A roundup of honest beauty reviews of skincare, makeup and haircare products. Do you agree with our list?
Hello, fellow beauty junkies! How are we doing this month? Between testing new beauty products that our favourite beauty influencers love, taking supplements for our skin and body, and showing off our favourite lipsticks, we’ve been busy. Presenting our best beauty buys of September!
Best beauty buys in Singapore: September 2022
Anastasia Beverly Hills Mini Soft Glam Eye Shadow Palette
My eyeshadow techniques aren’t tip-top but what I can do is a decent maroon smokey eye with a touch of gold. And it’s all thanks to this handy palette. You have everything you need – eight matte to metallic shades of warm neutrals and cool colours. Thanks to the intense colour payoff, a little goes a long way (or you’ll end up looking like a clown; been there, done that) so dab a little and slowly build up to the colour of your choice. Plus, the travel-size palette makes it easy to carry around. You’ll just need some basic brushes and remember to blend, blend, blend!
Anastasia Beverly Hills Mini Soft Glam Eye Shadow Palette, $51, available at Sephora
IGK Thirsty Girl Coconut Milk Anti-Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner
TL;DR: it’s not worth the price point. I thought I reached for the conditioner instead of shampoo by accident ‘cos it didn’t sud one bit and feels like it piles on more oil to my already oily scalp. It only worked better after the second wash. The saving grace is its conditioner. Though there wasn’t a strong coconut smell, it did leave my locks soft and moisturised.
IGK Thirsty Girl Coconut Milk Anti-Frizz Shampoo ($37) and Conditioner ($38); available online via Amazon SG
Living Proof No Frizz Vanishing Oil
This hair oil is a godsend for my frizzy mane. The lightweight five-oil blend is said to block humidity, hydrate and smooth out the strays. Plus, it’s not sticky or oily and doesn’t weigh down my hair. But does it actually stop the frizz? I’d say it’s just a quick fix. You’ll need a kickass routine for frizz-free hair – especially in this weather.
Living Proof No Frizz Vanishing Oil, $46, available at Sephora
Sukin Signature Natural Deodorant
Even since I switched to natural deodorants, I’ve kept my eyes peeled on new brands. Alas, this entered my radar recently. I love the uplifting aromas of citrus, tangerine, lavender, vanillin and mandarin. Leaves you feeling fresh. It doesn’t sting after shaving too – thanks to cooling and soothing aloe vera, burdock and nettle extracts.
Sukin Signature Natural Deodorant, from $4, available at multiple locations including Lazada, Lookfantastic, Guardian and more.
MAC Cosmetics Brushstroke 24-Hour Eye Liner
I’m on the fence with this one. The colour isn’t as intense as other liquid eyeliners (still good, though!) but the flexible felt tip brush allows for cool graphic liner designs. However, it’s not smudge-proof. And the colour tends to fade towards the end of the day, giving off a dull grey shade if I skip touch-ups.
MAC Cosmetics Brushstroke 24-Hour Eye Liner, $44, available online and at multiple locations including Nex, Takashimaya and Bugis Junction
Best beauty buys in Singapore: August 2022
Alpha-H Melting Moment Cleansing Balm
We love a heavy-duty makeup cleanser that gets into all crevices and leaves our skin free of makeup, SPF and other gunk. But what we don’t love is a product that strips away hydration. This is why I’m all over Alpha-H’s Melting Moment Cleansing Balm. Formulated with native Australian wild orange leaf extract, sandalwood seed oil and grapeseed oil, the balm tackles dryness and dehydration. It also soothes skin and maintains and supports the skin’s barrier function.
I let the product do its job by massaging it in circular motions, then rinsing and wiping the excess product with a cloth (or kitchen towel paper). I just wish it came with a spatula ‘cos it hurts me to dunk my fingers into a clean tub.
Alpha-H Melting Moment Cleansing Balm, $68 for 90g, available online and at Sephora
BSkin Vita Advance Intense PAF Concentrate
This vitamin C serum deserves high praise for giving my skin a natural glow. I’ve only been using it for about two weeks. But my recent acne scars have faded, and my skin has maintained a smooth texture. I got a little excited and used about five drops for my first try (the brand recommends just one drop). Luckily, no breakouts were involved. That’s a testament to its clean formula, including a mighty 20% concentration of stabilised L-Ascorbic Acid. Despite a slightly oily texture, it’s non-sticky and doesn’t have a weird smell like some vitamin C serums. I’ve recently increased the application to twice a day, so here’s hoping I get a more even skin tone.
