Customized, microbiome-friendly Malaysian face masks and skincare

Julius Lim, CEO and co-founder of Malaysian skincare company B&B Labs, is all too familiar with skincare as it’s his family business, run by his mother. As a young man, he mainly spent his school holidays in their warehouse picking, counting and packing produce.

Her mother would also take her on business trips whenever she had to train her clients, adding to her skincare knowledge bank.

Fast forward to several years later, Julius jumped aboard the skincare ship professionally and joined his mother in the business after graduating from college in 1998.

With over 20 years of experience in the skincare industry and now pursuing his graduate studies in cosmetic sciences, Julius saw the opportunity to create his own skincare brand.

But he knew he needed a strategy to stand out in the saturated skincare market. So he turned his gaze to Malaysia’s natural resources.

Did you know: Malaysia is one of the 17 most biodiverse nations in the world and is home to centuries-old rainforests rich in Asian ingredients known for their health, beauty and wellness benefits.

Thus, showcasing the best of Malaysian flora has become one of the pillars of B&B Labs, alongside science-backed concepts.

Image credit: B&B Labs

Personalization of microbiome-friendly masks

Most sheet masks on the market these days are one-size-fits-all and are made with synthetic fibers which can be a major cause of skin irritation.

On the other hand, Julius believes CustoMask by B&B Labs is the world’s first line of personalized, microbiome-friendly sheet masks.

The star ingredient present in the mask is E-COLOGY PLUS+, an exclusive botanical complex that includes durian flavonoids, mangosteen xanthones, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and certified natural prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics .

The CustoMasks package comes with five mask sheets in total, each addressing a different skin concern on a different diffusion mask that are made with 100% pure natural fibers, which also makes them biodegradable and compostable.

The whole R&D cycle can take 9 to 12 months. Interestingly, the team tests the prototypes on themselves and their panel of skin experts. This is a rigorous process where the team gets feedback and adjusts wording accordingly.

And if they want to complain about a product and its properties, they would send it for independent testing.

For example, Julius pointed out that the CustoMask with its star ingredient, E-COLOGY PLUS+, is scientifically proven to support the skin, and is microbiome tested and verified by Qima Life Sciences, an in vitro testing laboratory in Gençay, France. .

As to why testing needs to be done so far, Julius explained that the microbiome phenomenon is relatively new to the global market, let alone the Asian market, and therefore, very few labs offer testing solutions and certifications.

Putting bacteria on your face to work

Image credit: B&B Labs

There is no doubt that the surface of your skin contains billions of microorganisms. This vibrant community known as the microbiome is essential for healthy skin.

However, bad bacteria can emerge and upset the balance of the microbiome.

Harsh cleansers and exfoliators, aging, and environmental changes also have the potential to reduce the number of beneficial bacteria on the skin’s surface, leaving skin “stripped” and unprotected.

This then allows harmful pathogens to multiply and cause skin disorders such as acne, dark spots, hypersensitivity, dullness, dehydration and wrinkles in the skin.

Prebiotics are “food supplements” that the good bacteria thrive on, while probiotics are the live good bacteria and miracle workers that work on your skin.

On the other hand, postbiotics are the beneficial extracts that good bacteria produce when they are “well fed”. Together, these elements work hand-in-hand in B&B Labs products to ensure that your skin barrier and the cells underneath remain intact and healthy.

Infusing Malaysia’s King and Queen of Tropical Fruits into Skincare

As mentioned earlier, two of the star ingredients in CustoMasks are the king and queen of tropical fruits, commonly known as durian and mangosteen.

This idea was born out of Julius’ passion for product research and development and his keen interest in ingredients.

He believes that ultimately, just as wellness starts from the cells, quality skincare is formed from the fundamentals of its content.

Therefore, the scientists they work with are constantly studying different ingredients to study the benefits each can bring to the skin.

“When we find one that fits the purpose, we’ll see how we can fit it in,” Julius explained.

One of the claims of CustoMasks is that they offer the benefits of a professional facial treatment at home, using a 30ml formulation of serum and active ingredients.

Image credit: B&B Labs

However, Julius acknowledged that having a professional facial still has its own set of added benefits such as pampering the skin to improve blood circulation.

In order to maximize the CustoMask experience anyway, B&B Lab introduced the CustoMask Amplifier during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to energize the in-home masking experience. This wearable beauty tech device uses galvanic ion technology to push active ingredients deeper into the skin.

Find your niche

Brand awareness in this oversaturated market is a challenge in today’s world. Although B&B Labs started out as a professional brand that distributes to salons and skin clinics, they have shifted to direct-to-consumer sales.

But challenges persist, such as the perception that locally made products aren’t “as good” and people’s distrust of local brands.

Julius believes Malaysia has amazing brands and products and it’s only right for local brands to earn their place in the skincare world. Therefore, he hopes that B&B Labs, as subject matter experts, can help him in this journey towards this coveted achievement.

“What we try to do at B&B Labs is do our part, which is simply to produce a skincare regiment equipped with essential products that maintain skin wellness,” Julius said.

Future plans for B&B Labs include creating an all-new collection, the Treatment Essence Collection, which includes Durian, Mangosteen, Galactomyces, Bird’s Nest Squalane, and Ceramides to combat skin sensitivity, dehydration, anti-aging, brightening and enlarged pores.

Besides their online store, B&B Labs also offers its products on the shelves of Ascen Plus pharmacies in the Klang Valley and in select salons and skin care clinics in Malaysia.

Additionally, they’re looking to launch their own physical store, but in the meantime, watch the brand as they go the pop-up route in local markets first.

Internationally, the brand has just secured a distributor in Singapore, and Julius is already planning to launch the brand in the UK and US as well.

  • Learn more about B&B Labs here.
  • Read more skincare startup content here.

Featured Image Credit: B&B Labs

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