Beauty & Shopping, Skincare

Goodbye, Tired Skin – Vanessa Tai

“You look so tired.”

This is a comment I’ve been receiving recently, even if it’s the first time I’m meeting the person. I suppose it’s true – my eyes do look tired and my complexion isn’t as radiant as I would like it to be. It’s probably because I tend to have a very packed schedule during the week. On weekdays, I wake up early to run, then I’m either writing throughout the day or having back-to-back meetings and events. When I get home, I’ll be either reading or watching online videos until I pass out, exhausted on my bed. Because of that, my daily skincare regime has fallen woefully by the wayside. I used to spend at least 15 minutes prepping my skin with all kinds of luxurious creams and serums, but now my skin is lucky if I devote even three minutes to it each night.

However, with this recent spate of disheartening comments, I decided some corrective work was in order. After all, as the famous saying goes, “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones”. To amp up my skincare routine, I tried a couple of new products that specifically target signs of fatigue.

Dermalogica Ultrasmoothing Eye Serum, $98

Dermalogica Ultrasmoothing Eye Serum, $98

As you know, the skin around your eyes are extra delicate and susceptible to the signs of ageing. This is why it’s recommended you start proper eye care from as young as 24 or 25. While I’m lucky that I don’t have dark eye circles, my eyes tend to get puffy whenever I don’t get enough sleep. This serum uses extracts from plants like the Harpoon Weed, Norwegian Kelp and Golden Chamomile to tackle eye puffiness.

Just a dew drop-size of the serum was more than enough to blend across my entire eye area. It sank easily into my skin, but left it feeling a tad sticky. However, the stickiness isn’t too annoying and wears off after about 10 minutes.

Available at all AsterSpring Origin of Beauty Centres and Dermalogica-authorised skin treatment centres. 

Sothys Energizing Day Cream, $249

Sothys Energizing Day Cream, $249

The key ingredient in this new skincare line is Siberian Ginseng. Touted as “the root of youth”, Siberian ginseng is also known as an “adaptogen”. This refers to substances that can supposedly strengthen your body and increase your resistance against daily stresses.

This cream is quite unlike any other cream I’ve tried before. Its exquisitely feathery smooth texture glided effortlessly over my skin and was absorbed instantly. My tired skin looked instantly refreshed, and makeup application was a breeze.

Available at Sothys-authorised dealers. For complete store listings, call 6737 0101 or click here.

This blog post was not paid for by any of the above brands; all opinions are the author’s own. Please read our advertising policy here.

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets

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Beauty & Shopping, Contests, Skincare

Beauty Review: Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum – Deborah Tan

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide CapsulesLast week, Joey – the PR and Marketing Manager of Elizabeth Arden – invited me to Capella at Sentosa for a treat. And it turned to be an extremely enjoyable 90 minutes for me.

You see, Elizabeth Arden is launching 2 limited edition sizes of its very popular Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum. Currently, these capsules are sold in jars of 60. The limited edition sizes will feature a 30-capsule jar and a jumbo 90-capsule jar. The former is targeted at those who have always been tempted to try this acclaimed skincare product but worry if 60 capsules (which retails for $139) were too much. The latter is limited only to Red Door Club members.

I’ve never been much of a oil-serum fan. My 90-minute treat turned out to be a facial using these Ceramide capsules. When the therapist started massaging the serum onto my face, I got a bit worried. I had a couple more events to attend after the session and I wondered if I would be walking around town with super oily skin.

The skilful massage techniques used by the therapist soon sent me to sleep. When I woke up 15 minutes later, I couldn’t resist touching my face – I really wanted to see how oily or sticky it felt. The serum was nowhere to be found – it was absorbed completely without a trace.

Later in the afternoon, Denise mentioned how my skin looked super smooth and radiant. I mentioned to her about the Ceramide capsules treatment earlier and even she was amazed!

Anyway, I have given more Ceramide Capsules to try, and this is my review:

Before trying the Ceramide capsules, I did a research on what ceramides can actually do for the skin. The top layer of your skin (which is the biggest organ of the human body) is the epidermis. The top layer of the epidermis is the stratum corneum – thin but functions as the main barrier of the skin, and keeps chemicals from being absorbed by the skin into the body.

The stratum corneum contains three types of lipids – ceramides, cholesterol, and free fatty acids. There are 9 different types of ceramides, conveniently named Ceramide 1, Ceramide 2 … Ceramide 9.

