Beauty & Shopping, Branded Content, Infographics, Skincare

[Infographic] Wanna Look Like Helen Mirren When You Are 50? – Deborah Tan

When people talk about aging gracefully, what exactly do they mean? Is it about leading a healthy, independent life? Is it about looking good for your age? Material World polled 138 women to find out what their attitudes towards aging are like. Together with Clarins, we present the infographic below.

A month ago, we asked women aged 30 – 45 to answer a survey on Aging Gracefully. What we didn’t reveal in this survey was that this project was a collaboration between Clarins and Material World. In this survey, we asked respondents questions like, “Age is just a number – agree or disagree?” (most of them agreed), “Would you get Botox to preserve your youthful looks?” (most said no), and “Have you ever lied about your age?” (a majority said no). Attitudes towards aging are generally healthy amongst our respondents.

We also asked: Who is your role model when it comes to aging gracefully? An overwhelming majority selected Helen Mirren. Many of our respondents recognized that when it comes to aging, staying healthy and independent is extremely important. They also reject the idea of surgically preserving their looks opting instead for the non-invasive solution of using skincare.

ClarinsFinalReview of Clarins Extra-Firming Eye Cream

Photos taken in daylight and have not be touched up or digitally altered.

Photos taken in daylight and have not be touched up or digitally altered.

I tried this eye cream for a month. Initially, I had my doubts whether its efficacy would show up on me. This is not a “humble-brag” but I really don’t have any crow’s feet, eye bags or dark circles on my eye area. So when the ladies from Clarins asked if the eye cream was working on me, I told them I couldn’t really see any difference. But for the sake of “research”, I persevered and continued to use it. The Before pictures were taken slightly more than a month ago, while the After, this morning. While I’m unable to tell you how effective this cream will be on crow’s feet, I can see that it has lifted the skin at my upper eyelids – my double-eyelid lines are much more obvious.

Texture-wise, the cream is not heavy and is absorbed very quickly by the skin.

I would say, if you are looking for an eye cream to address concerns such as crow’s feet, eye bags, saggy eyelids and dark circles, give Extra-Firming Eye Cream a try. To claim a sample, you can click here.


Clarins Extra-Firming Eye Cream is now retailing at all Clarins counters islandwide. Material World worked with Clarins to create the infographic. This post, however, was neither paid for nor advised by Clarins. The product was given to Material World to review, all opinions 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 counts herself very lucky that she’s never had many problems with her eye area and that she is genetically blessed to not have to suffer from dark eye circles. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

Beauty & Shopping, Skincare

5 Reasons This Is 2014’s Best Moisturiser for Oily Skin – Deborah Tan

In the beauty race to be this year’s best products, Deborah Tan has found her winner for “Best Moisturiser for Oily Skin” in Kiehl’s new and improved Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream.

We are not halfway into June and, here I am, casting my vote for “2014’s Best Moisturiser for Oily Skin”. To be honest, when Kiehl’s launched the Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream a couple of years ago, I was ambivalent, to say the least. While it wasn’t as rich as the classic Ultra Facial Cream, it didn’t exactly have the best texture where oil-free, super hydrating moisturisers were concerned.

And my vote for Best Moisturiser for Oily Skin goes to ...

And my vote for Best Moisturiser for Oily Skin goes to …

But this year, the Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream has been given a face-lift (hurhur …). The texture is lighter, more watery, and most importantly, it is absorbed very easily by the skin. Still doesn’t explain why this is THE BEST moisturiser for oily skin? Be patient. Read on.

1. Say “Goodbye” To Schizo Skin
My skin acts up whenever I have to fly. How is it possible for skin to be flaky and oily at the same time?!? I tried the new Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream on a recent flight to Japan and was pleased to find it helped kept my skin smooth, soft and shine-free throughout.

2. Preps Skin Nicely For Makeup
The key to a natural-looking base makeup? Moisturiser. And you need just the right type and amount. Too rich and your makeup won’t stay on for long, too dry and you end up with a cakey finish. This moisturiser preps the skin so it’s supple enough for your foundation.

3. Keeps Skin Matte For A Very Long Time 
The principle behind why we need to hydrate our skin is because thirsty skin produces more oil as a way of compensating for the dryness. Most hydrating moisturisers I’ve tried have never successfully kept my skin shine-free for more than a couple of hours. With Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, I found my face stayed matte and fresh through an entire day of going in and out of air-conditioned offices and into the open.

Photos have not been digitally touched up or altered in any way.

Pictures taken on the same day at times stated. Photos have not been digitally touched up or altered in any way.

4. A Relief On Super Hot Days
Do you find your skin crying out for cool relief on afternoons when the mercury hits 35 and above? I certainly do. I keep a jar of this moisturiser on my office desk so I can freshen up after coming in from the sun. The moisturiser sinks into the skin so easily, all you need to do is pat any perspiration off and dab this soothing balm onto your skin. Ahhhh …. sweet relief!

5. Feels Great On Necks
My neck area is prone to oiliness, especially in the more humid months. However, I’m well past the age bracket where I can afford to neglect the area. This moisturiser is powerful enough for the neck area if you want something that hydrates without leaving a sticky film behind.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, $48 for 50ml, at all Kiehl's stores islandwide

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream, $48 for 50ml, at all Kiehl’s stores islandwide

I started using Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free on May 7. It’s been a month and I have noticed these improvements to my skin:
1. It stays calm even if I go from cool, dry air-conditioning into the hot and humid outdoors 
2. It flushes less easily
3. It doesn’t get shiny or oily in the afternoon
4. Makeup goes on more easily and stays on longer

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream keeps my skin hydrated no matter where I am. Mid-day oil slicks have become a thing of the past and I love how my complexion is so much calmer now. I strongly recommend this moisturiser for anyone who wants to keep their skins well-hydrated whatever the climate or temperature.

Get your sample via a 5-minute consultation here.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream was given to Material World for review purposes. All opinions are the author’s own. This post was neither paid for nor advised by Kiehl’s.


