Category

Facials & Treatments

Groupon Review: Ultra Sensitive Skin Treatment Facial at Aster Spring

By | beauty, Facials & Treatments | No Comments

A while back, a friend of mine was asking for facial salon introductions on Facebook – she got peppered with many names, and there was one brand that popped up several times and it was also what I suggested. It was Aster Spring / Leonard Drake.

But like her, I’ve always wondered – how do you know which salons to try? How can you be sure that it’s good enough to have a long term relationship with them? The answer was quite simple actually – try it out first. But where do I start from?

I think it’s a tough job to keep up on the brand and deals that are popping out left, right centre and in midst of swimming among vast amounts of information and advertistments, we’ve come to forget that there’s a site that brings you all the good deals – Groupon!

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Groupon, if you don’t already know, is a deal site – It started off in Singapore as Beeconomic (if any one remembers – that is how long I’ve been using Groupon!) and was later bought over and rebranded as the globally known Groupon – and by leveraging on their global connections and trusted brand name, they’ve been able to work with a good number of brands to give us undeniably good deals!

I can remember the times Veronica (my web dev co partner) and I would spend camping over good deals and sharing with each other on what to buy, what to try out and if this deal was good or not. Those were the days… and gasp, Groupon has been in Singapore for this long!

It has slowly evolved into a deal site with more than just restaurant offers – you can now purchase great deals on vacations, and even find things you may like from their carefully curated selection of Groupon Goods! In fact, I love that it’s international – whenever I travel, I would visit that country/county’s deals to check out what offers I can find, especially when I was in San Francisco!

Back to my facial experience – this is a sponsored post / review, but it was one that I accepted really quickly because of the famous brand name that is Aster Spring.

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AsterSpring was previously known as Leonard Drake, and this is not the first time I’m raving about this chain of salons which uses Dermalogica products. I have a thing for Dermalogica products – they’re quite effective on my skin and I don’t get my Dermalogica anywhere else than from authorized outlets because:

“Dermalogica products are designed to be most efficacious when prescribed by a Dermalogica professional skin therapist extensively trained in Face Mapping® skin analysis. Face Mapping® analysis is the process of analyzing your skin, zone-by-zone, to diagnose your skin condition and prescribe subsequent products for results.”

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Dermalogica products are formulated to be free of common irritants and ingredients that could cause breakouts (including lanolin, SD alcohol, mineral oil, artificial colors and fragrances) and using them would improve skin health in the long run. And that is why I’m sure that visitng Aster Spring would calm my skin and not cause me to break out any further. (I’ll talk more about the treatment I did further down in the blog post!)

When you first arrive at the salon, you are asked to fill in a form to detail your needs, skincare concerns etc – I had to fill in again because by now, my skin concerns are extremely different from what it was 6 months ago.

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Other than filling in a form to understand your initial skin concerns (the therapist will ask you questions as well) they will perform face mapping to  further assess your skin’s troubles and needs.

I am unable to take pictures of the process, but this includes popping your head into a machine where it shows oily areas / pigmentation / skin issues otherwise not discernible by the naked eye.

I have oily, clogged skin, pigmentation from my acne breakouts around my chin area (hormonal… sigh) and my therapist Mei Ling, an extremely experienced lady who’s also head of salon(!) encouraged me to drink more water and also told me that my primary concerns are hormonal imbalances (problems with the female reproductive organs) and that I should take care of my digestive health. :’ (

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The AsterSpring branch in JEM is relatively new – I was actually surprised to learn from Mei Ling that the therapists at JEM are mostly from the (previous, now closed) West Coast Plaza branch! Actually this works out to be really convenient for me – other than Clementi Mall, the other mall in the west I’d visit most often would be JEM / Westgate so this is really awesome! It’s just 10 minutes away ; D

The store is furnished like all other branches – very clean, minimalist and extremely comfortable. They actually use a real mattress, as opposed to those massage beds you’ll usually get. Mei Ling made sure I was comfortable and that I didn’t feel cold before commencing the treatment with aromatherapy, which is always soothing. I love it that part!

