Cynthia Chua – of TWO L(I)PS
You may not know the name Cynthia Chua, but you will surely have the names of her lifestyle brands at the tip of your tongue.
Cynthia is the founder and chairman of the Spa Esprit Group and Wonderscape Holdings that own lifestyle cult favourites like Tippling Club, 40 Hands, Browhaus, Strip, among many others.
Particularly with Strip and Browhaus, Cynthia has made the taboo chic, remember the orang utan jumping into the lake shot?
She’s done that again, with her magic touch to push socially adverse topics into the mainstream converasation, this time with TWO L(I)PS, the world’s first vulva mask that has recently added to the brand a range of prebiotic products for the vulva.
I had the chance to ask Cynthia some questions over email.
About TWO L(I)PS and the products
You brought waxing into the mainstream with waxing at Strip (thank you!), and you’re embarking on a difficult mission again with TWO L(I)PS, what is it that drives you?
As an avid believer in head-to-toe holistic care, every business I’ve started is about impacting life positively and plugging a gap in the market and TWO L(I)PS is no different. I created a luxury range of vulva care to up the ante of selfcare, disrupt and break taboos, and for women to be completely body confident. I have always believed that as women, we need to reclaim our vulvas, to care for it like how we would treat the skin on our face.
You’ve conquered waxing, now the vulva, is the vagina next?
The vagina is definitely as important to us as the vulva despite our emphasis on the distinctions between the two parts. My goal has always been about creating treatments and products that will allow women to feel good about their bodies and impacting them positively, so stay tuned!
What are the health benefits for pH4 – 6 for vulvas?
The skin on our body is naturally acidic, making some traditional off-the-shelf products too alkaline at times. This may result in the disruption of the skin’s natural barrier, causing issues like sensitivity, dryness or irritation.
Between pH 4 – 6, our skin’s barrier function is encouraged to remain in a healthy state. This reinforces its natural ability to protect itself and remain resilient.
Why do we need sunscreen on a part of the body that hardly sees the sun?
The Two Lips range is formulated for use on skin all around from vulva to face. We added sunscreen to our product lineup because it is such a pivotal step in one’s skincare routine. Unlike most conventional sunscreens where SPF care is focused mainly on the face and body, we have designed our prebiotic-infused Screen with just that, and specifically the vulva region so it is perfect for both daily use as well as for your bikini line on pool and beach days.
Screen is formulated within the optimal pH range of 4 and 6 for face and vulva, so your skin remains balanced, resilient and healthy with every use. Screen also combines the power of skincare and suncare with its antioxidant-loaded formulation with pore-refining Niacinamide, while Sodium Hyaluronate injects layers of hydration into the skin, providing comfortable wear throughout the day.
When and how did you get the idea for a vulva mask?
A lot of my inspiration came from the message of feeling confident and being happy with yourself. I have had many conversations with our Strip customers, therapists and friends over the last two decades of being in the hair removal / vulva care business. People were sharing with me their vulva woes from dryness, dull skin from chafing to ingrown hair and asked for advice. And through these conversations, I created TWO L(I)PS, the world’s first luxury intimate care range, with our most precious part, the vulva, in mind.
During our initial R&D stages, I realised that there were thousands of masks in the market for the face and feet. It made me wonder why there isn’t a mask for the intimate area and how it is a taboo subject and that stoked my interest in creating products for the intimate area. So I channeled this interest and energy in creating the Two Lips brand as a platform to open up conversations about vulva and provide options for women to love and care for their vulva more.
Two Lips kick started with our vulva mask, Blackout. It is the world’s first activated charcoal mask for your vulva and contains infrared activated charcoal that stimulates lymphatic drainage and deodorises. Infused with a rich cocktail of organic botanical ingredients to provide a unique 4-step process that soothes, detoxifies, brightens and moisturises.
Aside from its efficacy, a lot of thought went into the design and function – how it sits and wraps around the entire mon pubis area while ensuring it is efficacious at the same time. I wanted to create something that is both comfortable and convenient to use, because no one wants to be bothered with an extra step of rinsing off a mask when you’re in bed and comfy. With Blackout, all that’s needed is to lie back, apply the mask and relax for 15 minutes, after which simply tap in the remaining serum onto the skin.
