follow us on

Rissa Trillo's Life & Beauty Lessons From Her Chapter At Happy Skin

The beauty guru may have exited the beauty brand Happy Skin, but she's taking a ton of learnings and memories with her.

'There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven', states the Biblical verse from the book of Ecclesiastes. And in Rissa Mananquil-Trillo's case, the time has come for her to exit a brand she has poured a huge chunk of her life to. Last October 18, she announced in an Instagram post, her exit from well-loved Filipino beauty brand Happy Skin:

The post reads:

“Today is also the day I’m announcing my exit from Happy Skin. This is a decision I thought long and hard about. It takes a lot of strength to leave something I poured so much of my life into.

Shared values are so important. Doing a good job has always meant so much to me— not just a good job, but doing it with integrity. It never made sense to me to compromise what I believed in because that meant compromising my respect for myself, too.

It was honestly a difficult decision. The final step I took was to seek the advice of some of the country’s respected business leaders. Turning to them proved to me that no matter what generation you are from, right is right and wrong is wrong.

When I look back at my goals when Happy Skin started, I’ve ticked off everything on my list—to provide a solution to a problem Filipinas had been facing and empower them with skin-caring makeup, to fill the gap in the cosmetics industry with a local makeup brand that offered premium quality products at affordable prices, and to create a homegrown brand that Filipinos can be proud of.

I understand during a time like this, I’m in a privileged position to walk away from something that no longer aligns with my values. But it’s time we all made better choices. Success to me is being able to check all the boxes in my list, but also knowing when to walk away.

Your soaring season is your sifting season. When you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.

I’m so grateful for all of you who relentlessly believed in me and for always making me feel like I can do anything. I just finished one beautiful chapter.

Now I’m excited to write a new one. From happy skin—to now happy heart and happy mind.

The brand which she has helped build from the ground up will continue to be in operation, but for Rissa, a new personal journey of having a happy mind and heart begins. We caught up with the entrepreneur slash beauty guru to find out what she has learned throughout all the years in her chapter at Happy Skin—both in life and in beauty. We wanted to find out which among the milestones she cherishes the most, and how her legacy will continue to live on.

WATCH: Metro Beauty Raid with Happy Skin Co-Founder Rissa Mananquil-Trillo


WATCH: Metro Beauty Raid with Happy Skin Co-Founder Rissa Mananquil-Trillo

Metro.Style: Now that you have decided to leave Happy Skin, as you look back, what would you say are your top lessons on life and beauty:

Rissa Mananquil-Trillo: 1) It’s easy to measure success with awards and numbers. Profit may be the measure of success in a business but it’s not the measure of success in life.

2) Self-care isn’t expensive—neglect is. Every time I’m tired, I realize it’s because I’m not able to say no and set healthy boundaries for myself. You can’t say yes to everything all the time. You have to ask yourself, is this important enough and really worth my time and person? Learn to say no, and the rare time you say yes, your yes becomes more powerful and meaningful. I have been starting to put value on my time, because the longer I work, the more I realize that I want to measure my wealth not in money, but in how much time I have and how much freedom I have to spend that time. You can always make more money but can’t make more time. Time is my new measure of wealth. Saying yes to self-care isn’t about the work you lose. It’s about the life you gain.

3) Money can be earned, reputation cannot. There will always be good days and bad days. But ultimately, it’s about doing what’s right even if it isn’t always easy. All of life is a test of integrity, and having your own business forces you to examine what it is really important to you. Never compromise what is right for short term gains. I believe in not compromising in what I believe in just to earn a buck, because while money can easily be earned, reputation cannot.

4) Anchor your wealth and beauty on what can never be taken away from you—skill, intelligence, energy, integrity, honesty, talent, kindness, and goodness.

5) When women are economically independent, we get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves. Across the globe, most of unpaid care work falls on women, which means every day, a woman misses out on opportunity to generate her own money and live her life the way she sees fit. That’s why I’ve always advocated for entrepreneurship—economic independence plays a key role to women empowerment. The feeling of self-fulfillment is so important because it adds to self-esteem and strength. No matter how many trainings, talks, or workshops women receive on gender equality and female empowerment, women will never embrace it until they’re economically independent. When women are economically independent, we get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.

MS: What would you like to tell your old self eight years ago (when Happy Skin was just starting)?

RMT: Being a mom has made me a better entrepreneur. Women are often told that for them to be “good” wives or moms, they should drop their dreams. We are judged for being bad mothers when we aspire to achieve something outside motherhood or marriage. It’s either be a good mother or be good at your job—never both—because being both was ‘too ambitious’ of us.

To any mom, mom-to-be, or woman dreaming of becoming a parent someday, don’t be fazed by old mindsets that say being a mom will cripple you or hold you back. For me, being a mom has made me a better entrepreneur. It’s seeing my children each day that makes me more mindful of what kind of world I’m leaving with them and their generation. It motivates me to contribute harder and with more urgency to the big problems of the world.

Though profit is important, high-impact entrepreneurs are seeing that it isn’t the only thing that matters. The triple bottom line now includes profit, people, and planet. I want to be the kind of entrepreneur who is actively studying and measuring how my business is changing lives for the better. Success is having an enterprise that’s more just a source of money, but one that is a force of change and good.

MS: What are some of your most memorable milestones with the brand?

RMT: There are so many milestones to be proud of, such as our collaborations with global brands like Disney, Sanrio, Havaianas, and with Filipina celebrities like Kris Aquino, Liz Uy, KC Concepcion, Heart Evangelista, and Kathryn Bernardo. I look back on everything with gratitude and a full heart.

To prove that local brands can compete with international brands is definitely a lasting legacy I can tell more about to my daughters.

Follow Rissa on Instagram at @rissamananquiltrillo