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The treatment Mei Ling suggested for me was the Ultra Sensitive Skin Treatment, which is best for sensitive skin – if you notice from the image above, I tend to be a little red at the nose area and also you can see from here that I have pretty uneven skin from all my pimples and acne scarring at the china area (photoshopped the zits out because I didn’t want to disgust you, but it’s still super uneven *sigh*)

After the aromatherapy start, she proceeded with these steps:

  • Double Cleanse
  • Exfoliation
  • Extraction
  • Lymphatic Drainage / Relaxing Facial Massage
  • Double Layer of Masque
  • Hydration Boosters

One thing to note would be that she did an excellent job at extraction – my skin was extremely smooth after, and I felt no bumps on my nose at all! And despite both the exfoliation and extraction process, I didn’t have any redness on my skin after the facial – she made sure to help me sterilize my face by using an ultrasound machine to clear of all bacteria which may cause further acne.  (In fact, this step is done whenever you need to go to the toilet / back, which was what I experienced at other salons ;) )

The massage / lymphatic drainage was pleasant and good – in fact, Tricia told me today that my face looked smaller! *oh joy* She accused me of doing botox in Korea, but the only thing I did to my face was this facial, hahaha. It’s worthy to note that Mei Ling had warm, soft hands – this was something I looked out for in therapists, be it for massages or for facials. I loved how her warmth made me feel relaxed and protected.

I was in a rush, but she made sure that I didn’t miss my double layer of masque – this is the step I look forward to most during all my Aster Spring facials, other than the massage portion! Their oatmeal mask is extremely soothing and calms my skin down.

The entire facial treatment was as it was described, ultra calming! I would definitely urge you to try out Aster Spring if you haven’t already – if you stay in the west, please do look for Mei Ling, the Head of Salon at AsterSpring JEM #03-13! 

I really like her (and her hands. Hands are very important!) and all the advice she’s dispensed to me. We also had a great time chatting during the facial and it was like… talking to my mum hahaha. She’s really motherly, gentle and when she told me to drink up the cup of red date tea before I left I even said “Yes mother”. Hahaha! I think I’ve found the one therapist for me – especially since Florence at Aster Spring NEX is too far away for me!

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Thank you Mei Ling, Aster Spring and Groupon for the facial treatment. It was much needed after my overseas trip to Korea and burdening my skin with climate changes and going through flights. I even washed my face with bottled water during my trip!

{ The above is a sponsored advertorial, but all opinions are my own and unbiased. }

My Facial Experience with Bella Skin Care

By | beauty, Facials & Treatments | 12 Comments

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Have you heard of Bella Skin Care? To be honest, I only knew about Bella Skin Care a few years ago when I was doing some online ad banners for them (not directly, though) so this time round when I was invited to receive a facial from them, I was surprised to learn that they have been established since 1982! Wah… that’s older than I am! That means you can be sure that they won’t be closing down any time soon (choy!) as they’re pretty established!

Bella Skin Care has over 2 decades of experience in providing professional skin care solutions, and they have over 30 branches alltogether in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Brunei!

In Singapore, Bella Skin Care has outlets in 5 convenient locations all over Singapore – Orchard, Marina Square, Jurong Point, Tampines, and NEX Mall. I was invited to the branch in Orchard, located in International Building (just next to Isetan Scotts!).

Rows of their products on display!

Rows of their products on display!

Cosy corner with a super comfortable sofa while you're waiting, with plentiful of magazines. And may I add, a wonderful aromatic scent lingers around the waiting area, relaxing you before your session begins!

Cosy corner with a super comfortable sofa while you’re waiting, with plentiful of magazines. And may I add, a wonderful aromatic scent lingers around the waiting area, relaxing you before your session begins!

I was greeted by their friendly staff, and Ginny, who was a consultant, had me blown over. Her skin was so incredibly smooth and flawless that it was unbelievable. I wanted to tell her “TAKE ALL MY MONEY!” – but we had to get my skin checked out before she could let me know what I could do to improve my skin condition.

Don’t say I never warn you first. Image below is EXTREMELY DISTURBING.

