Now Entering Etude House: Discovering Korean Beauty…In The Philippines?!

Published on June 5, 2016 by   ·   2 Comments

So my head is still reeling from all of my amazing time working in Cebu City in the Philippines, but while I was there you know I had to scout out the international beauty situation!  Cosmetics are way better than souvenirs!

While I was there, I saw a range of cosmetics options; they have some of the big drugstore brands like Maybelline and Cover Girl (though these tend to be a bit more expensive than they would be buying them in the US) as well as lots of less expensive options that are sort of “house brand” or more generic offerings.  But while I was there I also discovered a fun and decidedly femme Korean beauty brand called Etude House.  I had never heard of it before, but one of the other training staff that was along on the trip was gushing about how much she loved it, and I was drawn in by the cute and girly packaging, so I decided to give them a try and see what I thought.

To get the full experience, I got a pretty wide range of products; it also helped that with your purchase they had some little sample size products that they gave away.  Since I made several trips I was able to get a few different items to try.  While I focused primarily on the makeup products, they do also have a line of skincare products and I tried a few of those as well.

Here is what I picked up:

000_0002 MAKEUP:
Dear My Blooming Lips-Talk in PK021
Bling Me Prism Color, Liquid Lipstick in a PK shade (couldn’t read the number off the label) and RD003
Dear My Wish Lips in RD301
Dear My Crystal Gloss
Play 101 Pencil in Red (I had thrown out the packaging and the number doesn’t appear on the pencil itself)
Look At My Eyes Shadows in BR409 and OR202
Lovely Cookie Blusher in Carrot Cheesecake
Dreaming Swan Eye & Cheek Color
Play 101 Stick in a Purple/Fuchsia

Bright Eyes Collagen Eye Patch
Wonder Pore Deep Foaming Cleanser & Freshner
One Shot Clean Mascara Remover

Let’s dive right in!

First of all, when I went to their website to do some research and pull info for this post, I found the site very hard to navigate.  I’m not sure how often they turn their inventory and what’s permanent vs. what’s a limited collection, but many of the items I had weren’t searchable on the website or were in the clearance section with limited colors shown (and this was only about 3 weeks after I was in the Etude House store).  The labels were also printed very small and with lots of info, and were hard to read.  The names are a little odd, as if they are poorly translated versions of the Korean names, but the packaging is super cute, very flirty and girly with lots of line drawings and cartoons.  They definitely have a very cute presentation!

But what about the products themselves?

Dear My Blooming Lips-Talk in PK021:
This color applies extremely sheer, so even though it was a little intimidating in the tube, the application was much less scary.  This would make a gorgeous layer over a matte lip paint to give it some shine and dimension.  Not as sheer as a gloss, obvi, but definitely not as pigmented as a typical lipstick.  I found that to be true of a lot of their formulas: they tend towards sheer with a glossy or glittery sort of look.  Not at all bad; this was my first piece that I bought and I was fairly impressed with it.

000_0005Bling Me Prism Color, Liquid Lipstick in a PK shade (couldn’t read the number off the label) and RD003:
These were billed as liquid lipsticks, but don’t get it twisted – they work much better as glosses!  The red had a fairly good pigmentation, but not the solid, opaque coverage I expect when something dares to announce itself as a lipstick!  The red would look amazing over Creeper from ColourPop (seriously – that’s a to die for combination!).  The pink shade was much more sheer than the red and this is where the prism came into play – it had a lovely gold holographic shimmer throughout.  In fact, unless you really packed it on, it looked much more gold than pink.  Overall, not terrible, but I wouldn’t stock up on them.

Dear My Wish Lips in RD301:
This red lipstick was my favorite of the lip products.  Nice pigmentation (a little sheer, but much better with a second coat), the same cute packaging, and the end had a sort of faceted gem shape that I thought was more unique than the typical lipstick point.  The Wish Lips were definitely a better choice than the Blooming-Lips Talk (seriously, what the hell is up with these product names?!); my only small complaint is that this blue-toned red almost went pink on my lips.  Those really cool reds can be tough since they walk the line between what’s still red and what becomes a very dark fuchsia.  I’m still not entirely sure which side of the line this lipstick ended up on!