[Want more awesome beauty products? How about …
1. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
2. Biotherm Life Plankton Essence
3. Yves Rocher White Botanical


Beauty & Shopping, Makeup

Beauty Review: Striplac Starter Kit – Deborah Tan

Deborah Tan loves her pedicures but has always steered clear of manicures. Her reason? They just don’t last on someone who types away furiously on a keyboard 8 hours a day. So, what’s her verdict on Striplac, the world’s first UV peel-off nail polish?

My friends always ask me why I don’t get manicures. Although I splurge out on the occasional pedicure, paying someone to do my fingernails isn’t something I’d do. Why? Well, manicures – at least the conventional ones – simply don’t last on me. More often than not, they chip within the first hour of me leaving the salon. If typing away on the keyboard doesn’t chip them, handling kettlebells and sandbells at bootcamp will.

Some have asked me to try Gelish but I honestly find the thought of having to return to the salon a few weeks later to remove it too bothersome.

So when the press release for Striplac found its way into my mailbox, my curiosity was piqued. A Gelish-like manicure that you can do yourself at home. What’s more? You can peel it off without using any solvent or acetone. How’s that for convenient!

At $219, the Striplac Starter Kit is a bit pricey. So I wanted to know if it is really a worthwhile beauty investment. The wonderful folks at Touch Communications PR arranged for a tester to be sent to me so I could put it to the test.


The Striplac Starter Kit contains an LED device, a bottle of twin coat, a bottle of nail colour, a jar of cleansing pads, a multi-function nail file and a cuticle pusher. The steps, illustrated on the box, provide clear instructions on how to go about doing your nails.

Paint, cure, paint, cure.

Paint, cure, paint, cure.

Step 1: Apply a layer of the twin coat

Step 2: Cure it in the LED device for 60 seconds

Step 3: Apple a layer of the nail colour

Step 4: Cure it in the LED device for 60 seconds

If you apply another coat of nail colour, cure it in the LED device for another 60 seconds. Basically, every layer of colour you paint on, you need to cure it in the LED device for 60 seconds.

Step 5: Apply a layer of the twin coat as the top coat

Step 6: Cure it in the LED device for 60 seconds one last time

The twin coat and the nail colour went on smoothly. I liked that – unlike conventional nail varnishes – they neither bubbled nor streaked. After “curing” my nails, I remained hesitant about touching them. I really wondered how curing the twin coat and the nail colour was going to “dry” them. In the name of research, I touched my nails.

What happened next disappointed me. The entire coat was still soft! My finger left an obvious fingerprint on top. The whole thing was sticky and tacky. When I ran my hand against my dress, my nails got coated in a layer of flint. It was a disaster! While the colour didn’t chip, my nails had become like “Blu Tac”! I went to the toilet to try to wash the flint and gunk off and what happened? When I dried my hands on the paper towels, pieces of towel got stuck again to my nails! WHAT WAS HAPPENING?

Resigned to the fate that I was never going to find a way to give myself beautiful nails, I went back to typing, opening canned drinks … treating my hands roughly and badly like I would usually. By the time I went to bed, I had forgotten about this disaster of an experiment and told myself I would peel those darn varnish off the next day.

Nails have not been air-brushed or Photoshopped.

Nails have not been air-brushed or Photoshopped.

The Striplac Fairy, however, visited me in the night. The next day, I woke up and … my nails were perfect (as perfect as home manicures can be). The gunk was gone … and, most amazingly, the fingerprints had VANISHED. The surface of my nails had smoothened themselves out over the course of the night. I can’t explain what happened except that they were no longer sticky, no longer tacky and glossy as Gelish nails.

I’m not bluffing. It’s been 3 days and my nails have not chipped despite me having directed a photoshoot, done my laundry, cooked dinner, and ate with my hands! They are still beautiful, perfect and chip-free!

How much does a manicure usually cost? $40? If you purchased this Striplac Starter Kit, you “make back” the price in about 6 uses. Each nail job takes less than 10 minutes to do and lasts you about 10 days. It makes perfect sense to invest in one of these if you are a regular manicure-goer. Though I had to return the tester set, I am pretty sure I’d be buying one for myself as a birthday present. It would come in handy for the wedding too.

Striplac Starter Kit gets my two thumbs up.

Striplac Starter Kit is now retailing at Sephora stores islandwide. The starter kit was loaned to Material World for review purpose and returned after the trial. This review was neither paid for nor advised by Striplac or Sephora. 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, and Suits. She has promised herself she’ll try Striplac on her toenails if the LED device can fit her foot in. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

Beauty & Shopping, Skincare, Spa Treats

The Challenge I Did Not Want To Do – Deborah Tan

Founder Deborah Tan is usually game for most things but when she was given a foundation-free challenge to do, she was not the happiest person in the room. Here’s her account on how she survived it. 

1. Sunscreen 2. CC cream 3. Liquid foundation 4. Powder 5. Shading powder 6. Blusher

How much makeup do you put on your face every day just to look like you? For me, I don’t leave the house until I’ve got on all 6 layers! Just imagine the amount of time I spend in front of the mirror every day! Could I imagine going out without foundation? Hell, no.

So when a challenge to go foundation-free for 2 weeks was issued to us by the folks at Porcelain, The Face Spa (PFS), I became the unwilling volunteer.  No one else on the Material World team wears as much base makeup as I do so it wouldn’t be much of a “challenge” for them to go foundation-free. Needless to say, I took it on with the enthusiasm of a primary six kid going for his PSLE.

Confident that their facials will change complexions for the better, the people at PFS want their customers to ditch their foundations and concealers and BB creams, and use just sunscreen and prickly heat powder as their base makeup. ARE THEY CRAZY?!?!? Then my therapist told me that no one is allowed to wear foundation while they are working for PFS … yes … that was when I decided that they must all be mad.

In order to “prepare” me for the challenge, I had to go for a series of facials at PFS over a three-week period.

