Beauty & Shopping, Food & Supplements, Hair, Health & Fitness, Skincare

The Multi-Functional Oil You Have To Try – Matthew Fam

We’ve all heard of oils that beautify your complexion and give you shiny locks of hair, but Matthew Fam has found one that you can actually eat for a nutrition boost while ticking all the beauty boxes for great skin and hair! Here’s why he’s going loco for the coco(nut oil).

o-BENEFITS-OF-COCONUT-OIL-facebookIt’s a nutrition must-have!

Uhm… Logically speaking, isn’t eating oil unhealthy? Well, not this one. Coconut oil is a rich source of saturated fat that aids in weight loss. What’s different is its chemical structure of medium-chain triglycerides that allows the body to digest it more rapidly, thus using up more energy.

In fact, 15 to 30 grams of such fat can increase 24-hour energy expenditure by 5% (that’s about an extra 120 calories burnt a day!) Its high lauric acid content also bolsters your immune system by fending off viruses such as the common flu, for instance.

You can cook it with rice, use it as dressing for salads, or just ingest it as it is. What I usually do is to add a tablespoon of the oil into my breakfast of soy milk, seeds and oats- and it totally ends up tasting like CHENDOL. Mind. Blown.

Plus, it’s easy to find a jar of this multi-functional oil from your local supermarket. You can even purchase a jar and have it home-delivered from health food websites like these.

2269941It gives you beautiful skin and hair!

Coconut oil works as a great moisturiser too. The luxuriously nourishing oil turns into a paste-like consistency below temperatures of 24 degrees celsius, so I leave a jar of it in the fridge. This way, it’s less messy for me to scoop the solidified, fluffy substance to spread on skin.

I have dry skin on my legs, so this beauty fix was perfect for an overnight moisturising treatment. The oil is absorbed well by skin, and you don’t have to worry about staining your bedsheets. I was surprised at how applying a dollop of coconut oil left a mild, fragrant scent that wasn’t overpowering at all. In addition, my legs definitely felt smoother the next morning!

If the thought of smearing food on your skin or scalp grosses you out, there are plenty of coconut oil-infused products out there for you to reap its benefits, without the potential ‘ick’ factor. Try Organix Weightless Hydration Coconut Water Shampoo. It’s non-SLS formula (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, a drying detergent ingredient in most shampoos) gives you shiny, silky strands.

cdentistryIt’s a major oral hygiene booster!

You’d be surprised to find out that the benefits of coconut oil even extend to oral health! The next time you get your hands on a jar of this miracle oil, try out oil swishing- an ancient Indian practice that dates back thousands of years.

What you need to do is gargle a table-spoonful of oil in your mouth, as you would with regular mouthwash, for 10 to 20 minutes. It is said to reduce bacteria and plague from your mouth, and gradually whiten teeth. When you expel the solution, the naturally transparent oil should now have a milky colour.

Sure, it shouldn’t replace regular brushing and flossing; but who doesn’t want a gorgeous smile, right?

With these all-encompassing benefits that ensure a healthier, more beautiful you, I am officially hooked on coconut oil!

About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and Contributing Beauty Assistant. He writes, teaches, and performs for the stage. Matthew enjoys museum visits, Singaporean Theatre, and spends too much of his undergraduate allowance on magazines. Follow him on Instagram @mattjfam.


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Beauty & Shopping, Hair, Makeup

10 X-Men Inspired Beauty Looks For Non-Mutants – Matthew Fam

Are superhuman abilities out of reach for us non-mutants? Not a chance! The ladies of X-Men may have fire-wielding and shapeshifting tricks aplenty, but you can have super beauty with these 10 X-Men inspired beauty looks.

Relax- it's not her blue body paint we're talking about.

Relax- it’s not her blue body paint we’re talking about.

1. Mystique
This shapeshifting babe has got the smoking beauty trend you HAVE to follow (hint: it’s not her blue skin). Slicked back hair is neat and amazingly chic, especially when contrasted with a bold lip.

Hold the style in place using hair mousse. For bobbed hair lengths, dispense mousse the size of a lemon; for long hair, a baseball-sized mound would suffice. Apply on damp hair that is 60% dry, then style behind ears and blowdry.

2. Kitty Pryde
You may not phase through walls, but Kitty’s ‘no-makeup’ makeup can take you from work to weekend brunch without a beauty hitch.

