updated 29 Dec 2010, 22:00
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Sun, Jan 03, 2010
Urban, The Straits Times
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Cult beauty
by Karen Tee

Sick of trying out countless new beauty products that do not quite seem to deliver the results they promise?

The rule of thumb when it comes to picking ones that work is to join the cult.

Cult brands, that is.

Even though manufacturers constantly produce potion after potion at what seems the speed of light, there will always be certain tried-and-tested products that have gained a devout following among beauty junkies.

French-based By Terry is one example of a brand that has garnered itself a die-hard group of users that swear by its formulations.

Its credentials are so rock solid that even Madonna was once spotted in high-end American department store Barney’s buying 200 tubs of its Baume de Rose lip and cuticle balm to give away as gifts.

The secret behind the brand’s success is really not rocket science, says general manager Catherine Canovas, 58.

“We come up with innovative packaging such as a fountain pen tip applicator for our eyeliner for precision application. And we pay close attention to the formulations of our products.

“For example, our foundations contain less pigments that simply cover up flaws, but more corrective ingredients such as light-reflecting particles to create the illusion of smooth and taut skin.”

To fully appreciate the magic of By Terry’s products, one has to know a little about the brand’s founder Terry de Gunzburg, 54.

She began her career as a make-up artist for top photographers such as Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton before joining Yves Saint Laurent Beaute in 1985 where she created the brand’s bestselling Touche Eclat highlighter.

By the time de Gunzburg started her brand By Terry in 1998, she already had a following of the most influential tastemakers in the world, including celebrities, models and beauty editors.

Her “haute couture” or custom-blended make-up, which is available only at her flagship boutique in Paris’ Galerie Vero-Dodat, is a must have for beauty insiders.

French siren Catherine Deneuve is reportedly a fan of the custom-blended service, which starts from 600 euros (S$1,210).

Those who do not frequent Paris or have that much cash to spare can still comfort themselves with By Terry’s best-selling product, the Eclat de Teint Pinceau Instant Brightener (right), $88.

This highlighter has been dubbed the “new and improved” version of YSL’s Touche Eclat as it is more long lasting, says Canovas.

To get you on track to hitting the jackpot with each beauty purchase you make from now on, Urban spotlights three other brands which have garnered themselves a cult following.


This Greek brand prides itself on its use of herbs and natural ingredients such as honey and watermelon.

Its wholesome ingredients and rigorous scientific testing process have made the brand a trusted name for fans who enjoy the aunaturel ethos.

Cult appeal: The female leads in hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy – Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh and Katherine Heigl, are all hooked on Korres’ lip butters, which are tinted to give lips a hint of colour.

Must try: Wild Rose 24-hour Moisturising and Brightening Cream, $58.

The cream’s key ingredient, wild rose oil, is a natural source of Vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties and is also able to help repair fine lines and even out skin discolourations.

Where: Korres, B2-34 Ion Orchard


Wine lovers can now keep themselves looking young with the very stuff they enjoy imbibing.

French brand Caudalie (pronounced Ko-da-lee) is a range of anti-ageing skin and body care products made from grape extracts.

The active ingredient in the brand’s products are polyphenols which are extracted from grape seeds, which have antioxidant properties to neutralise the ageing effects of free radicals.

Cult appeal: Reclusive Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela may have announced his retirement from his label Maison Martin Margiela last month, but he has one last parting gift.

He created a suite for Les Sources de Caudalie, the brand’s hotel-spa in Bordeaux, done in his signature shades of grey and white.

Prices for a one-night stay start from 650 euros (S$1,310).

You cannot get any more cult than this.

Must try: Beauty Elixir, $75.

This multi-purpose blend of toner and serum contains astringent mint essential oils and grape extracts to perk up tired skin and tighten open pores.

Spritz on between your foundation and loose powder to set your make-up perfectly.

Where: Sephora

Esprique Precious

If you want make-up that is fast and easy to apply, then check out this Japanese cosmetics brand owned by beauty giant Kose.

Its products are designed for women on the move – think liquid eyeshadow that dries in a matter of seconds and concealer that doubles up as a skin brightener.

Cult appeal: Before the brand was launched in Singapore last September, this was a must-get brand for make-up lovers travelling to Japan.

Its girly packaging and easy-to-wear colours – think neutrals and metallics – have made it a firm favourite among women who like fuss-free make-up that delivers.

Must try: Dramatical Stay Pact UV EX, $49.

If you have trouble getting your foundation to stay put in this humid weather, try this compact powder.

With a matte finish and fine powder particles that do not cake, this might be the solution to looking fresh and shine-free all day.

Where: All Kose counters, including those at Takashimaya Department Store and Robinsons The Centrepoint


This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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