Having sworn off extractions – in fact, most facials – some 10 years ago, I have to admit that I went for my PSF facials with a fair bit of trepidation. I was really not looking forward to the angry red bumps and the raw-looking skin that I get whenever I went for a facial with extraction.

The extraction that came with my second facial – the Quintessential – took close to an hour to complete. I know there are women who get a kick out of having their pores squeezed and cleaned out but I am not one of them. I couldn’t be happier when the process was over.

The next few days after the facial were a torture. I endured the recovering scabs and had to hold myself back from slathering concealer all over my face whenever I went out. My skin needed time to recover from the facial but patience was not a virtue of mine. I really didn’t think I could survive on just sunscreen and powder …

Week 1, Day 2: Looking defeated

Looking tired and definitely missing my makeup ...

Looking tired and definitely missing my makeup …

Hello! Does anyone notice just how tired and “old” I look without the makeup? Vanessa tells me my skin actually looks fine. The redness has subsided and the scabs aren’t so obvious. But I can’t help but feel a bit “under made up”.

Week 1, Day 4: Trying to put on a brave face

Trying to put my brave face forward ...

Trying to put my brave face forward …

Taken just before our bootcamp. The redness is not crazy but it’s there on the cheeks and on the chin … if you look carefully.

Week 2, Day 1: Chinese New Year  


Luckily … red was a good colour for Chinese New Year

I don’t know what on earth possessed me to make the Chinese New Year week part of the two-week challenge. No makeup, just sunscreen, blusher, eyebrow powder and eyeliner. I am beginning to miss how my liquid foundation controls the reddish undertone of my skin. My face flushes up waaaaay too easily!

Week 2, Day 4: Challenge coming to an end

ffphoto 4

Taken in bright daylight …

Taken just before I head out to Lili’s place for CNY karaoke. Despite the flushing, my skin does appear to be finer and “cleaner”.

Cons of going foundation-free
I’m not going to say I found the entire experience enjoyable. I found myself extremely conscious about my bare skin. Whenever I was driving, I would look at my reflection in the rearview mirror and groan at how “unrefined” my skin looked. Without foundation, I found that my makeup needed retouching more often too. My blush didn’t look as vibrant as it would had been with foundation. There were days when my boyfriend would asked, “What happened? Your skin looks blotchy.”

Pros of going foundation-free
The one thing I appreciated most about going foundation-free was how I didn’t have to spend so much time removing my makeup at the end of the day. I found I was able to stumble out of bed much later because I didn’t have to worry about setting aside time to do my makeup.

I guess the point of this entire exercise is to show that the facials by Porcelain, The Face Spa can help you get skin you won’t mind showing sans foundation. Admittedly, I did not suffer from any confidence crisis, but I still felt my makeup could look more “polished” if I had used a BB cream or a foundation as a base.

photo 5

How I look with foundation, CC cream and the works!

The facials by Porcelain, The Face Spa are thorough so if you are looking for something that clears your skin of oil clogs and blackheads, you won’t be disappointed by the detailed job the therapists do.

The two-week foundation-free challenge was suggested by Porcelain, The Face Spa, and the facials were given free-of-charge to Material World. This writer did not receive any monetary remuneration. The post was not vetted by the spa. You may read our advertising policy here.

[If you like this story, you’ll love …]

1. [Material World x Porcelain, The Face Spa] Freezing Time With Cryotherapy

2. [Material World x Porcelain, The Face Spa] How I Achieved Beautiful Skin


Beauty & Shopping, Infographics, Skincare

[Press Trip] The Eye Serum That Corrects Severe Signs of Aging – Deborah Tan

Your eyes can betray your real age in that they can make you appear older than you really are. Elizabeth Arden launches the Prevage Anti-Aging + Intensive Eye Repair Serum this month to help address severe signs of aging on the eye area such as crow’s feet and deep wrinkles. Here’s what we have to say about it.

What is the first thing you look at when you’re checking out your reflection to see if you have “aged”? Chances are, it’s your eyes. According to a Wakefield Research for Elizabeth Arden, 40% of women said they’d notice signs of aging around their eyes more than on their necks, hands, or around the mouth.

In September last year, Elizabeth Arden invited Material World to Phuket, Thailand, for the launch of an eye serum that can help correct and reverse severe signs of skin aging, especially the look of deep lines and crepiness in just one use. [Based on a US home consumer test on 104 women aged 25-65 and a US clinical test on 16 women after 15 minutes]

The choice of Phuket may seem rather odd until we realise that exposure to smoke, pollution and other irritants can accelerate skin aging twice as fast. Environmental threats in a highly urbanised city produce free radicals that can cause chronic inflammation at skin’s cellular level, leading to a breakdown of collagen and elastin. Being bona fide city dwellers, we also subject our eyes to the physical stresses of staring into the computer screen for long hours, sitting inside a dry, air-conditioned office, and having to apply makeup before heading out to “face the world”. So a chance to kick back and relax at The Vijitt Resort would certainly do our skin and health a world of good. But, before we tell you about this awesome eye serum, check out our infographic below on WHY your eyes look older than they should be:


So, your eyes are suffering from the “after-effects” of the reasons listed in the infographic? Then Elizabeth Arden has something for you. Launched this month, Prevage Anti-Aging + Intensive Repair Eye Serum combines the brand’s exclusive Idebenone technology with a blend of AFC (if you really want to know, that stands for ‘n-acetyl-s-farnsylcystein’) and Thiotaine.

Prevage Anti-Aging + Intensive Repair Eye Serum by Elizabeth Arden

Prevage Anti-Aging + Intensive Repair Eye Serum by Elizabeth Arden

Together, all three help neutralise 95% of environmental free radicals and minimise the visible effects of cellular inflammation, the primary cause of signs of aging.

The texture is feather-light and is absorbed quickly by the skin. If you find the skin around your eyes drier than usual, you can even follow this serum with an eye cream. To be honest, I don’t have any deep wrinkles and lines that need correcting but when I used the serum on my eyes for a month in December last year, at an eye concealer launch of another brand, the makeup artist commented how my eyes have “no dark circles”.

