If there’s one major trend that’s overtaken the beauty industry, it’s definitely ‘clean beauty’. For the uninitiated, clean beauty usually refers to non-toxic beauty products that are made without a long, ever-evolving list of ingredients linked to harmful health effects.
While this phrase seems to be a rather new buzzword and ‘clean beauty’ brands have only started popping up recently, you may be surprised to know that beauty brands from one Asian country have already been effectively pushing for cleaner products: Taiwan.
Beyond being famous for their efficacious sheet masks, Taiwanese beauty brands have actually been pushing for clean beauty before this recent decade. They focus on marrying the best of nature and technology, so you will find that while many brands use natural ingredients in their products, they make sure to test these ingredients in the laboratories first to certify their efficacies.
These are some Taiwanese brands that have been making waves in the clean beauty industry:
This skincare brand was founded in 2017 by a mother, out of love for her daughter. Due to a family history of breast cancer, founder Michelle Sung was worried that her daughter would be exposed to parabens and other carcinogens, hence she created a lip balm that was completely free from fragrances, artificial flavours, as well as synthetic esters (which can be very toxic).
This lip balm was the first known skincare product to pass the SGS 72-hr patch test, meaning that it did not cause any form of skin irritation (redness, fissure, swelling, or scaling) for at least 72 hours upon application. It then became the foundation of the ERH brand, which went to develop more products that are completely free from any potential irritants, allergens, and toxins.
In addition, due to the fact that ERH uses natural ingredients in their formulations, they make sure to use only ingredients that are certified as organic so that consumers can have ease of mind knowing that the plants used are not grown with potentially harmful fertilisers.
DV Recommends: The ERH 20% Mandelic Acid is another popular product that you need to know about. For starters, Mandelic Acid is an AHA derived from bitter almonds and widely used to target signs of ageing and acne breakouts. Just pat this serum on your face after cleansing, and you’ll notice less sebum, tightened pores, and a smoother complexion over time!
ERH products are currently unavailable in Singapore, but can be purchased in Malaysia.
Most of us may not pay much attention to what goes into our facial masks, but a Taiwanese beauty brand has made it their business to make sure that all the ingredients used are safe and good for your skin, right down to the material of the mask!
Founded in 2012, MasKingdom focuses on using only safe and effective facial masks that are free from alcohol, mineral oil, animal ingredients and parabens. When it comes to sheet masks, you’ll definitely marvel at their dedication to clean beauty: they only use all-natural Japanese silk fabrics that are skin-friendly, as well as bamboo fiber masks that cleanse your pores and enhance blood circulation.
DV Recommends: Although more widely-known for their sheet masks, one innovation that clean beauty addicts must check out is the Organic Cleansing Flakes. This is a water-soluble cleanser that comes in an ultra-thin (0.01mm) flake form that dissolves in water and lathers up foam. Made from bioactive organic and natural ingredients and certified as free of soap, colourants, and alcohols, the flakes come in a portable compact that you can easily bring along for on-the-go cleansing or when you travel – sweet!
MaskIngdom products can be purchased via their Singapore distributor – for more information, visit their SG Facebook page.
The haircare brand was founded in 2002 by Steven Ko. In order to improve his health (he suffers from serious allergies) and with the ultimate aim of changing the environment, he looked everywhere for natural ingredients to make products that are healthy and eco-friendly. After his parents passed away from cancer and kidney disease, he was even more motivated to create products that can help people stay away from harmful toxins in their daily life.
In 2006, O’right evolved from a clean beauty brand into one that is also green. They believe that it is not enough to just create products that are good for the consumers – they should also be good for the environment so that the ingredients you take from nature will continue to be beneficial in the long run. Hence, every step of the manufacturing process, right down to the bottles used for their shampoos, have their carbon footprint closely monitored and kept minimal.
For instance, the brand has developed the first shampoo bottle that will actually grow into a plant! Dubbed “Tree in the Bottle”, the shampoo bottle contains seeds in it and is made from PLA, which is extracted from waste fruits, vegetables, and plants. After you finish using the shampoo, you can actually bury the empty bottle in the soil – under proper conditions, it will decompose into compost within a year and provide nutrients to the seeds in the bottle to grow!
