Beauty - Skin Care. Photo by JASON HO
Perfect skin. It's the holy grail of beauty.
Looking good isn't just about the right foundation or the perfect shade of rouge for your lips - it's really all about a clear canvas to work with. A flawless complexion gives you the confidence to face the world without having to paint a masterpiece on every morning. It works wonders for our self-esteem.
Besides, is there anything more glorious than waking up without immediately running to the mirror for a daily spot check?
The beauty industry knows the importance of that quest for gorgeous, supple skin, dishing out a healthy slew of anti-ageing, whitening and hydrating products infused with the latest technology today, including inceasingly popular beauty oral supplements that promise brighter and clearer-looking complexions. And, sometimes, these beauty tricks don't have to break the bank.
Here, with the help of Drs Calvin Chan and Georgia Lee, we reveal the path to a faultless complexion - from head to toe. Oh, and you're welcome.
Beauty - Moisturizer. Photo by JASON HO
Moisturisers - also known as emollients - are crafted to improve the texture and clarity of skin, protecting it from harsh environmental factors. Upon application, the upper layers of your skin remain moist and well-hydrated, making it the perfect canvas for make-up to glide on more smoothly.
Know your skin type to choose the appropriate moisturiser. If you have dry skin, choose a richer, oil-based emollient to soothe and clear those patchy areas. Water-based moisturisers work well for oily skin types as they are lightweight and non-greasy. Sensitive skin types should look towards emollients that contain calming ingredients, such as chamomile. Don't forget to moisturise your neck as well.
RoC Volume Restorer Anti-Ageing Day Cream and RoC Volume Restorer Anti-Ageing Night Cream (S$118; usual price S$160). These magic potions firm up your skin, boost skin's production of collagen and visibly reduce the signs of ageing. The cream absorbs easily into skin and leaves it feeling soft and moisturised.
HAND & BODY
Beauty - Hand/Body. Photo by JASON HO
No one likes a pair of scaly, reptile-like pins - and arms - staring back at you on a date night. It does nothing in the love department. Dry skin also causes your skin to itch as your skin's natural moisture barrier is broken down and irritated, leaving the underlying layers exposed to free radicals and germs.
Protect the investment you've already made on your skin by slathering on sunscreen religiously. Dr Calvin Chan, a dermatologist and founder of Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic, reiterates the importance of sunscreen: "It protects our skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays from the sun and prevents premature skin ageing. Unprotected sun exposure, especially in our hot and sunny climate, accounts for over 90 per cent of negative skin changes related to premature ageing like pigmentation, wrinkles and sagging skin." Sunscreen also keeps skin cancer and the effects of photo-ageing at bay.
Renew Rosehip Oil (S$19.50; usual price: S$30). Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin, it's laced with a cocktail of goodness such as Vitamin A (to treat acne, fine lines and pigmentation); essential fatty acids of linoleic, oleic and linolenic acids (to repair tissue damage, soften and moisturise the skin); lycopene (to protect the skin from free radical damage) and beta-carotene (to prevent the signs of ageing). This miracle worker can also be used on the ends of dry and damaged hair and around your delicate cuticles.
Also, dip your paws into Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF50 (S$9.80; usual price: S$14). The water-resistant sunscreen is enriched with Vitamins C & E and aloe vera and absorbs easily, all the while protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun and leaving it comfortable and hydrated.
Beauty - Cleanser. Photo by JASON HO
A good cleanser not only removes your daily dirt and grime, it also leaves skin looking and feeling comforted and clarified. However, if your skin feels raw and tight after cleansing, it could mean that you are using a cleanser that is not suitable for your skin.
Sebamed Clear Face Antibacterial Cleansing Foam + Deep Cleansing Facial Toner (S$16.40; usual price: S$28.50). This gentle skin cleanser has a pH value of 5.5, which balances the acidity of the skin's barrier. Its anti-bacterial formulation ensures it is gentle enough for inflamed skin, while battling pimples, blackheads and skin impurities.
Beauty - Mask. Photo by JASON HO
Facial sheet masks are targeted, intensive treatment for the hydration and whitening for a more even skin tone. It is also quick and easy to use, making it the perfect nightly pampering treat you desire after a long day at work. Do paper masks help hydrate the skin effectively? Dr Georgia Lee, founder of DrGL, says yes - "but the quality of the paper, the ingredients … and the length of time the mask is left on the skin will affect the efficacy".
Dr Morita EGF Platinum Mask 10's (S$13.40; usual price: S$14.90). It works to brighten, repair and firm up skin almost instantaneously.
Beauty - Pimple Cream. Photo by JASON HO
Thought you left behind your acne-ridden days along with your school uniforms? We thought so, too. Unfortunately, for many of us, acne isn't a one-time teenage affair. Acne flares up through adulthood and it is known to be attributed to factors such as stress, hormonal imbalance and an unhygienic skincare/make-up regime. These external factors cause your oil glands to overcompensate and secrete more sebum, leading to large and clogged pores. The ideal way to deal with adult acne is to avoid using treatments targeted for teenagers as they tend to be harsher on thinner, more mature skin.
