Homegrown Beauty: Est.Lab

Estetica and Est.Lab director Lim Ker Han is one guy who’s got his finger on what women want


Why did you decide to create Est.Lab?

Estetica has had its in-house line of products since 1998, when we were one of the first beauty retailers in South-east Asia to bring in eye treatment products under the OptimaLift range. The decade that followed saw Estetica developing the complete product ranges that you see today. Our driving force is the belief that skincare products, have —till today — been a product of marketing rather than good technology, and there is huge potential in engaging good science for the health of your skin.

What are the challenges you’ve faced in creating the products?

There are literally hundreds of thousands of active ingredients and materials that are being hailed as the new miracle elixir, from labs around the world. Together with A*STAR, we developed the SkAI (Skin Analytics and Ingredients) Matrix, an evaluation framework to score all the active ingredients and materials developed by major manufacturers around the world, across four benchmarks: Safety, Efficacy, Compatibility (with our formulations) and Marketability (in terms of market novelty). This database would naturally enable us to introduce products that are more effective and beneficial for our customers.

What does Singapore beauty mean to you?

I think Singapore beauty celebrates change and diversity. And I think that this allow us to explore, borrow and internalise from different cultures and trends. You can see that in our architecture, our fashion, our environments and most definitely, in how we look. 

How proud are you that Est.Lab is Singapore-owned?

I’m definitely proud of the fact that both Estetica and Est.Lab are from Singapore, and that most of our research, design and formulations are also done locally. Our company motto this year is “Rooted in Singapore, Reaching the World” — we believe that the environment is ripe for more Singaporean brands and technologies to make a bigger impact in the global marketplace.

Beyond that, Estetica is also committed to growing and nurturing the beauty and wellness industry in Singapore. We are currently on the academic advisory committee at ITE as well as working with Republic Polytechnic to help align curriculum with industry expectations, offer internship and scholarship opportunities, and ensure that there is a smooth transition between graduates within the industry. 

Where are your fave places in Singapore to go for a pampering beauty treat?

I would definitely recommend Estetica! To be honest, as an occupational privilege, I’ve probably got standing packages with most of the beauty and wellness retailers in Singapore. The average quality of service in the industry has improved tremendously from five years ago. But for a pampering beauty treat, you have to come by and try out our Estetica Signature Facial, a 120-minute feast of sensorial luxury that will refresh, pamper and reinvigorate your skin!

As for destination spas in Singapore, one of my favourites used to be Spa Botanica at Sentosa. But I understand that it has recently changed ownership and branding, and I haven’t had the chance to visit since. I would definitely pen that in, though!

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