We are proud to present the first-ever BeautyMNL Awards: a five-part event that celebrates this fabulous year in beauty. After comprehensive discussion—and a whole lot of road-testing—the girls at the BeautyMNL office have listed the Best Products of 2016.
In the fourth installment of The BeautyMNL Awards, we’re serving you the crème de la crème of the continent. Asia has long established itself as a beauty mecca—but the forest-fire pace at which the industry has grown proves its power on a global scale.

Now, let us tell you: it was so, so difficult having to whittle this list down to a reasonable length. There were cult favorites from Japan to consider; exciting new discoveries from Taiwan and Thailand; and don’t even get us started on the relentless wave from South Korea. So without further ado, here are the Best Asian Beauty Products of 2016, spanning makeup, skincare, and more. We promise, THEY’RE THE BEST.

Banila Co. White Wedding Dream Cream, P1,345
“This is THE perfect solution for days when I wake up looking blah (A.K.A. fifty shades of gray). It instantly brightens my complexion without looking unnatural and acts as a great base for makeup. The glowing effect will last throughout the day.” – Ina G.

Rire Lip Manicure High Fix, on sale at P464 (limited time only)
“Prior to this product, my matte lipstick collection was dominated by Western formulas. I didn’t think this liquid lipstick could be quite as matte as I needed it to be, since South Korean lippies tend to be on the glossy side. Oh, how wrong I was! The Rire Lip Manicure is ultra-creamy and opaque, and the finish is like suede. It’s such a premium, cushiony matte! I have this in Pink Brown (a nudish-mauve), Muse Red (a bright ruby), and Wine Burgundy (a dark red). They’re all gorgeous.” – Steph C.

COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patch, P170
“You can’t make a Best List without mentioning the COSRX pimple patches. They are the gentlest and most effective acne treatment anyone can get their hands on. Super affordable, too, so it’s literally a small price to pay for great results!” – Carli D.

“Now that I’m dealing with the dreaded Acne Vulgaris, I’ve been iffier than ever about putting anything on my face. After reading all the hard-to-believe positive feedback on these patches, I finally caved in. Guess what? I’ve been converted to a firm believer! It’s always difficult to find products that actually work on acne-prone skin, but this one’s a real game-changer. Each patch will lift the gunk found in active pimples, suck it all out, and then flatten and shrink the mound overnight without any stinging sensation. Absolutely love this!” – Annicca A.

Shu Uemura Porefinist Fresh Cleansing Oil, P1,300
“I used to be that girl who was too lazy to remove her makeup at the end of day. That changed when I discovered the magic of the No. 1 cleansing oil in the world. This powerful yet gentle formula melts away all my face paint—and it never tugs, so I don’t have to worry about premature wrinkles. It just feels like liquid gold on my skin, and it turns my makeup removal process into such a pamper-fest. I really enjoy massaging my face with this while basking in its luxurious fragrance.” – Erika G.

Holika Holika Audrey Jeanne Dodo Cat Glow Cushion, P1,295
“Will you look at how cute that packaging is? Aesthetics aside, the best thing about this cushion is what’s inside it—a radiance-boosting BB cream that suits my combination skin type. Most BB creams leave me greasy but this one seems to be an exception. For its glowy finish that stays all day, I’m giving it an A+!” – Dani C.

Karadium Skinny Brow Pencil, P295
“This triangular-tip pencil makes it incredibly easy to trace and fill in my brows. The thin body gives me full control whenever I’m applying the color.” - Mara J.

DewyTree Ultra Vitalizing Snail Cream, P1,199
“This is the only Asian product I use that isn’t Filipino-made. It works so well with my skin type, especially when it comes to eliminating crow’s feet!” – Christine S.

“I will go for anything snail-related by any Korean brand—but this one is really special! It’s a foolproof solution for improving my skin texture. An absolute must-have for the true tita!” – Sheena A.

Son & Park Beauty Water, on sale at P1,850 (limited time only)
“This magical water cleanses, resets, and invigorates my skin! Every time I use it, I have to sternly remind myself that I can’t actually drink the water—it’s just so refreshing and nice! The packaging is to-die-for as well.” – Dom R.

Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser, P408
“Thanks to this foam cleanser, starting my skincare routine in the evenings has never felt so therapeutic. I love how it gets rid of my makeup without stripping my skin of all moisture. This tube has lasted me over a year since I only need a small dollop to create a rich and creamy lather. I’m definitely repurchasing the moment I run out!” – Rimina P.

It’s Skin Power 10 Formula VC Effector and Power 10 Formula PO Effector, P779 each
“A friend recommended the VC Effector to me when I was going through a ‘dark spot era’ due to pimple scars. In just two months, I was able to see results! My skin tone was noticeably more even, and even when I had a breakout, as long as I treated it with the VC Effector, it wouldn’t leave a mark. Following this, I decided to try out another It’s Skin Effector because of how good my experience was with the first. I tried the PO Effector to diminish the appearance of my pores, and I really noticed a difference even after just a few weeks! It made the formerly ‘porous’ area around my nose and cheeks super smooth.” – Ruod A.

