I won't be surprised if most of you aren't aware of this brand yet. It has very little market presence and is relatively new to Singapore. Heck, the brand itself is probably still in its infant stages - It was founded in March 2009! However, it's already made its way here and has since also opened more than a hundred (and counting!) stores in South Korea.
To be honest, I've never known about this brand until today either. The strange thing is, just earlier this week I distinctly recall hearing the evening news report how this company's business is booming in Japan and Korea. My interest wasn't exactly piqued then since I assumed it was another one of those all-natural, wholly-organic sorta' brands.
Earlier today, I found myself in the basement of 313 Somerset shopping centre. I strolled past Nature Republic only to recall vaguely hearing its name mentioned in the news so I walked in. The place was completely empty save for a chatty Sales Assistant and three of her friends/colleagues who were sprawled on the floor counting stocks of eyeshadows. They scrambled to their feet when I entered and continued their stock-checking while squatting. ;)
The store front could've easily been mistaken for a more sedate and 'green-approach' outlet of The Face Shop. It has that same atmosphere but with warmer lighting and a quieter ambience. Their two island cosmetics counters are situated right in the middle of the store whilst their entire skincare line can be found on the wooden shelves lining the three walls of the shop.
I'm not that into Korean skincare so I made a beeline straight for the base makeup counter. ;) From what I remember, they had three or four beautifully packaged foundations and several makeup bases and B.B. Creams. The colour cosmetics are quite beautiful as well, though they are quite sheer and shimmery, which is typical of Asian cosmetics.
In my opinion, they do have a very nice range of makeup at extremely reasonable prices! I swatched their foundations for a bit and find that they've better coverage (medium to good) than those Asian cosmetic brands usually churn out. The formulas are also more creamy than liquid, rather like my Baby Skin Foundation from Etude House. Best of all, all of the foundations are retailing at S$30.00 or less! That's practically drugstore! :D The delicate glass bottle packaging also lets on that the product is far more expensive than it really is. They're truly vanity worthy!
On the other hand, like every other Korean beauty brand, they only manufacture them in shades 21 and 23, though sometimes in 13 as well. I was searching high and low for the latter, but could not find it. I later noticed that shade being catalogued in their Singapore website. Hmm, perhaps I should call and check again? I must caution you though- The shades are not consistent between foundations.
Nature Republic also has a nice range of blushes, one of which is strongly reminiscent of Benefit's Box O' Powders. They've one that is split down the middle into a shimmery pink and brown ala Benefit's 10, a peach one that is a dead ringer for Georgia and a pink one that seems pretty original. Like their Benefit counterparts, unless you are very fair, these will not show up as a blush on you. However, they make for beautiful highlighters. More astonishingly, they retail for around S$14.00. Benefit, on the other hand, goes for $65.00.
As shown above, under their Age Slick lineup is also a beautifully scintillating gradational blush. It comes in pink and apricot. Unfortunately, I've never owned a Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick so I'm not able to make a legitimate comparison. Instead, I take it for what it is - Splendid!
Here's a stranger's haul video I found online to show you some of the products:
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Overall, I left the place slightly more than a hundred dollars poorer, but triumphantly clutching a lifelong membership, a bag overflowing with samples, three boxes of cotton pads and the following items and a concealer I don't have a picture of:
If you've been scared off by Etude House's lurid interiors and ear-shattering K-pop, try this brand. From my experience thus far, they've got a good (approachable) image, very good products and fantastic prices. If that isn't enough for you, they've also got Korean superstar Rain backing them. ;)
Overall, I can definitely see the hype with this one. So far, everything seems so promising; I just hope the products don't break me out!
Update: They've never broke me out. I've gotten lots of other products from Nature Republic since and none have, so hurrah! If you're reading this and would like some product reviews, please scroll to the 'Tags' widget on the left-side panel and click 'Korean Brands'. I have a whole series of product reviews of various products from the brand so please do check it out. Thanks for reading! :D
Reviews for the products are here: