Character & Soul, Deborah Tan, Entrepreneurship, Money, Opinions, Self-Improvement

I’m Sorry! But I WANT TO WORK For My Money! – Deborah Tan

Deborah Tan does not agree with ads that promise you a 5-figure salary while working from home selling “nothing”.

Busy as a bee but happy!

Busy as a bee but happy!

I’m sure you’ve seen the ads on Facebook. Ads that go, and I quote them verbatim: “Ever thought it is possible you can make money online without selling anything?”; “Learn how a struggling Singaporean employee makes $20k/month from home in his spare time”; and, “Thousands of people are quitting their jobs and joining our popular online work program.”

Were you tempted to find out more? At the very least, I’m sure you went, “What?!? For real?” For me, after the curiosity, I just went, “Sorry. Not for me.”

Perhaps, in 10 years’ time, all the people who have signed up to these programs would look at me and laugh at me for being a cynical fool. Perhaps, in 10 years’ time, I will still be slogging my ass off working as a freelance writer. Perhaps, in 10 years’ time, I will be the poorest person in Singapore … but, I will not regret not signing up for these “courses”, “seminars” and “workshops”.


1. If it sounds too good to be true …
… it probably is.  Out of curiosity, I clicked on one of these Facebook ads just to check out their website to see if I can find more information about these programs. I was brought to a page asking me to enter my email address. No. Just no. You see, if I wanted to sign up for an MBA program, the school’s website will tell me details about the coursework, tell me what I can expect, etc. But this website doesn’t want to tell me anything until I give them my contact detail. Are you selling my email address? Are you just another layer in a massive multilevel marketing scheme in the business of collecting email addresses? WHAT ARE YOU? WHY DON’T YOU WANT TO TELL ME MORE UPFRONT?

2. There is no shame in work
What I hate most about these ads is this picture they paint: that you can just do jack-shit, just click on your mouse all day long … and wait for money to roll in. If you set up a hawker stall and sell prawn mee, you know that $5 you earn comes from something tangible. If you set up an ecommerce website selling headphones, you know what exactly is earning you a living. For me, my product is Material World, a content agency and a website. Every piece of writing I put out for my clients, I know how I’m being paid. I am proud of my work and I really don’t agree with this whole “sell nothing, do very little” way of making money.

3. There is an inherent integrity problem
A few days ago, a friend posted up on Facebook how his picture has been used by one of these work-from-home programs for its Facebook ad. The picture of him standing next to a car is a great image of a young Singaporean who has achieved the trappings of success. Hey! But guess what? He didn’t sign up for this program. They had simply pluck his picture from somewhere and used it without his permission! This incident further cemented my belief that there is more than meets the eye here. If people are really becoming rich beyond their wildest dreams with your program, why don’t you just use their photos and stories instead?

I know that in order to be a successful businessperson, I have to find a business model that’ll eventually allow me to make passive income, something that will keep earning me money even if I go on a holiday or when I’m asleep. But I want to be able to grow my business using a product I have built, that will add ACTUAL VALUE to other people’s lives. Just blindly signing up for a program takes away that pride, that ownership that make up the core of entrepreneurship!

If you have no choice but to work from home, if you have no choice but to really consider one of these programs, I urge you to do your homework. It shouldn’t have to demand for an upfront payment of a large sum of money. It shouldn’t demand a percentage of your earnings to be channeled up towards your “supervisor” or “mentor”. You should be able to see if the business allows you to be different and unique from the 678 other people who have also signed up to do it – and we don’t mean just by changing the name of your company.

Like I’ve said before … call me a fool, call me stubborn, call me stupid … but I really rather become rich by working hard, really hard.

I want to get my hands dirty.

I want to get my hands dirty.

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 doesn’t respect anyone whose wealth came to them easy. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.


Beauty & Shopping, Skincare

The One Way You Could Be Using Hada Labo Lotion Wrong – Deborah Tan

What exactly does skin need in order to be healthy? That’s right, it’s hydration. And one of the best ways to get it is by using a product containing hyaluronic acid. Deborah Tan interviews Hada Labo’s general manager, R&D, Mentholatum, Dr Naelong Wang, to find out more about this ingredient. We also discover the one wrong way we could be using our Hada Labo lotion wrong. 


A bottle of Hada Labo is sold every 2 seconds in Japan, and in Singapore, it is the No. 1 selling lotion. This month, the brand relaunches its bestseller with a new generation of 4 interlocking hyaluronic acid that promises to restore moisture in skin, layer after layer. Each bottle of Hada Labo lotion has 4 types of hyaluronic acid (HA). What does each do? Read below:

1. Large-sized HA
To fight against trans-epidermal water loss by forming an “umbrella” on the skin’s surface to create a thick moisture layer that also continuously diffuses huge amount of water to skin’s top layer.

2. Medium-sized HA
Possessing the water-binding power of typical HA but is smaller in size, it works with large-sized HA to create a double-layered moisture lock within the skin.

3. Super HA
These reach the middle skin layer and is twice as powerful as normal HA – capable of binding 12 litres of water with every gram. The Super HA keeps skin well moisturized from within, not just on the surface.

4. Nano-HA
1/20th the size of regular HA, nano-HA has the capability to penetrate to the deepest layer of the skin, beyond the epidermis. It stores a tremendous amount of water deep in the skin so your skin stays plumped and healthy, inside and out.

But why is hyaluronic acid so important and is there a recommended way to use the Hada Labo lotion correctly? Dr Naelong Wang of Hada Labo further explains:

Material World (MW): What is so special about Hada Labo’s hyaluronic acid compared to the ones used in other brands?

Dr Naelong Wang (NL): Hada Labo is the originator of putting hyaluronic acid in a solution. Just how much water can hyaluronic acid absorb? One gram of hyaluronic acid is capable of absorbing 6 litres of water and is very expensive. Once, in the laboratory, a colleague accidentally spilled a gram of hyaluronic acid on the floor and I told him, “That’s 3 months of your salary gone!” The Super Hyaluronic acid that we use at Hada Labo has been modified to double the capacity of normal hyaluronic acid. Currently only 2 companies in the world use Super Hyaluronic Acid.

MW: What is the best way to apply Hada Labo Lotion? Should your skin be damp or dry? Can you put it over your makeup before touch ups?

NL: The recommended way to apply the Hada Labo Lotion is after cleansing when your pores are “open” so the lotion can be better absorbed by the skin. I do not recommend applying the lotion over your makeup as that can cause your skin to absorb powders and colorants.

MW: Does age have an impact on how our skin absorbs products?

NL: Definitely! Different age requires a different skincare strategy. When you are young, protecting your skin from UV exposure should be your priority because any damage sustained by your skin will only show up after 20 years. As you get older, dehydration becomes a concern and you need to use products that can replenish the moisture in your skin. It is never too late to take care of your skin but the earlier you begin, the less you’ll have to worry about.


Material World was invited to interview Dr Naelong Wang at a Hada Labo event recently. This interview does not represent a review of the product. All opinions are the author’s own and this post was neither paid for nor advised by Hada Labo. 



