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Fashion and Beauty

‘Pwede kang magpaganda nang ‘di ka nahohold-up’ — beauty expert

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com
âPwede kang magpaganda nang âdi ka nahohold-upâ â beauty expert
Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo and Avignon Clinic Founder and CEO Christopher Cachuela
Avignon Clinic via Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — “Beauty attracts more success.”

Such has been the mantra of Christopher Cachuela, and as a beauty expert for about 20 years now, he is witness to many studies linking good looks to success and higher income.

Cachuela’s aesthetics clinic chain Avignon is behind the great “visuals” of Pinoy pop (P-pop) superstars SB19, actors Julia Montes and Sam Milby, beauty queens Celeste Cortesi and Hannah Arnold, and after working with over 80 other celebrities and influencers, Cachuela can confidently declare that today’s Filipino beauty standards have changed.

According to him, while Filipinos still look up to Korean stars like Lee Min Ho, at least for the nose and the flawless “glass” skin, gone are the days of them wanting to confirm to the “perfect” golden ratio of beauty.

Cachuela told Philstar.com in a recent exclusive interview that Filipinos now want to keep their identity and color and still look like themselves – only better.

“You don’t need naman na magandang maganda ka. But as long as you’re confident, you attract more success,” he attested.

“’Yun ‘yung talagang goal, ‘yung mukhang flattering, hindi ‘yung mukhang overcooked.”

But being simply beautiful did not make things happen easily for Cachuela. It took him over 17 years of hard work in the pharmaceutical industry, handling aesthetics treatments and products; almost 10 years of studying the brand, and about 1,500 brand names before he was able to found Avignon Clinic in March 2019.

“We chose Avignon kasi sa Paris lahat beautiful pero expensive lahat, ‘di ba? And then there’s one city in south France na medyo laidback ng konti pero the same, beautiful as Paris pero mas cost-effective ang lifestyle there,” he described his clinic chain’s unique business proposition as “affordable luxury.”

From a 30-square-meter space with three rooms in 2019, the brand expanded to open in a bigger space in Unit 108, Fort Victoria Towers, 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, and thrived throughout the COVID-19 pandemic through aggressive marketing efforts and team of all-doctor dermatologists and surgeons.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” staple Manila Luzon graced the opening of the brand’s bigger BGC space in November 2021, which Cachuela described to be “premier” but private – closed-room consultations, hidden parking slots (you don’t need to dress up because it’s not in a mall), luxurious interiors by Design Empire inspired by luxury brand boutiques, and even its own customized scent.

And the best part, Cachuela said, is that they are using the same machines and offering the same quality of service, but is 20% less expensive, than competition.

“When we did our research, parang people think it’s so expensive na magpaganda. So we positioned ourselves na pwede kang magpaganda nang affordable nang parang ‘di ka nahohold-up.”

Their best-selling treatment, Thermage FLX, for instance, comes in 600 and 900 shots. Based on Cachuela’s 20-year experience, the 900 shots are more effective and give better anti-aging results than 600, so he took pride that his clinic chain gives the 900 shots at the price of only 600.

His clinic’s other way of keeping prices down is customizing treatments based on clients’ needs. He, for example, always goes for Botox, but it keeps out wrinkles on the forehead and makes cheeks more contoured for four to five months only, so they usually recommend Thermage FLX as a more cost-effective option because it lasts for at least a year.

“’Yun talaga ‘yung thinking ng clients na, ‘O parang ayaw ko ng Botox kasi baka ‘di na gumalaw ‘yung face ko.’ But in our clinic, we are only minimally invasive. We still want to maintain that facial expression of our clients.”

Like what the clinic’s many celebrity endorsers do, Cachuela said Thermage FLX is “best to do on your birthday, once a year, because it’s good for skin tightening and remodeling collagen.”

“Thermage is the best Christmas gift for yourself,” he vouched.

Other treatments popular among celebrities, he said, are:

  • Pore tightening laser therapy
  • Swiss Vampire Facial – the clinic chain’s signature service and microneedling therapy wherein your blood is extracted, centrifuged to get the plasma, and is infused back into your face. It is finished off with a hydrogen mask. Cachuela said celebrity couple Sophie Albert and Vin Abrenica loved this because it makes their skin rejuvenated and refreshed.
  • Fat removal through Exilis Ultra, a body-contouring treatment that aims to melt fat, and can be combined with Meso Lipo to dissolve the fat.
  • Chin augmentation 
  • Once-a-month brightening lasers for skin texture and once-in-two-weeks facials for hydration

 

 

 

 

Rhinoplasty is also popular among celebrities and non-stars alike “kasi talagang na-proliferate talaga tayo ng mga Koreans eh,” Cachuela said.

“Most of the people right now talagang ang peg is mga Koreans talaga.” 

He assured that the “very tall and thin” Korean nose is “bagay sa Pinoy.”

The clinic is now studying a new machine using a microneedling treatment in fading minor scars like acne scars and stretchmarks. From BGC, the brand has expanded with a new Quezon City flagship in Sgt. Esguerra. Last month, it was set to open in Baguio’s Camp John Hay for the Northern Luzon market, and by next year, two more “grand” clinics will open.

Their goal as a new player in the aesthetics industry is more than just to change the façade – but to transform a person’s self-worth and actually make the physical change almost undetectable.

“And that’s what we’re building in Avignon, to make you more confident,” Cachuela assured.

“For example, when you’re applying for a job, even if you’re not wearing luxury brands, ‘pag ikaw ‘yung confident, mas ikaw ‘yung naha-hire or mas ikaw ‘yung napropromote.”

RELATED: Beauty enhancement 101: Doctors give dos and don’ts 

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