There comes a time in everyone's life when the tired, sallow reflection you see in the mirror does not match how you're feeling on the inside. If you're psyched about the end of the year festivities, but stress, late nights at work and poor eating habits have taken a toll on your complexion, it's time to book yourself in for a good facial treatment. Buro has personally tried and tested five specialist treatments for different concerns, that all pretty much have instantaneous effects. For some of these, you'll see even greater improvements in the one to two weeks following the treatment. Either way, here are the facials that will give your skin the kick into 2017 that it needs... and yes they all deserve their stellar ratings.
IF YOU'VE BEEN OUT IN THE SUN TOO LONG
Porcelain Sun Rescue Facial, $267.50 for 60 minutes
Porcelain Face Spa
Designed to help repair and hydrate the complexion, as well as to perk up tired skin, after cleansing and exfoliation, a cryoprobe that works at -10ºcelsius is used to calm the skin, whilst delivering a concentration of aloe vera deep into the dermis. Don't let the temperature scare you though, as it felt perfectly soothing. And here's also where it got interesting: I held onto a metal rod that conducted positive ions out of my system while the cyroprobe infused my face with negative ions (which are the good ones, FYI), in a process known as electrophoresis. This boosts the cryotherapy, causing the blood vessels beneath the skin to rapidly constrict and dilate which in turn stimulates skin regeneration. In this chilled out state, a hyaluronic serum was then applied, supplemented by a hyperbaric oxygen infusion process to deliver hydration at a cellular level. Feeling much like strong jets of air going over my face, this step also helps regulate the skin's pH level. Finally, a cucumber mask wrapped things up, sealing in the goodness and hydration from earlier and calming any red spots with its anti-inflammatory properties.
Results: From the get-go, I could feel a pleasant cooling sensation post-facial that lasted almost the whole journey back home. A look into the mirror also revealed a plumped-up and fresh face. I sported a revitalised glow and my makeup also applied like a dream. A golden recommendation for the ladies who need some 'me time' and if you've been sloppy with your sun protection.
IF YOU ONLY HAVE 45 MINUTES TO SPARE
Jet Revitalising Facial, $150 for 45 minutes
I've always been a fan of the efficient, machine-driven facials at Jet Concepts. After all with topical products, you can always apply them at home, but it's hard to imitate the effects of a machine or a skilled therapist's hands. This particular facial uses more handwork — in fact it is one of the most handwork-driven facials on Jet Concepts' menu — to revitalise and refresh tired skin. The facial starts with the use of a microcurrent machine as well as a gentle chemical peel to wake up the skin, before delving into the luxurious, accupressure massage using a marine-enriched massage cream. During the extensive and precise massage, the therapist stimulates 15 unique Meridian acupoints to lift the face and freshen the complexion — akin to giving your skin a workout. The entire process was definitely bliss-inducing and relaxing, and the facial ended with a calming cucumber mask to hydrate and re-energise the skin.
Results: All that facial stimulation helped to rev up the production of collagen and elastin, so my skin was definitely lifted and perked up. With less visible dark circles, I looked refreshed as well — an impressive feat considering the brevity of this treatment. Pop in after a holiday or red eye flight, if your skin is feeling particularly tired and lacklustre.
IF YOU WANT AN AMAZING LIFTING EFFECT (AND ARE VEGAN)
Dr Belter Vegan V-Shape Cell Rejuvenation Facial Treatment, $238 for 90 minutes
Annabelle Skin #02-42 The Adelphi, 6336-8975
Don't let the relatively humble surroundings of this salon fool you. Annabelle Skin is one of the best kept secrets when it comes to amazing, personalised facial treatments that combine the best of German technology — this particular facial uses Dr Belter Cosmetics of which the salon is the distributor — with Asian know-how and massage. Every facial here starts with a diagnosis first, to assess your hydration levels and every last pore on your face, so that your treatment is properly tailored to your current skin needs. Using the updated Stimula line from Dr Belter — all the products in this range are now vegan — this contours and slims the face for that sharp, V-shaped effect. Kicking off with the brand's special lymphatic massage to drain the face and upper body of excess water, I loved the innovative and multi-pronged approach to facial slimming. After the massage, special cups used suction to lift and pull the skin upwards. The final step? A hot, facial contour bandage that is tied around your chin to give your skin that final boost — a godsend for chins that have been slipping dangerously downwards... much like 2016. Although this rich facial typically doesn't come with extractions, owner Shirley insisted that the therapist do some to clear up some acne bumps — and the process was relatively painless and didn't cause redness or scarring.
