This year, we saw a whole array of cult and makeup artist beauty brands arriving on our shores.
Some brands we’ve been excited for: Korean makeup artist Jung Saem Mool’s namesake line of skincare and makeup products, Charlotte Tilbury’s (she’s the British makeup artist to stars such as Cara Delevingne, Kate Moss and Mirander Kerr) complete range of makeup and skincare, cult American brand Milani Cosmetics with its quality makeup for the masses, as well as Gucci Beauty and its wide, wide, wide array of lipsticks.
Skincare inspired by Chinese and Korean traditional medicine
We love herbs in our dishes, and even more so when these familiar ingredients make their way into our skincare.
Herbs traditionally used in Chinese and Korean medicine were big this year: ingredients such as gingko biloba, cordyceps and ginseng can be found in everything from serums, lotions, masks and even shampoo. With a 122-year history, Whal Myung products, made by Korea’s first pharmaceutical company, are steep in medicine and herbs. The secret lies in five specially selected herbs that not only protect and nourish the skin but also improve its clarity and vitality. The Face Shop’s new Sooryehan range, on the other hand, uses wood-cultivated ginseng to rebalance and revitalise the skin.
But Asian brands aren’t the only ones on this traditional medicine bandwagon. Bobbi Brown’s Intensive Skin Serum Foundation contains cordyceps to keep skin youthful while Caudalie Nourishing Body Lotion and Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum both contain gingko biloba to promote microcirculation and prevent premature skin ageing.
In Singapore, we have our very own Two Lips taking the country, and the world, by storm. Just a year after its launch, the brand now boasts a range of five products (with more on the way) for a complete V-care routine.
Hera Black Foundation, which is the liquid equivalent of the brand’s iconic Black Cushion, has a semi-matte finish that really lasts, and Chanel Ultra Le Teint with its buildable medium-to-full coverage resists heat, humidity and sebum.
The increase in anti-pollution, anti-haze and anti-blue light products
Protecting our skin against UV damage isn’t enough anymore. With increased pollution and our constant need to be glued to our digital devices, we need our skincare to work harder.
Studies have shown that pollution particles, including PM2.5, can increase free radical damage in the skin while blue light (also known as High Energy Visible light) emitted by electronic gadgets like smartphones, computers and even the TV, contributes to wrinkle formation and pigmentation.
Enter the products that can help.
Sigi Skin Dew Potion is packed with antioxidants to prevent free radical damage and anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to soothe and protect te skin.
Chantecaille Blue Light Protection Hyaluronic Serum shields skin against blue light pollution while plumping it.
Supergoop! Sunscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF40 not only hydrates but also protects against UV and blue light pollution using blue-green algae extract and cerium.
Est.Lab SunShield SPF50 forms a formidable shield against harmful UV and blue light damage, keeping skin healthy and youthful.
Sothys too, launched their anti-haze range, Detox Energie, in September, containing a trio of active ingredients that boost skin’s resistance to pollution.
The good news is that these recent treatments now come with reduced discomfort and better pain management. Sygma Lift at Epion Clinic is a gentler option to Ultherapy and HIFU, though more sessions are needed to get similar results, while the Salmon DNA Repair Facial at Ageless Medi-Aesthetics uses salmon-derived polydeoxyriboneucleotides (PDRN) and is the facial equivalent of the popular anti-ageing injectable Rejuran Healer treatment minus the scary needles. More importantly, treatments now come with little downtime.
While facial rollers were all the rage in 2018, this year’s beauty devices levelled up with the use of LED light therapy to rejuvenate the skin, brighten the complexion, banish blemishes or mininise pesky dark circles.
Some of the ones that caught our attention: Skin Inc Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light Glasses for Bright Eyes allows you to choose between three different lights – red, yellow and orange – to treat eye concerns from dark circles to ageing in just 10 minutes.
LG Pra.L Derma LED Mask uses 160 LED lights to rejuvenate skin for a toned and radiant complexion.
And Est.Lab Optimalift A+ Intelligent Eye Revitaliser Tri-Action Massager promotes micro-circulation via high-frequency vibrations and red LED light, helping to relieve tired eyes, boost collagen production and enhance product absorption.
Night-time repair is key, not just for the face but for your hair too
It is well-known that while you sleep, your body goes into repair mode, so using nutrient-rich products at night really helps your skin. We’ve seen a number of overnight haircare products too. While the jury is still out on whether our hair does repair itself at night, there is no harm in taking advantage of the downtime to allow your hair treatment to repair and hydrate dryness and damage so you wake to silky soft and shiny hair.
IGK Antisocial Overnight Bond-Building Dry Hair Mask is a dry treatment mask that uses a leave-in bond-building technology to repair and strengthen the hair while you sleep, Sephora Collection Hair Sleeping Masks offer a host of different active ingredients to treat different hair woes and comes with a protective hair cap so you won’t stain your pillowcase, and Sachajuan Over Night Hair Repair is a water-based gel treatment that conditions and strengthens hair so it’s soft and shiny when you wake up.
It has waned. Not at all. In fact, more K-beauty brands arrived in 2019, so you no longer need to bother your friends to be your beauty mule every time they head to Seoul. Some of the brands that got us excited include Dear Dahlia, Rom&and, Huxley, Rovectin and of course, VT Cosmetics (fronted by the ever-popular idol group, BTS).
And to confirm the allure of K-beauty comes the newly launched Amore Store x Lazada phygital store. While we already get some of our favourite Amorepacific Group brands here, such as Sulwhasoo, Innisfree and Laneige, this new online-to-offline concept allows us to browse, experience and shop for those brands we’ve always had to travel to Seoul for, like Iope, Espoir and Hanyul at the store or in the comfort of our homes, and more importantly, minus the exorbitant shipping fees.
Singapore brand Kew Organics has been a firm advocate of using organic ingredients since 2016, and their recent Hydrating range is enriched with organic German chamomile water to quench dry skin while its Refreshing range uses organic kombu and burdock to purify skin. Lush now boasts a growing Naked skincare collection – products devoid of plastic packaging, as part of the brand’s journey in removing single-use plastics and its commitment to a cleaner and greener world.
And in addition to its eco-friendly packaging, haircare brand Act+Acre also uses a unique cold processed method in its product formulation. The process not only maintains the integrity of ingredients used, helping to retain up to 96 per cent more vitamins, but also uses less energy, which is better for the environment.