Instead of creating an artificial mask of foundation, use a stippling brush (it distributes product evenly without streaks) to apply makeup only on problem areas. Dab on lip and cheek stain for a subtle pinch of colour. Now, with a face that pretty, you’ll be able to snag your very own Iceman.

Short crops = world domination.

Short crops = world domination.


3. Storm
Storm may have the power to manipulate the weather, but you can heat things up too- with a sexy short crop, that is! Having shorter crops doesn’t mean that you can’t look feminine. A smooth, pixie cut a la Anne Hathaway can be demure-looking as well.

When creating texture, the key is to use hair wax sparingly. Rub a ten-cent coin sized dollop between palms and rake fingers through hair. Add extra for a windswept ‘do. But remember not to go overboard- the weight of excess product will flatten your mane.


Bold brows FTW! (Not quite sure about face tats, though…)

4. Callisto
Joining forces with Magneto’s brotherhood of mutants in X-Men: The Last Stand, Callisto expresses her superhuman strength through her bold brows and face tats. Okay, so face tattoos aren’t exactly office friendly, but these strong-woman brows are a must!

Using a brow pencil, swipe upwards in diagonal, feather-like strokes. It’s all about looking fierce and fabulous, daaahling.



5. Emma Frost
She may have diamond-tough skin but Emma’s look is hardcore beauty. A pale colour palette is essential for achieving this pristine, icy look. Keep eyeshadows simple, and stick to neutral lip shades.

For fairer complexions, opt for pink-based nudes; darker complexions should try caramel tones instead. Blend highlighter along the top of cheekbones and dot the inside corner of eyes.

tumblr_mcz8m37J9b1r8g7kno1_500 26.Lady Deathstrike
Do adamantium claws and leather cat suits a femme fatale make? Not on our watch. Deathstrike’s sensous eye and a dark lip gives her an edge above the rest. To channel this foxy fighter, a luscious coating of mascara is what you need. Coat the tips of your lashes with brown mascara to create the illusion of larger eyes.

Mocha magic.

Mocha magic.

7. Angel Salvadore
Want Angel’s mocha-toned skin, but afraid of the skin-damaging effects of the Sun? A cream self tanner can solve your problems. For an even wash of bronze, exfoliate and moisturise skin before application- dry patches of skin grab onto too much colour and create a blotchy tan. (Watch out for knees and elbows!)


rogue_hulk8. Rogue
She has the power to absorb memories and you don’t. But what you can steal is everyone’s attention with your sexy, silky tresses. *Cue shampoo-commercial dramatic hair flip*

Rogue’s silky standards are no superhuman feat: the trick lies in misting hair with a heat-activated straightening spray so hair is frizz-free. Follow this with the use of a hair iron. Then slick a pump of hair oil from mid-shaft to tips for glossy, lustrous strands.

9. Blink
A recent addition to the X-Men film franchise, Blink gives us major punk with her stark orchid highlights, and crazy plum pout. For a temporary streak of colour, use hair chalks.

Thinking of upping the ante? Try a graphic, bold eye like Blink’s.

It's not just the wind machine that's making her look so fabulous.

It’s not just the wind machine that’s making her look so fabulous.



10. Phoenix (Jean Grey)
When she’s not going batsh*t crazy annihilating everything in her path, Phoenix rocks those auburn tresses even without a wind machine.

If you’re thinking of penciling in a salon dye job, avoid conditioning hair before your visit. Red dye pigments have a large molecule size. This means that any prior conditioning would seal the cuticle and block pigment from penetrating the hair shaft, producing a less-saturated colour.

A botched dye job is a huge no-no. After all, who else is going to save the world if you don’t look fabulous??


So, which of these X-Men inspired beauty looks is your favourite? Share with us in the comments section below! 

About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and Contributing Beauty Assistant. He writes, teaches, and performs for the stage. Matthew enjoys museum visits, Singaporean Theatre, and spends too much of his undergraduate allowance on magazines.

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Beauty & Shopping, Hair, Makeup, Singapore Fashion

7 Ways To Rock Pantone’s Colour Of The Year- Matthew Fam

Guilty of revisiting the same old cycle of clothes and makeup to work? Enter Pantone for a major intervention. Its 2014 colour of the year, Radiant Orchid- a mixture of fuschia, purple and pink undertones- will add a flash of drama to your ailing ensemble. Here is your fashion and beauty remedy with the 7 ways to rock this delicious hue. 

