Additional reporting by Lim Jia Ying
Here’s something you may not know: beauty products are self-regulated in Singapore. What this means is that they do not require approval from authorities and are directly responsible for all products they sell.
While this allows businesses to introduce beauty products to us more easily, it also means that it is possible that the products that we are using (and even love!) may contain toxic ingredients or unethical formulas. The scary thing? We may never even know the harm they’re doing to our skin till it’s too late to reverse the damage!
You’ve probably heard of high-profile controversies like the Johnson & Johnson talc cases and a report that says 400 lipsticks were found to contain lead.
This is probably why “clean beauty” has been a huge buzzword in the beauty industry in recent years. We’re seeing more clean beauty brands that promise to weed out nasty ingredients from their formula and only using natural – even organic – sources that are not just skin-loving, but also earth-loving.
Ready to hop on the clean beauty bandwagon? Here are a few brands that you can get started with:
Led by its ‘made in forest’ philosophy, Rootree is a Korean beauty brand that harnesses ingredients from Jeju’s forest to soothe and strengthen our skin. These natural formulations take all the possible irritants and allergens out of the equation. What we get are safer products that are chock-full of nourishing, skin-loving nutrients.
Each formula is crafted using eco-friendly methods, and every bottle and jar is bursting with ingredients that are organically farmed. The brand is also cruelty-free, so no animals were harmed in the making of every product.
Rootree uses four key ingredients in its Cryptherapy range. Jeju Samdasoo water is a mineral-rich water that refreshes tired or fatigued skin and provides all-day hydration. The formulas also contain Cryptomeria Japonica, also known as cypress. This ingredient is high in antimicrobial phytoncides, which cools down the skin and speeds up its healing process, so it effectively combats acne, premature skin ageing, and hyperpigmentation.
Rich in vitamins A and C, wheat sprout extract feeds nutrients and moisture to damaged skin. The high chlorophyll content also removes gunk in your pores, so your skin will look smoother and clearer. There’s a tinge of corn mint leaf in the formulas too. It gives the formula an invigorating feel, which soothes irritation and shrinks the appearance of large pores.
Try: Rootree Cryptherapy Facial Mild Scrub (SGD31.90). If your skin is feeling dry and rough, reach for this extra gentle facial scrub. It buffs away dead skin and product buildup without or causing any irritation or microtears on the surface of your skin. You can use it two to three times a week to keep your complexion looking fresh.
The hypoallergenic scrub also contains dendropanax morbifera, a botanical extract that’s high in antioxidants. It soothes irritation while it purifies and brightens your skin. Getting rid of those extra layers helps the rest of your skincare products to penetrate your skin better too, so you’ll get your glow back in no time.
Rootree products are available at My Natural Story.
2. Love Beauty and Planet
The latest brand to be among the “clean beauty” line-up? Love Beauty and Planet. The brand is all about sourcing for high-quality ingredients responsibly and skipping out “nasties” like silicones, parabens, and dyes. Its goal? To make you more beautiful and give a little love to the planet.
Besides using selective organic and sustainable ingredients from all over the world, the brand also makes sure that everything they use is vegan and cruelty-free. All of its product bottles are also made with 100% recycled materials, except the bottle caps but they said they’re planning to make the switch soon. Go green? We’re on board!
Try: Love Beauty and Planet hair conditioner (SGD12.90). The brand may have a full line of hair and body products but if we were to pick one that we really love, we’d say it’s their hair conditioners. Formulated with a “fast-rinse technology”, they offer superior conditioning while allowing you to get it off with just one rinse – which means you get to save water every shower! Five scents are available but our favourite is probably the Argan Oil & Lavender.
Love Beauty and Planet had a successful rollout across the US and the UK last year, and is now available in Singapore, at selected Watsons stores island-wide, and on RedMart. You can also buy their products from their website.
3. Kew Organics
Kew Organics is the brainchild of Singaporean entrepreneur Lily Kew, who used to suffer from acne and scars. After using prescribed products that she found too harsh and caused her to have even more breakout and sensitive skin, she decided to find her own solutions. This was how her range of all-natural products was born.
Kew Organics’ products are full of organic and potent active botanicals, and come in lightweight water-based textures that are perfect for Singapore’s tropical climate. These products are free from synthetic and toxic ingredients, and are also vegan.
