Peau Peau Beauty is an online multilabel clean beauty boutique founded by Cheryl Yong, a former public relations executive.
Yong told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that she founded the business because she strongly believes there is a market for clean beauty brands in Singapore and the wider ASEAN region.
“In Singapore especially, I see consumer fatigue. People are tired of the mass brands and they are savvy enough to realise which brands are sincere about their company values and which brands are trying to pander to them.
“Consumers are increasingly looking to hold brands up to mirror and demand more from them, like more transparency and communication. They want brands to listen to what they have to say rather than just have brands dictate industry trends.”
Peau Peau Beauty currently carries five brands from Korea, Taiwan and Australia. Yong noted that she can be very discerning about the brands she wishes to carry.
“It’s not about choosing a brand that pours a few oils together then calling themselves clean. There needs to be scientific evidence backing up why these ingredients are chosen.”
For her, clean beauty ultimately means safe products that minimise the risk of skin irritation while still being effective.
“I look for products with very simple formulations, that minimise the number of potential irritants. Many skin issues come from inflammation. It's all about reducing that and creating a nice safe and happy environment for your skin.”
Like many clean beauty advocates, Yong has a list of ingredients that she avoids. However, she stresses that she does not engage in fearmongering.
“There are some companies that are guilty of creating fear and shaming other brands for containing a certain ingredient. But I don’t believe in negative marketing. For me, it’s just about putting the information out there and letting the consumer make their own choices.”
With Peau Peau Beauty as a platform, Yong also hopes to educate consumers about the dangers of greenwashing and change the misconception that natural ingredients are always safe.
“Everything is chemical. For people to blatantly say chemicals aren't good for your skin is just ridiculous. Likewise, not all natural ingredients are safe. There needs to be a balance between natural and synthetic ingredients in order to create a good formulation.”
She added: “At the end of the day, cosmetics is a science. I look for brands that believe in clinical testing and backing up their claims with science.”
Peau Peau Beauty is currently still in its first year of operations and will continue to focus on the Singapore market in 2020.
“Singapore still has a lot of potential and the customers here are tough. If you can win them over, other countries will be slightly easier,” said Yong.
Interestingly, Yong has observed that Singapore comes up top for searches on sensitive skin globally according to Google Trends.
“Sensitised skin is on the rise because of a lot of factors like stress and overuse of products. People like to try new products and the industry encourages it by launching new products ever so often, it’s a vicious cycle.”
The firm’s other goal for the year would be to expand overseas by offering international shipping by the end of the year.
Some markets in the ASEAN region Yong hopes to target are Malaysia, which is a natural extension for the company, as well as the Philippines.
Brick-and-mortar is the long-term goal for the company. Yong highlighted that it is becoming increasingly important for a brand to have both digital and physical presence.
“People still want experience from both. For sure I am looking at having a physical presence because it’s important to a certain extent especially for beauty in general.”
However, Yong currently has no plans to pursue this, especially in the shadow of the COVID-19 outbreak.’
“The retail environment in Singapore, in general, is not very friendly and in the current environment, I don’t think it even makes sense to consider a retail store. We will see how it goes in this unprecedented time.”