Time Out Singapore's favourites
For a treat yo’self day
The Elizabeth Arden boutique in ION Orchard is home to Singapore’s first Red Door Experience. The brand established this programme on the iconic Fifth Avenue in New York City in 1910 (yes, really) so it’s about time it made its way here. Besides a range of facial services from full top-to-toe pampering to quick in-and-out sessions, you can request for customised skincare analysis, get matched with your perfect shade of foundation and, of course, have your makeup done, too.
Treatment to try Escape Facial ($230/80min). This indulgent facial gives skin the ultimate exfoliation starting with an enzyme treatment and microdermabrasion featuring an organic flower peel. An expert extraction is done by hand and an plumping eye collagen treatment is also added to the mix. The whole procedure includes an indulgent face, hand and arm massage so be prepared to bliss out for the full 80 minutes.
For a sensory experience
Much like its iconic apothecary stores, meticulous attention has been given to the sounds and scents of Aesop Facial Appointment, which is the third in Asia after Hong Kong and Tokyo. This treatment space is thoughtfully designed and offers six customised Aesop facial treatments designed to stimulate and intensively nourish your skin – although you can expect the therapist to tailor the steps and products used to your skin needs after an in-depth consultation. The spa takes up to four appointments per day as there’s space for only one customer at a time so we suggest booking well in advance.
Treatment to try Parsley Seed Intensive ($150-180/60-75min), which takes the brand’s well-loved Parsley Seed range and turns it into an ultimate pampering anti-oxidant treatment. Aesop’s signature Parsley Seed Extract (which you can purchase afterwards) helps to tackle the effects of urban pollution and prolonged exposure to air-conditioning – your skin is first deep cleansed before a gentle exfoliation and ends with intensive hydration. No machines or tools are involved – it’s the sort of facial you fall asleep to and wake up to with a glowing visage. It’s suitable for all skin types in need of monthly maintenance.
For that K-Drama star glow
Several facial rooms and a lounge are cleverly hidden behind shelves of Sulwhasoo products at the Westgate outlet of this luxury Korean beauty brand. Its concise facial menu, which varies from boutique to boutique, is as natural as you’ll get – traditional herbs such as ginseng are among the ingredients used in the facials here.
Treatment to try Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Treatment ($260/80min). If you like masks and massages, this is for you. After a welcome footbath and facial massage, Sulwhasoo’s signature First Care Activating Serum EX is applied to facilitate absorption. The first mask applied is the Radiance Energy Mask, followed by a décolleté and face massage with a pair of jade rings. A remodelling mask follows, and the treatment ends with yet another face massage – this time a special ‘twist and pinch’ technique to boost lymph drainage to promote the skin’s ability to self-rejuvenate.
For tired skin
The revamped Ritz-Carlton Spa is an underwater-themed oasis for the worn-out folks – calming blue lights are surrounded by lush greenery, with the sounds of nature being piped throughout the 10-room spa. It’s the first La Mer hotel partner spa in Asia Pacific so naturally, La Mer products take centre stage. If you’re looking to go all out to pamper yourself, the spa offers three signature spa experiences: Timeless Indulgence (La Mer Miracle Broth facial and a foot care regime), Cello Concerto (massage synchronised to classical music) and Educational Spa masterclasses, where you’ll learn the art of massage.
Treatment to try La Mer Miracle Broth ($420/90min). It’s not a soup but an elixir that locks in moisture while soothing and brightening your skin. As the extract is slathered on your mug, therapists conduct a series of deep cleansing, massage, eye treatment and an ‘ice sequence’ to seal in all the benefits.
A light touch to soothe and relax
For a TCM-inspired face massage
At first glance, it's easy to dismiss Geranium as a hair salon – it is, you can definitely get your tresses cut, coloured and treated there – but Geranium is first and foremost a facial salon. With 11 years of facial experience under its belt (the expansion into a hair salon came after), the salon offers a concise menu of facial treatments to target different skin concerns. The friendly therapists at Geranium are particularly trained in the art of facial gua sha – yes, that's the TCM treatment that uses jade tools to stimulate the lymph nodes on your face and no, it's very gentle and you won't be left with bruises on your face, just glowing skin.
Treatment to try Multivitamin Lifting Treatment ($500/120min). Carve out a good two hours to treat yourself to this relaxing treatment at Geranium that combines a facial gua sha with a multivitamin treatment massage for a lifting and brightening effect. After cleansing and an enzyme exfoliating peel, the therapist does a gentle extraction by hand followed by a cold compress to speed up skin recovery. Then it's on to the best parts – a face massage with a potent multivitamin serum followed by a face gua sha that's sure to lull you to slumber and a rubber mask to lock in all the goodness. A shoulder and scalp massage is done while the mask sits on your face – talk about efficiency.
