May 16, 2018

Review: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (5 Years Later…)

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

Dear SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, it has truly been awhile. My last review on SK-II was a good 5 years back, and my skin gone through a lot since then: think cystic acne, Roaccutane and currently, rosacea. Since SK-II was kind enough to approach me to understand if I had continued using their brand and hear my thoughts on it, it’s time to update my review – and what a good time it is, as I’m almost 30 *cries* – so I’m excited to delve back into this old favorite and find out again: “Does SK-II really work? And is it worth it ?

Re-Introduction to SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence, which is only made in Japan, contains more than 90% PITERA™ as well as components that are similar to the Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) that occur naturally in healthy skin. These ingredients help smoothen skin whilst boosting the skin’s radiance by preventing surface damage through external aggressors such as UV.

The formula has remained unchanged for over 35 years, and has continued to be SK-II’s most awarded bestseller. Regardless of season, be it humid, hot, rainy, dry, or cool, this essence controls moisture retention so skin always looks nourished.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

Personally the first time round, I found that there was a change within the first few days already in terms of brightness but I wouldn’t say smoothness. Only perhaps in about 2 weeks to a month did I notice that my oil production was in control and my skin was a lot more refined. I didn’t have that many wrinkles then nor fine lines then, but I do recall I just looked a lot more refreshed.

This time, with “older” skin I was pretty excited to see how else my skin could change.

If you’re as obsessive with ingredients as I am, you can read more details here.

How to Use the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence?

There are apparently two ways to use this essence: some put on cotton pads and smooth it over their skin, others pour a 50 cent amount into their palms and pat it all over their face.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

I don’t believe there is a wrong method to be honest, but to be less wasteful with the cotton pads I suggest getting those very thin sheets with little to no lint so your skin gets maximum product instead of the cotton pads.

I don’t think I would consider this a toner since it is named an essence, so I do think the way to get the best effects from this would be to cleanse (or double cleanse if you wear makeup/sunscreen), then tone and apply this.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

The texture is definitely not sticky, absorbs quickly and layers well with other products on top. I think this is especially great for those of us living in a humid climate where everything turns tacky on our skin quickly.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence: Before & After

So here is my opinion after re-using it for approximately two weeks: I’m sad to say I can see where my monthly pay will be flying to pretty often haha.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence Before After

No joke. After paying such close attention to my skin the past year before my wedding, I really thought I had THE perfect regimen down. I was wrong. The moment I started using SKII again after a 5 year lull, my skin took to it like a fish to water.

Within 2 days my oil production seemed way better in check, and in 2 weeks my rosacea had gone down quite significantly (about 35%)! My rosacea is something I really struggle with now as my acne medication had thinned my skin down previously and now I constantly flush red. I’m grateful it’s kept so much better in check. My smile lines, or nasolabial lines if you must, – which had started to form sadly lol – are also less apparent around my mouth. There is also that much talked about SK-II glow which I love!

In fact, you can check out the after pic of when I used it when I was young versus my after pic now. I think it looks even better now.

Tried & Tested on Acne-Prone Skin

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

As mentioned earlier, my skin is actually pretty acne-prone. I can say that as I’ve suffered with acne for a good 14 years already... I would like to say (without jinxing myself) that my skin stabilized quite a bit last year after a round of roaccutane, but naturally I do experience some really miniscule breakouts closer to the time of the month especially around the lower jaw and forehead.

Hence I was a bit afraid that I MIGHT go through purging or that I would break out from the formula whilst adjusting but nope. Nothing at all. In fact, I tested this out precisely during the time of the month, and my tiny dots disappeared and skin smoothened out even more!

Is SK-II Worth it?

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

Very honestly, YES. I do wonder if my skin likes it better now that I’ve aged slightly more since my first post and can fully absorb and display the benefits – but really I think you can start from even as young as 21 for anti-aging. If it’s a bit of a splurge for you, I think you can always wait for their promotions as their deals are normally pretty good!

Where to Purchase from

A popular place to get SK-II products (at least, this is what I hear from my friends and family) is at SK-II Duty Free area in the airport. However, SK-II products can actually be purchased at a variety of places – something I quite appreciate especially if I finish a product and need to get one ASAP haha!

