In­done­sian skin­care and beauty sup­plies are hot items, but what’s an ex­pat to do when look­ing for the best items and brands? Beauty writer Ahda Arifa Is­mail ex­plains what’s best amongst the lead­ing prod­ucts and lines.

Indonesia Expat - - Meet The Expat - BY AHDA ARIFA IS­MAIL

Home­grown Beauty – A Sim­ple Guide to In­done­sian Cos­metic Brands

Of­ten con­sid­ered as the re­ces­sion- proof busi­ness, the beauty in­dus­try at­tracts both the en­thu­si­ast and en­tre­pre­neur around the world. There is al­ways a place in the mar­ket for growth and a chance to change the trends. After all, beauty has be­come a vi­tal ne­ces­sity in this modern age.

Se­vere com­pe­ti­tion be­tween com­pa­nies try­ing to out-best each other is no se­cret. Pin­ning down the who’s who in cos­met­ics can be dif­fi­cult be­cause this busi­ness deals with peo­ple’s pref­er­ences. For decades now, Paris and the United States have set the stage for beauty. The com­pa­nies that op­er­ate from there de­liver high qual­ity goods, and dic­tate a cer­tain stan­dard for what’s in style and what looks good.

Beauty com­pa­nies from South Korea have re­cently tipped the in­dus­try into a new phase. They have suc­cess­fully mar­keted a new look to the world fo­cussing on the health of skin as equally or more im­por­tant than tra­di­tional cover ups. Peo­ple are grad­u­ally re­al­iz­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of skin­care prod­ucts, with a pref­er­ence for in­gre­di­ents sourced from na­ture.

De­spite the ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing cam­paigns from these com­pa­nies in the past few years, the In­done­sian mar­ket has seen a steady-but­defini­tive new wave of lo­cally sourced and man­u­fac­tured beauty prod­ucts. Although In­done­sia has been pro­duc­ing cos­met­ics and skin­care lines for the mar­ket for a while, the re­sponse from con­sumers has never been more ex­cit­ing for these up-and- com­ers. More and more In­done­sian con­sumers are proud to pur­chase lo­cal brands. The young en­trepreneurs be­hind the lo­cal com­pa­nies are also ea­ger to pro­mote beauty in­no­va­tions. The lo­cally-made prod­ucts are now al­most com­pa­ra­ble to the world- class brands. Some of them have even suc­ceeded in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Over the course of two years, In­done­sia’s mar­ket has been flooded with lo­cal cos­met­ics com­pa­nies that fo­cus on lip wear. More specif­i­cally, lip cream in a non- dry­ing matte fin­ish. Sev­eral In­done­sia-based com­pa­nies started off with en­tirely new con­cepts. Their ar­rival was a breath of fresh air for a sag­ging mar­ket for which there is al­ways op­por­tu­nity for cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion.

Here are some of the vastly pop­u­lar lo­cal brands with home­grown ap­peal:

Rollover Re­ac­tion

Ar­guably the only youth­ful, lo­cal brand that pi­o­neers a broad- spec­trum lip cream with matte fin­ish, Rollover Re­ac­tion is one of the most pop­u­lar brands amongst In­done­sians. It is a brain­child of four young women, who suc­cess­fully mar­ried sim­plic­ity with ele­gance. It is one of the holy grails of lip­wear with an un­prece­dented for­mula that seems fit­ting to any type of skin con­di­tion. Rollover Re­ac­tion is re­cently ex­pand­ing their col­lec­tions to eye­brow makeup. (Price range Rp.109,000 to Rp.129,000 at web­site www.rollover­re­ac­ Make Over In a world full of pos­si­bil­i­ties, the only thing that re­mains a rule is the per­cep­tion of beauty. How­ever, does beauty have to ful­fil a cer­tain stan­dard in so­ci­ety? De­ter­mined to an­swer this pro­found question, Make Over ini­ti­ates a line of beauty prod­ucts suit­able for ev­ery skin type and con­cern. They are not one type of beauty, but beauty for ev­ery type. Their lines of cos­metic and skin­care prod­ucts ar­rive with classy black pack­ag­ing, giv­ing world- class ele­gance. (Price range: Rp.45,000 to Rp.305,000 at Make Over Stores and lo­cal drug­stores)


This skin­care com­pany com­bines an­cient, In­done­sian beauty rit­u­als and her­bal medic­i­nal prac­tices within the con­fines of modern sci­ence. Even though it is based in New York, the orig­i­na­tor of the brand fea­tures tra­di­tional In­done­sian spices such as can­dlenut oil, clove, tamarind or turmeric. They of­fer an ar­ray of herbal­her­itage-meets-botan­i­cal- sci­ence con­cept skin­care prod­ucts and body treat­ments. (Price range Rp. 329,000 to Rp.994,000 at Sephora In­done­sia).


Im­i­ta­tion and rep­e­ti­tion are two of the largest issues in the dig­i­tized era. A ma­jor­ity of lo­cal com­pa­nies have started to en­cour­age women to be brave and flaunt their unique­ness. Cel­e­brat­ing the vi­va­cious world of pop cul­ture with in­no­cent op­ti­mism at its core, Polka’s brand livens up with orig­i­nal­ity. The cos­metic com­pany of­fers a range of colours that can hardly be found any­where else. They are also one of the few In­done­sian brands that have bro­ken through the in­ter­na­tional ranks to Aus­tralia and the United States. (Price Rp.185,000 at www.polk­a­ and Sephora In­done­sia)

Min­eral Botan­ica

De­liv­er­ing ben­e­fi­cial el­e­ments that only na­ture can, Min­eral Botan­ica pro­duces cos­met­ics and skin­care with­out the use of chem­i­cals. The prod­ucts are de­vel­oped with ex­tracts and es­sen­tial oils that are man­u­fac­tured under the strictest qual­ity control. Of­ten


In­spired by world- class beauty ex­perts, Esqa Cos­met­ics shows how so­phis­ti­ca­tion can be achieved with the sub­tlest of colours. The founders of the brand in­fuse nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents in­side their iconic rose- gold pack­ag­ing. Even though the brand has now launched an­other line of prod­ucts, In­done­sian cos­metic afi­ciona­dos are still cham­pi­oning their lip prod­ucts, in both matte-fin­ish liq­uid and sat­in­fin­ish crayon. (Price range Rp.185,000 to Rp.295,000 at­qa­cos­met­ics. com, So­ci­olla and Sephora In­done­sia) over­looked due to its rel­a­tively lowrang­ing price, its qual­ity is com­pa­ra­ble to in­ter­na­tion­ally man­u­fac­tured brands. They of­fer an un­prece­dented col­lec­tion of cos­met­ics, skin­care, tools and body care. (Price range Rp. 20,000 to Rp.197,900 at their out­lets across In­done­sia and lo­cal drug­stores)

Switch­ing loy­al­ties from one cos­metic brand to an­other and try­ing new things can be dif­fcult to do. How­ever, us­ing lo­cally-made cos­met­ics would be a wise choice as some are de­signed to fit the skin con­di­tions ex­pe­ri­enced by In­done­sians along with the im­pact of the cli­mate to the skin’s over­all health.

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