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, 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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Beauty & Shopping, Skincare

Beauty Confidential With The Material World Founders

Between the four of them, they’ve probably tried hundreds of products and received countless pieces of beauty advice. So, which piece of advice really stuck with our founders?

Today, Material World wants to know what is the one skincare step they never ever skip. So who swears by the cleansing oil of Za? Who has thinks Kose Sekkisei‘s sunscreen is da bomb? And who refuses to let go of her Biotherm serum? The answers, below:

Note: The opinions expressed are the founders’ own. The quotes are not an endorsement for any of the products recommended in the story. This story is not in any way paid for by any of the brands mentioned. 



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

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

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


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

To win one, simply follow these steps:

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

2. SHARE this blog post with your Facebook Friends.

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

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

Closing date for this contest is 21 April, 2013.