5 home-grown brands to explore on your next shopping trip

Think artisanal, animal-friendly, non-toxic, fuss-free and relevant. Local beauty offerings have never been so enticing. We round up five home-grown brands you should check out on your next shopping trip. By Simone Wu


Home Spa Essentials
Mmerci Encore

If you love natural body products and aromatherapy, you'll adore the offerings from this artisanal brand. This online store carries small batches of body products made with raw ingredients and 100 per cent therapeutic-grade essential oils sourced from farms and apothecaries in Melbourne and Paris, and are free of parabens, sulphate and synthetic fragrances.

Aside from the staples available online (http://store.mmerciencore.com) and in occasional pop-up stores here and overseas, you can also meet with brand founder and product creator, Aletheia Sim, to discuss customised gift options for loved ones.


(Photo credit: http://mmerciencore.com/)

Unwind after a long day with the Awakening Body Scrub (60ml), $50. The organic sugar crystals gently buff and leave skin super smooth, while the uplifting scent instantly calms the mind. This divine concoction also moisturises with safflower and grapeseed oils.

(Photo credit: http://mmerciencore.com/)

Luxe Gloss Body Serum (100ml), $57, doubles as a massage oil, and deeply hydrates and nourishes skin with cold-pressed oils of soya bean, extra virgin organic coconut, sweet almond, apricot kernels, jojoba, evening primrose, wheatgerm, organic rosehip and vitamin E.

(Photo credit: http://mmerciencore.com/)

Spritz the Invigorating Facial Mist (60ml), $35, over your face to melt away the midday slum. It helps to hydrate and refresh skin with pure camomile and rose floral waters, jojoba oil, cucumber extract and pure essential oils.

Flawless Skin Ahead
Brand: Dermagold

From a hobby that started a decade ago, this cosmeceutical skincare brand offers products that address common concerns faced by Singaporean men and women, like skin sensitivity and acne-prone skin. Created by medical doctors and childhood friends, Dr Grace Ling and Dr Lim Luping, Dermagold products are made without parabens, and come in lightweight textures that are perfect for our humid climate. 

Available at Hadara Aesthetics Boutique, 23 Lorong Telok, tel: 6969-3022.

(Photo credit: http://dermagold.sg/)

HA Booster, $42 (15ml), helps to strengthen your skin as it keeps skin well-moisturised and improves collagen production with 100 per cent pure hyaluronic acid.

(Photo credit: http://dermagold.sg/)

You'll love how Miracle C+, $69 (15ml), leaves your skin super soft and smooth. Formulated in a base of hyaluronic acid, this lightweight skin-brightening serum helps to calm and hydrate the skin, and protects it from damage and the formation of dark spots.

(Photo credit: http://dermagold.sg/)


Skin Elixir, $128 (30ml), melts into the skin and leaves no greasy residue. It strengthens skin against premature ageing with sea buckthorn extract, a type of berry that contains vitamins, as well as minerals and essential fatty acids that boost moisture levels and skin regeneration.

Non-Toxic Nail Polish

The nail lacquers by Coat are "5-free", which means they don't contain harmful chemicals like toluene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), camphor, formaldehyde and formaldehyde resin. These chemicals harm the body in different ways - in the mildest amount, they can irritate the skin, while overexposure may cause cancer or birth defects in children of pregnant women. Frustrated with the limited eco nail colour options available for her customers, Caryn Lim, owner of nail salon, Hands + Feet Studio, together with three friends, decided to create a 5-free nail lacquer brand, offering 20 richly pigmented and lasting colours, a base coat and a quick-drying top coat. Made in the United States, these polishes also come with a specially designed brush for smooth and even application.

Available at Hands + Feet Studio, 44 Siglap Drive, tel: 6448-7187. rom left: Nail Lacquer, $25, Must-Have Base, $28, and Super-Dry Finish, $28

Natural Skincare
Brand: Katfood

The natural home remedies from Katfood are handmade with ingredients you'd likely find in your kitchen, with key ingredients certified organic, says the brand's founder, Kendra Liew. The brand also has a penchant for coconuts - most products contain nutrient-rich coconut oil while others would have some form of coconut extract.

Available online at www.ilovekatfood.com, Katfood's collection of hair, face and body products are made in small batches to ensure product freshness, with varying products expiring after three to six months.

(Photo credit: http://ilovekatfood.com/)

Made with coconut oil, castor oil, avocado oil and lavender essential oil, the #Nofilter Makeup Remover, $25.90 (100ml), removes all traces of makeup, including waterproof eye makeup, and nourishes the skin, eyelashes and eyebrows at the same time.

(Photo credit: http://ilovekatfood.com/)

Pop this nifty tub into your bag for on-the-go moisturised skin. Green Special-tea Handy Hand Salve, $13.90 (15ml), intensely hydrates your hands with a blend of coconut oil, shea butter, and extracts of green tea and lavender without leaving your skin greasy. It's perfect for other dry skin areas like your elbows, too.

(Photo credit: http://ilovekatfood.com/)

John Lemon Lip Balm, $9.90, transforms chapped lips into smooth, supple pouts as it saturates the delicate skin with coconut oil, olive oil, raw honey, lemon essential oil and vitamin E.

Brushes That Care
Brand: 13rushes

Combining a love for makeup and animals, two friends, Tay Yu Hui and Charlene Liew, decided to create affordable makeup brushes that are cruelty-free, of good quality and suited to Asian eye contours. Most synthetic makeup brushes in the market are made with nylon polymers, which have smooth surfaces that don't capture makeup particles efficiently.

The ones by 13rushes use Taklon bristles that are developed with a textured surface to allow easy pick-up and release of powder particles. The one-year-old brand also works with factories that don't process any animal products to make sure every element of the brand remains animal-friendly. Yu Hui adds that Caucasian eyes are larger and more deep-set, which means that other crease brushes on the market aren't entirely suitable for Asian eyes.

You can purchase the brushes online (www.13rushes.com) or hop down to the pop-up store at Space Invasion (#03-15/16 The Cathay) to try them.

Check out 13rushes' best-selling brushes:

(Photo credit: http://www.13rushes.com/)

Flat Top Sculpting, $19.80

(Photo credit: http://www.13rushes.com/)

"I Need A Vaincation!" - White (brush kit), $72

(Photo credit: http://www.13rushes.com/)

Powder Brush, $34

Simply Her is now available in both print and digital formats. Log on to www.simplyher.com.sg to subscribe!