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yes keep scrolling if you are ready to be disturbed.
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*deng deng deng*

An extremely disturbing image of the clogged pores on my nose. YIKES.  If this isn't disturbing, I don't know what will be. I was so distraught by that image - I wanted to get all that junk out immediately!

An extremely disturbing image of the clogged pores on my nose. YIKES.
If this isn’t disturbing, I don’t know what will be. I was so distraught by that image – I wanted to get all that junk out immediately!

After the review, Ginny told me that my complexion was alright – just some clogged pores, plus uneven and dull skin tone, especially around the lower half of the face. I was told that the treatment most suitable for me was their Pure Blossom Plus Treatment, which will provide my face with intense hydration and also help to brighten up the areas which were dark (the area around my mouth, below my nose & chin area).

The treatment rooms were cozy and comfy, and there was a locker for you to place all your stuff while you’re relaxing away (possibly into dreamland!)

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Handed a robe to change, the usual, and then got ready for my facial! Before we started, I told the therapist not to bun up my hair too tightly – I needed to attend an event after that and didn’t want crazy hair! She very nicely acceded to my request and I walked out of the facial with my hair still nice! ; )

Bella Skin Care – Pure Blossom Plus Treatment

More information about the treatment

Benefits of the Pure Blossom Plus Treatment

  • Brightens skin color due to increased cellular energy
  • Rejuvenates & improves skin clarity
  • Prevents Premature skin aging
  • Improves & maintains skin elasticity & firmness
  • Oxygenates & revitalizes the skin
  • Calming effect for blotchy or sunburnt skin
  • Improves hydration – softens lines & wrinkles
  • Fresh & relaxing floral aromatic treatment relaxes you

I was first welcomed with a light facial massage – which the therapist told me was their “welcome” massage – with some aromatherapy oil to relax me.

After that was over, she cleansed my face with a gentle make up remover + a gentle exfoliating scrub to remove dead skin cells. Scrub smells a little like oatmeal, and was gentle enough for me.

Next came extraction. I usually dread this, because I have a low tolerance of pain, but the therapist was very gentle with me, and guess what I was happiest with? SHE GOT MY STUBBORN MILIA SEEDS OUT!!! Milia seeds are oil clogs on your face, and there usually isn’t a way to get rid of them – you can squeeze a pimple, but you can never extract milia seeds on your own because they are usually around the delicate eye area.

I was SOOOOOOOO glad to have them remove! I know some facial places don’t do milia seed removals – weird as it sounds, I’ve come across those and the milia seeds have been on my face since 2 years ago. Super happy when I put on make up now because I don’t see them anymore!

After the milia seed removal, I was given a rose infusion with pulverizer – basically it is a face mist, which smells really good and is supposed to moisturize your skin!

That was followed by by the Pure Blossom Serum, which contains CoEnzyme Q10 as a key ingredient – it is a chemical compound which helps with metabolism. A co-enzyme can bond with different enzymes to help them do their job, and one Co-Enzyme Q10 is one of them. It plays a significant role in increasing the energy production in cells, boosting skin repair and regeneration, and is an excellent anti-oxidant!

Some where in-between, I was treated to a paraffin hand wax! I was surprised by this and the therapist informed me that this is usually included for every facial – and I was only happy to receive it, because my hands gets cold easily and the warmth was more than welcomed!

Hand wax!

Hand wax! This also stops me from fiddling with my phone, much as I wanted to. It kind of forced me to relax, haha.

One of the last two steps was the mask. Ahhh, the mask. This is when you would usually fall asleep with your mouth agape till you realize you’re in a facial. Hehe.

The Pure Blossom Mask contains Vitamin C & Glycolic Acid – Vitamin C has been long considered one of the most important anti-oxidants for the skin, renowned for its ability to prevent UV damage. The stable Vitamin C formulation not only helps to tighten and detoxify the skin, it also improves elasticity and has the ability to heal the skin, leaving you with a youthful and radiant complexion. With Glycolic Acid, the combo helps protect against UVA/UVB rays, preventing premature aging and also stimulating collagen production below the skin surface. Glycolic Acid also works to slough off the rough outer skin layer, giving you a brighter complexion after the dead skin cells have been removed!

