“When is Sunnies Face launching in the U.S.?” is a DM I get a lot. As a Filipino American beauty editor and content creator, I’ve been sent products from the Philippines-based makeup brand and fallen in love from 8,500 miles away. Word of mouth has traveled far: I know of many friends who’ve asked aunts, cousins, friend’s sister’s-anyone!-they knew who were visiting back home to return with a stash of products (especially the coveted Fluffmatte lipsticks). I’ve seen TikToks begging the brand to launch in America. I’ve seen the brand become a staple in celebrity makeup artist’s kits and used on the likes of Florence Pugh, Amandla Stenberg, Kate Bosworth, and Alexa Demie. I’ve seen the brand collaborate on a capsule collection with Rose Inc. (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s beauty site). I’ve even seen Fluffmatte make an appearance on an Oscars red carpet before officially coming stateside.
Now, the wait is finally over. Sunnies Face is available for U.S. customers starting May 11 on SunniesFace.com. The brand is debuting with their hero product, Fluffmatte ($16) lipstick in 15 shades. It’s a lightweight, hydrating formula with a cushiony mousse feel on the lips and an incredible one-swipe color payoff. When it initially launched in the Philippines in 2018-after significant testing involving 350 colors and 22 formulas-the lipstick sold out in ten minutes. Now, the brand claims nearly three million bullets have been sold and one sells every 30 seconds.
Beauty brands like to throw around the phrase “universally flattering” but with Sunnies’ lipsticks, it’s true. From “Major” a deep power red, to “Baked” a neutral clay, each Fluffmatte packs powerful pigment and flatters all. It’s no surprise: With over 7,100 islands and every skin tone under the Pacific sun from fair, to tan, to deep, the Philippines is the ideal place to shade test. “When we were testing our lipstick shades, we didn’t realize that developing it in the Philippines was perfect because we were in this cultural melting pot of different nationalities. It was the perfect way to develop truly universal colors” Sunnies co-founder Georgina Wilson tells ELLE.com.
Georgina started the line alongside Jess Wilson, Martine Cajucom-Hom, Bea Soriano-Dee and Eric Dee Jr. (all of whom are entrepreneurs, models, and/or bona fide celebrities in the Philippines-Georgina has a casual 3.3 million followers on Instagram). Together, they launched Sunnies with the intention of “creating a brand that would make Filipinos proud to bring to the rest of the world” Georgina says. “For it to finally be happening – there [are] no words. There are nearly 110 million people I want to make proud.”
While Asia has a big presence and influence in the U.S. beauty market particularly with Korean and Japanese brands, the Philippines is not on the map in the same way. The only Filipino brand I knew of growing up as a first-generation American was Eskinol, which makes an old-school astringent. And, when I’d visit the Philippines and check out local beauty aisles, they were typically filled with American brands like Maybelline. That’s why when I first got introduced to Sunnies Face, I was overjoyed: Here was a Filipino-owned brand that felt really modern and looked at home next to my collection of Rare Beauty, Tower 28, and Kosas.
On top of clever product names and IG grid-worthy packaging, there’s an intentionality that really comes across with every launch. From Face Perfector, a double-ended stick with a glossy highlighter on one end and a pore-blurring balm on the other end, to Life Brow Micromarker, an ink pen for faking fluffy arches, every product is easy to use but has something about it that makes you go, I never thought of that.
“When we develop products, we always say, â€˜Is it going to be life-changing? Am I going to throw everything else out of my makeup kit?’ That’s a real challenge” Georgina tells ELLE.com. “We are really lucky that we own the company and the cadence of how we launch products is up to us completely. The fact we have that freedom is one of the best things about our brand. All the developments since Fluffmatte have been: What do I want to wear on a daily basis?” Another litmus test the Sunnies team aims to pass is whether or not a product is so good you’d pack it in your travel beauty bag, where space is precious. “Our stuff has to make it in!”
While the U.S. launch is focused on Fluffmatte lipsticks for now-more is coming. “I personally don’t like when makeup brands overwhelm me with stuff, so I like the idea of having [customers] form a relationship with Fluffmatte, then moving on to others” Georgina says. “Eventually the full line is going to become available, it’s just going to be in surprises and stages.”
Personally, I can’t wait for the U.S. to be introduced to the full range of what Sunnies Face has to offer. Beyond high-performance, colorful products that make you want to be playful with makeup, having a homegrown Filipino brand in an industry where I never felt truly catered to or represented makes me both proud and optimistic for the future of inclusivity in the beauty world. “It’s a huge responsibility-I feel like people know Asian beauty, but there’s a lot more to uncover” Georgina says. “I’m excited to show the world what the Philippines is about, and represent what our beauty looks like.”
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