While we spend yet another National Day at home singing “this is Home, truly…” (anyone waving from their windows this year?), let’s take a moment for ourselves to celebrate both self-care and Singapore with a full skincare routine starring homegrown beauty brands. From international bestsellers, Skin Inc and Allies of Skin, to trend-setting Nodspark and superfood-powered Sigi Skin, here are six founded-in-Singapore brands that are putting our little red dot on the global beauty map.
Allies of Skin
Having debuted with just one product in 2016, Allies of Skin has grown into a global leader in skincare with its ingredients-focused brand of “supercharged clinical” and “biocompatible formulas” that have got skincare nerds gushing constantly. Today, the brand is constantly sought-after and sold-out at Sephoras worldwide, with its products taking prime positions on the top shelves of beauty gurus like Caroline Hirons, Ash Holm, Vi aka WhatsonVisface and more; and it is best known to put their own amplified spin on active ingredients—e.g. The world’s first waterless 35 percent vitamin C serum that’s not only potent but stable, and both easy and effective on the skin.
Must-try: Allies of Skin Mandelic Pigmentation Corrector Night Serum
If you’re trying to target skin discolouration, breakouts and signs of premature ageing, this overnight serum is a miracle worker. Its potent, hardworking blend boasts 11 percent mandelic, lactic and salicylic acid—which at first sounds a little intense but barely tingles—and one percent bakuchiol (plant-based retinol alternative), supported by a host of brighteners, antioxidants and nourishing peptides that work hard to reverse stubborn pigmentation, dullness and unevenness, all while strengthening skin’s delicate barrier as it exfoliates. This multi-tasking booster also replenishes moisture and nourishes the skin with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and essential fatty acids from organic rosehip and tamanu oil. With nightly use, this will reveal significantly refined and radiant in an impressively swift amount of time.
Founded by Estetica, ést.lab has gone from the first brand to partner with Singapore’s agency for science, technology and research, A*STAR, to developing a proprietary framework, SkAI (Skin Analytics and Ingredients) Matrix that helps formulate some truly cutting-edge skincare with intelligently selected active ingredients—and traditional, sensorial application methods in mind. This year, the brand will also be launching in China on Alibaba Group’s cross-border e-commerce platform, T-mall.
Must-try: ést.lab’s LumiWhite 10% PHA Resurfacing Glow Serum
This new generation, skin-renewing chemical exfoliator contains a high concentration of gluconolactone, a high-performing water-soluble PHA, or poly-hydroxy acid, which are known in the skincare world as “gentle giants” due to their larger molecule size. This means they don’t penetrate as deeply into the skin, making them one of the more gentle and less irritating exfoliants for all skin types—even the most sensitive ones. Combined with additional soothing properties of Kakadu plum, this carefully sloughs away the dead skin cells and sebum build-up while speeding up skin turnover, which in turn boost clarity, radiance and improve smoothness and texture overtime.
Targeting city slickers who face urban aggressors in all forms daily, Sigi Skin has been committed to multi-beneficial, superfood-infused and 100 percent vegan skincare—backed by the most advanced Korean technology—to nurture happy, healthy skin. Over the last three years since its debut in 2018, the brand has launched a host of efficacious products, including its first ever 100 percent waterless moisturiser, Idyllic Fields and award-winning Dream Capsule sleeping mask; and has garnered global recognition, with retail presence in Thailand and the US, features in international magazines, and a growing following including celebrity make-up artist, Daniel Martin. Sigi Skin’s products are also “mummy safe”, with luscious formulas that are pregnancy and nursing friendly.
Sigi Skin’s Tea-Tox hydrating, soothing and anti-pollution sheet mask
Must-try: Sigi Skin’s Tea-Tox hydrating, soothing and anti-pollution sheet mask
Formulated with 20 percent lactobacillus ferment, kombucha, cold pressed yuzu extracts and galactomyces ferment filtrate, this probiotics-rich sheet mask helps to brighten, deeply hydrate and relieve inflammation, redness or irritation in a short-and-sweet 20-minute self-care session. Each silky microfiber sheet promises to restore your skin’s microbiome—the essential ecosystem of bacteria on the surface responsible for good skin health—and turn up the luminosity, while providing additional protection against pollution and free radical damage.