Try: Kew Organics Clear Skin Treatment Essence (SGD133.25). A 90% organic treatment essence? You’ve got our attention. This essence is loved for being gentle on the skin, blended with a robust cocktail of antioxidants and active ingredients, which helps reduce the loss of moisture and prevent breakouts.
If you’d like to experience organic and clean beauty even further, check out Kew Organics facials and peel bars across various outlets in Singapore.
4. Olea Essence
Israeli brand Olea Essence was established by a local family, which started off as olive makers, in Galilee. The brand uses natural ingredients from the Sea of Galilee and unfiltered extra virgin olive oil to create a comprehensive collection including skincare, haircare, and body care products.
All products are completely natural and manufactured in an environmentally friendly way. They are also are free from emulsifying agents, chemicals, and preservatives.
Try: Olea Essence Olive Wash & Exfoliate for Face. This is a three-in-one product that cleanses, exfoliates, and tones. Crushed olive pits found in the product gently exfoliate your skin and you’ll find your skin feeling supple and moisturised after each wash. If you’re wondering which other products you should consider, check out our list of Olea Essence recommendations.
Olea Essence products are available at Robinsons JEM, Isetan Scotts, Isetan Katong, and Mount Alvernia Retail Pharmacy.
5. Herbivore Botanicals
This cult brand landed in Singapore last year and has been quietly capturing the hearts of beauty lovers here. Herbivore Botanicals is probably most recognisable by their minimalist packaging that is super Instagrammable, but that’s not the only reason why they’re so well-loved.
Its products are filler-free and are formulated with only pure and highly concentrated active ingredients that are organic. Ingredients are cold-pressed and steam-distilled, and you’ll find no fragrance added – only therapeutic-grade essential oils are used. As a clean beauty brand, Herbivore Botanicals also assure you that they try to keep chemicals out of their formulas.
Try: Herbivore Botanicals Mini Facial Oil Trio (SGD42). This is made up of three of its latest natural facial oils: Lapis, Phoenix and Orchid. Lapis is derived from the Blue Tansy plant that soothes redness and irritation, Phoenix rehydrates dry skin, and Orchid gives your complexion a dewy glow.
Herbivore Botanicals products are available at Sephora.
We were excited to know that one of the latest brands to be made available in Sephora recently is Abyssian. It is a luxury botanic haircare brand with products that are made up of 99% plant-derived ingredients. A special mention has to be given to its star ingredient, the Abyssinian oil, which is harnessed through a cold-pressing process, and is what powers the healing and protective abilities of their products.
Besides committing itself to using only quality botanical ingredients, Abyssian also believes in giving back to the environment by planting a tree for every product it sells.
Try: Abyssian Sunday Detox Exfoliating Shampoo (SGD56). This purifies and soothes your hair and scalp – something that most of us who overuse haircare products would need.
Abyssin Haircare products are available at all Sephora.
7. Indie Lee
Founder Indie Lee was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2008, and was told by the doctor that it could have been caused by what she has been putting on her skin. Thankfully, she survived this episode and it also inspired her to start her beauty brand, which focuses on clean skincare.
While the brand is not fully organic or natural, it promises safe-formulas that are effective and healthy.
Try: Indie Lee I-Waken Eye Serum (SGD71). This lightweight eye serum soothes, hydrates, and rejuvenates your eye area. You’ll find yourself looking more bright-eyed, thanks to how it gives the delicate eye area a smoother, firmer appearance.
Indie Lee products are available at all Sephora stores in Singapore.
8. Rimon Pomegranate
Rimon is probably most known as a winery and as a specialist in pomegranate-based products for more than a decade. The brand later branched into producing top quality pomegranate-based skincare products, tapping into the ability of the vitamin- and antioxidant-rich superfruit to improve complexion.
Besides using only natural ingredients, the brand is also committed to formulating products that are free of parabens and SLS, and are not tested on animals.
Try: Rimon Pomegranate Intensive Serum. This is enriched with a complex of natural superfruit extracts including pomegranates, cherries, berries, and grapes, to powerfully fight free radicals. Nourishing and moisturising skin intensely, this serum is also excellent as a makeup base and is suitable for all skin types.
Rimon Pomegranate products are available at Robinsons JEM and Heeren, Isetan Scotts and Parkway, and Mount Alvernia Retail Pharmacy.