You may have clear skin, closed pores, and no under-eye circles (share your magic with us?!) but you’re still missing that one all-important key to beauty: a healthy radiance to your skin. A brighter complexion gives that special something to any skin type, and gives you that happy glow to your entire person – who wouldn’t want that, right?
Many facial salons nowadays have treatments that help you achieve that brightened complexion, but which ones should you be trying out? We bring you this series of reviews on how we enjoyed the brightening treatments from four salons, so you have somewhere to start from in making your decision!
1. Slimming Sanctuary
Reviewer: Mandy Wong
Slimming Sanctuary has several outlets around the island, and the one I went to was conveniently located at Marina Square. Upon entering the salon, I was impressed by how the front desk and waiting area emanated the ambience of an Oriental zen garden.
Most of the salon is also a no-shoes area – this may not sound like much, but it’s small details like these that make the luxurious spa experience begin from the moment you step in the door. I waited for a while in the quiet and spacious waiting area until my therapist Yan ushered me in.
Inside, I was greeted by the sight of a spacious and comfortable-looking lounge, locker area, dressing tables, and shower rooms. I typically don’t enjoy taking showers outside of home, but I wouldn’t have said no if I had had the chance to do so here!
I was doing the Oriental Facial today. Designed for Asian skin, the facial harnesses the power of both Ginseng, well known for its strong anti-ageing properties, and guasha, a traditional Chinese acupressure technique that removes toxins from the body. Together, the two work to brighten up the complexion, and impart that well-rested glow to your skin that seems to come from within.
Although the facial is generally marketed for its lifting properties, said to reverse sagging and ageing skin, the procedures in the facial would also help brighten skin tone and improve the luminosity of the skin.
The facial began with Yan cleaning off my makeup, and then going in with a cleansing milk and a cleansing gel after that. Proper makeup removal is important to me, so I was happy that this was well taken care of before my facial began.
Later, she applied a scrub all over my face, but let it sit as she switched on the steamer. Steamers can sometimes get a little uncomfortable with the vapour being either too hot or too heavy, making it difficult to breathe. At Slimming Sanctuary, the process was somehow so comfortable that I nearly fell asleep as it was going on.
After that, Yan proceeded to do extraction on my face. I have a low pain tolerance, so I requested Yan to only do minimal extraction. In previous facials, I have had bad experiences when the therapist continues extraction as per usual despite my protestations. Yan, however, was considerate and obliging. She did not pooh-pooh my concerns with the pain, and did only the most necessary extraction.
When she was finally done with extraction, Yan packed cooling towels on my face to soothe the skin, while also spreading a cooling gel over my neck and shoulders and giving me a massage. I didn’t realise I had tensed up so much during the extraction, so I was really glad to feel the massage kneading away all the knots.
Yan began dripping a ginseng-based serum on my skin which she spread with the help of a machine that remained constantly chilled to the touch. Widely used in Chinese and Korean skin care, ginseng extract helps stimulate collagen production and blood circulation, encouraging a healthier radiance to my complexion. The coolness of the machine also helped to soothe my skin after the extraction, while also encouraging the absorption of the serum.
I was most apprehensive about the next step in my facial: the facial guasha treatment. The practice of guasha dates back to the Ming Dynasty. It is a Traditional Chinese Medicine that helps to improve blood circulation while also detoxifying the body of “qi”.
Used in a facial, it can smoothen fine lines, plump up and tighten and lift facial contours. I had never done guasha before, but I have heard countless stories about how painful it was, so I urged Yan to go easy on me. She assured me that she’d go as light as she could.
To my amazement, the guasha treatment was actually – wait for it – very comfortable. I told Yan about my surprise, and she explained to me that the nightmarish stories I had heard were probably from those who had done body guasha, which necessarily used more force to dispel toxins.
Facial guasha, Yan explained, encouraged lympathic drainage under the skin, which helped to reduce bloating on the face, lift the skin, and also encourages blood circulation which would help the skin to achieve a healthier glow and a brighter complexion.
The above photo was taken after Yan had done the guasha on the left side of my face (where I am pointing at). Two things might surprise you as much as it did me: firstly, the obvious lifted appearance of the side that had gone through the guasha treatment; and secondly, how my face did not turn tomato-red all over but only contained itself to a health glow at my cheeks, even though Yan had been applying the guasha over the entire area.
With the guasha treatment completed, Yan applied a very thick ginseng mask all over my face which gently chilled the skin and let it sit for about 15 minutes. I was not surprised to find myself dozing off while waiting for the mask to be complete.
I was very pleased with the whole experience, and was also happy with Yan’s professional service. I’d certainly return to repeat the facial of my own volition!