BSkin Vita Advance Intense PAF Concentrate, $126 for 30ml, available online
Allie Chrono Beauty Gel UV EX Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++
I really wanted to love this Japanese beauty brand’s series of sunscreens. Unfortunately, the white cast was difficult to ignore – even for my non-brown friends. Luckily, it launched a gel version and I’m happy to report there’s no white cast for this. The gel sunscreen is sweat and water-resistant and is light on the skin – great for extra hot days.
Allie Chrono Beauty Gel UV EX Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++, $29.90, available online
Mac Powder Kiss Velvet Blur Slim Stick
Twelve-hour coverage, a soft-matte finish, a blurring effect and a velvety-smooth formula – this new kid on the block talks big. But does it walk the talk? Not quite. I was excited about its hydrating formula, pigmented shades (there are 12!), and how it blurs the lines on my lips. But it didn’t deliver the 12-hour coverage it promised. So close! Yup, I needed a touchup after lunch and it does transfer to your mask so remember to pop this lipstick in your bag.
Mac Powder Kiss Velvet Blur Slim Stick, $46, available at Mac outlets islandwide and online
Bio Essence Bio-Water B5 Gel
If I really like a makeup or skincare product, I tend to get attached to it and dread the last new drops. But it’s a different story when it comes to hydrating serums. My current star is the Bio-Water B5 Gel and it’s doing a swell job at improving my skin barrier and keeping my face smooth and nourished. The gel is a little runnier than expected but absorbs right into my skin with no trouble. Even though I like how it feels on my skin, I’m getting through the bottle more quickly than expected.
Bio Essence Bio-Water B5 Gel, $32, available online and at Watsons
Best beauty buys in Singapore: July 2022
Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel
After treating a massive stye on my eye, I’ve been really wary about what I use. This squalane and peptide eye gel from Biossance ticks the boxes for its clean formula as it’s non-comedogenic and paraben-, phthalates- and sulphate-free.
The cooling and lightweight gel texture also soothes tired eyes after a long day of screen time. After using this for two weeks, I’ve noticed that it amps up the hydration around my eyes and doesn’t clog the area. I do see a slight improvement in puffiness but not so much for dark circles. Best to use this if you have sensitive skin but look elsewhere if you want to treat fine lines.
Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel, $86 for 15ml, available online and at Sephora
Charlotte Tilbury The Classic Eyeliner
I wanted to try something new aside from my usual black eyeliner look. So, a brown, soft smokey eye it was! When sharpened, the pencil eyeliner allowed for precision and was easy to smudge so I didn’t look like a panda. However, the colour does fade away and it just looked like I had eyeshadow towards the end of the day.
Charlotte Tilbury The Classic Eyeliner, $40, available online and at Sephora
NudeStix Magnetic Lip Plush Paint
Cream blush is all the rage right now. My first experience with it didn’t go too well but I had to give it another try. I didn’t want to waste $$$ on a new product so I whipped out my multi-tasking NudeStix Magnetic Lip Plush Paint in St Topez. I’ve been using it on my lips anyway so why not try it on my cheek? After all, it claims to be a long-wearing matte colour for your lips, cheeks and eyes. Two words: love it. So the key is to apply cream formulas before your powder. I dapped three dots, blended them with my fingers, and wow, it made all the difference. The colour also stayed on all day. Just remember to set it with a powder.
NudeStix Magnetic Lip Plush Paint, $41, available online via Lookfantastic
Heroine Make Speedy Mascara Remover
This is one product I never knew I needed until I got my hands on it. If you still have leftover mascara after removing your makeup, the first thing you have to do is change your makeup remover. Next, save time and be extra thorough with cleaning off every bit of residue with Heroine Make’s Speedy Mascara Remover. The jagged wand clings on from the root to the tip of eyelashes nicely. Apply it like how you’d use your mascara and the moisturising oil-based formula will loosen up any stubborn eye makeup. I use a cotton pad to easily remove the mascara before my double cleansing routine. And yes, it works on water-proof mascara too!
Heroine Make Speedy Mascara Remover, $14.90, available online and at Watsons
Best beauty buys in Singapore: June 2022
Pur Melt Away Gel Oil Makeup Cleanser
I’ve been on the lookout for a good oil-based makeup cleanser ever since I emptied my favourite from Glow Recipe. Pur’s multi-action makeup remover delivers. Created with plant-based ingredients such as sweet almond and sunflower seed essential oils, ginseng, green tea and vitamin B, carotenoids (a natural antioxidant) and rice germ oil, this cleanser breaks down stubborn mascara, matte lipstick and the rest. And it doesn’t sting the eyes! I apply a dollop to my face and take my time to massage in the product (focus on the areas with more makeup). Rinse well and the oily gel will transform into a milk-like cleanser. I then wipe my face with a paper towel to remove any makeup residue before going in with a second round of cleansing.
