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Try Desk: Five Beauty Products From Top to Toe

By Joie Goh

Sun Sun Sun Sun Sun
Skin Inc Facial In A Flash Mask Series, S$48 for a set of three.
Make Up For Ever UV Bright Cushion, S$64 for two refills and a compact case.
Miu Miu L’eau Bleue EDP, S$103 for 30ml.
Strivectin NIA Tech Neck Line Smoother, S$69, available at Escentials.
Aesop Aromatique Room Spray in Olous, S$67, available in July 2017.
Tung Pham/Gregory Woo/Carolyn Cheng
 

Skin Inc Facial In A Flash Mask Series
S$48 for a set of three

Singapore’s top beauty export with boutiques in Europe and sold in Sephora across the US is finally joining the sheet mask game. True to its DNA of bespoke, customisable skincare, its latest offering is a series of three types of sheet mask for different concerns: Black Gold for calming and detoxing inflamed skin, Platinum for brightening dull skin, and Rose Gold for anti-ageing and wrinkles.

It doesn’t stop there – each mask is made of two parts, one for the top half of the face and the other for the bottom, and each part is packed separately. That means that you can mix and match the halves (in fact, you’re encouraged to). Marionette lines and forehead zits? Pair the bottom half of Rose Gold with the top half of Black Gold. Pigmentation and dull skin on the cheeks, but congested pores on the chin? Then match the top of Platinum with the bottom of Black Gold.

I have chin acne and fine lines around my eye area, so I used the top half of Rose Gold with the bottom half of Black Gold. The mask sheet itself is made of hydrogel, which, while I love for its intense hydration, often poses a problem with application because it’s so floppy and jelly-like. However, this issue is avoided when the mask is split into smaller, manageable sections. The sheets clung firmly onto my skin instead of sliding down my face as most hydrogel masks tend to, and after 20 minutes, my skin felt softer, hydrated and brighter – but I didn’t see any visible plumping of lines, and my chin pimples stayed stubbornly put.

Verdict: Great as an intensive hydrating treatment, and easy to use.

 

Make Up For Ever UV Bright Cushion
S$64 for two refills and a compact case

I’m pretty late on the cushion game. When they initially came out, launched by South Korean brands, I didn’t like how shiny they made my skin look, even though that was the ideal K-beauty dewy aesthetic. I stuck resolutely to compact powder foundation and tinted moisturisers, until very recently, when brands began to abandon the lacquered glowy look and create cushions that gave more velvety finishes.

This cushion compact has a satin finish, which falls somewhere between matte and all-out gleaming. The first time I tried it, I had hurried slapped it on post-shower at the gym, and it totally hid my blotchy, red skin (I’m not one of the lucky few that experience post-sweat glow – my face is either deathly pallid, or tomato red, no in-between). The second time, I had a nasty breakout on my chin, and that too was easily covered. The coverage game of this cushion is on point.

However, it doesn’t stay on the skin for very long. Any accidental hand-to-face contact would leave finger marks on the finish, and pressing a tissue to the face removes about 60 to 70% of the foundation. This issue can be fixed by setting with a dusting of loose powder – but then, what’s the point of using a cushion, which is supposed to pare down your makeup routine?

Verdict: Great coverage, lovely finish, but average adhesion and requires frequent touch-ups.

 

Miu Miu L’eau Bleue EDP
S$103 for 30ml, S$147 for 50ml and S$176 for 100ml

Miu Miu’s second fragrance launch, following the 2015 debut of Miu Miu Eau de Parfum, is a lighter, fresher cousin. It’s described as having a top note of lily-of-the-valley, middle notes of dew-covered white flowers, jasmine and rose touched with fresh greens, and base notes of white musk and a Givaudan-developed molecule called akigalawood.

I doubt anyone can formulate a scent based on what I had just typed (neither can I), so I shall attempt to describe it. At first whiff, it’s fresh and bright, and quickly dries down to a soft, sweet and powdery fragrance that’s neither cloying or harsh. There’s a mild hint of woodiness in the musky base, but otherwise, it’s a lovely cloud of white florals without the typical headiness of scents based on the note that are marketed to a more mature audience (is it because of the dewdrop note? How does a drop of dew even smell like?).

I don’t like flowery, pretty scents, but this is a flowery, pretty scent that I would actually wear more than once – so that’s saying a lot.

Verdict: I like it. Very much.

 

Strivectin NIA Tech Neck Line Smoother
S$69, available at Escentials

Question: if I consider myself a millennial, would products made for millennials work on me? Strivectin’s NIA line (it literally stands for Not Into Aging) supposedly pre-empts early signs of skin ageing by targeting the lifestyle habits of millennials, which apparently involves wearing lots of makeup and pulling outlandish facial expressions to take selfies, late nights and weekend benders, work drama, and constantly looking down at your phone to squint at the screen.

I’m guilty of the last one: I’m always hunched over my iPhone scrolling through Reddit and stalking good-looking people on Instagram, and it has affected my spine to the point that I require regular physio sessions to loosen up my stiff thoracic vertebrae. But never mind my posture – my neck is already starting to develop horizontal lines where my skin folds over as I look down. The horror!

The Tech Neck Line Smoother is essentially an anti-wrinkle serum, but what’s the fun of using any old serum when you can literally roll this nifty applicator up and down your neck like you’re whitewashing cracks out of a wall? Plus, it has biopolymers that form a lightweight elastic film over the neck to tighten up the lines. I used it for a couple of days, until the novelty wore off, and I went back to my usual habit of applying my extra face serum on my neck.

Verdict: It works for an instant, cosmetic smoothing effect, but only if you can put in the time and effort to roll it up and down (and up and down, and up and down) over your neck twice a day.

 

Aesop Aromatique Room Spray in Olous
S$67, available at Aesop boutiques in July 2017

When it comes to scenting home, sweet home, there are four options: candles, essential oil burners, reed diffusers and room sprays (I know I skipped on incense, because honestly, they do nothing much other than make your home smell like a temple or church, and leave an ashy mess behind). Candles are chic and elegant, but when blown out, emit an unpleasant sooty burnt smell. Reed diffusers don’t have that problem, but they have to be replaced often before they collect too much dust. Essential oil burners face the same candle issue, with the added hassle of having to wash the bowl in between users.

That leaves us with room sprays, which is the least chic but most practical. However, Aesop’s new home fragrance spritzer is anything but not chic. First of all, the amber bottle and classic Aesop label immediately classes up any counter it sits on. Secondly, the blend is complex and layered, with citrus-y notes of grapefruit and bergamot mingling with green and spicy notes of galbanum, cedar and cardamom, ending with a hint of incense (sans mess).

The only downside: the smell doesn’t linger very long, but it works well for me. I spray it in the bedroom an hour before bedtime, which allows me to unwind and relax, and I fall asleep when it fades – too strong a smell keeps me awake.

Verdict: It works as a pre-bed ritual, and you can pick from three scents: citrus-green Olous, smoky-floral Istros and warm-woody Cythera.

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