Hubert Burda Media

Oh, Is That Just For Me?

The personalisation of skincare has become increasingly popular. Suhana Ab uncovers three beauty houses that are leading the trend

We are amazed. In recent years, the concept of luxury has seen a seismic shift. It is no longer about the ownership of a designer label, nor is it about the hefty price tag. Today, it is about acquiring something unique, a one-of-a-kind, or in luxury lingo — something bespoke.
This can be seen across the various industries including fashion, accessories and even automobiles. Not one to be left out either is beauty. Fragrance houses such as Frederic Malle, Jo Malone and Francis Kurkdjian have been offering the option of personalising a scent for more than a decade. More recently, the purveyors of skincare have hopped on the bespoke bandwagon too.
In April 2013, renowned research firm Euromonitor listed out a series of leading beauty trends for the year ahead, one of which was the growing demand for one-of-a-kind treatments. This stems from society’s increasing desire for individuality, which in turn has pushed up the demand for the personalisation of skincare.
According to Singaporean beauty entrepreneur Sabrina Tan of Skin Inc, “personalisation” should mean that customers are able to discover their needs, choose and co-create their own products. A brand that has been doing exactly that and making waves is Ioma (derived from French word a moi spelt backwards), which means “for me”, that opened its first counter on local shores in October last year at Robinsons at The Heeren.
In an interview with Prestige, CEO Jean Michel Karam, who founded the company in 2010, points out: “Today, people want to be treated in a unique manner. I strongly believe that the more a product is focused on you, the more efficient it is.”
At Ioma, this is achieved with the help of its advanced patented machines that have been developed in-house by Karam and his team. The machines are built based on the microelectromechanical systems (Mems) technology, with the most impressive being the Ioma Sphere 2. Dubbed by the brand as the most sophisticated device in the world, it adopts a four-dimensional measuring process and uncovers the condition of your skin in four minutes.
Skin conditions such as dehydration, wrinkles, UV damage and clogged pores are rated between one and 15 (where one represents perfection and 15 is caution). Based on the results, the device then churns out a personalised beauty regiment. This includes the usage of specific products across its seven families of skincare, as well as two creams from its bespoke line, the Bespoke Youth Rituals.
This comprises of a day and night cream. Both have been formulated with 18 active ingredients as its base and further supplemented with eight serums, the dosage of which depends on your diagnosis.
“With the two active bases and eight serums, the Bespoke Youth Rituals offers 864 possible combinations,” Karam reveals. With this, it seems there is something for everyone at Ioma. In just three years, the brand has dished out more than a million skin diagnoses.
“Personalisation is certainly a trend. The question is how do you make it accessible? I believe at Ioma, we have,” the founder says.
Fortunately for us, Ioma has recently opened its second counter at Isetan Jurong East and is planning to open a third later this month at Isetan Scotts. With that, Singapore will be the brand’s base in its expansion into Asia.
On the home front, Tan of Skin Inc has been offering the option of bespoke skincare since it first established in November 2007. Named My Daily Dose, the customisation concept will have clients experience a three-step process before obtaining a serum that addresses their individual concerns.
The first is a skin check via a detailed lifestyle questionnaire conducted by the beauty advisor. Based on those results, the condition of the skin is deduced. This will help the advisor to identify three out of eight highly concentrated and active (100-percent pure) serums that will help to address a host of skin concerns. These three serums are then blended together in the brand’s signature dropper bottle and ready for use immediately.
“Customisation has been a part of the brand from the very beginning. We wanted to empower customers with the choice to make their skincare really personal,” Tan shares.
If you want a serum that can address pigmentation, dehydration and sensitive skin, you have one solution; if you want to address dull skin, open pores and ageing, there’s another solution. “There are up to 84 combinations in our bespoke concept,” she adds.
My Daily Dose has proven to be a wildly successful take on the skincare regiment. From one humble store in Singapore, Skin Inc has grown to include 17 distribution outlets across 16 cities worldwide (including Barcelona and Vietnam) in six short years.
Due to the popularity and demand of its serums on the international front, Skin Inc launched a virtual Skin E-Bar last September. Customers, regardless of location, will be able to answer an interactive questionnaire and, similar to a face-to-face skin consultation process, receive advice on the top three serums to address their concerns.
“Customisation of skincare has become increasingly sought after as customers know that they’ve a voice and can make themselves heard. I just attended the L2 Think Tank conference in New York that concurred that this trend is only going to get more popular.”
In London, some might say the ultimate bespoke skincare experience awaits. For a cool £25,000 you will be able to indulge in one of the UK’s leading clinic EF Medispa’s haute couture skincare programme. The result of the intensive four-year research and development is a six-month programme conducted by Dr Philippe Allouche of the French brand Biologique Recherche.
The doctor, who counts Madonna and Brad Pitt as his clients, will put you through a two-hour in-depth skin analysis through a questionnaire and a physical skin examination. With findings from this session, Allouche will communicate his recommendations to his laboratory in Paris. The lab will conjure up two creams and eight serums formulated from over 60 active ingredients to address concerns, such as seborrhoea inflammation, trans-epidermal water loss, firmness and age spots.
These creams and serums will change every four weeks, as the programme believes in addressing needs of the skin based on its health at that exact moment. Apart from skincare products for home use, the programme also includes a monthly treatment at the clinic where the health of the skin is examined and prescription is updated. At the end of the programme, clients will undergo another detailed skin analysis with Allouche.
With promise of optimised skin conditions, bespoke skincare certainly has its allure. It is set to revolutionise the beauty industry and, as the founder of Ioma points out, it will only encourage others in the field to do more for the customer. If this holds true, you can expect more bespoke skincare lines to come onto the market in the near future. Radiant glowing skin, here we come.