Our nation’s beauty mavens
These homegrown beauty brands are doing us proud with their world-class skincare. Justina Tan interviews three players who help time-starved consumers put their best faces forward before any event.
What motivated you to start Skin Inc?
Being a busy, working mother of two, the last thing on my mind was to go through 11 skincare steps every day and night. I also have very sensitive and eczemaprone skin. I tried many products from various brands and while some worked, I could not figure out which ingredients were good for my skin. I realised that there was a gap in the market, which inspired me to change and revolutionise the concept of skincare. Rather than stereotyping skin, I wanted to empower the differences.
Skin Inc has been around for 10 years. How do you stay relevant?
Beauty and technology converge at Skin Inc, which is reflected in our ‘Skin Identity Check’ (an online questionnaire on the brand’s website). It allows anyone
to perform their own skin diagnosis without being physically in the store or with a beauty advisor. Since day one, we’ve been very active on digital and social media, which enables us to notice trends before they become mainstream. We always listen to what our customers say about us, and we make it a point to take all their feedback into consideration – particularly when we are developing a new product.
“Our Pure Revival Peel was developed to meet the needs of exfoliating my fragile skin. It’s gentle enough for use on sensitive What is your beauty ethos? skin, but tough on dead skin cells.”
Skincare shouldn’t be rocket science. Acknowledge that your skin is as unique as yourself. Embrace it – customise, don’t compromise.
What are your plans for the brand?
We have been growing since the very beginning, and today we can proudly say that we are an international company with a strong global footprint. Last month, we broke into the China market and are now available in 130 Sephora stores across China.
Can you share what the road to creating the DRGL brand was like?
I’m not trained in skincare development, so I had to learn everything from scratch – from visiting factories to understanding the process. I travelled overseas to learn from experts in the field or trade. This included learning how the packaging premises and processes that produce the skincare products can affect the integrity of the product over time. DRGL’S products are made in Singapore, Japan, Korea, U.S.A., and Australia., depending on which country has the best manufacturers for a particular product.
What challenges did you face?
It took pure grit to learn the ropes on top of a fulltime job at my practice. What it meant was working late into the night after office hours, doing red-eye flights to meet and cherry-pick manufacturers. It also meant time away from my family, and being an absentee mother and wife.
How has your profession impacted the development of DRGL?
We use only premium ingredients that are brought together from the knowledge I have garnered over the last two decades in my field of practice. To curate skincare products to meet our customers’ needs, we study and understand what they want and require through our service arm – these customers form an important real-time focus group for the brand.
What is your beauty maxim?
Keep it simple. If you can achieve results in five to six simple steps, there is no need for a ‘skincare detour’ with 23 steps (that is the highest I have seen). It is not only costly and wastes time, but also subjects the skin to excess chemicals and exposes it to sensitisation.
What was the motivation behind Allies of Skin?
I had severe acne as a teenager, which is how my passion for skincare started. I wanted to create an effortless, non-toxic line focused on clinically proven ingredients at concentrated percentages for optimal efficacy.
What challenges did you face in the early days?
As a fast-growing start-up, our challenge in the beginning and two years after was always cash. This is a capital-intensive industry, so I bootstrapped this for the first year until I couldn’t anymore, and then I took on private investors. Who is Allies of Skin’s target user?
The time-starved individual. I like to say that we create products for people who work too hard, sleep too little and drink too much, so if you fall into any of those three categories, Allies of Skin is for you.
How have you positioned and publicised your brand? We’ve not had any money for marketing, so the growth we’ve had has been through organic word-of-mouth. Being stocked in the best luxury stores around the world has helped, as we are able to tap into their channels and platforms.
Allies of Skin is available online and in Sephora. Do you intend to start a brick and mortar here?
That’s definitely in our plans for the future, but right now we are focused on growing our existing channel partners.
“With my extremely dry, sensitive, eczema-prone skin, I need to first heal the barrier layer. I use the Optimizer Voyage Tri-light++ together with My Daily Dose Customblended Serum, which is highly concentrated to tailor to my needs.”
DR GEORGIA LEE’S BEAUTY MUST-HAVES “Sun Protection Anti-aging is a multi-tasker that protects me from UV rays, moisturises and slows down wrinkles with peptides. I apply this over my face, eyelids, neck and entire body, including clothed areas.”
“I use only Cleanser Hair (Antihairloss) to wash my hair because it helps to slow down age- and stress-related hair loss while encouraging new hair growth.”
“I apply Post Cleanser Step 2 – it contains lactic acid – over my face, eyelids, neck and back of my hands to keep skin cell renewal in check. It results in fewer lines and less pigment spots.”
“We have users sharing with us how Skin Repair has helped their acne or skin wounds heal faster. These little notes of encouragement are so precious to us.”
“A new and improved formula of the 1A All-day Mask, the 1A All-day Pollution Repair Mask is 50 percent more concentrated than the original. Containing seven brighteners and nine antioxidants, it is the world’s first leave-on day mask. It repairs past and present damage while erasing all signs of fatigue.” DRGL and Allies of Skin are available at Sephora ION Orchard.
NICOLAS TRAVIS’ BEAUTY MUST-HAVES
“The Molecular Saviour Probiotics Mist is an anti-evaporation skin booster that enhances the effects of everything else used after.”
“The Promise Keeper Blemish Facial helps to treat existing breakouts and prevents future ones with a blend of potent ingredients that includes antioxidants, organic rosehip oil, colloidal silver and medical grade Manuka honey.”
“Formulated with glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids, the Bright Future Overnight Facial gives the effects of a professional facial overnight; all you have to do is sleep.”