Sunnies Face, The Philippines’s Latest Beauty Star

Asia’s beauty industry has shaken up the western world in a wave of inventive and desirable cosmetics. Makeup companies are feeling the pressure to grow quickly into a global enterprise and to capitalize on this boom of the market. A Filipino beauty brand is not just challenging this set trail to success, but what Asian makeup should look like as well. Sunnies Face, boasting 200K Instagram followers, has approval from some big names like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Christina Aguilera.

Since its launch in August 2018, it has only three products and five stand-alone stores. If you’re interested in the “Fluff Matte” lipstick, the “Glow Boss” highlighter, and the “Life Brow” pencil and gel, you have to hope a trip to the Philippines is part of your plans. Sunnies Face is only available there, in stores or on its online site, but still manages to do well with pieces ranging from about $7 to $10. “Fluffmate,” the first product launched, sold out online in less than 15 minutes. It is not just thanks to luck, though, that this brand was able to triumph. Sunnies Face was founded by a group of Filipino Instagram-influencers and bloggers who were able to perfectly curate the exclusive brand.

I felt incredibly lucky to be at the Cebu City store opening on March 1. Sunnies Face was completely unfamiliar to me before my weekend trip from the SCAD Hong Kong campus. It is apparent the store had every-makings of a successful Millennial brand as soon as the doors opened: a light pink muted color-scheme, a sleek design equipped with light-up mirrors, adorable packaging and even a cafe in the back.

My friend, Erica Gonzales, assistant digital editor at Harper’s-Bazaar brought it to my attention. Growing up in a Filipino household, Gonzales later expressed to me that finding the brand on Instagram led to her to “explore more Filipino brands in fashion, beauty and interiors,” and left her with hopes Sunnies will “open people’s eyes to Filipino talent and innovation in a similar way.”

An aspect that could easily be overlooked by the American eye are the pictures of diverse models blown up on the wall. Although inclusivity is an issue across the globe, in the Philippines and the East-Asian market, colorism is widely common (i.e. lightening or whitening products). The fact that Sunnies Face was made to celebrate different skin tones is groundbreaking. According to the brand, Sunnies Face makes sure its products are “universally flattering.” Creative Director and Founding Member Martine Ho explained, “From Caucasian tones to light-skinned Asian complexions to fairer mestizas to warmer tones to richer morena skin— we tried it on everyone.”

The progressiveness of the brand has resonated deeply with its young following, as many cannot wait for an expansion to North America. For Gonzales, the brand’s wide recognition is well-deserved, explaining that her mother always “prioritized modesty” when she did her makeup, something almost reminiscent in Sunnies’ easy and minimalist nature. But, the company is taking the time to build on its achievements before anything else, as Sunnies Face proudly interrupts the industry while staying true to its roots.

Written by Alyssa Rosenberg

Photography by Ty Dowda

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