Thinking of a new way to jazz up your style while pampering yourself as the year comes to an end? From facial treatments to lash extensions, we review the best glow-up beauty treatments for the festive season
After months of social restrictions thanks to Covid-19, the festive season invites a much-needed optimism to end the year. And with the news of Singapore entering Phase 3 on December 28 and the progress on vaccines, there are definitely many reasons to dress up and celebrate.
Here at Tatler, we're excited to meet up with friends and family but before we do that—we went out to pamper ourselves with some of the best beauty treatments (whether it's a facial or hair treatment) available in Singapore that you can get for a holiday glow-up.
Custom-Blended Age-Freeze Cryosys Treatment at MTM Skincare
Best known for their custom-blended skincare, MTM Skincare’s personalised approach extends to their treatments as well, so you are sure that your skin is getting exactly what it needs. Ahead of the Custom-Blended Age-Freeze Cryosys Treatment, I was given a detailed skin analysis, to detects any existing and/or emerging skin concerns. I’ve always known that I had dry skin, but I didn’t know just how bad it had gotten.
Like most facials, the Custom-Blended Age-Freeze Cryosys Treatment began with a relaxing massage and double cleanse, followed by facial steaming and extraction. As its name implies, the highlight of the treatment includes the use of heat and cryotherapy to achieve anti-ageing benefits.
First, a lymphatic massage at a maximum of 45 degrees Celcius is applied with the Custom-Blended Re-White Essence via an instrument, which stimulates lymphatic and blood circulation and activates skin metabolism. The heat also improves the absorption of the essence, saturating the skin dermis with whitening and hydrating nutrients. Next, cryotherapy at a minimum of -20 degrees Celcius is applied to seal in the nutrients, while helping to cool the skin and relieve redness. This is followed by a pampering facial massage using the Custom-Blended Re-White Cream, to enhance moisture retention, and finally, the Custom-Blended Re-White Mask to deeply moisturise and repair skin for a smooth and luminous complexion.
For more targeted treatment, extracts were custom-blended into the products. Horse chestnut seed extract, for example, was added to help astringe capillary expansion, which showed obviously in my cheek area, while sakura extract helped to improve dullness and combat the effects of environmental pollution. As always, I left MTM Skincare with radiant, glass skin and little to no redness at all. While my clogged pores did return after a few days, the radiance and luminosity lasted more than a week after the facial.
Find out more at MTM Skincare.
Glitter extensions at Glit AF
If you’re thinking of a different hairstyle to celebrate the festive period, without necessarily getting a haircut, perhaps it’s the perfect time to let your tresses shine—and we mean it quite literally. Go for some glitter hair extensions as a subtle way to turn heads; these strands of tinsel are weaved into your hair strands all over your head to create a sparkly effect.
Cleo Kim, the founder of Glit AF, tells me that the glitter strands she uses are all made-in-Japan and suitable for everyone, regardless of hair length. Just like lash extensions, these colourful strands will fall off naturally so there’s no need to cut them off. They come in a range of psychedelic colours, which were all too pretty to choose from, but I settled on black as I wanted the tinsel to match the new ash blonde highlights that I had just added to my hair. Kim was inspired to start her brand while at a party in London last year, and had spotted a fellow party-goer with glitter strands in her hair. Since launching Glit AF, which operates exclusively at Dr Lash salon in Orchard Central, Kim shared that most of her customers had heard of her services through word-of-mouth and the brand slowly gained popularity through social media, too. For a fun glow-up experience, definitely try having some glitter extensions in your hair.
Find out more at Glit AF.
Advanced Fluorescence Technology (AFT) treatment at Strip
Have you settled on your Christmas and New Year’s Eve outfits but need to schedule an appointment to remove some extra fuzz? We know the drill. When it comes to hair removal, what most people want is a painless experience. As technology advances, we’re treated to various methods of hair removal that are efficient with minimal discomfort. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) hair removal has been in the market for years now and has been a reliable method for many. However, homegrown beauty salon Strip (one of the pioneers in Singapore for hair removal) has introduced a brand new treatment, the Advanced Fluorescence Technology (AFT) hair removal.
I was happy to give it a go since I’ve been a longtime customer of Strip and am familiar with their services, so I was interested in trying out this new treatment for myself to see the difference. To put it simply, the experience was completely painless and comfortable. On top of that, the entire session was done in under 15 minutes. The process is similar to that of an IPL treatment, where a cooling gel is applied on the treatment area to minimise any discomfort and to keep the skin soothed at all times. So if you’ve been looking for a painless solution to be completely fuzz-free, the answer’s here.
