My friend T. was in South Korea for a holiday a few weeks back. Because he was nice, he offered to pick up some make-up for me. Of course I took him up on his offer, and immediately sent him a shopping list via e-mail.
I love Korean make-up. They’re really good and they’re so inexpensive (I’m kinda cheap). It’s the same with Korean skin care products. What’s more, they’re made for Asian skin, which is always a plus in my book. Of course, Korean make-up is primarily made for the fairer Korean complexion, which gives me a bit of trouble when picking face powder or foundation, but since I discovered Missha, which has a shade (#23) that matches my skin coloring perfectly, I’ve had no other problems.
As you can see, aside from the one item from Etude House, they’re all from Skin Food. Why? Because Etude House is quite inexpensive here. In fact, according to Etude House, their shops in the Philippines have the lowest prices outside of South Korea. Plus if I buy my Etude House products here, I get to add more points to my Pink Card, which gets me rebates in later purchases. However, I couldn’t resist buying at least one Etude House item, so I asked for the Collagen Moistful Essence-in-Base. It was still cheaper in Korea — 13500 won (about PhP 540) compared to PhP 695 here.
Skin Food, on the other hand, is extremely overpriced here in Metro Manila. I’ll have to check to make sure, but from what I remember, a Sugar Desert Eye Shadow that costs 4,000 won (PhP 160) in Korea would cost around PhP 400 here. Apart from the eyeshadow, I also got the Wildberry Milk Cleansing Gel (4,700 won/PhP 188) and the Eggplant Perfect Waterproof Mascara (10,900 won/PhP 436). They would’ve cost me something like PhP 500 and PhP 1,200 respectively if I’d have bought them here.
(Again, these local prices are just estimates, based on my experience shopping on Multiply and comparing the prices there to the local shop and the ones in Korea, and I’ll have to visit the Skin Food shop here again to get the exact prices.)
The title of this blog post is a bit puzzling, I know, but basically, this post is all about comparisons between local Etude House and Skin Food shops, and the ones in South Korea. I think it was a brilliant move on Philippines’ Etude House’s part pricing their products so close to the prices in S. Korea. Which is why although it’s only been around for about a year, it’s gotten so popular already. Etude House is expanding quite fast here — in Metro Manila, they had 5 shops last time I counted, plus counters in the department stores of 4 other malls. Then there are the shops in Cebu, Iloilo, Pampanga and Sta. Rosa. On the other hand, Skin Food has presence in about 8 malls in Metro Manila, and 4 others in the provinces — and they’ve been in the Philippines longer than Etude House. I’ve only been to the Etude House and the Skin Food shops in Megamall, and if there’s anything I’ve noticed it’s that there are definitely more customers hanging out in Etude House.
Now, I know Skin Food products are expensive everywhere outside of S. Korea. Maybe the franchising fees are too steep. Or maybe Skin Food wants to position itself as a high-end brand. But most buyers of Korean cosmetics and skin care products are quite Internet savvy and lots of them know how cheap these products are in Korea, and they’re also more likely to purchase their Skin Food goodies from online sellers who don’t put as high a mark-up on the items as the local shops. One of my favorite Skin Food products is the Peach Sake Emulsion, and I get it from my Multiply suki for around PhP600, which costs almost twice that if you buy it from Skin Food in Megamall.
It’s a shame, really. I quite like Skin Food. If I’m fond of Etude House because of the stores are so pink and cute, my fondness for Skin Food comes from the adorable names of their products — Black Sugar, Cocoa Whip, Peach Sake, etc. And yes, Skin Food products are quite nice. The eyeshadows (Is that the correct plural form?) my friend bought for me in Korea apply and stay on pretty well, and the colors are gorgeous. The Peach Sake emulsion and pore serum work well on me, and they smell delicious. But as much as I’d love to support the local Skin Food shops, I can’t make myself spend PhP 1,100 on something I could get for only PhP 650 online. And from the brisk business sellers on Multiply.com are doing, it seems I’m not the only one.