Best facials in Singapore

Best facials in Singapore

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Text: Amelia Chia Angelyn Kwek Renée Batchelor

What are the best facials that Singapore has to offer? From anti-ageing to brightening treatments, here are the Buro team's top picks

While we are all for good at-home skincare regimens and frequent masking, sometimes you need the pampering touch of a skilled professional to take things to the next level. However, we've tried our share of so-so facials in Singapore that didn't deliver as much as we hoped. But among the disappointments, we've found excellent facials and hidden gems that really work, leaving us with even-toned, plumped up and glowing skin. Although we've reviewed quickie facials, there's nothing like a leisurely, truly indulgent treatment when it comes to giving your tired skin that much-needed boost. Whether you are into machine-based facials or adore hand work, here are the facials and skin treatments that do the job well. 

Quintessential facial, ($425.86, for 120 minutes), Porcelain The Face Spa
The Quintessential is a bespoke facial that is an extraction-rich procedure designed for severely congested and acne-prone skin. Each process is thorough and systematic, lasting one and a half hours. Although slightly painful at times, we were impressed by our therapist's skill. Her attention to every last pore, pimple and spot was a lengthy but necessary process. Importantly, after this intensive session, Porcelain employs the perfect after-care blend of products and equipment to ensure that the skin heals well. 

Although Porcelain's therapists were quick to warn us that some of the extractions might result in mild scabbing —which it did in some cases — we were told not to pick at it, and they healed well with little scarring. Overall we were very impressed by the skilful technique, the extensive extractions and the way our skin looked after. Our acne scars were flattened and fading, and our pores were more refined giving the skin a much better texture and radiance. Ideal for those with congested skin who are in dire need of extractions, this pricey, but hardworking Porcelain facial is worth the splurge. 

Porcelain Signatures

Cryotherapy Energy Facial ($220 for 60 minutes), 111 SKIN at Level 1, Robinsons The Heeren
This facial puts the 'brrr' in brace yourself as controlled, targetted cool air and pure CO2 is applied on the skin to enhance your cell's efficiency. While not as cold as the temperatures in the cryotherapy chamber, it still was slightly chilly on our skin. This is a pretty no-frills facial, in that it involves cleansing, a 15-minute long cryotherapy treatment using the Cryoair machine to blow the cool air on your skin, followed by an application of the Daily Orbit Energising Essence and the Y Theorem Repair Light Serum.

The session ends with a 12 minute long application of the Bio Cellulose Facial Treatment Mask (another bestseller from the brand) to further add a soothing, hydration boost on the skin, while the therapist gives a hand massage ingeniously using the leftovers of the mask solution on our arms and digits — waste not want not. As promised, we emerged with skin that looked energised and more radiant and felt intensely hydrated, in under an hour. If you're looking for quality products, fast results, and an efficient (yet relaxing) treatment this is definitely worth a try. 

Ultra V Hifu Facelift, $425 per session, Verita The Wellness Clinic
While not a facial in the strictest sense of the word The HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) is great for tackling the early signs of ageing for women in their 30s. If you are older, it is a good maintenance treatment in between Thermage and Ultherapy treatments. This helps to lift and tighten the face, neck and body by penetrating the skin with ultrasound energy to stimulate collagen production in the deep dermal and subdermal levels. 

The major plus points for us was how comfortable this treatment was — there was no numbing cream, pain or any downtime. The results are also impressive. Our face was more defined and the contours were sharper, almost like we had an intensive, lymphatic drainage massage on our face. 

The Wellness Clinic

V Ultimate Treatment ($380 for 90 minutes), Jyunka, Level 2 Pacific Plaza 
The brand's signature facial focuses on stimulating the skin all the way down to the muscular levels. Using five different machines as well as products, this helps to visibly lift and firm the skin. After cleansing, the facial begins with the scrubber, a metal plate that vibrates at ultrasonic speed to mechanically remove dead skin cells that line the superficial layer of the skin. In fact the scrubber reminded us a bit of the dermaplaning trend that has picking up speed, as it also uses a mechanical action to exfoliate the skin. Next, a radiofrequency probe is used to stimulate the skin and help lift it as well as tighten the pores. The next step is electroporation, where a probe generates both negative and positive ions to drive active ingredients used in the facial — such as the M+ Fluid — deep into the skin. A peptide mask is then applied to saturate the skin and seal in the actives before the fourth machine is employed. 

