By Gordon Ng
Did you know that only the first five ingredients listed in your skincare products really matter? Because they are listed by concentration, the benefits you’ll be reaping will be found right at the top, while the laundry list of chemicals and fragrance that make up the rest of the formula are window dressing.
Recently, homegrown skincare brands built on cutting out unnatural chemicals and focusing on the natural ingredients that truly count have mushroomed. The road to success is, of course, tough as these brands are competing against international companies in a multi-billion-dollar industry.
Local brand Handmade Heroes boasts natural, vegan and cruelty-free products. Founder Lynsey Lim, 27, said she was inspired to make her own skincare because she “was never able to find a brand that was truly all-natural”. She sums up the brand’s philosophy as a kindness “to our skin, bodies, environment, and animals”.
Ms Lim says that one of her biggest challenges was “getting the name out there”. Her efforts paid off when the brand went on to become a globally recognized bestseller on Amazon.com
The brand’s star product is the Beauty Warrior Face Mask in French Green Clay ($24.90). According to Ms Lim, the mask is “specially crafted with unique blends of plant-based ingredients and herbs” that help to purify and rejuvenate dull skin. It uses a blend of antioxidant-rich turmeric and ginger to brighten and counter redness in the skin while minimizing the appearance of pores.
Ms Winona Tan, 30, the founder of WANT Skincare, credited the inspiration behind her brand to love. While moving to Hong Kong, where her boyfriend lived, she was struck by the idea to combine her passion for skincare, the process of cutting out unnecessary chemicals from her life and a now-or-never moment to start a business.
Ms Tan said that natural products “help reduce skin irritations” because they are formulated without harmful chemicals, and “[contributes] economic and social benefits to farmers and their communities”. To that end, her range of products use ingredients sourced from co-ops in Bali, Indonesia, and Benin.
We recommend the Beet This Honey Cleanser ($29). Made from over 60 per cent raw honey, it has a gentle non-foaming cleansing mechanism that dislodges makeup and grime from the face without stripping natural oils. Honey, in fact, is one of skincare’s most promising ingredients as its antioxidant properties help repair and restore skin’s structure, while its antimicrobial properties make it useful against acne.
Now over two years old, Frank was born out of founder Cissy Chen’s surprise at realizing how many toxic chemicals were used in cosmetics when she read the ingredient lists on products. The brand’s products all have stamps of approval by the United States Department of Agriculture and Australian Certified Organic, meaning you’re getting certified natural products.
We like the Juicier Luxury Face Oil ($58), a sumptuous blend of 11 organic oils that do it all. Key ingredients like sunflower seed, argan, jojoba, almond, rosehip and evening primrose oil are all proven to hydrate and moisturize skin while providing brightening benefits. Because this oil is so potently formulated, use it in place of both your serum and moisturizer to maximize the organic ingredients’ benefits.