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The ‘new normal’ beauty game goes small and local |


The ‘new normal’ beauty game goes small and local

THE UNGENTLEWOMAN - Gabbie Tatad - The Philippine Star
The ânew normalâ beauty game goes small and local
The X Product’s tight range of Magic products will leave your skin feeling absolutely bananas.
Photo courtesy of The X Product

As we navigate our current reality of face masks, distanced interactions, and endless video conference calls, our beauty conundrums have grown with them. While certainly not the greatest of problems in these times, many of us are having to deal with stubborn “maskne,” or acne sprouting from where the skin makes contact with the masks we now need to wear much more often. Many of us are feeling drab from our new indoorsman routines and want to jazz up our beauty game without breaking the bank. Luckily, we’re surrounded by small local beauty businesses focused on making a tight edit of high-performing products, providing us with easy, cost-effective solutions.

Fresh Formula’s Doctor Clear clears the deck for supple skin overnight. Photo courtesy of Fresh Formula

Start with a little magic

The X Product is a brand started by renowned makeup artist Xeng Zulueta, with its flagship product, their Magic Enzyme Serum (P750/100ml). It’s preservative-free, food-grade skincare that harnesses the power of banana peels. Banana fruit enzymes are known to reduce wrinkles, help fade scarring, and even treat psoriasis, and this serum delivers. It claims to micro-exfoliate and brighten, flatten swollen and cystic acne, clear out bumpy skin and ingrown hair, calm down inflammation, reduce the appearance of pores, as well as remove flaky skin caused by psoriasis and eczema. While it can be used on the whole body, it’s a powerful potion to start your under-mask routine after your initial cleanse.

Give it a little boost with their Magic Setting Spray (P995/120ml), an aloe-based spritz that has a nice addition of cucumber and lemon. It’s been proven to help speed up the healing of acne, stimulate collagen, hydrate and take down any redness. And the best part is it sets and refreshes your makeup!

(While we’re here, and concerned with sanitation, their solid brush cleaner is actually bananas.)

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To find out more, click on over to and to their Instagram at @thexproduct.

Blame it on the juice with these luscious hydrators from OIAM Natural Essentials. Photo courtesy of OIAM Natural Essentials

Keep it juicy

One thing many people forget to discuss in the conversation on drying out acne is that it can be exactly that: drying. It’s just as important to add back the hydration you’ve lost, to keep the skin protected, less sensitive and, above all, juicy. OIAM (short for One In A Million) Natural Essentials is a skincare brand that’s dedicated to creating products that are natural, practical and absolutely effective.

Their Aloe There, Smooth Skin soothing and moisturizing emulsion (P295/50g) is more than just a post-tanning companion, it’s a really great and refreshing hydrator that’s calming and soothing as well as restoring. My personal favorite product of theirs is the Gotta Glow Face and Body Oil (P345/50ml), which not only adds back some moisture to the top layer of your skin, but is great for a lovely facial massage moment. It has some really beautiful oils in it, like evening primrose, rosehip and sea buckthorn — things you would see in products over 20 times the price. It’s not at all heavy, absorbs quickly, and even plays well under makeup.

(If you’re also feeling a bit pale and want an extra bronzy boost, their Feelin’ Extra Bronzing Oil, at P345/50ml, is fully where it’s at.)

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OIAM Natural Essentials products are available on For more information, check out @oiamnatural on Instagram.

Quell your thirst for color with these punchy Sundays Beauty Meteor Liners. Photo by MR Villar for Sundays Beauty

Clear it out

I’ve personally used OIAM Natural Essentials for at least two years now, so I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend their Blemish Be Gone Oil Spot Corrector (P365/15 ml). It is one of the most effective spot treatments I’ve found on the local market, especially as it contains Tamanu Oil, a powerful ingredient that facilitates healing. It also contains grapefruit, black cumin seed oil, tea tree and clove leaf. Although the recommendation is to apply it over specific spots, I’ve buffered a drop or two with a healthy amount of the aforementioned Gotta Glow oil in problem areas and had fantastic results.

