In You Heard It Here First, Bustle's editors introduce the coolest up-and-coming beauty brands you should have on your radar. Here, Sunnies Face co-founder Martine Cajucom-Ho opens up about diversity in makeup and the line’s expansion into the U.S.
While eastern and southern Asian beauty rituals and products have come to the U.S. via the K-beauty craze, Filipino beauty has long been left out of the conversation, even though Filipinos make up almost 5% of the immigrant population in the country. With warmer skin that ranges from very pale to very deep, often with a golden-olive undertone, finding makeup products to match our skin tone has long been a challenging feat. So, for many beauty enthusiasts who are Filipino — including myself — the U.S. expansion of Sunnies Face, a Filipino-bred makeup line that’s available as of May 16, is particularly exciting.
The brand was the first cosmetic company to speak to the color-matching struggles Filipinos face when shopping for makeup. Its vegan and cruelty-free Fluffmatte lipstick comes in 15 inclusive shades, ranging from baby pink Milkshake to fiery red Hot Sauce and deep brown Brunette. The product has been praised for its lightweight formula, effortless, skin-like finish on the lips, and intense color payoff — and, according to the brand, it has such a cult following that one tube sells every 30 seconds in the Philippines. While the lipsticks were primarily formulated to complement the undertones and wide color range of Filipino skin, Fluffmatte is a product that everyone can add to their rotation — especially at an accessible $16 price point.
I can see how Sunnies Face has such a dedicated fanbase. I first tried the Fluffmate lipsticks in January 2019, just five months after the brand launched in the Philippines. I'd read about the launch in a Bustle piece written by a fellow Filipina beauty editor, Sara Tan, and jumped at the chance to try it. The brand was kind enough to ship the full range to my home in LA from the Philippines, and I remember feeling so emotional as I unzipped the red vinyl pouch to swatch the lipsticks for the first time. Each color was more beautiful than the last — and they all perfectly complemented my Filipino golden-olive skin tone. For the last three years, I've asked family and friends returning from trips to the Philippines to bring back Sunnies Face products as my pasalubong (gifts from abroad), and finally, I don't have to do that anymore.
To say I'm emotional about this launch is an understatement. Every time I’ve visited the Philippines, I've seen ads for skin-lightening products and mystiza (mixed, not traditionally Filipino-looking) models plastered on the sides of buildings and in every aisle of the beauty stores. After chatting with other beauty industry veterans with similar backgrounds, I realized I’m not alone.
"Growing up, my exposure to Filipino beauty brands was through some of the skincare products my mom used, and some of those lines featured formulas designed to lighten or 'brighten' the skin tone," says freelance beauty editor and copywriter, Marianne Mychaskiw. "In that regard, representation in the beauty industry is super important in flipping that narrative and changing the conversation around not just Filipino beauty brands, but Filipino beauty in and of itself.” And Sunnies Face, with its message about playing up your features versus changing them, does just that, she says.
In apropos timing, Sunnies Face’s U.S. launch comes in the middle of AAPI Heritage Month. "We know with the platform of AAPI Heritage Month comes a large responsibility as an Asian-identifying brand and founders,” Martine Cajucom-Ho, co-founder and creative director of Sunnies Face, tells Bustle.“We pledge to continue to do our part as advocates for expanding what Asian beauty means around the world while ensuring that Filipino beauty is part of that conversation.”
Sunnies Face is the first Filipino beauty brand I’ve seen that not only caters to Filipinos as they are, but celebrates them. Dark brown skin, small almond eyes, full lips, and flat noses are on full display in Sunnies Face's marketing, and I couldn't be prouder to have this line representing Filipino beauty in the states.
Sunnies Face’s products are available to purchase directly from its website.
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