This Season’s Most Exciting Skincare Launches — Of Brightening Formulas, Three-In-One Serums, And Revamped Icons

The world of skincare is ever-evolving, and here are the new formulas that we ought to know about, for the sake of good skin. We’re talking improved versions of already-great formulas, brightening serums based on quality ingredients and important new research, and more discoveries that further the anti-ageing cause. Here’s some essential reading before you make your way over to the nearest beauty counter.


The new SK-II GenOptics Ultraura Essence might be your best bet to combat skin dullness, dehydration and spots, as the brand focuses on their new world-first discovery of yellow dullness and skin clouds created at the cellular level, often caused by sleep deprivation. A result of oxidative stress, just one night of no sleep, a week’s worth of 4-hour sleep, may lead to yellowish-cloudiness for 5 days!

This brightening essence, a hit in Japan since it first launched, promises ‘stronger, faster and brighter’ results, achieved by a blend of their exclusive PITERA™, a naturally-derived patented ingredient comprising of important vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, as well as SDL PRO to help reduce yellowish dullness, and White Lotus Complex, which helps skin appear brighter and more clear.

$244 (30ml), $362 (50ml), $489 (75ml). Available at all SK-II counters. 


M.A.C’s Hyper Real line is the beauty brand’s new high-performance skincare line, created so we can all achieve good skin that’s smooth, even, and ideal for makeup — a perfect canvas. Four multi-tasking, makeup artist-approved products are introduced here, while the range spotlights Japanese Peony Extract, hand-picked from Niigata, to help with an even skin tone, along with hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and ceramides to form the Pro-4 Power Infusion Matrix™.

Each of these boast thoughtful formulas and textures too. The Serumizer, for instance, is a serum-moisturiser hybrid that strengthens the skin barrier for petal-soft skin and minimised pores; it also promises +161% instant hydration.  The line further includes a unique skincare brush with the softest bristles for gentle application, along with a cleansing oil and balm-like moisturising cream that keeps skin soft and supple for up to 24 hours.

$75 – $96. Available at M.A.C Boutiques, the M.A.C concierge service, Sephora stores and online.


Sulwhasoo’s bestselling First Care Activating Serum has enthralled the beauty world for generations, and this next iteration aims to be their best-ever formula yet. Meant to be a first-step serum, the formula combines traditional Asian wisdom with next-level technology, resulting in the Sulwhasoo Master Complex™ that’s further enhanced with Lyphanax™ ginseng, a specific ingredient that has undergone 500 hours of natural ripening for the best results.

This technical know-how comes off the back of nearly six decades of experience, while the surprisingly lightweight, fast-absorbing formula helps boost our skin’s ability to renew itself and strengthen the skin barrier. Looks-wise, we love its new housing of a glass bottle that mimics the lines of a white porcelain moon jar, now in lighter glass, and as refined as ever with the elegance of Korean aesthetics.

$125 (60ml), $170 (90ml). Available at all Sulwhasoo boutiques, counters and online


The newly-improved Laneige Perfect Renew 3X series, in sleek bottles of soft lavender and gold, looks nothing like its predecessor — surely, a clear signal of new beginnings. This one’s an age-preventive series made exclusively for women in their mid 20s to 30s as it targets skin dullness, its loss of elasticity, and early wrinkles. As with most k-beauty lines, there’s a Skin Refiner, or toner, Emulsion and a Cream with a buttery whipped texture for a full 4-step skincare regime.

The most innovative product in the line-up though has to be the Perfect Renew 3X Skin Serum. It dispenses three types of highly effective serums in just one pump, which provides a 1.51x stronger age-defying effect when used together. The three formulas are: a basel glow serum powered by RE.D Flavonoid for a youthful glow; a firming serum that contains a high 21.5% concentration of a Collagen Peptide Complex; and an anti-wrinkle serum that holds 3.5 million micro retinol capsules in a single drop.

$63 – $112. Available now at LANEIGE boutiques, counters and online, Shopee and Lazada, and Sephora.


The iconic Shiseido Eudermine lotion is the Japanese brand’s first-ever cosmetic product, first launched in 1897 and known affectionately as ‘Shiseido’s Red Water’, so no way are they skimping on the science and technology behind this one. Now called the Shiseido Eudermine Activating Essence, it boasts a new formula and packaging that’s recyclable and refillable!

This new lotion is formulated with Fermented Kefir Extract, originating from
northern Japanese Hokkaido brown rice, that renews skin, and Yuzu Extract for recharged moisture, on top of the original skin-conditioning brightening ingredient, 4MSK, based on ActiveRED Technology, that helps promote an active skin renewal cycle. What’s also unique is that it contains microparticles of oil, just 1/100 the size of emulsions, which makes it easier for the formula to sink deep into the skin and retain moisture for longer. At once refreshing on the skin, it also refreshes the complexion for more radiant, smoother, and hydrated skin.

$145 (145ml), and $122 (145ml) for the refill. Available at all Shiseido stores


Lancôme’s new era of high-performing, anti-ageing skincare looks like this — the Rénergie H.C.F. Triple Serum, a new formula inspired by regenerative science, while combining three seemingly-incompatible major active ingredients into one formidable dose. Encased in a bottle design that divides each derm-active into separate air-tight chambers, it utilises a triple nozzle system where we get to dispense all three ingredients in one go.

And in case you’re wondering, here are the derm-actives we’ve yet to introduce. One, Hyaluronic Acid, an ingredient that absorbs 1000x its weight in water and well-loved for its skin-smoothening and plumping properties; C+Niacinamide, a combination of a Vitamin C derivative and Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) to combat dark spots and even skin tone; and Ferulic Acid, a powerful antioxidant that neutralises free radical damage and further strengthen the skin barrier. Lancôme has presented this trio to work in sync by carefully calibrating each active’s optimal concentrations, in an anti-ageing serum that aims to lift contours, fade wrinkles, and give us a visibly brighter skin tone.

$217 (50ml). Available at Lancôme counters, department stores, the Lancôme e-Boutique, and Lazada. 


Everyone’s favourite fermented drink, in an essence? We were surprised too when Fresh first launched their Kombucha Facial Treatment Essence back in 2018, though we grew to love this anti-pollution essence after hearing more from Fresh’s founders, Lev and Alina. Fast-forward to today, and we’ve for a newly-upgraded liquid gold treatment that’s, well, fresher than before!

The antioxidant-rich, double-fermented formula better protects and visibly repairs skin from the harmful effects of environmental stressors, and is further enhanced with an advanced metabiotic ingredient that encourages our skin to increase its production of essential reparative enzymes that tailors to our individual skin needs, so it can be restored to a strong, healthy state. It further retains its already lightweight texture, which we’re told deeply penetrates 20+ surface layers for a much-needed skin boost.

$52 (50ml), $139 (150ml). Available at Fresh boutiques and online, and Sephora. 


You might already be familiar with Benefit Cosmetic’s The POREfessional collection, which started from a makeup primer that’s designed to minimise the appearance of pores. Now, the beauty brand’s about to take that claim to new heights, with an entire skincare regime dedicated to smooth and better-looking skin.

The series sees six new products and one multi-tasking tool, an all-in-one mask wand, that’s gentle on skin and non-comedogenic, and created to make deep cleansing as fuss-free as possible. It includes Deep Retreat, a pore-clearing clay mask; Tight ‘N Toned, a pore-refining toning foam loaded with AHA and PHA; Speedy Smooth, a quick-smoothing pore mask; two kinds of cleansers of a foaming and cleansing oil variety; and Smooth Sip, a lightweight moisturiser.

$35 – $60. Available at Sephora stores and online