If there’s anything that the celebration of our nation’s independence has brought about, it would be the immense pride and adoration we hone for our local talents. While tiny in size, the heart and fervour for innovation and constant growth is anything but. In this sweltering island, our city has seen a successful uprising of many independent brands across the varying industries.
Attesting to the glitzy Singapore name, a melting pot of flavours has since birthed an illustrious slew of restaurants, while in the realm of fashion, local brands have also emerged and expanded beyond our nation’s waters (read: the behemoth that is Charles & Keith). In the beauty world? An immersive pool to uncover, across hair, skin, make-up and seeping into the oh-so-important mantra of self-care. Some of these homegrown beauty brands are considered industry veterans by now, in the case of Skin Inc and Allies of Skin, while newer, younger brands give rise to fresh inventions targeted to meet newly-formed demands. Brainchild of style savant Yoyo Chao, Romi Beauty proves just that—with its skincare-make-up hybrid products, lending the air of less-is-more. Here to amp up the men’s grooming scene, Boundary debuts as a hair styling solution specifically targeted to our hot humid climate. Just in time for braving the National Day parade at the Padang, perhaps?
So to wave the Singapore flag proudly this year, get to know and shop our very own homegrown beauty brands with Vogue Singapore’s shortlist, below.
1 / 10
The brainchild of style maven Yoyo Cao, Arissa Cheo and Lin Ting, ’Romi’, means ‘dew of the sea’—translating a weightless, breezy approach to the brand’s products. Its ethos, simple and true, by way of a fuss free application—perfect for those gunning for a natural beauty look. Often, Romi Beauty products are multi-functional, which means you get to skip out on a couple of steps—as an all-encompassing product fulfils your needs from skincare to make-up.
Must-try: Romi Beauty Dream Skin Tint
The bestseller, which also happens to be the brand’s debut product, compresses make-up and skincare into one. In a single product, you get a tinted moisturiser, serum and sunscreen all blended into a lightweight formula. Comprising powerful ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, prebiotics and probiotics, its ease of use is also made better with how effortlessly the product blends into the skin, almost melting into it to enhance and conceal while giving your skin that balmy glow.
2 / 10
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.
3 / 10
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.
4 / 10
The answer to our city’s hot, humid climate? Boundary, a newly-launched grooming brand to tackle this never-ceasing caveat in Singapore. Brought to you by the same Singaporean co-founders who are also behind Hall of Goods, an exclusive local distributor of cult favourite personal care and grooming brands, Boundary is a labour of love formulated here on our sunny island, created after years of rigorous research and testing.
Must-try: The Clay Hybrid
Well, for now, The Clay Hybrid is Boundary’s first and only product—with a promise for more to hit the shelves in the near future. Set to be a hair styling wax to target humidity, the product offers a strong hold with a matte finish—made with natural ingredients and polymers for the better good of our environment. Within, a non-GMO polymer derived from corn enables flexibility, organic beeswax provides that bit of hydration to retain moisture in the hair while bioflavonoids from Yerba Santa extract protects your tresses from damage and works to prevent premature hair loss.
5 / 10
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.
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.
6 / 10
Getting to the root of the problem is answered via prescription skincare—a dedicated approach that targets exact skincare woes, while granting access to ingredients that aren’t available off-the-shelf. Singapore’s first personalised prescription-based online service, Modules, serves its customers by eschewing the hassle of booking in an appointment with the dermatologist and its oft-exorbitant accompanying consultation fee. Starting with a fuss free questionnaire and an online consultation with your doctor, you’ll be able to get your prescription of treatment actives like Tretinoin, Differin and Hydrocortisone. These ingredients offer up to three times more efficacy than other products, as they are often 20 times more potent.
Must-try: Personalised RX Treatment
A custom targeted formula that won’t break the bank—this treatment starts from $49—with a free monthly delivery right to your doorstep. This treatment will vary based off ongoing consultations with Modules’s doctors alongside reformulations as your skin condition changes.
7 / 10
Singapore’s leading designer of nail wraps, Nodspark carved its own fun and fuss-free beauty niche when it launched 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: Neon Lining Nail Wrap Manicure
It’s a summer vibe all year-round here. So to add a subtle pop of colour and pizazz to your everyday talons sans the damage of a gel manicure at a salon, stick on these wraps instead. All you need is a steady pair of hands and a nail file to trim off the edges at the end. For ease of removal, a nail polish remover will do just the trick.
8 / 10
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.
9 / 10
Determined to be the new holy grail for minimalistic skincare, Grail’s ethos includes a bare-essentials-only approach to beauty routines. To illustrate, that’s a cleanser, sheet mask, serum, moisturiser, and sunscreen—all of which are available in sleek, eco-friendly glass packaging. Small but mighty, simple but effective, Grail’s “less is more” line-up continues to be highly sought-after by skincare junkies and local celebrities alike. In fact, when first launched, their deeply hydrating mask and pure mineral sunscreen boasted record sales of more than 3,000 units within just a month. The secret to their success lies in their formula: hand-picked organic ingredients that stave away from harmful chemicals. You’ll quickly find that nature, and being kind to it, is a repeating motif for the freshly relaunched brand.
Must-try: Grail’s Retinol Vitamin A Serum
This retinol will rock your skin. With a potent blend of 1.5 per cent retinol and 1.5 per cent bakuchiol with vitamin A, Grail’s latest skincare cocktail totes one of the highest retinol concentrations in the market. That equates to a heftier cell turnover rate, production of collagen, and lit-from-within glow. All this goodness is also deftly balanced with organic additives like sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, and plukenetia volubilis seed oil, to further support and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier and tolerance to retinol. Overall, the serum is a reliable and robust solution for those looking to decongest, smoothen, and rejuvenate dull and ageing skin
10 / 10
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.