Since the launch of Blackout, the response has been great and it has sparked a lot of curiosity around vulva care. To date we have 12 dedicated intimate care products (with more in the pipeline) that targets a range of issues such as dull skin, dryness, blemishes and sensitivity.
On sexual wellness
What is sexual wellness to you?
Sexual wellness comes from the ability to love yourself and to feel good. For me it is both physical and mental. It starts from understanding and respecting all the intimate parts of one’s body, properly addressing and taking care of its needs. Treating my body well gives me an extra boost of body confidence and heightens my sense of positivity.
How has your own sexual wellness journey been?
Sexual awareness education during my teenage years was very minimal.
During then the school curriculum revolves around physical education and I get bits and pieces of information during biology classes.
Coming from a typical conservative Asian family, there wasn’t much education at home too, so I just figured it out along the way. This echoes my point about the vulva being a cultural taboo subject. It also made me wonder how women seek help or advice on sexual wellness in general. So I created TWO L(I)PS s as a driving force and platform to educate and demystify taboos surrounding the vulva and I find it meaningful to do so because I want to empower women to loving themselves more and further encourage, enable and improve everyone’s sexual wellness journey.
What are your thoughts on the sexual wellness scene in Singapore?
I believe it is growing and will continue to evolve. In recent years, people are becoming more aware and are embracing sexual wellness. With Two Lips, we hope to further stoke the conversation and grow it into a social norm. I hope to cultivate a wider appreciation for intimate health rituals, making vulva care into something as commonly embraced as facial skincare.
Globally, the number of intimate care ranges dedicated to the vulva is still niche, but its growth and women’s interest in this is undeniable.
The TWO L(I)PS journey
Can you share any memorable customer feedback?
It’s hard to pinpoint because there are so many, all of which I am very heartened by. It’s largely of customers sharing their user experience and the amazing results they had. Many shared that their skin is brighter after using Diamond – a super gentle Vitamin C serum that rejuvenates and brightens dull skin, how much they love our ICE – a lightweight calming rescue cream that’s formulated with sea algae, menthol and liquorice root extract to soothe inflammation and irritation while keeping skin moisturised and firm. Or they are building up their collection of Two Lips product range.
Other memorable feedback includes how they were unaware that vulva care can have such a positive impact on their body confidence and how it has allowed them to understand and appreciate their vulva more.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
I’ve never regarded myself as a feminist. To me, it has always been about self-care, being body confidence, loving and celebrating the female form. TWO L(I)PS was born out of my desire to help women love and celebrate their bodies. I believe in empowering women in looking after themselves and the freedom of choice, to choose what works for them.
What has been the most difficult and the most rewarding of the TWO L(I)PS journey?
It’s never easy pioneering and broaching any taboo topics so as a vulva care brand and a first mover, our continuous challenge is to advocate and educate the importance behind vulva care and that it is not about vanity. I wanted to create a product range that is luxurious and safe for use, so getting them dermatologically and gynecologically certified was extremely challenging as well.
Through this journey I’ve also come to realise that many women are not aware of the difference between the vulva and vagina. I think many women often associate the vulva being self-cleaning hence the idea of vulva care is often misconstrued because of these misconceptions.
For me it’s most rewarding whenever I hear testimonials about how our product has worked for my customers and friends. I am also very encouraged when we receive enquiries from women new to vulva care and to me, having an interest is half the battle won.
How important is me-time/selfcare?
I always believed in positive vibrations and if we spend time caring for ourselves, we’ll exude positivity all round. It has always been about caring for the face and body, so how do we channel the same attention and love and send positive energy bottom up? I think everyone should dedicate more personal time and attention to the intimate area, not just for the benefit of our physical well-being but also very importantly for our mental health. Not only would this encourage feelings of positivity, heightened confidence and self-esteem within ourselves, it would also enable us to infect others with the same sense of positive well-being.
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