Dear My Crystal Gloss:
I didn’t expect much out of this since it’s a pretty basic clear gloss with silvery glitter in it, but it does what it needs to.  This gloss is fabulous if you want a light sheen of glitter over a lipstick or lip paint, but the glitter isn’t nearly as dense as it appears in the tube.  It was alright, but this idea has been done before (and better).

Play 101 Pencil in Red (I had thrown out the packaging and the number doesn’t appear on the pencil itself):
What the actual fuck?!  The packaging for this pencil was red.  Cherry red.  Open it up?  The base of the pencil still looks mostly red, but a bit lighter.  Open up the product and apply it?  Coral.  Almost orange.  This one was the biggest disappointment, though I did have this problem with some of their packaging.  Not everything in the store was clearly marked, and when I was trying to buy the red Wish lipstick, I accidentally picked up a pink one with a PK shade number.  If I hadn’t looked closely at the shade number I would have gone home with the wrong damn lipstick, because that box was red.  So red boxes have coral/orange items sometimes and hot pink items at other times.  Has the world gone mad?!

000_0008Look At My Eyes Shadows in BR409 and OR202:
These were a definite win for me!  The color is super vibrant and pigmented and they blend really well.  The colors I got were a bright orange/coral and more of an antique gold/brown, so not the best combo, but I slapped them on my eye to see if they would blend together and they were amazing!  The packaging is a clear plastic and doesn’t seem very heavy-duty, so that’s really the one drawback.  If you are tough on makeup, you might break the hinge fairly easily.  Otherwise I thought these were fantastic and I would definitely think about picking up more of their shadows.

Lovely Cookie Blusher in Carrot Cheesecake:
I don’t know why I was so into orange makeup while I was in the Philippines, but this caught my eye and I absolutely had to have it!  This was also one of the few products that had an actual color name instead of just a combo of letters and numbers indicating red, pink, etc.  This is a nice light blush – it’s not super vibrant and I think it works best either as part of a layering situation, or if you’re going to use it alone I would suggest you use it with sort of a simple, bare-faced look to give a very subtle color.  I love the color, it’s just not great as a standalone product if you want a strong color presence.  I used it on my cheek just above Orgasm by NARS as an extra highlight and it was perfection!

000_0012Dreaming Swan Eye & Cheek Color:
I’ve said before that I mistrust products that claim to be for more than one use, and I have to say that this product, which claims to be for eyes or cheeks, wasn’t pigmented enough to be really useful for either!  That was a bummer.  The packaging was also sort of strange: it was a tin screw top container maybe 2/3 of an inch thick, but the product was just a shallow pan in the bottom.  The rest of the room was taken up by a super cute, fluffy powder puff.  The puff was gorgeously detailed, but it just felt like an overall very awkward presentation.  The product doesn’t have much pigmentation, so I ended up using it once or twice for color correcting (lavender is good if you want to improve skin’s brightness) but eventually I passed it along to my niece to see if she could wring some fabulousness out of it.

Play 101 Stick in a Purple/Fuchsia:
So apparently I was on the hunt for odd colors!  In addition to all of the orange-creamsicle-colored products I was drawn to, I also picked up this large stick product that is sort of a mixture of like a beet (you know, the vegetable!) and 80s fuchsia.  I actually sort of like it – the makeup is very pigmented and it blends gorgeously.  I used this in conjunction with my theatrical foundations and Tyra Beauty Sculpt in a Stick and everything played well together.  The color isn’t super versatile, but that’s my fault for selecting it!  This one is pretty solid, so I’d recommend looking at the Play 101 Sticks if you are checking out this brand.

