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Sun, Feb 24, 2013
ST Urban
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Luxurious treats in Singapore
by Gladys Chung

Now that the festive partying and feasting are nearly over, you may want to revive your skin, hair and body with a slew of beauty treatments.

The hair treatments at Auriga Spa and body treatments at Spa Botanica - both in Sentosa - are pampering sessions set in Balinese-style rooms surrounded by greenery.

If you prefer a sanctuary in the middle of the city, try the customised Kerastase hair treatment at the new J'sSalon at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. Spread over 5,500sqft, it offers wide windows that look out to the serene Singapore River.

For your face, many new treatments are now conducted using high-tech machines.

The DermaC HydraFacial treatment at the Dermacare Aesthetic & Laser Clinic, for example, involves a suction tube that exfoliates the skin while purifying and infusing it with serums. The RevLite Laser Treatment stimulates the skin for a glow that lasts for weeks.

Over at Clarins and the St. Gregory spa, traditional massage techniques still prove to be most effective for instant, short-term lifting of the skin.

Here are Urban's picks of the latest crop of treatments.



Level 4 Pan Pacific Orchard Singapore hotel; tel: 6831-6797

What: Elemis Skin Specific Facial, $150 for 75 minutes

Best for: Those who want a relaxing facial that also makes your face look slimmer and leaves it glowing.

The promises: Eastern techniques, inspired by rub-downs such as tuina and shiatsu massages, promote blood circulation while purifying the skin. A skin conditioning plant-based mask energises and nourishes the skin.

The results: This facial comprises regular deep cleansing, exfoliation, extraction and mask application steps. A rejuvenating fruit mask with strawberry and kiwi extracts were used during the facial to brighten my skin.

The massage strokes were firm and comforting. But what impressed me the most was how the therapist paid plenty of attention to small details to make sure I thoroughly enjoyed the session.

For instance, she asked if she could groom my brows because they looked a little unkempt, although I was not expecting it. When I had the mask on, she asked if any part of my body was feeling tired. I mentioned that my legs were feeling tight and she went on to massage them thoroughly for about 15 minutes.

Naturally, I stepped out of the facial looking and feeling good. My skin looked brighter, my jawline seemed slimmer and I had perfectly groomed brows. The effects of the facial lasted for about five days.

The price of this facial is reasonable, especially given the extras that the therapist threw in.


Verdict **** 1/2


05-05 Wheelock Place; tel: 6838-5060

What: Clarins Tri-active Anti-Ageing Lifting Line Smoother Treatment, $195 for 60 minutes

Best for: Skin that is starting to show the signs of ageing.

The promises: With all the everyday urban stresses today, it is no surprise that the skin's ageing process has been accelerated.

The truth is, everyone has ageing skin, but something can be done about it, no matter what one's age may be. Clarins' Tri-Active Anti-Ageing Treatments, which use the brand's Double Serum, offer three solutions, according to the "age" of your skin.

They are Youth Restorative ($195 for 60 minutes) for mature skin; Lifting Line Smoother, for skin that is starting to show signs of ageing; and Radiance Reviver ($175 for 60 minutes) for young, stressed skin.

What sets the Anti-Ageing Treatments apart are the more than 20 applications and movements which the therapist now employs during the 60-minute treatment. Previously, Clarins treatments had only about 10 movements.

This means there is extra attention paid now to the little details that add up to a more efficient treatment - pinching movements, for example, to alleviate double chins; and rolling movements to work on laugh lines.

I tried the Lifting Line Smoother.

The results: The treatment has three steps: preparation and drainage; shaping, using Clarins' Shaping Facial Lift serum; followed by intensive care in the form of a peptide sheet mask.

The sheet mask ensures there is no mess, so the therapist can actually work on kneading your face to enhance absorption of the peptides while it is on. Peptides, which boost collagen synthesis and cell renewal, also sit better in a sheet mask than in a powder or paste mask.

They can cause a mild biting sensation on the skin but this is normal.

My skin immediately felt plumped up, tighter, fresher and, yes, younger after treatment. Lines were minimised and the effects lasted a few days.


Verdict ****


05-05 Ion Orchard, tel: 6634-6328

What: The DermaC HydraFacial, $328 for 60 minutes; and RevLite Laser Treatment, $750 for 60minutes

Best for: Those who want glowing skin pronto.

The promises: The DermaC HydraFacial treatment works on the outer layer of the skin with a small suction tube that exfoliates dead skin cells and impurities while infusing the skin with cleansing, hydrating and moisturising serums at the same time. The formulas contain vitamins A and C as well as salicylic acid, which exfoliates and clarifies skin.

The RevLite Laser Treatment is a mild laser treatment that supposedly stimulates collagen production, evens out skin tone and lightens pigmentation. You can get the laser treatment done immediately after the facial with no down-time.

The effects last up to six weeks. Two to five sessions spread over two to four weeks are recommended for best results.

The results: During the HydraFacial, I felt like my face was being vacuumed and scraped by the suction tip. It was a little uncomfortable and left some red spots on my cheeks, chin and around my lips.

While the facial was performed by a therapist, the laser treatment was conducted by a general practitioner with an interest in aesthetic treatments. The laser treatment felt like pin pricks and ant bites; it was slightly uncomfortable but not unbearable.

After the two treatments, my skin looked visibly brighter and clearer. One reason was that my fine facial hairs were turned white during the laser treatment. The red spots I got from the facial were still slightly visible but they disappeared in a few hours.

The doctor said my skin would glow in the next four hours or so after the treatment, and that my skin would look even better in the next week or two.

He was right. On the evening of the treatment, I noticed that my face was brighter than usual.