1. Hair: A Radiant Head of Orchid
Oh, do you not already know of the trend that takes tresses from Plain Jane to candy-coloured gorgeousness? Now try it with Radiant Orchid. Should you decide to colour your hair in this lush shade, your strands first need to undergo multiple rounds of bleaching. These sessions are spread out with several weeks in between them, before the final coating of fuschia-infused dye can be applied onto your hair. Tip: To prevent this stark hue from losing its saturation quickly, avoid rinsing hair with hot water and minimise direct Sun exposure.

We love Kelly's orchid hued tresses!

We love Kelly’s pale orchid tresses!

2. Hair: Subtle Yet Sexy
Alternatively, if a full head of orchid sounds daunting, try a lighter, more elegant hue like Kelly Osbourne’s, or go for an ombre effect.

Hair chalks are a great option too if you require a temporary sampling of how this shade would suit your skin tone. Just press a one-inch thick swatch of hair against the chalk pigment and drag downwards. It’s perfect for a fresh, new look over the weekend! Plus, it’s washable so you can conquer this Pantone pick without committing to it for months on end.

Try hints of orchid in graphic nail art.

Try hints of orchid in graphic nail art.

3. Nails: Graphics Galore
So you’re convinced that anything remotely purple on your body makes you look like Barney the Dinosaur. To overcome your purple phobia, begin by incorporating small splashes of this cheery hue on your nails instead.

Bored of plain coats? Play with various shades of orchid, ranging from pale lilac to a deeper violet. Segment these colours into graphic blocks for nail art that take your digits to legit fashion frontrunner. The trick in painting clean-edged sections of colour is to use sticky tape as a stencil. If you’re up for a quicker fix, opt for patterned nail stickers.

4. Lips
Move over, reds and pinks! The orchid lip is an unexpected twist to your standard fare pouts. Part flirty, part edgy, Radiant Orchid warms up sallow complexions for a healthy glow. As a rule of thumb, lighter skin tones suit warmer undertones of purple, and darker skin tones with cooler ones. For a strong, saturated lip, first ensure that your pretty puckers are moisturised. Then, dab on a thin layer of concealer- this primes your lip so the colour stands out more. Dab on your first layer of colour before gliding lipstick over once more.

Orchid overdose.

Orchid overdose much.

5. Statement Piece
Having bold hues in an outfit is always a highly contentious issue. Too little of an addition, and you’re not taking enough fashion risks. Go overboard orchid-on-orchid, and you’ll end up looking like an air stewardess.

When putting together an ensemble, stick to one focal point of the outfit that immediately draws your eyes. This could be anything from a dress to a statement necklace. Also, try dabbling with various shades of orchid within an outfit. But remember to limit yourself to three tints- you don’t want to be mistaken for a circus tent.

6. Spectacles
With us having one of the highest rates of Myopia in the world, chances are you’d be wearing prescription glasses. Don’t count this humble accessory out: a shot of orchid in your spectacle frames can enliven a drab, all-black outfit. It’s a dream for practical, simple dressers!

Retro-themed frames, in particular, are all the rage. Their thicker frames allow for more dramatic displays of colour. And if you don’t use prescription glasses, avoid ruling yourself out of this fashion clique. Simply use zero-degree lenses and you’ll be one of the gang.

You can never go wrong with suede.

You can never go wrong with suede.

7. Heel
Find your wardrobe in multiple shades of black, black, and black? Break free from the humdrum of monochromatism with a sliver of orchid in the form of a well-timed heel.

Experiment with different shoe materials too: suede lends an air of sophistication, while glossy-finished leather screams siren. Contrast a subtle, greyscale outfit with a dramatic heel to achieve superstar shoe status.

So, how do YOU incorporate Radiant Orchid in your look and wardrobe? Tell us!

About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and freelancer. He writes, performs for the stage, and teaches drama at secondary schools. Matthew enjoys museum visits, origami, and is passionate about Singaporean Theatre.


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Beauty & Shopping, Hair

Beauty Review: Dove Hair Therapy Intense Repair – Deborah Tan

One of the things I hate doing the most is washing my hair. No one believes me when I tell them this. All they see is someone with freshly blown tresses day in day out. But you know what? Getting my hair to look the way it does is a chore. The shampooing and the blow-drying take forever to complete (in all, I spend 45 minutes!), and let’s not even talk about the number of precious strands I lose every day.

It’s not that I don’t know why.