There are plenty of their booths around popular department stores such as Robinsons, Tangs, and Metro: but for a more specific location, you can find more of their Store Locations HERE.

If you’d like to just dip a toe into the waters of SK-II and try what their products have to offer, you can always start small with their Pitera Welcome Set or begin with their must-have product, the Facial Treatment Essence.

Learn how you can utilize the Facial Treatment Essence in this Japanese Skincare Routine!

I hope this review has helped, and if you have more questions please feel free to leave a comment or email me!

Disclaimer: Do note that even though I’ve written a review previously, I was approached by SK-II and given the Facial Treatment Essence to try again. I am just as honest this round as I was the previous round when I purchased it with my own money.


April 22, 2017

Eyeliner Embroidery at Beauty Recipe!

It may be hard for some to believe.. but I took this shot right after going to the gym on a Sunday with the hubs.

The camera obviously had a beauty mode on.. and none of us knew how to turn it off for some reason (and if you know me well, I don't use such a strong beauty mode on my photos, so it's definitely not because I'm hiding anything).

But skin aside, even my husband couldn't believe I had NO makeup on. None whatsoever - and I attribute that 100% to Beauty Recipe and Jessie, who have been taking care of my eyebrows, lips, and now my eyeliner too!

In case you can't see the eyeliner too close up from that picture, here's another for you. I made it a GIF so you can see the effects of the eyeliner embroidery when my eyes are both closed and opened.

Needless to say, I've almost completely forgone the usage of any liquid/felt tip/pencil eyeliner besides for formal events when I want to create a longer wing. Otherwise, I even go to work like this. Yes, THIS exact post-gym look. All it takes is 5 minutes to settle some skincare and sunblock and I'm out of the house.

Of course, you're probably wondering about the embroidery and healing process, so I'll go ahead and share more.

The number one question I always get is: WAS IT PAINFUL?

The answer is nope, not one bit. I wouldn't even rate it 2/10 on the pain scale. Maybe a 1/10 for discomfort because I didn't dare blink lol. But otherwise there was really nothing to feel at all.

Why I say I was scared to blink is due to the fact that Beauty Recipe is REALLY thorough in their eyeliner embroidery, meaning that the embroidery extended to under the lashes as well so that your own lashes look fuller and your eyes look bigger.

Therefore, even though the black liner looks extremely thick in the image above, that's only because it lines further than some other embroideries do. Something that I feel makes one's money well worth it. There's no point just having one pathetic line floating above your lashes because it'd just look weird. Take it from someone who had that for years before coming to Jessie.

Hello blue-green tattoo from days of old!
I did my eyeliner embroidery A LONG LONG TIME AGO.. probably even 5 years ago. And for that one, the pain rated at a 20/10. I remember crying and tearing and wanting to stop after 1 eyelid -- but the pain that resonated with me the most was how humiliating it felt when the beautician told me that my tears was slowing down her process and that she had to move on to other customers. Didn't help that they used some sub-standard ink and my eyeliner turned blue green..

Beauty Recipe was NOTHING like that. I remember the numbing process took 30 minutes: this was to ensure that I would feel ZERO pain after, and I really did feel zero pain!

Also, they constantly asked if I felt any discomfort during the process. It was a total game changer compared to my previous eyeliner experience.

Look how natural it seems!
The downtime lasted a few days? Maybe 5? I really didn't notice, and my reason for that is because MY EYES WERE SO BIG. Haha! The swelling was extremely minimal but the blackness of the embroidery were the darkest during the healing process of course (refer to the collage above) and thus I thought my eyes were the MOST BEAUTIFUL at that time haha!

Totally opposite of how people feel during the healing process of their eyebrows because they want the dark brows to go away.. but I just really wanted the dark liner to stay!

FORTUNATELY, even after peeling my eyeliner was considered pretty black so I didn't have to worry too much and I'm sure anyone who does it wouldn't worry too. If you put your beauty in the hands of Jessie, her promise is to never let you walk away disappointed.