We have 3 hampers each worth $50 to give away!

We have 3 hampers each worth $50 to give away!

Each hamper contains 1 Hada Labo SHA Hydrating Facial Wash, 1 Hada Labo Lotion, and 1 Hada Labo Air Aqua UV Day Emulsion SPF 50/PA+++. To win, simply follow these steps:

1. LIKE Material World’s Facebook Page – only our fans can qualify for the prize. 

2. Answer this question in the Comments section below: “How many litres of water can 1gm of Super Hyaluronic bind to it?” 

3. SHARE this post with your friends on Facebook and tag Material World’s Facebook Page in your post. Remember to set your post on PUBLIC so we can verify that this step has been completed. 

Once you are done, email us your details (name, age, NRIC, email add) to with “Hada Labo” in the Subject Field. Contest ends 29 September 2014.

Beauty & Shopping, Skincare

[Press Trip] Here’s A Beauty Story All Women Need To Read. Especially If You’re 35 Years Old – Deborah Tan

When it comes to maintaining a radiant, ageless complexion, no one does it better than the Korean ladies. Deborah Tan visits home of beloved Korean skincare brand Sulwhasoo to find out just what is it that gives the Korean ladies their beautiful skin. 

Me with the beautiful and ageless Ms Jeon Ji-soo.

Me with the beautiful and ageless Ms Jeon Ji-soo.

Korean beauty brand Sulwhasoo has a beauty fact that might just give you sleepless nights. According to its researchers, due to decreasing “yin” energy, a woman’s skin becomes dehydrated and starts to age faster once she turns 35 (cue horror music!). To counter this, the brand has launched a new product – Luminature Essential Finisher – this month. Inspired by the “mi-an”, a beauty lotion used by ancient Korean women as a last step to their skincare regime, Luminature Essential Finisher doesn’t just give your complexion a luminizing boost, it strengthens skin’s metabolism and helps seal in the effectiveness of all your other skincare products so they will work better.

This focus on traditional Korean medicinal wisdom extends to other products in the Sulwhasoo family. Inspired by the writings of a 17th century royal physician, many Sulwhasoo products contain herbs and botanicals that have long been used in traditional Korean medicine. Take the Korean ginseng, a plant renowned for its anti-aging powers, for example. The brand doesn’t just use the commercially more desirable root – it uses every part of the ginseng plant, from the root to the berry.

“We are the only brand to do that,” said Ms Jeon Ji-soo, Vice President of Sulwhasoo Marketing Division in my interview with her.

She went on to add, “In Korea, our definition of beauty is a clear, luminous complexion. This, we feel, is only possible if you achieve harmony between your mind, body and skin. Skincare isn’t just about treating the surface, it’s also about improving one’s overall health. At Sulwhasoo, we have this theory that women’s yin cycle changes every 7 years. With each cycle, she’ll need to tailor her lifestyle, diet, skincare regime and products to meet her body’s changing needs.

While it’s easy to attribute the beauty of Korean celebrities to plastic surgery, we have to admit that surgery can only go so far when it comes to getting a naturally luminous, healthy complexion. Korean women – no matter their age – are known to take such good care of their skins, their skincare regime, at the very least, an 8-step affair.

“We believe that it’s not just us Korean women who want beautiful skin,” said Ms Jeon. “Asian women want it too and Sulwhasoo hopes to bring this attitude that beauty is a combination of harmony, health and positivity, to women all over the world.”

As Sulwhasoo celebrates its second anniversary in Singapore this September, we ask the brand to recommend 5 products that can help us get Korean women’s radiant, smooth, ageless skins.

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Serum

1. First Care Activating Serum
It is recommended that you apply this serum WITHIN 3 SECONDS after cleansing your face. Formulated with Korean medicinal herbs, this serum replenishes essential moisture and nutrients in skin. It also promotes deeper penetration of your other skincare products. This product also has an aromatherapy benefit that will uplift your spirit and revitalize your energy levels.


Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream

Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream

2. Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream 
Formulated with the root, berry and water of a five-year-old Korean ginseng, this cream claims to help stimulate cell regeneration and restore a youthful-looking skin. Nano-sized ginseng capsules penetrate into the deepest layers of skin to heal and strengthen it inside and out.


Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Whitening Serum

Sulwhasoo Snowise EX Whitening Serum

3. Snowise EX Whitening Serum 
Promises to rejuvenate heat-exhausted skin, the science behind this line believes that exposure to heat reduces skin’s resilience and circulation, leading to dullness and an uneven skin tone.


Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion

Sulwhasoo Evenfair Perfecting Cushion

4. Evenfair Perfecting Cushion 
More than just a cosmetic product, this cushion foundation contains apricot seed herbal moisturizer to promote resilience and hydration. Flexible film-fixing polymer lets you apply only a thin layer of this makeup for flawlessly smooth skin.


Sulwhasoo Renodigm EX Dual Care Cream

Sulwhasoo Renodigm EX Dual Care Cream

5. Renodigm EX Dual Care Cream 
When we think of skin aging, we tend to blame factors like stress, pollution and UV ray exposure. However, Sulwhasoo has found that heat also leads to skin aging. Renodigm EX Dual Care Cream relieves internal heat in skin and prevent heat-aging in skin.

Material World was invited by Sulwhasoo to attend the launch of Luminature Essential Finisher in Seoul. All opinions are the author’s own. 


To mark its second anniversary in Singapore, Sulwhasoo will be offering fans these awesome promotions at its counters:

Essential Spa Set at $212 (worth over $260)
Includes First Care Activating Serum 60ml x 2, Overnight Vitalising Mask 30ml, Clarifying Mask 50ml.

Timetreasure Repair Set at $810 (worth over $1,110)
Includes Timetreasure Perfecting Water 125ml, Timetreasure Renovating Serum 50ml, Timetreasure Renovating Eye Cream 25ml, 5-pc Timetreasure Renovating Travel Kit, Herbal Soap 70g, Gentle Cleansing Oil 50ml, Gentle Cleansing Foam 50ml, Herblinic Restorative Ampoule 5ml, Sulwhasoo Travel Cosmetics Pouch.

These promotions will be on from September 18 – 30 2014, while stocks last.



Win 1 hamper containing all five iconic Sulwhasoo products in full sizes!

Win 1 hamper containing all five iconic Sulwhasoo products in full sizes!

We have ONE hamper containing all 5 products (full-sized!) mentioned in this article up for grabs! To enter this contest, simply follow the steps below:

1. LIKE Material World’s Facebook Page – only our fans can qualify for the prize. 

2. Answer this question in the Comments section below: “Name the TWO promotional sets Sulwhasoo fans can buy as part of its 2nd anniversary celebrations.” 

3. SHARE this post with your friends on Facebook and tag Material World’s Facebook Page in your post. Remember to set your post on PUBLIC so we can verify that this step has been completed. 