It was quite “good for the ego” to hear that because editors are known to have pretty tired eyes, no thanks to amount of time spent reading and staring at the computer. One editor even jokingly asked aloud, “Does this mean you haven’t been working very hard???”

I also found that applied just before going to bed helped with the puffiness I tend to get the next morning. Overall, after a month’s use, I found that my eyes looked less tired and the eye area, brighter.

Would I recommend it? At $215 for 15ml, I’d say go for it if you have tried many products and found them ineffective against your lines. Or, if you have a big event coming up-like a wedding-and would like to brighten and tighten your eye area, then this could be the intensive eyecare product for you. After all, most brides don’t get enough rest and they certainly don’t want to be walking down the aisle with a thick layer of concealer under the eyes.

This article is not paid for or advised by Elizabeth Arden. Material World was invited to the press trip for the launch of the product and was given a sample to review. You may read our advertising policy here.

[If you like this story, you’ll love]

1. Beauty Review: Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser

2. [Material World x Elizabeth Arden] Ready For Take-Off

3. Beauty Review: Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum

Beauty & Shopping, Branded Content, Skincare

[Material World x Yves Rocher] What Happens To Your Face As You Age – Deborah Tan

As we age, our face goes through a whole host of changes. What can we do to ensure we age well and gracefully? New-to-Singapore beauty brand Yves Rocher introduces its champion skincare range Elixir 7.9 to Material World and we try its youth-intensifying serum and eye roll-on. 


What happens to our face when we age? (1) It becomes drier and rougher as sebum production dips. (2) Collagen – the stuff that holds up our skin – isn’t quite as strong as it is, leading to the formation of wrinkles. (3) Our lymphatic system slows down, drainage of toxins suffers, and that explains why we look puffy in the morning. That’s it? No. You think it’s all in the face – wrinkles, spots, loss of radiance – but there are some other subtle aging signs we need to look at and they too affect how “old” others think you are:

Acclaimed actress Susan Sarandon's eye area shows how - with age - with the loss of skin density and fat, the socket area of the eye becomes more pronounced.

Acclaimed actress Susan Sarandon’s eye area shows how – with age – with the loss of skin density and fat, the sockets become more pronounced.

The Eyes
Our eyes become more deeply set as cheekbones start to sink. Your eyes look more sunken and your sockets and lines more obvious.

The Bone Structure
Our jawline – believe it or not – starts to thin. The awesome bone structure that we have becomes less pronounced and our face looks “doughy” and soft.

The Ears
As we age, our ears become bigger and longer. Gravity pulls at the cartilage of our ears, lengthening them. You might want to give heavy earrings a miss.

The Forehead
Men lose their hair, women gain “forehead”. Our forehead becomes broader as a result of our hairline thinning. That fashionably tight ponytail? You will want to give it a break.

It may seem like we are causing a minor mayhem here but here’s what we at Material World want you to know …

You can’t reverse the aging process. No matter what the skincare products out there may tell you, Nature trumps them all. What they can do is arrest the effects aging has done to your skin. Put simply, it means you can’t erase the wrinkle completely, but you can improve its appearance so it doesn’t look so deep and pronounced.

What Can We Do?
Besides being blessed with good genes (just look at how your mum or your grandmother ages), good habits and a healthy lifestyle are your best bet for aging gracefully.

French actress Catherine Deneuve's lip area displays signs of wrinkles caused by her smoking habit.

French actress Catherine Deneuve’s lip area displays signs of wrinkles caused by her smoking habit.

1. Stop smoking
When an old man or an old lady loses their teeth, there is less stuff to keep that section of the face “filled out”. This explains the vertical lines and wrinkles around the lips – like they are eating something sour. Smoking creates those lines and hastens the rate at which you lose collagen and elastin.

2. Get the required daily dose of antioxidants and nutrients
Make sure your daily diet is filled with foods that are dense in antioxidants and nutrients. Take your vitamins. And, don’t waste it all by forgetting to use a sunscreen!

3. Start using anti-aging skincare products
We would recommend you do this even if you are in your 20s and your skin is a picture of youth and vitality. Anti-aging skincare doesn’t mean “rich, oily stuff”. The key is to find one that works with your skin type. And, we have just the thing to share with you.

yvesrocherelixir79Yves Rocher Elixir 7.9 Youth Intensifying Serum
Created with 7 active botanicals, this serum has garnered 9 international patents. A bottle is sold every 40 seconds worldwide. It doesn’t say it’s an anti-aging serum. Rather, the term “youth intensifying” should tell you that it is a product hoping to maximize what you’ve got.

The serum looks more like a lotion

The serum looks more like a lotion

When I first opened the bottle, I was surprised by the viscosity of the serum. Instead of being a bit runny like most serums, this one feels more like a lotion. But, don’t let the texture trick you into thinking it’s a rich and pore-clogging.

The serum disappears into the skin almost immediately, and without leaving any residue behind. NOTHING. That’s the only way I can describe how it felt on my skin. After applying it to my skin, it felt like I’ve applied NOTHING. For those of you who FEAR anti-aging products because they are “rich” and “cloying”, this serum will – hopefully – change your mind.

You can use it with your existing skincare products or with the other products in the Elixir 7.9 range.

When I tried this serum, I had just returned from a facial. The extraction process had left my skin slightly red and scabs were beginning to form. I applied the serum before going to bed, avoiding all other kinds of skincare products because I felt I needed to give my skin a break. The next morning, the redness had gone down and my skin looked smoother. The scabs also healed in no time at all.

It’s been roughly a week since I’ve started on this serum, and my skin is softer and a lot calmer. It is less easily irritated by the sun and the air-conditioning in the office. When I wake up in the morning these days, I notice my skin looks well-rested and a lot softer too. And, because it’s so light, I can use it together with another serum (like a brightening one) if I feel my skin could do with an extra dose of TLC.

Yves Rocher Elixir 7.9 Youth Energy Roll-on Eye Care
Another product in this range that I love and will absolutely recommend is the eye cream.

