As a beauty and wellness icon, it was perhaps but natural for Cory Quirino to eventually produce her own line of chemical-free face and body products. After all, she rose to fame by advocating living well and looking good through her TV shows Citiline and The Good Life, her radio show Ma Beauty Po Naman on DZMM, her weekly beauty column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and the five books she has already written on the subject.
“It’s my advocacy to have people realize the beauty inside themselves,“ Quirino says, “and I can certainly present myself as a good case study. I used to be 15 pounds overweight but was able to lose it in only 10 days by exercising daily and eating well. Since then, my focus has grown to encompass one’s entire wellness, which of course includes keeping fit.”
Quirino’s personality was, in fact, precisely the type that long-time pharmaceutical player May Velilla had been looking for to promote CocoZen, a new line of virgin coconut oil-based beauty products. “When I met Cory at a party in mid-2005, I knew she was the perfect fit—a living example of what my natural products can do for you. So I offered her an endorsement and partnership deal.”
CocoZen, which is composed mainly of virgin coconut oil and other essential oils, is produced by Velilla’s company, MRV Enterprises, a North Luzon pharmaceutical distributor that has been in the business since 1994. Virgin coconut oil is antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiviral and can be used as a makeup remover, moisturizer, and antiaging oil.
Quirino happens to have been a firm believer and regular user of virgin coconut oil for decades now, making it the base product of her own daily beauty regimen. The self-proclaimed “Coconut Queen” says that coconut oil is perfect for use in a country like the Philippines: “In our tropical country, virgin coconut oil has more lasting power than creams and lotions, which actually dry our skin and don’t stay for long. And, of course, coconut is something readily available here.”
Quirino thus readily agreed not only to accept Velilla’s invitation to be CocoZen’s signature endorser but also to be a joint-venture partner in the business—a first for Quirino. The two then spent roughly six months developing the new product line, which they called “CocoZen by Cory Quirino.”
“May handled the formula research while I suggested and tested the products,” says Quirino. “I think it’s an endorser’s responsibility to make sure the product is good. My two principal concerns are that it is of high quality and that it is affordable so it can reach as many people as possible. Miraculously, May was also able to add citrus and rose essential oil scents to the prouct, which is great because it keeps one from smelling like latik [a coconut-cake concoction]!”