Tony Moly Delight Tony Tint, on sale at P178 (limited time only)
“I’ve never been a fan of tints since they tend to be hard to blend, but this one changed my mind. After doing my base makeup, I apply three dots on each cheek and tap-tap-tap with my fingers to blend. It’s so easy to use! Even though it’s extremely pigmented, the color melts softly into my skin. It’s never patchy and it really gives me that flushed-from-within look. The tint works beautifully for solid lip colors but is also nice for creating a Korean gradient lip. I just dab it along the seam of my lips and press them together! Besides my brow pencil, this is the one makeup product I need to carry in my purse at ALL times.” – Kim V.

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA+++, P420
“I wish this sunscreen came in buckets. The formula is lightweight, quick-drying, and doesn’t leave any white cast on my face. Quite the opposite to any other sunscreen I’ve used in the past, it makes my skin feel smooth after application (not sticky). I couldn’t keep my hands off my face when I applied this for the very first time. I’m perpetually in awe of how amazing it feels!” – Athena A.

“My search for the best sunscreen for Philippine weather ended with this. It’s everything you wished a sunscreen would be. So non-greasy, so fast-absorbing—it’s like you’re wearing nothing on your face at all.” – Dinah M.

Banila Co. Clean It Zero Classic, P875
“I swear by this product. It dissolves any kind of makeup, no matter how long-lasting. This cleansing balm is the only makeup remover I own that effectively wipes out 100% of my mascara and eyeliner. Now I no longer get asked, ‘Bakit parang may makeup ka?’ the morning after wearing waterproof formulas.” – Frankie C.

April Skin Magic Snow Cushion, P1,499
“I got this as my first ever cushion and I’m never going back to regular liquid foundations again! This is the most convenient option for people like me, who are very low-maintenance when it comes to makeup. It only takes a few pats to cover my whole face. The product blends quickly into my natural skin tone. The coverage isn’t too heavy, but it still conceals any redness and dark spots. While it does have a mattifying finish, it doesn’t look flat. I love the puff—it makes it so easy to apply the product around the eyes! Worth the investment!” – Kim V.

My Scheming Miss Silk 7-in-1 Brightening Essence Mask, P95
“I’ve tried several My Scheming masks and I have never been disappointed. I have to give a special shout-out to the 7-in-1 Brightening Mask because I saw instant results after use. It’s like the mask breathed life back into my dull, tired skin. Every My Scheming mask is soaked with essence, and when I remove the mask from its pouch, there’s still enough liquid left to cover my neck and chest! Love the perfect fit, too.” – Kat D.

Clio Waterproof Pen Liner, P850
“I’ve used other ‘waterproof’ eyeliners before, only to end the night with my liner long gone. But this one? This one actually lasts—and I sweat a lot, which should say a lot about this product.” – Ysa S.

Shu Uemura Blanc: Chroma Gentle Cleansing Oil, P1,700
“This has become such a staple in my daily makeup removal. It’s SO effective at getting rid of waterproof mascara—which to me is the ultimate test for makeup removers. It’s just so satisfying to see my makeup effortlessly whisked away with just this and water. I also can’t get enough of this cleansing oil because it has a sort of pigment-correcting formula. It really gives me this nice glow the longer I use it—nothing dramatic, just healthy, fresh-looking skin.” – Joanna T.

Bioré UV Face Milk SPF 50+ PA+++, P380
“Since trying this product, I’ve ditched all other sunscreens in my stash. The milky formula absorbs really quickly and has a lovely matte finish that I find to be a perfect canvas for makeup. I’ve lost track of how many friends I’ve recommended this to already. They’re all as amazed as I am!” – Patty G.

Innisfree No Sebum Mineral Pact, P778
“This really mattes out all my oily spots, but it never looks cakey or feels thick! I use a kabuki brush to apply it so that I can spread over my skin in an even layer. The result is a fresh face for hours and hours!” – Athena A.

COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, P600
“I like facial washes that foam up, but the downside is that these kinds of cleansers strip my skin of the good oils. Thank God I found my HG cleanser! This bubbles up just a bit and doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight or stretched. That’s how I know it’s maintaining my moisture levels. Another good thing is that the cleanser has a low pH formula, which balances the acidity in my oily skin and preps it for the succeeding steps of my skincare routine. Definitely something I stock up on!” – Sophie S.

Mythe Nail Polish Remover, on sale at P500 (limited time only)
“This nail polish remover has got to be one of the niftiest products I’ve ever used. Each ‘jar’ has a sponge inside it, and that sponge is soaked with a powerful solution. I just twist my finger into the sponge a few times, and it comes out polish-free! I even use this on my toes when I want to get rid of a chipped pedicure (of course, I never share the jar with anyone else!). I have both the Peach and Jasmine variants—they smell so much better than regular solvents.” – Steph C.