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Op-Ed: Fashion Writer Carlos Keng Reveals His Favourite Organic Skincare Products

When people think of organic skincare, they might think one of two things: 1. it’s expensive and 2. they don’t work as well as “conventional” brands. There’s certainly a trend towards eating healthier these days, but with the skin as the body’s largest organ (it makes up roughly 16% of your body weight!), what you apply is just as important as what you ingest.

Of course, cynics may argue that “conventional” cosmetics and skincare contain such a long list of ingredients that each component is likely to be in minute quantities. Nevertheless, I am of the mindset that long-term application of these undesirable ingredients (fragrances, sodium laureth sulfate, potential carcinogens and endocrine disruptors!) will add up over time.

Those are some of the reasons why I’ve switched up my skincare routine to include products from Pai Skincare, a British beauty brand that’s been certified organic by the Soil Association and is also vegan and cruelty-free (which means they don’t conduct animal testing).

#1: Pai Rose and Camellia Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
Pai is especially well-known for catering to particularly sensitive skin, and their bestselling Rose and Camellia Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is a good introduction to the brand. I like to use this as my morning wash – after a night of air-conditioning, the skin is usually dried out, but this cleanser remarkably never leaves my rosacea-prone skin red after washing, but leaves it soft to the touch. I don’t recommend this for your night routine – it might not be strong enough to really clear the skin of debris accumulated over the day – but it is perfect for the morning. I have fair skin that’s extremely oily and prone to breakouts (and flushing! way to go, me) and this cleanser hasn’t caused any major breakouts – it just leaves skin soothed and flush-free.  #2: Pai Kukui and Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator
With greater awareness of the evils of micro-beads – those minuscule beads in your exfoliating cleansers/body scrubs/toothpastes guaranteeing instant whitening (instant? sounds dubious and overtly harsh, if you ask me) – many countries and companies are phasing it out of the system. We now know that micro-beads, by nature of their size, slip through filters and accumulate in rivers and oceans by the trillions. Though each individual sphere is insignificantly tiny, guess what happens when millions of it get clumped together? They get ingested by accident by marine species (fishes, oysters – you name it) and yes, they end up in us eventually when we consume seafood. What’s worse, micro-beads are largely made of plastic, so they’re pretty much non-biodegradable. Look out for the ingredients “polyethylene” and “polypropylene” – these indicate the presence of the plastic nasties. The beads in Pai’s exfoliating product are gentle and does not cause minute tears in the skin due to its perfectly spherical structure. Better yet, they are derived from jojoba and are completely biodegradable. #3: Pai Echium and Argan Gentle Eye Cream
This is a very lightweight mousse-like cream that absorbs easily and does not leave a greasy shine. It’s an excellent option for those just getting started in the world of eye creams. As I am in my 20s, my immediate concerns are more to eliminate eyebags (derived from my late night habits) rather than anti-ageing. Pai’s eye cream does an adequate job of hydrating and keeping my under-eye area bright. It’s a very pleasant, unfussy option as opposed to more heavy-duty oil types – great for skincare novices. Note: You can get the entire Pai range locally from their official Singapore retailer, Pure Tincture (#02-04 The Adelphi). Images: Pai Skincare  Like this? Check out our beauty editor Shuying Moh’s amazing 25-step beauty routine, actress Fann Wong’s top beauty tips and pamper yourself with The Body Shop’s new superfood face masks.