Skincare is serious business. Along with increasingly savvy consumers and the rise of scientific beauty vloggers (such as cosmetic formulator Stephen Alain Ko aka @kindofstephen, chemistry PhD graduate Michelle Wong aka @labmuffinbeautyscience, and Singapore makeup artist and cosmetic science graduate Larry Yeo aka @larryyeo), we just want to be thoroughly informed about what goes into our skincare products.
Kimberley Ho, founder of mum and baby skincare brand Evereden, agrees: “Consumers are much more sceptical these days. They are looking into the credentials of a brand that actually walks the talk and delivers the benefits it claims to offer – none of which can be achieved without science and true innovation in skincare.”
Science has never gone out of fashion
Prof Augustinus Bader, one of the world’s leading stem cell and biomedical scientists, and founder of Augustinus Bader skincare, says scientific knowledge allows brands create better and safer products. “It’s not about how the skin looks; it’s about how the skin works – beautiful skin is a reflection of health.”
For instance, Prof Bader’s expertise led to the creation of the brand’s proprietary Trigger Factor Complex (TFC8), which works with the skin’s own intrinsic repair needs. It contains the building blocks of amino acids, vitamins and synthesised molecules in an exact concentration and combination found in healthy young skin. ”
It functions like a GPS by utilising a novel transporting mechanism to navigate and deliver a complex of nutrient compounds to a specific location in the cellular micro-environment,” he explains. And when this happens, he says that you can “enable the body to fix your skin according to your own needs”.
It’s one of the reasons why Augustinus Bader products are so effective and count celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campbell and Margot Robbie as loyal fans.
Similarly, new Singapore skincare brand Heure is an amalgamation of science and technology. Using the analogy of dripping coffee onto a table and expecting the liquid to pass through the table and collect in a cup below, Heure director Lim Ker Han says science and tech are what helped create the brand’s unique transdermal delivery system SPHR. The system helps the active ingredients in a formula permeate the skin.
“Our skin’s primary function is to act as a defence barrier against environmental toxins. However, that barrier also prevents much of your skincare from penetrating past the surface layer and into the cellular levels, which control the skin’s structure, tone and elasticity,” Lim explains.
At the same time, Lim says ingredients that are able to penetrate past the epidermis often have little or no depth-control, so they move through the skin’s deeper layers without making much of an impact.
In this instance, Heure’s SPHR works like “dermal drones”, seeking out areas in the skin where collagen and elastin reside, then releasing the actives homogeneously across the targeted region over 24 hours. The result, Lim says, is up to a 320 per cent reduction in surface wrinkles in one month.
This is why science is leading the way
So science is knowledge – and knowledge makes for more effective products. “Science is the only thing that heals and promotes your skin,” says Dr Barbara Sturm, aesthetics doctor, founder of Dr Barbara Sturm skincare, and the creator of the celeb-fave Vampire Facial.
For Dr Sturm, the focus on advanced ingredient science ensures that her skincare products are formulated with potent key ingredients that have been clinically studied widely for their properties and skin efficacy. “Skin has both overlapping and unique needs, and requires science and results-driven skincare to be healthy and functioning, while also looking good.”
According to Dr Grace Cho, dermatologist and founder of K-beauty brand Celloom, “Science-led skincare can promise the most benefits one can get from each product and its ingredients… skincare products have to purposefully deliver the effect that it strives to offer. And the only way we can achieve that is by persistently pursuing scientific research and testing formulations with newly developed and established ingredients, based on profound knowledge of the skin and ingredient science.”
But that’s not to say that only science-derived active ingredients are best. “We loosely talk about science versus more traditional forms of beauty as if they were in competition with one another, but that’s not correct,” says Lim.
“Science is basically the measure by which we observe consistent and quantifiable effects, and apply that knowledge effectively.”
In fact, Evereden, with the help of its scientific advisory panel, has managed to combine two of the beauty industry’s biggest trends to date in its products – nature-derived ingredients with science-based results.
“Our doctors are able to step in and provide these insights from a science-based perspective, to help us truly determine what is safe, clean and effective to use. We combine this with pure, plant-based ingredients – like sunflower seed oil, one of the most research-backed ingredients in skincare – that are at the heart of all our formulas. Combining science-backed research with the best of nature – that is when you get outsized results in your skincare,” says Ho.