9 local beauty brands that make us proud to be Singaporean

We are Singapore: The beauty edition

We Are Singapore: The Beauty Edition
We Are Singapore: The Beauty Edition
03 Aug 2018

We Are Singapore: The Beauty Edition

Singapore might be well-known for its world-class airport, award-winning Zoo and Night Safari, and unique places of interest such as the Marina Bay Sands hotel and Gardens by the Bay, but there’s more to our little red dot than we give it credit for.

In the recent years, Singapore has also become home to a steady growing number of locally-based beauty brands. From personalised skincare to makeup that cares for you and the planet we live in, here are seven Singapore-based brands you need to know and try today. 

ALLIES OF SKIN
ALLIES OF SKIN
03 Aug 2018

ALLIES OF SKIN

Best Known For: A Singapore brand sold on some of the biggest beauty sites and stores around the world

Founder: Nicolas Travis

Started In: March 2016

The Beginnings: Founder Nicolas Travis had severe acne as a teenager, which is how his passion for skincare grew. “I found the process of shopping for products daunting and intimidating and quickly realised that there were many empty promises in this industry. And because I believed that he could make a difference and knew I had nothing to lose, I went all out for it. After two and a half years of Research and Development, Allies of Skin was launched in March 2016.”  

Brand Philosophy: Supercharged Clinical, where clinically proven ingredients are taken, supercharged and added to clean, non-toxic formulas.

Singapore Pride: “We’ve come a long way and we always try to represent Singapore in the best way we can. We are very proud to be the first and only Singaporean beauty brand stocked at Net-A-Porter, Mr Porter, Harrods, Barneys, JOYCE, Lane Crawford, Saks Fifth Avenue and Selfridges.”

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1A All-Day Pollution Repair Mask, $139: The world’s first day mask and aside from protecting skin from all forms of pollution, it helps repair past and present damage. Even better, it helps you look like you’ve had more sleep than you actually did.

Promise Keeper Blemish Facial, $159: A product that is very near to Travis’ heart and was created for anyone suffering from stress and hormonal breakouts — it not only treats existing blemishes but also helps prevent future ones. It makes the skin healthier by feeding it with tons of nutrients, because healthy skin is skin that doesn’t break out.  

 

13RUSHES
13RUSHES
03 Aug 2018

13RUSHES

Best Known For: Cruelty-free and professional makeup brushes that are easy on the pocket

Founder:Tay Yu Hui

Started In: October 2013

The Beginnings: Founder Tay Yu Hui knew since her teenage years that she was going to make a difference. “At that point in time, beauty on YouTube was becoming very big. I wanted to get the same brushes these beauty gurus were using. But almost all of the brushes featured were made from animal hair. The beauty gurus would talk about how animal hair brushes were better at picking up powders than synthetic bristles. The latter wasn’t a popular option and was often seen as an inferior product back then.  

As a super gung-ho teenage animal activist, I began to question the source of these natural hair brushes. I emailed the suppliers to learn more about where these bristles were procured. Unsurprisingly, I learnt that the bristles were either harvested from fur farms or from trapping wild animals. 

However, it was only a few years later, when I was 21, that I looked into starting my own cruelty-free brand. I took a year to go on procurement trips and sat down at the factories to learn the craft of brush making. On October 2013, I launched the online store, and it has been almost 5 years since.”

Brand Philosophy: To provide cruelty-free, synthetic makeup brushes that everyone can afford. “Before I started 13rushes, there was a lack of selections in the market and whatever was left was simply not up to par. My mission is to bridge this gap. With 13rushes, I hope to convince my customers to make a lifestyle change and opt for cruelty-free brushes whenever possible.”

Singapore Pride: “While I am proud, I am also thankful. Thankful for the local beauty community for being so patient with me during my early years, and giving me the support I needed for my brand to grow. And as I did not have a background in professional makeup artistry, I’m grateful to the feedback given to me by local makeup artists. Their input has helped me refine my brushes and they have also been very constructive in helping me get the shapes right.”

