When we give a shout-out to homegrown beauty businesses, we aren’t just doing it for the sake of supporting local. These women-owned beauty brands are making quality skincare, body care, and makeup products available to us, even as they’re showing us that, really, women can do anything they put their minds to.
Many of these #girlbosses kickstarted their businesses because of the (frustrating) gaps that they spotted in their own skincare routines. And, inspiringly, the dream to bring beauty products to the market started, for many, in these women’s own kitchens – as they were mixing up natural ingredients to try on their own skin.
From humble kitchens to as far as past our borders, these local beauty brands and the women behind them have never been more deserving of the spotlight than this International Women’s Day!
Sabrina Tan – Skin Inc
Order a coffee at Starbucks and you can customise your order according to what you love. Well, cart out a serum from Skin Inc, and the brand can customise the formula according to your skin concerns, lifestyle habits, and what your skin truly needs!
Tired of on-the-shelf products that were only so effective at targeting unique skin concerns, Sabrina Tan started Skin Inc, determined to create customisable skincare formulas for every skin type. She also wanted to formulate skincare that would help the busy urbanite pare down their routines.
Now, cult skincare brand Skin Inc is sought after not just for its customisable serums but also for its AI beauty tools. The homegrown label is also making its mark on the world map, with its products being sold in over 20 cities across Asia and Europe.
What to try?
Unlike other serums, My Daily Dose Cocktail Serum is customised for you. Take a quick three-minute quiz to select your skin concerns and lifestyle habits, and Skin Inc will determine the best cocktail of ingredients that’ll improve your complexion.
Skin Inc My Daily Dose Cocktail Serum retails at S$169 on Skin Inc.
Skin Inc is also the first Singapore brand to be on Sephora’s shelves. Shop Skin Inc at Sephora.
Talisa Poh – Klynn Beauty
Klynn Beauty’s founder, Talisa Poh, knows what it’s like to be stressed out and have your skin bear the brunt too. Having worked in the corporate world for almost a decade, she’s been tired, stressed, anxious – you name it, and has seen the effects show up on her skin.
It’s why she was inspired to start Klynn Beauty to indulge users with skincare that’s pleasing to the senses and helps to restore balance to a fatigued complexion.
Currently, Klynn Beauty offers two products in their store: the Rose Masquerade Purifying Mask, made with white clay, radiance-ramping kakadu plum, and calming centifolia rose to soothe irritated skin, as well as the Revive Me Centella Cleanser.
The cleanser stars Centella Asiatica, a Korean-favourite ingredient, to calm the skin even as it cleanses it thoroughly.
Of clay mask and cleanser, Klynn Beauty sure knows how to make skincare that feels wonderful on stressed skin.
Rose Masquerade Purifying Mask retails for S$29.40 instead of S$49 on Klynn Beauty.
Revive Me Centella Cleanser retails for S$28 on Klynn Beauty.
Lynsey Lim – Handmade Heroes
You better believe it: When Lily Collins took viewers through her “Day-to-Night French Girl Look” for Vogue, she pulled out local brand Handmade Heroes’ Ultra Sexy Scrub!
“Smells, again, so good – it’s coconut sorbet,” she quipped. She used a lip brush to spread the lip scrub all over her lips, making sure that her lipstick goes on “evenly” afterwards.
A homegrown brand that offers natural, vegan skincare products, Handmade Heroes is a hit even in the US market, especially with its best-selling products like the Ultra Sexy Lip Scrub, Drop Dead Gorgeous Dry Shampoo, and Cocoa Friggin’ Fantastic Lip Balm.
Lynsey Lim started Handmade Heroes in her kitchen, cooking up simple, good-for-skin formulas using only natural ingredients.
She wanted to make natural skincare products more accessible to consumers and has stayed true to her goal, which is why, even today, all the brand’s products are made in-house.
“From grinding our own rice to making our own cocoa butter, all the products on offer are either made by myself or with my partner,” she shared with Hive Life.
Besides being natural and vegan, Handmade Heroes products are also synthetic- and preservative-free, Halal-certified, and PETA cruelty-free!
Handmade Heroes Ultra Sexy Scrub retails for S$10.90 on Handmade Heroes. You can also find it at Robinsons.
Hann Chia – Fawn Labs
Founder Hann Chia’s interest in clean beauty and sustainability peaked when she faced a personal health scare in 2014. After using a natural botanical skincare product that put her on the road to recovery, she dove into research and started Fawn Labs five years later.