DV Recommends: Infused with natural caffeine extracted from coffee, O’right’s Caffeine Shampoo is a best-seller among its loyal customers. It is rich in natural active ingredients and essence to revitalise the scalp, penetrate hair roots, and strengthen hair from within so that you can have healthy hair, sans silicones and artificial fragrances.
O’right products can be purchased in selected Singapore salons – for more information, visit their SG & MY Facebook page.
Environmental hormones are like spies: they resemble natural hormones in structure, thus they can easily disrupt or mutate both human and animal bodily functions. While some believe that a problem of such a large scale can only be reserved through government policies, Blueseeds believes that they can take things into their own hands by changing the way we consume beauty products.
All products from this Taiwanese brand are made with 100% natural ingredients – yes, they promise that every product is 100% natural! For example, instead of using soap and detergent in their cleansing products, they opt to add soapwort into their formulas – soapwort is a plant that can be easily made into a natural washing agent, and also commonly used to treat eczema and acne.
They also emphasise that all ingredients are grown by them in Taitung, where they have strict control over the farming process and ensure that no pesticides, synthetic fertilisers, or any other chemicals are used at all.
DV Recommends: Refresh both your hair and scalp with this popular Balancing Shampoo from Blueseeds. Targeted at those with oily scalps, the shampoo is formulated with a natural blend of tea tree essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, aloe vera, algae, and sea salt. Just like their other cleansing products, this also uses soapwort instead so that you can get a gentle cleanse while relieving any skin irritations.
Blueseeds products can be purchased on their website.
Some of us may not be strangers to this Taiwanese mask brand that has already made its way to our shores. However, did you know that its parent company is a paper company founded in 1918?
Forest Beauty was born from the expertise of producing high-quality paper products to create sheet masks that not only adhere extremely well to the skin, but are also non-allergenic and free of harmful parabens and phthalates. Some of their best-sellers include the organic cotton masks and 100% non-bleached cotton masks, as they are safe to use even for people who have extremely sensitive skin.
DV Recommends: Popular among Singaporean customers is the Edelweiss Long Lasting Hydrating Mask. This is made with organic edelweiss from the Swiss Alps! It helps to defend your skin from stress, free radicals, recover lost elasticity, and reduce fine lines caused by dehydration. Pop this on anytime your skin needs some TLC, or when you need some luxurious pampering – the Damask Rose essential oil in the formula will be a sensorial indulgence!
Forest Beauty products can be purchased in Watsons.
Established in 2010, Annie’s Way was one of the earliest brands to develop jelly masks when every other brand was focusing on sheet masks. Here’s what else you need to know about this skincare brand: they are very strict about what they put into their masks, so you won’t find parabens, antibiotics, alcohol, or steroids.
They are said to use only natural and effective ingredients such as aloe, lavender, hyaluronic acid, and arbutin (prevents the formation of melanin that causes skin pigmentation) to address various skin concerns. All their products have also passed the SGS tests, meaning that even if you have very sensitive skin, you can directly apply the products onto your skin and not have to worry about getting any allergic reactions.
DV Recommends: Do you consider yourself a bubble tea addict? If yes, here’s something that we are sure you will love: Annie’s Way has recently released a line of Bubble Tea masks that smells exactly like our favourite drink! You can choose from four flavours: Black Tea, Mango, Strawberry, and Green Tea. Green Tea is the best-selling flavour, but we personally think that Black Tea smells the most like the classic milk tea!
Annie’s Way products can be purchased in Watsons.
Unlike other brands in this list, Dachuns was actually founded in 1924 by a Japanese man named Mr. Junichi Inoue, who was the President of Taiwan Soap Joint Venture. Dachuns was the pioneer of soap business development in Taiwan, and was later sold to Mr. Shui-Tu Lee. For three generations, the Lee family continued to produce high-quality soap according to Japanese standards and methods. In other words, they’ve been into clean beauty for almost a century!
In line with the Japanese’s respect for nature, Dachuns uses only natural ingredients in their soaps – mainly tea, rice, and Chinese herbs that are grown in Taiwan. They also use organic ingredients as much as possible, including organic shea butter, aloe vera extract, and tea extract.
DV Recommends: The Classic Tea Soap is one of the brand’s earliest products. Using carefully-grounded oolong tea powder that is rich in nutrients, you get a great exfoliator that keeps your skin soft and supple. Green tea essence, which is rich in catechin, is also added as an anti-oxidant to prevent acne and other skin infections.
Dachuns products can be purchased from their online store.