Every year without fail, Noelle Hui’s mother-in-law sends her Lucas’ Papaw Ointment—the Australian-made salve that’s used for minor burns, sunburn, chafing, splinters and what have you. This got Hui thinking—the hero ingredient of the wonder remedy is fermented papaya grown in Queensland, a fruit that is also widely available in tropical Philippines.
“When we eat papaya, we just throw the seeds in the backyard and before you know it, there’s a papaya tree up there. And yet, we don’t have our own cult favorite type of product, despite being a tropical country that’s rich in a lot of potent and sought-after plant ingredients,” the mom of two said. “So I told my sister that it would be nice if we had our own locally made products with global standards that become cult favorites here and eventually abroad.”
Hui, together with her sister, public relations consultant Romina Nañagas, PR practitioner Nikki Santiago Rivera and pharmaceuticals veteran Edna Dolores formed Habitude, a proudly Filipino skin-care brand that combines cult-favorite skin care and local ingredients to create effective and multitasking products.
“Habitude products are formulated without harmful chemicals and champion local ingredients. They are expertly combined with clean beauty ingredients that are favorites around the world,” said Nañagas, noting that the products were developed under the watchful eye of Dolores.
One of these products is the alcohol-free Hardworking Miracle Water (P849 for a 100-milliliter bottle), a makeup remover that also works to unclog the pores and leave the skin hydrated. It’s enriched with galactomyces to hydrate the skin and control sebum, and is mixed with rice extract, which promotes better absorption and preserves the skin’s integrity. Extracts of Angelica Gigas herb, tomato leaf, aloe vera, witch hazel and licorice also went into the bottle to make a toning makeup remover.
Rivera said that the product lives up to its name and works well for busy moms like her.
“We love how as if your favorite micellar water, your favorite alcohol-free toner and your favorite hydrating serum decided to pour all the goods they had into one amazing bottle,” said Rivera.
The Seriously Revitalizing Serum (P949 for 30-ml bottle), meanwhile, may just be the key to dewy, “glass” skin. The small bottle packs a lot of tried-and-tested ingredients, from hyaluronic acid to niacinamide and heritage botanicals. There are also at least three kinds of seaweed and aloe vera.
The local aloe vera acts as a humectant to lock in the moisture and keep the skin plump. The serum also works to alleviate fine lines, wrinkles and age spots, and brighten the skin.
Habitude also rolled out its own handy sunscreen. The Go-Getter Moisture and Stick (P550) has 20 percent zinc oxide, meaning it immediately protects the skin from harmful ultraviolet B rays upon application. Other plant ingredients that naturally provide sun protection were mixed in like tomato fruit and carrot seed extracts, hypoallergenic almond oil and noncomedogenic fractionated coconut oil.
Inclusive skin care
And like the other hardworking products in the line, the sunscreen has bentonite clay to prevent toxins from clogging the pores. Hui said that since it’s hypoallergenic, she applies it on the skin of her kids, while Nañagas slathers the moisturizing stick right before wearing a mask.
These three products easily fit right into routines and rituals of those who stick to 10 steps, or even of “skinimalists” (skin minimalists). Since the brand wants skin care to be inclusive, the products are formulated to work extra hard to accommodate all kinds of lifestyles and many types of skin.
“It is a line designed to adjust your lifestyle, and not the other way around,” said Nañagas.
All the Habitude products have very distinct aromatic smells designed to evoke happy memories. The Hardworking Miracle Water and Seriously Revitalizing Serum have an aquatic floral scent, while the Sunstick has a sunshiny smell. Rivera said that since the products use natural ingredients, there was a need to mask their inherent odors. The team initially preferred unscented products, but they learned that neutralizing scents actually requires more additives.
Their scents have met the standards of the International Fragrance Regulatory Association, meaning that their products are tested to make sure that they are hypoallergenic and safe to use.
More items are in the works for Habitude, and they’re looking to add even more local ingredients.
“What we say is that local is global and global is local. We’re trying to raise it to that standard,” said Nañagas.