Atorrege AD+ Acne Spots (S$47.20; usual price: S$59). We like how this treatment is gentle enough for sensitive skin, yet tough on pimples and acne. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial formulation leave skin fresh and smooth and the product leaves nary a dry spot behind.
HEAD: FOR THE BOYS
Yep, we know. Guys like their information delivered short and sweet, so here's all you need to know.
Cleansing is the most important step of male grooming, since your skin has "larger sebaceous glands, which secrete more oil (that lead to) more acne breakouts," said Dr Lee.
Banish the one-soap-fits-all and/or water-alone-is-good-enough mentality, and invest in a proper facial wash as most body soaps and shower foams tend to strip all moisture away from the skin.
If you are facing a battle with acne, never lazily apply toothpaste over a spot as the menthol in toothpaste does more harm than good. Instead, opt for products containing salicylid acid to aid in the unclogging of pores. And while you're at it, a deep cleansing clay mask helps draw out impurities as well.
Bio-essence Men Non-Soap Based Deep Cleanser (S$7.90; usual price: S$10.90) removes grime effectively, cleanses thoroughly and firms skin - all in just one step.
HEAD: MYTH BUSTERS
STRAP: Does smoking cause break-outs? What about your diet? We prove and debunk these beauty myths and more
Expensive skincare products are the most effective for my skin. YES/NO/MAYBE (Answer: NO)
Dr Chan: Skincare is only good for you if it suits you. Sometimes, the simplest products, like an effective cleanser targeted at your specific skincare issues, can work wonders where a much more expensive range of products may just aggravate the situation. The key is finding the right ingredients in the right formulation for your needs.
Smoking and alcohol consumption directly affect the skin. YES/NO/MAYBE (Answer: YES)
Dr Lee: Smoking and alcohol consumption will definitely accelerate the ageing of the skin - that is proven. Alcohol tends to dehydrate our skin and over-consumption will lead to (the) enlargement of capillaries. For smoking, it leads to so many health issues that affect our circulation. (A lack of oxygen in our circulation will also) affect the skin and lead to premature wrinkles over our face. In general, anything that is not good for our health is not good for our skin. One cannot have a good facade without a healthy infrastructure.
Obsessively cleansing your face more than twice a day will strip your skin's natural moisture barrier. YES/NO/MAYBE (Answer: MAYBE)
Dr Lee: Obsessive cleansing beyond three to four times a day, coupled with harsh cleansers and post-cleanser care … will greatly reduce the skin's natural moisture barrier.
The higher the SPF, the better. YES/NO/MAYBE (Answer: MAYBE)
Dr Chan: While this is true for lower SPF-rated products, once you get into SPF60 and beyond, benefits are incremental and it is more important that you look at the type of active ingredient to ensure good protection. Using sunscreen will prevent skin cancer. While using sunscreen is important to protect your skin, it is also important to use it correctly (and you should) reapply often and apply generously. Also, using sunscreen does not eradicate the need to observe other sun sensible rules like staying out of the sun (at noon), covering up and seeking shade where possible. In some instances, the false sense of security that using sunscreen provides has led to a higher incidence of skin cancers in sun worshippers in some studies.
Using sunscreen blocks the body's capability to produce Vitamin D. YES/NO/MAYBE (Answer: NO)
This is a myth as you can still tan when you are using sunblock and sunscreen - just more slowly. This shows that sunlight is still reaching and penetrating your skin.
It's too late to start using sunscreen since I'm already midway through adulthood. YES/NO/MAYBE (Answer: NO)
Dr Chan: While sun protection is best practised from childhood when skin is even more delicate and prone to damage, it is never too late to start protecting your skin from the damaging rays of the sun. Unfortunately, in your 20s, 30s or 40s, a lot of the damage would already have been done if you have not practised good sun-protection habits in your childhood and teenage years. However, since sun damage is cumulative, it is always better to start good sun-protection habits late than never.
HEAD: STARLET SECRETS
Gwyneth Paltrow: "Genetics play a part, but sweating it out every day is detoxing. I also drink a lot of water, take Omega oils and keep my regime simple - a cleanser, face oils and Embryolisse moisturiser."
Nicole Kidman: "I wear sunscreen, and I don't smoke. I take care of myself."
Miranda Kerr: "I'll put like purifying mask down the middle and the hydrating around the outside so that you have a glow. Rosehip oil is full of ... antioxidants and it just really works on a cellular level to rejuvenate the skin."
Taylor Swift: "I use whatever is around, really. I'll go to the drugstore and just get make-up removal pads, facial scrubs ... The one thing I do daily is to put on night cream every morning before I put on my make-up, and at night before I go to bed."
Fan Bingbing: "I never touch coffee or other caffeinated drinks. Also, I use facial masks diligently. I use at least two a day - one for moisturising and one for whitening. I think I go through at least 600 sheets of facial masks every year."
Photography: Jason Ho
Hair: Alicia Tey
Make-up: Larry Yeo
Model: Aleksandra W, Mannequin
Stockist: All products featured available at Watson's stores.