St. Ives’ facial scrubs need no introduction, do they?
Over 60 years this brand has brought us some of the best and most popular skincare scrubs on the market.
Their iconic Apricot Scrub was a staple in everyone’s skincare routine and a permanent fixture in my in my teen years – talk about nostalgia! When they wrote to me asking if I’d like to check out their cool, new look to their scrubs, I immediately said yes!
The 6 available scrubs – more on that below – come in a cool new look, but pack the same punch that St. Ives’ scrubs are known for. They also feature 100% natural exfoliants, with the new ingredient walnut shell, which is a very gentle but effective exfoliant for the skin – it is finely milled into a powder to be added to all their scrubs.
I’ve been testing them like a mad scientist the last few weeks, and here are some thoughts…
Fresh Skin Apricot and Acne Control Apricot Scrub. First, we start with their best-seller, the most iconic, the Fresh Skin apricot scrub! Winner of, well, pretty much every beauty award at some point (and current campion of an Allure Reader’s Choice Beauty Award), the scent is still as I remember, and the scrub just as well. What’s there to say? This bestseller is one for a reason – your skin gets a deep cleansing and is left feeling smooth, fresh and beautiful.
The Acne Control Apricot Scrub is the same classic scrub but with added ingredient salicylic acid which is a powerhouse for acne and proven to clear out pores and prevent blackheads and blemishes from coming back. A great idea, and I think this will be really well received with Singaporeans!
Speaking of blackheads, if that’s something you suffer with, there’s also the Blackhead Cleaning Green Tea Scrub which is exciting! I don’t think I’ve seen this one before.
The green tea smoothes the skin while again, salicylic acid clears out your pores and cleans out any blackheads and gunk from the skin. The scrub also promises to calm dow any redness or irritation to your skin, which I believe we can thank green tea for! It’s known to calm down skin and make it feel much better.
Gentle Smoothing Oatmeal Scrub and Mask. Oh, now this one is my favorite! Doubling up as a mask, this scrub is so gentle and soothing on my skin, I always leave in on for just a little bit. It’s best for sensitive skin and is super gentle, but still does enough exfoliation to reveal brighter, smoother skin. I loved the formula itself, as it was so calm and soothing.
Energizing Coconut & Coffee Scrub. Fun fact: I’ve never tried coffee in my life! OK, I didn’t until 2016 when my husband said I should try at least one sip. I did, and I did not like it one bit! So I am not a coffee person at all.
In the beauty world though, I love coffee. I cannot deny its scent is so uplifting, and the ingredient itself has many benefits to the skin – I’m sure you’ve seen those caffeine under eye creams, or coffee based firming body lotions.
This scrub however is meant to be your morning cup of coffee – but for the skin! It cleanses the skin thoroughly while filling your shower with the most uplifting scent of coffee and coconut; two warm, comforting uplifting scent. Took me back to a beach holiday for some reason, and I love that. Perfect to start the day, and this one especially is getting really good reviews online.
Radiant Skin Pink Lemon & Mandarin Orange Scrub. This too, reminds me of the Coffee scrub – it’s perfect for a pick me up in the morning or a refresh several times a week in the shower. This uplifting citrus scent promises to be a “moderate” exfoliant – not for the most sensitive skins, but not for those who need deep cleansing. It’s an in-between that is perfect to start with if you’re unsure which scrub to try, as it polishes away rough skin to reveal a more even skin tone. It’s super refreshing, too.
Available at the most convenient of places in Singapore: Watsons, Guardian, and supermarkets like Cold Storage, Fair Price and Giant – take a look and I’m sure you’ll find a scrub you’ll love from the range!
Maven is one of those hidden beauty gems in Singapore – you may remember that I’ve been a fan since they launched one of my favorite perfume brands here in Singapore, and I’ve been keeping up with them since!
Housing tons of indie and cult beauty brands, a new one that has been on my radar is Thann Skincare.
Especially their new Sun Smart range, ’cause I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Singapore has been SCORCHING this week.