The cyro probe, as its name suggests is a cold device that plunges skin into -8 to -12 °C so that it can both stimulate and calm the skin, as well as give it a plumped-up appearance. Next a second stem cell mask, rich in Swiss green apples, is applied to brighten the skin and boost cell regeneration. The final step is the laser, but because it is done by a therapist and not a doctor, don't expect the efficacy of a Nd:YAG or similar medical lasers. This one is quite gentle and actually serves to calm the skin, and remove any redness. The cumulative effect of these five devices (all housed in one machine) was certainly impressive. We emerged with skin that was dewy, lifted and plumped up. We would highly recommend this if your skin is in need of resuscitation or if you have been neglecting it, as the results speak for themsleves. 

La Mer Miracle Broth Facial ($480 for 90 minutes), The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore Spa, 6434-5203
As far as indulgent pampering goes, you can't beat the exclusivity of the La Mer Miracle Broth Facial at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia. This treatment is lauded as a must-try signature with no less than a whopping 13 La Mer products used. 

Our therapist started off with a generous spritz of the brand's skin-balancing mist. This was followed by a light massage from feet to torso to rid us of any remaining tension. Ordinarily, the exfoliation step isn't anything special, but here the process diverges by using a gauze cloth to remove impurities, allowing for a thorough cleanse without the scrape of harsh exfoliating beads. A few swipes of toner, a dose of serum concentrate and an eye cream later, our skin was 'woken up' with a bespoke uplifting face massage, to activate the different layers of the dermis.

Next the Miracle Broth, a highly potent vial of La Mer extract that empowers cell renewal is applied. In fact, this ampoule is only distributed via the Ritz and is unavailable for retail, despite pleas from patrons who've tried to purchase it for at-home use. With the essence generously patted into our skin, we were then further lulled into bliss with an audio-sensory element that involved striking a pair of tuning forks, with the resonance going from the toes up to our ears  Call it quirky, but the experience was akin to a sort of harmonisation, and it certainly added to the overall sensation of wellbeing. Finally a two-piece La Mer face mask was administered to seal in all the goodness of the previous 12 steps. Soaked in essence of Crème de La Mer, the mask required just eight minutes to fully infuse into the skin, leaving us with a radiance and many compliments on our amazing glow from various people.

La Prairie Signature Caviar Lift Facial ($260 for 90 minutes), La Prairie counter at Level 1, Robinsons Raffles City 
You wouldn't normally associate Swiss luxury skincare brand La Prairie — known for its high-tech formulations and luxurious ingredients like platinum and gold — with Ayurvedic medicine, but interestingly, the two are combined in this invigoration and hydrating, anti-ageing facial carried out in its facial cabins. Unlike other department-store cabins we've tried, the one at Robinsons Raffles City was (thankfully) relatively soundproof and spacious, lending further to the luxurious air of the experience. After all, if you're using the Caviar range — one of the brand's most premium ranges after the Platinum range — you'll want the full works. 

Designed to lift and firm the skin, the highlight of the treatment was the new, 20-step massage technique that borrows from accupressure and Ayurvedic therapy. Using the power of her deft hand movements and the luxe, Caviar products, our experienced therapist employed different massages switching up the speed, flow, pressure, and concentration of movements according to the different parts of the face, neck, and décolleté. And it helps that this facial uses the La Prairie Skin Caviar Liquid Lift and La Prairie Extrait of Skin Caviar Firming Complex in its steps. Because the ingredients in the range support the face's natural contours, we saw an improvement in both elasticity and tone immediately after — our skin was bouncy and supple to the touch, and there was that radiance that can usually only be attained through lots of sleep or a long, lazy holiday. Most impressive  was that despite the richness of the anti-ageing products used, our skin did not feel greasy after — such was the quality of each serum, cream and complex that it sunk in effortlessly, leaving only a velvety-soft complexion in its wake. 

La Prairie Facial Cabin

Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Treatment ($260 for 80 minutes) Sulwhasoo #B2-02 Ion Orchard, 6509-9979
The facial starts proper with the Sulwhajeong Facial Massage, to stimulate the skin and energise skin cells. We chose the plum blossom scent  and the scent was applied on a cloth and dry massaged onto the meridien points. After deep cleansing the facial starts proper.