The practical and clever applicator design got me at Hello. I love it when eyecare products come with rollers BUT most leave me disappointed when I discover their rollers won’t stop dispensing the gel/serum/cream, making it difficult for you to enjoy an eye massage without using too much eye cream. For this eye roll-on, simply squeeze a tear-drop size of the gel-cream and then lightly massage it into your eye area with the three roller-balls at the tip.

The rollers massage your eye area WITHOUT dispensing more cream than you need.

The rollers massage your eye area WITHOUT dispensing more cream than you need.

The gel-cream is light and airy and disappeared into the skin in seconds. The metal roller-balls gave an awesome eye massage (just be careful not to exert too much force! You don’t want to end up with bruises on your eye!) that helped relief puffiness and improved circulation around the eyes.

I’m loving the serum and eye roll-on a lot and I intend to start using the day cream and the night cream as soon as my facial trial is over (this is for another story).

Yves Rocher is located at Westgate #02-16. The brand worked with Material World to promote its Elixir 7.9 Youth Intensifying Serum. The story was not vetted or advised by Yves Rocher and all opinions are the author’s own. You may read our advertising policy here.

Want more stories that show you how to feel good and look good?
1. [Material World x Breathe Pilates] At Full Stretch – Tan Lili

2. [Material World x Beauty Cleanse] A Review of the 3-Day Skinny Genes Juice Cleanse – Denise Li

Beauty & Shopping, Contests, Fragrances

Beauty Review: Kiehl’s Aromatic Blends Patchouli & Fresh Rose – Deborah Tan

Kiehl's Aromatic Blends Patchouli & Fresh Rose

Kiehl’s Aromatic Blends Patchouli & Fresh Rose

Growing up, I always saw the rose as a cheesy flower. The flower silly girls insist their boyfriends buy them, the flower girls pretending to be sophisticated love, the flower boring people choose. Whenever friends asked me what my favourite flower was, I would sniffed at any suggestion that the rose could be mine. I didn’t like the rose because people associated it with romance and love, I didn’t like the rose because of all the silly meanings attached to it.

But as you grow older, you come to realise that being obstinately resistant to something just because it’s popular is silly as well. It’s like a desperate cry that says, “I’m different. Really!” Although the rose still doesn’t rank as one of my favourite blooms, I have become one of those who appreciate just how well-rounded a flower it really is.

It’s beautiful and its uncomplicated look makes it a great decoration choice. Compared to the hydrangea or the peony, it’s hardier and it lasts longer in a bouquet. And then, there is the scent.

I know what you’re thinking. Rose = bandung, right? Not so. A true rose scent – not a chemical composition – is divine. If you’ve not come into contact with a well-made rose essential oil, you need to find a chance to do so. Because it is only when you have had a sniff at pure rose essential oil, can you begin to appreciate the heady, intoxicating scent of the flower WITHOUT the saccharine overtones.

I like the scent of rose but I don’t like it when it’s mixed with other notes, as with what you’ll find in most perfumes. If I like a particular note, I don’t want it to change or morph into another scent. So, when Nicolette from Kiehl’s told me about the brand’s new Aromatic Blends, Patchouli & Fresh Rose, I was very excited.

Kiehl’s launched its range of Aromatic Blends last year with four series – Vanilla & Cedarwood, Orange Flower & Lychee, Nashi Blossom & Pink Grapefruit, and Fig Leaf & Sage. The beauty of these scents lies in the fact that they are uncomplicated. Made with 1/3 of the ingredients found in most fragrances, these scents contain a higher concentration each key ingredient to give a purer expression of the notes. The newest Patchouli & Fresh Rose is no different.

The rose oil in this new range of Aromatic Blends is extracted using copper vessels used over 100 years in a labour-intensive process to produce an oil with a scent closer to that of a living rose.

The entire range consists of a Body Cleanser, a Body Lotion and an EDT.

Did you know that Kiehl's offer a 100% money-back guarantee within 28 days of purchase? Click here for more details.

Did you know that Kiehl’s offer a 100% money-back guarantee within 28 days of purchase? Click here for more details.

To ensure that the scent really lasts, layering is important. This means taking a shower with the cleanser, which is also formulated without sulfate-based surfectants, massaging on the body lotion, and then spritzing on the EDT. I found the entire experience luxurious and utterly blissful. Lost in the heady scent of the rose, I felt as pampered as I would be in a spa.

At the launch last year of Aromatic Blends, we were asked to pick out our favourite scent. Although I liked the Orange Flower & Lychee, and Nashi Blossom & Pink Grapefruit ones, I didn’t really have a clear favourite. With Patchouli & Fresh Rose, I can now say I do have a favourite scent in the Aromatic Blends family.

Thank you, Kiehl’s, for producing this fifth scent. I really, really like it.

Kiehl’s Aromatic Blends Patchouli & Fresh Rose is available at all Kiehl’s stores islandwide. This set of body products was given to Material World for review purposes. 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, and Suits. The Earl Grey tea addict is looking forward to Kiehl’s adding something with bergamot in it. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

2 Of You Will Each Win An Entire Set Of Kiehl’s Aromatic Blends Patchouli & Fresh Rose Products!


To win this, simply follow the steps below:

1. Answer this question in the Comments section below: “Tell us your TWO FAVOURITE Kiehl’s products of all times.” [Hint: You can browse around here.]

2. Share this post with your friends on Facebook by hitting the Facebook share button below. Tag Material World’s and Kiehl’s Singapore Facebook Pages. Make sure your post is set to PUBLIC so we can verify you have completed this step.

3. PM Material World on our Facebook with Name, Age, Gender, NRIC, Mailing Address.

Closing date for this contest is 29 November 2013, Friday. This contest is open only to fans of Material World’s Facebook Page.

Drinks & Parties, Food News, Lifestyle

Indulge Yourself At Tiong Bahru Bar

Tiong Bahru, known for its yummy food and quaint architecture, is definitely a place to chill out on a lazy Sunday. And giving you the chance to do it for free, with Material World and Paco Rabanne, is Tiong Bahru Bar!

