In a country where skin whitening is one of the most lucrative industries, where do bronzing products fit in?
Love Brown, a bronzing oil brand founded by proud morena Michiko Mascariñas, knows the answer to that. This homegrown eco-friendly line offers bronzing and tanning oils, booty scrubs, and sunscreens.
Cosmopolitan Philippines spoke to Michiko to find out more about Love Brown:
Tell us a little bit about Love Brown. How did you get started?
It all started with my love for the beach—always squeezing in quick beach trips on weekends, and trying to get myself some good tan. At the time, there were hardly any tanning oils in the metro, so naturally, I would hoard them through my friends and relatives who would go abroad. I realized it wasn’t sustainable for a girl who can consume one bottle a month.
Most of the products that I tried didn’t really work well with my skin. They were either too dark or scentless.
But what I was more concerned about is that most of the products that I tried didn’t really work well with my skin. They were either too dark or scentless. So, I figured, why not try making my own that will also cater to Filipina skin like mine?
It wasn’t really my intention to create a brand or a business. It was more for me, for my own liking. [I wanted] one that I could easily grab and bring on my beach trips. It was supposed to be just for fun. Naturally, I would “Instagram” my products on the beach while applying it. Eventually, a lot of my friends started asking where I got my tanning oils. Now I’m happy I found the perfect niche market to share my passion with.
What were your considerations when coming up with your product line?
First, it needed to be eco-friendly. The packaging for bronzing oils and the Sun Glow tanning oil are made out of glass; Beach Face is made out of Kraft paper—it’s a reef-safe sunscreen. It was also important to me to use all-natural ingredients that can be found in the Philippines. For example, moringa oil is used in the Love Your Butt line, kapeng barako is in Booty Scrub (natural exfoliator that helps get rid of unwanted lumps and bumps), sampaguita flowers are used in Sun Glow tanning oil, and coconut oil is found in all of my products.
With the local tourism industry booming, I wanted something that would be a perfect beach essential.
As for the branding, I wanted the products to stand out. It’s no secret that I adore the color pink, so naturally, it was the overall color scheme of my products. I wanted it to have a play on colors and textures.
The skin whitening industry is booming in the Philippines. How has the experience been like for the brand?
Even with the skin whitening industry around, I think I found the perfect niche market to cater to. My brand projects self-love for tanned skin. My products are really for outdoor lovers, specifically beach babes, which is a “trend” now. I’m really surprised that there are a lot of Filipinas who want to [achieve or enhance their tan skin].
What kind of feedback have you gotten from your customers?
What surprised me is that they loved the smell. It was a secondary consideration for me when I was curating the products. Moreover, they were really happy that they can finally achieve that morena skin they always wanted.
The Love Your Butt line particularly got high ratings because no other local brands have targeted the not-so-talked-about part of our body—the butt. A lot [of people] have been repurchasing it 'cause it worked on them—those dry bumps and butt acne have been slowly disappearing.
How has this experience affected you, as a morena yourself?
Like what I always say, I am brown and proud. It helped me appreciate and love my skin tone more. It makes me feel proud of myself, too, because I didn’t expect that I could be an entrepreneur because of my skin color and love for the beach.
What's next for Love Brown?
I’m working on product development so watch out for more exciting beach essentials, cute packaging, and fun merchandise! We’ll also be expanding to different islands in the Philippines soon.
Love Brown is available on Instagram @lovebrown_ph and San Juan Surf Resort, La Union.