Zhang Weifang, TODAY
Many of us often feel lost when we step into the beauty section of a department store or browse online for the latest beauty arrivals or skincare tips.
But it’s only because there are thousands of beauty brands out there, all competing for your attention. With the promise that your body’s biggest organ (yes, that’s your skin) will look heaps better if you just slather on their products. From Revlon to Maybelline, M.A.C to Sisley, Shiseido to SK-II, there’s so much to choose from, that you’d be forgiven for giving up. Unless keeping an inventory of all the beauty products in the world is your hobby, making sense of all that to find something that suits you is probably more daunting than trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Which is where this quick and easy guide comes in. We’ve done the legwork for you and scoured the shelves to come up with some beauty brands you might not know about (but really should).
1. IDS Clinic
Many people have the perception that a product manufactured by a clinic does not work. And they can’t be more wrong about that. I have never come across a clinic’s product that works as well as IDS Clinic’s, with positive results seen in mere weeks. Its range of skincare offerings are the fruits of more than 30 years of experience and research by Dr SK Tan, each product delivering maximum efficacy to skin. My favourites include C-Plus (S$150), a lightweight serum that combats wrinkles and uneven tone; A-Plus (S$150), a retinoid for firmer and younger-looking skin; and Facial Scrub (S$62), an exfoliator that warms up upon contact with skin to effectively slough away dead skin cells and impurities.
IDS Clinic is located at #05-07/8/9/10, Novena Specialist Centre. A consultation is required for the purchase of products.
It may not be as well-known as beauty giants such as innisfree or Laneige, but don’t belittle this Korean brand. The brainchild of a group of Korean make-up artists, it offers a range of eye shadows, lipsticks, nail polishes and foundations, and has gained traction in Seoul for the superb quality and equally outstanding price points of its products. Its Virgin Kiss Lipnicure (S$19.90) is one of my choices for lip stains. The colours are highly pigmented, drying down to a matte finish that does not budge. Other contenders include Nail Stylers (S$8.90), a range of Day-Glo lacquers that are visually arresting; and Waterproof Pen Liner Kill Black (S$22.90), a smudge-proof eyeliner that stays on forever.
Available at selected Watsons stores.
Algenist was borne out of an unexpected discovery by the scientists behind the San Francisco-based brand — alguronic acid, a compound that delivers never-seen-before, scientifically measured anti-ageing benefits to the skin. It was discovered when scientists were analysing microalgae, the oldest and most nutrient-laden algae known to man, as a source of environmentally friendly and sustainable renewable energy. Star products include Advanced Anti-Aging Repairing Oil (S$112), which boosts radiance while minimising wrinkles and improving texture, and Retinol Firming & Lifting Serum, (S$138) which visibly firms and lifts.
Available at Sephora stores.
4. Kate Somerville
Kate Somerville is seen as a pioneer in the field of paramedical aesthetics (where medicine meets skincare) and some of her extensive clientele include Katy Perry, Evan Rachel Wood, Jessica Alba and Simon Cowell. Her eponymous brand is formulated with a cocktail of nourishing botanicals and actives that transform every complexion, making them look better than they already are. Try the Age Arrest Anti-Wrinkle Cream (S$146) and Age Arrest Eye Cream (S$75) to see what the hype is all about.
Available at Sephora stores.
If I had to choose what to have to protect myself from environmental aggressors on a desert island, SkinCeuticals would be on the list — because it simply works. Slap on Phloretin C F Gel (S$268) to negate free radicals and reduce the appearance of spots; the Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 (S$69) to shield collagen from UV damage; the Hydrating B5 (S$156) to hydrate and repair skin tissue; and the Advanced Pigment Corrector (S$198) to correct stubborn spots and prevent new pigmentation. SkinCeuticals certainly lives up to its maxim — prevent, protect and correct.
At Derma Skincare Center, #02-33, Westgate.
6. Dr Jackson’s Natural Products
After spending close to two decades researching and identifying natural ingredients in the Amazonian and Indonesian rainforests — and partnering scientists and traditional African and Indonesian healers — Dr Simon Jackson unveiled his skincare brand, Dr Jackson’s Natural Products. Made in the United Kingdom, its products are packed with nourishing, reparative and potent formulations of shea butter, Vitamin C-rich baobab and kigelia and they regularly sell out. Try its Coconut Melt 04 (S$20), Face & Eye Essence 05 (S$128) and Skin Cream 02 Night (S$158) to calm and soothe your frazzled skin.
7. Tata Harper
Eco-luxe brand Tata Harper uses 100 per cent non-toxic and natural ingredients in every product, and it’s the brand du jour for celebs such as Julianne Moore, Christy Turlington and Gwyneth Paltrow. You won’t be disappointed with its Rejuvenating Serum (S$217), Hydrating Floral Essence (S$94) and Resurfacing Mask (S$79).
At The Beauty Candy Apothecary, #01-05B, Cluny Court.