Find out more at Strip.
Gel manicure and foot spa at Manicurious
Whenever a special occasion arises, I use it as an opportunity to get a fancy manicure with some nail art thrown in the mix as well. The festive season calls for cute Christmas designs on my nails so I headed to Manicurious for a festive gel set. The nail technician was extremely meticulous with the Christmas nail art that she chose for me. After the usual manicure treatment that consisted of trimming my nails and cutting cuticles, I was given a choice of a mixture of colours that would be the base of my manicure. We settled on pastel blue, white and red but I left the designs to the manicurist to decide. And it was the right choice indeed. The intricate details on my nails, featuring a Christmas tree, reindeer, snowflakes and even Santa Claus himself, looked incredibly adorable and even though I witnessed my nail technician drawing these on—I found myself asking her at the end of my treatment whether she had really hand drawn all the designs on her own.
While you’re getting a gel manicure, treat yourself to a luxurious foot spa at the same time. The pampering treatment starts with cleansing your feet and legs and is followed by an all-natural scrub. The best part of the treatment is the regenerating mask where your legs will be covered in cling wrap for about 20 minutes—the feeling is oddly therapeutic. The final step is moisturising the legs with a regenerating cream, an important ritual we should care to include in our skincare regime when we’re at home, too.
Find out more at Manicurious.
OnlySkin Apothecary Glass Skin Facial at Only Aesthetics
It's normal to pamper ourselves once in a while with a relaxing facial but since it's Christmas, perhaps you can up the ante and gift yourself a treat by bringing the salon to your home instead. Homegrown aesthetics brand, Only Group, has launched an aesthetics concierge service for men and women that allows customers to enjoy a plethora of facial and aesthetic treatments in the comfort of their own abodes.
I tried the OnlySkin Apothecary Glass Skin Facial, which promises to give you a clear, luminous complexion instantaneously. The treatment can be done anywhere you desire in your home as long as it is comfortable for you and your aesthetician—so feel free to light some candles and dim the lights to transform your bedroom into a relaxing sanctuary. Just three OnlySkin products were used throughout the session from their H2 Glass Skin series, namely the H2 Glass Skin Essence and H2 Glass Skin Emulsion, as well as the world’s first Hormesis Ion roller, SerumAnge.
My aesthetician had noticed my skin was extremely dry, so much that it had absorbed the products she had applied on my face really fast. Therefore, this facial treatment was highly effective for me and will work for you if you’ve been spending a lot of time at your work station and not paying enough attention to your skin’s needs. The facial managed to hydrate and rejuvenate my skin instantaneously; my skin felt bouncier and much more supple immediately after the session was over. All I need to do now is to remember to nourish my skin by adding more layers of hydrating toners plus an occlusive cream to seal it all in—and to book my next at-home facial session when I feel like giving my skin an extra treat.
Find out more at OnlyAesthetics.
Eyelash extensions at J.Lashes
I’ve been visiting this salon for years and it is my go-to spot when I want to get dramatic lash extensions done. I dare say that J.Lashes is among the few lash salons in Singapore that can help customers achieve that coveted wispy, mascara effect for the eyes. Granted, the sessions here may take longer than usual but that’s only because most of their lash styles require each natural lash to be completely covered, especially for a more elaborate look.
While I usually go for the salon’s Camellia lash extensions (which includes lashes that are staggered in length to give a dense yet natural look), I tried their signature TuTu Volume style this time around. It was initially designed specifically for Asian women in mind, but their techniques have been adjusted and tweaked to suit different types of eye shapes and sizes over the years.
TuTu Volume creates a multi-layered volume effect on the eyes as the technician will apply six lashes onto each natural lash. This unique technique provides an “eyeliner effect” on the eyes to make them look naturally enhanced, and lasts longer than regular lash extensions. As I’m writing this, I’ve had the extensions on for over three weeks and they’re still going strong. Long-lasting extensions are what J.Lashes is known for and that’s a major reason why I’ve been a returning customer for years.
Find out more at J.Lashes.
Miracle Aqua Treatment at Leekaja Beauty Salon
Whether you’re wearing your hair up or styling it down for your holiday festivities, the quality of your hair can make a big difference to your look. For dry or damaged hair, especially, a good treatment can calm your tresses and add a healthy shine to it.The last time I dyed and permed my hair was in February before Singapore was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and entered the circuit breaker. I haven’t done much in terms of hair care or maintenance since, and that has left my hair brittle and frizzy, so I was looking forward to what “miracle” the treatment could perform for me.