All three lipids have to be maintained at certain ratios for skin to have a healthy barrier function. Scientists have found that sufferers of eczema have significantly fewer ceramides in their stratum corneum. Psoriasis sufferers, however, have the same number of ceramides as non-sufferers BUT they have less of Ceramide 1, 3, 4, and a sub-set of 5 and 6. With age, our ceramide levels also fall – which explains why skin gets drier, takes longer to heal, and isn’t as radiantly healthy as when we were young.

Ease Of Use
First, never dip your dripping wet fingers into your jar of Ceramide Capsules. The capsule shell is made of a vegetal ingredient that will slowly disintegrate when in contact with water. Pick one out, twist the top and push your nail into the neck to break the capsule. Then pour the content out into your palm.

As with most skincare products, you should apply it only after you’ve warmed it slightly by rubbing your palms together. Then spread the serum evenly over your cheeks, forehead, chin, and neck. Avoid the eye area. After that, slowly massage the serum into your skin until it mostly absorbed.

The serum gets absorbed by the skin really easily. There is no after-shine, no excess oiliness to be seen. In fact, after it sinks in, you’ll need to follow up with a moisturiser.

I was sunburnt on the neck area after an afternoon of go-karting on Saturday (I had forgotten to apply sunblock there). After two days of using this serum on my neck, the burn has subsided and I am not seeing any sign of peeling.

Obviously, it’s too early for me to report any results regarding improvements to lines and skin texture.

But if you’ve been worried whether a serum such as the Ceramide Capsules would cause your skin to become oily, I’d recommend you start by using it every other day, and at night only. That way, as your skin gets blown dry by the air-conditioner, the serum can protect it from becoming too dried out. Then after a week or two, use the capsules every day.

Personally, I like how smooth my skin feels whenever I touch my face and this is definitely something my oft-neglected neck needs.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum (60 capsules) retails at $139 at all Elizabeth Arden counters. The limited edition 90-capsule ($165) and 30-capsule ($70) sizes retails exclusively at the Elizabeth Arden counter at Takashimaya in May. You’ll need to be a Red Door Club member to purchase the 90-capsule size.

Please check with your favourite Elizabeth Arden counters in Metro, OG and Robinsons when these limited sizes will be available at these counters.

The Ceramide Capsules were given to Material World for review purpose. All opinions are the author’s own. 


Win A 30-Capsule Limited Edition Jar! Click on this picture now!

Material World has 3 jars of 30-capsule Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum to give away! To enter your name for the draw, simply follow the steps below:

1. Click on this link:

2. Answer the question to gain 1 chance.

3. Like Material World’s Facebook Page to gain 3 chances.

4. Then share this article and tag Material World on your Facebook Post to gain 5 chances.

5. Finally, remember to PM Material World your details: Name, Email Address, NRIC, and Age. Please state that you are entering the Elizabeth Arden Contest.

This contest ends 3 June, 2013, 11am.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and hopes she’ll look 25 when she turns 45. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

Beauty & Shopping, Health & Fitness, Spa Treats, Wellbeing

MW Reviews … Singapore’s First Ganban-Yoku Spa – Denise Li


Owner Suli explains the concept of a ganban-yoku to us.

Material World was invited to try a session at Anti-Oxidant Centre – Singapore’s first ganban-yoku (rock bathing spa) – yesterday. All four of us weren’t sure what to expect from this alternative therapy, except that we were going to be sitting in a hot room.

The owner Suli briefly explained to us how it works: we’ll be lying on heated ganban (granite) bed in a room that has been heated to between 39 to 41 degrees Celsius (about the same temperature as a hot yoga room). Humidity remains at about 30% and it’s been kept deliberately low so that customers can lie in the room for the full 45-minute session without feeling uncomfortable or faint.

However, the true secret lies not in the heat, but by the release of negative ions in these rooms. When absorbed into the body, these negative ions will neutralise free radicals. Free radical damage, as you’ll recall, is known to be responsible for many symptoms of ageing as free radicals ultimately destroy cells that are essential in supporting your body’s functions. Antioxidants can slow down this destructive chain and, consequently, the rate of ageing. With regular sessions here, you’re supposed to experience a number of benefits, including improved blood circulation, a faster metabolism, as well as more efficient elimination of waste.

But it wasn’t just the heated treatment rooms that emitted negative ions – the whole spa was made out of ganban and you can experience its benefits if you remain in the environment long enough. To demonstrate, Suli showed us a piece of bread and an egg that had been left in the open for more than a year. Though hard and inedible, the bread and the egg showed no signs of decay and had no odour!

The miraculous non-decaying egg!

The miraculous non-decaying egg!

You can also enjoy these benefits at home. The spa retails special antioxidant solution that you can apply as an additive to paint, wall plaster or concrete mix.

