Friday, February 26, 2010

Clarins Skin TIme Appointment

I have tried denying this all my life and even having battles in my head over this simple statement that "I am a skincare junkie", but I AM ONE. I used to be a sucker for skincare products that claims to do this and that.. as long as there is a possibility that it might actually be the solution for my troubled skin.. i would just pull out my purse and shell out a pretty penny or two for it.

However the thing is, there is a tester available for people like you and me to test the prodcuct on a patch of our skin... a lovely well groomed sales lady to introduce the product and its function or maybe even other compilmenting products to you.. but something is lacking... somehow...

Now, Clarins sent out an email a while ago.. inviting people to make an appointment for a half an hour session with their skin experts, not the beauty talk that is conducted in a group but a one to one mini talk at the participating stores. Being the skincare junkie that i am, the next minute i know, my fingers are busy clicking onto their website booking an appointment with them.

The day finally arrived, I was attended by a friendly sales lady named Patsy, i think she is the supervisor of the branch that i made the appointment for. First of all, she asked if i am a current Clarins user and then she proceed to check on the database to find out what are the products that i am currently using.

Apart from the usual round of routine questions asked, like how i felt when i am using the product, do i feel comfortable about it and what are my concerns, she took extra care to make sure i use them all correctly and that she demonstrated by explaining and doing my entire skincare regime step by step on my face without me laying a single finger myself!

Step 1. Gentle Eye Makeup Remover to remove the shading powder i used for my eyebrows ( i didn't put on any makeup for this, except for my eyebrows, they must look prim and proper at all times.. haha). Patsy carefully placed the lotion soaked cotton pads over my eyes, pressing them one by one, showing me how it was removed.

Step 2. As i "complained" about my face feeling a bit tight after washing it at night, she finds out how i did my cleansing first before recommending that i use the Cleansing Milk with Gentian at night and demonstrated the "suction"method, followed by cleaning it off with water then the Toning Lotion with Iris.

Step 3. Next, for facial scrub, she showed me the corrected amount used for White Plus Renewing Gentle Exfoliator and proceed to use firm but gentle strokes to remove dead skincells on the surface. At this point, i asked her about the different masks available and was told that if i am using the white Plus Renewing Gentle Exfoliator, there is no need for the One-step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser as it is redundant.

*she did emphasize to me that i need to use the Shaping Face Lift everyday morning and night to see the significant change and demonstrated the Clarins Facial Massage Techniques with explanation. (As i told her, i can't see any change after using that, well i guess i am detoxing my skin with that......)

Step 4. After the thorough cleansing, my face is ready for some pampering.. the HydraQuench Cream Mask.. I never knew that i can actually apply it over the whole eye area as well as leave this mask on overnight so that its hydrating properties can be further enhanced in this way.. all i have to do is to spead a tissue flat on my face and absorb the excess while patting the rest into the skin. (in that situation, she cleaned it with water and then used lotion over it). Good tip on that : )

Step 5. Patsy took a step further and asked if i am continuing my shopping later on, she selected loose powder of my shade, blusher as well as eyebrow liner and put it on for me, she even asked if i would like to have some eye colors, which i politely declined.

After the whole session which lasted a good 1/2 hour, i "bombarded" her with a lot of questions like can i use this with that and what is this for.. what can that do, even things like can i use it with other brands... blah blah blah (idiotic sounding questions included).....and answered one by one patiently.

The hour skin time appointment went well over the allocated 1/2 hour, whereby a lot of explaining and demonstrations was done, it wasn't a sales talk entirely as i was not persuaded to buy anything at all. It was solely an effort to make sure that Clarins's customers know what they are buying, that the products they are using are suitable and the correct techniques are used. Customer retention at its best. Well, i am convinced at least for now......

Priced at S$0.00

Main Ingredients: Troublesome customer, patient sales lady, Priceless

Friday, February 19, 2010

Review: The Body Shop- Ice Blue Shampoo

Originally created in the 80s, this classic was revived and made a come back by the good people of Body Shop together with many popular classics that they discontinued back then.
This unusual bottle of blue shampoo brings back memories of my teenage years...I was lamenting for the loss of it when they decided to discountine this in the 90s.... just when i have began to fall in love with it...
So naturally, i am delightfully surprised when it was brought back though for a limited time only.

I am currently halfway through my new bottle of Ice Blue. I would say the invigorating minty feeling on the scalp during washing and after washing remains very much the same except that the icy coolness sort of toned down in this version. I still recalled how i actually felt years ago when i first came in contact with Ice Blue, i shivered at the strong minty coolness on my scalp, more than enough to wake me up for morning classes. This time round, the concoction is a tad milder in my humble opinion.

Nevertheless, I like the fact that the shampoo is able to lather properly, it thoroughly cleansed my hair and best of all the faint minty smell it leaves on my hair. Unfortunately, the Ice Blue conditioner was not brought back together with the shampoo.. This is a pity, the pair would have worked flawlessly together.

The Body shop's Ice Blue Shampoo has been compared to LUSH's Ice Blue Shampoo many a time. Both sport similar packaging, TBS's version has a deeper hue of ultramarine blue to it and it has a black and green label, while LUSH's version was a light shade of teal blue with a speck of brightness to it and it has a white label. I would love to do a comparison between the 2, but LUSH pulled out of Singapore many years ago, so it would mean that i will need to ask my friend in US to help me get hold of it. Meanwhile, hopefully the good people of TBS decides to keep Ice Blue for good.