Leekaja’s new Miracle Aqua Treatment is a natural, plant-based seven-step protocol that aims to replenish moisture and restore health in damaged hair. The treatment begins with double shampoo to clarify and cleanse the scalp and hair; as my hair is quite fine, a lightweight spray and serum are applied to fill up empty spaces in the hair with protein, as well as to moisturise the hair. A Saran wrap is then placed on the hair, which is steamed to open up the hair cuticles for better penetration before the hair is washed and conditioned. Then, a lightweight watery cream is applied to the hair, penetrating deeper into the cortex of the hair strand to improve hair elasticity. All the goodness is sealed in with a cold iron at subzero temperatures, quickly cooling the hair to prevent the loss of amino acids, moisture and nutrients. Finally, hair oil is applied to protect the surface of the hair.
At the end of the treatment, my hair definitely felt more manageable and less brittle than it was before. It didn’t last very long, however—perhaps it's because my hair is quite damaged, so it gradually became frizzy and rough again after about a week.
Find out more at Leekaja Beauty Salon.
Evolve Body Shaping at Nuffield Aesthetics
It’s the festive season so it’s only normal that you’d want to put your best foot forward in a mini party frock. But if you’re like me, that can be a little daunting even if you’ve been exercising and working on your glutes as much as possible. And just like that, I decided to go for my very first body contouring session at Nuffield Aesthetics. I had no clue what to expect except I was extremely curious about the results. Evolve Body Shaping is a non-invasive body sculpting treatment offered by the homegrown clinic and can be done on different body parts of your choice. Nuffield Aesthetics is also the only clinic in Singapore that carries the Evolve by Inmode technology, which was used for this treatment. The hands-free device can remodel skin and tone muscles simultaneously as aestheticians can also customise its functions to target several specific areas of the body. I chose to try it out on my thighs since I had the intention of wearing shorter dresses to dinner parties this festive season.
You’ll start by getting a full-length photo of yourself taken in all angles by the clinic’s staff for the purpose of comparing how you look before and after a few sessions of the treatment. Thereafter, you’ll be asked to lay down on the treatment bed as the therapists proceed to fix the hands-free applicators that emit electromagnetic energy to stimulate contractions on your chosen spots. The warm sensation that patients will feel, due to the thermal effect of the applicators, wasn’t uncomfortable at all. In fact, I was encouraged to take a nap or use my phone to relax during the 60-minute session. As a first-timer, the session was enjoyable since I didn’t experience discomfort and I was expecting muscle toning and fat reduction in the upper thigh area. However, it will definitely require more than just one session for greater results. In fact, Nuffield Aesthetics medical director and practitioner Dr Sau Po Yi had also reminded me that the treatment isn’t meant to be an easy solution to weight loss and should be done while maintaining a healthy diet as well as a proper exercise regime.
Find out more at Nuffield Aesthetics.
Signia facial at Epion Clinic
Dubbed Epion’s red carpet facial, the Signia facial couldn’t be more apt for a glow-up before your Christmas festivities.
Each facial treatment at Epion begins with a welcome massage and double cleansing, which really helps to get me relaxed and loosened up for the 90-minute treatment. For a more lifted visage, Aurora radio-frequency waves are first administered to lift the contours of my face, and the results were immediate—the treated side of my face was visibly more plump and firm, compared to the other.
The HydraFacial MD uses a patented four-step treatment system to deep cleanse and exfoliate, firm and lift, as well as infuse the skin with hydration. First, nutrient-rich solutions are used to deeply cleanse pores and soften the dead skin cells on the surface. Then, pores are infused with a mix of salicylic and glycolic acids to resurface the skin, followed by a gentle vacuum extraction to dislodge blackheads, whiteheads, and other impurities. I definitely enjoyed this more compared to traditional extraction methods, which can be very uncomfortable. What’s even better is that it produces the same results—I was really impressed by the gunk floating in the solution after the vacuum extraction.
Finally, a cocktail of hyaluronic acid, peptides, and antioxidants are infused into the skin, offering hydration and improving the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Epion’s green facial mask makes the perfect soothing ending to the Signia facial, containing marine algae extract that hydrates and calms the skin.
Because of the vacuum suction from the machine—which felt similar to gua sha—there were about two days of downtime for me, as my face was slightly red. By the third day, however, my pores did feel cleaner and my complexion appeared more radiant.
Find out more at Epion Clinic.