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How these Singaporean women successfully champion minimalist, eco-friendly, green beauty products and trends

How these Singaporean women successfully champion minimalist, eco-friendly, green beauty products and trends

The simple life

Text: Emily Heng


Image: Instagram | @heyrozz
Image: Instagram | @simoneheng

Let's be real: simplicity is not a word typically associated with the beauty industry. In an age where ten-step skincare routines and makeup looks from Euphoria are adhered, revered, and reproduced, minimalism appears to be a concept unlikely to pick up traction. Broadly defined as the achieving of one's goal with minimal use of products and tools, it proves beneficial for both individuals and mother earth by reducing wastage — in terms of packaging, space, and money.

Bearing in mind the consumerist culture we're steeped in, practising minimalism isn't as straightforward as we'd like it to be. Does this mean that we shouldn't expect the movement to hit our shores anytime soon? Not quite. Meet the women who are streamlining their routines, one (less) beauty product at a time. We pick their brain(s) as to what kick-started their sail into simpler waters, below.

Yvette King, host of E! Online Asia

How did you first learn about the minimalist beauty movement?
I'm constantly on celeb watch due to the nature of my job, so I really took notice when Alicia Keys first started turning up on the red carpet with a bare face. She looked so confident and gorgeous, and I thought it was so bold of her, you know? That was when I first heard of minimalist beauty and everything it entailed.

What is minimalist beauty to you?
To me, it's the concept of feeling comfortable in your skin. Of using lesser, simpler makeup to enhance what you are born with rather than completely transforming your face.

How do you exercise a minimalist beauty routine — and what are some baby steps someone can try to join this movement?
Well, being a mum — and a twin mum, at that — I don't really have a whole heap of time to be glitzing it up! I do still love a glam moment when I'm at work, but when I'm off duty, I just opt to go makeup-free. I even took off my lash extensions recently! I had them on for years, and it's so weird to be able to rub my eyes now.

Other than that, though, I think placing a larger emphasis on skincare is a good place to start. For me, I find that if your skin is healthy and glowing, you'll feel less inclined to pick up your foundation and cover up, so you use less makeup. I'm a brand ambassador for Alexandr&Co skincare and use their products religiously. I also try and make time for facials every once in a while when the twins are having a little nap!


Rosalyn Lee

How did you first learn about the minimalist beauty movement?
Through you, actually! Prior to this, I've never heard of the term. I just knew that simple, uncomplicated skincare and makeup pretty much describes my attitude towards all things beauty. I don't believe in using more than what's needed, ever.

What is minimalist beauty to you?
So, I've heard that minimalism in beauty has a lot to do with using the least amount of ingredients that render it effective to give this natural-looking end-result. But for me, it's mostly about sticking purely to what you need. Things such as eye cream and face masks are unnecessary, in my opinion. Skincare-wise, all you really need is a solid cleanser (I've been using Shu Uemura's Cleansing Oil since I was 16), a serum (Lancôme's Advanced Genifique Serum is my go-to), and a solid moisturiser (Absolue L'Extrait by Lancôme). Makeup-wise, well, I'm bare-faced 80% of the time unless required to. But I always opt for non-clogging options! That way, I don't suffer any breakouts when I fall asleep with my makeup on.

How do you exercise a minimalist beauty routine — and what are some baby steps someone can try to join this movement?
As with everything in life, consume and use only what you need. I aim to question the integrity and transparency behind the products I use, too, so I can stand by products that truly work, and leave out the rest.


Simone Heng, keynote speaker and emcee

How did you first learn about the minimalist beauty movement?
I first heard the term when I was scrolling through Instagram. And it's funny, because I was raised in the era of the seven-step Korean skincare programme, and I was just using so many things. This changed when I discovered my skin barrier had eroded simply through the over-use of multiple products from all these different brands.

What is minimalist beauty to you?
According to my dermatologist, it is about using products in tandem that have maximum efficacy. It's not about the quantity, but the quality. I think the first time I really heard about beauty minimalism, it was through my friend Nicolas Travis, and he told me about his brand called Allies Of Skin, which offers these multi-purpose products that can be used to resolve a whole host of skin concerns.

How do you exercise a minimalist beauty routine — and what are some baby steps someone can try to join this movement?
For me, exercising minimalism is not so much a choice than it is a necessity [Laughs]. My dermatologist told me that I'm limited to three products only: a cleanser, moisturiser, and eye cream, because my skin had become so reactive I'd literally break out into these tiny bumps just by taking a walk at Botanic Gardens. It's great, though, because I travel a lot for work and now all I have to bring are three products.

Minimalism in skincare is something I believe will go on to last a really long time. Now, makeup, though, that's tough, because I don't think those bold, dramatic looks you see on YouTube and Instagram are slowing down any time soon — and you definitely need quite a bit of products to achieve that. I think, maybe, start by looking at sustainable beauty options, because that's the root of it, and using lesser equates to lesser packaging, plastics, and so on.

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