Fashion and Beauty

Obsessed with K-beauty or trying to find the right skincare? Try this app

Therese Jamora-Garceau - The Philippine Star
Obsessed with K-beauty or trying to find the right skincare?  Try this app
Picky has a library of over 40,000 products and recommends the best ones for your skin type.
STAR/ File

The pandemic spawned an explosion of skincare products for those who wanted to self-care at home.  With the current proliferation of brands, however, it’s become increasingly hard to choose which products are right for you.

Mindful of this, South Korean Jihong Lee and American Michael He started Picky, a skincare app that makes it fun and easy to find your holy-grail skincare.

Jihong is a skincare enthusiast who’s maintained a skincare routine for nearly all his life, and even started his son on sunscreen as soon as he could speak.

Like many of us, Michael didn’t know where to start because he felt like there were so many products out there: “We need to maintain our skin but have fewer resources to find the best products,” he notes. “With Picky, we can begin to learn more about skincare from a thoughtful global community.”

When you join Picky, first you take a short quiz to verify your skin type, then it searches through its library of 40,000 products to recommend the best matches for you and your concerns, factoring in price, whether you’re acne-prone, vegan, pregnant, or want products that are fragrance- and cruelty-free. Each product is ranked with a risk level for your skin, and honest reviews by product users help you make your final choice.

“Picky launched with 30,000 products, all focused on skincare,” Michael says. “Currently, we get up to 1,000 new product requests in a single week.”

To stay on top of market trends, Picky employs a panel of 20 global skin experts led by Dr. Claudia Christin, a PhD in dermatology, and includes four dermatologists and one aesthetic doctor from the Philippines.

Pinoys fascinated with K-beauty should definitely check out Picky, because it’s the best resource for exploring Korean skincare. “We partner with leading and emerging skincare brands, especially K-beauty brands, to give our users a chance to try new skincare products for free,” Michael says. “Some of our partner brands include Cosrx, Purito, and Keep Cool.”

He says Picky’s users from the Philippines are among their most active, with nearly 20,000 having joined, ranging in age from teens to 70-somethings. “Our Filipino users have loved using Picky! We have a Super Picky Squad of top Picky users who contribute helpful reviews and thoughtful Q&A discussions, and many of them are from the Philippines. We created a discussion board especially for Filipino users to speak in local languages, and for the Philippines, we also have held special free product giveaways and educational events with dermatologists.”

At present Picky doesn’t earn revenue from its partners, ensuring the app remains completely impartial and objective. “Our focus for now is building our global Picky community, and we will remain completely free and independent from brands,” Michael says. “Picky aims to be a global platform for authentic information in the beauty industry.”

Picky has a library of over 40,000 products and recommends the best ones for your skin type.

Aveda’s Botanical Repair line

Hair care that’s 100-percent vegan

Prestige haircare brand Aveda is now 100-percent vegan.

“Choosing and using vegan beauty products helps lower demand of animal-derived ingredients, reduces deforestation and protects the planet from excess CO2 emissions,” says Aveda global brand president Barbara de Laere.

For the past three years Aveda has looked at where all their raw materials are sourced and processed, replacing any that involve animals with plant-based ones. “The most difficult was removing beeswax because it’s a very important ingredient, particularly in lip care and styling products,” said vice president of R&D Christine Hall.

Aveda’s manufacturing plant uses wind power, carbon offsets and a solar array to provide energy, with the goal of becoming a carbon-negative brand by the end of 2023.

Their mission in a bottle is to make sure their products meet all sustainable, vegan criteria while not compromising on high performance.

Aveda’s bestsellers include the Invati Advanced line, which strengthens and reduces hair loss by 53 percent thanks to Ayurvedic herbs that help invigorate the scalp and Umla to thicken hair; the hydrating Nutriplenish line; and the new Botanical Repair, which has won over a dozen awards since it launched in August 2020.

Aveda also appointed model and climate activist Arizona Muse as its first global advocate for sustainability. “She loves Aveda products because they perform and are sustainably made,” De Laere said. “She’s used Aveda since she was a little girl and shares our core values.”

Perfect Diary’s Explorer Eyeshadow Fancy Carp Dreamy Effect Lucky set

Aveda’s Botanical Repair line

Showing that Korea and Japan don’t have a monopoly on cuteness, Perfect Diary, currently the top makeup brand in China, is for the young and young-at-heart because it’s extremely cute.  They have a loose-powder collab with Gudetama, their eyeshadow palettes have adorable animals on them and glittery pastel color stories, and their gift boxes are covetable works of art.

