The Covid-19 pandemic has made mask-wearing a norm and that has, in some ways, changed our skin. But has that changed the way Singapore women stock their beauty cabinets? If our little peek at the vanities of several women – from a ballerina to a model – in the next few pages gives an indication of our skincare habits, then the needle is pointing towards a state of detox and cleansing.
Some women are also taking this time to adopt more conscious beauty habits. Take chic Belgian-born Singapore-based artist DeNoelle Woonlphine Rama for instance. Besides paring down her skincare routine, Rama has started adopting a more sustainable/DIY approach to looking good.
“I do not want to enter the vicious cycle of consumption by buying countless creams that might eventually dry up the skin in the long term,” she says. “I prefer using powdered coffee and coconut oil which are great natural products for daily use.”
With this newfound collective attitude towards beauty in mind, click ahead for a slice of “bathroom porn”.
Who: Professional ballerina and co-founder of BalletBody Singapore, a fitness studio that features workout classes based on the dance form.
On her beauty cache: “I like having all my skincare lined up, preferably with the same brand side by side (hello OCD).”
On her approach to skincare: “Most of my products are hypoallergenic with natural ingredients due to my extremely sensitive skin, so making sure I know what I am giving to my skin and body is important.
I don’t wear much makeup on a daily basis because of the nature of my job, and now that wearing a surgical mask out has become the new normal, I find myself wearing even less make up and cleansing even more often.”
Her beauty must-have: “It has to be my Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Balm. I have the big pump bottle at home for after showers and the travel one to have with me on the go. Now that we are using more alcohol-based hand sanitisers, I find my hands getting drier and more prone to eczema – something that I’ve battled with for years so I make sure I have my body balm with me at all times. Doesn’t hurt that it smells amazing too.”
Who: Marketing manager for Guess.
On her beauty cache: “It has to be accessible. I like my daily products within reach and within eyeshot. Since they cost a lot I prefer to display them; I only stash products I don’t use on the daily in my drawers.”
On her approach to skincare: “Working in fashion and marketing, I’ve always been particular about grooming. During this pandemic, I went from being heavily pregnant to having post-partum blues to being a full-time working mum, and now going on 35.
So in general, I’ve had neither the time nor the energy for a full beauty routine. I’ve had to change my routine to be quick but nourishing.”
Her beauty must-have: “My Advanced Night Repair serum from Estee Lauder. Hydration is key for me and this product serves my dry ageing skin well.”
Who: This independent photographer/artist was behind last year’s enlightening street style book Grey Is The New Black (Unseen Singapore) which celebrated senior style in the Little Red Dot. She’s currently working on a new project that revolves around “hands and their mysterious ways through the hands of the people I love”.
On her beauty cache: “I tend to like seeing all my products together and grouped in no particular way – so I just leave them sprawling about.”
On her approach to skincare: “I view beauty routines as something comforting especially after a long day but I’m not the type to spend an extremely long time on it either because comfort is more important to me. Because of this, I tend to use very simple and natural types of products like argan oil, thermal water and anything that doesn’t require tons of effort to achieve what I want.
During the pandemic, I’ve really realised that I wanted an even simpler skincare routine so I dropped things like serum and now all I have (that works for me) is argan oil in the morning and a good moisturiser at night.”
Her beauty must-have: “I used to have really oily skin and after switching to argan oil, I realised that it was because I have been dehydrating my skin with massive amounts of tea tree products since I was 18.
After trying out simpler skincare routines, my complexion became healthier and was glowing because I wasn’t putting any more stripping products on my face.”
Who: The abstract painter from Belgium has been based in Singapore since late 2019. This month, Rama will be staging a solo show at the brand new home of Cuturi Gallery on Aliwal Street.
On her beauty cache: “Organic and natural – just like my newfound approach to the consumption of beauty products which has changed since the lockdown.”
On her approach to skincare: “My skin suffered a lot from wearing a mask every day. So I decided to look for more organic products that contain fewer chemicals that might pollute the environment, and of course, less harmful for the skin.
