New In Our Beauty Closet: Hardworking, Multi-Use Beauty Essentials

Newfound beauty basics that allow us to pare down to the essentials: It does the job, does it well—and gives us more.
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Trends come and go, they say, but basics are forever. In beauty, what do we perhaps consider as “basics”? The staples we can’t live without? In this edition of the Beauty Closet, we focus on the less is more perspective, which, in beauty-speak equals ultra-hardworking skincare and makeup that double as skincare.

A quick look at the latest releases and the newly available beauty must-tries in the Philippines tells us exactly what we may be looking for: a paring back down to the essentials by way of more potent and multi-use products. 

Below, we’ve narrowed them down to what we think are true necessities: cleansers and toners, serums and moisturizers, sun protection (of course!), and base makeup. 


Farmacy Green Clean Cleanser + Makeup Remover Balm

As much as we love putting on a full face, taking it off at the end of the day feels like such a treat, too. An essential in this ritual is a cleansing balm that does the job splendidly: take off the most stubborn makeup (yes, including waterproof mascara, mineral sunscreen, and long-wearing makeup), and gently so, without leaving our skin feeling dry and tight. Case in point: Farmacy Green Clean cleanser. Its sorbet-like texture is a dream, and lathers subtly as we cleanse with it. 

Extra, extra: We love how despite using it to remove eye makeup, it doesn’t irritate or sting at all.

The hardworking ingredient: The cleansing balm has sunflower oil and ginger root oil, both known to nourish the skin and keep it hydrated while cleansing the skin of dirt and residue. 

Farmacy Green Clean Cleanser + Makeup Remover Balm

P1,800, Lazada

Thayers pH Balancing Daily Cleanser & Milky Hydrating Cleanser

Five or more years ago, when we mentioned toners, Thayers was one of the brands that first came to mind. Little did we know that the U.S. skincare brand (since 1847!) actually offers a complete skincare range—from cleansers to moisturizers—and it’s well as impressive as its toners. 

We’ve recently been introduced to Thayers pH Balancing Daily Cleanser, a low-foaming, non-drying, and fragrance-free facial wash that’s easily become a go-to for us. 

Extra, extra: The cleanser comes in another variant, the Thayers Milky Hydrating Cleanser, which can be used on days when we feel the need for extra hydration.

The hardworking ingredient: The Thayers pH Balancing Daily Cleanser has aloe vera to help calm the skin and glycerin to lock in moisture.

Thayers pH Balancing Daily Cleanser

P690, LOOK At Me

Thayers Milky Hydrating Cleanser

P750, LOOK At Me

Thayers Rose Petal Facial Toner & Milky Hydrating Alcohol-Free Facial Toner

As for toners, we’re glad that Thayers has become more accessible to shop here (available at LOOK) and offers a range of options. The Rose Petal variant helps maintain the skin’s pH balance, manages skin irritation, reduces the appearance of pores, and improves overall skin texture; while the Milky Hydrating one is meant to provide maximum hydration up to 48 hours—a good way to nourish the skin barrier.

Extra, extra: We love that Thayers toners are alcohol-free, which is important because alcohol can dry out the skin, damage the skin barrier, and even promote inflammation.

Thayers Rose Petal Facial Toner

P750, LOOK At Me

Thayers Milky Hydrating Alcohol-Free Facial Toner

P890, LOOK At Me


Elizabeth Arden Retinol + HPR Ceramide Rapid Skin Renewing Water Cream

We’re not leaving out the retinol, of course, and a new addition to our closet is the retinol cream from Elizabeth Arden. In sum: It’s a lightweight cream that can be used daily (although usage certainly varies from person to person) and a friendly choice for the retinol-averse… a.k.a. those who are a bit wary of trying out retinol. We love how our skin looks—and feels—after using this at night.

Extra, extra: It comes in a chic pink pump bottle that’s easy and hygienic to use! 

The hardworking ingredient: This cream incorporates HPR or high-performance retinol, a type of retinoid that delivers the same results, sans the (possible) side effects, such as skin irritation. It’s good to have for people with sensitive skin and is also what makes this cream good to use frequently. 

Retinol + HPR Ceramide Rapid Skin-Renewing Water Cream

P6,200, Rustan’s

Thayers Liquid Moisturizer

Another happy surprise from Thayers is its moisturizers. We’ve tried the Thayers Liquid Moisturizer which gives up to 80 hours of hydration and penetrates the skin up to five layers deep. To say this is super hardworking is an understatement! 

Extra, extra: We love how this makes our skin prepped and primed for makeup! 

The hardworking ingredient: Ever heard of snow mushrooms in skincare? To be honest, we were just as curious about it. Snow mushroom, perhaps becoming one of the rising stars in skincare, is a “natural hydrator” and promotes healthy skin as it calms irritation, improves firmness and elasticity, and gives a vibrance and glow.

Thayers Liquid Moisturizer

P1,000, LOOK At Me

Farmacy Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer

As its name suggests, “ultra-hydrating” it is! Putting this on at the end of the day feels like such a luxury, with its rich, buttery yet lightweight texture. It’s the moisturizer that does its job—and more, as it’s packed with a lot of skin-loving, clean ingredients. We’re happy this is now available to purchase here!

Extra, extra: We love its chic jar with its wooden cap that’s actually magnetic to help keep the metal spatula in place on top of it. Talk about thoughtful design!