Once you are done, email us your details (name, age, NRIC, email add) to Contest ends 24 September 2014.

Lifestyle, Vacations & Staycations

8 Awesome Airbnb Stays You May Not Know About – Deborah Tan

When traveling, we all want to fly cheap and stay at affordable, fabulous places with oodles of personality and character. These places, listed on Airbnb, are what you’ll want to check out for that getaway coming right up after this F1 weekend.

Magical places don’t have to be located in Europe or Africa. Asia is home to lots of interesting apartments, villas and houses too. With over 40,000 visitors set to descend upon Singapore for the F1, perhaps you can consider a short getaway during or after the F1 season? Below, 8 awesome listings on Airbnb you cannot miss.

75 minutes by plane

1.The Shophouse studio in George Town
penang01Housed in a 100+ year townhouse, this ground floor suite is newly renovated and comes with ensuite bathroom, kitchen and dining area. You get a queen-sized  bed and a convertible sofa so this studio can comfortably house 3 people. A stone’s throw away from delicious Penang hawker food, the owner will provide a food map for your eating convenience too!

2. Heritage Zone Chinese Shop House
penang02Beautifully renovated Chinese shophouse, the ground floor is a designer jewellery shop currently used by the owner’s friend. Plenty of restaurants and bars around the area, the property is just round the corner from famed cafe China House The listing states that the room comes with a bathroom with rain shower, 600 DVDs, cookbooks for those who want to try their hands at whipping up a meal, books, board games and a Mac.

Kuala Lumpur
55 minutes by plane

1. Luxe 1 Bedroom Next To Twin Towers at KLCC
This stylish apartment is situated right next to the Petronas Twin Towers as well as the 50-acre KLCC Park. It’s a spacious 1-bedroom at 60sq ft and comes with a fully-equipped kitchen and separate living area. Staying at this apartment also gives you access to the gym, tennis court, BBQ pit, sauna, etc.

135 minutes by plane

1. Room Near MRT Pharam 9+Wifi Pocket
bangkok01Although the listing says “room”, you actually get the entire apartment to yourself. It’s a 1-bedroom with a queen-sized bed and 1 sofa bed. The apartment is tastefully decorated! The Phra Ram 9 station is just 8 minutes’ walk away and the apartment building has  a convenience store that opens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

150 minutes by plane

1. Villa Zaina 3-bedroom Seminyak-Bali
Located a minute’s walk from Legian, this villa has 3 bedrooms and houses up to 6 people (although you have to pay an extra $42/night after the 4th guest). It has its own private pool. All bedrooms come with their own ensuite bathrooms and queen-sized beds. The villa has its own kitchen with a gas cook top and has a dining area with an extendable table.

2. Private 2-bedroom villa in Sanur
Accommodates up to 4 guests with no extra charges for extra guest, Villa Sapa is located in Sanur, known for its sandy white beaches and for being a quiet, relaxed village. Each bathroom has an outdoor shower. The villa also has an outdoor shower where you can wash the sand away before entering the property. Guests are given a mobile phone so they can easily contact the manager to arrange for stuff like taxis and tours.

95 minutes by plane

1. The Bonty – Your Home in Jakarta
jakarta01Located within walking distance of Kemang (a trendy part of Jakarta), this listing is a room in a house for rent. The room has a king-sized bed and has its own bathroom. The house is part of a walled residential complex of about 20 houses and has a garden, pool, security and service. Dog-lovers will love this listing since the owner has 2 dogs – a golden retriever (loves!) and a Beagle mix.

Hong Kong
3 hours 42 minutes by plane

1. Tong Lau Tree House Old Hong Kong
A property located in a Chinese tenement buidling in Kowloon, this apartment presents a photo opportunity everywhere you turn. Comes with a queen-sized bed, the listing states that it is possible to house up to 6 people (extra charges for any guests after the first 2). The apartment also has a 1.4m 4-legged bathtub along with a whole range of organic bath products.

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 can’t wait to go to Bali again! Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] 9 Things Women In Their 30s Do Differently In Love – Deborah Tan

When it comes to Love, Deborah Tan admits she can be rather draconian in her handling of it. But this, she says, is something that comes with age. Below, 9 things about Love she has learnt to do differently now that she is in her 30s. 

No matter our age, no matter our relationship status, we all encounter issues in Love.

As I think back to the ways I dealt with crushes before turning 30 (I now cringe with embarrassment whenever I think about them), I realized that with age, one also begins to perceive and treat this thing called Love very differently.

For one, my women friends in their 30s seem to take things in their stride a lot better than my women friends who are in their 20s. While it could be a “Oh well, I’m already 30, there’s nothing I can change about that – might as well move on and have fun” mentality at work here, it could also be that once we are past the 3-0, timelines and milestones matter a lot less.

What else do women in their 30s do differently from those in their 20s when it comes to Love?

1. We have less tolerance for bullshit

When I first saw the movie “He’s Really Not That Into You”, I found myself annoyed with Justin Long’s character. Every time Ginnifer Goodwin’s character asks him about a new guy she’s seeing, he highlights the “warning signs” and tells her why the guy’s really not that into her. To me, at that time, it seemed awfully judgmental to so quickly dismiss the dude: Anyone could be THE ONE, right??? Fast forward two years later, when I caught the movie again on TV, I found myself agreeing with Long’s character. It’s true. With age, we really have less tolerance for bullshit behavior in men. If he likes you, he will do anything to be near/with/around you.


2. But it doesn’t mean we don’t have time for fun

While finding a meaningful, long-term, committed relationship is still something we want, we recognize that we would be missing out on a lot of fun if we only went out with men who seem most likely to want to be in a relationship with us. The pressure is also a lot less once you make peace with the fact that you also don’t want a relationship with just anyone you meet at a club.


3. We know what we DON’T want

At 18, my “Things I Want In A Partner” was a mile-long. I told myself I would NEVER fall for anyone who didn’t meet my requirements. At 25, the list was evenly split between the things I want and the things I don’t want in a partner. At 30, I realized that my list had morphed into a “Things I DON’T WANT In A Partner” list: I don’t want to date a psychopath. I don’t want to date a cheater. I don’t want to date a man with no ambition. This isn’t to say women in their 30s have zero expectations and have come to think we deserve less. 3 decades spent on this planet have taught us that nothing is ever quite it seems and, rather than set ourselves up for disappointment, why not just allow ourselves to be pleasantly surprised?


4. We compartmentalize

Younger, we allowed our lives to revolve around Love and, our ability to function and behave normally was pegged to the ups and downs of our relationships. Now that we are older, we have learned to not let matters of the heart interfere with our jobs, our social lives and our self-esteem. Yes, every argument with a boyfriend will sting, every moment of uncertainty will bug us like a mosquito bite on our palm, but still, we know Life goes on and the ability to go at it alone is what makes us strong and confident. And strong and confident is attractive.