The final step? Was the removal of the hand wax… and also a “goodbye” massage! You get a hand massage, followed by some kneading and thumping on your back which was much appreciated – it woke me up and I felt more awake – just nice for my event later!

Before & After Bella Skin Treatment - you can see that my face is less dull, the red spots are less angry and of course you can't see it but my milia seeds are gone! *happy dance*

Before & After Bella Skin Care’s Treatment – you can see that my face is less dull, the red spots are less angry and of course you can’t see it but my milia seeds are gone! *happy dance*

Thank you so much, Bella Skin Care!

Promotional offer for readers!

Bella Skin Care has kindly offered all readers a promotional price to try out the same treatment I’ve done! The promotion runs from now till end June, and if you use this voucher, you only pay S$98 for the facial instead of the U.P. of S$168! That’s a whooping $70 SGD saved. I could buy like 16 packets of Jellybeans with that. Or 18 Laduree Macarons. Ahem.

Print out this voucher to redeem your facial treatment at a promotional price of $98!

Print out this voucher to redeem your facial treatment at a promotional price of $98!

Have dull, clogged skin? Go for a facial! This month, why don’t you give Bella Skin Care a try? ; )

Bella Skin Care Outlets

Singapore’s 5 Outlets

For appointments, call 1800-777-222!

Orchard

360 Orchard Road, #08-06 International Building Singapore 238869

Marina Square

6 Raffles Boulevard, #03-153 Marina Square Singapore 039594

Jurong Point

1 Jurong West Central 2, B1-60/61 Jurong Point Singapore 648886

Tampines

300 Tampines Avenue 5, #01-04 NTUC Income Tampines Junction Singapore 529653

NEX Mall

23 Serangoon Central, #B1-52 Nex Mall Singapore 556083

You can view a detailed list of the outlets’ opening hours on Bella Skin Care’s website here! Also, visit them on their Facebook Page to get updates about their promotional offers and more!

What people say about Bella Skin Care…

In case you’re doubtful of my words as this is an advertorial – I asked around before agreeing to this post, and I realized that two of my closer friends actually have packages with Bella Skin Care!

Here are some questions I’ve asked and read their answers to find out more about Bella Skin Care!

1. How did you find out about Bella Skin Solutions, and what made you try it?

Estrella: I tried Bella Skin Care when there was a credit card offer, back in 2007 or 2008. Fann Wong was endorsing them then!
Magdalyn: Through their ad campaign with Fann Wong some time ago.

2. Which outlet do you go to, and which therapist do you recommend? Did you try a few different therapists before settling for the therapist you’re using now?

Estrella: Yes I tried a different therapist each time before picking a favorite therapist previously. She has since left Bella Skin Care, and I’m still in the midst of finding another therapist I like!
Magdalyn: I go to the one at International Building. Yes, do keep an open mind and try out different therapists until you find someone you like.

3. How long have you been going to Bella Skin Care Solutions, and what are the marked changes you’ve seen in your skin?

Estrella: I’ve been going to them for more than six years!
Magdalyn: About 2.5 years. Skin is less oily, less prone to breakouts. Pores are slightly smaller too.

4. What treatments do you usually do, and how do you find it?

Estrella: I go for their basic facial package. It’s very nice because it also includes a paraffin hand treatment and head and shoulder massage.
Magdalyn: I’m on my third package with Bella, and I go for their Hydrating facial and CVT light treatments.

5. Is it easy to get an appointment, and what do you think of their prices?

Estrella: It’s very easy to get an appointment. I can just book my next appointment after every session. I think the prices are reasonable for a working adult.
Magdalyn: My therapist is very popular, but it’s relatively easy if I’m not picky. Usually make appointments one month apart so I can still generally get the slot I want.

Franc Franc is ♥

By | Facials & Treatments, Home / Lifestyle, Shopping | 4 Comments

Was passing by Vivo after a shoot, so I dropped by FrancFranc and picked up some stuff for the home!