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The Universal Do-It-All Face Brush, $39.90: A user-friendly and versatile brush, it is great for everyone and for all makeup textures - Use it with creams, liquids and powders. “We created this brush because we wanted to reduce confusion over which brush to use and eventually simplify the beauty routine.” 

The end result took two years of prototyping and research, and a whole of understanding of bristle density, diameter and waviness to create. In addition, this brush was also designed together with input from one of Singapore’s top makeup artists, Larry Yeo.

 

ALCHEME
ALCHEME
03 Aug 2018

ALCHEME

Best Known For: Personalised skincare and Singapore’s newest beauty kid on the block

Founders: Amy Yee, Constance Mandefield and Tuyen Lamy

Started In: May 2018

The Beginnings: “We were inspired by our conversations with women, who shared that they were not completely confident in knowing what their skin concerns were. That’s why we decided to harness developments in technology to create a platform that not only educated women on their skin needs, but also offered personalised and high-performance solutions to help them meet their skin goals,” says co-founder Constance Mandefield.

Brand Philosophy: Intentional Skincare. The founders believe that skincare should also be good for the environment as well by:

  • Only including the extracts that address your specific skin needs, so as not to draw on unnecessary resources;
  • Innovating processes capable of creating fresh and on-demand solutions, which means only producing in the quantities required;
  • Investing in accurate digital analysis and a cutting-edge online service to deliver to your door, so as to reduce carbon footprint.

Singapore Pride: “We are extremely proud to reflect the Singaporean identity of mixing modernity and heritage, innovation and minimalism. In the same way, at Alcheme, we combine deeply-rooted skincare expertise with cutting-edge technology. By designing innovative processes, capable of creating fresh and on-demand solutions, we prepare personalised formulation using time-proven natural extracts and vitamins that are uniquely suited to each customer’s needs.”

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03 Aug 2018

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Personalised Serum, $95, and Personalised Emulsion, $105: Both are packed with active ingredients that are carefully selected for your skin goals, and have an incredibly light texture, which bodes well with the hot and humid weather in Singapore. 

COAT
COAT
03 Aug 2018

COAT

Best Known For: Toluene-, camphor-, formaldehyde-, resin-, xylene-, TPHP- and paraben-free nail polishes, making them safe for everyone, including pregnant moms and even children to use

Co-founder: Caryn Lim

Started In: 2014

The Beginnings: “I was running a nail and massage spa called Hands + Feet Studio, and realised that there was an increasing demand for non-toxic nail products at the spa. That was when I decided to rope my co-founders along to start a non-toxic nail lacquer label that would also cater more to Asian skin with the colours we curate.”

Brand Philosophy: Non-toxic glamour. “With increasing concern from consumers regarding harmful chemicals like Triphenyl Phosphate, Paraben, Camphor etc., and studies which show that our bodies may absorb these chemicals when we apply them on our body, consumers these days are looking for cosmetic products that are non-toxic,” says co-founder Caryn Lim. 

Singapore Pride: “Our colours are especially suited for Asian skin and the names are fondly named after some local favourites like ‘Bak Kwa’ and ‘Jambu’.”

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03 Aug 2018

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COAT nail polishes, $25 each: The formula, together with a specially designed brush, allows the colours to glide on easily. It dries quickly, the finishing is luxurious, and best of all, it’s non-toxic. “I had a friend who would get allergic reactions from using other brands of nail polish but with COAT, she was able to enjoy a nice manicure without the nasty allergic reaction.”

