Before I took the plunge on this skincare adventure, I’d describe myself at best, as a ground zero when it came to organic and natural skincare. At worst? Probably borderline skeptic. Organic skincare was to me like the organic section in supermarkets: fancy, often overpriced and I guess, with debatable benefits. I even low-key bought the stereotype of natural skincare being less research-intensive, possibly wildly dubious and something you’d need to be converted into. Yes, like a cult. Then in the process of curating our Local Beauty Edit, I realised — to my genuine surprise — the sheer number of homegrown brands committed to pursuing organic and natural skincare because it was simply, the better way to go. 

My curiosity was piqued…on nuclear proportions.

(Radically) Overhauling My Skincare Routine 

The stars seemed to align. On the side, I had also been easing into a meatless, vegetarian lifestyle and it seemed like the perfect time to try making similar changes in my skin’s diet. So I embarked on a 3 week project: replace my existing skincare routine with only strictly organic, 100% natural products to see how far they could revolutionise my skin (if at all).

My criteria was straightforward, the products had to be: 

  1. Made from a significant percentage of certified organic ingredients and/or natural ingredients
  2. 100% cruelty free
  3. Bonus if it’s vegan-friendly  

To be honest, I had little expectations and a truckload of doubt. At the time, my skin had (finally) improved considerably from some fungal acne episode. Unfortunately, nothing in my existing regime made the cut for this new venture. Still, I decided it was worth a shot. 

Spoiler: I Was Right.  

I have been thoroughly enlightened. 

The outcome exceeded my expectations…by miles. At the end of 3 weeks I can safely say there is no question about it — this works. In fact, this organic and natural skincare overhaul takes the cake, unquestionably, for the most impressive skincare experiment I’ve undertaken so far. 

In summary, it was like punching a reset + regenerate button. Not only did I not break out from this routine, it actually seemed to keep blemishes at bay. Case in point: I usually use the appearance of hormonal zits to track my period, but pretty much missed that (or at least at the same ‘intensity’ I was familiar with) while I was adopting this skincare routine. The biggest difference I noticed was in texture and tone; my skin felt noticeably softer, smoother and just looked all-round healthier, as well as more even. 

**Disclaimer on my skin type: I have normal, but sensitive and eczema-prone skin. Generally clear, with the occasional hormonal breakout. 

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The Routine That Changed Everything 

Post 3 weeks, some of these steps have become main-stayers in my refreshed skincare routine. I present you an honest take on everything I used, how they genuinely fared and whether or not I think they’re keepers.

1. Kew Organics Sensitive Skin Rescue Cleanser, from $48

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Organic and natural. Non-GMO ingredients. 100% cruelty-free and vegan.

The good stuff: An ultra-mild cleansing lotion suitable for very sensitive and reactive skin, including those facing redness, dryness, eczema, rosacea and acne. It effectively but gently rids impurities, while restoring and nourishing the skin barrier. Key ingredients include Pumpkin and Carrot (rich in antioxidants) as well as cooling Cucumber Extract (healthy circulation, soothing).  

How it fared:

This is a completely non-foaming cleanser. It both dispenses and applies like a lotion, which I wasn’t used to at first. Without any foam, I couldn’t be sure if the cleanser was even there, or if it had simply disappeared into my skin. But you’ll get the idea once you wash it all off. The Rescue Cleanser is the most non-stripping facial wash I have used thus far. In fact, it seemed to leave a soft film over my skin. Not to be confused with residue or greasiness, but more like a protective equilibrium had been restored. I wouldn’t rely on this to remove makeup, but I think it makes an excellent morning cleanser that will remove debris while retaining (even enhancing) the goodness of your previous night’s skincare routine. 

Is it a keeper?

Honestly, I wasn’t too sure about this at first because at S$160 (albeit for a highly generous size of 200ml), this happens to be one of the most expensive cleansers I’ve tried! But the good news is, I found out from the team at Kew Organics that the cleanser is priced at S$48 for its 50ml version. So I’ll say yes, the Sensitive Skin Rescue Cleanser is going to be a (very) promising shot if your skin needs an ultra-gentle formula. I can imagine this superlatively mild formula being one of the few options compatible with highly sensitive skin (I know my skin will probably appreciate this the next time my eczema flares up). If you struggle with extremely delicate skin, you’ll know that when you find something that works you never let it go! So the 200ml version of this cleanser will come in extra handy should you be ready to invest in a long-term solution. 

2. Oasis Skin Organic Rose Toner Mist, from S$18

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Organic and made with 100% pure, plant-based ingredients. 100% cruelty free and vegan. 