The hardworking ingredient: The Honey Halo has potent, plant-based ceramides to help strengthen the skin barrier. It also has shea butter and vitamin E to lock in moisture, plus buckwheat honey with propolis and royal jelly blend, which are all known for its soothing and hydrating properties. 

Farmacy Honey Halo Ultra-Hydrating Ceramide Moisturizer

P3,600, Lazada

Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum

A favorite of many of us from Elizabeth Arden is its ceramide capsules! It’s such an innovative concept: single-use and sealed tight to keep it fresh with every use and ensure we get its maximum benefits. We’re glad to have tried the retinol line this time, taking our anti-aging skincare to the next level. 

Extra, extra: The capsules are biodegradable, as they can be dissolved in water in about 2 to 3 minutes!

The hardworking ingredient: Retinol and ceramides are such a powerful combination for anti-aging. While retinol helps increase cell turnover and collagen production as well as exfoliation for fresher skin, ceramides are moisture-boosting and great for the skin barrier.

Retinol Ceramide Capsules Line Erasing Night Serum

₱7,650, Rustan’s


Sola Daily Screen

Summer has long been over, yet brands have been coming up with impressive sunscreen options left and right—and for good reason: Rain or shine, SPF is essential. A new contender comes from F-beauty brand Sola, offering a lightweight sunscreen that likewise promotes skin hydration and improves the skin’s condition with every use. We love how it’s easy on the skin!

Extra, extra: It’s got SPF50+ and PA+++ which is a good measure of protection against UVA and UVB rays.

The hardworking ingredient: It has hyaluronic acid, which is key for moisture retention, plus niacinamide, which helps increase hydration, calm the skin, and, over time, lessen the appearance of dark spots and other signs of sun damage.

SOLA Daily Screen

P389, Lazada


From popular F-beauty brand GRWM comes—surprise!—a new sunscreen. But why is a makeup brand releasing a skincare product? The SPF BFF (a really catchy and apt name, if you ask us), in fact, is a sunscreen and moisturizing primer in one, which all the more makes it the perfect makeup BFF, if we may say so ourselves. We’ve road-tested this sunscreen, and so far, it does sit well under makeup! 

Extra, extra: We love the thought that goes behind its claims: It offers broad spectrum sun protection, is SPF- and UVA-tested, has a non-drying formula, is lightweight, leaves no white cast, is fragrance-free, and is hypoallergenic. 

The hardworking ingredients: SPF BFF has glycerin, niacinamide, adenosine, heartleaf extract, and panthenol—a great combination of moisture-boosters, skin soothers, and even the anti-aging agents in a sunscreen.

GRWM Cosmetics SPF BFF

₱599, Lazada


Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer

It’s silicone-free, which means our skin can breathe—aah—underneath makeup. We love how this primer feels lightweight, doesn’t leave any unsightly gunks, and overall does the job of smoothing the canvas that is our face and keeping our makeup in place. 

Extra, extra: The Pure Canvas Primer is available in five different variants according to skin type: a perfecting one for normal skin, a protecting primer for mature skin, a blurring one for textured and oily or combination skin, a hydrating variant for dry skin types, and an illuminating one for dull skin. We love having options!

The hardworking ingredient: The Pure Canvas Primer comes with a lot of extras—it also brightens with vitamin C, soothes the skin with aloe vera, and moisturizes via the green tea extract.

Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer

P2,900, lazada

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

It’s the secret to no-makeup makeup, they say. We love this tinted moisturizer that’s perfect to wear on off-duty days or an errand run. It’s lightweight, gives sheer coverage, and is comfortable to wear.

Extra, extra: This makes for added sun protection, with its broad spectrum SPF 30 UVB/UVA sunscreen. 

The hardworking ingredient: The Tinted Moisturizer has a hydrating complex that combines macadamia oil, which is great at repairing dry and cracked skin, contains healing properties, and smoothens the skin; and kukui seed oil, a good skin calmer that helps manage irritation and inflammation.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector

P1,155, Lazada

NARS Light Reflecting Foundation

A true winner in base skincare, we love how this is buildable, gives medium coverage and a natural finish, feels comfortable to wear all day long, and best of all, is infused with skin-loving ingredients. 

Extra, extra: Truly a hybrid foundation-slash-skincare, the Light Reflecting Foundation is also meant to improve and clarify the skin, as well as moisturize and strengthen the skin barrier over time.

The hardworking ingredient: What caught our eye on the ingredients list are the cacao peptides and milk thistle, which are meant to combat the effects of blue light rays on our skin, as well as protect it from other stressors. Is this the future of foundations?

NARS Light Reflecting Foundation

P2,950, Lazada

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

Yet another award-winning and TikTok-famous base product from NARS: its concealer. For us, we love how it gives us extra hours of sleep (visually!), is easy to apply and wear, doesn’t end up with creases, and lasts for hours. 

Extra, extra: It’s great for use also on areas other than the undereyes, and can be used to conceal or even highlight where necessary. 

The hardworking ingredients: This concealer makes use of a multi-active botanical blend, which includes magnolia bark extract, grape seed extract, and vitamin E—a combo that hydrates, calms, and firms the skin.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

P1,900, Lazada
Collage by Dannah Valdezco. Meadow, by Alfred Sisley by © The Everette Collection. Bathroom cabinet by © DanFLCreativo via

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