That’s right! The gastrobar is providing our 20 participants to our Sunday Sizzle with a delectable brunch. The menu looks like this:

Choice of Soup or House Salad

Main Course
Choice of Fish and Chips or Prawn Aglio Olio

Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips

Prawn Aglio Olio

Prawn Aglio Olio


End your brunch with Churros!

End your brunch with Churros!

And you know you won’t be disappointed with the food because TBB (as it’s fondly called) is owned by Chris Chong, the guy behind The Disgruntled Chef, and his cousin Bernard Seah. The mastermind behind the food is none other than The Disgruntled Chef’s Executive Chef Daniel Sia, whose culinary skills have earned him a following amongst foodies in Singapore.

TBB opens for lunch and dinner. For the office crowd who wants to chill out after work, TBB provides an eye-watering selection of wine, beer, and whisky. So if you want to stay behind for a tipple after our Sunday Sizzle, feel free to do so … just make sure the bootcamp trainer leaves first!

TBB Interior

If you want to sample TBB’s food with Material World and Paco Rabanne, be sure to sign up for our Sunday Sizzle now!

Tiong Bahru Bar is located at 3 Seng Poh Road. Tel: 6438 4360. Tiong Bahru Bar is the official food partner for Material World’s Sunday Sizzle on November 17 2013. This event is held in conjunction with Paco Rabanne, the official fragrance partner.

Beauty & Shopping, Contests, Fragrances, Skincare, Spa Treats

Beauty Review: The Body Shop Honeymania Range – Deborah Tan

Say the word “Honey” and I’m there like a teddy bear. Not because I’m a sucker for terms of affection but because I love this sweet gooey treat and especially crave it when I’m sick. I love mixing honey and ginger together as a drink, I love pouring honey over freshly baked scones, and I love it drizzled over fried foods too. Unlike sugar, which is just sweet, honey has … nuances of sweetness that give it personality.

When The Body Shop revealed that they would be launching a new range with Honey as its hero, I was like, “You guys gotta let me have it!” Thankfully, they did.

When the entire range arrived for me, I took them out of the bag and placed them on my table as a reminder to start using them ASAP. The scent was distracting and I was so afraid ants would start crawling onto my work desk because they really smell like the real thing!

The Honey used in The Body Shop Honeymania range is really as good as Mother Nature would give it:

1. It is hand-harvested from only the ripest honeycombs

2. This Community Fair Trade honey comes from the Sheka rainforest in Ethiopia and is protected by UNESCO. By supporting those involved in this trade, The Body Shop is helping to protect precious rainforest land from being taken away for economic purposes like farming

3. The bees are allowed to roam freely and hive wherever they want. Unlike bee farms, the community has learnt to work harmoniously with the bees using traditional methods to keep them calm, thus reducing the need for chemicals

Having sampled the goods for close to three weeks, here are my 3 favourites:

#3: Body Scrub, $30.90
BBB Honeymania Scrub Open HR_INHNYPS012
It’s creamy and, when you’re inside a hot, steamy shower, it’s seriously the most indulgent thing to use on your skin. I love that it’s thick and doesn’t foam up into a soapy confection. If you are unaccustomed to having your skin feeling soft and oiled up after a scrub, this may not be for you. But once you get used to how pampered your skin feels after using it, you may just never go back to soapy scrubs ever again.

#2: Eau de Toilette, $22.90
BBB Honeymania EDT HR_INHNYPS010
I really wanted to choose the shower gel but this EDT won out because it allows me to have this honey-licious scent about me hours after my bathtime! When I’m feeling particularly lethargic or moody, a quick sniff of my wrist and I’m back being sunny and happy again.

#1: Body Butter, $30.40
New BBB Honeymania Cream face on HR_INHNYPS021
As if The Body Shop could ever go wrong with its Body Butters! And in this instance, to be encased in creamy moisturiser scented with honey … aaaaahhhhh … it’s really every bodycare addict’s dream. I love how natural the body butter smells and how it sinks into the skin so easily. There is none of the sticky film you’d associate with a rich moisturiser. I’m so tempted to bring this along to my next massage appointment so that my therapist can use it on me. But … this brings me to my final point …

I would love for a honey-scented body oil to complete this regime!!! The Body Shop, if you’re listening to this … please consider this request of mine and launch a Honeymania body oil ASAP.

The Body Shop Honeymania range is now available at all The Body Shop stores islandwide. This range was given to Material World for review purposes, all opinions 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 takes her honey by the tablespoon like cod liver oil when she’s too lazy to mix it into water. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.


Honeymania Group shot HR_INHNYRS010Each set of Honeymania costs $104.50 and consists of the following products:

1. Lip Balm, $10.90
2. Eau de Toilette, $22.90
3. Bubble Bath Melt, $26.90
4. Shower Gel, $12.90
5. Body Butter, $30.90

To win, simply follow these steps:

1. In the Comments section below, tell us, “Why do you love honey?”

2. Then click on the Facebook button below to SHARE this post with your friends. Remember to tag “Material World” in your post and set it on Public so we can verify you have completed this step.

3. Finally Private Message us your details (Name, Age, Gender, NRIC No, Mobile No. and Mailing Address) on our Facebook Page. Please state “The Body Shop Honeymania” in your message.

This contest ends Friday, 28 September 2013, and is open only to Material World’s Facebook followers so please Like our page here first. Good luck!

Beauty & Shopping, Makeup

Beauty Review: The Body Shop BFF Makeover Service – Deborah Tan

All four Material World founders are big animal lovers. Once a month, we drag ourselves to Denise’s place, which is at a very faraway location in Kembangan, for an all-day work thing not because we want to make life easy for our beloved business partner, but because we adore her two dogs. And when The Body Shop organised a volunteer day to Madam Wong’s shelter for abandoned animals about a month ago, Vanessa, Lili and Denise leapt at the opportunity to help out.