5. We get over it … slightly faster

Heartbreak sucks. That chest-crushing feeling that your heart is about to implode from not having someone to love sucks. That overwhelming sense of loneliness that surrounds you every time you lie in bed thinking, “Why can’t he love me like I love him?” sucks. Women in their 20s get it. Women in their 30s get it. Women in their 80s get it. But Age teaches you to get over it fast because … see Point 1.


6. We are over “What if …”

As much as I detest cliches, there is some truth in the saying, “Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees.” In my 20s, I was so afraid of being alone that it took me forever to break up with an ex I had stopped loving for some years. At that time, I was tormented with thoughts like, “What if he is the one?”, “What if I never find someone else?”, “What if I have already met and missed the person meant for me?” Entering my 30s, I decided that it’s no point obsessing over the What-ifs. The only thing you can do for yourself is to make the best of whatever situation you are in and hope that the best is yet to be.


7. We leave people who make us work for their love

Is it because of my looks? Is it because of my figure? Is it because of the way I talk? Younger, we saw ourselves as products that needed constant refinement, that we needed to be “improved upon” in order to be worthy of love. Women in their 30s have less patience for this. If a man ever makes us feel we are not good enough, we will simply move on to the one who does. This is ME – take it or be sorry that you have let me go.


8. We understand Love is more than just emo-ness

Emo-ness in movies sells tickets. Emo-ness in love songs is beautiful. Emo-ness in a real-life relationship? C’mon, it’s tiring and trying. We really don’t need this much drama in our lives. We don’t want to live in a HK TVB drama series. Your Love is not going to be any less real just because you are happy, just because you are not needy individuals addicted to private dramas and public meltdowns. Let’s spend our dramatic energy fighting things like people who abuse animals, people who assault women, and stupid people.


9. We get that people will love the way they want to

At the end of the day, people will love the way they want to, the way they know how to. It’s no point forcing them to be more clear-headed/level-headed/decisive/cruel because the heart works in such strange, strange ways. But to my friends who are still in their 20s and wondering why Love hurts so much, I can only say that what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger and that things do really get less scary in your 30s. This, and that I’ll always be here to annoy you with unsolicited love advice anyway.

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Deborah Tan talks about the trials and tribulations of being newly married. Stay tuned for more!

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. The eternal realist says while she enjoys a good drama on TV – she’s not a big fan of it in real life. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

Beauty & Shopping, Skincare

[Press Trip] Meet The Game Changer In Skincare From Sulwhasoo – Deborah Tan

This month, change up your skincare regime with this all-new beauty concept from Sulwhasoo, South Korea’s No. 1 luxury cosmetic brand. Deborah Tan explains the Luminature Essential Finisher below.

Exactly how many steps does your skincare regime need? Let us count the ways …

1. Makeup remover (Night)
2. Cleanser
3. Lotion
4. Essence
5. Serum
6. Treatment
7. Moisturizer
8. Eye cream
9. Sunscreen (Day)

Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher, $112.

Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher, $112.

That’s 8 steps depending on whether you’re doing this in the day (which you end by applying sunscreen) or at night (which you begin by removing your makeup). Some women use more than 1 serum, some use a pre-serum, and some use a serum on their eyes before they put on eye cream. The amount of money, time and care we invest in our skin is just …. wow.

So if you are ready to shower ever more care on your skin, read on. Because I’m going to talk about this all-new product from the land of beauty trends and crazes – South Korea.

The “Mi-an” Tradition
Although Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher represents a new product category in skincare, its inspiration comes from a beauty tradition steeped in history. Introduced more than 1,500 years ago, the “Mi-an” (“beautifying finish” in Korean) was a last step of the skincare regime followed by Korean women in ancient times. It was formulated during the Age of Three Empires and recorded in the Kyuhap-Chongseo (Encyclopedia of Women’s Life) during the Joseon Dynasty.

How Does Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher Work?
Similar to the “Mi-an”, the Luminature Essential Finisher is designed to be used as the final step in your skincare routine. It works by forming a natural protective barrier over the skin, locking in the efficacy of the skincare products from Steps 3 to 8 (see above).

How To Use
After you have put on your skincare products, dispense a pump full of the Luminature Essential Finisher into your palm. Gently warm the product by massaging it between your hands and then press them over your face.

Every bottle of Luminature Essential Finisher is packed with the concentrates of 5 roots of Red Ginseng and 110 cups of Green Tea. Red Ginseng encourages the regeneration of the skin while Green Tea purifies and boosts the effect of other ingredients.

Do not expect an immediate miracle with Luminature Essential Finisher. As a product designed to lock in and enhance your existing skincare products, it goes without saying that the preceding products have to work well for you in the first place. Think of it as a vitamin supplement. If your existing diet sucks, popping a vitamin pill isn’t going to make you the healthiest person on Earth. So if you think you can get away with using crappy products or with not even using any products, you are setting yourself on the path of skincare disaster.

Obviously for “best possible results”, you are encouraged to use this with other Sulwhasoo products. However, to see if this really enhances my existing skincare products, I stuck to the ones I habitually use whenever I’m not testing other products.

The improvements weren’t obvious until …. I did a half-and-half with both sides of my faces. In the After pictures, I can see an improvement in texture, tone, smoothness and firmness. I particularly like how much smoother the skin at my forehead has become. There is LESS GREYNESS in the After images – the Luminature Esssential Finisher really shines on the radiance front.

Comparing Before & After (Overall and Forehead)

Photos taken without makeup and have not been touched up or Photoshopped.

Photos taken without makeup and have not been touched up or Photoshopped.

After (Right Side of Face) and Before (Left Side of Face)

Photos taken without makeup and have not been touched up or Photoshopped.

Photos taken without makeup and have not been touched up or Photoshopped.


Before (Right Side of Face) and After (Left Side of Face)

Photos taken without makeup and have not been touched up or Photoshopped.

Overall, I have found that my skin is a lot firmer and rosier after adding Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher to my skincare routine. The Koreans believe that at the age of 35, women will begin to see a lot more drastic changes in their skin due to a change in hormonal levels. The Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher also has the second function of enhancing aging skin’s ability to react to skincare products. So if you feel that your skin has “stop reacting” to your skincare products, it could be that all it needs is a product to kickstart its energy level once again.

Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher retails at $112 at Sulwhasoo counters islandwide. Material World was invited to a press trip in Seoul, South Korea, for the media launch of Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher, and given a product to review. All opinions are the author’s own. This post was neither paid for nor advised by Sulwhasoo.


Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher

Material World has 3 Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential FInishers for our readers. To win one for yourself, simply follow the steps below:

1. LIKE Material World’s Facebook Page.

2. ANSWER this question in the Comments section below: “Name the 2 main ingredients in Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher.”

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Once you’ve done all 3 steps, drop us an email with your details (Name, Age, NRIC No/Passport No, Email Add) to . Closing date: 5 September, 2014, Friday.

Deborah Tan, Opinions

This Is Way Better Than The Knee Defender – Deborah Tan

News about two warring passengers on United Airlines have brought a nifty gadget into the limelight – The Knee Defender. However, Deborah Tan would like to advocate the use of something else. This, you can use not just on planes, you can also use on buses and trains.