Perfect Diary has a mind-boggling array of lip products that includes a complete range of romantic reds and pinks in solid and liquid lipsticks, matte and shiny finishes, for around P299 each.

For me, the highlight is Perfect Diary’s Ultimate Royal Four eyeshadow palettes from their Rich Color limited gift set.  The Deer palette is also available in the 2020 Limited Edition Gift Set Christmas Box, along with the Gudetama blurring powder, Light Shimmer Water Stain and a pair of clip-on deer ears.

Nars’ OX makeup collection

The ultimate blush gets even more extra

There’s no doubt that Nars is the master of blush.  He created the ultimate one in Orgasm, and now the makeup artist has spun off this icon into the must-have collection for summer, OX, starring a new blush that’s like Orgasm on steroids.

OX is a deep coral pink with gold pearls, and you can get it singly, or I highly recommend the OX Cheek Palette, which contains all things Orgasm: highlighting powder, the OG blush, and the new OX.

The collection also includes two eyeshadow quads and Oil-Infused lip tints to match the blushes:  O gives you the most natural, NMM glow, while OX delivers deeper, more sultry pops of color.  There’s also a six-shade mini-Orgasm eyeshadow palette.

If you prefer cream blush to powder, Nars has also innovated Air Matte, unique mousse blushes that transform into velvety powders. They may look highly pigmented in the pot but they’re so sheer they’re mistake-proof, giving you the most cloud-like wash of color.

Still can’t get enough glow?  Try Nars’ Euphoria collection, luminizing essentials for face, eyes and lips that impart a natural glow and sheer wash of color.  I particularly love the Euphoria Face Dew, a tinted illuminator that instantly gives you glass skin with a rosy flush.

Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution

A solution for maskne blemishes

Do you have blemishes from maskne? Kiehl’s has an answer in its Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution, its bestseller and No. 1 serum. Clinically tested on all ethnicities, it’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

The hero ingredient is Activated-C, which boosts radiance, balances skin tone, and reduces visible signs of hyperpigmentation, inflammation, and dark spots. Other ingredients are White Birch extract, a sugar-derived ingredient highly regarded for its ability to restore hydration while nourishing skin, and peony extract, an antioxidant that is a staple in traditional Chinese medicine and protects skin against oxidative damage.

A 12-week clinical study of 17 women showed that Clearly Corrective diminished pimple and acne marks within two weeks, and skin became two times brighter and more even in tone.

Garnier’s Light Complete scrub by L’Orea

Meeting the demand for clean and green beauty

At L’Oreal’s recent Transparency Summit, we learned how the cosmetic giant is meeting consumer demand for clean and green beauty through its research and innovation, which has been strongly committed to green sciences, green chemistry and biotechnologies since 2019.

“Our ‘L’Oreal for the Future’ commitments include pledges that in 10 years, 95 percent of our ingredients will be derived from renewable plant sources, abundant minerals, and 100 percent of all formulas will be respectful of the aquatic environment,” said Nicolas Hieronimus, deputy CEO of L’Oreal. “The safety of our products has been a central pillar for L’Oreal. Every year we sell between six and seven billion products to around 1.2 billion consumers worldwide. We have the highest number of controls at every step, and our charters of formulation comply with the most stringent regulation in the world: that of Europe.”

At present L’Oreal has 4,000 employees working on research and innovation, and has invested almost a billion euros in 21 research centers around the world.

In March 2019 they dedicated a website called “Inside Our Products” to providing information about their composition and ingredients, and it’s now available in 45 countries in eight languages.

L’Oreal brand La Roche-Posay “has developed augmented products where consumers will be able to scan a QR code to get access to full transparency information about their products,” Hieronimus said. “We will also be transparent on the environmental profile of our products, measured according to a methodology validated by scientists and environmental experts, as well as NGOs. This will start with Garnier and will be progressively rolled out to all our brands.”

Today, 80 percent of L’Oreal’s raw materials are biodegradable, 59 percent are renewable, 34 percent are natural or of natural origins, and 28 percent are from green chemistry.

But perhaps L’Oreal’s most significant contribution is how it has been able to reconstruct human skin in the lab, thereby eliminating the need for animal testing.