(For overseas readers, we’re taking 34.5 degree celsius days. I almost cannot handle it – I’m either hiding in the car, bedroom, or a mall to escape to the aircon!)
THANN, a new name to the Singapore market, is a luxury skincare and aromatherapy brand certified by international skin institutes, mostly known in spas due to their use of the finest botanicals and dermatological science.
The Sun Smart range from THANN includes a handy sunscreen – amply named Oil-Free Facial Sunscreen SPF30 PA +++ – Tahitian Lagoon and Alps Mineral Water Face Mist, a facial mist, and Shiso Revitalizing Face Mask; three simple products that pack a punch in protecting and repairing skin on these extra hot days.
Here are my initial thoughts…
1. Oil-Free Facial Sunscreen SPF30 PA +++
This is THANN’s best-selling product – sales are so good, they are regularly out of stock worldwide, so if you’re interested, grab a tube or two!
Boasting natural ingredients such as organic camellia oil, nano shiso and bamboo extract, it aims to not only protect from UVA/UVB rays, but smooth out the appearance of fine lines, enhance skin luminosity and vitality. (And I’m sure the PA+++ rating is making sunscreen lovers drool already!)
I’d say it hit the mark – the effect on the skin is gorgeous. It gives the skin a “blurred” effect and does look more plumped up and brighter, too. It’s an oil-free formula, which I know Singaporeans will love, but still, keep in mind that it does still have that sunscreen ‘look’. What I do is to allow some time for it to sink into the skin, and don’t go too overboard with it – a little goes a long way with application.
After that, whether you leave your skin bare afterward (I do), or add makeup on top (I did several times to test the product), it blends into skin very nicely and is almost undetectable, especially under makeup. I can see why this is a best-seller – I feel it’s not only a sunscreen but has the effect of a great makeup/skin primer to it as well.
2. Tahitian Lagoon and Alps Mineral Water Face Mist
Confession: I had never been one to use a face mist, until now.
How did I ever live without a face mist before in Singapore?!
But this one has been in my handbag the past week and I have been misting my face, chest and even my arms when I just need that little bit of cooling down. I must look like a mad woman but I love it!
The Face Mist contains Mount Fiji mineral water, nano shiso, like the sunscreen, and green tea extracts to soothe skin.
And unlike other face mists that may just contain water (and dry out your skin more in the long run), this product boasts a cocktail of anti-oxidants – inside the brand’s signature ingredients, nano shies – to protect your skin cells and revitalize skin, giving it a boost of active ingredients every time you mist. It hasn’t caused any reactions to my sensitive skin and skin feels soft to the touch after.
THANN has a great place in our Asian beauty market, and I believe it will suit Asian skin very well. The sunscreen, again, is a best-seller for a reason and definitely one to try if you’re looking for a new sunscreen.
As I mentioned earlier in the post THANN also has their Shiso Revitalizing Face Mask (which is another of their best seller) to complete their Sun Smart set. It’s said to treat and repair skin after sun exposure, enhancing moisture, elasticity, radiance for a healthy complexion.
I am super excited about that one, and will write about that very soon!
THANN is available at Maven at Takashimaya Department Store Level 3 (The Gift Box) or check out the THANN official website.
Formulated in Singapore with manufacturing in Korea and Switzerland, Klarity is a skincare brand that I am sure you’ve heard about before – I know I have! – but one I haven’t mentioned on the blog as of yet.
I definitely knew of the brand (who can resist their cute diamond icon and shiny packaging?) but I hadn’t taken the plunge into trying out their skincare as of yet.
And as I sit here, post mask treatment of one of their amazing masks, I am wondering why I hadn’t tried them out sooner…
Here’s the thing, I’ve slowly become a mask girl.
Masks are something that I never could find time for, but now, after testing them out, I appreciate it for what they are: a fun, quick and relaxing pamper session, that much needed little bit of “me” time. And of course, the whole point of them: the multiple skincare benefits.