How far back is TOO far back?!?!

How far back is TOO far back?!?!

At the office yesterday, Vanessa (or was it Lili?) shared a news about how a scuffle broke out between two passengers on a United Airlines domestic flight because one of them used a gadget called The Knee Defender to prevent the other from reclining her seat.

My first comment after hearing the news was, “Wow! Where can I buy this gadget?”

Vanessa’s eyes opened wide in shock. “You mean you will stop the person in front of you from reclining his chair?!?”

“Yeah, why not? On budget airlines, the legroom is already so tiny! PLUS, if it’s a short flight, will it kill someone to sit up straight?”

Woah! Back track just a little there. Yes, UA is not a budget airline. Yes, the two passengers in the news had actually paid for seats with more legroom. Yes, articles about the incident seem to suggest that the man (who used the Knee Defender) reclined his own seat even as he prevented the woman from doing so.

But allow me explain myself …

The Uncomfortable Territory Called “自动”
“自动” is Mandarin for “automatic”. It is pronounced “jee-dong” in Cantonese, “tzi-dong” in Hokkien. Colloquially, when someone says, “Be tzi-dong”, he means that you should read the situation and take the initiative to not get yourself or other people in trouble.

It is more than just self-awareness; being “tzi-dong” means taking the self-awareness one step further – you act on it and stay out of the way or do what is needed of you.

Why did I say I need the Knee Defender? Well, it’s precisely because a lot of people are not “tzi-dong”. And this incident on UA highlights the fine line between knowing your rights and being “tzi-dong”.

The Knee Defender

The Knee Defender

Do Unto Others
There’s a saying that goes, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It means treat people the same way you want to be treated.

In the comments that come after the reports on this incident, many people say, “It’s the woman’s right to recline her seat. If the man wanted more legroom, he should have flown First Class.”

We don’t know just how far back the woman reclined her seat. Nor do we know how tall/annoying/ridiculous the man was.

In the ideal world, if both the passengers were “tzi-dong”, the woman might have reclined her seat back only slightly and the man might graciously removed the Knee Defender when asked.

When I said I wanted to buy the Knee Defender, it’s because my being “tzi-dong” and not reclining my seat in a tiny budget airplane does not serve me well if the passenger seated in front of me is unaware that I’m making an effort to be considerate towards the person seated behind me.

This UA incident also highlights the difference between what is perceived as “I paid for this right” and “Everyone has the right”. As passengers we have paid for the right to recline our seat. But everyone has the right to be comfortable and to be accorded some consideration. When you recline your seat, do you ever stop to think, “Am I being an ass to the person behind me?”

Expecting Others To Be “Tzi-Dong”
Other people have also commented how the man in the incident was being self-righteous. He may or may not have behaved like a schmuck but herein lies the difficulty in expecting others to be “tzi-dong”. Usually, the ones who are hoping that other people would be “tzi-dong” are labelled as “self-righteous”, told to “get off their high horses”.

I think this is why people these days don’t bother being considerate to others anymore. Despite numerous campaigns telling us to “move in”, to “give up your seat to those who need it more”, many people still find it possible to be asses on public transport. They remain where they are as if waiting for someone to tell them to be “tzi-dong” so that they can say, “Who are you to tell me what to do?”

This is perhaps why “shoot and shame” sites like Stomp are so popular. We don’t want to march up to someone to tell them, “Hey! Don’t shit outside the MRT station!” because we don’t want the offender to shout, “Do you think you are better than me!?”

That’s the thing: we don’t think we are better, but we just want people to do what is right so everyone will be happier and more comfortable! And there is nothing wrong with this!

So, while I won’t be advocating the use of the Knee Defender, just yet, I would like to remind everyone of this good ol’ Chinese term “自动” – to automatically know when to do what is right for the good and happiness of everyone, not just yours alone.

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 really hates it when people are “buay tzi-dong”. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

Entrepreneurship, Self-Improvement

10 Things No One Told Me About Being My Own Boss – Deborah Tan

Deborah Tan thought she was ready for life as her own boss but little did she expect …

You can plan, plot and scheme all you want but diving into the world of entrepreneurship is like Forrest Gump with a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. I thought I had sufficiently prepared myself for a new life as “My Own Boss” by reading memoirs of daredevil entrepreneurs and subscribing to websites and magazines about Entrepreneurship. I had made sure that I started my business with people who possess skills and character traits that I don’t. But still, even after a year and a bit of running Material World, I continue to find myself surprised every other day by this rollercoaster ride called Entrepreneurship.

1. The daily panic you get every morning upon waking 
At first, it was more of a “Is this the day where I finally get a call from the bank telling me, ‘Game over’?” Slowly, if things start looking up, you wake up with this, “Okay … what day is it today? REALLY!” feeling. Every single day, the game plan changes because you have different needs to meet. Today, I could be playing the role of writer, tomorrow, I might have to take off that hat and become a business development manager. Everyone, take a queue number!

2. The amount of negativity you would come to face
I’m referring to negative voices both inside and out. I remember a meeting I had during Material World’s early days. It was with a guy who is a sort of a “start-up genius”. He has carved a successful career out of starting ecommerce sites delivering food, selling glasses etc. At the meeting, he asked me what Material World was about and five minutes into my intro, he declared that he didn’t see the point of the business. If I had allowed his words to take root inside me, I don’t think I would have lasted to this day.

3. That you need to educate people why your services are worth paying for
A lot of us go into business thinking we are fulfilling a need in the market, and that people will rush in to pay for our products and services. That’s not always true because sometimes the market might not have realized it needs you. In the beginning, a lot of people would ask to “try you out”, offer to pay you “in kind”. Do you take what you’re given or do you take it upon yourself to explain why you need to be paid in cash? The former earns you goodwill but it doesn’t earn you a business relationship; use it selectively and only with associates you know will honor their word to come through with paying business.

4. That people are more than happy to disavow you
The silence you receive when you send out emails asking for business, the blank looks you get when you run into familiar faces outside … Thankfully, there are also many who are more than happy to share knowledge, experience and advice. Moral of the story: It’s not always personal so don’t let it get you down.

5. The level of importance you start giving to $5
Yes … I know some bosses will say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” but when you are running your own business, every cent counts. Besides the onerous task of getting numbers to balance, you have to watch your cashflow like a hawk. There is no room for frivolous spending, no room for unnecessary headcount, no room for late payments. And yes, a lawyer who can help issue Letters of Demand at a moment’s notice is also very helpful.

6. The crazed level of importance you start giving to your Time
It’s been mentioned more than a couple of times on this website that to an entrepreneur, TIME is everything. In fact, Time is even more important than Money. You feel bad when you are running late, you feel angry when people run late and don’t warn you beforehand, you go ballistic when you are stood up. Everything that takes up Time, takes up Money.