FrancFranc (フランフラン) is a new home furnishing store in Singapore which has opened two branches (one in VivoCity, and one in JCube) within the recent months, and hails from Japan. They carry “casual stylish” items (as described on their website) and I find them pretty quirky, but less quirky than Molecule – more of inbetween Molecule and Muji. The store in VivoCity is right where PageOne used to be, and as much as I loved PageOne, I think having FrancFranc makes me spend more money!

What I really like about them was that they carry a huge range of fragrances for the home and their collections seem to be expanding every time I’m there!

This time round I finally picked up something nice (thanks to Pishako who wrote about it!) for my home and it really pleases me because the scent is the closest to how Ion Orchard smells like! For the uninitiated, Ion Orchard actually has their own customized signature scent (by ScentAir Singapore) which you can smell the instant you step into Ion Orchard. I’m really attracted to Ion Orchard’s scent and actually look forward to visiting the place – it calms me down and makes me feel like the day isn’t as hectic and I love it (that’s also besides the fact that they always have very clean toilets haha)! Unfortunately as it is a customized scent, you can’t get it anywhere else. The scent is said to contain “an exotic smorgasbord of bergamot, white tea, mandarin, ginger, nutmeg, peony, mimosa, wild lavender, cashmere and more”.

▲ This home-fragrance from Modern Notes actually contains Ginger, White Tea & Jasmine, which explains why the scent reminds me so much of Ion Orchard! This bottle contains 295ml and costs SGD $43 – the reed diffusers are sold separately and costs $5 for a pack of 7. Made in USA.

▲ The other scent I got, appears to be FrancFranc’s inhouse range of scents and it’s called “Something” – and I got the “Clear” scent (Something to make you Clear, geddit?). It comes in Clear, Calm, Happy, Energy, and costs SGD $13 (800 yen as stated on the website – a pretty good deal!). It is made in China.

▲ The stainless steel & plastic cutlery set was on sale at only $10.90 – what a steal! I grabbed a set in cheerful red gingham prints to replace the older ones at home.

Last but not least, an accessory stand!

I have so many necklaces which gives me a storage problem – I can’t throw them all in a drawer cos they’re long and get all tangled up – I didn’t really fancy the butterfly on top, but as it turns out the holes in the wings were pretty useful for dangling earrings.

It has a dish at the bottom to catch your necklaces if they’re too long – or just to put rings and such! One side of it is actually swing-able, I’m glad I got this! It costs around SGD $29 which I find to be reasonable as it’s not plastic and is rather sturdy.

Other than beanbags, chairs, and candles & scents, FrancFranc also has a really good selection of exquisite Japanese wooden bowls/cutlery, sofa/cushions, and also very well made tables (solid!). I love their stationery area as well, with fake book ends (it has a hole to keep stuff inside! 私房钱 maybe? hehe) all the way to a huge model of the eiffel tower, which costs $199 IIRC. It’s soooo beautiful – and so very Magdalyn too!

Seems like FrancFranc on Facebook has just announced a 10% off code, plus news that they’re gonna have clearance sale on the 3rd of August! (so fast?)

Read MsGlitzy and Fash-Eccentric posts on FrancFranc!

It’s hard to keep myself from going “buy! buy buy!!!” in the store. My husband had to drag me out the past few times.

FrancFranc… 大好き~!

Browhaus Lash Curl

By | beauty, Facials & Treatments, Spas | No Comments

Was invited by Browhaus (thanks Steph!) to try out their Lash Curl treatment which is… well curling your lashes, semi-permanently. Browhaus has a patented curling technology which gives you natural/barbie-like curls! It should last around 1-2 months, and you can only curl it once every 3 months?

There’s no heat involved, what happens is the therapist will match the length of your lashes to the curling “rod” (actually just a rubber strip) which comes in various sizes for different lash length. She will separate the lower lashes from the upper with some tape first, and then stick your lashes to the rod with some glue (the rods are the “curling tongs” for your lashes!).

The therapist will then apply the lotion to curl the lashes, and after all that’s done, she covered my eyes up for a while to let the perm set in. While applying the lotion and sticking my lashes to the rod, it was a bit itchy and I have to admit that there was some slight irritation, but nothing intolerable.

