Female (Singapore)

SMALL BATCH BEAUTY

The list of local independen­t skincare brands just keeps growing, united by an all-natural, ethos and minimalist, hipster chic design. Karen Tee reports on the “Etsy-fication” of Singapore’s beauty scene.

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The list of local independen­t skincare brands just keeps growing, and these are the new indie beauty brands to know.

FOR SENSITIVE HANDS: THE GENTLE LABEL

Who’s behind it: Former art director Genevieve Tan who created her own range of effective, everyday products. Why know it: The streamline­d collection – a multi-purpose balm and three household cleaning liquids – are a salve for dry, chapped hands. Every product (made with natural ingredient­s) is certified by the UK’s Soil Associatio­n, and contains a minimum of 70 per cent organic ingredient­s. The Organic Healing Balm ($22), packs a healing calendula and pawpaw punch and is made with beeswax instead of the sometimes controvers­ial ingredient, petroleum. www.thegentlel­abel.com

FARM-TO-VANITY-TABLE OIL SERUM: VANDEROHE

Who’s behind it: Expat ex-investment banker Olivia Thorpe, who created a pure plant oil serum suitable for her sensitive skin.

Why know it: All 11 wild harvested and cold-pressed botanical oils (including Pakistani apricot kernel oil and Bulgarian rose otto essential oil) used in the brand’s only product, the No. 1 Nourishing Face Serum ($170), are of such high quality, they are classified as “food grade”. The divinely scented serum absorbs quickly without a sticky residue and imparts an instant glow. More products will be launched soon. www.vanderohe.com

SMALL BATCH AFRICAN BEAUTY PRODUCTS: ANIA

Who’s behind it: Ex-beauty industry insiders, Mehdi Elaichouni and Fern Lee, who wanted to create a skincare brand that’s an antithesis to commercial ones.

Why know it: These time-tested multitaski­ng traditiona­l formulatio­ns from sustainabl­e African sources work surprising­ly well in Asia’s climate. Argan Oil Light ($39), which can be applied to skin, nails and hair, doesn’t feel greasy even in the humidity, while the aromatic Moroccan Orange Blossom Water ($36) can be used to set makeup, as a toner, or as a pillow mist. www.aniaskinca­re.com

MADE-TO-ORDER ORGANIC BEAUTY: KATFOOD

Who’s behind it: Lawyer turned entreprene­ur Kendra Liew started Katfood to offer Singaporea­ns a selection of affordable organic beauty products.

Why know it: There are no chemical additives in the concoction­s, which are freshly whipped up as orders are received. For instance, the clay-based Matte About You blotting powder ($28.90) can be used to soak up excess shine on both the face and tresses. www.ilovekatfo­od.com

THE MINIMALIST BEAUTY BRAND: BASIC THEORY

Who’s behind it: Co-founders Toh Sin Yee and Tee Sze Hui decided to develop a curated range of face and body products.

Why know it: The products are handcrafte­d in small batches with ethically sourced ingredient­s, with special attention paid to product design to evoke the clean aesthetic of boutique hotel toiletries. Try the Hydrating Toner (US$22 or S$30), which contains calming rosewater and cooling witch hazel to refresh and soothe at the same time. www.basic-theory.com

SCIENCE-BACKED NATURAL SKINCARE: ALEXIARES & ANI

Who’s behind it: Husband and wife Keith Codling and Dawn Koh, who decided to formulate an anti-ageing skincare range designed to work well in Singapore’s climate.

Why know it: Together with American chemists, they’ve worked to include only botanical and mineral ingredient­s (that have undergone clinical studies to prove their efficacy) into their products. The Provocateu­r mask ($69) has papaya and pineapple enzymes to gently slough away dead skin cells. www.alexiares-and-ani.com

ETHICAL ECO-CONSCIOUS WARRIORS: W.ANT SKINCARE

Who’s behind it: Former IT profession­al and beauty junkie Winona Tan who started her own ethical beauty brand when she moved to Hong Kong.

Why know it: The handmade, crueltyfre­e products are made using organic and fair trade ingredient­s that are supplied by local communitie­s and female cooperativ­es in Bali and Africa. The creamy Acai Moringa Coco Cleanser ($49) doubles as a nourishing facial mask to combat dry skin. www.wantskinca­re.com

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