Three local brands use science to deliver high-performance skincare solutions

THE clean beauty movement and natural skincare trend is on the rise. A surge of really amazing skincare products as well as knowledge has come out of it, but in the process, widespread misinformation has also been circulated and believed as fact.

The exact definition of ‘clean beauty’ is a confusing and complicated one. Natural ingredients are not always better and superior to synthetic ingredients. Just because a botanical extract is natural does not mean it is good.

For example, a commonly used skincare ingredient such as lemon peel oil can cause more harm than good. It may serve as an antibacterial ingredient to treat acne, but it is also known as an irritant, and can potentially desensitise the skin.

Contrary to popular belief, preservatives are not as bad as the clean beauty industry paints it to be. In fact, we need preservatives for product safety to keep mold and harmful bacteria from growing in them.

At the end of the day, the best bet when buying skincare products is to cut through sketchy and unsubstantiated claims made by brands, and when in doubt, turn to science.


Relaunched in May with a vision to create a beauty powerhouse, Skinmade’s impressive line-up of supercharged serums focus on specific active ingredients to treat specific skin concerns. Its goal is to create highly efficacious formulations that strengthen skin health while supporting its natural ability to repair and regenerate.

However, Skinmade goes beyond just fixing skin symptoms, starting by considering underlying skin issues.

For example, dehydrated skin and dry skin are two completely different concerns, which is why identifying and understanding what is happening on both the outer and inner skin layers is crucial.

Its holistic and science-based approach to skincare is built on biocompatible, purposeful and well-rounded ingredients that work in synergy.

Notable products such as the Peptide Complex + Retinol serum targets deep wrinkles and improves skin texture, while the Azelaic Acid + Salicylic Acid serum gently exfoliates the skin and reduces the visibility of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

$!Purpose Skin serums and gel lotion.

Purpose Skin

In a world with increasingly complicated beauty routines and uneven work-life balance with morale in a downward spiral, Purpose Skin wants to simplify skincare. The four co-founders – Karmun, Akram Yusof, Ashley Suelyn and Wayne Wong – who launched the skincare brand in January, believe that skincare as self-care is more than a guilty pleasure. It is a necessity to mental health and productivity.

Purpose Skin provides an exhaustive skincare solution for modern go-getters. Its formulated products are deeply rooted in science and for transparency, they have even created an ingredient library on their webpage to bring ingredient knowledge to the forefront of conscious consumerism.

Nasties-free formulations of the brand’s trio serums and gel lotion ensure its efficacy is always met to deliver visible results. Its no-frills ingredient list relies on well-researched active ingredients such as niacinamide (vitamin B3), vitamin C, lactic acid, squalane and allantoin.

$!CustoMask range from B&B Labs.

B&B Labs

From skincare formulated with harsh ingredients that harm the skin for temporary gratification, to “feel good” farm-to-table natural products that do not render significant results, brands have been advocating an unrealistic 10-step skincare routine that is simply not time nor cost feasible.

To change this discourse, mother and son duo Ruby Siah and Julius Lim committed themselves to create clean and scientifically-proven cosmeceutical formulas to remedy skin problems. They looked towards plant-based ingredients native to Asia to function as effective skincare solutions.

The brand’s latest customised microbiome sheet mask nourishes the skin on a cellular level using its proprietary blend of prebiotic complex, E-COLOGY PLUS+ to maintain a healthy skin mantle for the microorganisms living in our skin. Its online skin analysis reveals that one of its 12 CostoMask is effective to address specific skin types and concerns, such as dark spots, uneven skin tone, wrinkles and dryness, sensitivity and redness.