With all things artisanal, I’m proud to call these beauty brands home grown and so very local at that. While these brands haven’t been around for as long as Estee Lauder might have been, it’s about time we shift some of our attention and support — one bit at a time — to these brands.
Who knows? It might even better suit us, since they’re handcrafted by our very own people, in our very own country, with the same concerns we have. Be it the weather and the way it interacts and troubles our skin, or the availability of specific tropical botanicals, and the such.
I know, it’s hard to say no to that shimmery glow stick from Nars or soy cleanser from Fresh, but who says we can’t have the best of both worlds. International baby in one hand, local sweetheart on the other. It’s that easy, and here are my top home grown beauty brands to check out, to slather on and to have fun with.
What drove Teresa Foo, the founder of Balm Kitchen, forward was her then three year old son, whom suffered from atopic eczema. No amount of steroid creams was working for her son and as it aggravated, she embarked on the journey to find the natural remedy her son needed. This, led to the birth of Balm Kitchen, a botanical base, vegan and cruelty-free line of skincare.
While crafting these artisanal skincare in small batches, she ensured that it is specially formulated for usage in humid weather, as with our very own Singapore. Balm Kitchen carries lip balms, facial oils and many more, of which you can also make your own by attending workshops hosted by Teresa herself, to better know the process and ingredients that make up the product.
If what you’re looking for isn’t in the list, drop her an email and she will be able to work closely with you and customise certain oils and balms. Green beauty is what she pledges on, and boy are we glad.
Balm Kitchen: Available at Naiise online and in-store, or head on over to their online store
We all love a good local touch to everything, it makes things more unique and gives us a gratifying sense of belonging. Singapore pride, huh. So when you amalgamate that into a beauty brand, such as Shophouse Sixtyfive, we are going gaga over it.
As always, lovingly handmade and in small batches, Shophouse Sixtyfive takes inspiration from our vibrant culture and heritage, infuses that into their naturally derived make up such as lip and cheek tints. Whimsically notalgic indulgence is what they promise to provide, and surely so with cute names like Kampong Girl Lady Lip & Cheek Tint, Kiss Me Kueh Lip Scrub and many more.
Shophouse Sixtyfive has definitely charmed us with cheeky names and good memories associated with colloqiual terms we used back then. Psst, they provide for events, weddings and birthdays too. I so wanna slab on some Wah Chiobu Lady Lip & Cheek Tint right about now.
Shophouse Sixtyfive: Available at Naiise online and in-store, or head on over to their online store
With an aesthetically pleasing packaging and typography that commands attention, Handmade Heroes stocks up completely vegan and cruelty free products that are oh-so-natural and you guessed it, free of preservatives and parabens.
Quite the literal term, they are all handmade, with love and away from the lab because you know, sterile white lab coats lovers are usually heartless, ruthless and comes up with scientific experiments that goes wrong and you get a giant lizard man living in the ditches.
Jokes aside, Handmade Heroes prides their product to be nourishing and gentle on the skin, like their Super Duper Nourishing Rice Scrub ($19.90) and Coco Friggin’ Fantastic Lip Tint ($7.90). May I also add how super affordable that is?
Handmade Heroes: Available at Naiise online and in-store, or head on over to their online store
You know Lush? That crazily perfumed store with sleek black raw packaging that’s got all of us smelling like flowers and rainbows? Katfood is Singapore’s own home grown Lush, as they pride themselves on only using ingredients that are 100% organic, raw, unprocessed and are safe to put into our mouths.
All their products have a relatively short shelf life because they are all handmade fresh, with no chemical preservatives added and well, in small batches as with all artisanal products. So while I know it’s hard to say no to Lush, Katfood does deserve some attention with all the effort they’re putting in.
Psst, they’re loco over coco, so do expect tons of coco oil in most of their products such as lip balm, make up removal and many more.
Katfood: Available at Naiise online and in-store, or head on over to their online store
Alexiares & Ani comes up with skincare products such as toners, exfoliators and serum, targeted at different problems. Rather than curbing trouble spots, Alexiares & Ani’s skincare aims to work hand in hand with your skin’s natural defence, to bring back a balance and to nurture tolerance in your skin.
Their holistic skincare are made up of natural botanical and mineral extracts, combining all of their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties into their serums for proper cellular function, ultimately gaining back that radiance in your skin.
Alexiares & Ani: Available at Naiise online and in-store, or head on over to their online store
Allies Of Skin are really our allies – having travel kits that makes packing for holidays or work trips so much more easier. It’s really quite a chore, having to mentally go through my facial routine to see what I’ve got to be packed and what’s essential so that my skin won’t wither and die before I return home. So travel kit, ace.
Couple that with their motto to make the process of caring for one’s skin an effortless one, regardless the lifestyle we lead. And you’ll be so very happy to know that their products activates the receptors that stimulate collagen and elastin, of which production slows down as we ages, causing those old hate wrinkly lines. This helps to restore one’s skin to the healthiest state possible, making you radiate just as before.
