How local beauty brand Hello Gorgeous teaches customers about the science behind the beauty

How local beauty brand Hello Gorgeous teaches customers about the science behind the beauty

We visited their lab and saw how Unicorn Tears are made.

Photos by Kitkat Pajaro


The Hello Gorgeous laboratory, which functions as both a center for research and development and a factory, is in the early stages of being renovated when we make our visit on a bright Monday afternoon.

The Food and Drug Administration constantly updates its protocols for safe and acceptable environments for production, and it’s always good to build upon something and make it better. “Before, I didn’t want people to see where we worked kasi nahihiya ako,” says founder and CEO Mawy Conferido-Sapuay as we tour the rooms, which all have mint green walls. “It’s small compared to other brands, [but I realized I should] be happy about what we have.”

Mawy started Hello Gorgeous in 2016 with her mother, Gladys del Rosario, and won over a cult following that swears by their 100% locally-made handcrafted makeup and skincare products. On Instagram, they regularly engage with customers and fans through posts, stories, and live videos about the process and science behind the beauty: understanding your skin type, what certain chemicals do, how to apply the product properly. “You can inform them,” Mawy explains. “Not only to educate them on how to use the product, but also what’s in it.”


[READ: This beauty brand is run by a girlboss duo of mother and daughter]


In college, Mawy was encouraged by her mom to study biochemistry and pharmacy so she would gain some firsthand knowledge on creating complex formulations for their products. This has enabled the duo to spearhead their own research and development process, instead of consulting with other experts. (They do get a chemist to come to the lab during production days to make sure everything goes smoothly.) It’s a constant learning experience for them, which is why they continue to research and attend seminars and classes to study new beauty products and formulations in the market.

Hello Grogeous founder and CEO Mawy Conferido-Sapuay

“You have to know the basic science behind it, especially when it comes to product stability [and substituting] raw materials,” says Mawy. “We can face you and tell you what’s in our product [off the tops of our heads].” Certain materials, such as oils, tend not to mix well with other ingredients, and other ingredients can prove to be unsafe for the skin, so they’ve found it practical to know their products beyond packaging and function. And by teaching customers about it as well, “we help [them] to be smarter about what they buy.”

“It’s very important to experiment in the beauty industry,” Mawy goes on. It can be frustrating sometimes, she says, having to keep tweaking a certain formula until it’s just right. “You have to be particular with your weighing. You can’t get it in one try, and you waste the raw materials that you used. Nakakapagod siya. You think, I give up, I’ll just import — but we put time and effort into this.” Seeing people appreciate the final result, and ending up with a product that’s much better than anything they could have outsourced, makes it all worth it.

The experimentation process isn’t always a drag — they get to play around with scents, ingredients, and thousands of possible colors, and adjust products to fit specific climates and skin types. They can get creative to keep up with or overtake changing trends, and maybe even invent something totally new. It’s the ultimate DIY project; your high school science lab period made infinitely cooler.

Mawy is working toward achieving her dream laboratory, with hopes of eventually moving to a bigger lab so she could bring in customers and show them how it’s done. “If you’re a makeup junkie, you’re curious about how it’s made,” she says. “The whole process, mixing colors and choosing raw materials, makes me feel like a kid in a candy store.”

“You really see it coming together,” she adds. “Nakakatuwa.”

Every single Hello Gorgeous product is mixed and packaged right in their lab by a small and dedicated staff of 20 — a conscious effort to keep things 100-percent local. Allow us to take you on a guided virtual tour.

Raw materials
The process begins in the room where they keep shelves full of ingredients: colorants and scents, preservatives, actives, powders and oils, and other chemicals. (They even ferment their own fruit and plant extracts.) Once ingredients are selected, they are transferred to the next phase through a built-in window, which is present in every area.

Weighing and mixing
When we arrived, they were in the process of testing product stability for loose powders and new highlighter shades, which have been kept for a few days and are set to launch soon. There’s an industry mixer in one corner, along with weighing scales and other necessary tools. In this area, new formulations are experimented on, and existing products are put together to create fresh batches, which are then tested for quality.

Storage and packing
The finished products are kept in large buckets, after which they are sent to the packing section, where they undergo final quality and stability checks. They are transferred into their containers, and tools are used to ensure precision and equal distribution.

Labeling and dispatch
Hello Gorgeous prints their own labels and barcodes (which include the expiration date) so they can do quick edits to the design, account for changes in the logo and illustrations, and easily update important written info like the list of ingredients. Once each packaged product is properly labeled, the entire batch is shipped out to their main office, where they’ll be dispatched to Hello Gorgeous outlets.

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