Fawn Labs doesn’t just bottle up simple and effective skincare for you to cart out, it also empowers you to make good choices about what you put on your skin!
That’s right, the brand holds paid workshops to educate people on “clean beauty” and give attendees the opportunity to whip up their own products that are customised to their skin concerns.
Customers bring back their own skincare products in reusable glass containers. When they come back to craft more products, Fawn Labs washes and sanitises the containers before filling them up with fresh batches of formula.
This local label has even been called the “first circular luxury skincare lab” because of how sustainable it is.
What to try?
Attend the Fawn Labs Clean Beauty Workshop, priced at S$640 on Klook. You can also try the Fawn Labs Clean Days Workshop, where you’ll get to make bath bombs and a foaming body wash, for S$244.80 instead of S$272 on Klook.
Or, attend the Fawn Skin Concierge, where you’ll enjoy a one-on-one skin consultation with Fawn Labs Certified Organic Skincare Formulator and bring home three skincare items, for S$340.99 on Klook.
Mandy T – Mandy T Skincare
Less is always more – at least, that’s the rule when it comes to the all-natural body care products by Mandy T Skincare.
Mandy T is the person behind the eponymous skincare label. She’s also the one to handcraft the cruelty-free formulas in small batches at the brand’s boutique workshop, and then bottle them up in recyclable glass packaging for the good of the environment.
Why? On her travels to the Mediterranean, Africa, and Asia, Mandy discovered that skincare products mainly consisted of natural plant-based oils, herbs, and florals. She was, thus, inspired to create body care products that are made from natural and simple ingredients too.
What to try?
You’ll easily skim through the short ingredient list on the back of any Mandy T Skincare product without being baffled by confusing chemicals.
Take the Rose + Geranium + Orange Body Scrub, formulated with this simple list of ingredients: sugar, grapeseed oil, honey, rose petals, rose buds, vitamin E, rose essential oil, geranium essential oil, and orange essential oil.
You’ll smell so delicious and feel your best each time slather on a scrub or cream from this Singapore brand!
Rose + Geranium + Orange Body Scrub retails for S$49.50 on Mandy T Skincare.
Pauline Ng – Porcelain
A woman-inspired-by-woman local label, Porcelain was brought to life when daughter Pauline Ng co-founded it with her mother (and veteran esthetician in Singapore) Jenny Teng.
Back then, Pauline had just graduated from university and was helping her mom to restart her business. Soon, however, she found herself falling in love with the skincare industry herself, she told Tatler Asia. She’s “never looked back since” and it’s why Porcelain continues to be what it is today.
Now, Porcelain is a highly-recognised premium skincare brand that offers both products and facial spa treatments dedicated to targeting concerns from within.
What to try?
Soothe your sensitive acne skin with Porcelain’s signature 75-minute ClearZ-Purity Treatment. The facial uses botanical skincare products and Korean medi-technology to cleanse your pores and purify your skin, so your face will look bright and healthy after.
You can also trust that the decadent formulas and treatments by Porcelain won’t superficially improve your skin; the brand will certainly get to the root of your skin concerns to help you reap a radiant glow!
For a limited time only, enjoy a ClearZ-Purity Treatment first trial at S$268 instead of S$561. Book here.
Lily Kew – Kew Organics
After struggling with acne-prone skin for over 10 years, Lily Kew realised that having good skin starts with what goes onto our faces and into our bodies.
Taking matters into her own hands, she ventured into organic skincare and started developing formulas that worked well, specifically for Singapore’s humid climate and Asian skin.
Kew Organics, started in 2014 by Lily Kew, is the first brand to offer organic facial and body treatments in Singapore! Since then, the local brand has expanded its offerings to include take-home skincare products and express facials for busy urbanites (re: the Sugar K Organic Peel Bar).
Ask her what it means for the products to be labelled “organic”, and she’ll tell you this: at least 75% of ingredients in Kew Organic products are organic-certified.
What to try?
A multi-award-winning lightweight formula, the Kew Organics Cacao Okra Age Defying Eye Serum brims with peptides to firm the skin around the eyes, so you can bid fine lines goodbye in the blink of an eye.
The Cacao Okra Age Defying Eye Serum retails for S$67.65 on Kew Organics.
Hayley Teo – Rooki Beauty
Taking superfoods out of the kitchen and putting them into skincare products, Hayley Teo started Rooki Beauty, a local brand that takes pride in its simple but effective formulas, laced with Japanese superfoods – of course!