Allies of Skin: 1 Fullerton Road, One Fullerton, #02-01 Singapore 049213 | Tel: +65 9646 9631 | Website
Mmhm, cute packaging right there. With the albeit apothecary-like bottles, Frank Skincare is lovingly handmade with 100% organic ingredients, without the addition of chemicals. So think small artisanal batches, no chemical additives, short shelf life but stellar ingredients that will help restore your skin’s glow.
Available are travel sets, pregnancy sets (yes!), of which contains cleansing oil, treatment masks and oils etc. You know they’re thoughtful when they’ve put together a set for preggers momma because of just how sensitive their skin are, and that there a gazillion products said to be not beneficial for them. Add that extra dedication points because… they even stock up a men’s set.
Frank Skincare: Available at Naiise online and in-store, or head on over to their online store
We are all well aware with Rachel K Cosmetics founded by well, Rachel Kum, entrepreneur and winner of Miss Singapore Universe 2009. Taking inspiration from Korea and Japan’s make up trends, Rachel Kum came up with the critically acclaimed CC cream, a blemish balm cream that helps colour control, negating red spots or dull skin accordingly, allowing it to appear bright blemish-free.
Made with natural minerals, Rachel K CC Cream is suitable for most without causing irritation. Spreading like a wildfire, her CC Cream were endorsed by famous singers and international artistes such as Zhang Ziyi, Shu Qi, Kelly Chen, Faye Wong, Sammi Cheng and Angela Baby. We all know these are beauties with brain, so if they approve of Rachel K’s CC Cream, it is definitely a green light.
Rachel K Cosmetics: Available online
Ah Faux Fayc, the eclectic and kitschy make up line that celebrates the empowerment of women. Youthful and daring, Faux Fayc provides a playground for all women, lending confidence to be bold in expressing their looks, styles and individuality.
Founded in 2014, they have since opened their first brick and mortar store in Plaza Singapura. I don’t know about you, but I’m rushing right down to get my little paws on some liquid lipsticks, meow.
Faux Fayc: 68 Orchard Road, Plaza Singapura #B1-32A, Singapore 238839 | Tel: +65 6341 9672 | Website
Founded in 2013, 13Rushes crafts affordable make up brushes and kits that are up to date and oh so delectably soft. I’ll have you know that they are all crafted by hand and animal friendly. Many might think, agh these synthetic fibres will never match up to the real hair, but 13Rushes are here to prove you wrong with their soft brushes that undergo 12 production stages with 26 craftsmen.
All the components of a brush is well thought-out, from its functionality to the type of hairs used. But of course they work brilliantly with make up, especially with lightweight powders because you know, humidity is our favourite enemy.
Not only that, the good people at 13Rushes also work closely with their manufacturing partners to reduce wastage of resources and prefer sustainable materials. A gracious backstory with a cause, 13Rushes’ brushes are the way to go.
13rushes: You can purchase them online
Dermagold’s two founders, Grace and Luping, are both doctors with a passion in skincare aesthetics. Combining their medical backgrounds, the duo wanted to create a line that is “simple, effective and lovely to the senses”.
With that, they customised products that are specific to the Asian skin in a tropical country, remember our best friend humidity yet again? And continuously bring in new ingredients, working with them to set their products apart from the rest. Their aim is to create a bare skin so radiant, you won’t ever be shy to bare it.
A basic trio set goes for about $145 and their line of skincare is split into skin types or concerns, depending on what drives you there for their products. Pretty affordable I’d say.
Dermagold: You can purchase them online
We love all things bespoke because who doesn’t crave that special attention that is dedicated to none other than you. Here’s where Dr Gorgia Lee, a much celebrated skincare doctor, comes into picture with her line of products that takes things to the next level – science.
More than just being a celebrity doctor, she developed her line of skincare after a traumatic experience of persistent hyperpigmentation that wouldn’t go away. Determined to resolve it, she researched and countered that with a cream that she blended and customised herself, sparking off her journey to Dr. GL.
Au naturale is nutritious and good for the skin, but pair those premium ingredients with clincial experience and out comes a range of products that cares for you skin delicately but efficiently. A tad bit on the expensive side, it does separate itself from the lot because you know, science. We’re talking about a toner for oil control going at $68.
Products are sorted into two categories, either skin type or by problems. Dr. GL also dabbles in men’s, so hallelujah to better skin with uncompromising quality treatments.
Dr. GL: 9 Scotts Road, #11-06 Pacific Plaza, Pacific Plaza, Singapore 277738 | Tel: +65 6465 8880 | Website
I’ve heard friends raving about Skin Inc and for good reasons. Started by Sabrina Tan, a mother of two, she ditched her full time IT job that drew a six figure annual salary to research for a solution to her children’s eczema and her persistent break outs in hives, creating, Skin Inc.
Skin Inc has now gone global since the first store at The Central on Eu Tong Sen, with stores all over the world like Brunei, Lithuania, Spain and many more. Not only that, we of course have noticed Skin Inc’s presence in Sephora.
Known for being paraben and fragrance free, Skin Inc’s products are customisable serums that helps supplement your skin. You can get a full low down on your skin at their Skin Identity function and thereafter customise your personal skincare that are made up of highly concentrated serums from Japan, that promises maximum impact with visible results.
Skin Inc: ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, Singapore 238801 | Tel: +65 6222 7428 | Website