Note: because of the high Vitamin C content in the serum used, this treatment is not recommended for those with sensitive skin or acne skin condition.
For a full-body treatment
Whether you’re looking to deep cleanse your pores, reduce puffiness around your eye area or get rid of the dreaded back acne, Kew Organics Facial Bar can help. Singaporean founder Lily Kew took inspiration from nature and uses only fresh, vegan, non-GMO, certified organic and natural ingredients to deliver clear smooth skin. Kew Organics has its in-house range of skincare products ($59.90-$94.65) that range from Mandarin Acai Cleansing Lotion to Megaboost Hyaluronic Concentrate Serum that you can use at home to prolong the effects of the facial.
Treatment to try Skin Clear Organic Treatment ($120/60min). Bring sexy back with this bespoke back treatment that effectively removes acne scars and blemishes to reveal smooth and soft skin. It’s suitable for acne scars, blemishes, rough skin and uneven skin tone. If you’re looking for a relaxing one for your face, try Kew Organics’ signature MD Organic Facial.
For dehydrated skin
With plush beds that’ll make you want to sink into a deep slumber, the SK-II Boutique Spa by Senze Salus has one of the most relaxing facial experiences we’ve tried. Combining top-notch service with SK-II’s products, the spa delivers luxurious facials that target wrinkles, sagging and dull skin.
Treatment to try SK-II Discovery Facial ($190/60min). For people looking to restore their skin’s moisture barrier, this basic facial covers all the necessary bases. The spa uses cutting-edge technology, including a sonic cleansing wand and a cold ion machine, to instantly tighten pores, soothe redness and lighten dark circles.
Treatments for troubled skin
For escaping the city life
Nestled among the lush greenery of Dempsey Hill, Spa Esprit is the perfect space to wind down. The spa’s Beauty Emporium outlet offers pampering facials, massages and body treatments fit for royalty— think 24k gold masks and diamond peel procedures. On top of beauty and stress-relief treatments, you can pick up beauty products from its in-house brand as well as cult beauty labels. Spa Esprit has another outlet at Paragon.
Treatment to try Beam Me Up Infrared Lifting Facial ($350/75min). This rejuvenating treatment helps delay signs of premature ageing by using high-powered near infrared lamp to heat tissues deep under the skin’s surface to lift and firm skin. During the treatment, you’ll feel a warm sensation, so it’s perfect that the session winds down with a cooling herbal mask and a neck and shoulder massage.
For clogged pores
Removing blackheads and stubborn whiteheads can be a nightmare, and the folks at My Cozy Room get it. Set in a quaint terrace house a skip away from Orchard, the boutique spa is known for its extraction facial, which promises to rid the bacteria trapped within your pores completely and painlessly. Don’t worry about dealing with any redness, too – you’ll step out with a smooth and radiant complexion that’ll last for days.
Treatment to try Customised Facial Treatment ($188/60 min). Everyone's skin is different and My Cozy Room Boutique Spa understands that. Choose from a menu of treatments where the 20-step process begins with an in-depth skin analysis. Then, after double-cleansing, your skin’s prepped with a deep pore lotion to soften the blackheads and whiteheads before extraction begins. To our surprise, the procedure is fairly gentle (think: ant bites) and the cooling mask applied after reduces any redness. It’s followed by a stress-relieving head and shoulder massage before you’re finished off with a toner, moisturiser and sunblock.
For uneven, sun-damaged skin
You don’t have to fly to the Land of the Rising Sun for an authentic Japanese experience. Ikeda Spa offers more than ten types of facials to choose from, including treatments for V-face slimming, wrinkle refining and acne-reducing, on top of its onsen experiences.
Treatment to try Geisha Organic Facial ($240/90min). A heads up, don't be surprised by the main ingredient used though. Uguisu no fun, or 'nightingale faeces' in Japanese, is used in this facial treatment popular with geishas in the 17th century. It’s said to brighten and even out skin tone as well as treat acne scars and sun damage. But relax, the Japanese bush warbler, the species that provides the raw ingredient, is reared in farms and fed a diet of organic berries for the sole purpose of harvesting its faeces so it's not too bad.
Aesthetic treatments to try
For firming your skin
With over 15 years of experience treating skin concerns in France and across Europe, EstheClinic now offers advanced aesthetic treatments in Singapore. Each treatment promises to be effective, painless and non-invasive, allowing you to see both immediate and lasting results. Its star treatment is the Smooth and Glow IPL Body Perfection (from $90/session) that removes unwanted hair while evening out skin tone.
