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The world’s best beauty brands–from luxury to affordable–under one roof

/ 07:20 AM December 08, 2017


No longer just a shoe and fashion store, SM has a beauty section that has found leverage in having both enduring and emerging brands.

It is not only the preferred partner of classic brands such as Estée Lauder and The Body Shop; it also recognizes that
Korea is a hotbed for skincare and makeup.


Hosting over 300 brands, SM Beauty at the SM Makati store is the largest beauty section in the country at 2,500 sq m.

“Still, each brand would have its multiple lines, sub-brands, stock-keeping units,” says SM Beauty group marketing manager Sharon Decapia.


SM Beauty provides an exciting in-store experience. All over the carefully planned store, stations facilitate hands-on access to products. Customers can flit from one brand to another.

Aside from boutiques within the beauty section, the space allows for such services as haircoloring by L’Oréal, skin analysis by Pond’s and facials by Shiseido. Trained by L’Oréal, colorists provide free application for every purchased hair color.

“Women make up our main market because they are the purchase decision makers. They buy for the whole family,” Decapia says.

Consumer research shows that beauty customers, particularly millennials, are more adventurous and are not particularly loyal to a certain brand, unlike the older market that will stick to Lauder, Shiseido, Clinique and Kiehl’s.

Free hair color application at L’Oreal

Pursuit of beauty

At the Lauder section, Korean and Chinese shoppers easily snap up a skincare set worth over P20,000.

Its latest fragrance line, Aerin, the eponymous brand of the Lauder scion, espouses layering of fragrances. The sales associate massages the hand with lotion of the same scent.


Natural skincare brand Burt’s Bees has rolled out its full line, which includes serums and cosmetics. Even prestige brands like Benefit, Bobbi Brown and Avalon Organics have crowned SM Beauty with their halo of luxury. Likewise, the Dior shop-within-the-shop is the country’s biggest.

Celebrity cosmetics

The midrange brands— L’Oréal, Revlon—are still go-tos for makeup artists.

The celebrity cosmetics have also captured the imagination of shoppers. Decapia recalls that when Vice Ganda launched his P299 lipsticks at SM Beauty in Megamall, the store had to replenish the stock twice on opening day.

Anne Curtis’ two-month-old Uncomplicated Beauty BLK makeup essentials are doing brisk sales with a price range of P299 to P499.

SM Beauty is up-to-date with niche brands. Decapia cites exclusive brands from Europe such as Italian line Deborah, luxury brand, Catrice and Pixi, developed by Swedish makeup artist Petra Strand.

Among Korean brands, Club Clio is famous for its honeycomb compact brand Peripera specializes in girly packaging and trendy colors, while skincare brand Goodal emphasizes natural properties. Tony Moly is patronized for unusual ingredients such as banana for a hand cream and mango for sunblock.


Topping the bestseller list is the coconut oil-infused Animal Otter Aqua Mask, which balances both dehydrated and oily skin. TonyMoly’s Master Lab masks are made for better absorption.

Taiwan’s topseller is environmentally conscious Naruko, made of plant extracts. American brand Glamglow also has its followers.

There are masks from Japan’s Dr. Morita, while Bioderma’s Micellar Water is the most salable for gentle makeup removal.

Animal masks are hot in parties.

Wiped out

Among the fragrances, Bulgari, CK and Dolce & Gabbana are the top sellers. Bulgari Roman Night, which fetches P6,710, is often reserved and wiped out after every repleniishment. Some customers buy several bottles.

There’s room for other designer labels such as Valentino, Givenchy, Jean Patou, Gucci, Marc Jacobs and Cartier.

At the opposite side of the fragrance spectrum, there’s a huge market for body splashes, sprays and mists. The best sellers are Victoria’s Secret and Body Fantasies, the latter exclusive to the store.

SM Beauty also encompasses the men’s zone, shelves for personal and hair care and styling accessories.

Philips, Vidal Sassoon and JML are staples for blowdry and curling. Watson’s has its line of hairstyling gadgets that can dry hair while simultaneously styling or curling it.

No time for a hair treatment at the salon? “Skip the hair spa and get a thermal hair wrap,” Decapia says.

The biggest come-on for the season is the holiday gift set with promotional offerings. Three packages of a hand wash and free colored pencils are tagged at P279. A set of pink chamomile lotion, scrub and hand cream or a Dahlia Supreme package of shower gel, lotion and face towel costs P149 each while three sets can be had for P399. Socialites are often seen buying cartloads of these gift sets.

Aside from the shopping experience, SM Prestige Card has an incentive valid this month. Shoppers using this special card will be entitled to an e-raffle. Fifty winners will be given 20,000 shopping points.

The beauty market in the Philippines is growing with the economy. SM Beauty’s shoppers—from boomers to Gen X-ers, millennials to foreigners—are connected to beauty.–CONTRIBUTED

Makeup artists’ picks from SM Beauty

Jigs Mayuga loves Watsons wet wipes.

Jigs Mayuga

1) L’Oréal Infallible Pro Matte Foundation. It’s comparable to a lot of high-end foundations, affordable and long-lasting.
2) K-Palette Lasting Brow Tattoo Duo. The felt tip defines brows and then sets them with the powder on the other end. I like No. 4 in gray brown.
3) Sensational Mascara from Maybelline.
4) Happy Skin matte lipsticks. Aside from being a Filipino brand, the matte lipsticks aren’t as drying.
5) For weddings and special events, I use MAC Pro long-wearing foundation. Great for oily skin, it resists humidity, sweat and oil.
6) For mature skins, I would use cream-based products rather than a lot of powder. Revlon and Estée Lauder have good age-defying products. I concentrate on applying a lot of creams first before the foundation. I don’t use a lot of powder, because the powder has a tendency to settle into the lines.
7) Essentials for the makeup kit: Watsons wet wipes, tissue paper, cotton buds and cotton balls. I like body washes, and they make good giveaways.

Denise Go Ochoa

Denise Go Ochoa
1) Happy Skin. It’s gentle and kind on the skin. I haven’t heard anyone getting any allergies from it. It’s really suited for Filipinos. The powder foundation feels like a Japanese brand and it lasts for a long time. You can use a damp sponge and it stays the whole day. The Suede Splash lipstick, a cross between peach, pink and brown, looks natural and lasts long despite being moist.
2) Burt’s Bees. I recommend it for sensitive skin and for those who are into organic products. I like the Day Cream with Royal Jelly and Blush Basin, a rosy-nude lipstick with moisturizing properties. The BB cream gives a natural coverage while treating blemishes. It doesn’t make you look pale unlike other brands. Sometimes I use the lip balms to make the skin look dewy.
3) Maybelline mascaras.
4) Cathy Doll 4D Tattoo Tint (P399) has four tips to create the perfect brows.
5) L’Oréal’s True Match foundation adapts to the wearer and feels velvety on the skin.
6) K Palette. I can’t rely on just one product to get full brows. This Korean brand is the first to come out with three-way pens and lasts for 24 hours. The creamy pencil formula comes in a twist design to fill in the hairs with matching powder to set it. A spoolie grooms the brows.
7) Pixi Lower Lash Mascara. It’s rare to find a mascara for the lower lashes that is nonsmudge. I use it to go into the roots, which big mascaras can’t do.
8) Pixi Makeup + It’s Judy Me. This limited edition makeup palette is a collaboration with a lifestyle tastemaker. The colors are suited for the Filipino woman’s skintone.

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