The Cult Beauty Brands We Wish We Had In Manila

Beauty products to hoard when we're abroad.

Manila is a great place for beauty addicts. Big-name beauty brands are nested in the heart of the city and websites ship skincare needs by the next day. Still, big beauty appetites just can’t be satiated.

This list is a love letter to the cult-status brands across the world that we just wish would come here so they can loot our wallets.

Kora Organics

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Claim to Fame: Former Victoria’s Secret model-turned-holistic wellness advocate Miranda Kerr began her skincare line the way any frustrated beauty lover with money to burn did: She couldn’t find the brand that catered to her niche interests. Now a full-blown skincare and lifestyle line, Kora supplies the crystal-obsessed, organic, and natural-only beauty lover with their complete skin needs.

Must Try: Noni Glow Face Oilit’s the lightest, most hydrating facial oil you’ll ever try.


Claim to Fame: SoKor’s answer to edgy makeup for everyone from beauty noobs to experts. Moonshot comes in an array of shades that come in easy-to-use packaging and format. And in lieu of the K-Pop idols usually fronting the brand, it has Sora Choi, a Louis Vuitton face, so the brand is also calling out to fashion girls out there.


Must-Try: Jelly Pot in Moon Revenge—an interesting mauve shade that's so, so pigmented.


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Claim to Fame: A revolutionary skincare brand that also established themselves outside the K-Beauty box. From its minimalist packaging to its philosophy rooted in nature, Huxley is definitely a skincare brand that works, and also can be related to by not just K-fanatics. “The true beauty,” as it claims, in a sea of complicated skincare regimens.

Must-Try: Its ultimate hydrating serum called Secret of Sahara Essence: Grab Water is beyond just the strange nameit will make your skin feel like it’s drinking water.

Pat McGrath Labs

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Claim to Fame: "Mother," as Pat McGrath is known in the beauty world, needs no introduction. Many personalities, makeup artists, and celebrities’ beauty lines may come and go, but McGrath’s is truly the holy grail. After all, she was pretty much the woman who invented the job of being a makeup artist in the editorial world.

Must-Try: Skin Fetish and Matte Trance. Both perfect representations of the McGrath school of beauty: fresh, hyperreal skin, with incredible and intense pops of color.

Drunk Elephant

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Claim to Fame: Simplicity seems to be key because this is what catapulted Drunk Elephant to cult status; having ultra-cute branding and packaging helped in a major way, too. We mean, why is this elephant drunk and how is it going to help our skin improve? In contrast to its pop-py packaging, the brand is all about keeping it natural, with fewer chemicals and fragrances and excluding what they tout the “Suspicious 6” from its formulations (Essential Oils, Drying Alcohols, Silicones, Chemical Screens, Fragrance/Dyes, and SLS).

Must-Try: TLC Sukari Babyfacial, because we’re suckers for resurfacers. This is a top-quality AHA/BHA chemical exfoliant that you use once weekly for ultra-smooth baby skin. 

The Ordinary

Claim to Fame: Clinical formulations at incredibly affordable price pointsit’s almost surreal. The Ordinary is who you go to for accessible skincare that works and looks attractive on your top shelf.

Must-Try: Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. Let this be your first foray into retinoid, if you’ve always been afraid to wade those uncharted (at least for you) waters.

About The Author
Belle Rodolfo
Contributing Writer
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