No pretense here––just beauty in full, vivid color
Chances are you’ve heard about what happened at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year, but for the out-of-the-loop and fashion-averse, here’s a refresher: During the Chanel show, comedian and professional gate-crasher Marie S’Infiltre clambered up onto the runway and fell in line with the tweed-clad models making their way down the catwalk.
The motivation behind the prank? Good ol’ fun.
“The fashion world takes itself more seriously than any other on Earth,” she expressed in an interview with Brut. “We're talking about a world of artistry where we have fun…and everyone wears a blank expression.” While Marie S’Infiltre’s show-stirring spectacle was a little extreme, it definitely sparked conversation: a world of boundless creativity is fronted by tight-lipped smiles and picture-perfect poses. But what about the beauty industry?
When Spanish beauty brand 3INA (that’s pronounced mee-na, by the way) came on to the scene in 2016, founders Pablo Rivera and Mark Eve noticed an irking uniformity across all the big-name makeup labels––not too far off from the supposed lack of fun and flair that pushed Marie S’Infiltre to scramble up the runway.
“We used to travel like 80% of our time, and we used to spend a lot of time in international markets, in department stores, in malls, in Duty Free. We were always asking, ‘What is it with beauty that makes all these brands look the same?” explains Pablo, one of the minds behind the breakthrough brand.
“You can hide the logo, and you cannot tell which brand it is because it’s all this perfect beauty. A single model, inspirational, like a goddess. Why is it not more fun? More colorful? More real.”
This incessant questioning would eventually become 3INA's raison-d’être. To disrupt. To create. To color outside the lines in vivid, resplendent color and not feel the least bit apologetic about it.
3INA’s product roster looks like a lovely in-between of your current makeup palette and the set of colored pencils every kid yearned for as a kid. It’s got the basics down pat: the blacks, the browns and the failsafe neutrals––but it makes the rare, high impact colors just as accessible and, more importantly, just as impressive quality-wise.
“If you wanted a blue, a purple, a yellow [in your makeup look back then], you had to go down to the value brands. You'd know that this colorful product wasn’t going to stand up alongside your [higher end] black mascara,” explains Mark Eve. 3INA’s goal is to bridge this gap: to master the equation of premium quality and a feeling of fun within the same product. While 3INA seems to have been marching forth in the right direction, Pablo and Mark admit it wasn’t always smooth sailing.
With no background in beauty, creating a makeup brand wasn’t only ambitious––with the goal to fill stores and launch hundreds of products in one drop, the circumstances were pretty much unheard of. “When we launched the brand, people were telling us that we were crazy. That this is not how you do beauty,” recalls Mark. “We had plenty of people calling us and telling us, ‘You guys are gonna lose so much money.’”
Still, they fought the brave fight, pulling in a project team from reputable brands and running on the adrenaline of creating something they had become so passionate about. The result: an initial (more like whopping) 450-product release across 12 countries.
Now, I’ve got to admit: despite the leaps and bounds 3INA had jumped over the past few years, I hadn’t heard of them up until the brand’s local launch earlier this year. However, a quick search and skim taught me that the internet has long been crazy about their products. The cruelty-free aspect, the color offerings, the formulations––all of it. But hey, a few good comments and a pretty Instagram feed can make any product look good. Trying the products myself, on the other hand, was the definitive proof I needed to know that all the hype was merited.
Top picks from the brand include The Longwear Lipstick––a product that I left unopened for a good few weeks because of my aversion to liquid lipstick. I've resigned myself to using tints and blending out baby-swipes of regular lipstick because I've been cursed with a bad case of lip chapping, but as soon as I swiped this stuff across my bottom lip, I was a convert.
The formula is easily the most nourishing one I’ve tried in a hot minute––almost like a non-greasy oil, which might not sound very appealing but makes my perpetually chapped lips feel less like a drought-stricken nation. A few seconds on the lips and the product transforms into a non-drying matte finish. Call me a liquid lipstick believer. Pro tip: shade 505 looks good everyone and I mean everyone.
Another star player, and arguably the crowd favorite at the local launch, is The Cream Eyeshadow. With hard-hitting pigment that actually lasts, this product is a color lover's dream come true. Best applied with a finger for the entire lid and a precise brush for fine lines and punctuations, the formulation varies from color to color: some shades are a soft, seamless matte, while and others have a metallic finish.
Also on our love list: The 24H Pen Eyeliner, a handy brush-tip liner that was reworked into a waterproof formula for countries with more humid climates, and The 3-in-1 Foundation, which also happens to be one of the brand's best-selling formulas despite classifying as a loyalty product.
With an assortment of eyeshadows, eyeliners and lipstick housed in their existing Philippine stores, 3INA already puts up a pretty impressive front. But that isn't even all of it yet: products are making their way to local shores and stores gradually. If there's a single product you ought to look out for, though, it's got to be The 24H Foundation.
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A product two years in the making, Mark shares that 3INA benchmarked the new liquid foundation against competitors with price points that go up to thrice their own. Made in Italy and offered in 26 shades, The 24H Foundation marks 3INA's arduous endeavor of going completely vegan.
Also in the works: an exciting color-centric change in packaging and, by the end of 2020, the launch of 3INA's own spirited take on skincare. I don't know about you but I'm suddenly praying for next year to come sooner.
Portraits Elisa Aquino
Art Alexandra Lara