The days following the facial, I felt that my skin was calmer with a more natural glow. To show it off, I got into the habit of using a lighter coverage foundation, which allowed my radiant complexion to peek through. The end result was a very natural and healthy-looking, which I loved and got many compliments on!
Addresses: Branches at ONE KM (Katong), Our Tampines Hub (Tampines), and Marina Square (City Hall). Click here for full addresses.
Telephone: +65 6455 6161 (ONE KM), +65 6766 6161 (Our Tampines Hub), +65 6366 6161 (Marina Square)
How to book: Use their contact form, or email them at [email protected]
2. SG Face
Reviewer: Mandy Wong
This wasn’t my first time at SG Face, and walking along the quiet corridor of Holland Village Shopping Center towards the salon brought back memories of the peaceful and tranquil facial that I had enjoyed with them from before. They are tucked away in a quiet corner of Holland Village, which is actually perfect – its location is accessible while still remaining quiet and chill.
Upon entering the salon, I was quickly attended to by a therapist who would be assigned to me for my session that day. She explained to me that I would be doing the Aromatherapy Brightening Treatment with them, which not only rejuvenates the skin and body, but also the mind and soul with its use of soothing aromatherapy oils.
My therapist brought me in to the treatment room without much ado, and the facial began. First, a foam cleanser was used to clean the skin twice, ensuring that all remnants of skincare were removed so that the skincare products used later in the facial will be absorbed as optimally as possible.
An exfoliating cream was then applied all over my face to gently dissolve and remove the topmost layer of dead skin cells. I was surprised that my therapist used this cream simultaneously with a steamer, but on hindsight, it actually makes a lot of sense.
The steam opened up my pores, allowing the exfoliating cream to be absorbed into them and really cleaning out the gunk that may have accumulated there. The exfoliation would also help to remove the rougher and duller topmost layer of skin cells, revealing a brighter and smoother complexion below.
The extraction session followed, and the therapist was thorough and meticulous in her task. She didn’t rest until she had ensured my skin was smooth to the touch with not a discernible bump in sight.
She then applied a brightening toner over the face to soothe and hydrate my skin. Next came one of my favourite parts of the facial. I’m really big on the calming effects of lavender, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the cold compress used on my face had already been infused with lavender essence.
The scent together with the chillness of the cold compress made me feel the most relaxed I had ever felt in weeks. The way my therapist used the cold compress to massage my face was also indescribably soothing – I didn’t want the massage to end!
After the cold compress was removed, my therapist applied a series of brightening skincare products to balance my skin’s hydration and brighten my complexion. She then applied calendula cream, with a mild herbaceous scent, to help with redness and to further soothe any irritation that my skin might have felt over the course of the facial.
The delightful fragrance of rose greeted me after this as my therapist used a rose face oil to give my face an overall gentle massage. The massage would encourage better blood circulation all over my face, which helps the skin to maintain a healthy glow that would never go out of style.
Finally, a brightening mask was applied to my face. The mask is made out of high-performance clay (but actually has a more creamy texture) that is infused with lemon and avocado oils, as well as extracts of carrot oil.
My therapist said the mask would provide the icing on the cake as it smooths, brightens, and intensely hydrates my skin to cement that healthy glowing look. I am not ashamed to say I dozed off as I let the mask sit on my face – the whole proceeding had been that comfortable.
Over the next few days, I felt that my skin certainly looked brighter than before, and seemed to be luminous from within. It wasn’t my first time at SG Face, but it certainly won’t be my last either.
Address: #03-42, 211 Holland Avenue, Holland Road Shopping Centre, Singapore 278967 (nearest MRT: Holland Village)
Telephone: +65 6763 9466 / +65 8468 1680
How to book: Call them at +65 6763 9466 or +65 8468 1680, or email [email protected]
3. Derma Lab Beauty & Wellness
Reviewer: Emily Heng
In the brightly painted, kid-friendly grounds of United Square mall lies Derma Lab Beauty & Wellness, a salon dedicated to providing bespoke facial and body treatments specially tailored to one’s needs. The salon itself is tucked in a back corner past an array of toy and novelty shops, but it’s easy to spot once you go past the sprawling Toys R Us.
Stepping into the small yet cozy space, I was immediately greeted by my therapist who sat me down to explain the treatment I would be trying out today: the Dynamic Pulsed Light (DPL) Skin Brightening and Rejuvenation + Vitamin C Therapy.
I was immediately reassured by her explanations as she was both friendly and clearly passionate about the services provided by the salon. The therapist then proceeded to give me a thorough skin assessment, and I was informed that my skin type veered towards combination, meaning that my T-zone is oily while the other areas are a little drier.