Results: I've always been impressed with my skin, post-facial at Annabelle Skin, and this time was no exception. My skin looked healthier, felt supple, and the lift was visible. There was no arguing with it, since my therapist had worked on one side first so I could compare the effects. I would recommend this before a big event when you want to look like a (much) better, sharper version of yourself.
IF YOU BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF LASERS
Pico Clear Treatment, $650 per session (45 minutes)
The Wellness Clinic Aesthetics
To us finding a good doctor or dermatologist is key to developing a successful treatment regimen, and we were very impressed with the thoughtfulness and practicality of The Wellness Clinic's Dr Ram Nath. This treatment is a purely laser-focused and uses not one, but two lasers for the ultimate skin rejuvenation. The first is the Cutera Enlighten picosecond laser — an mproved form of the Nd:YAG — to even out skin tone and brighten up skin that has become dull due to too much sun exposure. This is a relatively painless laser and no numbing cream is required, which makes the entire process super quick. You can expect just a light, rubber-band-flicking-on-your-face sensation and some sensitivity in certain areas. This is followed by a dose of the the Norseld Dual Yellow Laser. This complementary laser stimulates collagen production and enhances skin elasticity. It also works on pigmentation and skin redness and unlike many lasers, it is safe enough to be used under the eyes. Dr Ram worked on my dark circles and told me that many clients saw a significant improvement in this area after a few sessions. Following the lasers, a Swiss Alginate face mask is usually applied to hydrate the skin, though the doctor skipped this step for me, as I had just undergone a peel.
Results: With lasers, the results are often cumulative and take a few weeks to see the full effects. I was pleased with the immediate results as it was quick, painless and my skin definitely looked clearer and more refined. Two weeks later, I saw improvements in my overall skin quality — my complexion look finer textured — and in the lightening of some small pigmentation marks and spots. Dr Ram also sent me back with some basic skincare from The Wellness Clinic, and following this simple routine also improved my complexion.
IF YOU WANT A HYDRATING MEDI-FACIAL
HydraFacial, $267.50 for 60 minutes
Knightsbridge Aesthetic Clinic
While this cosy clinic, tucked away in a shophouse in the Chinatown area specialises in aesthetic treatments like fillers and Botox, I wanted to try a non-invasive facial for purposes of this review. I was recommended the HydraFacial a medi-facial treatment that soothed, while still using efficient medical-grade products. The four-step facial started with a vortex exfoliation and the use of an Activ-4 serum to get rid of dead skin cells followed by a vortex peel. Usually, a Glysal serum containing glycolic and salicylic acids will be applied, but my therapist decided to give me an actual 20 per cent salicylic peel instead to control the spread of bacteria on my acne-prone skin. This was done quickly, with only a slight biting sensation felt. The third step was vortex extraction with a suction machine, using a Beta-HD serum, as the clinic does not believe in traditional extractions as it harms the skin, especially when done incorrectly. I was also given a stem cell sheet mask developed by the clinic to replenish my skin. Finally, a serum rich in antioxidants, peptides and hyaluronic acid was applied to nourish the skin. Although somewhat clinical, I enjoyed the treatment. My therapist was very sure and experienced, and could perform something that was customised to address my skin issues effectively.
Results: Skin was definitely well-cleansed, exfoliated and amply hydrated, so it appeared brighter, more even toned and more plumped up. In photos immediately post-treatment, my skin was good enough to go sans makeup. The peel also helped my acne issues — I was experiencing a breakout that was not responding well to topical treatments — and it prevented it from spreading in the days that followed.