Beauty & Shopping, Branded Content, Skincare

[Material World x Elizabeth Arden] Farewell, Freckles! – Vanessa Tai

Living in sunny Singapore brings with it a host of sun-related damage, such as pigmentation spots and skin discolouration. Wanting to take her sun protection regime up a notch, Vanessa tried out Elizabeth Arden’s new Visible Whitening range. Here’s her review.  

While many people have complimented me on my freckles (and I, too, secretly like them), I am concerned about these tiny brown spots becoming darker and more pronounced. Or worse, merging to form larger “continents”. Freckles are formed when UV rays from the sun hit your skin, causing the outermost layer of your skin (the epidermis) to thicken. This in turn causes melanocytes – also known as the pigment-producing cells in your skin – to produce even more melanin, which darkens existing freckles.  

Despite knowing all this, I must confess, I’m not the most hardworking when it comes to my sun protection regime. I dutifully apply sunscreen every morning, but I rarely touch up during the day, and I only use brightening masks once a month. However, this recent heat wave has got me worrying about the appearance of new dark spots. I decided simply applying sunscreen alone won’t cut it; I needed to step up my game.

Enter Elizabeth Arden’s Visible Whitening Intense Brightening Biocellulose Mask and Visible Whitening Anti-Melanin Spot Corrector.

The mask is densely packed with ingredients such as Vitamin B3 to even out skin tone and Licorice extracts to prevent the formation of dark spots, but it’s not drenched to the point where it drips with product when you open it. I’ve always preferred bio-cellulose masks because they adhere to your skin so much better. This ultra-fine mesh textile fits onto my facial contours like a second skin. In fact, I could be lying on my belly reading and it wouldn’t even move an inch, let alone slide off!

See how well it adheres to my skin!

See how well it adheres to my skin!

As for the Anti-Melanin Spot Corrector, it’s a lightweight gel-like product that’s formulated with intensive skin brighteners such as Vitamin C derivatives and an exfoliating agent. This reduces the appearance of existing melanin spots on your skin’s outer most layers, and stems the production of new melanin.

Elizabeth Arden Visible Whitening Anti-Melanin Spot Corrector, $110

Elizabeth Arden Visible Whitening Anti-Melanin Spot Corrector, $110

I used the mask every other day for a week, and applied the spot corrector on my freckles every morning after applying a liberal amount of sunscreen. See the results below:


Yes, I know you can still see my freckles, but the spots are definitely visibly lighter. My skin also appears fairer and more radiant. Another thing I really liked about the mask is how it has a hydrating effect on top of its brightening properties. My skin felt softer, smoother and “cooler” after each application, and the after-glow effect spilled over to the next day as well.

Elizabeth Arden Visible Whitening Intense Brightening Biocellulose Mask, $90

Elizabeth Arden Visible Whitening Intense Brightening Biocellulose Mask, $90

While freckles may be a hereditary trait and are mostly harmless, that doesn’t mean you can’t control them from spreading. I’m very pleased that just one week of being a little more hardworking beauty-wise has reaped such visible results. I’m definitely not going to slack off my skincare regime anymore!

Elizabeth Arden worked with Material World for this post to promote the launch of its new Visible Whitening Intense Brightening Biocellulose Mask and Visible Whitening Anti-Melanin Spot Corrector. All opinions are the author’s own and have not been vetted by the client. 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. 

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.