“We started working on it as early as the ’70s because, even then, we were convinced that testing on animals should not be done,” said Barbara Lavernos, L’Oreal’s chief research, innovation and technology officer. “To achieve this, the solution was to successfully model human skin, enabling us to test the safety and the effectiveness of our ingredients. We have even devoted an entire research center to this activity.”

L’Oreal has also developed new, environmentally friendly ingredients like Pro Xylane, the first eco-designed anti-aging ingredient in the cosmetic industry.

“We are on our way to shaping the future of beauty by leveraging the best of science and technology increasingly inspired by nature to create the beauty that moves the world,” Hieronimus concluded.

Silka endorsers Sunshine Cruz (right) and daughter Angelina

A mother-daughter beauty tandem

Actress Sunshine Cruz has been a Silka user since 2013. “A lot of people are telling me, ‘Parang mas nag-bloom ka. Bakit parang may ilaw kang dala palagi at nag-go-glow?’  And I would share that it’s because of Silka. I really use Silka, not just the orange papaya soap; I also use the Silka Premium Whitening lotion. This is my favorite, it has milk and honey, and SPF 30 to protect you.”

Sunshine was elated to shoot a Silka TV commercial with her daughter Angelina Cruz, who recently joined the Silka family. “My mom and I always use their products,” she says. “Ever since I was young, I see my mom use it, too, and as you can see, she has such flawless skin that people would mistake us for sisters. She’d always give me beauty tips, and I’d follow them because I want to have skin like hers when I’m her age. Turns out, super hiyang ako sa Silka. I love it so much.”

Song Kang with Deoproce’s latest line, Natural Green Caviar


Song Kang is new face of Deoproce Ph


Love Alarm and Sweet Home star Song Kang is the new face of Korean skincare brand Deoproce in the Philippines.  The Korean star’s yeppeo (“pretty” in Korean) glow accompanies the launch of Deoproce’s latest line, Natural Green Caviar, which features the benefits of sea grapes, or lato.

Green Caviar is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as amino and Omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost collagen production and the reduction of fine lines. Minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, copper and calcium aid skin in retaining moisture, while polysaccharides like Fucoidan contribute powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Composed of cleansing water, facial cleanser, toner, vitamin C ampoule, water cream moisturizer and skin-perfecting tint with SPF 30+, Green Caviar’s prices start at P590.

“I’m in love with the facial cleanser!” Song Kang reveals.

Say hello to brand-new glow in seven days

Skin-brightening Thai brand Snail White, whose products are powered by snail mucin, an all-natural mix of peptides, antioxidants and vitamins, recently launched three new products at the beginning of the year.

First is White Soap, a spinoff on Snail White’s bestselling Whipp soap that’s travel-friendly, creamier, and can be used on both face and body for a head-to-toe glow.

Snail White Cleansing is an oil-free makeup remover with quick-cleansing technology, and is a good first step if you like to double cleanse.

Brightening Day Cream has SPF plus protection against environmental aggressors like UV rays, blue light, pollution and nanoparticles that can damage skin. The cream was tested on 424 women who saw changes in seven days: brighter, smoother, more hydrated skin, thus the product tagline “Say hello to brand-new glow in just seven days,” epitomized by the face of the product, Alex Gonzaga.

Oxecure’s Acne Solutions Facial Starter ki

Affordable, dermatologically tested acne solutions

After only six months on the market, Oxecure has won beauty awards for its affordable, dermatologically tested acne solutions. Core products include facial liquid cleanser for oily, acne-prone and sensitive skin that contains sulfur, glycerin and propolis extract. Another is Sulfur Soap, an acne-fighting bar for both face and body.

Oxecure’s main treatment and bestseller is Acne Clear Potion, a spot treatment with salicylic acid that promises results in as little as six hours. Similar is Acne Clear Powder Mud, a two-in-one spot or mask treatment but in a clay format and addressing blackheads, whiteheads, small acne bumps and post-acne marks.

Oxecure Body Acne Spray with salicylic acid and witch hazel fights “bacne,” and the brand also offers different value sets like the Facial Starter Kit, the Body Starter Kit and the Complete Starter Kit.

Oxecure’s Acne Solutions Facial Starter kit

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Follow the author on Instagram @theresejamoragarceau and Facebook (Therese Jamora-Garceau).


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