With this information in hand, she then began to explain how my treatment would be adjusted so that the products and techniques used would be best suited for my skin type.
The treatment started off with cleansing, steaming, as well as a mild extraction. My therapist was so brisk and efficient with her task that the pain was minimal. This was followed by the actual brightening procedure which incorporates both an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Laser Power Source to create a new shape of light pulses that rejuvenates and brightens the skin.
A cool gel was applied over my face before the light treatment began. I could see red bursts of light flashing even though my eyes were closed but there was no discomfort at all, just a sensation of pleasant warmth over my face.
The light pulses apparently help to penetrate through to the skin’s deeper layers to reduce pigmentation and even out the skin tone. It also stimulates collagen production, minimises pores, and reduces fine lines – sounds like a treat to me!
An ultrasonic infusion of pure Vitamin C and a mask was applied to my skin after, and the process was so soothing that I nodded off multiple times during the procedure. The quick shoulder massage was a nice touch too, and I left the salon feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and radiant.
I definitely saw some changes over the next few days. My skin was remarkably brighter for one, and makeup went on more smoothly than before. I didn’t even have to put on concealer to cover up problem spots, which drastically shortened my makeup routine. Definitely a bonus for those of you who rush with makeup in the mornings!
All in all, it was a really pleasant experience at Derma Lab Beauty & Wellness, and I know for a fact that I will be making a return trip soon!
Derma Lab Beauty & Wellness
Address: 101 Thomson Road, #02-08B, United Square Shopping Mall (nearest MRT: Novena)
Telephone: +65 6266 3038
How to book: Call them at +65 266 3038 or WhatsApp them at +65 9089 4498
4. Le Facialle
Reviewer: Ng Lay Peng
If you’re looking for a pampering facial treatment with warm and welcoming staff, look no further than Le Facialle, centrally located at 10 Sinaran Drive, Square 2 #B1-101/104, and can be easily accessed via the walkway from Novena MRT Station.
To say that my experience here at Le Facialle has transformed my opinion on what a good facial can do for the skin is an understatement. The 120-minute Brighten & Lighten Treatment left me feeling five years younger and fresher; the warm and meticulous service from my therapist left my tired body feeling rejuvenated.
After a warm honey ginger tea, I was led to the treatment room where my therapist Joanne did a quick skin assessment before beginning the treatment. She started with Double Deep Cleansing, followed by Dead-Skin Exfoliation Peel. She later did Skin Toning, followed by a painless extraction to clear my clogged pores.
This was followed a Skin Lightening Serum around the face and neck, and then the Rejuvenation Eye Concentrate around the eye area. Joanne gently pinched areas where she had just applied skincare products to help the skin absorb all that natural goodness.
Le Facialle uses a range of Gatineau products, a brand which harnesses natural ingredients with cutting edge bio-technology. They claim their products are highly effective and would deliver visible and lasting results, and I have to agree.
Next came the most incredible segment of the facial – I was super impressed by how instantaneously it worked!
Joanne applied a clear Anti-Wrinkle Radiance Mask Treatment which consisted of active ingredients such as Marine Collagen, Pure Hyaluronic Acid, and Luminix. It is meant to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and restore skin radiance. The treatment was then massaged into my skin using the Drain Lift Wands to help with lymphatic drainage.
I got to regularly check the progress as the treatment went along, and was impressed by how much plumper and clearer my skin was. The swelling around my face and eyes was noticeably reduced, and I was pretty sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. Hello, instant V!
The 12-step treatment continued with a Skin Soother and Balancer Facial Massage, a relaxing and indulgent Signature Gatineau Shoulder and Décolleté Massage, a Brightening and Lightening Serum Treatment on the face before wrapping up with Intensive Collagen Expert Anti-Wrinkle Eye Pads and a Whitening Filmomasque Treatment.
The Whitening Filmomasque is an intensive mask application that lightens dark spots and evens out skin tone. It consists of marine alginates which detoxifies your pores while the synergy of plant extracts allows a brightening effect for a radiant look.
For the rest of the week, I was more than happy and comfortable to bare my face when heading out (making exceptions for my must-have brow pencil and under-eye concealer). I had not even realised how dull and tired my skin had been looking until after I had gone for this facial!
I highly recommend Le Facialle’s Brighten and Lighten Treatment for all us busy women out there who need to take the time out to give their skin a little treat.
Address: 10 Sinaran Drive, Square 2 #B1-101/104, Singapore 307506 (nearest MRT: Novena)
Telephone: +65 6732 3839
How to book: Call them, use their contact form, or email them at [email protected]