The question is, would i buy it again?

Why, yes!

But please bring back the Conditioner too and make both available in larger size.

Priced at S$16.90 for 250ml.

Main Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Chloride, PEG-5 Cocamide, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Menthol, Citric Acid, Benzyl Salicylate, Parfum, Benzophenone-4, Disodium EDTA, Linalool, Citronellol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf juice, Cl 60730 and Cl 42090.

Interesting fact: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf juice is actually Aloe Vera juice. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can soothe irritated skin.

For deciphering of the scientific terms used in the listing of Main ingredients, please visit for it.

Review: Clarins- HydraQuench Cooling Cream-Gel

"A super-light fresh climate control moisturiser for normal to combination skin. Refreshing and non oily, it continuously hydrates the skin while protecting it from excess shine caused by heat and humidity."
- Clarins

The Clarins HydraQuench series has a total of 6 types of face creams targeting at different skin needs.

They are namely:
1. HydraQuench Cooling Cream-Gel - for normal to combination skin
2. HydraQuench Cream- for normal to dry skin
3. HydraQuench Smoothing Gel- for all skin types (but i think it suits oily to normal skin better)
4. HydraQuench Lotion with SPF 15- for all skin types with SPF 15
5. HydraQuench Rich Cream- for very dry skin and all skin types exposed to extreme conditions 6. HydraQuench Cream with SPF 15- for normal to dry skin types with SPF 15

Out of the 6 listed face creams/lotions in the series, only the first 3 are available in the Singapore market. I was told by the Clarins Sales lady that they will ascertain the demands of the consumer in the particular market before deciding to bring in certain skincare items.
In this case, the climate in Singapore is mainly humid and hot, sometimes wet when the rainy seasons hit us, thus the Singapore market will not be having items 4 to 6, unless there is a change of mind.
Today i will be reviewing the HydraQuench Cooling Cream-Gel. The cream comes in a blue frosted glass jar. Packaging-wise its pretty hefty, i much prefered its glass packaging compared to plastic jars, its a matter of personal preference.
The cream has a light beige tone to it and its looks heavy, but looks can be deceiving as the texture of the cream is way lighter than it looks it resembles those of gel. I find that products in the HydraQuench range have a certain faint smell to it that i simply can't put my finger on exactly what it is, nevertheless it a soothing fragrance, so it doesn't really bother me.
Upon application on the face, the cream actually spreads out quite nicely and easily absorbed by the skin, there is also a wave of very subtle cool tingling effect minutes after the application. I tried using it both as a day and night cream. As a day cream, it managed to moisturise my face for about 8 hours, the dry patches around my cheek areas remains sufficiently moisturised, i don't see any flaking of the skin. As a night cream, it is a little insufficient for people with dry skin types, but for normal to oily and combination skin types, the cream-gel goes very well with the range's Biphase serum.
I would buy it again as a day cream and use it on days when i felt that i need just a little more hydration.
Priced at S$88 for 50ml.

Main Ingredients: Aqua(water), alcohol, glycerin, squalane, caprylic/capric triglyceride, tapioca starch, ammonium acryloydimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, phenyl trimethicone, butylene glycol, parfum, ethlhexylglycerin, tocopheryl acetate, palmtoyl proline, C13-14 isoparaffin and tetrasodium edta.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Review: Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Face Serum

I have a friend who has very sensitive skin, almost anything would trigger violent reactions from it. Dust, dryness, the weather, anything you named it, her ultra-sensitive skin would react to it almost instantly causing blotching of the skin and then redness. Her saviour comes in the form of Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Face Serum from Origins.

With regular use twice a day, her extreme skin condition that has always been the core of her frustration actually subsided in a few weeks time. Her skin does not look blotched red every time i see her, though it remains slightly pinkish and it actually looks quite smooth.

That is a miracle for her and well, that prompted me to try this miracle potion wondering if it could conjure its magic to me. My skin is not as sensitive as hers however i do encounter problems such as dry patches around the cheeks but oily T-zone, mild irritation and appearance of some fine lines.

I jumped in to try the face serum, it comes in a clinical looking green glass bottle with a pump, it smells rather herbal (perhaps its due to the Reishi mushrooms, Ginger, Turmeric and etc used), the smell is not strong but to some it might put them off. The serum has a thin consistency of a lotion, lightweight and easily absorbed by the skin.

After a few weeks or so, it did what it claimed, the my skin felt more balanced, less irritated and the appearance of fine lines is not so obvious though its still there. I was told by the Sales lady that the serum has anti-aging properties too, i can't really tell for sure about that but i will see how i turn out years down the road.

This serum has been my friend's holy grail for a few years, as for me, i will always go back to the green bottle whenever i can feel my skin acting up.

Priced at S$108 for 30ml and S$138 for 50ml. It is the saviour for those with ultra sensitive skin, a holy grail material in the making.

Main Ingredients: Hypsizygus ulmarius, Cordyceps, Reishi mushrooms, Ginger, Turmeric, Holy Basil, Resveratrol and Argan Nut oil.