The benefits aren’t just at the cellular level though; we were also told that the amount of calories burned sitting in that hot room is equivalent to a 5k run … that’s pretty impressive for spending 45 minutes on your back, if you ask me!

It all sounds pretty miraculous, but what did the Material Girls think of the treatment?


All ready to sweat! (Debs is missing as she’s the one taking the picture)

The spa has a total of 19 beds. This room has four (again, Debs was taking the picture). Perfect for a small group of friends.

The spa has a total of 19 beds. This room has four (again, Debs was taking the picture). Perfect for a small group of friends.

Deborah Tan

“Why pay to sweat when we are living in Singapore? I hear you say. Well, the sweating is done in a room filled with negative ions, which are supposedly good for rebalancing your body. 15 minutes into the treatment, I found a persistent migraine ebbing away and my lower back felt much looser and relaxed. The room, while hot, is hardly oppressive and you can breathe easily inside. They say you don’t have to shower immediately after the “sweating” because the room is practically bacteria-free and therefore, no odours will form. I went home without showering and true to its promise, I didn’t smell. True story!”

Vanessa Tai

“Before we started the treatment, we were told by the owner, Suli, that the average amount of calories burned during the 45 minutes is similar to if we had run 5km. I was impressed, but still slightly skeptical. However, about 10 minutes into the session, I realised he could be right. Perspiration was literally pouring off my body and gathering in small pools below my back. Although I initially found the heat uncomfortable, I soon got used to it. Upon Suli’s advice, I made sure to press my aching muscles against the heated stones, and felt the tension slowly dissipating. After 45 minutes, I was drenched in perspiration but felt totally refreshed. The delicious enzyme drink they served after the treatment, which is supposed to aid digestion, was an added perk-me-up.”

Tan Lili

“I’ve never enjoyed heated-anything (sauna, hot yoga, hot soaks, etc). More often than not, I’d start to feel dizzy after five minutes, then I’d be forced to cut short my experience. Which is why I was a little apprehensive about trying out the ganban-yoku spa – I had to lie down on a heated bed for a full 45 minutes! The moment I entered the room, beads of sweat started to form on my forehead. After five minutes, my entire body was positively glistening. However, throughout the session, I didn’t have any trouble breathing, nor did I feel dizzy. It was a little uncomfortable, but that’s probably because I wasn’t quite used to staying in a heated room for so long. I could feel the benefits right after, though, as I left the place feeling rejuvenated and relaxed.”

Denise Li

“My partner is a fan of saunas and I endlessly make fun of him for it. ‘You’re in Singapore now, not Europe. You want to sweat? Just step outside.’ Me? I must admit that while I enjoy working out, I don’t like to perspire more than necessary; give me an air-conditioned gym over the great outdoors any day! Stepping into the ganban-yoku treatment room felt exactly like being in a hot yoga room and I must admit I found the heat a little oppressive, although I think this is partly due to the fact that I have a lower tolerance for it than most people. Still, I was determined to reap the benefits while I was there. True enough, after 45 minutes, the persistent pain in my lower back that had been there for two weeks had subsided and continued to do so though out the day. Post-treatment, I felt energised and refreshed and, last night, I slept like a baby.”

Anti-Oxidant Centre is at 1 Thomson Ridge. Tel: 6756 0636

A 45-minute session at Anti-Oxidant Centre goes for $39. From now till August 31, 2013, Material World readers get to enjoy a 45-minute ganban-yoku session for just $10. Simply quote “Material World” when you call to make your appointment. Valid for new customers only.

Beauty & Shopping, Skincare

Beauty Matters At Material World

Don’t hit the shops and counters before you had a read of this week’s Beauty Matters.

This week, we talk about an anti-ageing cream from Kiehl’s , Anna Sui’s easy-to-apply nail varnish and gel top coat, and the perfect Mother’s Day gift from Murad.

Happy shopping!



[Contest] WIN A 1-week Trial Of Biotherm Blue Therapy Serum

A while ago, we created an infographic about Biotherm’s powerful new anti-ageing serum – Blue Therapy.

Click on the image below once and then again to zoom in closer for a better view!


Today, we have received 20 1-week trials of this serum for readers of Material World! 

To win one, simply follow these steps:

1. LIKE the Facebook Pages of Biotherm and Material World.

2. SHARE this blog post with your Facebook Friends.

3. TAG both Biotherm and Material World in your Facebook post.

4. PM Biotherm’s Facebook Page your personal details (Name, NRIC, Age, Occupation, Gender and Email Address) to enter the contest.

Closing date for this contest is 21 April, 2013.