by Alexandra Nicole Nuralam

Martine Ho Talks Fave Sunnies Face Products & the Car Makeup Test

It would be a fair guess that Martine Ho is constantly on the go. As the creative director and co-founder of several companies under the Sunnies label—a cult beauty brand, an optical collection, a sunglasses brand, and a café franchise—and now a mother to a baby girl, Martine has a lot on her plate.

“I was born in Manila and grew up between the Philippines, Hong Kong, New Delhi and Los Angeles,” Martine tells BEAUBIT. “I have now accidentally moved to Melbourne! A quick explanation is that my husband and I have been in a long-distance relationship for almost 8 years, where he lives in Australia and I live in Manila. I was pregnant last year, so I got on a flight to Australia during the pandemic and haven’t left since!”

We caught up with Martine to clue us in to how she got her start in the beauty industry, her favourite Sunnies Face products and what she dubs as the “Car Makeup Test”, the ultimate mum makeup challenge. Scroll on for the full story!

What are three things people should know about you?

I love weird facts, my favourite childhood icon was Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I’m a Gemini Sun Virgo Moon!

Tell us more about your career journey. Are there any highlights so far?

I left my job working in the creative department of American Apparel in Los Angeles in 2013 and moved to the Philippines to start Sunnies with my partners. It was risky, it was totally scary and 8 years later, it was worth everything! Two major highlights were opening our first Sunnies Studios location in 2013 and then launching Sunnies Face in 2018. 

What was the inspiration behind Sunnies Face? 

We realised that no existing beauty brand really spoke to us—the luxury or “cool” brands either weren’t available or were too expensive, and the affordable brands never had the formulas or packaging we were looking for. And most importantly, the colour ranges of most beauty brands never catered to the subtleties of Southeast Asian skin tones, which tended to be warmer-toned. So we decided to create a brand and product we wished existed in this world—and that’s how Sunnies Face came to be!

What is the most valuable professional lesson you have learned?

Be someone people want to work with.

Let’s talk about your beauty routine. What does it look like?

My morning routine is super simple: I cleanse with just water and a towel, apply The Ordinary’s Buffet Serum and then Ultra Violette’s SPF serum.

In the evening, I’ll cleanse with LESSE’s Refining Cleanser, and then go in with Biologique Recherche‘s P50, moisturise with Tatcha’s Dewy Skin Cream and lastly, SeaSun Society’s Blue Spell face oil.

The founder of SeaSun Society, Madi Ross, is a good friend of mine—she embodies what a simplified no-fuss beauty routine should be and I saw her put so much love into developing these products. She even left some samples with me to try before she launched the brand. I love using it to seal in all my creams and serums before bed!

How much has your beauty regime changed since becoming a mother?

It’s definitely simplified. I have really grown fond of the Avène XeraCalm range—I use it on my daughter and always wipe the excess off on my face. When in doubt, French drugstore products are always the best!

In terms of glam, every product at Sunnies Face needed to pass what I like to call the “car makeup test”, meaning it’s easy enough to apply while in a car. I guess that has now translated to makeup for mums with no time.

How does your mood affect the way you wear (or don’t wear) makeup?

I definitely know that when I do wear makeup, my mood gets a bit peppier!

What are your personal favourites from Sunnies Face? 

Fluffmatte in Vacay will always be a personal favourite. It’s the most wearable peach that has ever existed. I wore it on my wedding day, I wear it every day and will wear it for decades to come!

I’m also a fan of Eyecrayon in Pretzel, which is a perfect daily warm brown shade that is so flattering and easy on the eyes. Face Glass in Barbarella is also a game changer. I love them all! I can talk about our products endlessly.

What’s next for the brand?

So many products we can’t wait to share!

Martine’s Beauty Picks

The Ordinary Buffet Serum, SGD44
Ultra Violette Queen Screen SPF 50+ Luminising Serum SKINSCREEN, AUD47
LESSE Refining Cleanser, SGD72
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, SGD195
Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream, SGD81.60
SeaSun Society Blue Spell, SGD40

Sunnies Face is coming to BEAUBIT this Friday, 6 June 2021. Watch this space for exclusive content and more!