To those who subscribe to the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, here’s a newsflash: While having a reliable skincare routine is well and good, you shouldn’t keep to the same one indefinitely. The reason is simple: Just like everything else in life, our skin changes with time—for instance, becoming drier and less elastic as we age and the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin slows, or becoming more prone to dryness, irritation and breakouts as the weather fluctuates. This necessitates new additions now and then to your skincare regime to meet your skin’s dynamic needs.

Look Within

The good news is, you don’t always have to look far and wide for products that work; everything you need can be found right here on home turf, with the extra benefit of formulations that are created especially for Asian women. Here, six of the home-grown beauty brands you should know:

1. RE:ERTH

Founded by a group of five young entrepreneurs from Singapore and Japan, RE:ERTH advocates mindfulness and minimalism while embracing the beautifying power of nature. Accordingly, it offers a streamlined skincare range comprising only eight products formulated with quality nature-derived ingredients—a cleanser, a toner, a moisturiser, an eye cream, three targeted treatments (skin-refining, spot-lightening, blemish control) and an oral beauty supplement. At the heart of all its products is its patented star ingredient, the Japanese white turmeric, which is cultivated and harvested exclusively in the brand’s farms across Kyushu in Japan. Extracts from its root and leaves have been proven by researchers at Japan’s Kindai University to slow the breakdown of hyaluronic acid in the skin while stimulating collagen production and cellular activity. Other skin-loving nature-derived ingredients include the Japanese spring turmeric (inhibits melanin production), cherry blossom flower extract (stimulates collagen production), and patented and exclusive glycoproteins (promote skin cell renewal and repair).

2. HYSSES

Harnessing the healing power of nature, HYSSES (乡术, meaning “arts from the village”), founded by Cheryl Gan in 2007, offers premium essential oils as well as aromatherapy products for the hair, face, body and home. Sourcing ingredients from the seasoned hands of indigenous people, the brand bypasses middlemen traders and works closely with farmers to acquire eco-friendly ingredients such as peppermint, lemongrass, yuzu, eucalyptus and rose. Each HYSSES product is made with only natural botanical and bioactive ingredients, so you know there are no harmful toxins or synthetic silicones.

3. ést.lab 

The Under-The-Radar Singaporean Beauty Brands You Need To Know - est.lab

Launched under its parent company Estetica, one of Asia’s leading beauty establishments since 1980, ést.lab harnesses the best of science and technology to present tactics for every skin concern—whether it’s oily or dehydrated skin, unsightly spots or eye bags you’re battling. Key to the brand is its proprietary SkAI (Skin Analytics and Ingredients) Matrix, which functions as both an evaluation tool as well as a materials database to guide the selection of ingredients and the formulation of products. Developed in collaboration with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), Singapore’s leading research and development agency, the SkAI Matrix holds a list of ingredients and materials developed by the world’s leading manufacturers, and benchmarks these across four categories—safety, efficacy, compatibility and marketability—to shortlist the most desirable ones, which will then be developed into sample formulations and sent for clinical trials before being approved for manufacture. Marrying traditional methods of wellness with cutting-edge research and technology, the products are made with active ingredients that are handpicked, and concocted by renowned experts and trusted research institutions the world over. 

4. Kew Organics

Born of founder Lily Kew’s own troubles with acne and the subsequent healing through holistic skincare wellness, Kew Organics works to empower women to confidently step out with bare skin. The first home-grown organic skincare label in Singapore has come a long way since its humble beginnings six years ago, as a ladies-only organic facial bar at Everton Park. It has now expanded to include facial bars at The Central at Clarke Quay and Cluny Court, a franchise outlet at OUE Downtown Gallery (Sugar K Organic Peel Bar), and a hybrid retail-and-treatment boutique at TANGS at Tang Plaza. Testament to its popularity as well as the efficacy of its comprehensive menu of organic face and body treatments, a satisfied customer even brought the brand to Hong Kong, starting a distribution centre and a facial bar there.