A DRBRAND
A DRBRAND
03 Aug 2018

A DRBRAND

Best Known For: A holistic beauty experience via doctor-approved treatments and products

Founders: Dr Georgia Lee and Patsy Ong-Hahl

Started In: May 2016

The Beginnings: While founder of DrGL and co-founder of A DrBrand (ADB), Dr Georgia Lee had the experience working with women and their concerns in her clinic, it took a personal skin woe that got her working on her own skincare line. “A serious allergic reaction was only resolved after several months and rounds of antibiotics, and with a cream that I had customised for myself. It was this traumatic episode that motivated me to delve into developing a range of skincare products,” Dr Lee shares.

Today, ADB is an amalgamation of three established Singapore home-grown beauty and spa brands — DrGL, DrHair and DrSpa.

Brand Philosophy: Maximum efficacy with minimum fuss. ADB products and services are well-curated and approved by renowned doctors, formulated based on in-depth clinical research, chemists and scientists around the world to solve your skin, hair and beauty concerns. “Our mission is to be the ‘Beauty BFF’ in our customers’ quests to be at their optimal best.”

Singapore Pride: “I am proud of our uniquely Singaporean origins. We represent the intrinsic resilience that allowed Singapore to be what it is today. With our stringent safety standards, Singapore is known for using safer ingredients and processing, which allows all local brands to champion higher credibility amongst our overseas competitors,” says Ong-Hahl. 

 

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03 Aug 2018

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DrGL Post Cleaner Step 2, $108. Use after cleansing, this serum infused with mild lactic acid gently renews the skin, leaving it clearer and glowing, without being too harsh on even sensitive skins.  

MMERCI ENCORE
MMERCI ENCORE
03 Aug 2018

MMERCI ENCORE

Best Known For: Aromatherapy for the body, mind and soul

Founder: Alli Sim

Started In: 2015

The Beginnings: According to founder Alli Sim, when she started several years ago there was virtually no handcrafted beauty or wellness brands. “As a certified aromatherapist and former beauty editor who discovered essential oils as a kid, my primary inspiration was to create an expression of beauty that actually helped others and made them feel wonderful about themselves in the most pure and holistic sense. I want for people to pick up these little luxuries and feel instantly revived, fortified or relaxed, and importantly, reminded of their own worth.”  

Brand Philosophy: Beauty with soul. “We describe what we do as being for skin and psyche because aromatherapy, which is the life force or essence of flowers, trees, roots, fruits and the like being distilled, help heal or at least, add value to someone’s overall wellbeing. These essential oils have been traditionally used for centuries and we take the purest oils and handcraft them in small batches for people to enjoy in a modern, real world context: after yoga, on a flight, just before bed.” 

Singapore Pride: “I'm grateful and so honoured that we've been so embraced here. It's really an honour to serve others in this way, and while we have our sights on other shores in the near future, it's like what our labels say: handcrafted with passion and pride in Singapore.” 

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03 Aug 2018

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Glow Elixir Roll-on Aromatherapy Perfume, $39: This actually has a little cult following of its own. It's a gorgeous, uplifting proprietary blend of 100% pure, therapeutic grade essential oils including organic geranium. 

Nightshade Sleep Mode Blend, $42: “I could be in Milan for literally a dinner, or Paris for weeks on end, and suffer from bad jetlag. I also found it really hard to unwind from work every night and created a blend that helped me feel less wired. I've been using this on myself for several years and only launched it last year and it's been a hit ever since. I'm really humbled to know that its genuinely helping people sleep and rest better.”

 

PORCELAIN THE FACE SPA
PORCELAIN THE FACE SPA
03 Aug 2018

PORCELAIN THE FACE SPA

Best Known For: Effective facials and home care products that women trust. 

Founder: Pauline Ng

Started In: 2009

The Beginnings: Founder and Managing Director of Porcelain The Face Spa, Pauline Ng, has always been helping her mother, a beautician who started a small facial service business in a rented bomb shelter at the foot of a HDB block back in the 1990s. “She was well-known for her deep-cleansing facials and extraction services, and garnered quite a following.” Sadly, due to major economic downturns and the SARS outbreak in 2004, Ng’s mother was forced to close the business. Fortunately, once Ng graduated from university, she decided to help her mother re-start the business, and that was how Porcelain The Face Spa was born.

