Expending energy for the things that matter means it comes from somewhere, so I make it a priority to recharge.
After a long day of juggling work-from-home and then housework, I have learned that the labor that goes into self-care is usually best left to the hands of experts.
With spiking gas prices, crippling traffic, and lest we forget, we’re still living with a pandemic (hopping from one spot to another is just multiplying our exposure to more possible transmissions), I have sought far and wide for that elusive one-stop-shop where every service is actually worth the money for every budget and need—all proudly Filipino owned. Here they are:
For the creme de la creme: MUP Skin Lab
Known for: You no longer have to fly out to experience French luxury skincare Biologique Recherche and pioneering Aussie health brand Osmosis. Their signature treatments are just some of the exclusives available at MUP Skin Lab.
Founded by Anna, a professional makeup artist who travels the world for the best holistic treatments, she makes it her business and pleasure to sample the best beyond what’s already hyped — and share her knowledge, too.
Short for Make Up Pro, it started out as one of the country’s first links to coveted makeup and tools that you can’t get locally. Years in, its loyal following has stuck around not only for the access but also for Anna’s tight curation.
View this post on Instagram
It was only a matter of time until she expanded to MUP Skin Lab. It’s now one of the few in the country to offer the skin-transforming Biologique Recherche treatments and holistic Osmosis protocols, from the scalp to your toes, all employing the best techniques learned from experts around the world. (If you regularly get treatments, you’d recognize the girls at MUP Skin Lab from the top ranks in other establishments.) The price points are commensurate with this quality, but I can say that it’s all worth it. If you’ve had these treatments elsewhere in the world, you might even consider them reasonable — and that’s not including the plane tickets!
Insider tip: The Beauty Nomad is headquartered here, so you can make it a spa day and get the brow lamination (for that semi-permanent feathered brow look without makeup), some of the most comfortable upper and lower lash extensions in the metro, and mani-pedi. Home service is available at an extra charge, but I enjoy checking out MUP Store brands like Charlotte Tilbury and Frederic Malle in between appointments.
MUP Skin Lab is by appointment only at 301B La Fuerza 2, Chino Roce Ave, Makati City 1229. Contact them at (0915) 185 6118.
Beauty queens know: The Secret Lounge
Known for: Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo made showbiz headlines when she announced her foray into entrepreneurship as one of the partners of The Secret Lounge’s Parañaque branch. While hitting the genetic jackpot and honing grace under pressure to become a beauty queen is a whole different matter, the queens themselves weren’t born with luscious lashes and enviable nails either. If you like your lashes and nails bold, sturdy, and pageant-ready without damaging your natural ones, this is the place to go.
Makeup artist and CEO Guiden Faith knew that she wanted the right vibe when she opened The Secret Lounge with her partners, artist-entrepreneur Sophy Lalaan, Miss Philippines Earth 2015 Angelia Ong, and entrepreneur Benjie Sadac. Designed as a “beauty speakeasy,” it’s the vibe that keeps the queens coming back. From starting out in a 21-square-meter corner room in Makati with a few La-Z boys, they now have interiors that call to mind a Bali retreat in BGC, a rotating popup of swimwear and activewear, and cocktails and coffee on demand.
View this post on Instagram
Host your own “sparty” here or get invited to events like hairstylist pop-ups, whisky tastings, as well as sound baths and meditation sessions when you sign up and become a VIP. Definitely make it a group appointment with your friends and family, and get your nails and lashes done with some drinks on the side.
Insider tip: They have amazing deals at Parlon—a beauty and wellness services booking and deals platform. Go to parlon.ph, buy the discounts in bulk while they last, and use them every time you need them.
The Secret Lounge has branches in Fort Pointe Building, The Fort Square Plaza, 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; Gov. A. Santos, Aguirre Avenue, Parañaque; and soon in Quezon City. You can also book their home service through Grab in partnership with Parlon.
An affordable spa and salon experience at home: NuYu Spa
Known for: There are some days when you’re just overwhelmed. You can’t be bothered to step out for your appointment and you could really use a massage…
NuYu is a brick-and-mortar favorite originally located at Rizal until its CEO Marsel V. Montemayor had the idea to pivot to home services once lockdowns eased. They now have headquarters around the metro, but they haven’t left their space-setting expertise behind though; the girls bring all their equipment to your home, sanitize everything, and then arrange your space to make it look and feel like one of their spa rooms.
When I say they offer it all, they do it while giving you the best value for your money. They offer a wide range of massages (I’m a hilot and hot stone massage fan), body scrubbing, and hair removal to regular facials and diamond peels as well, as mani-pedis, gel nails, lash lifting, and extensions. As for their hair services, they can do simple retouches and treatments, as well as completely bold transformations like vibrant colors or balayage (their most expensive service at P3,000) from the comfort of your home. You won’t be crouching down the tub or sink either; they’ll bring their own portable salon sink and chair.
View this post on Instagram
Insider tip: Before you book, check their packages. They have an ongoing summer promotion for a massage, mani-pedi, and foot spa bundle that starts at P999. You can also book the number of aestheticians you need for your treatments for utmost efficiency. Better yet, make it a family affair and book treatments for everyone at home.
Book a home service appointment at nuyu.ph or text them at 0918-9236988 for Metro Manila residents; 0949-9980173 for Rizal and North resident; and 0968-8565424 for those in the south. You can also email [email protected] or send them a message on Messenger at Nuyuspa.
Be best-dressed without the stress: Vestido
Known for: Bea Alonzo, Pia Wurtzbach, Iza Calzado, and Janine Gutierrez are just some of the celebrities who have rented looks from Vestido, the curated fashion rental service.
O.G. fashion girls Pam Quinones, Cindy Go, and Maica Salud-Tady are spearheading the circular fashion movement in the country with a closet of runway looks, rare archival vintage, and some of the best Filipino fashion.
Now that events are back, don’t let the stress of finding the perfect outfit get to you and just rent. You might even find the actual piece from your “peg” or outfit inspiration here for a fraction of the price when you rent from Vestido or purchase from the shoppable Vend.
Need accessories to go with your look? They carry handmade statement pieces under the brand Burlô. They even have a chic mirror to dress up your dresser and a collaboration with Rare Earth scented candles so you can feel your best while getting ready.
View this post on Instagram
You can browse pieces at their site, add a four-day rental to cart, and have it delivered to your home, but to those in-between sizes or on the fence about what you want, you can book a studio appointment. For 45 minutes, their archives are your personal closet for a 12% service fee from your rentals. Another option is to fit up to five pieces at home for up to P799. All prices are inclusive of dry cleaning and delivery so you have none of the stress and only fun memories in your dream look.
Insider tip: Not necessarily looking for a formal or cocktail look but need something special? Rent occasionwear from Filipino designers like Carl Jan Cruz, Gabbie Sarenas, Martin Bautista, Sassa Jimenez, and Vania Romoff. You can also shop pre-loved Aranaz bags that you will love all year round.