7. That you don’t want to talk about business all the time
When I was working, I talked about work all the time. And so, naturally, when I started Material World, I thought I would be talking it about 24/7 too! But surprisingly, I don’t! Sure, among us four partners, we do chatter on about the business when we get together for a beer after 6, however, it is not a conversation that lasts the entire night. Also, whenever friends ask me about Material World, I find myself reluctant to talk about it. It’s not because I’m ashamed of my business but because I feel everything’s cool and I’ve done what I can so I would like to focus on other things now.

8. How paperwork can be so, so, so painful
At this point, I would like to say this to those who get the whole Government Grants game down pat: RESPECT. One of the things we four found challenging AND tedious was figuring out which grants to apply for, how to file our taxes, how to go through our bank statements each month with a fine-toothed comb … Although our business coach has told us many times to hire someone to do that, we still insist on doing these ourselves because we feel we need to know what’s going on. As Jerry Seinfeld said in the episode in which he refuses to just pee anywhere cos he couldn’t find the toilet, “It builds character.”

9. You lose your ego … 
… or at least learn when to put it aside. I used to think that my pride would be the last thing I would put down. But when you are running a business, you learn you don’t always have to win. As the saying goes, “Which would you rather – win or be right?” There have been days when I found myself tempted to pick up the phone and scream, “The deal is OFF!” but then, you learn to see the bigger picture and after a cup of tea, you go, “Hey … it’s not so bad.”

10. You’ll let go of things that don’t serve you
At first, as with all rookie entrepreneurs, I saw every contact as important, I valued every event as a potential opportunity to get new business. However, as we developed our intuition, we also learned to discern which business was worth pursuing and which ones, to give up. Because like most goods of value, there is a finite number. If you make yourself and your services so readily available to everyone, then people will either take you for granted or you will end up shortchanging yourself. You can earn so much more – in terms of money, experience and self-respect – by limiting your business to the few who are willing to pay top dollars for it.

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 is really enjoying the entrepreneurship journey and says it’s going to take a lot tempt her to return to a full-time job. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

Drinks & Parties, Food News, Lifestyle

Nobody At Marina Bay Financial Centre Knows What A Good Lunch Place This Is! – Deborah Tan

It was not crowded, the food was awesome AND this place is located at Marina Bay Link Mall. We say go have lunch at Harry’s before everyone finds out! By Deborah Tan 

Harry's - Marina Bay Link Mall (interior2)

While cocktail bars in Singapore are steadily serving up critically acclaimed “bar bites”, their beer-fronted counterparts, sadly, haven’t quite distinguished themselves in the food arena. Mention “pub grub” and many will think deep-fried chicken wings, fries drowned in a tsunami of orange, cheese-flavored sauce, and oil-sodden, sorry-looking pieces of samosas.

Love Me Tandoor

Love Me Tandoor

But Harry’s is determined to change all that. Yes, it still wants to serve up grub that goes well with a mug of frothy ice-cold beer, yes, it is still a casual, fun and unpretentious place to hang out at … but it also wants to be taken seriously for food – like proper, meal-worthy, sit-down-at-a-table-with-a-fork-and-a-knife food.

And this is where the renowned Chef-Founder of The Disgruntled Chef, Daniel Sia, and his team come in. Since taking helm as Harry’s Culinary Director last year, Chef Daniel and his team have been busy updating the menu with tweaks to the old favorites and adding a couple of new creations. The updated menu will be introduced in phases to all Harry’s islandwide but if you want to sample the new dishes now, make your way to Harry’s at Marina Bay Link Mall (it’s the one at Marina Bay Financial Centre, just round the corner from Paradise Pavilion). We did our tasting there last week at lunchtime and found the place uncrowded, which means, the office crowd there has yet to stumble upon this gem of a lunch-place, yet.

Small Plates, Big Plates, Platters, Desserts
Harry’s updated menu comprises of Small Plates, Big Plates, Platters and Desserts. Small Plates refer to appetizers and finger foods, Big Plates are your main courses and salads, and Platters are larger servings of food meant to be shared among friends.

Long-time favorites Harry’s Wingmen and Love Me Tandoor have been updated in terms of the marinade and spices used. We found the chicken wings juicy on the inside with a mildly spicy batter that remained crispy even after they’ve been left out for 15 minutes. Love Me Tandoor’s yoghurt-marinated chicken skewers features tender, succulent meat packed with flavor.

Moving onto the Big Plates, we tried new-to-the-menu offerings such as Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Curried Lamb Shank and Prawn Star Pasta. The dish that made an impression on me was the Curried Lamb Shank, even though I have never been a fan of lamb shank, preferring the full-bodied flavor a rack of lamb gives instead. The curry sauce, a recipe of Chef Daniel’s, is robust without being too spicy. You get to experience the heady flavors of the curry spices played out on your palate without the searing heat of too much chilli. Together with its side of rice pilaf and raisins, this makes for a hearty, comforting lunch on a rainy afternoon.

Curried Lamb Shank

Curried Lamb Shank

From the Platters section, we sampled the Mushroom and Truffle Oil Flatbread which will remind you of crisp, thin-crust pizzas. A great alternative for those looking for something more satisfying than finger food but do not want to tuck into a full meal, the flatbreads come with a choice of toppings and are baked a-la-minute.

Flatbread with Mushroom and Truffle Oil

Flatbread with Mushroom and Truffle Oil

I don’t say this often but do leave space for desserts. Chef Daniel’s team have created 2 new desserts that are guaranteed to brighten up your workday blues. The Black Forest Sundae is a deconstruction of the classic Black Forest Cake. Its bite-size brownie squares make it a dessert that is easy to share (so you don’t feel so “guilty” after). My personal favorite, however, is the Apple & Pear Crumble – the buttery crumble crust melts in your mouth and is a perfect accompaniment to the soft, moreish cooked apple and pear chunks.

Black Forest Sundae

Black Forest Sundae

Because everyone is still pretty unaware that Harry’s at Marina Bay Link Mall is an awesome lunch venue, we suggest you head there before the secret is out.

Harry’s is located at Marina Bay Link Mall, 8A Marina Boulevard, #01-03, Ground Plaza. Tel: 6634 6318. Reservations email: .

Material World was invited to a tasting by Harry’s. This post was neither paid for nor advised by Harry’s. All opinions are the author’s own.


Lifestyle, Vacations & Staycations

[Press Trip] Hello Kitty Themed Flights Are Coming To Singapore! – Deborah Tan

This is a story of Material World’s resident “I wear only black” girl Deborah Tan’s recent trip to Taipei to check out EVA Air’s Hello Kitty planes.

eva air hello kitty 1

There’s no doubting the immense popularity of Hello Kitty themed experiences and products. The famous kitty has graced several international brands with her face over the years, each one a goldmine every brand owner would love to tap into. Some of the brands that have worked with Hello Kitty are McDonald’s, M.A.C Cosmetics, Tokidoki, and homegrown bakery BreadTalk.