Brand Philosophy: Correcting, not concealing. “A lot of treatments and products are targeted at treating the symptoms instead of the root causes. For example, the fine lines that appear from dehydration. However, the key is in getting your skin back to its right balance of pH, sebum and water levels. Once that happens, skin problems don’t recur as frequently, sensitivity is reduced. We need to get that healthy skin from the inside out, from the cellular level, and let it do its job.”

Singapore Pride: “It has been a fulfilling journey being a Singapore brand. One of our big dreams remains for Porcelain to represent Singapore and become an internationally recognised brand while maintaining the highest quality and for it to become an authority in skincare.”

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03 Aug 2018

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The Balance Sebum Control Essence, $41. It not only helps combination skins achieve a good balance of oil and moisture, but it is also great for travel as it is able to keep skin moisturised in dry climates yet reduces excess oil production in humid conditions.

RE:ERTH
RE:ERTH
03 Aug 2018

RE:ERTH

Best Known For: Fuss-free and effective skincare products

Co-founders: Shinji Yamasaki, Toh Ziling, Celestine Koh, Keith Cheong and Winnie Lim

Started In: October 2017

The Beginnings: According to co-founder and COO, Toh Ziling, “RE:ERTH is a Singapore-based, Japanese-made mindful skincare label that promotes healthy skin by combining the best of cosmetic science and nature-derived ingredients to deliver real, proven results.” 

Brand Philosophy: Mindful Beauty. “The conversations with our customers are never peppered with ‘flawless skin instantly’ overpromises, but take on a more ‘take care of yourself’ holistic approach, with a key emphasis on healthy skin. When customers are cognisant and immersed in the self-care experience, they tend to think, feel, and look their best,” says co-founder and CEO Shinji Yamasaki.

Singapore Pride: “There is no better place to start a brand than in Singapore, with the consumers’ level of sophistication, our diverse cultures that converges and constantly creates, and our robust business environment that increasingly supports local brands,” says Toh.  

 

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03 Aug 2018

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Multi-Targeted Elixir, $108: A multi-tasking product that works intelligently with your skin to balance it and keep it healthy, youthful looking and radiant. According to Yamasaki, customers have commented that their oily/combination skin has never seen better days of ‘normal skin with smaller pores’, while dry/sensitive skin users have supple, firmer and clearer skin.” 

ZAHARA
ZAHARA
03 Aug 2018

ZAHARA

Best Known For: Singapore’s first halal-certified beauty brand

Founder: Amira Geneid

Started In: September 2015

The Beginnings: Founder Amira Geneid and her sister absolutely love makeup but struggled to find halal makeup that they could and would wear. “It wasn’t just the availability, but also finding halal makeup that was trustworthy and good quality.”

In addition, Geneid felt that within the wider cosmetics industry, there hadn’t been much emphasis on pushing out products that are high quality, healthy and cater to Muslim women. “So we decided to take matters into our own hands. After two years of Research and Development, Zahara was launched with 10 nail polishes in September 2015.”

“It’s all my makeup concerns ticked off. Halal, made in Europe with top grade ingredients, cruelty-free and vegan”

Brand Philosophy: Celebrating beauty without compromising faith and quality. “With Zahara, I was very particular about the production, all our products are made in Europe using only the best quality ingredients.”

Singapore Pride: “Singapore provides a great environment for start-ups and I love living here, that’s why I decided to base my business out of Singapore.”

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Zahara Nail Polishes, $5 each: They are the brand’s best-sellers and in addition to being 5-free (i.e. free of Formaldehyde, Toulene, DBP, Formaldehyde Resin and Camphor), they are also oxygen and water permeable, which prevent nails from yellowing and becoming brittle. Each polish is also super pigmented, so you only need one coat of polish each time.

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