MANILA, PHILIPPINES — In the bustling world of cosmetics, where trends come and go, there emerges a brand that not only celebrates the art of self-expression but also pays homage to the quirks and charms of Filipino culture. Enter Filipinta Beauty, a conceptual makeup brand and the brainchild of its talented and passionate Creative Director, Hana Kirchhoff.
Currently based in New York, her journey from the Philippines to the U.S. is more than just a relocation — it has become the story that informs every product she designs for Filipinta Beauty. In an exclusive interview, adobo Magazine sat down with Hana to talk about banana ketchup lip balm, a lumpia eyeshadow palette, and the heartfelt connection between design and cultural nostalgia.
The woman behind the brand
Originally from the Philippines, Hana moved to the United States at the age of 25. “Since I lived a full Philippine experience, I was homesick as soon as I got here,” she shared. “It was very, very different — the food, the people, the culture.”
“Socially, it’s very challenging for me to get to know other people. That’s why I started Filipinta, because I wanted to bring that sense of nostalgia with me. It was a way for me to reconnect with my roots. It was something just for me at first, but now it’s for everyone. Whether they’re Overseas Filipino Workers or Filipino-Americans, they’ve started to connect with the brand as well.”
With 11 years of design expertise before foraying into cosmetics, Hana told adobo Magazine, “I’ve always been into makeup, fashion, and all that. As a designer, I decided I wanted to create something in that realm, but Filipinta was an accident.”
Filipinta Beauty: A journey back home
As Hana blended her homesickness with the lack of Filipino representation in the makeup scene, Filipinta Beauty was born. She partnered with her long-time friend Jasel Donato, who is currently Co-founder and Product Developer of the brand, to transform her passion project into a thriving small business with a wonderful community rallying behind it.
Leaning into big and bold decisions when it comes to color, pattern, texture, shape, and form, their catalog is undeniably a rebellion against minimalism. “Through the four years that I’ve been making Filipinta, I’ve been growing as a designer and honing my personal style, which is very colorful, detailed, and vibrant.”
She emphasized, however, that hers isn’t just a makeup brand — it’s a vessel for stories, and each product tells a tale connected to her motherland. Currently in its food-themed era, Filipinta Beauty offers items such as the silog lip balm and soy sauce lip gloss, celebrating the significance of food in Filipino culture.
Authenticity in design
Hana’s creative process is a combination of her childhood memories and meticulous research. With five years’ worth of concepts stored in notebooks and apps, she draws inspiration from her experiences in the Philippines, creating designs that resonate with emotions and transport users back to specific moments. Hana’s dedication to authenticity extends beyond visuals; she ensures a full sensory experience, from sight to scent, capturing the essence of Filipino memories.
“I always want Filipinta to transport customers back to a specific time, place, or feeling. As soon as you see the design, you think ‘Oh, I remember this from when I was 10 years old.’ Or when you smell it, you remember a memory along with it. I feel like that’s why our designs are successful, because it’s not just visual.”
The multimedia designer further explained that authenticity is essential to Filipinta Beauty. Before the release of a new product, Hana meticulously researches her “pegs” to accurately reflect different cultural aspects or changes throughout the years. “It would take me and Jasel around three to four months for one collection,” Hana admitted with a laugh.
Embracing community support
Although Hana didn’t foresee the wave of nostalgia her creations would evoke, her unconventional approach to incorporating Filipino elements into her products has undeniably struck a collective sentimental chord. What started as an outlet for homesickness became a shared experience for others, eliciting memories and emotions tied to Filipino culture.
The response from the Filipino community in the United States has been overwhelming. Filipinta Beauty’s success at Filipino markets and the enthusiastic support from Filipino Americans, particularly in California and Hawaii, has solidified its place as a brand that connects with the diaspora. The unexpected support from the community has been a source of joy for Hana, who never anticipated such a warm reception.
It’s worth noting that in the Philippines, Filipinta Beauty products are currently available through Shopee, with plans underway to secure FDA approval for an expanded range of items. As the brand continues to evolve, one can only anticipate the vibrant stories yet to be told through Hana’s unique design lens.