Customised Skincare Featured Image

Ever tried replicating your mum or your friend’s skincare routine? Chances are, you would have failed in your attempt to get the same clear skin that they sport.

Everyone’s skin type and concerns are different, which is why your bestie’s 10-step routine may not necessarily perform the same wonders on your skin and that holy grail toner may even backfire on you instead.

With this in mind, a new skincare trend has been brewing in the beauty scene these days: customised skincare. This is not just about finding, say, a serum that works, but rather creating one that works for you precisely because it is made to fit your needs and lifestyle.

Customised skincare can sound like an absolute god-send for those of us who can never find a moisturiser that won’t break us out, but is it truly as magical as it sounds?

In order to find the answer, there is no one better to speak to than the customised skincare brands themselves that are advocating for greater personalisation in skincare. Hence, we got Singapore-based skincare startups alche{me} and Yours, as well as leading DNA testing provider GeneLife, to answer some tough and burning questions on this trend.

Is customised skincare a rising trend among consumers in Singapore?

Alcheme

alche{me}’s customised skincare products

Both alche{me} and Yours agree that there has definitely been an increasing interest in tailor-made, personalised experiences, including skincare.

However, Yours pointed out that the same level of personalisation you find in, say, Spotify and Netflix, is hard to find offline, especially in beauty.

The search for the ‘right’ skincare usually involves skimming through reviews, blogs and publications online, on top of relying on friends’ recommendations— which may not always work because lifestyle and environmental factors also affect skin health. Plus, what works for one person’s skin may not work on another, which is why consumers today are tired of experimenting with their skin and are just looking for actual solutions to skin issues.

alche{me} has also realised that Singaporean customers are especially interested in knowing how products are personalised, for e.g. if there are any assessment devices involved during the skin consultation. People are keen to learn that it is not only about having your name on the bottle, but about curated ingredients are being used in the customisation process.

So how are skincare products customised for each customer’s needs?

Yours Complete Kit

Yours Complete Kit with skin assessment results & products

For Yours and alche{me}, you can take a complimentary skin assessment on our site, answering questions about skin concerns, lifestyle factors such as water intake, sun or air-con exposure, stress levels, as well as environmental ones like humidity and air pollution.

You will also be requested to upload a selfie or photo of yourself, from which the brands will analyse and extract information on your skin condition and health.

After identifying your skin type and existing concerns, both brands will select the ingredients and dosage to be formulated in your chosen products. For example, if you have sensitive skin, they will choose specific ingredients with soothing properties and dosages that will not irritate your skin.

alche{me} takes the personalisation one step further by personalising your product bottle and having your name printed on it, so it really feels like the product is made just for you.

How exactly are the questions & results for the consultation formulated?

Here comes the tough question: who crafts those questions in the skin assessments that customers take, and who exactly analyses the responses gathered from the assessments? Are these all done by dermatologists and/or skin experts who understand skin and can really give you the best recommendations?

Both brands shared that they consult skincare experts to craft the questionnaires, whereas the results are derived from technological systems that they have developed.

For Yours, their skin assessment is designed to take into account key contributing factors that affect skin health, and they have researched extensively together with their skin experts and dermatologists in Switzerland before arriving at questions in their assessment around skin type, lifestyle and environment. These factors have been identified to help the brand accurately identify the customer’s skin profile, and thereafter map the right ingredients for their skin.

Yours Skin Assessment

Yours Skin Assessment

They also tap on their computer vision technology, which has the ability to scan the user’s face and identify skin issues. Data points extracted from the selfie uploaded by the user are then combined with lifestyle and environment data which is then fed into their proprietary personalisation model that decodes the skin needs as a factor of all these.

On the other hand, alche{me} works very closely with a skincare R&D veteran, former head of R&D for Clarins, Lionel de Benetti, who selects 25 ingredients that had science-backed track records and comes up with product formulations that have been tested on different dimensions (stability, micro-biological, and tolerance) in Singapore, Korea, Shanghai, and Italy.

They also built Facial Recognition technology on algorithms that detect different face features such as fine lines (number, length, the width of lines), pigmentation, as well as acne spots based on colour hues as well as pore size. These are then paired with additional lifestyle questions to create a complete understanding of your skin.

That being said, the brand also gets their skincare experts to review each and every order placed, and get in touch with the customer with follow-up questions if required.

Since everyone’s lifestyle and skin needs are different, would that mean that no two customers would receive the same products?

Alcheme Products

Different products for different needs

alche{me} would have you know that ‘everything down to packaging can be based on personal preferences and lifestyle’. Yours added that ‘only in the case where customers have the same lifestyle, environment and skin profile will they receive the same products’, but of course, we know that no two people can possibly have the exact same skin and living conditions – not even family!