Great in small doses, definitely, but what about a Hello Kitty themed flight to countries like Los Angeles, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul or Guam? Imagine flying on a plane painted with Hello Kitty, where everything – from the headrest covers to barf bags, from the inflight meals to the amenities in the toilet – are decorated with motifs of the famous cat. Is that an experience of a lifetime every Kitty fan would pay to have?

Bored? Entertain yourself with these exclusive playing cards!

Bored? Entertain yourself with these exclusive playing cards!

Apparently, the folks at EVA Air think so. It’s not just a one-off limited-time-only experience we are talking about here. The airline has 6 specially commissioned jets for Kitty fans who have been known to plan their journey so they’d end up on one of these planes – yep, some travelers also unwittingly book themselves on Kitty flights, their classic reactions can be found on Instagram.

Found on Instagram! A traveler's reaction when he realizes he has been booked onto a Hello Kitty flight!

Found on Instagram! A traveler’s reaction when he realizes he has been booked onto a Hello Kitty flight!

How Much Hello Kitty Can You Take?
If you’re departing from Taipei, your EVA Air x Hello Kitty experience begins at a dedicated check-in counter that has been pimped out to the max with Hello Kitty motifs. In here, you can also get a sneak peek at the in-flight amenities exclusive to the Hello Kitty jets and the souvenirs you can buy. Passengers taking these Hello Kitty flights will also be given their very own Kitty boarding passes.

A dedicated check-in area for passengers flying on EVA Air's Hello Kitty planes.

A dedicated check-in area for passengers flying on EVA Air’s Hello Kitty planes.

This machine checks you in AND prints out a specially designed Hello Kitty boarding pass for you.

This machine checks you in AND prints out a specially designed Hello Kitty boarding pass for you.

Boarding pass and barf bag

Boarding pass and barf bag

Once you clear Immigration, a walk down the duty-free shopping area will present sights (and photo opportunities) such as a Hello Kitty nursing room, a Hello Kitty public payphone, and finally a Hello Kitty departure lounge.

Even a non-fan like me found myself squealing with delight whenever I spotted a Hello Kitty “thing”. “Aaaah! A Hello Kitty playground! How cuuuuute!

Destination: Kawaii!
Onboard the plane, the experience becomes absolutely mind-blowing. The attention to detail is spectacular. You know it’s a Hello Kitty themed flight but every time you see something that you didn’t think will have the cat and it does, you will go, “AAAAHHH!” I won’t be surprised if people start challenging each other to a Spot The Kitty contest to see how many Kitty-marked things they can find.

Even the safety videos star Hello Kitty!

Even the safety videos star Hello Kitty!

Besides the soap dispenser, the toilet paper is printed with Hello Kitty toooooo ... AAAHH!

Besides the soap dispenser, the toilet paper is printed with Hello Kitty toooooo … AAAHH!

There are Kitty-themed meals for both adults and kids. The meal for adults has subtler (although I’m not sure if that’s even possible) Hello Kitty themed dishes while the kids meal is more “full-on”, containing a rice dumpling shaped like Kitty’s head. You could, when booking your flight, put in a request to be served a kids’ meal.

Too cute to consume!

Too cute to consume!

Even non-Kitty fans will appreciate the attention to detail paid by EVA Air to make these flights an awesome experience!

Even non-Kitty fans will appreciate the attention to detail paid by EVA Air to make these flights an awesome experience!

Here's a shot of me with an attendant wearing a Hello Kitty apron. I feel a bit like Maleficent standing next to her.

Here’s a shot of me with an attendant wearing a Hello Kitty apron. I feel a bit like Maleficent standing next to her.

Coming To Singapore In December
Ready to sign up for a Hello Kitty flight? Normally, you can fly with EVA Air to destinations like Guam and Seoul, then do a transfer at Taipei to get onto one of these flights. But come this December, EVA Air will be bringing specially chartered Hello Kitty flights to Singapore for a limited period of time. These flights will be packaged as part of full board tour packages with selected tour agents. Package information and ticket sales are now available.

The dates for the Hello Kitty flights are:
1) 4 – 6 December 2014
2) 11 – 13 December 2014
3) 18 – 20 December 2014

And the agents to check in with are:
1) Chan Brothers Travel
2) CS Travel
3) CTC Travel
4) Dynasty Travel
5) Green Holidays
6) New Shan Travel

So start planning your getaways now, you Kitty fans!

There are 6 designs in all for these Hello Kitty flights.

There are 6 designs in all for these Hello Kitty flights.

Material World was invited by EVA Air to Taipei to check out its Hello Kitty themed jets. All opinions are the author’s own. For more on EVA Air’s Hello Kitty flights, you may also visit this website.


Beauty & Shopping, Branded Content, Skincare

[Material World x Elizabeth Arden] Don’t Let Stress Kill Your Skin – Deborah Tan

Fact: stress can age your skin by up to 10 years. Deborah Tan tries a skincare range by Elizabeth Arden created to help prevent premature skin aging by addressing the damages caused by stress.

“Is it because you are afraid the plane would crash?” is the question I get asked the most whenever I tell people flying makes me “antsy”. No … I do not have a fear of flying. Rather, flying is not one of my favorite things to do. I love travelling, don’t get me wrong, it’s just the process of getting to the destination that stresses me out. How?

1. Flying could screw with your sleep cycle

You want to sleep but you are awake … you are awake but not really awake … AARGH!

Especially when you take a red-eye (overnight flights). Say your flight is at 12mn and you’re bound for Japan. You check in at the airport at 10pm, spend the next hour wandering about duty-free when you should really be in bed asleep, board the plane and suffer through all the shenanigans before you actually get to close your eyes. That’d be about, what, 2am? Then at 5.20am, everyone gets woken up again for landing. I NEED MORE SLEEP, DAMMIT!!

2. You get tortured by radiation and dehydration

Newsflash! Windows on planes do not block out UV rays. The dose of UV rays you’re exposed to is also stronger as you’re flying at a higher altitude. This is before you consider all the rays coming from the TV screens, and soon, from WiFi … The air is also drier so you are losing water at an alarming rate. Those paltry cups of water they hand out once every few hours are hardly enough to keep you hydrated! Bottomline: it’s hell for your cells!

3. Your body is immobilised

You need it move it, move it!!

There’s really only so much you can move once you are strapped into your Economy seat. There’s just no way of sitting and sleeping comfortably. Your body cries for room to stretch out and lie back. You arrive at your destination feeling worse for wear – blood circulation sluggish, muscles aching … it’s painful. HELP! I CAN’T FEEL MY LEGS!!!!

And the one place where all these stress shows up? My skin. FACT: Stress can accelerate aging by up to 10 years. When you’re stressed your skin acts up by becoming rough, blotchy and dull. At a cellular level, stress depletes ceramides which help keep skin healthy and support the collagen matrix. Stress also damages telomeres (the caps at the end of chromosomes), which will eventually compromise our cells’ ability to replicate.

The Skincare Solution To Stress Aging

The review set for Elizabeth Arden’s new Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide range couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I took the Caplet Serum, $99, and Eye Gel, $69, with me on a recent trip that required me to take the red-eye. As we didn’t check into the hotel straight after arrival, by the time we actually had a chance to freshen up, my skin was in need of some serious TLC.