The values of The Body Shop brand is one that resonates very strongly with me. Its community-trade programmes along with its insistence on producing cruelty-free products makes it a difficult brand to not support. My first set of makeup brushes were from The Body Shop and I have been using its hairbrushes for more than 10 years now.

Getting my face done by Goldie

Getting my face done by Goldie

When Material World was invited to give its new BFF Makeover Service a shot, Vanessa (though not really my BFF, YET) and I decided to treat ourselves to a beauty outing. We met Ching Yan of The Body Shop at its store at Chinatown Point and were introduced to our makeup artist of the day, Goldie.

It costs $45 for a full makeover and $20, for an express makeover. This is fully redeemable when you purchase makeup from The Body Shop. For those who are not quite sure how this works … say, you pay $20 for the express makeover. Later on, when you buy makeup and your bill is $25, you pay just $5. Geddit?

Goldie and I posed for a picture after my makeover

Goldie and I posed for a picture after my makeover

There is a number of looks you can choose from. For this makeover, I chose Fresh-faced Beauty – a look created using The Body Shop All-In-One BB Cream, the new Colour Crush lipstick that I wrote about previously, and a trio of Colour Crush eyeshadows along with a liquid eyeliner and the Big & Curvy Mascara. I felt very at ease during the entire session – Goldie’s experienced hands made it felt like I was having a mini face massage at the same time so it was very relaxing.

Here are 3 tips to getting the most of your makeover session:

1. Voice out your preferences even if it’s not the “prescribed” look
Before the session, I mentioned that I wasn’t very comfortable wearing brown eyeshadows, as I have brown-pigmented shadows around my eye area. Goldie recommended other colours for my eyes and replaced the dark brown with a blue-grey shade.

2. Ask questions
You are not getting your makeup done. You are learning more about makeup. Feel free to ask stuff like, “How do I know which part of my eyelid to colour blue?”, “How can I make my face look slimmer?” etc. Even if you are curious about the tools she’s using, ask away. The point of a makeover is to help you better master the art of applying makeup or look at it in a different way.

3. Get a friend to take pictures of the process
That way, you can easily refer to the pictures later for a step-by-step guide. In this case, I was lucky to have Vanessa play camerawoman, and I took her pictures for her when it’s her turn to get her makeover done.

Tip! Ask your friend to take close-ups of the makeover process so you can have a visual guide for later

Tip! Ask your friend to take close-ups of the makeover process so you can have a visual guide for later

After my makeover was done, Vanessa got an express makeover where she chose the “Eyes On Me” service. She wanted to learn how to use eyeshadows on her small eyes and how to use a liquid eyeliner. Here’s what she has to say about her session:

“When it comes to eyeliners and eyeshadows, I hardly stray very far from the safe palette of blacks and browns. Reason being, I used to experiment with all kinds of colours and ended up looking rather strange. I think it was probably due to a lack of blending know-how. For this eye makeover, I decided to step out of my comfort zone with an electric blue eyeshadow. I was surprised how great it looked. It added a real zing to my overall appearance, and made me look fresher and more awake. Love it!”

Vanessa, loving her brighter eyes!

Vanessa, loving her brighter eyes!

The Body Shop BFF Makeover Service is available at all The Body Shop’s stores. By appointment only so drop by the nearest The Body Shop store to lock down a session for yourself and a friend! Remember to bring the camera!!!!

Material World was invited to try this session for a review, all opinions are our 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 is making it her personal mission to get Vanessa to make the switch to liquid liners permanent. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

[If you love this story, you’ll like]

1. 6 Ways To Be In An Even Better Mood

2. Beauty Review: Maybelline Lash Factory

3. Improve Your Health In 60 Seconds (Or Less!)

Beauty & Shopping, Makeup

Beauty Review: Maybelline Lash Factory – Deborah Tan

When it comes to making your eyelashes look great, no one does it better than Maybelline. This month, the brand best known for its mascaras launches a product that’s almost anti-mascara: false eyelashes. I was quite tempted to skip reviewing Maybelline Lash Factory because, personally, I don’t like falsies.

I find them distracting. Quite like coloured contact lenses, there is just something very disconcerting when you talk to someone wearing false eyelashes. I remember interviewing a girl for a job once and her falsies were so over-the-top long, I ended up not listening to what she had to say because I was so afraid one of the lashes would blind her or something. Well, a career tip here: don’t wear falsies when you go for a job interview. Just curl your lashes and use a good mascara, trust me on that.

What is so “strange” about falsies, you wonder? There are quite a number, actually. Often what causes them is the lack of good falsies-application techniques.

The tools you need. [From left to right]: Lash glue, eyelash curler, falsies, tweezers, liquid eyeliner, and an eyebrow brush

The tools you need. [From left to right]: Lash glue, eyelash curler, falsies, tweezers, liquid eyeliner, and an eyebrow brush

1. An obvious second layer of lashes
Asian lashes are often straight, short and pointing down. So when you wear very dramatic falsies, your real lashes “peep” out from under the spine of the falsies, forming a second level of short, stumpy lashes. This problem can be solved by curling your lashes before and after you stick on your falsies and, if you want, you may brush on a layer of mascara to help hold your natural lashes up. Avoid using more than a coat.

2. The spine is hanging off your natural eyeline
A problem that can be solved by trimming the falsies to fit the length of your eye. Many girls don’t want to trim their falsies because they don’t want to “waste” it. The end result is often that of a lashline that extends unnaturally past the outer corner of your eye or a spine that is poking uncomfortably into the inner corner.

3. An appearance that is too heavy
Many girls also think that with the addition of long, fluttery fake lashes, they can now go crazy with the eyeliner. Unless your eyes are the size of flying saucers, don’t do that. By being too generous with your liquid eyeliner, you end up over-dressing your eyes and the result? You look very, very sleepy because your eyes just look weighed down by these extra accoutrements.

Why then did I decide to review Maybelline Lash Factory? Three reasons:
– The designs are a good fit for Asian eyes: The lashes are actually categorised into Single Eyelid, Double Eyelid and Inner Double Eyelid. The lengths are also more suited for Asian eyes; I didn’t have to trim the pair I chose.
– The spine isn’t overly thick. In fact, they are quite flexible and therefore comfortable to wear.
– The lashes are not too dramatic (although this said, Maybelline Lash Factory has both Natural and Intense falsies for each type of eye).