To elaborate, alche{me} shared with us that they have an extensive ingredient range that gives them endless possibilities for the formulations. Beyond the 25 ingredients used to cover the different concerns, they also manipulate the levels of dosage based on the severity of each concern. They also offer different textures and fragrance options, as well as different optimal dosages of each ingredient, so it is possible for everyone to receive a different product.

In the same vein, Yours crafts highly-personalised skincare regimens where the right ingredients are mapped to their skin needs, lifestyle and environment, and hence would differ from customer to customer.

Is it totally impossible to buy products off the shelf that are suited to your skin needs?

Considering that more brands are pushing out different product lines and variants of the same product for customers to mix and match, is it really not possible to buy off-the-shelf products that can work right for you?

The answer: not totally impossible, but definitely very difficult.

Given the sheer diversity of individual lifestyles, it’s difficult to have something manufactured en-masse work just right for you, which is why you often don’t hit it right immediately with off-the-shelf skincare products.

In addition, alche{me}’s research has shown that 75% of women unknowingly use the wrong skincare products for their skin types. For example, many do not hydrate their skin enough, despite Singapore’s hot and humid climate – this accelerates the skin ageing process and reduces skin barrier protection.

It involves a lot of trial-and-error on the part of the consumer, which Yours describes as ‘daunting and even overwhelming’. There is an opportunity cost every time the skincare we buy doesn’t work for our skin— time, money, product wastage, not to mention that we’re essentially experimenting with our skin. There is simply too much uncertainty and frustration in this process.

What about genetics – can you customise skincare according to your genetic makeup?

More consumers, especially in Asia and Singapore, are turning towards genetic science to learn more about themselves and make informed decisions about nutrition, fitness and overall preventive wellness that includes skincare.

GeneLife offers consumers the opportunity to have genomes related to skin conditions mapped and identified using their patented SKIN at-home DNA test kit (we have a promo code you can use if you read till the end of this article!)

Genelife Skin

GeneLife identifies these genes linked to skin problems

By analysing your data and identifying if you have the genes that influence skin type, wrinkles, UV exposure, and pigmentation, you can take precautions before the skin condition even happens.

As the brand emphasises, this genetic testing is meant to help you know if you have something that has been passed down to you genetically and could be more visible at a later part in life if you do not take care of it now. For example, although your results might show high on ‘acne’, this problem may only appear much later or it is a gene that could be passed down to their future generations instead.

That being said, GeneLife does offer lifestyle tips and skincare ingredients to look out for, which can help you to craft and customise your skincare routine according to your genetic blueprint.

What makes each customised skincare brand different from the rest?

Although alche{me} and Yours both offer customised skincare, there are notable differences in their product offerings.

alche{me} positions itself as a conscious brand that believes skincare should be as good for the environment as it is good for your skin:

  • By only including the extracts that address your specific skin needs, they are not drawing on unnecessary resources.
  • By innovating processes capable of creating fresh and on-demand solutions, they are only producing in the quantities you require.
  • By investing in accurate digital analysis and a cutting-edge online service to deliver to your door, we are reducing our carbon footprint.
  • By using recyclable packaging, they reduce waste and impact on the environment.

On the other hand, Yours prides itself not only on ethical sourcing in the supply chain, but also on its clean formulations: they use only the highest quality ingredients from Switzerland and have six to 11 actives in each formulation, while the average industry formulation only features 1 to 3.

All these ingredients are clean (no toxic stuff included) and approved by the European Commission’s Cosmetic Regulations (highest cosmetics regulation standard in the world).

What is in the future for customised skincare?

Yours Personalised Skincare 2

Yours foresees that personalised skincare will be the future, and that with the advancement of technology, skincare will also become even more preventive. In other words, hyper-personalised skincare will be better designed to counteract skin damage from the past and also prevent future damage by predicting skin damage as a result of lifestyle habits and changing environments.

For alche{me}, the overall customer experience will be a priority i.e. simplified product personalisation processes and shortened production lead times. This potentially means using filters to assess skin conditions by scanning just below the surface of the skin, though this is still being studied for feasibility.

New skincare ingredients are also in the pipeline to cover additional skin concerns identified with their customer’s skin profiles and will be incorporated in upcoming personalised formulations.

Researchers, scientists, and healthcare institutions globally are also increasingly leveraging genetic information to make decisions about the overall personalisation of skincare – this will fuel the need to ensure that the technology is keeping up and truly personalised to every individual. Hence, you can look forward to even more detailed genetic information from providers such as GeneLife in the near future.


For more information on the brands featured:

alche{me}
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Yours
Website | Facebook | Instagram

GeneLife
Website | Facebook | Instagram
(P.S. Use discount code DVANITYM to get a DV-exclusive discount of 15% off all regular-priced GeneLife products!)

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About the Author
Vivian YeongVivian swears by a few things in life: lipsticks, K-beauty, tea, and potatoes....Read More

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