Safe to say Skin Inc is the homegrown beauty brand that put Singapore on the global map. Founded in 2008 by Sabrina Tan, Skin Inc catapulted to cult beauty status with its My Daily Dose Cocktail Serum and Skin Identity Check, quickly rising as a leader in skintech with a nifty algorithm that recommends a customised skincare cocktail that checks all concerns in one bottle. The brand has since evolved into a global leader in high-tech skincare with multiple awards under its belt, with bestsellers including the Pure Revival Peel, an ultra gentle exfoliator for fresh, refined and glowing skin; and of course, its host of TriLight devices for the face, neck, eyes and most recently, body, with the new Trilight Body Sculpt Fit that tones, lifts, smooths and brightens skin from neck to toe with five-minute, anti-shock microcurrent treatments.
Must try: Optimizer Voyage Trilight++ USB Chrome Silver
This is a perennial bestseller for a reason—it delivers a customised facial in 10-minutes with five key benefits: To revive, glow, soothe, optimise and sculpt. It’s a handy device to have at home, for DIY facials or maintenance sessions in between your in-spa treatments, perfect for moments when your skin needs a little extra loving or is slightly more inflamed or irritated than usual. Best used with water-based skincare and a sheet mask for enhanced product penetration, this handheld powerhouse combines the power of coloured LED Chromotherapy with sonic technology (low frequency stimulation) to tackle skincare concerns like dullness with the help of brightening yellow light; fine lines with the help of rejuvenating red light; and breakouts with the help of soothing blue light—all while helping to lift facial contours, boost circulation and reduce water retention.
Singapore’s leading designer of nail wraps, Nodspark carved its own fun and fuss-free beauty niche when it launched just about three years ago. Perfect for time-strapped nail art-lovers, or beauty lovers constantly on-the-go, these DIY manicures are a breeze to slick on in under 10 minutes, with no drying time and no smudges, and last for a week—or you can change up as often as you like. The brand has a design for everyone, as reflected in their collaborations with global brands like Disney, Paula’s Choice, Fossa Chocolate and Obey; elegant bridal party collection; solid colour options; and constantly growing selection of kaleidoscopic, patterned prints. They even have petite sets to treat the little ones to an adorable pastel mani.
Must try: Classic Ruby Red
Everyone loves a bold red manicure, and Nodspark’s can be done in minutes with zero dry time, is smudge proof, and stays glossy and chip-free for days. Each set comes with 16 nail polish wraps of varying sizes, a mini nail file and wooden cuticle pusher, instructions for application and removal, and a tips page for an easy-breezy manicure on the go. For added shine and a longer-lasting gel effect, add one of their top coats to your cart as well.
Founded by a mother-daughter duo Ashley and Jo Yong, Two Halves is based on the concept of yin and yang—the fine balance between self-care and well-being for a holistic approach to beauty. The conscious brand prides itself in delivering skin-synchronising, plant-based vegan formulas with restorative and effective—but minimalist—routines in mind, perfect for time-strapped urbanites who prefer all-in-one, multi-functional products that are fuss-free and compatible with most, if not all, skin types.
Must try: Two Halves’ Better Balance Soothing Hydration Essence
This promises to quench and calm sensitive or sensitised skin. Meant to be used as a step before moisturiser, this lightweight, watery gel is jam packed with powerful antioxidant-rich extracts like prickly pear, cherry blossom, glycine soja seed and geranium robertianum, which work hand in hand to deliver anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing results; licorice root extract that works wonders for redness associated with acne, psoriasis and rosacea; a vitamin C derivative that stimulates the synthesis of collagen and fights oxidative stress; humectants to infuse deep hydration; and sebum-regulating hydrogenated lecithin to soften and soothe as well.