02MUD Duo Cleanse Series ($60)
First up, I tried their 02MUD Duo Cleanse Series, a series of, get this… bubble masks! I had seen bubble masks trending in K beauty but oh gosh, they are SO much fun!
Klarity offers 3 different bubble masks for the different skincare needs in their set: Acacia Duo Cleanse (Acne Care), Cacao Duo Cleanse (Renewal) and Sakura Duo Cleanse (Brightening).
They all performed really well in terms of gentle exfoliating, cleansing and brightening the skin, but my aboslute favorite of the bunch? Definitely Cocoa, because who doesn’t love to spread chocolate on their face? The mask went on smoothly, as did them all, smelt heavenly, and quickly went to work – I’m talking just a few seconds, and the bubbles start emerging.
By 5 minutes (they state to apply for 3-5mins then wash off with warm water) my whole face is bubblified – think a huge Santa Clause bread, expect on my own face. It was so much fun to see!
And while some might write it off as a gimmick or even just a trending product, I was impressed by how much smoother and clear my skin looked after just a few minutes.
It definitely did as promised; clarifying and renewing my skin, and I especially love that it is so gentle for the skin that you could use the mask everyday if you want to.
Klarity Revival Bespoke Mask Kit (S$149)
If you’re looking for a more intense mask for your skin concerns, I also tried out the Revival Bespoke Mask Kit. Talk about an at-home science lab!
As you can tell, these masks come with little test tubes and ampoules for different concerns – Firming, Whitening, Hydrating and Acne Control – and you mix them to your liking and your needs, and then dip the sheet mask (you pre soak it in the mask essence as well, first) and then apply to the skin.
The results are immediate, and I’ve found my new favorite ampoule (remember how I talked about ampoules sometime back?).
My favorite of the bunch is definitely the Hydrating one, but I loved the firming one as well. In fact, I’ve been so impressed by the Hydrating ampoule that I tracked to down to see if Klarity sold it by itself – and they do, as do all their ampoules, and I am so thrilled.
My skin looked plumped, firmed, smoother and brighter after just one application. I also played scientist and mixed the Hydrating one with Firming and Brightening, and got the results as promised.
Whether you’re looking for an intensive mask kit for different skincare needs at different times, or you’re looking for a nice starter to the Klarity brand, the mask kit is a great option! You can even share the kit with friends and have a fun beauty night; as with the 02Mud Duo Cleanse Masks – perfect for those needing something quick that works, not to mention so much fun!
I’ve tried out a lot of their makeup every time I visited Europe, even as a teen, and tried even more of their goods while living there last year.
So far, I can vouch for their great lip products (I am wearing one of their lipsticks right now) and mascara, and today, I can add their foundation to the list too, now!
The latest release from Max Factor in Singapore is their Skin Harmony Foundation – a foundation that promises a lot, by the way.
Said to mimic a “healthy look”, the foundation promises to even out skin tone, provide excellent coverage, 24hour hydration, and all day freshness in Singapore’s unique humidity and air-con “weather”!
What they say:
Filled with skin-loving ingredients, Healthy Skin Harmony Miracle Foundation utilises a
miracle formulation that resists external stressors such as strong sunshine and air-conditioning, that results in skin dehydration and foundation oxidation as the day wears on. Its intelligent formula promises a healthy, radiant finish by balancing moisture and shine, keeping the skin looking fresh all day as if just applied.
I can say that their promises ring true.
First, I like that the foundation has SPF 20 – truly important in Singapore’s weather! So I was already impressed with that before testing it out.
Second thing, and what I noticed right away with application, is that I loved the tone of the foundations – it gives skin a slight warm radiance to it without changing your skin tone or looking fake. Coverage is pretty full coverage, and the formula incredibly smooth and buildable.
The claim of being hydrating while still offering shine control may sound like an oxymoron, but I believe it shows with the foundation’s finish. It is semi matte – and has enough of a matte finish to keep oil at bay, yet also enough dewiness so skin stays hydrated and still looks like real skin. It sits comfortably on for several hours and didn’t feel itchy, dry or tight at all.
