 57 product for launch next year that also protects us from the blue light of cellphone and laptop screens.

At the Myra table, I learned that Myra has been the number-one brand of Unilab since it launched, “because it’s a heritage brand,” they explain. With nourishing vitamins B, C, and E, Myra has moisturizers for face and body that hydrate for 24 hours, facial washes for oily and dry skin, and lotions, but the top seller is the classic moisturizer.

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