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Try Desk: Five Beauty Products From Top to Toe

By Joie Goh

Chanel Le Lift Skin-Recovery Sleep Mask, S$174
Origins Ginzing SPF 35/PA+++ Hydrating Prettifying Finisher, S$63
First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Triple Protection Skin Tint with Goji Berry SPF 30, price currently unavailable
Schwarzkopf Extra Care Purify & Protect Mask, S$14.90
Sunplay Ultra Shield UV Body Mist SPF 130 PA++++, S$21.90
Tung Pham/ Gregory Woo

Chanel Le Lift Skin-Recovery Sleep Mask

The translucent, pale pink gel may look unassumingly light, but it’s deceptively potent. The key ingredient 3.5-DA, which is found only in Chanel’s Le Lift anti-ageing and firming line, apparently has the ability to inhibit certain microRNA molecules in the skin cells responsible for ageing and reactivate the production of youth proteins to restore skin elasticity. Added silk proteins help to plump up the skin, as well as enhance the mask’s sensorial effect, lending a slight tightening sensation while it sinks into the skin.

Unlike other sleeping masks in the market which tend to sit on the skin and then rub off on the pillowcase, this one absorbs in minutes and leaves the skin feeling silky soft with no stickiness. My face felt well-hydrated even without the usual heaviness one gets with an anti-ageing overnight mask, and stayed hydrated all the way till my alarm clock went off. Everything felt firmer and denser, and those faint creases around my eyes and mouth were almost non-existent – and this was only one night’s use.

Verdict: It works! If you hate sticky overnight masks and/or toss and turn in your sleep, reach for this mask once it’s available from 24 August 2017 at Chanel Fragrance and Beauty Boutiques, and 1 Sept 2017 at counters.


Origins Ginzing SPF 35/PA+++ Hydrating Prettifying Finisher

I have a side hustle as a barre and fitness instructor which involves teaching crack-of-dawn classes, and requires me to be perky as a potato at 7 am. It’s easy to fake early morning cheeriness with a shot of espresso and a caffeine-laced pre-workout formula, but faking an I’m-so-happy-to-be-here glow when I’d rather still be in bed? It’ll require too many steps, which will not only rob me of at least 15 precious minutes of sleep, but also will be sweated off by the time warm-up is over.

As such, my go-to morning skincare involves two steps: splash off my night-time potions with water, and slather on a moisturising sunscreen. Functional, but not pretty – I’m always pale in the morning, plus there’s all those pores and lines all on display.

However, this tinted sunscreen is a game changer. Not only does it give my pallid skin a radiant glow, thanks to sheer pigments that hide minor imperfections, it also contains caffeine and antioxidants to give tired skin a firming boost. Plus, the minty-citrusy scent perks up the senses, so I actually felt awake – I didn’t have to fake it!

Verdict: I’ve been told by my workout clients that my usual morning energy has seemed to surpass manic levels lately – so I suppose this works!


First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Triple Protection Skin Tint with Goji Berry SPF 30
Price currently unavailable

On the other hand, if you’re not looking for a dewy finish but are still feeling pretty lazy, this is the tinted sunscreen for you. Formulated for sensitive skin, with no parabens, alcohol, mineral oils and talc, it gives a surprisingly polished and beautifully matte finish, on par with some liquid foundations.

It also helps that it boasts a blend of superfood ingredients, like goji berry, astaxanthin and vitamin C, which help fight free radicals, while zinc oxide, a physical sunscreen filter, blocks out UV rays without irritating delicate, compromised skin. Just four or five drops are enough to cover the whole face (use moisturiser first) and give light coverage, and the formula is lightweight enough for buildable coverage.

Verdict: Perfect for weekends or lazy people with oily, sensitive skin.


Schwarzkopf Extra Care Purify & Protect Mask

Thanks to my habits, I have combination hair – my scalp gets greasy and irritated without regular shampooing after working out, and my lengths are brittle and damaged because they’ve been bleached to death multiple times. And when you have pitch-black Asian hair lightened to a platinum blonde, regular condition won’t cut any more. It’s time for the big guns: deep repairing protein and moisture masks.

They also cost a pretty penny, so I was all for looking for a more wallet-friendly hair treatment mask. Schwarzkopf’s latest is all up my alley: the silicone-free Extra Care Purify & Protect line is meant for greasy scalps and damaged hair, leaving strands de-tangled and light. Liquid keratin, the protein that hair is made of, supposedly fills in the gaps of porous strands to thicken and strengthen them, while moringa seed extract claims to improve scalp circulation and nutrient absorption. Finally, Puricare technology allegedly forms a seal around each individual strand for anti-dust protection for up to 72 hours

So, does the mask live up to its promise? On my deeply, deeply damaged hair, I’d say that it had the effect a decent conditioner would give healthy hair. It’s not too thick and heavy, nor too light, and my hair felt sleek and smooth, and was easy to comb out even when wet. I can’t say anything about the 72-hour anti-dust: my scalp got greasy by the 48-hour mark and I had to lather up again. Still, I wouldn’t use it as my everyday mask – by the third time I used it, my hair was begging for the expensive, salon-grade stuff. But I wouldn’t mind alternating between the two.

Verdict: Yes, it lives up to its promise, but only for moderately damaged hair, like permed or dyed locks – not bleached.


Sunplay Ultra Shield UV Body Mist SPF 130 PA++++

You know how sometimes, when you eat a certain food and get terrible food poisoning, so you forever associate the food with the pain and will never touch it again? Well, that’s the way it was with Sunplay SPF 130. When I was 17, I went for my first Outward Bound camp (not because I wanted to, but because I was forced to). It was a horrible experience: Mosquitos, wading through mud (and accidentally squashing a baby mudskipper that found its way in my shorts), and sharing a tent with a girl who wouldn’t stop burping in her sleep. Back then, I was going through my teenage goth phase as well, so I was deathly afraid of getting a tan. So, I used Sunplay’s SPF 130 sunblock, the highest in the market. The little red bottle, the sharp smell of zinc oxide, the chalky white formula – even today, seeing it brings me back the worst five days of my young adult life.

Also, I’ve since learned that the higher the SPF doesn’t necessarily mean that its stronger. According to WebMD, SPF 15 blocks about 94% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 and SPF 45 block 97% and 98% respectively. SPF 130, thus, blocks only about 1% more than SPF 45, because no matter how high, no sunscreen offers total protection.

However, for the paranoid, this spray version should work very well. Unlike the chalky liquid version of yore (I’ve yet to try the latest one), the sunscreen is dispensed as a very fine, invisible dry mist, leaving no whitish cast. It also doesn’t leave any greasiness on the skin, which is great for sunny, hot days, because it won’t feel disgustingly heavy even when re-applied on sweaty skin. However, I could still detect a faint hint of that tell-tale zinc oxide smell – not bad enough to give me nightmarish flashbacks to communal showers and obstacle courses, but it’s there.

Verdict: It’s great for what it promises, but I’ll have to form a better emotional association to the product. I’m biased that way.