Overall the makeup from Etude House is fun and girly, but it’s definitely not something for people who want more dramatic looks.  Its pigmentation level is generally pretty low and works better for more subtle, natural kinds of looks.  If you put on their products expecting pigment like Urban Decay or MUFE, you’ll definitely be disappointed.  They put a lot of effort into their packaging and the details are super cute, and this would be a good “starter” line for people first learning about makeup (newbies sometimes tend to be a little heavy-handed!) but I don’t know that I’ll be rushing back anytime soon.  Especially since the website is so hard to navigate.  Also, beware of the colors presented vs. how they actually look!  When shopping for shades, look at the shade names: PK shades are pinks, RD are reds, etc..  It may look like one in the preview or on the packaging and end up being the other!  This brand is best shopped in person so you can look at the product and see if it matches your expectations.

Now on to the skincare!

Etude House 02Bright Eyes Collagen Eye Patch:
This was bar none my favorite thing that I got from Etude House!  These are pretty simple – they are little gel pads soaked with a collagen solution that you take out of the foil package and pop them on under your eyes.  They can be a little tricky to get them to stick (or maybe that’s just me – I have trouble with these every time!), but after only about 20 minutes I felt like my undereye area was firmed up and the dark circles I’m constantly cursed with (because of my sinful nature, I’m sure!) were diminished.  These pads are popping up all over, and these are a great option to consider for a little simple pampering.

Wonder Pore Deep Foaming Cleanser & Freshner :
I really wanted to love these…seriously.  I love finding new cleansers and toners that I can rotate into my routine.  But these were not a good experience.  The cleanser felt very thick on my face and there were little microbeads – aren’t those things illegal?  I thought they were indestructible and go down the drain and into the ocean and kill wildlife or some shit like that.  Either way, microbeads are not something I want to feel scraping across my face (I believe in exfoliation on a regular basis, but prefer natural ingredients for this!), especially when it’s in a cleanser that feels too thick and gloopy.  The toner was fine, except that I’m not sure it actually did anything.  I used it at the end of a long day and there was no tingle, no fresh feeling, nothing – and then I looked at the cotton pad and it was as white as when I started.  That, my friends, is impossible.  I’m a sweaty, oily beast and for me to use a toner and have no residue on the cotton pad – well, something just ain’t right there.

One Shot Clean Mascara Remover:
This one was a free sample that I got with purchase, and it was another surprise winner.  It’s a pretty typical two-part eye makeup remover that separates naturally; you shake it up until it’s mixed up and milky looking, and then give it a go.  I wanted to put it to the test, so I put on three coats of the new Too Faced Waterproof Better Than Sex Mascara.  My lashes were coated, like for real, and this stuff came in and wiped it off like it wasn’t no thang.  Seriously, it came off with just a couple of swipes of the cotton.  That’s pretty impressive, so if you love to use intense mascaras, especially the type that are waterproof and need a good oil-based remover, this is one to consider.

Etude 01

Overall, I can’t say that I was blown away by Etude House, but it was nice to discover something completely new in a new and exciting place.  I feel like Sephora has been playing it far too safe, sticking with big name luxury brands and not doing as much to introduce beauty fiends like me to small, interesting brands.  As I stated before, I think this would be a good “starter” brand for a younger person, or someone who wants to learn about makeup and want products they can experiment with and not have to worry about overapplication.  Also, if you like subtle, girly, glowy looks this is a great option for you as everything is super cute, very pink and femme.  There are some really great products available in the line, but I think it’s best to try them out in person as the color that shows up on the skin might be very different from what you see in the pictures, on the packaging, etc.  But since K-beauty is a huge trend right now, you could definitely do worse than starting your adventure with Etude House.  Just avoid that toner.  Clean cotton is a sign of the devil – I don’t trust that shit as far as I could throw it!

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!

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Readers Comments (2)
  1. Jessica Tinkler says:

    So I found some Amazing makeup in Manilla too! My fave line i tried was Sno the blush and lipstick stayed on even through the heat and humidity. I do not recommend the foundation however i used it for a few months and didnt realize there was whitening cream in it. I was unintentionally whitening my face.

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