Highlights include the application of not one, but two masks. The first is the when the Radiance Evergy Mask is applied over the First Care Activating Serum — both star products of the brand — while our therapist vigorously massaged the décoletté area to reduce tension at the shoulders. We loved the pressure applied and the holistic approach to the facial — working first on the feet then the shoulders, as this added to the whole pampering nature of the ritual. The second mask was a combination of a moisturising ampoule — exclusive to spa use — followed with a remodeling mask applied on top of it.

Next, came the jade rings, between the application of the two masks. The brand's unique combination of a jade ring coupled with applicator massage techniques is based on the age-old traditional belief that jade stabilises both the body and mind. Balancing your yin and yang, the intensive massage is lubricated with a very pricey massage cream — the Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream — to prevent skin ageing and to lift the facial muscles. The facial ends with a final massaging step, as the Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum is applied using finger massage techniques that include 'twist pinching' motions to energise your skin and boost lymphatic drainage while giving skin that density and firmness. We emerged with skin that was taut and energised — a mini miracle considering how tired we were when we first stepped in.

Sulwhasoo Ion Orchard

Freia Red Carpet Oxygen Facial, from $380 for 90 minutes. Freia Aesthetics is at #19-03 Wisma Atria Office Tower, 8223-0609 
The facial has all the usual elements: a cleanse, scrub, steam and gentle extraction (we did not ask for heavy extraction), before pure oxygen is airbrushed gently over the entire face with a customisable blend of Skinceuticals serums. Our therapist recommended a hydration serum and one to treat the skin's uneveness, based on her assessment as well as our concerns. It was quite a relaxing feeling as the therapist gently sprayed the serum into the skin really saturating the face and neck area. The device uses pure oxygen to really help the nutrients penetrate, and this is the key to the treatment's success. This was followed by application of a collagen sheet mask — that was specially created by Dr. Ma, from Freia — for 15 minutes. 

For those who love human touch, you'll be glad to know the facial ends off with a soothing and firming massage to smoothen out facial lines and strengthen muscle tissue for a visibly contoured face. Having been accustomed to so-so results with most facials, we were visibly shocked at the appearance of our skin. Our complexion was soft, supple and bouncy, the face more lifted and our skin appeared much more even and luminous, almost like we had applied a thin layer of foundation over it. This is one facial we would highly recommend if you want something that packs a powerful punch without the use of lasers, peels and the like. As to when you should plan your facial — it seems a day or two before a big event is optimum.

Annabelle Skin

Dr. Belter Cosmetic Aventurine Stress Release Hydroboost Treatment, ($238 for 90 minutes), Annabelle Skin, #02-42 The Adelphi, 6336-8975
Annabelle Skin, which brings in Dr. Belter Cosmetic products, is a true, hidden gem. Brought in by founder Shirley Mok four years ago, the German skincare brand is inspired by the diversity of nature, and all its formulations consist of above 95 percent natural ingredients. Its textures are soft and lightweight, and the products mostly leave behind a beautiful scent.

The Aventurine Stress Release Hydroboost Treatment, features Dr. Belter Cosmetic's BioClassica line which has an organic and vegan focus, and comprises patented active ingredients like vegan silk-proteins, Glucolift Complex, and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration levels and smoothen the complexion.

Our therapist Elaine began by double cleansing our skin with BioClassica's velvety cream cleanser and fresh blossomy tensum, before applying an enzyme cream peel. As the peel worked its magic on our skin's impurities, she began a short silk scarf massage. She then applied an ampoule infused with silk proteins to brighten teh skin followed by a hydroboost mask for added moisture and protection from cellular stress and free radicals. Her brilliant fingers worked her way into our skin in a languid face and shoulder massage, employing aventurine (a precious natural mineral) massage wands to activate acupressure points. This aids in toning facial muscles and enhances lymphatic flow to detox and boost energy. A final nourishing mask, a quick cleanse, and a 15-minute snooze later, we woke to velvety-soft, glowing skin that stayed for the next 48 hours. An ideal pick-me-up before a party, or if you need a layer of radiance to combat long hours in the office.