Beauty & Shopping, Skincare

Beauty Review: Etude House Every Month Cleansing Foam – Vanessa Tai

Korean skincare giant Etude House has outdone themselves once again, with the recent launch of 12 different facial cleansers, each to target a specific skin concern. 

You might be thinking, “Why on earth does one skincare brand need to create so many different cleansers?” Well, Etude House has identified 12 main skin concerns – from acne to loss of elasticity – and developed 12 different facial cleansers to target these problems.

I guess that makes sense, given how each of us have our own unique skin concerns. Even among the four of us at Material World, each of us have very different skin needs as well. For this review, each of us picked a cleanser that best matched our skin types, and tried it out for two weeks.

Deborah – Soothing Relief (Aloe Vera)

Every Month Cleansing Foam #7 ALOE VERA (1)

Skin Type: Sensitive, acne-prone

Review: “The mild fruity scent is pleasant and the gel-like texture of the cleanser emulates that of aloe vera gel. Although the cleanser foams up easily, the lather is soft like a powder puff and doesn’t leave my skin feeling too tight or dry.”

Denise – Purifying (Lemon & Garlic)

Every Month Cleansing Foam #4 LEMON & GARLIC (1)

Skin Type: Clogged, and often exposed to UV rays

Review: “When this cleanser first landed on my desk, I was intrigued as it had ‘lemon and garlic’ written on it. Sounds like something you rub on fish as a marinade if you ask me! Thankfully, it smelled more like lemon than garlic. The fresh citrus-y scent made this pleasant to use, but honestly, I was a tad disappointed at its supposed “purifying” properties. After using it for over two weeks, I didn’t really notice a reduction in blackheads and my skin remains as oily as ever. As an everyday cleanser, it does a decent job of removing debris and grime, but I’d advise you to temper your expectations where its skincare properties are concerned.”

Lili – Deep Moisturising (Avocado & Butter)

Every Month Cleansing Foam #1_AVOCADO & BUTTER (1)

Skin Type: Dry, dehydrated

Review: “This cleanser is thicker than my usual facial cleansers, and I was impressed by its smooth, creamy texture. Just a tiny amount was needed for a good lather. For a cleanser this affordable, it does a decent job in cleansing my skin, especially any stubborn traces of makeup. Perhaps it’s too soon to tell, but I’ve yet to notice a visible difference in terms of my skin’s hydration levels.”

Vanessa – Combination (Apple & Tomato)

Every Month Cleansing Foam #3 APPLE & TOMATO (1)

Skin Type: Dull, discoloured

Review: “As my skin tends to be on the dry side, I appreciated how the moist pearl cream texture of the cleanser didn’t leave my skin with any tightness, unlike other cleansers I’ve tried. It also had a subtle scent of apples, which I liked. If you’re looking for a deep cleanser or one that is brimming with brightening ingredients, this probably won’t be your first choice. However, I’ll recommend stashing this in your gym bag for a quick and refreshing post-workout cleanse.”

This post is in no way paid for or advised by Etude House. The writers were given the Etude House Every Month Cleansing Foam cleansers for review purposes. You may read our advertising policy here. Etude House Every Month Cleansing Foam is available for $6 at the following Etude House outlets.

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, 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, Skincare

Beauty Review: FANCL 5-Step Mutenka Anti-Aging Solution – Vanessa Tai

Scenario: My mum and I are out shopping and the salesperson will ask, “Are you sisters?” My mum will grin from ear to ear whenever that happens while I look away, scowling. I’ll usually tell my mum the salesperson was just trying to flatter her so she would buy more stuff, but it’s happened even with other random people we meet. Even Debs’ fiance said he did a double-take when he first saw my mum, ’cause he thought he was seeing double.

Bottomline: My mum looks younger than her age.

However, she’s recently been complaining about experiencing various signs of ageing, namely fine lines, a saggier skin tone, and pigmentation spots that don’t seem to go away. So she was excited when I asked her to try out FANCL’s 5-Step Mutenka Anti-Aging Solution. Combining skincare with oral supplements, this range works by revitalising troubled skin cells and removing skin damage factors.

material world singapore-fancl

There are four skincare products in this range – the Aging Care Lotion, Aging Care Essence, Aging Care Mask and the Aging Care Emulsion – but the star product in this range is the Aging Care Essence. It contains Early Harvest Kiwi Extract, which helps contract and tighten collagen tissues for firmer skin, as well as Centella Asiatica Extract to help prevent damage caused by UV rays. No wonder then it’s also my mum’s favourite product. She says:

Whenever I use the Aging Care Essence, I can really feel it being absorbed into my skin, hydrating it. It’s as if my skin is taking a drink!”

In addition to having well-moisturised skin, she has also noticed a visible improvement to her complexion in just two weeks. Her pigmentation spots are now lighter and her skin doesn’t appear to be as saggy.

For pictorial evidence, here are her before/after shots:


Before (Skin looks listless and saggy around chin area)


After (Skin is visibly brighter and skin tone appears firmer)

Note: The above images have not been digitally altered.

Overall, this is a great starter kit for those looking for a holistic anti-aging solution.