Melt Away Gel Oil Makeup Cleanser, $38 for 60ml, available online via A Kinder Beauty
This Works Deep Sleep Pillow-Spray
This small but mighty spray is one of This Works’ bestsellers and with good reason. I’ve been trying to reset my terrible sleep schedule and this helps set the scene for a good night’s sleep. A few spritzes of the lavender, camomile and vetivert blend and it immediately calms my mind. The only setback is its small size. I spritz it on my pillow just twice to make the most out of it.
This Works Deep Sleep Pillow-Spray, $11 for 5ml, available at Sephora stores and online
Charlotte Tilbury Viva La Vergara Matte Revolution Lipstick
Finding a nude for brown skin lips can be tough – especially when my natural lip colour has an uneven purple tone. This special edition Viva La Vergara has been in my makeup pouch ever since mask-wearing rules have eased up. The colour is a soft plum shade with a semi-matte finish. I also love that the coverage is buildable. You can either mix it with your lip balm for a natural tint or go va-va-voom by outlining your lips with a liner. It does transfer to your face mask so best to bring it out for touch-ups. Fun fact: the fab shade was done in collaboration with Sofia Vergara of Modern Family fame.
Charlotte Tilbury Viva La Vergara Matte Revolution Lipstick, $52, available online and at Sephora
We Are Feel-Good Inc Cocoa Lip Balm SPF 50+
It’s been blazing hot in Singapore and while we’re busy applying sunscreen on our face, don’t forget your lips too! This handy lip balm from the Australian brand We Are Feel Good Inc. has broad-spectrum SPF 50+ for maximum coverage. It’s also enriched with all the good stuff like vitamin E, cocoa oil, shea butter and omega three, six and nine for an extra dose of hydration. It’s paraben-free too!
We Are Feel-Good Inc Cocoa Lip Balm SPF 50+, $19.95AUD, available online, free international shipping for orders over $150AUD
Best beauty buys in Singapore: May 2022
Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Serum
This is an absolute saviour for dry skin. The reinvented Water Bank range is packed with blue hyaluronic acid that has peptides which increase skin elasticity and guard the skin barrier. My skin simply drinks up the gel-like serum – it’s said to absorb 264% faster than its previous formula! I also love the chic (and very trendy) pastel blue packaging. FYI: the serum uses sustainable palm oil and FSC paper. Refillable packaging is also in the works.
Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Serum, $66 for 50ml, available on Shopee and the Laneige online store
Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Meltaway Cleanser
It’s called a meltaway cleanser but unfortunately, it doesn’t quite cut it for me. I was excited to try this makeup remover-cleanser combo but after it failed to remove my lipstick after two rounds of washes, I’m going to put this away. I also experienced a slight burning sensation around my upper lip – nah uh. I guess the only saving grace is its clean ingredients? Aside from that, I suggest skipping this cleanser. We’ve got an amazing roundup of makeup removers if you need some help!
Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Meltaway Cleanser, $21 for 60ml, available online and at Sephora
The Powder Shampoo – Exfoliating and Balancing
No need for explanations – The Powder Shampoo is pretty self-explanatory. This homegrown vegan powder-to-foam shampoo is kind to your scalp and the planet. Not only does it come in a water-free formula, it’s also packed in 100% recyclable and reusable aluminium bottles. And thanks to the light weight (compared to liquid shampoos), the shampoo reduces carbon footprints by over 90%! The company also plants a tree for every bottle sold.
Now, on to the product – the brand has a range of four shampoos to suit all scalp types. I use the exfoliating and balancing shampoo infused with tea tree essential oil and white willow tree bark to clear dead skin cells, dirt and product build-up. I pile on about a teaspoon (five to six shakes) to cleanse my scalp. You can lather it between your palms first or apply straight to your scalp (I do the latter). Of course, it’ll take some time to deal with my hair concerns but I’m presently surprised at how clean my scalp is looking after each wash. FYI: it’s a great alternative to pack if you’re travelling light. And no need to worry about carrying too much liquid!
The Powder Shampoo, $39.90 for 100g, available online and at multiple locations including Lazada, Shopee and Takashimaya
Zoeva 108 Face Finish Rose Golden Vol.2
I’m a sucker for rose gold so this brush already had a soft spot when I first laid my eyes on it. The large brush has dense bristles that pick up my finely milled loose finishing powder. It’s the perfect size for me – covering all areas including my under eyes, eyelids, neck and décolletage. It also doesn’t shed. I’ve not tried it with a liquid foundation but I hear it’s ideal for creamy and gel based formulas too. No wonder it’s always sold out!
