Here at Expat Living, we’re always on the hunt for the best beauty treatments that promise brighter, clearer skin. As facials aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution and our skin-needs change through the years (thanks, hormones!) from treating acne and pigmentation to anti ageing, we put six treatments for different skin types to the test.
For congested skin: My Cozy Room
My Premium Extraction Facial ($288, 120 minutes). First-timers can enjoy the facial at 50% off.
Located a stone’s throw away from bustling Orchard Road, this boutique spa – which is as cosy as its name suggests! – features whimsical Victorian-style décor and furnishings. My session starts with a brief survey to find out my skin type, followed by a chat with the spa manager, Celine, who analyses my current skin condition and recommends the best treatment.
If you have sensitive skin, don’t worry – the spa uses premium German skincare brand BABOR, known for its natural ingredients and effective results. My Cozy Room takes cleansing seriously; we started with makeup removal using the plant-based HY-OL® cleanser, followed by a divine facial massage with the Phyto-active Combination Treatment essence, which further cleanses and detoxifies. My therapist Iris then applies a gentle plant-based peeling enzyme to remove dead skin cells and further cleanse the skin.
Next up is the extraction, which, as someone with a lower-then-average pain threshold, I’m not overly excited about. While I wouldn’t lie and say the process was entirely painful, it was certainly bearable. Iris was extremely thorough, too; it was the longest extraction I’ve ever been through – a whole 45 minutes!
After this, I’m rewarded with a series of pampering treatments, including a soothing crystal eye massage and eyebrow trimming. My favourite part? Definitely the mask application, which involves a premium alginate mask (containing charcoal to detoxify) being slathered across my entire face (yes, lips and eyelids included), and then a relaxing hand massage as the mask sets.
If you’re looking for an extraction-focused facial to unclog your pores, this treatment would be perfect for you. While my skin was slightly red right after my session, the redness cleared up significantly after a couple of days. What’s left is a radiant base with an ultra-clean nose area – zero blackheads in sight!
Psst … Looking to glow on your special day (or a special occasion)? Opt for the award-winning Premium Illuminating Facial instead!
Try it at:
– Anthia Chng
For uneven pigmentation: Estheclinic
Three face treatments. First up, the Glow to Go IPL Facial Rejuvenation ($220, 30 minutes), followed a few days later by a dual treatment: the Lift Me Up Radio Frequency Treatment ($250, 40 minutes) for loose skin and fine lines, and the Soothe and Becalm LED Photomodulation treatment ($150, 20 minutes) to soothe inflammation and promote skin regeneration.
Set in a shophouse, Estheclinic’s new premises is decorated in a subtle black-and-white palette, with spacious rooms. My friendly therapist Nicky calmly explains each treatment and knowledgeably answers my many questions.
The IPL facial uses an intense flashing light directed at specific areas of the face and neck. At first, the light is intense, but it’s pain-free and I grow accustomed to the sensation. The radio frequency treatment is soothing and relaxing; Nicky massages what feels like a couple of warm balls over my face for around 40 minutes. It’s great for wrinkles and fine lines – even scars. Halfway through, she shows me the difference between one side of my face and the other, and the results show a plumper and smoother surface.
Photomodulation uses a spectrum of bright LED light delivered through panels positioned over the face. The treatment is gentle and pain-free; I walk out with only a hint of red flush, which subsides overnight.
Though you might have some slight redness, there’s almost no downtime, with visible results the next day, after just one session. I’ve seen tighter pores, a more even and brighter skin tone, firmer skin and a smoother appearance. Follow up sessions for each treatment are recommended to maintain the results.
Psst … I went to Estheclinic’s newly opened third clinic, in Joo Chiat Road, next to Expat Hair Salon.
Try it at:
– Katie Roberts
For combination skin: Trimmings Salon & Spa
L’Amino Multiples facial ($285, 90 minutes)
Facials don’t feature high up on my personal maintenance list. I know they should, but I’m just not keen on hearing, in detail, about my fine lines and wrinkles, pimples and oily skin. I’d rather bury my head in the sand (it’s exfoliating, okay!). But, when I do have a facial I love the results, so off I trotted to Trimmings to meet my therapist Celeste, and yes, she did bring up my wrinkles, pimples and oily skin, but she was ever so nice about it.
After examining my skin type and concluding that I had combination skin, which consisted of an oily t-zone and dull cheek area, she recommended the L’Amino Multiples facial. This consisted of a series of cleansing treatments, a mild skin peel, then a series of face masks and massaging of my face, neck, shoulders and upper back.
