For sensitive hands: The Gentle Label
Who’s behind it: Former art director Genevieve Tan who created her own range of effective, everyday products.
Why know it: The streamlined collection – a multi-purpose balm and three household cleaning liquids – are a salve for dry, chapped hands. Every product (made with natural ingredients) is certified by the UK’s Soil Association, and contains a minimum of 70 per cent organic ingredients. The Organic Healing Balm ($22), packs a healing calendula and pawpaw punch and is made with beeswax instead of the sometimes controversial ingredient, petroleum.
Farm-to-vanity-table oil serum: Vanderohe
Who’s behind it: Expat ex-investment banker Olivia Thorpe, who created a pure plant oil serum suitable for her sensitive skin.
Why know it: All 11 wild harvested and cold-pressed botanical oils (including Pakistani apricot kernel oil and Bulgarian rose otto essential oil) used in the brand’s only product, the No. 1 Nourishing Face Serum ($170), are of such high quality, they are classified as “food grade”. The divinely scented serum absorbs quickly without a sticky residue and imparts an instant glow. More products will be launched soon.
Small batch African beauty products: Ania
Who’s behind it: Ex-beauty industry insiders, Mehdi Elaichouni and Fern Lee, who wanted to create a skincare brand that’s an antithesis to commercial ones.
Why know it: These time-tested multi-tasking traditional formulations from sustainable African sources work surprisingly well in Asia’s climate. Argan Oil Light ($39), which can be applied to skin, nails and hair, doesn’t feel greasy even in the humidity, while the aromatic Moroccan Orange Blossom Water ($36) can be used to set makeup, as a toner, or as a pillow mist.
Made-to-order organic beauty: Katfood
Who’s behind it: Lawyer turned entrepreneur Kendra Liew started Katfood to offer Singaporeans a selection of affordable organic beauty products.
Why know it: There are no chemical additives in the concoctions, which are freshly whipped up as orders are received. For instance, the clay-based Matte About You blotting powder ($28.90) can be used to soak up excess shine on both the face and tresses.
The minimalist beauty brand: Basic Theory
Who’s behind it: Co-founders Toh Sin Yee and Tee Sze Hui decided to develop a curated range of face and body products.
Why know it: The products are handcrafted in small batches with ethically sourced ingredients, with special attention paid to product design to evoke the clean aesthetic of boutique hotel toiletries. Try the Hydrating Toner (US$22 or S$30), which contains calming rosewater and cooling witch hazel to refresh and soothe at the same time.
Science-backed natural skincare: Alexiares & Ani
Who’s behind it: Husband and wife Keith Codling and Dawn Koh, who decided to formulate an anti-ageing skincare range designed to work well in Singapore’s climate.
Why know it: Together with American chemists, they’ve worked to include only botanical and mineral ingredients (that have undergone clinical studies to prove their efficacy) into their products. The Provocateur mask ($69) has papaya and pineapple enzymes to gently slough away dead skin cells.
Ethical eco-conscious warriors: W.Ant Skincare
Who’s behind it: Former IT professional and beauty junkie Winona Tan who started her own ethical beauty brand when she moved to Hong Kong.
Why know it: The handmade, cruelty-free products are made using organic and fair trade ingredients that are supplied by local communities and female cooperatives in Bali and Africa. The creamy Acai Moringa Coco Cleanser ($49) doubles as a nourishing facial mask to combat dry skin.
This story first appeared in Female’s November 2017 issue.