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.”
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.