5. Sigi Skin

Bringing superfood benefits to the skin, Sigi Skin draws on cutting-edge technology to deliver nourishing nutrients and minerals deep into the skin for a beauty boost. Launched in 2018 by self-professed beauty junkie Xenia Wong, the vegan skincare brand offers clean and pared-down yet potent products infused with superfood extracts that work to support skin health. Expect a range of multi-purpose offerings that boast a mix of powerful antioxidants as well as a complex blend of vitamins, minerals and bioavailable emollients that work synergistically to help restore balance and bring the glow back to urban skin. 

6. Skin Inc

Customisation is the name of the game at Skin Inc, which serves up personalised serums that give your skin what it needs, when it needs it. Established by Sabrina Tan, who recognised way back in 2008 that every individual’s skin is unique, as are its needs, the brand eschews the one-size-fits-all concept for a one-size-fits-me philosophy. Key to the customisation process is a proprietary self-diagnostic tool developed by the brand’s scientists based on decades of skin ageing research. The simple three-minute quiz evaluates your skin and identifies the three serums in the brand’s portfolio that are best suited for your needs; these will then be blended to present your very own “miracle in a bottle” known as My Daily Dose Custom Blended Serum. Also available are cleansers, exfoliators, and targeted serums and treatments, all of which are fortified with an encapsulation technology that protects the pure actives from exposure to light and oxidation, keeping them potent up to the time of use. All are compatible with skincare from other brands as well as makeup products. 

Stave off Your Skincare Woes With These Must-Have Solutions

Now that you know which Singapore beauty brands to look for, we’ve sussed out a few must-have solutions to help you tackle those pesky skin concerns. Whether you are simply looking for more hydration or seeking a targeted treatment, there is something for everyone.

If you’re looking for some cleansing help

Thorough cleansing is the first step in effective skincare—after all, your skin needs to be washed clean of all the grime of the day, along with makeup and accumulated dead skin cells, for it to be able to better absorb all the goodness of the products applied post-wash. 

If you’re looking for a moisture boost along with other benefits

You’ve probably heard it multiple times, but keeping skin hydrated and moisturised really is key to a happy, healthy-looking complexion. So don’t wait for signs of dehydration—such as dryness, dullness, and more noticeable lines and wrinkles—to show up before reaching for a hydrator or moisturiser. The simpler way would be to incorporate one of the following into your skincare routine to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.

If you’re looking for an energising anti-age booster

Fine lines, crow’s feet, sagging skin and a host of other signs of ageing making an appearance? Fret not; help is on hand with these masks that work on ensuring you stay ageless.

If you’re looking to up the glow

The reason for your lacklustre complexion may well be the build-up of dead skin cells, which causes dullness and a rough, uneven texture. Try one of these and watch your skin perk right up.

If you’re looking to beat bad skin

Nothing can get a girl down more than blotchy and inflamed skin with pimples popping up everywhere—especially if there’s a big date looming or an upcoming function to attend. Makeup can only go so far to hide these issues; the smarter way would be to invest in blemish-control skincare that promises to take care of the problem so you can hold your head high.

If you’re looking for sun protection

We all know the importance of shielding the skin from harmful UV rays, which not only cause surface damage such as a darkening of freckles and sunburn (which, by the way, increases your risk for skin cancer), but also penetrate deeper into the skin to age cells and damage their DNA. And lest you think sunscreen is reserved for the outdoors, UV rays can penetrate glass, so if you’re anywhere near a window, they’ll reach you. The takeaway? Be sure to apply sunscreen whether you’re headed out or just settling in to start your WFH day.

If you’re looking to freshen up the eye area

Your eyes say a lot—and when they look drawn and tired, your demeanour may come across as fatigued and haggard. Thankfully, caring for the delicate skin around your eye area is easy with these products.

Because you need to show your body some love too…

If the COVID pounds have gotten to you in 2020, it is never too late to hit reset.