There’s more to it than a 10-step beauty rou­tine

ELLE (Malaysia) - - ON THE COVER -

Beauty prac­tices out of Asia have com­pletely trans­formed how women around the world ex­pect to ex­pe­ri­ence beauty. These days, we want our senses tick­led by hy­brid-tex­tured essences, high-tech makeup for­mu­las and play­ful ap­pli­ca­tors. We wouldn’t buy a foun­da­tion that needs three dif­fer­ent tools to ap­ply it when there’s a cush­ion ver­sion. We’ve been spoiled by beau­ti­fully pack­aged, qual­ity prod­ucts at af­ford­able prices. And our ex­pec­ta­tions for masks and at-home pam­per­ing have in­creased dra­mat­i­cally.

A clear sign of this suc­cess is the num­ber of ma­jor non-Asian lux­ury brands who have fol­lowed suit with their own takes on Asian beauty in­ven­tions (not that we’re com­plain­ing).

In a world where the cul­tural West is still seen as leader for in­no­va­tions, this may some­times seem like an overnight phe­nom­e­non. But we’ve ar­rived here af­ter decades of steady in­no­va­tion. Ja­pan, surely the first great Asian beauty in­flu­ence, is a lo­cus of in­ter­na­tional beauty trends; the birth­place of well-loved tech­niques (fa­cial mas­sages) for­mats (essences) and brands (we would run out of pages with ex­am­ples).

Then in a whirl­wind that be­gan just over a decade ago, South Korea’s soft power spawned a cat­e­gory in it­self. And Tai­wan is beauty’s dark horse, with a par­tic­u­lar knack for ef­fi­ca­cious skin­care rich in botan­i­cal ex­tracts.

But as the phe­nom­e­non gath­ers pace, I would pro­pose that we look even fur­ther and em­brace the rich­ness of beauty tra­di­tions from all over Asia. In gen­eral, there’s a holis­tic ap­proach pre-dat­ing ideas of “self-care” or “well­ness” by cen­turies. The con­cept of qi in East­ern tra­di­tions, ayurveda in In­dia, and

jamu in the Nu­san­tara re­gion, to be­gin with. Fuse this with a flood of mod­ern, cut­tingedge re­search, man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties and mar­ket­ing tal­ent, and there’s no look­ing back.

Al­ready there are signs of this grow­ing move­ment. Her­itage brands like China’s Pe­choin and Thai­land’s Sric­hand have up­dated their of­fer­ings and pack­ag­ing to suit the times, to the ex­cite­ment of new fans. Malaysia, mean­while, is a hot­bed of liq­uid lip­sticks. The ones to watch? Def­i­nitely Sin­ga­porean cre­ators, where bou­tique brands like Al­lies of Skin and Dr. GL pro­vide the tem­plate for sleek, po­tent skin­care lines. We can’t wait to see what lies ahead.

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