You’ll want in on these 5 trending East-Asian beauty brands that have quietly hit Singapore’s shelves!
Every so often, I like to go on little Youtube sprees and binge-watch East-Asian beauty vloggers; the region is no doubt a budding gold mine for new beauty drops and I love seeing what’s trending locally elsewhere. Trust me, it gets addictive after a while… Many of these brands remain hard to get without actually travelling to the country itself (but I must say this adds to their charm) or spending a bomb on shipping. Although a few of them have, over the years, managed to ease into the international market and better yet, onto local shelves. Swoon!
That said, we won’t be surprised if you haven’t stumbled upon these new finds yet. Most of them have quietly mushroomed in-stores here with hardly the fanfare they’re worth. So in case you missed these gems, here are 5 buzz-worthy East-Asian beauty brands that have finally hit local shelves, so you can jump on what’s trending in the region — travelling and shipping costs free.
Psst: None of these brands will break your wallet either!
My favourite pick from the lot! You might have already seen visuals from Rom&nd (pronounced ‘romand’) floating about the Instagram beauty community in their full clean, bright and minimalistic glory. Highly pleasing aesthetics aside, there’s much to be excited about for Rom&nd, which is also the venture of Korean beauty influencer Saerom Min (Who also creates exceptionally in-depth makeup masterclass videos on her namesake YouTube channel, her lip tutorials are great!). The brand’s line-up is neat, chic and big on the “but-better” philosophy, with products that aim to complement, accentuate and show up terrific in photos.
One of Rom&nd’s earliest launches that arguably propelled the brand to cult status; the Zero Velvet Tint has also been quite an Instagram-famous lippie and for more than one good reason. I personally find that liquid mattes from K-Beauty usually set themselves apart with ultra-light formulas and Rom&nd’s one is as weightless as it gets. The velvety formula glides on effortlessly and evenly for an instant, visible blurring effect. Almost like liquid putty, the highly blendable and buildable tint means you can play around with a full or more diffused lip, sans patchiness.
If you’ve been into the glossy, luscious lips of summer 2020, this could be the game changer. Rom&nd’s Glasting Water Tint features a separate layer of colour pigments for an extra glassy finish, while maintaining a watery sheerness. Glossy lips may have a bad rep for ofttimes reducing to a sticky mess, but the Glasting Water Tint’s translucent, non-sticky finish promises mega-brilliance on low maintenance.
2. The Potions
Here’s another minimalist skincare range to dive into, because pared-back essentials are so easy — and so right — to overindulge on! The Potions is a no-nonsense brand from Korea that embraces less is more by omitting unnecessary and harmful ingredients from their products. The focus? Simply, what works. All their formulations zoom in on a sole key ingredient, so you can take better charge of your skincare regime and rules. If you’ve been enjoying the fuss-free approach from the likes of The Ordinary and The Inkey List, you’ll want to wantlist The Potions too.
While its composition may be simple, The Potion’s Hyaluronic Acid Ampoule serves up frills-free potency in function. Supercharged by hyaluronic acid as its primary active, this deeply moisturising ampoule delivers an intense dose of moisture to restore dry and dehydrated skin. The formula also helps to fortify the skin’s moisture barrier and protect it from environmental aggressors for a more resilient and supple visage.
It was only recently that I learnt how indispensable (and possible miracle-working) scalp care really is for healthy hair. Honestly speaking, I used to consider a scalp routine a bonus for if you have time, money and a particular dedication to great hair days. Well as it turns out, a clean and healthy scalp is one way to a full head of strong, lustrous locks. And scalp health is exactly the philosophy of Ryo — backed by 47 years of industry R&D, synthesised with the potency of traditional Korean Ginseng and other oriental medicinal herbs. The brand’s breakthrough and best-selling hair loss care range certainly takes the cake. The specialised line is categorised by scalp types (oily, normal/dry, sensitive) and I reckon, one of the most affordable around for its winning (and mild) formula!
This power-packed root strength treatment aims to fill the gap between shampooing and conditioner: a daily scalp TLC. The gentle but high-performing formula features an impressive complex of traditional medicinal extracts including Ginseng (strengthening), Red Ginseng (nourishing), Mint (regulates sebum) and Houttuynia Cordata (for a mild and safe formula) that treats the scalp, alleviates signs hair loss and fortifies hair roots. The best part? At under S$15, I’d consider this one of the most accessible and reasonably-priced hair loss treatments, in a market saturated with heaps of overpriced fixes.
4. Bring Green
Naturally-derived active ingredients have been on a roll lately and Bring Green’s nature-powered product line is one to watch. The Korean skincare brand is committed to harnessing the best skin-goodness from nature, in efficacious concentrations and developed using proven skincare technology. Mild, effective and well-balanced formulations are key across the brand’s growing line of solutions for the most common and pressing skincare concerns including sensitive skin, acne troubles and aging.
I can’t be the only one who has a soft spot for any kind of soothing skincare product -- it’s almost like you can never have too many of them. If you find calming, do-it-all moisturisers endlessly appealing (like I do), you’ll want to hoard Bring Green’s Tea Tree Cica Soothing Cream. Combining the goodness of Triple Tea Tree Complex (30%) and Cica (10%), this non-comedogenic (and hypoallergenic) formula helps to care for damaged skin while calming breakouts. With just 20 essential ingredients making up its DNA, this gentle and comforting cream is also acne and sensitive skin safe.
5. Shinya Koso
Who else has had their go at one of the many wellness fads to trend in recent months? It’s been quite a crowded party, with everything from traditional methods like apple cider vinegar, to its more modern gummy version, fat-blasting coffees and even konjac “carbs”. For starters, I must add that these remedies have their fair share of skeptics and diet supplements/trends are certainly not for everyone, nor a necessity*. With that, if you’ve been looking to get onboard the wellness train yourself, a trusted enzyme supplement could be a reliable and useful foray. Like Shinya Koso’s natural digestive enzymes that aim to encourage metabolic activity, boost digestion and enhance the absorption of nutrients. The supplements have amassed quite a following for its gut health properties — with over 18 million boxes sold. Beyond improving gastrointestinal health, Shinya Koso believes that gut health is also fundamental to overall well-being, brain and skin health.
*Always consider speaking with a healthcare professional before taking any dietary, nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement.
Shinya Koso’s late night tablets contain a host of active enzymes including Nemutteruaidani, that will help to boost digestion -- especially after those late night meals. Better still, the complex also features ingredients that help to facilitate relaxation, such as Arginine, Glycine and GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), to improve your quality of sleep. Recommended for people who struggle with an irregular lifestyle, are too busy to exercise, or have a penchant for midnight suppers, whoever said you snooze you lose!
Travelling for leisure may be out of the question for the foreseeable future, but there’s always room to live vicariously through our beauty inventories *wink*! Discover the best in beauty and wellness from around the globe — from big brand classics to trendy new finds, brought to you exclusively by Guardian. Shop now at Guardian stores islandwide and on guardian.com.sg!