skincare ingredients

Hyaluronic Acid

Probably the most famous beauty ingredient of them all, this humectant binds moisture to skin cells to keep the complexion healthy, strong, radiant, smooth and plump, which would explain why experts often hail it as a must-have. Vegan and 100 per cent natural, Tata Harper’s Hyaluronic Gel Moisturizer smoothens out skin’s tone and texture and is extremely hydrating despite its lightweight formula while Dr Roebuck’s water-based Ningaloo Firming Serum visibly plumps skin while helping it to retain moisture. For something more newfangled: Every bottle of Fresh’s Rose Deep Hydration Sleeping Mask is split into two segments. One contains a hyaluronic acid-packed gel essence to hydrate and firm; the other, a silky cream to be applied over to lock in the moisture.


A Vitamin A derivative that often turns up in anti-ageing products as it helps to boost cell turnover, stimulate collagen production and repair UV damage and improve the appearance of lines and scars. Take Shiseido’s Benefiance Wrinkle Smoothing Cream, which features it as a key ingredient. Rich yet silky, this moisturiser is said to treat the root cause of wrinkles and dullness as well as make skin more resilient. Peter Thomas Roth’s PRO Strength Retinoid Peptide Serum has concentrated retinoids to soften fine lines and wrinkles (while squalane and lipids help moisturise and minimise the potential for irritation) and Chantecaille’s Retinol Intense+ has been updated to boast twice the amount of retinol than before to lessen signs of fatigue. Here’s a caveat from Dr Calvin Chan of Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic though: “While retinol may sound like a super skin-saver, it’s not always well tolerated by sensitive skin types.”


According to Dr Gladys Teo, Head of R&D at Singapore beauty brand ést.lab, a decrease in these lipid molecules can lead to a diminished barrier function in skin and in turn, disorders. Conversely with them, that protective barrier is reinforced and can prevent moisture loss and sensitivity as well as keep the complexion soft and plump. Drunk Elephant’s Lala Retro Whipped Cream with Ceramides is said to strengthen skin’s acid mantle and protect against external attacks while Sunday Riley’s ICE Ceramide Moisturizing Cream helps form a protective barrier against environmental stressors to soothe and hydrate. Another ultra-quenching, ceramide-packed moisturiser is IT Cosmetics’ Confidence In A Gel Lotion, which bursts into a refreshing liquid when massaged into skin and reportedly provides up to 72 hours of hydration.


Short for alpha hydroxy acids and covers the likes of glycolic or lactic acids. Known to boost cell turnover for instantly smoother skin, think of them as an alternative to facial scrubs that – according to Dr Melvin Tan, medical director of Epion Clinic – are good for “oily skin, complexion brightening, and pigment lightening.” Biossance’s exfoliating Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Facial Mask helps to improve luminosity while reducing the appearance of fine lines, discolouration and enlarged pores. Similarly, Dr Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting & Refining Serum is said to reduce the appearance of pores and greasiness as well as prevent the formation of new blackheads. Over at Chanel, the Sublimage La Lotion Lumiere Exfoliante is a jellified water with AHAs and Vanilla Planifolia water to gently stimulate cell renewal, fight free radical damage and boost radiance.

Vitamin C

An ingredient that’s as good for skin as it is for your body. As Dr Chan puts it: “Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that effectively neutralises free radicals. Because of this, it boosts skin’s natural regeneration process and helps the body repair damaged skin cells.” Every capsule in a bottle of Elizabeth Arden’s Vitamin C Ceramide Capsules Radiance Renewal Serum contains an oil-serum infused with Vitamin C to protect skin against free radical damage and fight against hyperpigmentation, another benefit of the vitamin. Meanwhile two to three drops of Sunday Riley’s C.E.O Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil is said to boost radiance and help balance and soothe skin while Peter Thomas Roth’s Potent-C Power Serum promises to improve lines, firmness, uneven skin tone, dullness and dehydration in just seven days.

This article first appeared in the April 2020 Reality Edition of FEMALE. 

Photography Vee Chin Styling Adeline Eng Hair & Makeup Clarence Lee, using Armani Beauty Model Kim W/ Mannequin