The good stuff: An alcohol-free toner mist made with organic roses from Bulgaria’s Valley of Roses (south of the Balkan Mountains). Use it to soothe sensitive skin, tighten pores and rebalance skin pH. Key ingredients include Damask Rose and Alba Rose (a luxurious rose water concocted from the rare White Rose). 

How it fared:

Very, very good. I used the toner mist liberally (and in increasingly generous amounts, because you can never seem to overdo this) and really enjoyed how it absorbed quickly, but delivered an optimal dose of soothing hydration. Given the calming and softening properties, this toner worked like a dream post-exfoliating/clay-masking. Major plus points for the utterly fuss-free nozzle — mine dispensed like a sheer veil of goodness every time. That said, since there is no artificial fragrance, the mist smells like real fresh roses i.e. it’s not perfumey. It might not instinctively be your favourite scent at first, but neither is it obtrusive (it’ll probably grow on you after a while). 

Is it a keeper?

An easy yes! I haven’t stopped using this and fully intend to repurchase it (I reckon soon, with how much I’ve been using it). At S$18 for 40ml (S$32 for 80ml), it’s a steal and stellar vis-a-vis other rose toners available. The only downside is that the mist comes in a glass bottle; it’s not the most travel-friendly — bummer, because I’m quite hooked.   

3. Kew Organics Elixir Hydrating Concentrate Serum, S$167.60

Made with over 95% certified organic ingredients. Non-GMO. 100% cruelty free and vegan. 

The good stuff: A potent formula that harnesses the power of organic plant-based stem cell therapy to fight free radicals and strengthen the skin cells’ regenerative capabilities. The serum helps to repair damaged skin tissues, retexturize, alleviate wrinkles, firm and refine pores. Key ingredients include 100% organic German Chamomile Water for deep hydration and Organic Immortelle for its superior anti-aging properties. 

How it fared:

For a deep hydrating concentrate this serum was surprisingly lightweight, which made all the difference for me. I really liked how quickly it absorbed without leaving any oily residue. Yet, instantly left my skin feeling adequately moisturised and a tad more supple. This probably played a significant part in refining my skin’s overall tone and texture — particularly around my cheeks. 

Is it a keeper?

Not quite for me, at this point in time! While the elixir is packed with precious, high-performing quality ingredients that warrant its price tag, I do find it a tad expensive. Given that I’m personally not too concerned with skin aging, I’ll probably choose a more affordable (if less potent) option. However, if you’re looking to invest in a youth-preserving treatment of the same organic standards as this one, the Elixir Hydrating Concentrate Serum is an exceptional pick. 

4. Balm Kitchen Omega Booster Facial Oil, S$32

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Made with over 75% certified organic ingredients. 100% no animal testing and vegan-friendly. 

The good stuff: An indulgent skin boosting facial oil supercharged with Omega 3s (Alpha-Linolenic acid) and Omega 6s (Linoleic acid) to fortify your skin barrier and restore optimal hydration levels (which delays skin-aging). Other key ingredients include Rosehip Extract (nourish, heal, brighten) and organic Blue Tansy Essential Oil (anti-inflammatory, anti-itch) to calm, reinvigorate and smooth skin. 

How it fared:

The game changer of this entire routine and likely of my approach to skincare henceforth. After writing at length about the wonders of facial oils, this was my first attempt at incorporating one into my own regime and IT’S TRUE! IT’S ALL TRUE! I used this as my last step by taking about 3 drops of oil in my palms, rubbing them together and patting the oil into my skin. As it claims, the Omega Booster is completely non-greasy and sinks in like a dream. Apart from the immediate glow it delivers, the facial oil left my skin feeling nourished to its depths. I’m inclined to conclude that this was the main player in improving my skin. 

Is it a keeper?

Of course! Apart from encouraging you to give facial oils a shot in this lifetime (particularly if you have dry to combination skin), I also can’t recommend the Omega Booster Facial Oil enough! At S$32, it’s incredibly affordable — not even counting its impressive formula and organic specs.

5. Frank Skincare Morning Eye Coffee Serum, S$44

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 100% certified organic*, natural and non-GMO  ingredients. 100% against animal testing and vegan-friendly. 

The good stuff: *I must highlight that Frank Skincare is a very rare find and probably one of the few 100% certified organic skincare brands in the world! The Morning Eye Coffee Serum is power-packed with antioxidants and vitamins to alleviate dark eye circles and puffiness. Key ingredients include Coffea Arabica Extracts, Jojoba Seed oil and Evening Primrose Oil.  

