Beauty Lessons: Dominique Cojuangco On The Collective, Inclusivity in Self-care, and Why 'Healthy Means Perfect'

The local online beauty boutique believes skincare doesn’t need to follow trends.

Taking off from its name, The Collective “creates a space that is fully inclusive,” says the founder and beauty enthusiast Dominique Cojuangco. When she and co-founder Michael Hern conceptualized the brand, they envisioned a platform that would translate their interests at heart—skincare that is not based on trends nor beauty standards.

Beyond their own beauty tools and accessories, the multi-brand self-care website takes in a curated list of brands such as Laneige, Innisfree, Skin Need, and their latest, Nala, the country’s leading brand for biodegradable period care.

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The Collective founders Michael Hearn and Dominique Cojuangco

Trusting a brand

Cojuangco says the brand is all about embracing skin types. “We do not play on people’s insecurities or concerns to sell product; we focus on skin health over aesthetics.” This is a different take from the common approach, say of color cosmetics, to cover up what people perceive as their impurities.

This is why The Collective believes skincare is an act of self-care. “It’s something you do for yourself; it helps with your self-confidence,” the co-founder says.

With thousands of products in the market, some may find it difficult to identify which ones to trust. “Results and values are the key criterion we use for determining which brands and products we take on,” Cojuangco explains. They take a refined process of research not only on the ingredients and origins but if the results support the claims.

From their belief systems, goals, operations, to the industry, the founders also consider the synergy of the brands. “We believe that when you make your purchase, you are not just buying the product but inadvertently buying into a brand’s values, too,” she adds.

The essentials of the vegan skincare label Alder New York have all been tried and tested by the founders

Truths about the skin

There are many myths about skincare that people still believe in. “Healthy skin means perfect skin,” emphasizes Cojuangco. This debunks the common misconception that skin has to be super smooth, glass-like, or glowing—similar to the beauty trends these days. “Real skin has texture, marks, and won’t always be at its best,” she clarifies.

“You have one skin type,” is another myth she demystifies. The environment and one’s diet play major roles in contributing to the changes in the skin. So, it is essential to explore the products that work and switch or change once the body is no longer reacting to them in a good way. Listening to the body makes a huge difference in knowing how to address its needs.

Through The Curator (beauty articles) and The Concierge (skincare quiz providing personalized routine), The Collective is guiding people on discovering what works best for them.

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The multi-brand platform creates tools and accessories that enhance people’s regimens

Men and skincare

“It’s not something that all men were taught to do,” observes Cojuangco. Thankfully, this changed over the years as there is a considerable shift to male-oriented brands. Some carry a unisex status while others are targeting men specifically such as Brickell, Lab Series, and Jack Black.

“When you’re not being represented, it’s off-putting,” the co-founder continues. This is why The Collective is not limited in its demographic. As they believe self-care translates to beauty and it is for everyone, they are working on a gender-neutral approach to their offerings.

“Factoring in men into the website is one part of inclusivity,” she says. “We want people to be and feel represented no matter: your gender, sexuality, shade, or shape.” From the curation, making of their products, social media content, to their business partners, The Collective is proving to be among the local forerunners of an inclusive beauty industry.

Click here to visit The Collective’s website.

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