FANCL Mutenka Anti-Aging products are now available from $36 at all FANCL outlets. The products mentioned in this post were given to Material World for review purposes, all opinions are the reviewer’s own. You may 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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Branded Content, Contests, Lifestyle, Vacations & Staycations

[Material World x Shiseido] A Very Brief Respite – Vanessa Tai

During the weekend of the recent Malaysian elections, I was in KL for a media visit to the newly opened The Majestic Hotel (5 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tel: (603) 2785 8000)

This iconic landmark harks back to the almost-forgotten era of colonial Malaysia. Built in the 1930s, the hotel retains its old-world charm but has been given a contemporary update by talented Malaysian architect Zaidan Tahir. We arrived at the hotel on Saturday afternoon, and were immediately whisked away for a hotel tour followed by a business dinner in the evening.

The gorgeous hotel lobby

The sumptuously decorated hotel lobby

The suite I stayed in was large – there were two rooms and two television sets – and was located in the hotel wing that included round-the-clock butler service.While it was thrilling to experience butler service (check out the picture below!), I only had Sunday morning to explore the city so I knew I couldn’t hole myself up in the hotel for too long. I decided to check out Bangsar, a chic suburb about a 15-minute drive away.

My butler gamely striking a pose as he serves breakfast

My butler gamely striking a pose as he serves breakfast

Getting ready to head out!

Getting ready to head out!

The weather in KL was as scorching as the weather in Singapore. As I stepped outside the hotel, I was confronted with a wall of searing heat and dust. That got me worried. I was recovering from a case of chemical burns from using an over-the-counter pimple cream and the last thing I wanted was for them to get worse. I hoped the Shiseido sunscreen I’m wearing would do its job protecting my fragile skin. My companions were amused at my vigilance – I obediently reapplied my sunblock every 2 – 3 hours – but admitted that the sunscreen blended flawlessly and did not leave behind a whitish mask.

Touching up sunscreen while on the go

Re-applying sunscreen while on the go

Bangsar is home to many upmarket eateries, shops, and even a shopping mall that houses familiar favourites like Zara and Ted Baker. The rows of short, squat buildings and trendy cafes reminded me of Holland Village, my stomping ground in Singapore. While I didn’t have time for retail therapy, I managed to indulge in some sinfully delicious French baked goods at the five-month-old French boulangerie called Yeast (12 Jalan Telawi 6, Bangsar Baru 59100, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, Tel: (603) 2282 7112). About 80 percent of the stuff they use is imported from France, from the ovens right down to the flour. And yes, they make their own yeast, hence the name. I had the tuna and Dijon mustard quiche, which was buttery and oozing with flavour.

Delicious to the last bite!

Delicious to the last bite!

After my meal at Yeast, I had rush back to the hotel to refresh myself and pack my luggage before leaving for the airport. As the train chugged its way out of the city toward the airport, I couldn’t help but feel wistful that I didn’t have more time to explore the rest of the Malaysian capital. From whatever little I managed to check out, Kuala Lumpur has really transformed drastically since my last visit 10 years ago. According to Christophe, the owner of Yeast, Bangsar is just one of many up-and-coming suburbs in the city and the posh nosh scene in KL looks set to revolutionise within the next few years. Well, when it does, I’ll definitely be back to check it out!

My thoughts on Shiseido Perfect UV Protector SPF 50+ PA++++

$59, available at Shiseido counters islandwide

$59, available at Shiseido counters islandwide

“A bad episode with an anti-acne treatment recently left a burn mark on my face, so I was extra vigilant about shielding my skin from the sun. The last thing I wanted was for dark patches to form! Before this trip, the Material World girls met up with Iris and Cassandra from Shiseido and were introduced to the brand’s latest range of sunscreens. These sunscreens target the microscopic gaps in your skin, ensuring lotion is spread evenly across the tiny ridges and furrows, leaving no room for UV rays to penetrate through.

What I personally love about this sunscreen is its watery texture, and how you can apply it without a mirror – it blends into your skin that easily! Unlike the thicker, gloopier consistency of cream-based sunscreens, I didn’t need to check a mirror to make sure I had applied mine evenly. I can just apply it on the go. Another advantage of its lightweight texture is how it doubles up as a makeup base. Because it smoothens out the surface of your skin, my BB cream went on much more evenly after.

The sunscreen not only protected my skin from the sun, it also acted as a guard against the dust. When I returned to the hotel after lunch in Bangsar, I was shocked to see how grimy the water looked after I washed my face. I cringed at the thought of all that dust sitting on my face so good thing the sunscreen acted as a barrier of sorts. At a meeting yesterday, my Material World partners even commented how much fairer my skin now looks. Score!”

Apart from the Perfect UV Protector SPF 50+PA++++, Shiseido Suncare also comes in three other variants.

Click here to read our reviews of these Shiseido sunscreens, and find out how you can score a 3-day sample.

This article is brought to you by Shiseido. All opinions expressed are the author’s own and were not vetted by the brand’s owner.


Material World has 1 of each variant to give away! Here’s how to enter your name for this draw:

1. Share this post with your Facebook friends by clicking the Facebook button at the bottom of this post.

2. Tag Material World’s Facebook Page.

3. Then Private Message us on Material World’s Facebook Page with your details (Name, Age, NRIC No, Occupation, Email Address). Remember to state clearly that you’re entering the Shiseido contest.

Only followers of Material World is eligible for this contest, please Like our Facebook Page here. Failure to follow all 3 steps above will result in disqualification. Winners will have to be prepared to collect the sunscreens in person at a time and place stated by Material World. We will not be sending the prizes to you by mail or by courier, please take note.

Contest ends May 28, 2013.

You can also score yourself a 3-day sample! Click here to find out how to claim it.