I had my eyeliner embroidery done by Jade at Jurong East, and she's got TONS of good reviews for her skills as well! :)

For those who have had enough of spending 10 minutes drawing and correcting and relearning their eyeliners in front of the mirror every morning before work... consider this one of the best investments you'll ever make!


Company Website: Beauty Recipe
Another customer review: Read HERE
Reasons to choose Beauty Recipe: Read HERE
Before and after care: Read HERE



March 18, 2017

Softer Brows with Powder Gradient Eyebrow Embroidery at Beauty Recipe

I decided to redo my eyebrow shape sometime this year.. because... new year.. new brows!

Nahhh, I kid! In reality, what happened was that I've recently done a double eyelid suture surgery, and my eye shape became slightly different (you can read more about my double eyelid story here:

Straighter eyebrows from previous embroidery
Last time, with my inner double eyelids, my eyes were smaller and slightly straighter. Now they're rounder - thank goodness! - and hence the straight-ish eyebrow shape from my previous eyebrow embroidery didn't suit me so well. I wanted something A LITTLE different, just more rounded towards the ends with a gentle arch so I'd look less fierce!

Moreover, I was starting to realize that my previous eyebrow shape looked a little off, not too sure why. Perhaps after the surgery, the suturing of my right eye required slightly more work, leading to an uneven eyebrow propotion (one high and one low) which I'll show at the lower part of this post.

Fortunately! Jessie, the owner of Beauty Recipe, told me that she could not only alter and help CHANGE my eyebrow embroidery shape, she could also let me try out a new technique to give my eyebrows a softer arch and coloring! SUPER EXCITED.

As you can already guess with the title, what I was going to do is called the Powder Gradient Eyebrow Embroidery. It's different from 6D Eyebrow Embroidery in a sense because it doesn't use a blade to get the color in. It is sort of "tattooed" in the way the old embroideries were done EXCEPT that it uses A LOT more skills, and for the therapist to be really deft with her hands.

My eyebrow expert for the day was Khanh, and if you haven't already read, there's TONS of gleaming reviews for her on the Beauty Recipe Facebook. I felt very safe in her hands lol!

Anyway, as I was saying, the color for this type of eyebrow embroidery can't go in as a patch as you've probably seen on numerous people before. The color MUST go in, as mentioned, in a gradient. You've probably seen a lot of "Instagram Brows" where the front is light and has hair strokes almost but the back is DARK and very defined - yupp something like that.

However, my eyebrows this time required even more dexterity as I was not only trying to color them in but to reshape them.

Original Shape versus After Peeling
Above, on the top half of the collage, you can see, I tried to change my own eyebrow shapes by drawing the left side sort of arched but the right side went too high up and I couldn't create an arch there to "pull it down".

I attribute this, as I mentioned, to my double eyelid surgery as my eyebrows were perfectly fine and even before that. The eye on that side has more skin and thus, to create the parallel lid at the front, had to be pulled downwards more.

I'll be honest and say that I was hesitant and a little disbelieving when Jessie said that her eyebrow expert could make both sides even. I was sort of thinking... okay so do I need to do a laser or?? Jessie said that they could use a skin colored ink to, in a sense, embroider over the parts where the eyebrow "got out of shape. I was even worried that the skin color wouldn't match mine and it would look really fake and patchy... but I WAS WRONG. It was.. undetectable even!

Sorry for the quality - this was taken with my phone!
I was SO impressed with what Khanh had done that I JUST HAD TO TAKE A PHOTO AFTER. I sent it to Jessie straightaway and GUSHED about her! I really really couldn't believe I finally had even brows after months of tolerating one of them being so much higher. #firstworldproblems.

Here's the peeling process. By Day 3, most of it had peeled off already, especially the front. Those who do the Powder Gradient embroidery will notice pretty quick peeling, often within 2-3 days: so do not be alarmed if you experience this.

The thing about Gradient Eyebrows, or what was told to me, is that due to the technique if it being tattooeed in, the color RIGHT after the treatment isn't as dark and the eyebrows won't look as thick as it would be after microblading (6D embroidery).

