Small we may be, but mighty in spirit we are. Singapore’s true strength lies in its people and these local skincare brands are testament to that. Despite being small in scale, they spare no expense when it comes to expert formulations that address our skincare needs. So let’s rally together and show some love for these five home-grown brands.
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The dermatological brand of beauty and skincare group IDS (Innovative Dermatological Solutions), which operates under the JYSK Group and also offers medical aesthetic treatments under IDS Clinic as well as facial services under IDS Aesthetics, works with JYSK-owned lab HVNS Productions to develop exclusive formulations and technologies. Among these innovations is the patented NEULASTIN, which combines select highly active ingredients that stimulate elastin and collagen synthesis with an enhanced delivery system that boosts penetration. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and its primary role is to protect and keep out all things foreign—including skincare, which is why it’s difficult for skincare ingredients to penetrate. NEULASTIN works in a clever way, “opening” temporary channels between skin cells so that active ingredients are able to pass through the stratum corneum to stimulate elastin and collagen production deep within, for plumper, firmer and suppler skin.
Try: Rejuvenating Complex, $262.15, IDS Skincare
This potent anti-ageing cream is packed with ingredients that promote firmer skin. It’s formulated with the proprietary NEULASTIN technology that includes actives such as hyaluronic acid, collagen, elastin, adenosine, zinc and magnesium, all of which are dispatched to where skin needs them most via a patented enhanced delivery system.
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Founded as part of beauty salon chain Estetica’s in-house skincare line in the 1990s, it emerged as ést.lab after a rebranding in 2012. The brand prides itself on understanding what women want from their skincare—thanks to first-hand knowledge from customers who visit Estetica for facials. In 2010, it entered a unique partnership with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, and together, they developed the SkAI (Skin Analytics and Ingredients) Matrix, a proprietary framework that the brand uses as an evaluation tool and a materials database to help develop and formulate its products. Committed to creating ethical and sustainable skincare, ést.lab uses ECOCERT-certified ingredients as well as 100 percent recyclable or biodegradable materials for the products’ packaging. To further minimise packaging waste, it offers refills of its products, all of which feel lightweight on skin and are formulated to suit the busy lifestyles of urban women.
Try: LumiWhite 10% PHA Resurfacing Glow Serum, $168, ést.lab
While most chemical exfoliators can trigger reactions on sensitive skin, this one is formulated specifically for those who experience skin sensitivity. Polyhydroxy acid (PHA) is the main active ingredient here, serving to resurface skin to improve its texture, clarity and overall radiance.
ALLIES OF SKIN
The beauty brand that almost wasn’t, Allies of Skin started off being just a grad school project for founder Nicolas Travis—who only went back to the business plan when his advertising job left him dissatisfied. With a loan and blessings from his siblings, he spent the next two and a half years in research and development, finally launching the brand in 2016 with just three products: an all-day mask, a mist and an overnight mask. It was a breath of fresh air in a time when the maximalist South Korean 11 step skincare routine was raging, but this minimalist concept has proved formidable, with the brand’s one-and-done multi-taskers with supercharged formulas working wonders to improve the skin’s natural resilience and bring skin to its radiant best.
Try: Peptides & Antioxidants Firming Daily Treatment, $168, Allies of Skin
This lightweight moisturiser is jam-packed with six peptides, seven brightening ingredients, nine antioxidants and a 3 percent Teprenone Complex to hydrate, firm, refine, protect and brighten. It is suitable for all skin types, but works especially well for skin that appears fatigued, is dehydrated and displays signs of ageing.
Founded in 2017, RE:ERTH (an abbreviation for “re-encountering earth”) advocates a minimalist, mindful and pared-down approach to beauty. At the heart of its formulations is the Japanese white turmeric that is cultivated only in the Kyushu region of Japan. Research by Japan’s Kindai University had revealed that extracts from the root and leaves of the plant could slow the breakdown of hyaluronic acid while stimulating cellular activity and collagen production—making the plant an ideal anti- ageing skincare ingredient. The brand also fortifies its skincare with other botanical ingredients, such as the Japanese Spring Turmeric, said to reduce tyrosinase activity, which in turn inhibits melanin production, as well as yellow turmeric, a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.
Try: Multi-Targeted Elixir, $116, RE:ERTH
The brand’s star product, this serum has a potent concentration of Japanese white turmeric leaf and root extracts, Japanese Spring Turmeric leaf extract and a highly stabilised form of vitamin C to improve the look of sagging skin, large pores and dark spots. It also boasts key ingredient Lipodisq, a delivery system that helps to transport skincare actives between skin cells more effectively.
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Launched in 2018 by beauty entrepreneur Xenia Wong, Sigi Skin started with just three products inspired by superfoods such as avocados, kale, oats, spinach and goji berries, which are packed with antioxidants and nutrients. The brand has since expanded its repertoire to nine products, all driven by vegan and cruelty-free ingredients that are made in South Korea. The beauty label has garnered both local and international attention, including from South Korean makeup artist and beauty YouTuber Pony, who is a huge fan of its Idyllic Fields moisturiser.
Try: Morning Glow Physical Sunscreen, $58, Sigi Skin
Singapore’s humid weather means we need a sunscreen that doesn’t feel greasy or heavy on skin, and this one fits the bill perfectly—and has a hydrating formula to boot, which means it can easily double as a moisturiser. It was one of the first three products that accompanied the brand’s launch, but has since undergone a reformulation to keep to the brand’s vegan and cruelty-free promise. Spreading easily, it leaves no white cast on skin and comes packed with brightening niacinamide, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and a superfood blend that includes avocado and acai extracts, which are rich in vitamin E, fatty acids and antioxidants.