Beauty with the help of spiders and 'sugar'

PHOTO: The Straits Times

A moisturiser made with a protein found in spider webs, bespoke facial serums and a body soap created using fruit enzymes were some of the products that were showcased at BeautyAsia, an annual trade show for the beauty, spa and health industry.

Industry professionals thronged the fair, the only beauty trade exhibition here, in search of new techniques and products to purchase.

This year's show, in its 21st edition, took place from Monday to Wednesday, and saw more than 100 exhibitors from around the world, including from Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The beauty and personal care industry in Singapore has grown in recent years. A 2016 report by market research firm Euromonitor revealed that Singaporean consumers are increasingly willing to spend on beauty and personal care.

This is good news for the exhibitors, many of whom had participated in the show before and were looking to make new business connections.

Ms Maria Satiaputri, 47, the director of Spa Factory Bali, which supplies spa products, says that she makes 20 to 30 useful contacts at the show every year.

"We do get a few new clients every time," she says, adding that she can also meet overseas contacts at the fair.

BeautyAsia features new technologies and products from around the world, many of which debuted here for the first time.

The Straits Times checks out five unique products that were showcased.

Oriskin facial serum from Imagene LabsPhoto: The Straits Times

Oriskin facial serum from Imagene Labs

Unlike off-the-counter beauty products, home-grown brand Imagene Labs' serum is tailor-made for the individual.

Users will have their DNA tested. They fill a tube with their saliva sample and it is sent to the laboratory. The company then uses the results to formulate a bespoke serum solution.

This solution will be targeted at the top three skin problems that the user is most likely to be prone to, as indicated by the DNA test results.

Traits that can be tested for include sensitivity to the sun, antioxidant deficiency and dryness.

Dr Ang Chee Beng, a private dermatologist,wonders how useful such kits are.

"Just based on the appearance of the skin, we are able to make recommendations, so I'm not sure how useful these tests are," he says.

The DNA test kit and the serum cost $349 and can be purchased at

Sugar Powder from PreanfaPhoto: The Straits Times


Sugar Powder from Preanfa

A popular item in Japan, this sugar-powder set is used as a top coat for nails.

The sugar-powder coat - so named because the end result resembles glittery sugar granules atop the nail - creates a textured effect without much hassle.

While it is available in three colours, the powder will take on the colour of the gel coat underneath. The three colours are white, silver and aurora, a multi-coloured version that is supposed to create a holographic effect when applied.

Singapore distributor and beauty company Nail Wonderland sells the product in a pack of three ($11) on its Facebook and Instagram pages. It is also stocked in nail salons here, such as Nail Artelier in Haji Lane, for the same price.

Hakubi No Shizuku from Gracefarm CoPhoto: The Straits Times


Hakubi No Shizuku from Gracefarm Co

This transparent jelly ball is actually a facial soap encased in a gelatinous skin.

To use it, prick it to make a small hole, then place it in a foaming net, rubthe ball against the net to create a fine foam, which can be used as a facial cleanser.

This action produces a finer foam that cleanses the skin better, says its Japanese manufacturer, Gracefarm Co, which also produces agricultural products.

The soap contains the extract of white Jew's ear fungus and is touted to be extra moisturising and gentle on sensitive skin.

Each ball lasts for about two months.

While the product is not available here yet, its manufacturer is in talks to stock it here.

Skin Up from Phil PharmaPhoto: The Straits Times


Skin Up from Phil Pharma

This ultrasonic vaporiser, by Italian cosmetics brand Phil Pharma, sprays mists of facial serum onto the face.

The serum mist, which comes in sleek cases of black, red and white, serves as a moisturiser that is able to penetrate layers of make-up, says Phil Pharma.

Each application lasts for 30 seconds and users are recommended to use it three to four times a day.

It also comes in different scents, including black pepper, fig and rose, and coconut.

The product was first launched in Italy in 2015 and debuted in South-east Asia at BeautyAsia. There are plans to bring the product here.

Golden Spider Lifting Cream from DermanourPhoto: The Straits Times


Golden Spider Lifting Cream from Dermanour

Spiders and facial products may seem to be an odd combination, but that is the selling point of this facial cream from Thailand.

Its manufacturers claim that this is the first such product to incorporate a protein found in spider webs, touted to be able to lift and tighten the skin.

The protein is created in a laboratory environment and is not harvested from spiders.

Said to be able to boost collagen and elastin in the face, the cream was launched in Thailand last month.

It will be available at Watsons stores here and online shopping sites, Lazada and Qoo10, in two to three months. It will retail at around $40.

However, Dr Ang Chee Beng, a private dermatologist, says consumers should remain wary of such new products, as they may be based on smaller studies that are hard to prove.

This article was first published on Feb 23 2017.
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