Literally, Hayley’s journey with skincare began in her kitchen, where she experimented with using fresh foods to make lip balms, clay masks, and body scrubs. To her surprise, the fresh, handcrafted products really worked to improve her skin.
Fast forward and Rooki Beauty was born. The name, Rooki, is a reference to skincare that’s so easy, even a rookie can use it. Truly, the brand’s superfood-rich formulas make skincare that much more of a breeze.
What to try?
The Honey Matcha Cleansing Drops is one of Rooki Beauty’s best-selling products. Made with raw honey and matcha from Japan, this cleanser gently balances, hydrates, and brightens the skin, giving you a lit-from-within glow.
Honey Matcha Cleansing Drops retails at S$59 on Rooki Beauty.
Hildra Gwee – Oasis: Skin
When Hildra’s husband gifted a natural skincare book to her on her birthday a few years back, she took a shot for the sake of her acne-plagued skin: the two of them travelled to France to source for organic ingredients to try on her skin.
What started in Hildra Gwee’s own kitchen later ended up in a bigger one at Tan Boon Liat Building: the Oasis: Skin Beauty Kitchen. There, Hildra (and her team) concoct, by hand, fully-natural, plant-based products for the face, body, and hair each week, or even as much as every day.
Oasis Skin now offers a range of in-house natural products for the body, face, and hair, which are rich in plant actives and totally chemical-free. It even uses refillable packaging, so customers can top up their go-to products at any of its outlets in Singapore!
What to try?
To lengthen the lifespan of its natural formulas, Oasis: Skin often takes water out of the mix, offering a range of dry and solid products such as the Organic Solid Shampoos, Organic Facial Bars, and Head-to-Toe Magic Powder Wash.
Leave your scalp feeling clean and fresh with the Solid Shampoo Ginger, which is infused with organic ginger and lemongrass essential oils. Next to other fresh ingredients like Stinging Nettle, Amla, and Indian Pennywort, the oils boost blood circulation at the scalp and stimulate hair growth!
Solid Shampoo Ginger retails for S$15 at Oasis: Skin.
Cheryl Ou and Germaine Monteiro – The Nail Social
Cheryl Ou and Germaine Monteiro are the women who co-founded The Nail Social and, beyond being #girlbosses, they’re also passionate about empowering other women in the process!
The Nail Social isn’t just a nail salon, it’s also a social enterprise that supports women on the margins – such as ex-offenders and youth-at-risk – by offering them vocational training and employment.
By equipping these marginalised women with vocational skills and providing them with stable employment, the salon empowers them to support themselves in the long term.
The co-founders also set The Nail Social apart by using only nail polishes that are non-toxic and either fair trade or cruelty-free. Customers are also handed iPads filled with movies, games, and books, as well as given drinks and snacks, so every salon session is a treat!
Check out The Nail Social for the salon’s full menu.
Nerissa Low – Liht Organics
We’ve introduced an assortment of local skincare brands, but Liht Organics is the first homegrown makeup label we’re featuring in our list.
The promise of Liht Organics? “Organic makeup that’s safe enough to eat”. All the ingredients in the brand’s formulations are 100% natural and up to 90% of the ingredients are USDA-certified organic.
From creamy liquid foundations to rosy blushes, Liht Organics makeup products are designed, not just to make your skin look good, but to be good on your skin too.
The brainchild of Nerissa Low, Liht Organics began because its founder was searching for a solution to her own acne problems. When the oral medication and steroid injections she was taking for her acne caused her more health issues, Nerissa turned to organic skincare alternatives.
Her search for organic skincare turned out to be challenging: not every product was effective or truly “clean”. She was, therefore, inspired to create her own organic products, so women can choose beauty without compromising on health and safety. That was how Liht Organics was formed.
What to try?
The Youth Elixir Liquid Foundation is a lightweight foundation that feels super comfy on the skin and lends the skin renewed radiance each time.
It’s also rich in antioxidants and made with a natural blend of aloe barbadensis, vanilla extract, oregano extract, and thyme extract.
Even though founder Nerissa Low doesn’t recommend you try this at home, she demonstrated just how safe and natural the product is by swiping the Youth Elixir Liquid Foundation onto her tongue!
The Youth Elixir Liquid Foundation retails at S$72 on Liht Organics. You can also get the trial-size Youth Elixir Liquid Foundation Trial Pen for S$15 on the website.
Featured image credit: Vogue Beauty Secrets/YouTube, Handmade Heroes
Related read: 11 women-owned local beauty businesses to support this IWD and beyond