Another option is Fresh Formula, which is a vegan, cruelty-free skincare brand that does affordable targeted skincare sets, containing four products each and available for P999. You can, however, buy the products individually, especially one of the heroes in their Blemish Rescue range, called Doctor Clear Overnight Repair Cream (P399/15g). Just apply it on your spots before you get your beauty sleep, and it’ll dry out and flatten them overnight. (They’re also launching an essentials pack on Sept. 5, addressing “new normal” skin concerns and featuring low pH products, so keep your eyes peeled.)

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Fresh Formula can be purchased through their Lazada and Shopee stores. Hop on over to @fresh.formula on Instagram for more information.

Stay bushy and bright-eyed with TheBrowBizz Brow Bars.Photo courtesy of TheBrowBizz

Brow down, babes

Brows have always framed the face, and now that we’re narrowing the field of what’s visible with face shields and masks, a swift brushing through of the brows can only help. Started by a 19-year-old boss named Simon Clarence, TheBrowBizz makes high-quality, natural and cruelty-free brow soaps. Their BrowBar brow soap (P169/50g) is available in clear and tinted variants, and is infused with both pure carrier oils and vitamin E, to help brows grow stronger and longer over time. But more importantly, they’ve been tested to withstand a full day of activity, including working out and the cheeky little nap.

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TheBrowBizz is available through Shopee, and is on Instagram @thebrowbizz.

Choose your eye, lip, and cheek mood from a plethora of options offered by Colourette Cosmetics. Photo courtesy of Colourette Cosmetics

Up the color ante

With so much dark and dreary surrounding us lately, the curiosity toward color-forward makeup is definitely increasing, and I’m here to enable you. Sundays Beauty describes itself as “an ethically homegrown makeup brand of multi-functional colored cosmetics” that aims to make every day feel like you’re serving your Sunday best. The brand quells the appetite for both pastels and neons with their Meteor Liners (P349/5g), a water-activated cake eyeliner that’s budge-proof and smudge-proof. Just add a drop to the pot, mix it around with your brush, and get drawing. Pro tip: Maximize your playtime by mixing together some of the different shades on an empty palette, dish, or the back of your hand! Fancy yourself a cast member of Euphoria, or maybe you just want to try a little splash of something fun on your lash line, be it upper or lower.

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Pick up your liners at and check them out on Instagram at @hey.sundays.

Zap away pesky maskne with this powerful Blemish Be Gone Oil Spot Corrector from OIAM Natural Essentials. Photo courtesy of OIAM Natural Essentials

A fresh flush wins the day

I bang on about Colourette Cosmetics to anyone who will listen for absolutely good reason. They make really affordable, high-quality multi-use color products for eyes, lips and cheeks, as well as thrive in a community where consumers have a direct say in what they need and want in their products. Their flagship product, the Colourtints (P299/12ml), are oil-based, extremely pigmented, highly blendable, opaque, and long-wearing tints unlike any you’ve seen before, available in a range of 35 shades. Their Velvetints (P349/3.5ml) are a more whipped, mousse-like formula, which sets more like a powder matte. These two are perfect mask-proof lip options, as they have very minimal transfer, and perform like a liquid lipstick without sucking the life out of your pucker.

My personal favorite, however, and high on my list of all-time holy grail products, is their Coloursnaps (P299/8g). These are very pigmented balms, emollient but not tacky, and leave just the loveliest sheen on the face. The flush you get is the perfect picture of health; something we’re all chasing after in these times. The Coloursnaps are likely not the best for mask-wearing due to transfer, but they are perfect for all your video calls — professional, romantic, or infused with friends and a tipple.

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Colourette Cosmetics is sold on Lazada and Shopee, and can be found on Instagram at @colourette.cosmetics.

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