1. My hair takes forever to get washed because …

… it is tangled. It may look like it is keeping its shape and bounces really well but what I’ve got is a head of hair that tangles mid-length, no thanks to heat damage. If you run your fingers through my hair, you’ll see it gets “trapped” halfway down. Every shampoo session is tedious because it is close to impossible getting the strands to separate.

2. Blow-drying is a necessary evil

Don’t blow-dry my hair? Well, then be prepared for a long, arduous wait. Without blow-drying, my hair takes close to two hours to dry. I’m not exaggerating. And after it dries, it’s even frizzier than if I had put it through the hair-dryer. It takes 15 – 25 minutes to blow-dry my hair because damaged hair holds on to water. Healthy hair is hydrophobic (waterproof) and therefore takes less time to dry. Damaged hair not only stays wet for longer, it breaks more easily because the hair shaft swells a lot more when it comes into contact with water.

So when I was introduced to Dove Hair Therapy’s new Intense Repair range of hair products, I was more than ready to give them a try.

Dove Hair Therapy Intense Repair range

Dove Hair Therapy Intense Repair range

The Science:
Briefly put, this entire range repairs your hair on the cellular level. This is because hair suffers not just physical damage but also internal damage. The former is caused by things like exposure to heat and physical stress like combing, the latter is caused by things like lipid loss and fluctuating pH levels. Intense Repair has a patented Keratin Repair Actives to replenish the lost lipids and stabilise the protein structure to prevent further damage.

There are a total of 6 products in the Intense Repair range. My favourites are:

#3: Intense Repair Treatment Mask, $10.90


I know it’s awkward standing inside the shower while waiting the five minutes for a hair mask to work its magic. But if you have the habit of blow-drying your hair or colouring your hair, a hair mask is habit you need to get started on asap. Used once a week, a mask provides your hair with a more intense bout of benefits and hydration your conditioner cannot. Dove Hair Therapy Intense Repair Treatment Mask left my hair a lot softer and smoother, without being too greasy or heavy. It rinses off extremely well and quickly – a bonus for impatient people like me.

#2: Intense Repair Conditioner, $7.70 for 350ml 


In the conditioners of this new range is a new technology called Microsheets. Conditioning ingredients are deposited along the hair shaft in “sheet-like” shapes rather than circular particles. This ensures a more even coating of the conditioner and makes rinsing less abrasive. I’ve tried this for two weeks now and I can tell you the amount of hair on my bathroom drain trap has more than halved. I’m losing less hair during my daily wash. Pretty amazing when you can see that a hair monster is no longer growing on your drain trap.

#1: Intense Repair All Day Repair Cream, $7.05  


My absolute favourite! After my first time trying this, I was irrevocably hooked! After towelling my hair, I would squeeze a 20-cent dollop of this cream, flipped my head towards the ground so my hair tumbles down in front of my face, and gently spread this cream on every strand. Applying the cream like this prevents you from putting it on your scalp. Unlike most creams/serums I’ve tried, this one significantly reduces the amount of time I spend blow-drying my hair. TRUE STORY. It takes me less time to blow-dry my hair and it keeps its shape and bounce throughout the day without tangling up. It also contains a UV blocker – great for those who’s out and about in the sun.

Overall, I’m in love with this range of hair products – great scent, great texture, and most importantly, great results. I actually don’t dread washing my hair so much these days. If you don’t want to splurge on an entire range at once, I recommend you try the conditioner first.

This new range from Dove Hair Therapy is available at all leading supermarkets and pharmacies.

The Dove Hair Therapy Intense Repair range was given to Material World at the media launch. All opinions are the author’s own. 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 likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and hates it when people try to pluck out her grey hair. You’ve been warned. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

Beauty & Shopping, Hair, Infographics

[Infographic] Hair Is The Logic!?!? – Deborah Tan

Forgive the lame play on words here. But that was how I felt when I was sent the press release of Pantene’s new range of colour and perm care products a couple of weeks ago. The press release went on and on about a certain “F-layer” and I kept asking myself, “What is the F-layer??” When we got to the Liquid Crystal technology, I was like … “OK. Is this really crystal or we’re referring to something really sophisticated here?”

I could have just said it’s a haircare range that protects your colour and curls for a really long time. I could have simply rattled out the ingredients and paraphrased the press release. But being a haircare enthusiast, I couldn’t. I needed to know what is it about this colour and perm care range that makes it so special. After all, there are loads of shampoos and conditioners out there that promise to keep your freshly coloured tresses looking smooth, lustrous, and brown/blonde/red/ash/mahogany like … forever.