How it fared:

I can’t deny being on-the-fence with this oil-based serum at the start. I was quite convinced slathering oil on my under eyes was a surefire way to trigger a milia seed problem. Probably the biggest turnaround for me, this Morning Eye Coffee Serum quickly became one of my favourites. Right off the bat, it smells just like coffee at breakfast — irresistible. While oil-based, the serum is marvellously weightless. I also really appreciated the roller ball applicator that combined a quick, relaxing massage with just the right amount of serum (no oil dripping down your cheeks, ever). That said, I noticed that the serum did a better job at quickly depuffing; reducing dark circles seemed more of a “with time” benefit as opposed to an immediate one. Just as it claims, Morning Eye Coffee wore faultlessly under makeup (which still amazes me…) and made a pretty great prep/prime for tired eyes. 

Is it a keeper?

Highly likely! If you’re looking to get in on the hype around caffeine for the under eyes or need a morning eye boost, I highly recommend giving this a shot. I’d consider S$44 worth it, since you probably won’t find many eye treatments that can compare in terms of organic quality and application. I personally have this on rotation with another brightening eye cream (for days when I need more colour-correction). 

6. Soul Good Project Pink Glow Face Mask, S$28.90

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100% natural ingredients. 100% cruelty free and vegan. 

The good stuff: For an instant glow and fresh skin, Pink Glow gently detoxifies, exfoliates dead skin, while tightening pores. Key ingredients include French and Australian Pink Clay (clarifying, refining), Rosehip Seed Powder (natural Vitamin C) and soothing Chamomile Flower. Ideal for acne-prone, dry and sensitive skin. 

How it fared:

To be frank, I wouldn’t describe this as the most fuss-free mask. As with all powder masks, you’ll need to scoop out a portion and mix it into paste. It was rather messy the first few times (I recommend mixing it up near a sink, or in a bowl). I also wasn’t sure if I had gotten the right consistency and had difficulty estimating the correct amount of paste for my face. That aside, the mask applied very smoothly. Though I found that it also dried pretty quickly and felt a tad tight on my skin. So while the recommended masking time is 10-15 minutes, 8 minutes worked better for me. Now here’s where it gets exciting: Rose Glow left my skin feeling superbly smooth and soft, without a hint of dryness (despite its dry-down). That made the hiccups quite worth it!

Is it a keeper?

Maybe! While I really liked how it performed, this isn’t a mask you can quickly slap on. Rose Glow needs a little more patience, which makes me feel it’d make a great me-time indulgence. Although if you don’t foresee yourself ever having enough time for powder masks, I could think of a few more convenient options that will deliver comparable results. But at a humble S$28.90, I find myself quite enamoured by this mindful and mighty mask (Can’t help thinking it makes a splendid gift!).     

7. Frank Skincare Rose Quartz Roller, S$38

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What’s good: Made from Rose Quartz that symbolises unconditional love and self-care, this massage tool promotes relaxation, rejuvenation and boosts circulation. Use it on the face to depuff, plump and firm skin; it also improves the absorption of your skincare routine for enhanced efficacy.

How it fared:

Prior to overhauling my skincare routine, I was quite the dedicated user of a particular skincare device. I didn’t have much expectations, swapping it out for an arm-powered roller. The Rose Quartz tool is extremely straightforward to use. While my first few attempts were spent rolling blindly and wildly all about my face, I later did some proper research on massage techniques (I recommend starting with this for a more streamlined experience). While I ultimately didn’t observe any visible, mind blowing changes to my skin, the daily face massages turned out to be pretty relaxing and fulfilling. It was nice to take that time-out. 

Is it a keeper?

It’s a good-to-have. I can imagine that if you suffer from water retention, this might deliver some visible results. But if not, an arm-powered facial roller makes good company for unwinding and recentering. I see no harm in adding one to your ritual from time to time.

I Am A Forever-Changed Skincare Junkie

Evidently, I had been missing out on a great deal by meandering around the organic and natural skincare revolution.

As part of our #LocalBeautyEdit, we also had the opportunity to speak with many of the passionate founders behind these game-changing brands. Coupled with detailed product stories and ingredient labels, it became clear that genuinely organic and natural skincare demands uncompromising standards, as well as extensive research. No gimmicks, no jargon, no nasties, only unmatched quality and purpose. Despite all of that, you might have realised that most of the aforementioned products are actually really affordable (contrary to the common belief that organic skincare is expensive and inaccessible).

While I didn’t completely switch out my original skincare routine after this 3 week experiment, I was eager to refresh it by incorporating everything great here (Yes, it’s still going fantastic!). And…I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of taking on a fully organic skin diet in the coming future.

But for now, this little skincare adventure has been an extraordinary lesson that I’ll sail on, for a long time to come.

As part of our first ever #LocalBeautyEdit, we’re spotlighting all things local beauty because there’s just so much to get excited about. Be sure to read our most comprehensive guide to local beauty brands yet here (A-M) and here (N-Z).

Love,
Melisa

Melisa Goh

Melisa Goh

up up and away

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