So how do you go about putting on false eyelashes? It’s really simple but to do it fast, you need practice. Do it often enough and you can do this in less than 10 minutes. Here’s a visual guide for you:

stepsStep 1: Curl your natural lashes. Remember to do so in three stages – at the base, in the middle, near the top. This will give your lashes a gradual curl rather than them being bent at an angle.

Step 2: After applying the glue on the spine of the falsie, wait 5 seconds for the glue to dry slightly. Then put it as close to your lashline as possible. Don’t worry about getting it perfect; you won’t be able to. Instead, what you need is a brush (like an eyebrow brush) and use it to gently ease the falsie into place.

Step 3: Once that is done, wait for the glue to dry. Then curl your natural lashes and your falsie together in the three stages mentioned in Step 1. Apply some mascara if you want.

Step 4: Use a liquid eyeliner and lightly line your eye. This step is more for filling in any gap at the inner corner or create a subtle flick at the outer one. You can also use it to dot away any “white” stuff left over by the lash-glue.

And there you have it. Below, you can see the Before/After shot and a shot of how I look with the Maybelline falsies on. Each box of two Maybelline Lash Factory falsies costs $16.90 and the lash glue costs $12.90.

Before and After:

Images were not digitally altered in any way

Images were not digitally altered in any way

Overall look:

Keeping it natural - the trick to wearing falsies.

Keeping it natural – the trick to wearing falsies.

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 is obsessed with her eyebrows. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

[If you like this story, you’ll love]

1. The 5 Things You Need For Beautiful Eyes

2. Beauty Review: Maybelline Baby Skin Pore Eraser & Dream Matte Mousse

3. Beauty Review: Anna Sui Limited Eye Shadow Palette 2013

4. Beauty Review: Maybelline Bold Matte

Beauty & Shopping, Skincare

Beauty Review: Shiseido Ibuki – Deborah Tan

Take it from me: adult acne is a bitch.

There’s just something about it that makes it so difficult to deal with. Is it really hormonal? Well, not when you are already 28! Is it really due to diet? Or, is it because some of us just attract bacteria more than other women? I was hit pretty hard with adult acne in my 20s.

Some of the frustrations I had dealing with adult acne included:

1. Every cleanser is either too harsh or is simply too irritating for the skin. There was always a layer of “something” on your skin that you want to clean off but just can’t!

2. Skincare products can’t penetrate the “thick, scabby” layer of zits to work their magic. No matter what you apply, nothing works because nothing gets in.

3. You’re either shining with too much oil or you’re flaking from powerful zit treatments or anti-shine skincare products.

That was when I learnt that healthy skin isn’t just oil-free skin. Healthy skin is a result of a number of factors coming together: diet, lifestyle, effective stress management, and most of all, hydration inside and out.

And this is why Shiseido’ new skincare range Ibuki will help address the problems women in their 20s – 30s have when it comes to achieving a perfect complexion.

Girls, meet Shiseido's new skincare range, Ibuki

Girls, meet Shiseido’s new skincare range, Ibuki

The Logic:
Shiseido has discovered that skin cells contract under stress, which negatively impacts its metabolism and turnover rate. This is when you get excess cells hardening on the surface of your skin and start noticing that your products aren’t working for you any longer. It’s not that your skin has developed a “resistance” towards your products, it’s because it is now covered in a hardened layer that is preventing products from getting absorbed.

The Science:
With the Ibuki skincare range, Shiseido introduces the Shape Memorizing Cell Technology. It basically “remembers” the shape of your skin cell in its healthiest state and as and when your skin cell shrinks due to stress or external aggressors, it keeps it plump with moisture so your skin remains healthy and resilient.

The Result: 
I have been trying Ibuki for close to a month now and I have found that my complexion stays fresher for longer. Driving around town all day for meetings and events leaves me with precious little time, and privacy, for touch-ups. I’ll take anything that keeps my “face” on for as long as possible!

Gentle Cleanser
I particularly like the foam produced by the Gentle Cleanser. Thick and pillowy-soft, it massages your skin as if you are using a creamy puff. The plumping effect can be immediately felt after cleansing. Whereas most cleansers do their jobs of washing the dirt and grime away, this one has a “thirst-quenching” feel, which comforts the skin. It also has a relaxing scent – great for when the only thing you want is to relax after being stuck in a jam on the way home.

Perfect pick-me-up while on the go

Perfect pick-me-up while on the go – Ibuki Eye Correcting Cream

Refining Moisturizer
The lotion-moisturiser is a bit too thin for my liking. I guess I’m finally getting older cos I’m appreciating creams more than lotions and gels these days. Nonetheless, it gets absorbed quickly and – this is what I like best about it – it works perfectly fine as a pre-makeup base. It leaves the skin soft and fresh and, helps my foundation blend into my skin more easily. This is very useful because these days, I find I have less than 15 minutes to put on my makeup.

Eye Correcting Cream 
The small tube is great for carrying around with you when you’re out and about. By mid-day, my eyes always feel like they’ve been punched and my eyeliner is smudged and murky-looking. What I like to do is to pop into the Ladies’, clean up my eyes and give them a gentle massage with this cream. A quick relining of the eyes and I’m good to go to my next appointment again!

From oily skin to dry skin to tired skin … there is a whole host of skincare problems out there to fix. But none of these can be dealt with effectively if you don’t restore resilience to your skin’s inner structure. So give Ibuki a try for a month or two and then see if your usual skincare products start to work for you again.

The Shiseido Ibuki range was given to Material World for review. All opinions are the author’s own. 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 loves a moisturiser with a dreamily soft texture. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

[If you like this story, you’ll love]
1. MW Reviews … Shiseido Sunscreens

2. The 5 Things You Need For Beautiful Eyes

3. Choosing The Right Moisturiser