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Skin deep: 5 lesser known Asian skincare brands to check out

The buzz behind Korean and Japanese skincare is nothing foreign. You see masses striving to achieve the porcelain-perfect complexions heralded by their native starlets, and the brands responding by churning out one unique product after another for all our Asian skincare needs. Arguably, some are more bizarre than others (magnetic mask packs, anyone?), but that rarely dulls the hype.

Popular, mass market East Asian brands aside, there is slew of regional skincare labels that warrant the same fervour. Whether you’re looking to flaunt your #AZNpride, or just appreciate the dedicated focus on Asian skin, here are five lesser-known Asian skincare brands you should stock your vanity tables with.

1
Ba Yan Ka La

You rarely hear of beauty brands from China, but Ba Yan Ka La is going to be the exception. This luxurious brand melds traditional Chinese medicine, organic ingredients and cutting edge technology from their laboratory in France to create products dedicated to nourishing Asian skin and hair. Their ingredients are actively sourced from Chinese farmers and medical practitioners, truly elevating the innocuous “Made in China” label.

Must try: The Chaga Mushroom Smart Shield Cream (S$108++) is a hydrating day cream that promises 8-hour moisturisation. It also protects your skin from air pollutants, making it a godsend during haze season.

2
Allies of Skin

Designed with every urbanite’s hectic lifestyle in mind, Allies of Skin’s range is fully adaptogenic — every product adapts itself to exactly what your skin requires. There’s no demand to sit at a dressing table and massage creams into your skin for 15 minutes before results can be harnessed. This homegrown label’s offerings are just a dab or spritz away from hydration, protection and repair.

Must try: The 24/7 kit (S$297) comprises of three products — a day mask that protects against pollution and imparts collagen, a day and night alcohol-free toner mist that helps nourish your skin, as well as a leave-on night mask that detoxes and hydrates tired skin.

3
Skin Inc.

While the skincare market often homogenises complexions into three distinct types, there’s a slew of other factors that influences the nourishment your skin needs. This is something Singaporean brand Skin Inc. recognises, and their line promises highly concentrated solutions for all your skin woes. The label even allows customers to create a custom-blended serum based off their “skin identity” — a detailed online quiz that isolates your skin’s requirements.

Must try: If you suffer from chronic dryness, the Pure Deepsea Hydrating Mask (S$116) is an award-winning mask that contains Okinawa seawater, soya bean extract and hyaluronic acid to repair and hydrate your skin.

4
The History of Whoo

Designed to be skincare fit for royalty (hence the name “Whoo”, which means empress), this brand is rather obscure outside Korea. It incorporates traditional Korean medicine in its products, using ingredients like 35 year-old ginseng, gongjibidan and herbs to replenish and revitalise the skin. The label has a particular focus on anti-ageing, making their products a requisite for those above 30.

Must try: Their Hwanyu Cream (S$840) is a soothing, ultra-luxurious and highly potent cream that helps assuage fine lines and loss of elasticity, as well as detox the skin. A little goes a very long way with this product, and daily use of the cream promises to shave 10 years off your appearance.

5
For Beloved One

For Beloved One is probably Taiwan’s most popular skincare brand. Like its no-nonsense packaging, the label imparts straightforward remedies to common skincare needs. They have lines for brightening, blemish control, hydrating or firming the skin. There’s also a distinct concentration on the use of various hyaluronic acid strains within FBO’s ranges, so this is the brand to go for if you’re a fan of moisturising products.

Must try: The Bio-Cellulose Masks (S$63/3pcs) are thick, deeply hydrating masks that serve to instantly plumpen and rejuvenate your skin. These jelly-like masks are what earned FBO their cult status, so you know they’re good.

Beatrice Bowers
Features Editor
Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.