New releases from cult skincare brands that you'll love in March
Eye it, buy it
There is no shortage of skincare surprises this month. From Milk Makeup's cannabis-infused primer (hi MDA, we're not endorsing use/posession of illegal substances, only pointing out a trend in the marketplace) to Drunk Elephant's first-ever retinol product, it is a sea of innovation and intrigue from cult labels in the vein of Kate Somerville, Pixi, and Starskin. In an ideal world, we would try them all — complexion-related consequences be damned — but practicality, of course, wins out. Instead, a roundup of the favourites amongst the tried-and-tested that have earned a spot in our shopping carts.
Indie Lee Banish Stick
What they say: Hitting Sephora shelves this March, Indie Lee bears rave reviews from consumers looking for clean, high-performance products that don't compromise on quality. Out of the lot, we picked up The Indie Lee Banish Stick, a topical spot treatment that claims to reduce the appearance of red and irritated zits instantaneously.
What we say: The first thing we noticed was lightweight formula. It absorbed quickly into skin, which allows for application over makeup without any residue stickiness or tackiness. The slim packaging also means it fits easily into the smallest of clutches, making it all the more convenient for on-the-go usage. We tried it on a cluster of hormonal acne (eff periods) and was pleased to note that they appeared significantly smaller the day after. Bear in mind that it does leave behind a slight stinging sensation when applied to inflamed, reddened spots.
Kate Somerville Liquid ExfoliKate Triple Acid Resurfacing Treatment
What they say: As someone with highly reactive skin, our beauty writer Emily Heng has always been a little apprehensive to give liquid exfoliators a try. Harbouring the misconception that it might just, uh, burn her face off — despite reading multiple articles and testimonials that prove otherwise — she approached the Kate Somerville Liquid ExfoliKate with trepidation. Slated to brighten, even and correct the look of dull skin tones with its formulation of fruit enzymes, the product also claims to tighten and refine the look of pores.
What we say: Thankfully, her experience was overwhelmingly positive: the leave-on exfoliating solution gently sloughed away dull, dead skin and left her complexion a little brighter than before. We're not too big of a fan of the scent — imagine if someone had captured a sneeze in a bottle, and you'll get a rough idea — but with what it does for the skin, we say it is well worth it.
La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular Life-Lotion
What they say: The latest addition to La Prairie's Platinum Rare range is an essence-in-lotion, priced at a hefty $1,000. Here's its sales pitch: aside from infusing the skin with nutrients, the shimmering liquid (platinum peptide, show yourself!) prevents premature ageing by supporting your skin cells' ability to remove and recycle damaged proteins, ensuring proper cellular functions. It also triples up as a protective barrier against harmful external exposures that could break down your natural antixodants — basically, it's a badass bouncer that shuns uninvited party guests at the door so they don't heckle A-listers kicking it up inside.
What we say: La Prairie Platinum Rare Cellular Life-Lotion has similar goals (to protect and preserve the natural youth of that money-making visage) to SK-II's Facial Treatment Essence, so we recommend alternating between the two if you fancy the former's smooth, lotion-like texture for night, compared to the FTE's — as it is lovingly referred to by die-hard fans — lighter, more absorbent formula. Better for hurried mornings, perhaps. However, there's no need to prep the skin with a toner with the Life-Lotion; to dispense, pop its magnetic cap and tilt the bottle gently after your cleansing ritual, prior to serum application.
StarSkin Orglamic Pink Cactus Pudding
What they say: Born in Dutch and inspired by Korean beauty, StarSkin (now available in Singapore exclusively at Sephora) Orglamic Pink Cactus Pudding is a face and neck moisturiser powered by prickly pear cactus oil and cactus extracts. Their function: quench your skin's thirst and create a smooth canvas for makeup.
What we say: Holy moley! This really is a pudding of a cream — it stays in place while inverted (put it to the test alright), jiggles when shaken and bounces when tapped. Scooping the product out takes some practice; we weren't sure whether to dip or swipe or dig it out. After a couple of trials, we realised that a combination of all three is most effective. Still, the whole experience felt wrong, like we were digging into a dessert we're not meant to eat. On a serious note, it's possibly the most fluid cream our face has met yet when we finally spread it over our cheeks. Alas, we would still trust a primer to smoothen over pores before getting our makeup show on the road.
Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
What they say: If you're terrified of and/or worried about how your skin will react to the potent, powerful retinol (translation: a very strong Vitamin A derivative that seemingly does it all for the complexion) you're not alone. In fact, before Drunk Elephant founder came up with A-Passioni, she largely avoided the dermatologist-backed ingredient. No more. Her version packs the brightening, smoothening, moisturising trifecta without the harshness commonly associated with retinol, thanks to her unique formula; passionfruit, apricot, jojoba, and marula oils serve as gentle cushions to retinol's weighty punch.
What we say: Retinol newbies like us are advised to apply one thin layer of Drunk Elephant's retinol cream no more than once or twice a week in the month. Not only has Fashion and Beauty Editor Jolene Khor not noticed any peeling or flaking users of stronger retinoids commonly report, her skin feels brighter and smoother. It should be noted that she has been too busy to mask or scrub in the last few weeks, so we're inclined to credit her fresh — though sleep-deprived — skin to her new skincare sidekick.