The popularity of K-pop and K-dramas had many of us adopting the seven- even 10-step skin care routine of South Korean stars—no doubt to achieve that clear, radiant, seemingly poreless complexion. But now that more and more people are going back out there and returning to the workplace, who has the time for that?
This extensive regimen may fit into the lifestyles of some skincare-devoted Filipinos but for others, especially those who keep busy schedules, or feel they have better things to do than fuss over their T zones, a multiple-step routine may be a little much. Especially for men who just aren’t the most comfortable spending a lot of time smearing their faces with moisturizers, serums, and the lot, before their morning coffee.
Enter, a Filipino beauty brand guided by the principle of “skinimalism.” Unbranded Skincare Co. believes skincare can and should be a whole lot simpler. “It is about creating products that strip out anything that might be harmful, unnecessary, or purely cosmetic, to deliver more of what your skin needs and none of what it doesn’t,” the company’s communication material explains. “Skinimalism is about clean, healthy skin.”
The idea to come up with an efficient yet effective skincare line happened over the pandemic when friends Mells Limcaoco, Mia Bulatao, and Mark Yambot met over Zoom—basically to touch base with each other. Limcaoco is CEO of Amplifi Technologies Corp and other successful startups. Bulatao is current president and COO of e-commerce logistics startup QuadX Inc. Yambot is head of FYE Channel and ABS-CBN Books.
The chat covered various topics: work-from-home life, K-drama and, for some reason, they lingered on the subject of skincare. By Zoom sesh’s end, the group arrived at a common sentiment: “We wanted to achieve healthy skin, but we don’t have time for the 10-step Korean skincare,” Limcaoco shares in a press roundup Friday. So they thought, why not just create their own brand?
The philosophy behind Unbranded begins with inspiring people to be confident in themselves and the beauty they possess. “[We believe that] beauty is unbranded. No one should label you,’” Limcaoco offers, explaining the idea behind the name. “Also, we wanted people to concentrate more on the product than on the brand.”
The skincare line consists of just three items: the Cleansing Wash (Cleanse + Correct); Day Shield (Protect + Brighten); and Overnight Cream (Repair + Renew). You can buy them separately but the set costs P1,990. Surprisingly, it’s the set that accounts for 60 percent of the brand’s sales.
The line was launched in late 2020 after getting its FDA approval. The products are available online, via the specialty store Seek The Uniq, and in select Beauty Bar outlets where the brand is easily one of the top three bestsellers in the “clean beauty” category. As the beauty store rep says, “More and more people are seeking simple and easy to understand products.” The very spare design of its containers makes the line truly standout, and the word is out too that the brand delivers on the skincare-made-easy promise. Check out Nicole Limos-Morales’s review above on her trusted The Beauty Edit site.
Cofounder Yambot swears the brand suits his sensitive, pimple-prone skin. “It’s no frills, pangmabilisan, so it’s very male-friendly,” he offers. “Even the packaging is minimalist, so it doesn’t feel too girly or gender-specific.”
Not even two years in the biz, the Unbranded guys say they’ve already made improvements in their original formulas. In February, they released the “fortified version” of their trio of products, which they say has more squalane, collagen, allantoin, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, and centella asiatica, says brand president Bulatao.
The Cleansing Wash works as a makeup remover, cleanser, and toner in one. It has a pH-balance of 5.0-5.6, so it’s milder and gentler on the skin. It has Squalene sourced from olives which is known to restore the lipidic barriers in the skin which other cleansers and soaps normally strip off. This allows the skin to store moisture better, keeping it clear and refreshed instead of tight and dry which causes irritation and premature aging.
Bulatao says they increased the lotus, angelica and guava extracts in the new deliveries, too. These additions help control oil, soothe and calm skin, and prevent breakouts.
The Day Shield, meanwhile, provides the supply of nourishment but also doubles as protector from UV rays, pollutants, and free radicals. The fortified version has more niacinamide to help decrease hyper-pigmentation and redness; allantoin, to help with skin renewal; sodium hyaluronate, to smoothen fine lines; lavender oil, to soothe skin suffering from sunburn and effects of breakouts; and vitamin E, to protect against skin damage.
Finally, the Overnight Cream has anti-aging properties like Centella Asiatica, which is believed to improve blood circulation in the skin. Improved circulation leads to proper distribution of nourishment, the initiation of repair, faster healing, and prevention of scarring.
Bulatao says they worked with dermatologists, chemists, and pharmacists, to come up with efficient formulas for Unbranded. “We took out ingredients that don’t work well together,” she says. “We took out ingredients that your skin doesn’t necessarily need or will be harmful for your skin.” Their products contain no sulfate, she claims, and no fragrance. In short, they Marie Kondo-d your skin regimen. And hopefully, the results spark joy.