The saying “beauty is only skin deep” has no place in this story, for it is precisely what led 15 less fortunate women in forging a better future for themselves and their families.
On July 25, The Manila Times witnessed the graduation rites of the first batch of French cosmetics company L’Oreal’s three-month training program “Beauty for a Better Life” at Barangay Sto. Niño, Marikina City. The course was developed “to gift underprivileged communities with free, international and high-quality training, to equip them with skills in creating a better livelihood for them and their families.”
Led by the L’Oréal Foundation and implemented in different countries, Beauty for a Better Life is one of the group’s key programs to help women in difficult situations regain their dignity, humanity, and femininity and help them reintegrate into society.
After officially launching in the Philippines, L’Oréal’s local offices took the first batch of trainees through three months of classes capped by a one-week internship at a Metro Manila salon. The students underwent daily classroom sessions for 12 weeks wherein they were taught different hairdressing skills such as blow-drying, hair coloring, haircutting, and application of hair treatments – all under the tutelage of the brand’s hair professionals.
Before graduation, each student underwent a one-week internship in L’Oréal’s partner salons to expose them to actual hairdressing jobs and potentially further their career options.
One of the very first graduates of Beauty for a Better Life is Mary Rose de Guzman. With the ambition and perseverance to provide for her family, de Guzman was able to finish the program all while attending classes as a fourth-year college student. Hers is truly a story of dedication for despite her financially-challenged background, she did not allow the cards she was dealt with to get in the way of her education – making her the first in her family to finish college over the summer, and at the same time graduate as the valedictorian of the first batch of Beauty for a Better Life.
Ultimately, the goal of Beauty for a Better Life is to ensure that education can break social barriers and create a more inclusive society. Through this livelihood program, L’Oréal Philippines hopes to uplift the lives even of just a few Filipinos and open new doors in the beauty sector.
During graduation, each participant received a hairdressing starter set from L’Oréal Philippines, which they can use to either pursue a career in salons in Metro Manila, or to become micro entrepreneurs within their barangay.
“It is truly inspiring how these individuals have shown dedication and commitment to complete the program to build their confidence and more importantly, to build a better future. This has always been what L’Oréal Philippines stood for and we are happy to witness firsthand how beauty can positively impact and improve lives through programs such as Beauty for a Better Life,” ended Carmel Valencia, L’Oréal Philippines Corporate Communication manager.
The second batch of Beauty for a Better Life participants were also named at the conclusion of the graduation rites.