From The Straits Times    |

You know how doctors and teachers seem to run in families? So do beauty people. Take Ashley Yong, one half of Singapore vegan brand Two Halves, which launched in October 2019. The 28-year-old learnt about skincare and makeup from her mum.

My mother taught me that no one is too young to begin investing in skincare. The best foundation for resilient skin is to start an essential skincare routine of cleansing and moisturising.

– Ashley Yong

Mum is Jo Yong, 59, former brand general manager at Estee Lauder Companies, who, in 2012, helped to launch Tom Ford Beauty in Singapore. She’s now a director at a group establishment for the beauty wholesale and retail industry, and is a consultant for Two Halves.

So it was practically a given that Ashley would end up working in the beauty industry, doing public relations and marketing for a year at the Estee Lauder Companies. But even as she put her skills to work, she felt a strong pull to create her own skincare brand.

With Two Halves, Ashley and Jo have created a gender-neutral, clean-beauty brand designed for sensitive skin, housed in sleek, sustainable packaging.

two halves

Ashley’s husband had a part to play, too, in the brand’s decision to focus on sensitive skin. “He has very sensitive skin that would flare up, and he would even refuse to apply sunblock.”

Interestingly, Two Halves’ first product is a skin essence – the oil-free Soothing Hydrating Essence ($85), which is part of its Better Balance range.

The pair asked themselves tough questions like: “Is the product even necessary? Can we add clean ingredients? How will it help sensitive skin? Would it be just a quick fix?” says Ashley.

The mother-daughter duo knew they needed a credible formula. The product had to do what it claimed, contain science-backed (and clean) ingredients, and show results. Ashley spent a year formulating the essence with a lab in Japan, using skin- and eco-friendly plant-based ingredients.

two halves

The product’s water-based gel texture is one of its main benefits – it’s extra smooth, lightweight and super gentle. Its blend of botanical extracts – cherry blossom leaf, soya bean seeds and scutellaria baicalensis, a Chinese herb – offer anti-inflammatory, anti-photo-ageing and antioxidant properties to calm skin, reduce irritation, and fortify the skin barrier.

It can be used daily, in the morning and night, after cleansing. Apply one to two pumps and pat in gently.

Two Halves is available at and at Novela stores. Look out for its second product, planned for year-end.

Her World's sustainability issue

This article was first published in Her World’s June 2020 issue.