The Shopping Challenge: A 1,000-peso budget FOTD from BeautyMNL

At this point, any Philippine-based kikay lover worth her salt is likely familiar with the beauty haven that is BeautyMNL. While there are no shortage of online sellers and web-based shops to browse from, this particular store is well-loved for its formidable array of authentic luxury, mid-range, and drugstore goods plus beauty services, all in one place! They constantly offer GWPs, promos, and sales, too. They make it easy to score a good beauty deal so to test this theory, I challenged myself to shop for a full face of makeup with just P1,000 as my budget. Here's what I scored!

Knowing that base makeup is usually the “investment piece” in the stash, I started building my haul by looking at the cheaper options that could provide a decent level of coverage. Enter the one-shade-fits-all Mistine BB Gold Wonder Cream (P249) and my old fave, the Maybelline ClearSmooth To Go Powder Foundation (P119) in Nude Beige.

The BB cream is so adorably compact in a kikay kit-friendly 15ml tube. It gives me medium coverage, satisfactorily lessening the appearance of redness and covering up hyperpigmentation in two passes. You don’t get a shade selection but I found that the undertones of the pinkish beige shade wasn’t intense enough to clash with my NC15 skin, and it could be corrected with a layer of the powder foundie. Of course, if you are darker, this Korean base will likely not work for you.

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Meanwhile, I’ve purchased and repurchased the Maybelline ClearSmooth All in One Two-Way Cake refills, so I already knew that this works for me. Unlike the refill I usually buy, the case actually has a mirror inside. The included thin disc of a sponge is okay to use for on-the-go touch ups but is too small and awkward to allow for proper makeup application. Topping the BB with this powder, I get four hours of wear before a retouch is necessary.

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Definitely, the most fun for me to shop for was the eye makeup, as the selection allowed me to mix and match to my heart’s content! The Dearberry Miss Monalisa Eyebrow Pencil with Brush (P131) in Choco Brown offered impressive results. The oval-shaped, dual-ended twist-up pen already has a built-in spoolie brush. While I had to settle for the lighter, reddish-toned Choco Brown as the darker shade, Coffee Brown, was no longer available, I immediately fell in love with the quality of the brow pencil. It’s firm and non-smudgy, but is fairly pigmented. Plus points for neatness as the thin oval shape of the product makes it easy to outline and fill in brows.

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For day-to-night eyes, I went for the Suesh Choose Your Own Palette Eyeshadow Pots (P90 each) in E87 and E66. The former is a bronzy rose gold, while the latter is a smoky bronze. Both are metallic, highly pigmented, and blendable. I did notice a slight grittiness/dryness to the formula on both shadows, but the level of pigmentation more than makes up for it. Longevity without primer is at 3 hours before fully creasing.

To get additional definition, I threw in the Imagic Beauty Pencil Eyeliner (P95) in Smolder and the Lioele Bubi Bubi Mascara (P155) in Pinky Brown into the mix. Though the eyeliner initially felt slightly smudgy when swatched, I was sad to find that it didn’t register very well over the eyeshadows. I had to keep swatching on the back of my hand to warm it up before it could properly show up on my lids. Not sure if it’s just having a hard time working with the texture of the Suesh eyeshadows but it is a cause for delay all the same. The Lioele mascara offers a natural level of volume and length without smudging all day, though it is not able to hold a curl very well. Pinky Brown is a color that tends to fade into the background, especially amidst brown eye makeup, so I recommend sticking to black mascara for more impact.

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For the lips and cheeks, I simplified and stayed within the budget by grabbing the Skin Genie Lip and Cheek Stain Alive! (P80) in Tramp. This was probably my least favorite in the lot because it applies patchily, hardly clings to the upper lip, and tends to stain only the inner areas of my mouth. I ended up applying the tiniest amount of lip balm only on those inner areas to help prevent uneven absorption. Two layers on the lips is just enough to show a soft pop of color without looking patchy or overdone. On the cheeks, the stain tends to sit on top of the skin, so I had to pat patiently to get some of that flush on me. The shade I got is a medium red that looks to be generally flattering on various skin tones.

From left: Mistine BB Cream, Maybelline Powder Foundation, Suesh E87 and E66, and Skin Genie Lip and Cheek Stain

From left: Mistine BB Cream, Maybelline Powder Foundation, Suesh E87 and E66, and Skin Genie Lip and Cheek Stain

My total was P1,009 - a tad over-budget but not bad, especially looking at the mix of Korean and local skincare brands. Have you shopped at BeautyMNL before? What would your picks be if you took on the P1,000 challenge? Share your best, affordable finds in the comments!