My skin - blotchy, dry and very pissed off that it had to fly overnight.

My skin – blotchy, dry and very pissed off that it had to fly overnight. Photo taken post-flight while wearing sunscreen. Photo has not been Photoshopped or digitally altered.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Caplet Serum After cleansing and a quick mud mask, I applied the Caplet Serum. Each pump dispenses a fresh burst of powerful ingredients, including Telosense a protein complex to help protect telomeres. The silky serum covered my skin like balm and I found I really liked its texture. A few hours of sleep, and I’m happy to report that my skin was back to its former glowing, calm glory.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Eye Gel Many anti-aging eye care products tend to be quite rich and so we usually reserve them for use at night. Instead, most women opt for eye creams with a brightening benefit and a light refreshing texture. This eye gel combines the best of both worlds – it’s anti-aging and it’s in a gel texture. It also contains a brightening complex, the antioxidant vitamin E, sodium hyaluronate and an algae extract to target puffiness.


Not exaggerating here but I really felt like Kristen Stewart’s Bella Swan when she wakes up to find herself a vampire. My skin looked more rested and there was a definite glow to my complexion. I applied the serum and the eye gel religiously throughout my trip and when I got back, I couldn’t help but take a selfie on my way home from the airport. I love how much calmer and even my skin looks! So if your skin acts up every time you’re stressed, I strongly recommend you give the Flawless Future Powered by Ceramides range a shot.

Eyes and face are puffy from flying but skin is definitely a lot "sturdier" looking.

Eyes and face are puffy from flying but skin is definitely a lot “sturdier” looking. Photo taken while wearing eyeliner, eyebrow makeup and sunscreen. Photo has not been Photoshopped or digitally touched up.

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Powered by Ceramides is now selling at Elizabeth Arden counters islandwide. Elizabeth Arden worked with Material World to promote this new range of skincare products. All opinions are the author’s own. This post was not vetted by the brand. You may read our Advertising Policy here.

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 secretly believes she has perfected the art of selfie-taking. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

Deborah Tan, Opinions

I’m Defending, Not Defensive. – Deborah Tan

The one thing that Deborah Tan hates most whenever she finds herself arguing or debating with a man is when he says this line to her. What is it?

“There’s no need to get defensive,” said the man sitting across of me at a lunch during a recent press trip. We had been arguing about parenthood and I had decided to defend my stance that many parents in Singapore end up fighting a losing battle against the stressful education system, and eventually sign their kids up for enrichment classes even though they had said they would never want their child to become a drone that never gets to play. He, on the other, said parents sign their kids up for enrichment simply because they want to show off how much they are doing for their kids.

Our debate went on for about 15 minutes. During this time, the atmosphere at our table of six got increasingly tense. But … I wasn’t about to let go until he got that I was offended that he had made an unfair statement about parents. As we defended our views, I noticed that my voice was getting louder and I was sounding more and more agitated. Despite these, I reminded myself to make sure I did not lose sight of my argument. Then came the straw that broke the camel’s back. My opponent said, “Look, I’m just sharing my observations on human behavior. I’m not attacking you. Don’t get so defensive.”

I flipped.

“I’m not being defensive,” I snapped back, making sure my words had a hard edge to them. “I just think we should never doubt the love parents have for their kids. As parents, it’s only natural to want to make sure your kids are not being shortchanged. Giving them what they need to keep up with their peers is NOT the same as SHOWING OFF.”

Without dwelling deeper into this incident, I just want to say today that there is an epidemic concerning the way men treat women whenever both find themselves in an argument.

Yes … men have no problems, no issues, no baggage…

The Fear Of Angry Women
If you are a woman reading this, you are probably familiar with these statements:

“Don’t get so emotional”

“You’re overreacting”

“You’re just being too sensitive!”

“Don’t get so defensive, it’s not always about you”

Men say they say these things because they need us to calm down and focus on the matter at hand in a level-headed manner.

I say men say these things to us because they can’t deal when we show our frustration, unhappiness, sadness, disappointment and anger. And I’m not alone in thinking this. Men think they are in control of their emotions and of the situation when they tell us to calm down. I have always found that a man who says these things in the midst of an argument is only trying to instil in the woman the idea that she is overreacting and therefore incapable of engaging in a debate logically.

It’s Not Us. It’s YOU 
“Gaslighting” is a term used to describe manipulative behavior employed to confuse someone into thinking she is overreacting and crazy. Gaslighting in emotionally abusive relationships would see one partner constantly feeding thoughts like, “You’re so stupid, only I would love you” into the other person’s mind.

In the same article I mentioned above, one of the consequences of gaslighting is that it turns some people emotionally mute. And it’s true. For many years, I was told I am overly emotional. At school and at work, whenever I tried to defend my stance on certain issues, I was told I’m someone who lets her emotions get the better of her.

To counter such “observations”, I decided to not be so vocal. Instead, if I wanted to get my points across, I would write letters and emails and sent them to whoever I had to “talk” to. Getting my points down in writing allowed me to read through them and “make sure” they were really “valid”. I even had to assume a fake identity of a “guy” on my hall of residence’s forum board so people would “see” the reason behind my arguments! The sad thing was, it worked. When I posted my opinions as a “guy”, people reacted more positively to my views.

But now, on hindsight, I realize I was just reacting to the gaslighting I had been subjected to for many years. My arguments are valid. I debate just as logically and just as reasonably as anyone – man or woman. The unfortunate thing of this all is that even today, if I really wanted to get my points about something across, I would send an email. If I wanted my husband to understand why it’s important to take the trash out every night, I would see better results emailing him than telling him.

It has to stop.

The Message Vs The Method
“Whatever it takes to get the message across, right?” you may say. The thing is, writing served me just fine until that lunchtime conversation happened. What if, one day, at a dinner party or over a casual gathering, someone engages you in an intense debate over a topic you feel strongly about? You can’t possibly go, “Let me mull over this and I’ll write you when I have my points sorted out.” More importantly, what if you meet someone who refuses to let you off the hook and wants to “settle” the argument there and then?

But what is the point of getting into a debate if people are going to dismiss you with, “Don’t be so defensive!”?

I refuse to follow or prescribe tips by public speaking coaches. For one, I don’t want to have to go down a pitch like how Margaret Thatcher was advised to do. I sound like I sound, thank you very much. Second, I WANT people to recognize that it’s OKAY to express emotions when you speak. If I want to sound agitated because I feel your argument is stupid, then yes, I WILL SOUND AGITATED. Third, I think men need to learn to listen even if they are uncomfortable with women defending their arguments passionately.

Yes, sticking to my guns here may not get my message across, but I think it is more important for us to stop working around the gaslighters in our lives. And the only way to get this movement started is to blaze on brightly and fiercely, and let your fire take them down.

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 promises to punch the next person who uses the line, “Don’t get so defensive” on her. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.