Conceptualised by biochemist Wayne Loh, Singapore beauty brand I Nuovi was established in 1996 in collaboration with two local makeup artists*. Produced in both Europe and Asia (France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Korea), I Nuovi products are cruelty-free and non-comedogenic. I find it highly reassuring that Mr Loh’s chemistry expertise ensures the wearability and safety of the cosmetic formulations.
The brand underwent a bit of name-morphing but is now officially known as I Nuovi Professional**, dedicated to serving both regular makeup users and the pros. The company constantly strives to improve their products and is currently undergoing a cosmetic change in phases to bring packaging that combines function and form to customers.
With thirteen years in the cosmetic industry and a presence in more than ten countries including the US, India and China, I Nuovi has stood the test of time: despite the influx of Asian and European brands into Singapore, it remains a stoic beauty player in the face of the whims and fancies of changing local tastes.
I was privileged to experience a store tour one Sunday morning with my friend, Iris of Rouge Deluxe. Conducted by I Nuovi‘s corporate trainer and product developer, Bob Mubarak, the session was fun and informative. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, thanks to Bob’s effervescent and warm nature which made the session a pleasure to attend. His passion for his products was delightful to see!
The first thing Bob told us was that I Nuovi has never had predetermined palettes. Their philosophy is personalised is best and they prefer to let customers make their colour choices.
All I Nuovi pressed blush / eyeshadow products are easily removable from the pots and fit into the brand’s modular compacts and pro palettes. I’m not so fond of the latter as they’re prone to staining but the former (pictured above) is sturdy and fits both blushes and shadows.
We were first led to the base products and Bob introduced us to Facefix UV, a powder foundation that contains SPF 20 and ColorLoc, an ingredient that prevents oxidisation. I was at an I Nuovi counter some weeks back and had seen this product on one of the MAs – she looked like she’d stepped out of a magazine. Granted she had good skin to begin with but she did look airbrushed!
Bob also introduced the brand’s waterproof Gelbase Sheer Finish Gel Foundation and Litebase Light Diffusing Liquid Foundation to us. Both are apparently good sellers; the former for its light texture, the latter for its light-reflecting properties.
He then came to Ilumina Skin Illuminating Pre-Makeup Base and in glee, asked us what it reminded us of.
Red Earth Secret Potion, of course! Like the latter, Illumina contains micro-shimmer and spreads easily on the skin. The price (S$48) was something I baulked at but the nozzled packaging is undeniably more use-friendly than the wide mouth of the Secret Potion bottle.
When we moved on to another base product display that included concealers, Bob explained the advantages of one of the store’s best-sellers, Undercover Under-Eye Dark Circle Corrector. He told us that it contains elastomer, an ingredient that minimises undereye line definition. Thanks to its stretch property, it does not crease on the undereye. The concealer also has a fine sheen that reflects light. I tested this item on my wrist lines and it really does fill them well.
Next, we were introduced to the glitters. Multi-coloured and sparkly, Bob revealed that they are made from bora silicate, the most expensive type of glitter ingredient. As such, they aren’t as chunky as most of the cheaper ones in the market.
At the same display was Cheekblush Cream-To-Powder Blusher. A daub of it can be easily blended, imparting a natural flush.
An array of wearable colours greeted us as we approached the blush section but I was drawn mostly to a shimmery off-white shade (Lumina) and a cool pink one (Fairy). The former would make a versatile highlighter, while the latter is a sweet pop of girly pink.
I was thrilled when we reached the eyeshadows; seeing them again filled me with delight. The complete Metallogy display with varying shades of metal was wonderful to look at – 16 discs of intense colour twinkled at me, begging to be swatched! They have an anti-crease formula but cannot be used wet. The colour payoff is satisfactory though and they really do not need further depth.
I enjoyed swatching Tin again and was even able to find new shadows to lust after. :)
After oohing and aahing over the Metallogy shadows, we turned to the D27 shadows. The name always reminded me of durian, the thorny tropical fruit whose highest grade is labelled D24…hardly the right image for an eyeshadow. :P Thankfully, Bob elucidated the odd name – it simply denotes the diameter of the shadow pans!
He also told us that the 2008 top-selling D27 was Charcoal, a black spiked with multi-coloured glitter.
We then moved on to the Trucolor shadows where we learnt that like the Metallogy shadows, these cannot be used wet. Their dense pigmentation and rich colour payoff invariably set off more lemmings for me. ;)
Near the eye colours were the brow products. The Browcake duos with powder and wax work for colouring and taming but the product that I was most impressed by was the High Brow brow pencil. Its firm texture reminds me of the Kesalan Patharan ones of old, one of my favourite pencils for stroking on natural-looking brow colour.
It’s a pity makeup technology dictates that most brow pencils today are retractable / screw-type; the conventional wooden ones that need sharpening always seem to produce the most natural effect.
At the same display as the brow pencils was I Nuovi Dust. A mainstay in the brand’s colour collection, these iridescent colour pigment powders are softly blendable and possess a fine texture. It was lovely seeing old favourites like Gold and Quartz again!
Bob was visibly excited when we approached the Lip Polish display. Released for summer, this colour-drenched line labelled ‘Deep Shine Lip Fluid Colour’ is a cross between lipgloss and lipstick. They are liquid lipsticks, really, with the intensity of a lippy and the shine of a gloss.
Unlike MAC which has a proliferation of new collections throughout the year, I Nuovi streamlines its releases by launching seasonal collections. Bob told us that the term ‘seasonal’ has a literal meaning: new I Nuovi products are introduced during winter, spring, summer and autumn.
This summer’s lip collection is rich and vibrant, reminiscent of summer fruits and flowers. The names also seem to correspond with the scents.
Another lip product that we were introduced to was Lip Treat. A two-ended wand containing an exfoliator and a balm, this little wonder is a handy lip treatment item. The exfoliator contains bamboo and papaya extracts for gentle scrubbing, while the balm has jojoba seed oil and ceramides for pampering softness.
Ingenious, isn’t it, to put a lip scrub and a moisturiser together?
It is heartening to see the people at I Nuovi (*waves* to Bob!) so earnest about their products and more importantly, believe in them. My earlier I Nuovi eyeshadow foray was just the tip of the makeup iceberg; I am thrilled that the brand has so much more to offer. Thank you, I Nuovi, for such a pleasant experience!
In Singapore, I Nuovi stores are located in shopping malls (Junction 8, Far East Plaza, Suntec City and Vivocity), while counters can be found at Sasa stores. International customers can order from the brand’s online shop which ships to any destination in the world.
Makeup Stash! will be holding an I Nuovi giveaway each for international and local readers soon, so look out for them! ;)
* Andy Lee and Dily Wang, both of whom are no longer with the company.
** I Nuovi -> I Nuovi Cosmetics -> I Nuovi Professional
*** According to the I Nuovi colour code, C = pink undertones, Y = yellow undertones, N = orange undertones.