The mild peel was uncomfortable but not eye-wateringly so, and it was on and off within minutes. Celeste used Skin Origin products for my cleansing and exfoliating, and the face massage sent me off to sleep in seconds. She also (very kindly) added extraction to the facial.
Not only did I feel incredibly relaxed, my skin also felt tighter and smoother, and my puffy eyes had faded. I was worried I’d get some redness from the peel, but my skin had a lovely even tone, and Celeste recommended coming back for this facial every three to four weeks.
Try it at:
– Amy Brook-Partridge
For ageing skin: SWUK Aesthetics
CACI Luxury Non-Surgical Face Lift ($267.50, 90 minutes)
CACI – which stands for Computer Aided Cosmetology Instrument – is a technology that uses microcurrents to target the muscles underneath the skin on the face, so the lift starts from deep down.
It uses electrical impulses with electro “buds” filled with Instant Firming Serum to stimulate and re-educate the muscles to re-connect and communicate with the brain. After this process (which takes about an hour), Capacitive Radiofrequency (CRF) can be used to strengthen the skin tissue and stimulate collagen production to achieve the ultimate anti-ageing process. This is stronger than regular RF.
SWUK Aesthetics is a nice little salon and owner Sandi conducts the process herself. It was very relaxing, with none of the pain I experience from most IPL treatments. They provide parking coupons too, so it’s nowhere near the cost of having a treatment in town.
It was interesting to see that my face had become more symmetrical after, and my eyes were more open. Typically, one can expect visible results after 10 treatments – Rome wasn’t made in a day, after all! I can definitely see the logic of the system and would like to explore more.
Psst … This treatment won the Harper’s Bazaar Spa Award last year for Best Shaping Facial!
Try it at:
– Rebecca Bisset
For dry skin: Decléor at Seviin Spa
Hydra Floral Facial ($220, 90 minutes)
An expert in aromatherapy, Decléor’s range of products are enriched with specific essential oils for different skin types. Since I’ve been battling dry skin in and around my cheeks lately, I was looking forward to trying a hydrating aromatherapy facial.
The session began with a divine back massage, which was so relaxing that I almost dozed off. After that, my therapist Vivian removed my makeup and any impurities left on my face. Deep cleansing was next; a herbal-smelling scrub was massaged into my skin, then removed with a warm towel. This was followed by gentle exfoliation – with only a slight discomfort – and I was rewarded with a lovely facial massage. Topping it all off was the signature Hydra Floral professional mask, an intensive formula based on fruit powders, flower syrup and essential oil of neroli, which helped my skin lock in all the moisture.
I left the spa with glowy skin and no extraction marks. As I have combination skin (oily T-zone and dry cheeks), my face became slightly oily a few hours after the facial, due to the intense hydration involved. Those with dry skin would definitely love this treatment!
Psst … This particular Decléor Institute is located right in the heart of town. The relaxed atmosphere and upscale interiors made me feel like I’d checked into a luxe beach resort!
Try it at:
– Anthia Chng
For sensitive skin: Queen’s Market
Deep Therapy Pure treatment ($245, 90 minutes)
Situated a one-minute walk away from the foot of Duxton Hill, this quaint and homely salon is located on the second level of a lovely refurbished shophouse. My therapist for the day was Mika, who is also the general manager.
Mika began the session with make-up removal. This was followed by facial steaming and cleansing with a cleaning brush system. Next came the actual treatment; it involved a lot of facial massages, alongside exfoliation with a natural botanical powder made from herbs. This was something I had never experienced before, and not what I was used to. The purpose of the facial massage is to allow the maximum absorption of botanical herbs into your skin. The sensation was quite abrasive, and, while it was bearable enough, I was initially worried about post-treatment redness.
To my pleasant surprise, my skin looked great and there wasn’t any redness or pain afterwards. In fact, the results were almost instantaneous – my skin was brightened and my pores weren’t as visible as two hours earlier!
Mika recommended not to wash my face that night, and provided cleansing oil, botanical cream and UV protection creams to apply post-treatment. Due to the intensity of the exfoliation, your skin will feel sensitive for a few hours after the treatment – the creams will help soothe any irritation.
Psst … First-timers can enjoy a special price ($147), and there are no extractions involved for Japanese facials.
Try it at:
– Liana Talib