When it comes to gender parity, supporting women-owned brands is still one of the most consistent ways to promote financial equality. And while we often opt for global brands, it comes at the expense of local brands that equally packs a punch.
Here are 10 female-preneurs that you should support this International Women’s Day and beyond. They have built strong businesses that are well-known for their glowing moisturisers, cutting-edge facials, fierce pigmented lippies, new-age spa treatments that deliver results, and more.
1. Sabrina Tan of Skin Inc
A brand loved across the globe, Sabrina Tan is the driving force behind Skin Inc. Taking a leap of faith from the IT industry, her frustration with generic skincare powered her to chuck the one-size-fits-all concept in favour of a tailor-made skincare, powered by Japan technology, to create solutions unique to each individual.
Star product to try: The world of skincare can be daunting to navigate, but with My Daily Dose Custom-Blended Serum, you’ll be able to build a personalised serum around your lifestyle habits. Simply answer a questionnaire and you’re set to address your unique skin concerns with your own serum.
My Daily Dose Custom-Blended Serum is available at S$169 at Skin Inc.
2. Cynthia Chua of Spa Esprit
Redefining the archaic spa space with new-age therapy, Spa Esprit offers fresh alternatives for the mind, body and spirit. Established in 1996, by lifestyle-maven queen, Cynthia Chua, the brand is Singapore’s first energy healing and remedial spa.
Apart from the spa, Spa Esprit Group also owns globally known brands such as STRIP and Browhaus, as well as dining establishments including Tiong Bahru Bakery.
Star Treatment to try: Despite its cheeky name, the Super Vibrator is a treatment designed to soothe the body into complete relaxation. It starts off with a bio-energy reading to visualise your “energy blueprint”, followed by a combination of scent (essential oil blend), touch (traditional Hawaiian massage), and a sound bath (Tibetan singing bowl) to recalibrate the body from inside-out.
Super Vibrator is available for S$250 at Spa Esprit.
3. Pauline Ng of Porcelain
Mother-daughter duo, Jenny Teng and Pauline Ng, have built up a cult following in the local skincare scene with Porcelain: creating cutting-edge skincare solutions with high-tech machinery. They’ve been featured in listings like Forbes, showcased on BBC, and was awarded the Best Beauty Spa in Asia at the World Luxury Spa Awards (a spot they’ve held for eight consecutive years).
Star treatment to try: A session at their award-winning bespoke facial, The Quintessential Facial, starts off with a thorough skin analysis and is followed by an intensive extraction session to clear congested pores. The session ends off with a perfectly crafted after-care procedure chosen from their selection of aesthetic equipment and custom-blended products to ensure your skin heals quickly.
The Quintessential Facial is available for S$425.85 at Porcelain.
4. Xenia Wong of Sigi Skin
Sigi Skin, homegrown “superfood skincare” brand, centers around replacing chemicals with superfood ingredients that are gentle yet high in multivitamins. Founder Xenia Wong, has formulated a line of essentials for the time-strapped millennial using Korean technology: from a well-formulated cleanser, toner mist, sunscreen, eye serum to a lush night cream.
Star product to try: With a light whipped texture that blends into your skin, the Morning Glow Physical Sunscreen hydrates and leaves no white cast or greasy film. Boasting a high protection of SPF 50, it contains ingredients like avocado and acai extract, both rich in Vitamin E and fatty acids, to counteract the effects of the sun’s infrared rays.
Morning Glow Physical Sunscreen is available for S$58 at Sigi Skin.
5. Lynsey Lim of Handmade Heroes
Beginning as a booth at local pop-up markets, Handmade Heroes soon ballooned into a global brand with products reaching the UK. Lynsey Lim has carved out a niche with all-vegan products: from lip balms and shampoo to hand sanitisers, becoming Amazon’s top-selling natural skincare brand.
Star product to try: Sometimes tough love is what you need, which the Butt Kickin’ Deep Detoxing Coffee Scrub offers. The fun-sounding name works as good as it’s named. Arabica coffee takes on the role of a natural exfoliator to minimise cellulite and improve elasticity, without causing any harshness in skin.
Butt Kickin’ Deep Detoxing Coffee Scrub is available for S$21.90 at Handmade Heroes.
6. Joanne Ang of Kansoskin
Kansoskin only has one product in their line at the moment – a feel-good moisturiser for sensitive or compromised skin – but it’s an essential that’s worthy to include in your routine.
Co-founded by Joanne Ang, who received her skincare formulation certification from the UK, the brand’s Simply Better Barrier has been proven to help a whopping 96% of users find improvement in their overall skin texture.
Star product to try: Packed with Asian botanicals and probiotic complex (an ingredient that manages dry skin and eczema), the moisturiser promises all-day hydration on the face and/or body. It also reduces signs of sensitivity in the long run by balancing the skin’s natural microbiome.
Simply Better Barrier is available for S$45 at Kansoskin.
7. Chia Su-Mae of BSkin
Certified allergen-free, and dermatologically approved, BSkin’s focuses on all-natural elements derived from bee products in its skincare line. Founded by Chia Su-Mae, BSkin has a range of products that promises to protect and nourish the skin (especially for those who have hypersensitive or acne-prone skin).
Star product to try: Ideal for our humid climate, Active Day Cream, instantly hydrates and plump dull-looking skin without leaving it greasy. As a bonus, it also acts as a barrier against UV exposure and environmental stressors, and sits nicely under makeup.
Active Day Cream is available for SS$121 at BSkin.
8. Lily Kew of Kew Organics
At age 43, Lily Kew made the bold decision to set up Kew Organics, after realising the absence of vegan products available in the market when running her facial salon.
Star product to try: As the winner of the best cleanser for acne-prone skin at the 2020 Daily Vanity Beauty Awards, Kombu Multi-Mineral Aqua Cleanser is sure to give your skin a wake-up call with its minty fresh formulation. Packaged in luxurious and miron violet glass, the product is infused with skincare ingredients such as Kombu (to retain hydration) and Burdock (anti-inflammatory) to clear out congested pores without drying out the skin.
Kombu Multi-Mineral Aqua Cleanser is available for S$117 at Kew Organics.
9. Nerissa Low of Liht Organics
Sparked by her own experience with adult acne, Nerissa Low, set up Liht Organics to look for authentically safer beauty products that could heal the skin while it conceals. What does that translate to? An edible makeup line that’s 100% natural with 90% certified organic ingredients.
Star product to try: As captured in its name, the Colour-Intense Liquid Lipstick is a liquefied pigment with matte colour saturation. Formulated with a nourishing blend of coconut oil and shea butter, it moisturises while providing an intensely rich colour for the working woman who’s always on the go.
Colour-Intense Liquid Lipstick is available for S$46.53 at Liht Organics.
10. Hayley Teo of Rooki Beauty
Established by Hayley Teo, Rooki Beauty was built out of the desire to collapse barriers between user and product. They’re focused on the idea of transforming your favourite superfoods into made-easy skincare products packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients (from plants and vegetables).
Star product to try: Their bestselling essentials all packed in one, the Rooki Superfood Starter Kit offers a three-prong approach to dull and dehydrated skin. Featuring a cleanser, moisturiser and masque – all loaded with natural ingredients like honey and matcha – it’s a good introduction kit for those starting to build their skincare routine.
Rookie Superfood Starter Kit is available for S$180 at Rooki Beauty.