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Try Desk: Five Beauty Products From Top to Toe

By Joie Goh

Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Eye Serum, S$348
Su:m37 Water-full Water Gel Cream, S$108
Mamonde Floral Hydro Ampoule Toner, S$30
Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender, S$45
Hera Rouge Holic Exceptional in #333 (unavailable in Singapore until 2018)
Felicia Yap/Gregory Woo

Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Renovating Eye Serum

I haven’t been very diligent about eye care in the recent weeks – and this eye serum is the perfect thing to get me back on the bandwagon. Lightweight and quick-absorbing, it stands alone well enough, and can also be layered under a richer eye cream for those who prefer more emollience. However, it’s packed with potent ingredients so the latter isn’t necessary. Infused with a concentrated red pine extract that’s supposedly extremely effective on the delicate eye area, plumping up fine lines and firming up saggy lids.

I used it on its own and did not suffer any dryness, plus my eye makeup and undereye concealer stayed put without sliding into my creases and lines, which often happens with heavier eye creams. The scent isn’t too bad, either. Sulwhasoo is notorious for their intense ginseng-scented products, but this one had a light, herbal and woody scent that isn’t overpowering and faded quickly.

The star of the product, however, is the 24K gold-plated eye massager. Shaped like a fat, short tadpole (the brand experts insist it’s cloud-shaped, but I’ve never seen a cloud shaped like that), the whole thing is used to massage the eye area: the flat underside to relieve puffiness, the rounded top to loosen tension, the cut tip on the fat side to smooth out wrinkles, and the narrow, pointed end for acupressure massage. The part I like most about it, though, is that it instantly makes my dresser look fancier.

Verdict: It works – get it for both the lovely serum, and the massager.


Su:m37 Water-full Water Gel Cream

I’m really impressed with the recent deluge (pardon the pun) of hydrating moisturisers that feel totally lightweight, disappear into the skin, and yet leave the complexion comfortably soft and velvety for the whole day. This gel-textured cream is one of them – and is actually one of the top-selling moisturisers in China at the moment.

Based on traditional natural fermentation technology, new-to-Singapore K-beauty brand Su:m37 (pronounced soom thirty-seven) is a premium skincare label by LG Household and Healthcare, which handles The Face Shop, Belif and History of Whoo. The Water-full range, which also includes ampoule serums, masks and lotions, contains fermented bamboo sap, Tibetan moss and four types of medicinal fungus, and supposedly strengthens the moisturising proteins found within skin cells for long-lasting hydration, sans greasiness.

Although I’d much prefer pump bottles, I’m quite partial to the jar container of this moisturiser. The lid isn’t screw-on, but pops on and off with just one twist. Plus, the spatula sits on top of the lid via magnet, so it never has to touch unsanitary surfaces, ever.

Verdict: Great for all skin types. My temperamental combination sensitive skin never felt better.


Mamonde Floral Hydro Ampoule Toner

Staying true to the brand’s flower-inspired vision, this hydrating toner is inspired by the narcissus flower’s ability to store water in its bulb throughout the harsh winter, so that it can bloom in spring. Containing narcissus bulb extract as well as an innovative water-cycling technology that encourages the skin to synthesise hyaluronic acid and keep itself moisturised, the entire Floral Hydro line (which includes emulsion, moisturiser and eye cream) promises lasting hydration after a week’s usage.

Because I had other products to try as well, I singled out the toner, mainly because I like the texture. It’s almost a cross between a serum and a lotion (in the Asian skincare sense, which takes the place of toner) – pumped out, it’s a viscous jelly, but when spread across the skin, it turns watery and absorbs right into the skin, leaving no residue but supple-soft skin for hours, even without moisturiser. No need for cotton pads for this one, I simply dispense two pumps onto my palms and pat it into my face, before following up with moisturiser and sunscreen.

Verdict: If you have extremely oily skin, this can suffice as moisturiser – but those with dry skin can also benefit from its lightweight finish, as it doesn’t add any uncomfortable greasiness under a cream.


Laneige Water Sleeping Mask Lavender

I first learned about Laneige’s famed overnight sleeping mask in 2010 (back when it was called the Water Sleeping Pack), but wasn’t very impressed with it back then. It sat on my skin like jam on toast, and when it dried, it left a very tacky, sticky film on my face – which easily transferred onto my pillowcase over the course of the night.

I haven’t tried any of the revamped updates, but when the first scented limited edition launched, I knew I had to give it another go. The lavender fragrance was beautiful. It smelled true to real lavender (none of that synthetic nonsense), and wasn’t overpowering – more like a lingering, dreamlike cloud that occasionally wafts across your nostrils.

However, it’s the texture that really made it for me. Less of a jelly and more like a gel-cream, it glides onto the skin and absorbs with minimal stickiness (there’s still a teeny little bit of residual tackiness, but nothing like the old-school version). When I woke up the next day, most of it was still on my skin, not on my pillow, and after rinsing it off, my skin was clear, bright and bouncy firm.

Verdict: I liked it so much I used it for three days straight – but after the third day I stopped seeing noticeable improvement. Best as a twice-weekly treatment.


Hera Rouge Holic Exceptional in #333
Unavailable in Singapore until 2018

I first experienced Amorepacific’s premium cosmetics label Hera earlier this year when I attended Seoul Fashion Week, of which Hera is the main sponsor. The brand’s gorgeous packaging and alluring, aspirational vision of the Seoulista (a chic, elegant and successful urban woman) impressed me so much I attempted to emulate the look for about two weeks before sliding back to my usual minimalist approach of sunscreen, eyeliner and lip balm.

Best known overseas for its cushion foundations, Hera also boasts another top-selling product: its Rouge Holic Exceptional lipsticks. Although the brand’s chief makeup artist Jason Lee recommends proponents of the Seoulista aesthetic to stick to pink and coral lipsticks, the wannabe French girl in me reached for a classic red, a colour that I’ve always felt was more “me” than pretty, sedate shades.

The lipstick texture, like its name, was exceptional. Gliding on with no effort, it’s intensely moisturising, with a creamy satin finish – not too glossy, but decidedly not matte at all. Honestly, I would prefer a more heavily pigmented lipstick, although that’s not to say that this isn’t pigmented. Despite the screaming red it looks in the tube, on the lips, it’s more understated and tempered, and more “on brand” as an elegant, wearable lipstick (compared to edgier, vampy-er brands that I’m used to).

Verdict: The perfect lipstick for ladylike women. Hera won’t be in Singapore until next year, so look out for it if you’re ever in South Korea, or beg your friends to pick it up for you.