27 long minutes later (usually it takes about 20 mins to curl – but she added more minutes for me as I have coarse lashes which she predicted to be stubborn), she removed it and applied the neutralizer (basically another lotion to stop the curling and set it), and then covered my eyes up again for a short while. I nearly fell asleep with my mouth gaping. Tak glam. Had to distract myself and keep myself awake!

After that was done, she removed the glue and lotions gently and removed the “rods”… whew relief!

GOOD RIGHT?!?!!?

I wouldn’t say it’s a tradeoff for eyelash curlers, but this is really convenient – I no longer look sleepy cos of my eyelashes and I don’t have to lug my eyelash curler around anymore! It’s been 1 whole month, and my lashes are still wonderfully curled.

My therapist’s name is Cindy : ) She’s very nice, gentle and informative. Do ask for her if you want to do the same treatment at Beauty Emporium! The Lash Curl service costs $70 : )

Some questions I thought of while I was doing nothing for 27 minutes while waiting for my perm to take effect.

Q: Can I wear contact lenses during the treatment?
Perfectly okay to, but in case you feel uncomfortable (my contact lenses once dropped out during a facial treatment before -_-“) you can actually request for a contact lens case and solution to temporarily store your lenses in till your treatment is over.

Q: Can I wear make up?
Try not to put on any make up around your eye area – it’ll all get wiped off when you’re starting the treatment anyway!

Q: My lashes are thick/stubborn – will this last?
My lashes are a little stubborn and coarse so it may last a little shorter (as advised by the therapist). Nonetheless, at least I don’t need to keep curling my lashes for quite some time! : p – Update: It’s been 3 weeks and my lashes are still wonderfully curled! :)

Q: What if I need more volume on my lashes first?
Try out Browhaus’ Lash in Bloom (lash extensions)! Both single / cluster lashes are available $120/$70.

Immediately after treatment I can only wash my face with cold water.

I requested to get my treatment done at Beauty Emporium – this place is in 8d Dempsey Road, and it’s just above House @ Barracks.


image courtesy of spa esprit)

I absolutely love this place!I first came here because my usual eyebrow tweezing therapist was transferred here and the place is just so soothing and relaxing. Lush greenery just behind it, nice, clean toilets, tables for you to sit around and do work with your laptop as you wait for your next treatment, no drinks and food upstairs unfortunately, but there’s food downstairs! And best of all…? FREE PARKING. *coughs* I could hear the birds chirping as I did my treatment (also coupled with kids yelling from next door occasionally but that’s just a while lah so it’s fine)! I’ve been told that some people also organize hen nights there!

In case there are people unfamilar with Beauty Emporium, it is another ground breaking lifestyle concept store from the Spa Esprit Group. It’s a one stop shop for all things beauty related. The grocer-inspired Beauty Emporium at House sets a brand new trend by focusing on expert services from their established brands, while introducing new retail concepts.

Brands Available at Beauty Emporium: Strip, Browhaus, spa esprit, Malin+Goetz, Aesop, Aunt Ilsci, SCO, LCDP, Ren, Books Actually. And they also sell custom scent blended stuff like moisturizers, scrubs (I would have spent an hr there choosing the scent if not for that fact that I have to get home to get some work done) and also the essential oils themselves.

I got myself Peppermint ($7) and Eucalyptus ($10)! Can’t work without them.

Found some interesting blogs, on Chantana’s & felicianeo.com and Read more about what Spa Esprit offers for their custom scent blending services.

I also love, love love all the branding and collateral all the brands under SpaEsprit have. They actually have their own in house designer (!!!) and their branding is so unique! Super nice labels, super cute displays and the whole area is just so pleasing.

The Books Actually corner is super awesome too. Just look at the cut out cardboard shelf!

Even the toilets weren’t spared the fine details…

Join Browhaus on FaceBook, or visit their website to take a look at the huge array of services they offer :)

Classic threading for the eyebrows costs $15 and if you do wish to try threading there, do look for my therapist Mabel! Browhaus has outlets in over 11 locations island-wide, do make an appointment before heading down!

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