Sephora may be the mother lode of makeup and skincare, but these homegrown labels are crafted with green goddesses in mind. Natural, organic, and paraben-free are their magic words, with nary an unfamiliar ingredient that you can’t decipher (much less pronounce) involved in the creation of the products they make.
So if your skin is overdue for a beauty detox, try these indie brands for a purer daily routine that’s good to the earth and empty of synthetic elements or toxic chemicals.
Championed as “conscious skincare,” Alcheme is founded on the basis of simple yet effective skincare, with formulas customized individually to suit your needs. Made in Singapore and packaged in recyclable bottles, the products repair and refine using botanical concentrates and vitamins, without the usual list of parabens, sulphates, silicones, or animal-derived ingredients. Instead, it uses ginseng root extract for anti-aging properties, iris root extract to treat acne, and moringa seed extract for anti-pollution.
Complete a five-minute consultation on your lifestyle, skin concerns, and environment, and you’ll be recommended a personalized collection of serums, moisturizers, toners, and face masks tailored just for you.
Oh, we could wax lyrical about the benefits of argan oil, like how it’s a superhero ingredient full of vitamin E and antioxidants that you can use from head to toe, including your hair, nails and face. But we’ll just let the brand, which takes inspiration from its co-founder’s African and Moroccan roots, speak for itself.
Hunting down ingredients from remote regions in Africa, along with organic argan oil from Morocco that’s cold-pressed and hand processed by women in rural areas of the country, Ania is clearly most known for its multi-purpose pure argan oil that’s touted to moisturize for any skin type, tame frizzy tresses, and hydrate to prime the skin for makeup. If you’re keen to try more, other popular products include anti-aging prickly pear seed oil and a rose-scented toning facial mist that soothes the skin and cleanses pores.
A couple years ago, one mother’s love for her son sparked off a search to alleviate his skin condition, which led to her experiment with Asian botanicals and the conception of Balm Kitchen’s nourishing skin food — right in her kitchen. Each product is natural and organic as much as possible, made with the likes of green tea extracts and perilla seed oil to be vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and gentle for the tropics.
In keeping true to its origins, the brand also works with fair trade organizations and gives back to charity groups in Singapore. If you find yourself a fan of its coco citrus body scrub, awakening skin tonic, skin soothing body balm, super fruit defense facial oil serum, or multi-purpose dry oil (which moisturizes skin and hair), feel free to sign up for its green beauty workshops to learn more.
Let’s be frank. Skincare made in small fresh batches containing organic ingredients are gaining traction, and this local label is all aboard the feel-good movement. Blending everything from Argentinean jojoba seed oil and Spanish apricot kernel oil to Chilean rosehip oil and Egyptian calendula oil to Australian sandalwood and Somalian frankincense, the eco-luxe line steers clear of parabens and pesticides with its creations, which are packed into planet-friendly bottles.
To start, try its Juicier Luxury Face Oil for a radiant, dewy face courtesy of vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants, or spritz on some rosy mist for scented hydration. The brand also designs cleansing facial masks, spot treatment oils, and massage tools, as well as workshops to get you going on your organic skincare journey.
With Singaporean roots and an eventual expansion across our border to Malaysia, US, and the UK, Handmade Heroes is adamant on sticking to its guns when it comes to being vegan, cruelty-free, and completely natural. You won’t find any preservatives, parabens, synthetics, or animal by-products like honey or beeswax here, which means things have to be self-preserving with plant-based ingredients in the simplest of blends.
Focusing more on quality and less on quantity, the selection is small but well-loved, including crowd favorites like Drop Dead Gorgeous dry shampoo that contains bamboo charcoal, peppermint, and eucalyptus, Cocolicious Luscious lip scrub in flavors like coconut sorbet, matcha latte, and piña colada, and body scrubs available in detoxing coffee and “extra salty” Himalayan salt options.
Born out of its founder’s personal hunt for beauty goods that give rise to clean and clear skin sans chemicals, Kew Organics’ products were created as a natural expansion of its facial salon. With non-GMO, vegan, and chemical-free concoctions, its series covers everything from cleansers and moisturizers to hydrating mists and lip balms to line-reducing serums and and soothing salves.
For a flawless yet fuss-free face lift, pop by the Sugar K Organic Peel Bar to rid yourself of pesky dead skin cells and plump up with wrinkle-reducing collagen.
The passion project of a former beauty editor turned aromatherapy advocate, this artisanal label seeks to uplift spirits and add a drop of relaxation to your self-care routine. With its essential oils from Australia and France mixed fresh by hand in small batches, each item is meant to soothe and de-stress, without the aid of synthetic fragrances or parabens.
The selection is small yet carefully curated, with highlights such as an organic sugar scrub with the oils of geranium, mandarin, and ginger, a Glow Elixir that you can roll on pulse points for the aromas of blood orange, bergamot, and rose geranium, and a perk-me-up facial mist instilled with chamomile and rose.
Just as food is fresh, so should skincare be, which is why Oasis crafts its vegan products to be all killer and no filler. The cruelty-free range shuns artificial fragrances and parabens to bring in consciously sourced, plant-based ingredients that are bottled in recyclable packaging, with bestsellers such as the dewy fine treatment mist for skin hydration and the organic ginger hair loss remedy shampoo bar that comprises of stinging nettle, spirulina, and the essential oils of ginger and lemongrass.
To further indulge, try the line-up of clay masks, face mists, serums, and soaps that are tailored to suit different skin types, from dry or oily to sensitive or tired-looking. Alternatively, create your own beauty box to mix and match your favorites.
Taking inspiration from Peranakan beauty traditions, Pera unites East and West natural treatments with ingredients unusual to the skincare world. Its Bedak Sejuk fusion mask aims to absorb excess oil and rejuvenate skin using enzyme rice powder that’s naturally fermented, while the tropical hydrator facial series contains elements from the region such as noni fruit and patchouli. To wake up refreshed, dab the sleep-on eye mask made of aloe vera, marine collagen, and green tea before you head to bed.
Wanting to make a difference in the world, this ethical label makes wholesome goodies with pure botanical oils and minerals, shying away from synthetics and water (to reduce its carbon footprint). Also seeking sustainability, it sources organic, eco-friendly, and fair trade ingredients such as cocoa butter, baobab oil, ginger, and raw honey from communities in Bali, Indonesia and Benin (in Africa) to aid marginalized women.
All that adds up to rich vitamins, essential fatty acids, and powerful antioxidants in its jojoba honey face cleanser, aloe vera facial spritzer, ginger clay scrub mask, and kukui/rosehip/baobab face oil, which you can purchase together as a beauty kit for your natural makeover.
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This article, Clean and green skincare in Singapore: Where to find the best natural and organic local beauty brands, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!