Zoeva 108 Face Finish Rose Golden Vol.2, $40, currently unavailable but stay tuned for restocks at LookFantastic and Sephora
Sigi Skin Youth Beam Anti-ageing Night Serum
We’re big fans of the homegrown vegan skincare brand (so stoked they’ve finally produced a night serum!). One thing that piqued my interest: the blend of three biotics. Probiotics, probiotics and postbiotics, along with a whole load of antioxidant heroes like reishi mushroom, pine bark and ginger extract and hyaluronic acid help to hydrate, repair cellular damage, slow collagen breakdown, improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of scars.
I’ve used the Youth Beam for just a week and my skin is already warming up nicely to it. Pesky bumps are slowly disappearing and my skin appears hydrated, brighter and plumper in the morning. As with any anti-ageing skincare, it’ll take some time to see other results and I’m looking forward to that.
Sigi Skin Youth Beam, $99, available online
Best beauty buys in Singapore: April 2022
Make Up For Ever HD Skin Foundation
Make Up For Ever has hit it out of the park with its new and improved formula of the Ultra HD Iconic Foundation. The HD Skin foundation comes in strong with a micro-skin system that simply blends in for a true-to-skin, natural finish. I’ve been sticking to a powder foundation as it saves time but unfortunately it’s very drying for my skin. This HD Skin foundation has a buildable formula that can take me from sheer to extra coverage in a jiffy without caking up or settling in dry areas. Plus, it’s vegan, non-comedogenic, waterproof and sweat-proof (yup, it doesn’t stain my mask as much as a powder foundation). And finally, both the cap and glass bottle are totally recyclable. This baby is definitely worth the hype. Did I mention it comes in 40 shades as well?
Make Up For Ever HD Skin Foundation, $68, available online and at Sephora
Chez Vous’ new Hair Defence Technology
There’s a reason why I keep going back to Chez Vous. From kickstarting its spa-like Hideaway to introducing a revolutionary sugar hair lamination treatment, the salon is always putting forward new ways to keep my mane in check. Its latest hair defence technology is all about safeguarding your locks from the damage caused by chemical services like bleaching, colouring, perming and rebonding. The added service comes with one of these treatments so, after years, I decided to get a new dye job. Though it takes only 15 minutes, the ingredients used are quite thorough.
First, my hair was sprayed with a K18 peptide mist, patented electrolysed water (it neutralises the positive charge on your hair to allow 18 different amino acids to seep into hair cuticles) and cortex CMC for hydration. The hairstylist blow-dried my hair to lock in all the good stuff. Once my colour was done, I got a seaweed algae extract mask along with a relaxing head massage. Bliss.
Finally, another set of K18 peptide masque and CMCs was used to restore strength and moisture. It’s been about three weeks since my treatment, and my hair looks less damaged and dry than usual. However, I’ll admit it’s on the pricier side. But if you’re like me and only dye your hair once in a blue moon, topping up extra is worth it.
Chez Vous’ new Hair Defence Technology, $187.25 – $240.75, available at #05-05 Ngee Ann City Podium, Takashimaya, Singapore 238872
Orce Cosmetics Skin Perfecting Serum-Foundation
When Orce Cosmetics, a beauty brand that puts Asian skin first, entered my radar, you bet I was keen to try it. But believe me, I was wary too. The thing about receiving concealers or foundations from media drops is the mismatched shades. Not with this – I was given the shade Lura which perfectly matched my skin tone. But it’s also the darkest shade in the collection, so those would deeper tones should look elsewhere unless you’re looking for a highlight.
Not only does it match my shade, the lightweight formula naturally covers my blemishes and uneven skin tone. And thanks to ingredients like Tahitian pearl (targets hyperpigmentation and stimulates collagen production), hyaluronic acid (hydrates and plumps skin) and evodia rutaecarpa (boosts radiance and improves texture), the serum foundation isn’t patchy.
It’s a great step in the right direction but with more brands producing a variety of shades at lower price points (yes, $129 for 30ml is pretty steep), some might give this a miss. But if you’re a beauty junkie who loves to try new products, I urge you to have a go at this!