One week later, my pores looked even more refined and my jawline looked tighter than right after the treatment.

Two weeks later, my skin still looked bright and I noticed that the lines around my mouth were softened.

As promised, my skin looked good and tight for almost eight weeks.


Verdict **** 1/2



The Sentosa, Beaufort Hotel, 2 Bukit Manis Road, Sentosa; tel: 6371-1288

What: Botanica Thai Energy Massage, $270.70 for 90minutes; additional charge of $47.40 per person for the massage to be done in an outdoor pavilion

Best for: Soothing tired muscles and getting rid of knots in the body.

The promises: A dry massage that offers a combination of Thai and pressure point massage and body stretching.

The results: The massage was done in a small Thai-style pavilion within an enclosed compound so I had plenty of privacy. It is an ideal place for couples to spend some pampering time together.

To get me ready for the massage, the therapist had me inhale the aroma of a few drops of essential oil to relax my body and mind.

She started the session by stretching my arms, legs and back; I felt like I was practising yoga while lying down and without having to exert any energy. In the process, I got to release the stress in parts of my body which I seldom stretch, such as my upper back and trunk.

The therapist then moved on to work hard at removing the knots in my shoulders and the tightness in my back and legs.

At the end of the treatment, I felt refreshed and energised.

I also liked how, before and after the massage, I was given the option to use the facilities at the spa, such as the mud pool, a floating pool with a cascading waterfall and a meditation garden.


Verdict **** 1/2


Hair Atelier by Shunji Matsuo, 04-04 Ion Orchard; tel: 6509-5833

What: Anti-Hair Fall Treatment, from $128 for about 45 minutes, depending on the length of your hair

Best for: Treating hair loss caused by stress and hormone imbalances.

The promises: Less hair loss and a less oily scalp for healthier hair growth. At least two sessions a month, for three to six months, and a home-care regimen are needed for best results.

The results: The Shiseido Professional's The Hair Care Fuente Forte range was used throughout this treatment.

The therapist started by massaging the Scalp Care Sebum Clear Gel into my scalp to remove impurities and excess sebum. The gel gave my scalp a comfortingly warm and tingling sensation.

She then put a steamer over my head to ensure that the gel could penetrate my scalp thoroughly.

After that, I was taken to a no-frills hair washing area that was cordoned off to offer some privacy. She proceeded to double-cleanse my hair and scalp with the Scalp Care Deep Cleanser and Scalp Care Shampoo. This was followed by a coating of scalp conditioner on my scalp and tresses.

The application of each product was followed by a firm massage that promotes blood circulation for healthier hair.

Before my blowdry, the therapist gave my scalp a generous dose of the Adenovital Scalp Essence.

With all that pampering, my scalp felt refreshed and squeaky clean - something that even deep-cleansing shampoos cannot achieve.

I tried only one session of the treatment so I cannot tell if it fixed my hair loss problem - I've been losing hair at my crown due, I suspect, to stress and my bad habit of going to bed late - although my scalp felt less oily for the next three days.


Verdict ****


Level 3 Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel

What: Kerafusion Ritual treatment, $268 for 120 minutes

Best for: A relaxing session where you get to relieve the tension in your shoulders while having an intensive hair treatment.

The promises: The session begins with a diagnosis to determine your hair and scalp needs. Then a customised treatment using Kerastase's Fusio-Dose range treats your primary and secondary hair concerns.

The results: This hair treatment review was done at J's Salon's new 5,500 sq ft space at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel. J's Salon chain is the only Kerastase Hair and Scalp Institute in Singapore, where the staff are trained by the Singapore team from Kerastase, a Parisian haircare brand, on how to assess customers' hair and scalp with a scope machine.

At the beginning of the session, the therapist used the scope machine to check my scalp. I was impressed with her knowledge: She pointed out the sheen on certain areas, which she said indicated I have a slightly oily scalp. The fine red veins also pointed to a sensitive scalp.

Armed with that knowledge, she customised a hair concentrate with two booster serums that would help calm my sensitive scalp while making it less oily.

The cocktail also promised to give my flat hair some volume.

I was then asked to change into a robe and slippers for a more comfortable session; I appreciated that because I was in a tight dress and painful heels.

My treatment was done in a room with a reclining bed that faced the Singapore River.

While my hair and scalp were being steamed so they would be primed to receive the concentrate, I was given an oil massage on my shoulders and arms. The session ended with a quick but perfect blowdry as I was rushing on to my next appointment.

My hair remained bouncy and light for the next three days, and my scalp felt less oily for the next five days.


Verdict *** 1/2


Capella Singapore, 1 The Knolls, Sentosa Island; tel: 6591-5023

What: Hair And Scalp Treatment, $200.10 for 60minutes

Best for: Recharging your mind and pampering your tresses.

The promises: Nourished hair and a calm, stress-free mind.

The results: A warm hair and scalp oil that is infused with organic neem, chamomile and cedarwood was applied to my scalp to balance it. The oil was firmly massaged in; it was the first time I experienced a hair treatment and head massage while lying on a flat bed and it felt good and relaxing.

My hair was then coated with a layer of rose and shea butter conditioner to add shine. After a warm towel was wrapped around my hair, the therapist gave me a relaxing massage on my shoulders, arm and decolletage.

I felt pampered after the session, but thought it would have been better if I was given a blowdry at the end of it. I left the treatment room with my hair dripping wet.

My hair felt smoother for the next two days.

Just like Spa Botanica, Auriga Spa offers its guests free use of its facilities, such as the jacuzzi pool and rain shower.

After the treatment, I got to rest in the relaxation room that offered comfortable reclining beds and complimentary dried fruits and teas.


Verdict **** 1/2

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