4 local beauty brands you need to know

These homegrown skincare brands are giving big international brands a run for their money!

It's no secret that the beauty industry is a saturated one. From drug stores to department stores, and even specialty beauty emporiums, the variety of skincare products out there is staggering. Why, then, would anyone try to enter this market? We recently spoke to four local skincare brand founders, and discovered they all shared a similar passion for creating products that are tailored to Singapore's tropical climate. Also, there's something special about using homegrown skincare.

Chew Jia Tian, founder of Rough Beauty, says, "Personally, I support homegrown skincare products from overseas brands. The difference between products produced by homegrown brands and large companies is that the former has a certain quality that connects you to its maker. I've come to greatly appreciate the thought, care, and passion that goes into making each product."

Here are four homegrown brands you should know about, and why:

1. Rough Beauty by Chew Jia Tian

What's unique?

"Our vegan-friendly soaps are handcrafted in small batches and we are guided by the values of simplicity in sustainability. Our efforts at being simple and sustainable can be seen in our soaps and packaging. We use botanical products to scent and colour our soaps, and do our best to avoid excessive packaging and plastics, keeping things simple and costs low."

Star Product?

"Ashberry. The name was inspired by the ingredients and scent that went into the very first version of it, Ash (activated charcoal) and Berry (Juniper berry). While the scent has evolved since then, the rest of the ingredients are still the same - activated charcoal for skin cleansing and good ol' vegetal oils."

Look out for …

"New monthly one-of-a-kind creations coming up and also, an official launch of our website!"

Rough Beauty is available at SABRINAGOH, #02-14 Capitol Piazza, Tel: 6385 2185

2. Frank Skincare by Cissy Che

What's unique?

"I've always wanted to make products with only 100 per cent certified organic ingredients. I work hard to ensure the absence of any GMO-derived or synthetic chemical substances, even throughout the farming process. We use some of the rarest and purest ingredients from around the world in cold-pressed or steam-distilled form. Only a few drops of our products are needed to see results, unlike many of the beauty products in the market that contain a lot of filler ingredients or water. Filler ingredients make products cheaper to produce but also require larger volumes per use by the customer. A bottle of our 30ml face oil can be used for five months or more."

Star Product?

"Juicier Luxury Face Oil. This is a lightweight formula packed with 11 luxurious, organic ingredients - Argan, Jojoba, Sunflower seed , Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Rosehip, Evening Primrose, Arnica Montana Flower, Calendula Flower, Rose Otto Flower, Rosemary, and Sandalwood. Your skin's cellular healing will be initiated through the high dose transfer of vitamins, essential amino acids, fatty acids, and antioxidants. Perfect for all skin types, especially combination and sensitive skin."

Look out for …

"Frank Skincare's range of masks and cleansing system will be launched in April. We will also be conducting workshops to teach customers how best to use our products."

Frank Skincare is available at SABRINAGOH, #02-14 Capitol Piazza, Tel: 6385 2185

3. Handmade Heroes by Lynsey Lim

What's unique?

"Organic skincare products are often overpriced and there is a gap in the market for affordable natural skin care. Handmade Heroes aims to make natural skin care affordable and accessible to all women."

Star Product?

"Coco-licious Luscious Lip Scrub. I was inspired to create a lip scrub that tastes like our local 'kuehs', and this is made using coconut, virgin coconut oil, and sugar. The dried coconut and sugar not only makes a fine scrub for delicate lips, it also taste absolutely delicious - our customers cannot resist licking it off!"

Look out for …

"An expansion of the Drop Dead Gorgeous Dry Shampoo line. We are also looking to extend our reach in the Southeast Asian region in the near future."

Handmade Heroes is available online and at selected stores.

4. The Skin Pharmacy by Mah Mei Hui

What's unique?

"We emphasise a lot on professionalism and expertise, hence our shop name - TSP Serious About Skin. All our outlets are helmed by staff who have a degree in pharmacy. We understand skincare problems and can provide expert advice on simple skincare issues such as acne and eczema.

Second, we pride ourselves on being experts on ingredients and product formulations. One unique thing about The Skin Pharmacy is that we can create products on the spot to suit a customer's skin type. This is a first-of its-kind concept in Singapore and probably in the world.

Third, we take great care in formulating our ready-made products. We have a blacklist of ingredients we don't use, such as parabens, alcohol, sodium lauryl sulphate, anything petroleum-based, as well as artificial preservatives and fragrances. Some of these ingredients can be problematic for specific groups of people such as those suffering from eczema."

Star Product?

"Our anniversary serums. These serums are typically launched around November/December to celebrate the anniversary of The Skin Pharmacy. Currently, our latest serum is Serum No.6 (The Premium Facial Oil Serum).

These serums are developed based on what we notice people are looking for throughout the year. For example, for Serum No. 6, we noticed a recent trend of people seeking natural essential oils to use on the skin. So, we put together what we felt were the best essential oils and carrier oils for anti-aging, such as Rose, Chamomile, Immortelle, Frankincense, Argan, and Marula."

Look out for …

"Our fourth store, which opened at Wheelock Place in late December. We are also reformulating some of our existing products to make them even better. In February, we launched our newly reformulated Vitamin C serum, which is even more stable, better absorbed, and easier to apply than our previous formula.

We are also working on a range of cosmetics, which we hope to see fruition this year. The range will cover mainly skincare cosmetics such as foundations, concealers, and powders. The unique feature of this range is that they will not contain any of our blacklisted ingredients and will only use natural or naturally derived ingredients, a rarity for cosmetics."

The Skin Pharmacy is available online and at selected stores.

Material World is a women’s lifestyle website started by four former magazine editors specialising in beauty, lifestyle, and self-improvement.