I regularly use concentrated or diluted essential oils for my body and my hair. I use very little make-up as I’m not very good at it and instead rely on an anti-ageing serum with vitamin C and E and jojoba oil every day.
My routine also includes a hydrating lip balm with rose flower and a bit of Lancome powder when my eyes are too tired. I really try to avoid smearing the powder all over my face – wearing a mask already prevents the skin from breathing thus I find it very important not to overload the skin.
On the other hand, I also do not want to enter the vicious cycle of consumption by buying countless creams that might eventually dry up the skin in the long term. I prefer using powdered coffee and coconut oil which are great natural products for daily use.”
Her beauty must-have: “I have very fine and damaged hair and this Lansiyi Hair Salon Protect Hair Oil is a saviour. It contains vitamin E and carrot oil and focuses on repairing damaged ends, prevents hair loss and stimulates growth by nourishing it intensively. I apply it once a week on the tips and roots of my hair and leave the concentrate on to work its magic overnight.”
Who: The London-trained botanical designer is the brainchild of Still Life Floral which is known for its lush and romantic “mood-based” arrangements.
On her beauty cache: “Minimalist and easy to reach for.”
On her approach to skincare: “Working from home (even before the pandemic) has given me the luxury to take things at my own pace and really enjoy this time of self-care that I set aside for myself every morning. I believe that beauty need not be complex and wasteful.
I used to be obsessed with beauty, purchasing new products regularly but after a round of ‘beauty cleansing’, I’ve never looked back. I’ve since pared down my routine to a very simple one that I know works for me.”
Her beauty must-have: “The Bioderma Sensibio Micellar Cleansing Water is the most gentle makeup remover for my sensitive skin.
Also, on days when I decide to skip foam cleansing in the morning (for times when my skin feels drier than usual and when I don’t feel like I need the extra cleanse), I use this to remove any oil and dirt that might have accumulated overnight before I begin my usual routine.
I purchased two of these mega-sized pump versions from Korea when I was there and lugged it back. That’s how much I love this product.”
Who: The Nigerian-Chinese Singapore beauty is one of the most prominent faces in the homegrown modelling scene right now and is signed to Mannequin Studio.
On her beauty cache: “Whatever fits shall stay in place until the end of time.”
On her approach to skincare: “Honestly, I have a simple beauty routine which involves washing my face, brushing my teeth and doing my hair and makeup.
This regimen is very important to me as it starts my day on the right note. If I don’t follow it, I feel that I can’t function. During the pandemic, I got into using more face masks and moisturising my body; basically I started paying more attention to my skincare.”
Her beauty must-haves: “My beloved hair moisturisers and little styling spool. My hair has to always be glossy and gelled down or else I’ll feel extremely messy and unkempt when my hair frizzes up in the humidity. I cannot stand frizzy hair.”
Who: Co-founder of three-year-old contemporary costume jewellery label In A Perfect World. The brand is launching an upcoming collection of 925 sterling silver earrings and necklaces and titanium rings that are perfect for your stacking game.
On her beauty cache: “Organic.”
On her approach to skincare: “Since the pandemic and work from home arrangements started, I’ve definitely devoted more time and TLC to my daily skincare routine.
Having a combination of oily and dry skin, I prefer to apply masks every other day, switching between my Origins Drink Up Intensive leave-on mask & Frank Body Glow mask. I’m a huge fan of Origins and have been using their products for years.
Working from home also makes it easier to apply serums and moisturisers whenever I feel like my skin is drying out from being in the room all day. My current favourite staple is organic coconut oil, which I use regularly on my lips, hair, cuticles and as a body moisturiser.”
Her beauty must-haves: “My must-haves are my Fenty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Concealer and my Sunnies Face Fluffmate & Airblush. The former gives me a flawless complexion while the latter is so versatile. I use it for my lips, cheeks and eyes when I’m on the go.”
This article was first published in Female.