Orce Cosmetics Skin Perfecting Serum-Foundation, $129 for 30ml, available online and at Tangs
Supergoop! Glowscreen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Primer SPF 40 PA+++
An experience of white cast from one of its products left me wondering if the brand is worth the hype. It is, after all, highly raved by beauty enthusiasts. I decided to give it another shot with this sunscreen primer and it gets a thumbs up from me. It’s packed with SPF 40 and blue light protection, has a brown tint if you want to skip makeup and go for the natural look, and is very hydrating. Though some may comment on its ‘oiliness’, I quite like the glowy sheen.
Supergoop! Glowscreen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Primer SPF 40 PA+++, $55 for 30ml, available online and at Sephora
Tatcha The Rice Wash
Who can say no to a handy cleanser? Tatcha’s Rice Wash does the job of balancing pH levels, with Okinawa algae and hyaluronic acid to stock up on ample moisture. The slightly grainy texture thoroughly cleanses – I use it on makeup days to remove extra nasties. The rest of the days are balanced with a light gel cleanser as I find this a little stripping for everyday use.
Tatcha The Rice Wash, $54 for 120ml, available online and at Sephora
Best beauty buys in Singapore: February 2022
Klynn Beauty Revive Me Centella Cleanser
I can’t get enough of gel products. Cleanser, moisturiser, face mask – you name it and I’m down to try it. So it was no surprise that new skincare brand Klynn Beauty’s jelly gel cleanser made my list. It’s made with centella asiatica – a popular hydrating ingredient that knocks it out of the park by soothing bumpy and irritated skin and redness. Plus, snow mushroom (an alternative to hyaluronic acid) and licorice root that aids in reducing hyperpigmentation and dark spots. The first thing you’ll notice is a lovely citrus scent, formulated by founder Talisa Poh, that’ll take you straight to a spa. The cooling cleanser isn’t stripping and makes you feel fresh and fine. I love that it doesn’t dry the skin after my double cleanse. It’s also vegan, cruelty-free and great for all skin types.
Klynn Beauty Revive Me Centella Cleanser, $28 for 120ml, available online
John Frieda Detox and Repair Shampoo and Conditioner
Product build-up, dry tresses and damaged hair have got nothing on this shampoo-conditioner duo. One try and I was absolutely floored by my silky-smooth mane. Well, what’s not to like when there’s antioxidant-rich green tea and nourishing avocado oil in the formula? You’ve gotta use them together for the ultimate hydration and moisture-locking goodness.
John Frieda Detox and Repair Shampoo and Conditioner, $15.90 each, available online and at Watsons
Drunk Elephant Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream
This deodorant is a hit or miss depending on your preference but I’m here for it. I’ll admit, it’s on the pricier side. But I give it 100 marks for keeping me fresh and odour-free all day. The formula has a faint almond scent but neutralises any odour once applied to your pits. It also has a mix of plants oils such as marula, baobab and mongongo seed to nourish. Plus, marula and shea butter to moisturise, and mandelic acid and arrowroot to chase away stubborn bacteria and excess moisture. If you’re used to sprays, applying this cream can take some getting used to, so try it out at home first.
Drunk Elephant Sweet Pitti Deodorant Cream, $23 for 60ml, available online and at Sephora
Tarte Sea Breezy Cream Blush
I never thought a cream blush would work on me. I assumed it’d shift my concealer and foundation and I’d end up with patchy skin. Turns out, I just didn’t know how to apply it the right way. After some trial and error, I now switch between powder and cream blush. My first cream blush? Tarte’s Sea Breezy Cream Blush. It may not have been a good choice though. Sure, it glides on easily, but the colour appears brighter than expected, then fades away a few hours later, calling for touch-ups. Not what you’d want to do after finishing off with loose powder. Off to try my next cream blush!
Tarte Sea Breezy Cream Blush, $48, available online and at Sephora
Dr. Jart Cicapair Calming Gel Cream
Thanks to a bad reaction from a facial wax job, I was left with bumps and marks all over my chin and cheeks. My wedding was in a month’s time so I knew I had to step up my skincare routine, stat. My criteria: a soothing gel cream to calm my redness and bumps. I tried Dr. Jart’s Cicapair Calming Gel Cream and I haven’t looked back since. The texture isn’t sticky or oily (though it might look like it) and absorbs well into the skin. It makes a great base for makeup too! With a mix of the right cleanser and serums, and after two weeks, my bumps started disappearing. Phew! Centella asiatica complex in the formula also aids in hydration so it’s great for sensitive and oily skin.
Dr. Jart Cicapair Calming Gel Cream, $44 for 80ml, available online and at Sephora
What product should we try next? Drop us an email at [email protected] and it might be featured on our list of best beauty buys!