The thriving cosmeceutical industry has brought a slew of new skincare brands and facial treatments to town. BT Weekend checks some of them out.
INSTITUT ESTHEDERM FACIAL
Ngee Ann City Tower A
Tel: 6732 9555
FRENCH skincare line Institut Esthederm has relaunched its facial treatment, and by providing this service in a full-service spa, treatments have become more holistic and not just focused on the face alone.
A session at True Spa now includes welcome rituals for the back and scalp, for example, before the actual cleansing takes place - with two thorough massages on the face, as well as mini massages on the hands and feet. Where other facial treatments might leave you feeling that your body's missing out, the newly designed Institut Esthederm facial is quite nourishing for the whole body. While the face is immobilised under a mask, for example, one gets the hands and feet massaged, making you feel that you're not just wasting time.
The 30-year-old brand's core philosophy is to teach the skin to get back to its normal condition and help it repair itself - what it calls 'cutaneous ecology', as products are developed with the skin's biology.
Key products used in its facial treatment include its Osmoclean line, which is about balancing the skin while cleansing it; and intensive treatments see application of the hyaluronic acid serum. Another core product in Institut Esthederm's line is cellular water, which is supposed to 'energise' or wake up the skin, preparing the skin to effectively boost the performance of skincare products. This patented water is in all of the products anyway but during the facial, it's also used on the face by way of a hydro energising mist.
Nourished and relaxed are the two words that I'd use to describe the facial, which sees extensive massaging of the face. And with the holistic approach, one doesn't roll out of the salon bed feeling a bit stiff from lying down for one-and-a-half hours.
By Cheah Ui-Hoon
REMEDE ALCHEMY FACIAL
St Regis Hotel
29, Tanglin Road
Tel: 6506 6888
SINCE it officially opened in April, the Remede Spa at the St Regis Hotel has quickly established itself as one of the most luxurious spas in town, with many of its clients addicted to its current bestselling treatment, the Remede Alchemy Facial.
Touted as a facial that focuses on 'repairing damage at the molecular level', the $250 facial sounds positively intriguing, eliciting thoughts of elaborate machinery designed to zap errant molecules back into gear. However, no gadgets are involved; the strength of the facial lies instead in the spa's exclusive products from Laboratoire Remede, a high-performance skincare line formulated by Swiss and French chemists. The brand is known for its premium ingredients and anti-ageing properties, whose success led to the birth of Remede Spas in St Regis hotels in America and, now, Singapore.
For the Alchemy Facial, the products used come from Laboratoire Remede's Alchemy collection of antioxidant-rich skincare packed with the good stuff like grapeseed extract, green tea extracts and Vitamins A, C and E. On top of that, you can also expect customisation in your treatment - from the selection of music from an iPod, to whether you want extraction (and how much) or prefer the therapist to spend more time gently massaging around your eyes to encourage lymphatic drainage.
After a nourishing warm paraffin wrap for your hands and feet - a much more pampering treat than the perfunctory foot soak and scrub in other spas - the 90- minute facial begins.
After cleansing, the skin is prepped for extraction. But instead of steaming (which therapist Carmen says harbours bacteria and dehydrates the skin), a pre-extraction oxygen cream is used to disinfect the skin - killing the bacteria and softening the skin. The same cream is then used after extraction to prevent post facial breakouts.
For the facial's lymphatic drainage massage, a premium night cream fortified with plant extracts is used.
Two facial masks then follow - the first one being a minimising mask to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and the second a rubbery peel-off mask derived from seaweed, Vitamin C and bilberry to further repair damaged skin.
During the treatment, you also enjoy a scalp and hair conditioning treatment, before the whole process ends with a sculpting and lifting gel and a moisturiser.
The verdict? My skin did look brighter and clearer and felt smoother and more supple. More surprisingly, for the first time after a facial, I also had a healthy blush that lasted three whole days.
Femme Findlay, the spa's manager, explained that this is due to the high levels of vitamins and antioxidants used in the treatment, which also stimulates circulation and drains out toxins. 'This brings a lot of oxygen to the skin, and with it, a lot of colour,' she says, adding that continued treatment will yield healthier skin with greater collagen production.
By Corinne Kerk
Tel: 6336 2455 and
Tel: 6732 6448
IF you've had a chemical peel before, you know what it feels like. The therapist paints some innocuous-looking liquid on your face and before you know it, the planet's entire population of red ants has descended upon your face intent on eating every single cell - dead or alive - from every layer of your raw skin.
The therapist then frantically fans your face in an attempt to distract you from the pain even as you attempt to claw at your face from under the tight towel cocoon you are encased in.
Finally, the ordeal is over and you are left to either stay a recluse for the next few days or endure horrified comments from onlookers who wonder if you have either survived a fire and/or are naturally moulting.
In tandem with medical science breakthroughs, the chemical peel - aka the mature woman's only non-invasive hope of achieving younger-looking skin - has come a long way from its slow and painful predecessors. There are those that work very slowly with no ant bite sensations involved, but which require much patience before any change in skin texture is noticed. On the other hand, MD Dermatics has just introduced RevitaPeel, which promises the effects of an old-fashioned peel but without any of the nasty effects.
In just half-an-hour, your skin's dead cells are all sloughed off, leaving your complexion a couple of shades fairer and almost luminous in texture. And the most you feel is a barely discernible prickling sensation on the face which is easily countered by your therapist's vigorous and almost unnecessary fanning.
RevitaPeel makes use of a combination of salicylic acid and mandelic acid. The latter is said to have unique anti-ageing and anti-bacterial properties and is derived from the bitter almond; hence the name 'mandelic' after 'mandel', the German word for 'almond'. Its molecules are larger than that of glycolic acid (which is common in regular peels) and hence better tolerated by the skin. In other words, you get the same peeling effect as glycolic acid, but without the irritation.
It works by breaking up the bond between skin cells, increasing the rate of cellular turnover. That means the old cells fall off, replaced by fresh new ones and, in turn, fresh dewy complexion.
Administered professionally at the Vedure MediBoutiques in Millennia Walk and Wheelock Place, RevitaPeel is a convenient pick-me-up that takes just 30 minutes and you don't even need to change out of your clothes as in a normal facial. After a double cleansing of the face, a layer of alcohol is applied to completely disinfect the face before the mandelic acid is applied. It's left to dry for a while, sunblock is applied and you're done.
It's so safe that there's no need to remove the acid - your skin immediately becomes softer and clearer, while pigmentation spots are slightly lightened. It's perfect before an important dinner date or special function if you don't have time for a proper facial. And at $150, it doesn't burn too big a hole in your pocket. Vedure even offers special package rates for multiple sessions.
Of course, the clincher is that one session isn't enough. The effects do wear off after a few days, so it's recommended that you go through at least six sessions for longer-term results. But since it's so convenient and hassle-free, it's hard not to be tempted to go back for another session.
By Jaime Ee
This article was first published on Aug 2, 2008 in The Business Times Weekend.