By Zsarlene B. Chua
AT THE tail end of 2018, Korean skincare cult favorite Dear, Klairs, officially launched in the Philippines with the presence of its brick-and-mortar shelves in select Watsons and BeautyBar stores in the country.
“It was maybe in 2016 when we noticed that we’ve been getting really good traffic [online] from the Philippines… and when we entered BeautyMNL we saw good results and that’s when we decided to launch our products offline,” Ryan Soungho Park, CEO of Wishcompany, Inc., told BusinessWorld in an interview in December at SM Makati.
Wishcompany is a beauty company whose brands include Dear, Klairs, Jungle Botanics, and By Wishtrend.
Launched in 2010, Dear, Klairs is a brand focused on “developing functional products even sensitive skin types can use,” said a statement.
Mr. Park said that while the entire Dear, Klairs catalog won’t be available in the Philippines, the favorites will be found on the shelves for purchase and that includes the Supple Preparation Facial Toner, Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop, Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil and its sheet masks — Rich Moist Soothing Tencel Mask and Midnight Blue Calming Sheet Mask.
“The Philippines is known for loving all things skincare and makeup, most especially K-Beauty,” Mr. Park said before adding that this is the reason why they decided to come into the Philippines.
“We’re very optimistic with the Philippines, it’s a good time to invest more and meet our customers in person,” he added.
Dear, Klairs will have shelves in over 100 Watsons stores and 19 Beauty Bar stores but the focus for 2019 isn’t about growing their footprint, said Mr. Park as the company will focus on the “quality of the stores” and its selection more than the number.
After the launch in December, this writer was given three products to try from the Dear, Klairs best-sellers line: the Supple Preparation Facial Toner (P1,150 for 180 ml), the Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop (P1,200 for 35 ml), and the Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil (P1,200 for 150 ml).
I admit that I have not had the best experience with Korean skin care because I noticed that the things that I have tried — including the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask (P1,540 for 70ml) — gave me break outs or were unsuitable for my dry (and sometimes sensitive) skin, but I’d also heard a lot of good things from Dear, Klairs so I was excited to try the products out.
And the Dear, Klairs fans are not wrong — the products I tried for more than two weeks now gave me some of my best skin days in recent years, especially the toner which will probably replace my go-tos: Kiehl’s Calendula Extract Alcohol-Free Toner (P1,520 for 200 ml) and Human Heart Nature’s Hydrating Face Toner (P185 for 200 ml).
The Supple Preparation Facial toner is said to have ingredients like Lipidure and Beta-Glucan which are claimed to provide “deep hydration and help prepare the skin absorb the following products better and boost their effectiveness,” according to the bottle.
I use this right after I do my double cleanse — first with an oil-based cleanser (like the Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil) and a cleansing foam — and what I particularly love about this toner is how it really sinks into my skin and leaves it plump and hydrated. It has a thick, almost-but-not-quite gel texture so instead of using a cotton pad, I pour a few drops on my hands and pat the toner on my face.
It also has does not have a strong fragrance and smells a bit like baby powder, which is a plus.
Now, about the cleanser which contains “antioxidant-rich” black sesame oil and blackcurrant seed oil — I do like it but I do have some reservations: because while it does remove makeup and does not dry out the skin, the consistency is thicker than what I’m used to and, in my opinion, does not emulsify well when in contact with water.
I still prefer using my Biore Cleansing Oil (P349 for 150ml) because it disintegrates when in contact with water and doesn’t leave a still-oily surface (and it’s cheaper) though I have been using the Dear, Klairs cleansing oil on days when I think I need a deeper clean.
Finally, the Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. For much of 2018, I was on the hunt for a good Vitamin C serum to brighten my face because while I have usually clear skin, the dryness leads to dullness which isn’t a good look.
This year, I tried Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate (P3,675 for 50ml) because it contains 12.5% Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid (a humectant or moisture-binding ingredient that keeps the skin plump and hydrated) and those two things are what I need right? Wrong, because for some reason, the product gave me break outs so I decided to give it to my mother as I was not about to waste it because it did cost me a lot of money.
My mother loves it, by the way.
I also tried the Lauren & Co. Beauty Skin Vitamins Antioxidant serum with SPF 70 (P599 for 30 ml) which contains Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and other botanicals. I love it because it has SPF and has the nutrients I need for my face. My only gripe about this is that it doesn’t hydrate my skin — which probably makes this perfect for those with normal to oily skin. I still use it at daytime though because of the SPF and Vitamin E.
And then I arrived at the Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop. I would admit that at first I was skeptical because most Vitamin C serums are encased in a dark glass bottles because Vitamin C does not react well in sunlight but Dear, Klairs’ serum was encased in a clear glass bottle — the press release said that the “non-irritating solution puts up a good fight against yellowing” because Vitamin C serums turn yellow when exposed to sunlight and this greatly reduces its efficacy.
So I tried the Vitamin Drop and initially, as the packaging suggested, I used it in combination with my night cream — I put one to two drops in my night cream before I applying it on my face as the packaging suggests this method for those with sensitive skin.
It did feel warm for a few seconds — like all Vitamin C serums — and after a few days I saw better skin texture and my skin brightened up a bit.
After a week, I decided to bite the bullet and apply it directly to my face with the fervent hope that it wouldn’t give me break outs. It didn’t and it actually brightened my skin.
I do use it only at night because I realized that using this in tandem with the Lauren & Co. serum makes me greasy.