Thanks to epic levels of patience from the PR handling this brand, we managed to get a P&G hair care scientist Lais Koelle to clear up the fog for us. I hope this infographic can explain why Pantene’s Colour & Perm Lasting Care system is certain it can help keep your next colouring, or perm, job looking fresher for longer.

Infographic by Deborah Tan

I will always remember what my hairstylist told me about hair damage. “The more damaged your hair, the longer it takes to dry.” It now makes perfect sense why. Healthy hair is hydrophobic (water-repellant) and if your hair is healthy, you shouldn’t need to take forever to blow dry it. So, if you want your hair colour or curls to last longer, be sure to remember to repair the damage done to your hair after the treatments.

PS: If you really want to know … Liquid Crystal refers to an ingredient made of highly charged, cationic synthetic polymer (poly-DADMAC) to form lyotropic Liquid Crystals (LC) when combined with anionic surfactant (surfactant magnet). It’s still science-y but at least I have done away with images of melted Swarovskis coating my hair inside my head.

Information in the infographic was taken from the press releases of Pantene Colour & Perm Lasting Care and from the answers of Lais Koelle, Hair Care Scientist at P&G. Opinions about the efficacy of the product – if any – are the author’s own.

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 her boyfriend wonders every day how her hair never falls out of place. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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You may also check out our advertising policy here.

Beauty & Shopping, Hair

Before You Buy That Hair Product, Read This – Vanessa Tai

Back in my previous job, I used to write about hair, so I got pretty acquainted with all kinds of hair woes and how to treat them, whether through off-the-shelf products or DIY home treatments. However, with more and more products vying for our attention, how do we know which ones suit us best? Here, some points to consider before spending on that new shampoo or conditioner.

Do all my hair products need to be from the same range?

While it might be easier to just pick up the entire range of products when you’re at the drugstore, many of us also like experimenting with different hair brands to see which ones work best. That’s all well and good, but be sure to pick out products that address your specific hair care needs. For example, because I have coloured hair, I am using Goldwell Dual Senses Fade Stop Shampoo and Conditioner, which treats thick and coarse colour-treated hair. However, I also use Essential Nuance Airy Treatment twice a week to help repair my damaged cuticles.


Urban dwellers are literally spoiled for choice when it comes to beauty products.

Mixing of hair products is even more common when it comes to styling your hair. Because there isn’t one magic product to create the salon-worthy look you desire, very often you’ll have to mix-and-match products. For example, I like my hair to have that tousled, out-of-bed look but I can’t stand the sight of frizz. So I mix styling wax with a bit of hair serum for piecey hair that still has a bit of a sheen.

What are SLS and parabens, and should you be afraid of them?

SLS stands for Sodium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulfate and it’s a type of detergent that’s commonly found in shampoos. It’s the ingredient that gives you that lather you so love, and makes your hair feel squeaky clean. While it may cause irritation to your scalp if left on for too long (for example, if you didn’t wash out your hair thoroughly), there have been numerous studies done that disproves the myth that it’s actually carcinogenic.

A good rule of thumb when washing your hair is to rinse out the suds for 30 to 60 seconds.

A good rule of thumb when washing your hair: rinse out the suds for at least a full minute.

Parabens are a type of chemical preservatives that are commonly found in cosmetic products. In recent years, it has been been given villain status because of its linkage to cancer. That’s because parabens have estrogen-like properties and because estrogen is known to promote the growth of breath cancer tissue, there are researchers who’re concerned that parabens may have the same effect. To date, there have been no conclusive studies about whether parabens are carcinogenic, but if you prefer to err on the side of caution, there are now a slew of paraben-free products to choose from.

If you feel your product is no longer as effective, don’t be so hasty to toss it out. 

In the market for a new shampoo because you feel yours isn’t working as great as it did before? Wait. It’s not that your hair has “gotten used” to the shampoo. Very often, the main reason why your shampoo (or any other hair care product) isn’t as effective as before is because of product build-up. As women with busy lifestyles, we’re often guilty of not rinsing our hair out thoroughly. All the gunk accumulated on our scalp may block out whatever benefits your hair care product has. Avoid this gunky situation by washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo once to twice a week.

This blog post was intended for purely informational purposes only, and was not paid for by any of the above brands. 

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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