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Geishas are an icon of beauty in Japan, but as a rather secretive group, many have often wondered about them. This is especially when it comes to their beauty routine, which many know is almost ritualistic but absolutely effective; they’re well-known for their beautiful complexion and tresses, even though they apply thick layers of makeup every day.

If there’s one thing we could learn from the geishas, it’s probably their commitment to beauty and how their skincare rituals make them feel just as good as they look good.

Don’t we all have moments in our lives when we wish to pamper our skin and soothe our minds at the same time? Whether it is in preparation of an important event, like a wedding, or needing a respite after completing a particularly stressful project, a luxurious facial is certainly a great way to refresh us. I love the feeling of stepping out of a facial studio with radiant skin and rejuvenated mind and body – I feel like I could take on the world, come what may.

Japanese sake to brighten your skin: a geisha’s secret

The Daily Vanity team recently learnt of another well-kept secret: Japanese sake, to keep skin clarified and brightened.

Japanese sake has been used by geishas as an all-purpose ingredient that doesn’t just exfoliate skin but also brighten it. It’s able to smoothen out the rough texture of skin and regenerate it. The results: Glowing skin that looks clear and radiant.

The science behind this age-old beauty secret? Natural Kojic Acid from sake helps with exfoliating dead skin cells and have a skin-lightening effect, which helps leave skin with a healthy-looking, radiant glow.

Erabelle Sake Facial Review 5

Just as we were about to get a bottle of sake to douse our skin in, we found out that it’s possible to enjoy this precious ingredient right here in Singapore – and in the most pampering way! Erabelle offers the Japanese Sake Facial, which works exactly with the principles that we’ve just shared, using organic Japanese sake.

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This facial has been much raved about by people who have tried it. And after hearing so much great reviews about it, you’ll probably not be surprised to know that it has also swept away two awards in the Daily Vanity Spa & Hair Awards 2018: Facial salon with Best Ambience and Best Luxurious Facial.

Erabelle Sake Facial review: How did we find it?

But of course, we want to know what the facial is really like and the results we can see from it. I made an appointment with Erabelle so that we can find out for ourselves.

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Before the facial started, I was first treated to a foot soak. The foot bath uses essential oils to rejuvenate me, taking away any fatigue that I have brought along with me when I entered the salon.

But the attempt to help put me at ease didn’t just stop here. The 90-minute skin brightening facial began with a healing breath therapy with Pettigrain Essential Oil. This is a specially chosen ingredient that is distilled from the leaves and twigs of bitter orange, which is used to refresh the senses and reduce mental fatigue. The aesthetician explained that the breathing exercise sets the mood for the luxurious facial by helping customers relax their minds.

The first cleanse was done using cleansing milk and a customised treatment water, dependent on your skin type. For me, the Rehydration Treatment Water, which contains Rose essential oil for dehydrated skin, was chosen, because of the dehydration that the aesthetician observed when she analysed by skin during consultation. The routine was followed up with deep cleansing using deep-action cleansing foam and the customised treatment water.

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Next, we get to one of the highlights of the facial. Sake Kasu (or dregs, which are the left over after sake brewing) was infused into a paste mask and a sake cold compress was also used on skin.

Sake dregs are rich in antioxidants and have great anti-ageing properties, and after the mask, the aesthetician scrubbed the skin to clarify pores and restore a supple ounce to skin. The enzymes from the sake dregs also aid in boosting the sluggish skin cells, prolonging the skin treatment effect.

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The compress has a lifting effect on skin and is used to further ensure maximum absorption of the goodness with the natural mask blends for greater efficacy. At this point, I could really sense how authentic the sake treatment is because I could smell the refreshing scent of sake, reminiscent of the experience I had at a sake tasting session in a brewery in Japan earlier this year.

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While the compress was resting on my face, the aesthetician proceeded with a scalp massage that was so therapeutic that I was at the verge of dozing off. I was beginning to understand why this facial has been voted the Most Luxurious Facial!

Dependent on the condition of the customer’s skin, the aesthetician may proceed to extract blackheads and impurities after this. By now, your skin would have softened and dead skin cells removed thanks to the enzymes from the sake dregs on your skin earlier. This makes extraction a lot easier and pain-free.

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Guess what – this pampering and hydrating facial doesn’t come with just one mask but two! This second mask is a customised clay mask infused with sake. The aesthetician picked a mask and mixed it with a customised amount of sake solution – both concocted based on my skin needs and conditions. This step helped to soften and whiten skin.

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While most regular facials would have completed right after masking, this skin brightening facial still has pampering treats to offer. It continued with a relaxing shoulder massage, and then a face massage was done using an essential oil blend.

Finally, the aesthetician put a hot sake compress on skin, and finished off with basic skincare: toner, eye care, skincare, and sunscreen.

Erabelle Sake Facial review: Our verdict

I have to say that I don’t generally suffer from any obvious blemishes or skin concerns, but I entered Erabelle with some clogging around my chin, dehydrated skin, and complexion that looked a little tired. But even so, I was able to experience some improvements in one session of the Erabelle Sake Facial.

My skin felt softer and smoother, the clogging was alleviated, and my overall complexion looked brighter and clearer, even though I had no makeup on.

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This is obviously not one of the “cheap facials” that you can find on deals sites, but I’d say that it’s worth every cent – and you are paying for a good quality facial and great service.

Besides the noticeable results and precious ingredients used during the facial, what I note is the high level of service and comfort Erabelle was able to provide. Priding itself as a spa with Japanese-quality service culture (or omotenashi), Erabelle’s aestheticians go out of the way to make sure they pamper you from head to toe.

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Apart from being treated to hot tea and snack, and an aromatic foot bath before the facial, the comfortable robe, room, and the care of the aesthetician to constantly check if I was feeling comfortable made the entire experience a luxurious and pampering one. After the facial, customers are all treated to dessert and tea to end your session on a sweet note.

Compared to other cheaper facials I may have tried, I also noticed that the Erabelle Sake Facial gives more long-lasting results. My skin continued to glow and felt soft and smooth even a week after the session – something that few facials could achieve.

In other words, this may not be where you’d consider if you want a fast and cheap facial. If you are looking forward to to giving yourself a quality treat and pamper not just your skin, but also to get a respite for two hours, Erabelle will certainly be it.

Preparing for a wedding? Intending to indulge in a self-care session because you need a good break? Craving for a facial that truly delivers lasting results while pampering you at the same time? It won’t disappoint.

The 90-minute Erabelle Japanese Sake Facial is available at SGD278.20 (inclusive of GST) but you’ll get to enjoy 30% off if it’s a first trial, in celebration of its double win at the Daily Vanity Spa & Hair Awards. Click here to redeem the perk!

This article is brought to you by Erabelle.