In partnership with the Quezon City local government, the brand equipped 50 residents from vulnerable areas with valuable skills in hairdressing.
Filipinos from vulnerable situations, especially women, often experience barriers to proper education and skills training, resulting in lack of livelihood and empowerment. Reducing these barriers is an important part of L’Oréal’s commitment for women empowerment and inclusion. In October 2022, in partnership with the local government of Quezon City, 50 students comprised mostly of women, were granted the opportunity to be trained as expert hairdressers. They may come from different backgrounds and have different stories to tell, but they share a common belief — beauty gives them the strength to uplift others and their families.
Beauty for a Better Life Program
L’Oréal Philippines recently concluded another successful run of the Beauty for a Better Life program, a free expert hairdressing training for women and young people in vulnerable social and economic situations. In partnership with the local government of Quezon City, fifty (50) Quezon City residents from various barangays underwent a 3-month extensive training and graduated last December 2022 as certified and professional hairdressing experts. At the end of the program, they were also granted a starter kit full of L’Oréal’s best products and tools to jumpstart an exciting career in beauty.
Beauty for a Better Life is an annual program established in 2017 in the Philippines that provides means for professional reintegration through quality education from the trusted trainers of the Professional Products Division at L’Oréal. Since its inception, the program has upskilled over 300 graduates, many of whom now practice as beauty professionals.
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte shared inspiring words of wisdom during the graduation ceremony last December 15, saying, “Sometimes, opportunities are there but we fail to grab them because of doubt. But the graduates all persevered for three months, so they have what it takes to be a good entrepreneur, [and] a good employee that can climb the ranks quickly, and to be successful.” She ended her speech by emphasizing the power of beauty in the service of others, urging the graduates, “Let’s all strive to be men and women for others.”
The program produced a new generation of expert hairdressers, including valedictorians Joan Jalop and May Anne Abordo, and community salon owner Maressa Estepa. In celebration of International Women’s Day, L’Oréal Philippines chatted with these accomplished women to talk about their home background, motivation to join the program, and what’s next for them as newly certified expert hairdressers.
Joan Jalop, Valedictorian
Joan takes importance in living a life where she continues to learn and explore. Despite not having the means to go to college, she found refuge and motivation in continuing education through Beauty for a Better Life. As a housewife, she was motivated by her child who has a learning disability and the opportunity to earn more for her family. Aside from the financial freedom she now enjoys, the program allowed her to inspire and empower her daughter in her own studies, which paid off as she, too, became top of her class like her mom.
Going back to college is not an option for Joan right now as she is the primary caregiver of her blind father. However, Joan believes this achievement of becoming valedictorian was her way of redeeming herself despite not having a college degree and was also a great opportunity to make her parents proud.
She shares that the skills that she learned have empowered her to make a living out of her passion. She said, “Sobrang laki ng tulong nito sakin lalo sa mga katulad ko na ganito lang na nasa bahay kasi kahit papano, nandito ako sa bahay pero at the same time, kumikita ako.” [This [program] is a huge help for me, especially since I [need to] stay at home. I’m able to spend time at home, but at the same time, I’m able to earn money.] She is now inspired to keep learning more about hairdressing and using her valuable knowledge for her clients.
For Joan, she thinks of beauty and taking care of her appearance as a gift to herself, and something that gives her the confidence to achieve more. As a woman, she strongly believes that we need to maintain who we are as women. She even shares this knowledge with her customers and clients, saying that even if they’re older, or they have kids, they need to still make an effort to look beautiful because it makes them feel beautiful and confident inside.
May Anne Abordo, Valedictorian
For Mary Anne, carving the path to her dreams is a beautiful journey. As a current hairdresser in Victoria Salon and Spa, she hopes to expand her craft in hairdressing by going abroad and eventually going back to build her own salon.
While joining this program gave her an opportunity to maintain a stable job and help support her family, she shares that this experience has also sparked her to dream big, sharing, “kung matututo pa po ako ng mas maraming skills, balak ko po mag ibang bansa bilang hairdresser. Magtatrabaho po muna ako sa [local spa] ng two years, tapos magaapply na sa ibang bansa. After nito, gusto ko mag build ng sariling salon,” [If I can learn more skills, I plan to go apply to jobs abroad as a hairdresser. I will work here in Victoria Salon and Spa for two years, then apply for a job abroad. After that, I also want to build my own salon.]
For May Anne, she is inspired by the fact that she can help others feel pretty. “Pag napapaganda mo yung mga customers mo, pag nakikita mong natutuwa sila, parang lalo kang naiinspire na galingan pa.” [When you’re able to make your customers feel beautiful, when you see how happy they are, and you’re more inspired to do better as a hairdresser.]
Maressa Estapa, Community Salon Owner
For Maressa, beauty is her determination to dream big. From a single mother struggling to send her kids to school to becoming a small business owner, she proves that beauty has a bright future and has the potential to provide a livelihood for people in the same situation. She admitted that it was a challenge to go back to being a student for a few months, but she persevered because finishing this program meant that she was empowered with an additional stream of income to help provide for her family.
Through the program, Maressa learned how to put up her own salon, Maripoza Beauty Lounge, and use social media to her advantage in promoting her business. Aside from the increased self-confidence she gained through the skills she learned, the program also put Maressa in a position to be able to encourage women, especially her fellow single moms, to upskill themselves for their families’ welfare as well.
L’Oréal Philippines Country Managing Director Yannick Raynaud is a strong believer in beauty as a fulfilling and enriching career path. She congratulated the graduates with an enthusiastic speech during the graduation ceremony, saying, “Hairdressing is one of the most rewarding and impactful jobs — you make your clients feel more confident, you listen to their days, their emotions, and take care of them. I am proud of our Beauty for A Better Life program for being an instrument for women empowerment and helping transform lives of Filipinos for the better through expert beauty training.”