In other words, I am impressed! For personal use or even for my makeup clients – this is a very well done product at the affordable price of $27.90. The packaging looks like a professional product, which I appreciate, and is super easy to use and keep in a makeup bag or on your dressing table.
Max Factor Healthy Skin Harmony is available at select Watsons outlets nationwide (try Ngee Ann City, Bugis, Counterpoint, Changi Airport, JEM, Raffles City to name a few).
Fresh’s Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream pretty much writes its own review in its name! Talk about no false marketing or messages with this one.
The slightly browned gel is infused with rosewater to create the most incredible cooling sensation for the under eye area. I can’t even imagine what this would be like if you were to keep it in the fridge!
Formulated without parabens, sulfates and phthalates, the eye cream is also so gentle and safe for the most sensitive of skin. I was a bit hesitant to try it out in the beginning – not only is my skin sensitive, but my eyes are even more! But there was never any reaction from this one, and it’s such a joy to apply.
Other ingredients include rose oil and hyaluronic acid for intense moisture, with golden root extract and bambara groundnut for antioxidant to treat the under eye area.
Now, I’m not even going to pretend I know what the last 2 ingredients are, but I can safely say that this eye cream does its job!
It’s a bit hard to review it in-depth when the eye cream is simply to hydrate, but if you’re on the hunt for a luxurious eye cream that keeps your under eye area moisturized, smooth and supple, this just may be a winner.
It effectively hydrates the under eye area – very much, I should add, and the under eye area continues to feel refreshed and moisturized the rest of the day – but it also slightly brightens and plumps up the under eye area too.
A fairly luxurious buy – Fresh offers amazing products for skin, bath & body at fair prices (compared to others in the department store) and this is $67 for a gorgeous little tub that should last you many months. It has a slight rose scent and the whole ritual of applying it is very pleasant – the product feels so good on, I reckon the experience itself should be part of its selling point! Fresh, clean, beautiful and a true joy – just like a rose.
In my line of work as a makeup artist, you may be surprised to know I never use them – I make makeup last in different ways, and I have felt that it’s really unnecessary.
For personal use, I thought: why add an extra layer to your face? I already don’t like wearing foundation. And boy are they expensive! Aren’t they just full of silicones anyway? Isn’t this just the beauty industry makes us yet another new thing?
Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer changed my mind completely.
I got sent this many months ago and tried it out – on myself and my makeup clients – just because I had heard so many good things about it.
First, here’s what they say:
This silky, weightless and multipurpose primer goes beyond traditional formulations by concealing redness, minimizing the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles, and shielding skin with Broad Spectrum SPF 15 protection. In addition, it repels water to keep your make up looking freshly applied all day long.
Extends the durability of any foundation or powder.
Minimizes the appearance of visible pores, fine lines and imperfections.
Conceals redness (even rosacea) to create an even skin tone.
The weightless formula is not greasy, tacky, pearlized and it won’t ball up
The unique texture is fluid, airy, silky and cushiony.
Offers Broad Spectrum SPF 15 with mineral-derived physical sunscreens, Titanium and Zinc Oxide.
Friends, I confess, after trying this out, I had to eat my words and take back whatever I had thought about primers. What a lovely, lovely product this is! It is truly impressive.
This primer is not “silicone-y” at all. Nor is it greasy, tacky, etc. Instead, the Veil Mineral is smooth, and easy to apply, it makes skin feel super soft, smoothens out pores, and makes foundation last longer. I could definitely feel it have some hold and power to the foundation that I had never seen before. Perfect for Singapore’s hot weather, where foundation can run off, or for those who have problems with their foundation holding due to their skin type. (Acne and oily skin types would greatly appreciate this, I think.)
While I might not be a convert in my personal makeup routine – I still don’t like having products on my skin, regardless – I have added it to my professional makeup kit, and would recommend it to anyone who feels they need extra hold on their foundation during the day. Thanks Hourglass – I LOVE being wrong about products!