This isn't 73 Questions with Vogue, but it's some Questions with Yen Vo(gue), the founder of Reme Beauty! We want to introduce you to the brand so you can get to know what Reme's all about. We hope you'll stick around and join our exciting journey of beautifying a better future together! xx
What’s Reme's founding story?
Since I was young, my mum's entrepreneurial and charitable spirit has always inspired me. I started out studying medical science because, at the time, I thought being in the medical field could make a more significant difference. I branched out and worked in various laboratory roles. But after a while, staying in the lab all day wasn't for me. So, I decided to get into business just like mum. I knew if I went to work for a big corporation, I could utilise the skills learnt into my own business in the future, which led me to work at DSM, a global science-based company, where I started learning more about ingredients and business. I attended One Young World, a global sustainability conference – where I was inspired by young leaders representing their countries on their sustainability initiatives and how they were making a positive impact. These years of experience in the science and raw materials industry taught me that science and technology could work with nature to create innovative solutions that can positively impact our lives and the world and shouldn't be divided.
My hobby is everything make-up and skincare related. With my family and friends, I'm always the designated make-up artist. And with my increasing interest in sustainable movements, I spent years trying and testing beauty products that claimed to be clean, green, organic, or natural. I was looking for a perfect balance of a fun product that performs well while being planet considerate in its product development – but there really wasn't anything out there. Soon, I knew I wanted to create more consciously-led beauty options in hope to urge other beauty brands to do the same.
Growing up, I also felt that the beauty industry in Australia didn’t have many Asian or immigrant representation. Coming from a first-generation Vietnamese immigrant family living in Australia, I went through life wanting to see more people like me whom I could relate to. During my teens, I sometimes felt like an outcast, looking different to the people I saw on TV and in beauty magazines. Learning through this experience, I want to be the voice that empowers diversity for people of colour, the indigenous, immigrants, and the queer community who feel under-represented – who, like me, have experienced feeling small and unseen. Everyone’s experiences deserve to be heard and understood.
That’s how we’re also envisioning Reme: to be a place of representation. Reme’s team may be small now, but we’re determined to inspire growth and representation in an industry that has so much potential for more.
I moved to Singapore right before COVID hit, and during the lockdown, I thought that this was probably the best time for me to start my own business and do something I love. So, after 3 years of research and development, I finally created a brand that infuses beauty, science, and sustainability all together – and that's when Reme Beauty was born!
What does Reme mean?
“Re” is a prefix that’s often a way of return and reconsideration. It’s in our very nature to reflect and rethink our approaches in beauty and the planet.
"Me" reinforces our personal commitment to this process – understanding that inner beauty begins with “me”!
And so, the importance of understanding that inner beauty is born from not only caring about ourselves, but also by caring for people and the planet through our actions. Beauty is a privilege and a way to express ourselves and practice self-care. We want you to embrace your natural beauty with simple beauty routines, and hopefully help you learn and live a more conscious lifestyle. In this process, we hope that Reme can celebrate different identities and cultures – especially for those who feel that their identities have been diluted, muddled, or lost in the process of immigration. We hope Reme can provide a safe space for everyone to be empowered – to express individuality without boundaries.
What are the main skin benefits you'll get from Reme products?
All our formulas are designed to support three vital building blocks for a healthy skin barrier: hydration, moisturisation and protection over time. Hydration makes sure your skin absorbs that juicy moisture. Moisturising is locking in your natural moisture barrier, preventing water loss from evaporating. Protection is not only just using sunscreen (but it's still essential!) – some antioxidants and vitamins are incorporated in our formulations that keep your skin looking healthy and protected. Finally, we didn't forget your skin microbiome – they'll be safe with us!
It's not going to be an overnight miracle – but it's an overtime process where you just let your skin do what it does best – regenerate. Ultimately prioritising prevention over cure and promise to instantly fix everything.
How does Reme contribute to creating a more sustainable beauty industry?
Reme makes eco-forward skincare. We're not fully sustainable; as humans, we're always participating in the cycle of consumption and production. When we say that we're sustainable, we are embarking on a journey towards sustainability – the actions we're taking and our dedication to consciously maintain this commitment over time.
We can't perfectly accomplish zero waste because we consume to live as humans. So what matters is how we consciously live our lives – and taking small steps at a time is better than nothing at all. We can't cover everything out there, but where we can, we will prioritise concerns within our means. That is why conscious chemistry is essential to us, as it's got to do with sourcing ethical and renewable ingredients where possible, and our current practice of intentional formulation is a part of that.
At the moment, we're plastic-neutral, so we're offsetting where we can. For example, we work with communities worldwide to offset carbon footprints by removing waste from the ocean and turning that into new material. But we also recognise that reducing carbon emissions is more critical than offsetting – because anyone can do that! Anyone can create X amount of carbon and work with an NGO to offset it. So, we will work towards becoming plastic-positive in the future.
In making consciously-led skincare, what does Reme's sustainability journey look like?
For Reme, our sustainability journey, or our eco-conscious effort, makes recyclable packaging and minimising the use of single-use plastics a default. To be environmentally conscious also means that we meticulously select natural ingredients that break down quickly once washed away; sustainably source ingredients, such as upcycling from other industries, support local communities. We focus more on consciously making the product throughout the whole product development process and when it is received by the consumer and thrown away at the end of its life.
Another essential part of our sustainability journey is: we want to make it positive and fun! We often might have an attitude of oh-my-god-the-world-is-ending as if we're destined for doom. Instead, we want to demystify sustainability, make it less daunting and scary, and ultimately make it more accessible for everyone! So, we don't want to induce fearmongering, especially towards certain ingredients or greenwash – it's like slapping a flimsy piece of tape on a gaping hole! Instead, we want to focus more on the elements and the science behind ingredients rather than just being free from whatever. We must bring awareness to and inspire people to start their eco-conscious journey or contribute in other ways beyond beauty.
We're currently working on collaborating with more global partnerships – whether for the people, the planet, or animals – to have a more extensive reach globally and have a real impact. Our journey towards sustainability and environmental consciousness will constantly evolve, and we'll always pivot and adapt to better ways to go about this.
Why start with cleansing balms and cleansing gels?
Cleansing is the first step in our skincare routine and can damage the skin if not done right. If we over-cleanse, we can dry out the moisture barrier, which causes many other issues. So, I thought it was appropriate to make it the first step to launch because cleansing is such a fundamental and essential step that we shouldn't forget to do. Could you imagine a day without cleansing your skin?
What do we look out for during the formulation process?
Besides making sure we give your skin the love and nourishment it needs, we also prioritise giving people an exploratory and sensorial experience! At least for me, textures are important in making skincare much more enjoyable and fun.
It’s hard to maintain stability for high natural formulations. The cream can sometimes separate to oil and water, and if they separate, they can irritate the skin and aren't pleasant to use. Some organic and natural products can also be quite sticky on the skin.
We worked hard to find a balance, for example, by using a combination of high natural ingredients plus a low percentage of synthetics to ensure we harmonise a pleasant texture before, during and after use. Like our G-Hydra Cleansing Gel with its silky and bouncy texture while being highly biodegradable in water.
Will Reme only be releasing skincare products?
We'll sell both skincare and cosmetics. That's because skincare and cosmetics go hand in hand! And because skincare routines can get quite complicated sometimes, we want to incorporate skincare into cosmetics to simplify our practices and encourage conscious and minimal consumption. This way, people can access consciously-led cosmetic products – stay tuned!