Treatment to try Three Days to Instant Youth programme might err on the pricey side (from $990) but it is great for people looking for a quick and almost instantaneous fix to problematic skin as the treatment instantly smooths, firms and hydrates. Although marketed as an anti-ageing solution, the programme is also good for people with stubborn acne scars and pigmentation as it increases skin regeneration. The five-step facial is repeated over three consecutive days. On the first and third day, skin is treated to a thermo-controlled radiofrequency procedure for 40 minutes before the therapist uses a micro-needling device that will help the skin better absorb the serum. Cold light is then used on the face to activate new collagen formation, which results in tighter skin. All steps are repeated on the second day except the radiofrequency treatment.
For the glow-from-within look
Pop into Porcelain Aesthetics for a quick facial. Founded by mother-daughter team Jenny Teng and Pauline Ng in 2009, Porcelain has since grown to have three face spas around the island, each carrying their own range of skincare, including cult favourites like the balance sebum control essence and HydraClear gel. By coupling state-of-the-art facials with effective skincare, Porcelain promises to deliver clear and beautiful skin to anyone who steps through its doors.
Treatment to try Porcelain Illuminate Facial ($406.60/75min). Achieve brighter and glowing skin with this five-step facial that aims to fade pigmentation and reverse the signs of ageing. The treatment begins with the use of a two-in-one oxy-diamante microdermabrasion device followed by a wine peel to gently exfoliate the outermost layer of the skin, ensuring better absorption of active ingredients in subsequent steps. To encourage lymphatic drainage, an OxyPulse massage is performed to simultaneously work a floral essence lotion into the skin while pumping it with oxygen to stimulate blood flow. The treatment concludes with a hydrating mask and a shoulder massage.
For supple and brighter skin
Apart from facials that’re designed to suppress pigmentation and boost collagen, this clinic offers removal treatments for acne, pigmentation, scars and broken or enlarged blood vessels, among other things. It even goes a step further with its clinical skincare range, developed to complement treatments suited to your skin type.
Treatment to try IDS Hydro Therapeutics Treatment (from $198/45-60min). The clinic’s signature four-step facial promises brighter skin after just one session. It starts with a HydraFacial, in which jets of solution cleanse the surface layer of the skin. Next your pores are unclogged using ultrasonic technology and a manual extraction for stubborn blackheads. The third step’s a fancy process called iontophoresis, in which vitamin C essence is pushed into the deeper layers of the skin using ultrasonic technology. A soothing mask is then applied and left to harden for about 20 minutes, after which you’ll have supple and glowing skin for up to a week.
For a sharper jawline
Want a V-shaped jawline, but through non-surgical and non-invasive means? Your answer is in Yakson’s Golki Therapy, a method based off Wolff’s law that posits using shock and pressure will stimulate calcium absorption and, ultimately, boost bone density. The beauty house, which was started in 1981 in Korea, also offers treatments for bow leg realignment ($240/session) and pelvic care (from $148/session), among other options.
Treatment to try Small Face Care (from $258/2hr). It comes with an hour-long back, arm and décolletage massage and a 15-minute ‘facial golki’ – that’s when your face is remodelled and jawline reworked through a series of deep massages.
Express facials for the time-starved
For a quick boost
Let’s face it, not everyone has the time for an hour-long facial every month. Enter Sugar K, a facial peel bar at Central that gives your skin a quick fix in under 20 minutes. Using glycolic acid naturally derived from sugar cane, the peels gently exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and excess sebum from the pores. This tightens pores and prevents blackhead and whiteheads from forming, improving the skin’s texture while giving it a radiant glow.
Treatment to try Sugar K Organic Peel Treatment ($55/20min). After the skin is cleansed, the glycolic peel is applied for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the sensitivity of your skin. The peel helps to stimulate cell renewal and collagen production while delivering a boost of hydration to your skin. After that, a neutraliser is wiped on the skin to counter the acid before toner, serum, moisturiser and sunscreen are applied.
For the jet-setter
Airplane air wrecking havoc on your skin? work in a quick, revitalising facial at Jet Concepts. The fast-working facial will have you in and out of the spa in under an hour – perfect for those who can never find the time to pamper themselves.
Treatment to try Jet Revitalising Facial ($150/45min). This express service uses a micro-current machine and chemical peel to first exfoliate the surface of the skin. The therapist then applies a moisturising cream to the face and massages it in for 15 minutes using a meridian acupoint technique. Finally, a cucumber mask is applied to hydrate the skin and reduce redness, leaving you feeling restored and ready to take on what the world has to offer.
For an express 'face lift'
Go beyond the standard rejuvenating or brightening treatment and get a quick firm and lift fix under 30 minutes at Skin Inc. Known for their customisable skincare, before the procedure, you will 'decode' your skin identity before a serum cocktail customised to your skin’s uniqueness is concocted.
Treatment to try Facial In A Flash ($45/20min) is one of the shortest facials you can experience. If you have another ten minutes to spare during lunch, for $65 you can get a Facial In A Flash and a shoulder massage.