However, unlike 6D eyebrow embroidery, the color remains strong at a 70-80% of the original shading after peeling - whereas the color for a 6D embroidery would only be about 50% strong.

In total, both have their perks though as the 6D embroidery can emulate hair strokes whilst the Gradient embroidery is more of a powdery makeup finish. It's really up to each person's taste. Anyway, both treatments come with a free touch up, so don't worry too much about the fading. You can even opt to do BOTH 6D and Gradient at the same time depending on the areas (eg. front with hair strokes and back with the gradient shading)! Amazing right!

Just in case you're wondering why my gradient brows aren't as obvious (from light to dark), it's also because I had previous eyebrow embroidery done before and my front was still dark. If you're doing this for the first time, the results are a lot more obvious! If you're also someone who's doing the Powder Gradient on top of a previous embroidery, you could perhaps just ask for the darkening of the tail area.

Regardless, I was super pleased with the whole process and final result. Like, VERY VERY happy. It was painless as usual, I occasionally checked my phone and chatted with Khanh every now and then. I think at one point I even fell asleep. If you're looking for a complaint, I've got none.

Beauty Recipe, Jessie, and all the amazing eyebrow experts there never fail to amaze me and brighten my day. Thank you so much!

For those who wish to have Khanh do their brows for them, do head to Beauty Recipe in Jurong East instead of Parkway.


Company Website: Beauty Recipe
Another customer review: Read HERE
Reasons to choose Beauty Recipe: Read HERE
Before and after care: Read HERE


December 30, 2016

Goodbye, Bulldog face

I am a generally skinny person.

Okay, maybe I’ll use the word slim.

Okay, maybe I’ll just admit that I would like to think of myself as both those words but I’m very probably not (curse you bloody milk teas and overly tasty aglio olios!).

It doesn’t help that my metabolism has taken a very steep dive off a cliff since I turned 25 and all the unattractive traits that I am to inherit from my family has started to set in.

The funny thing is, I do think my genepool has been quite fair. I did get voluminous locks, perfect eyesight and a relatively small-sized body….. I guess the only issue is that.. The down sides I experience are quite proportionate to the up sides.

The women in my family all BALLOON after a certain age (my aunties used to have waist sizes of 19 inches!!!), we are more inclined to get glaucoma and diabetes and above all.. we are doomed to have a bulldog face eventually.

Welcome to my Bulldog Face

What is a bulldog face you ask? Well. It’s pretty straightforward. Please refer to the photo above haha.

For as long as I've known, almost every young person (myself included) in my family has enjoyed years of those much-coveted apple cheeks. We have high cheekbones, rounded full cheeks and somewhat sharp chins. However, since life is fair.. these attractive round high cheeks… sag all the way down and rest happily around our jaw area.

Hence – the bulldog face. In a more anatomical terms, we all get jowls super easily.

(PS: In fact, you can read this post on the recent Indiba programme I went through to remove my double chin! SEE. The sagging is real.)

Astique Clinic to the Rescue
Astique has been taking care of me for so long! Check out this old photo.. and my fringe! lol

But I digress.

Since the jowls issue started so suddenly and unfortunately.. I decided to waste no time in letting the matter worsen.. and I booked an appointment with my Astique Clinic, who has been in charge of all my aesthetic needs the past 1.5 years (what with my monthly Dual Yellow Lasers and the occasional Botox treatment), and told them I wanted to get an Ultra V-lift done A.S.A.P.!

You're probably wondering.. what is an Ultra V-lift all about.

Here is a quick idea of what it can do and what one can typically expect.

Credits to: ShoesandDrama

An Ultra V-Lift is also known as a non-surgical ultra-fine threadlift that does not involve cutting or stitching, using absorbable ultra-fine threads that are inserted under the skin with no down time*.

The threads are made of Polydioxanone, an absorbable and biodegradable material used in various fields of surgery. It is now as the “Lunchtime facelift” and is suitable for those who have mild to moderate sagging of the skin, and wish to restore the youthfulness back to their skin with minimal downtime*.

Collagen and elastin skin proteins start to form and the skin is lifted and becomes tighter and more youthful, resembling a more streamlined “V”. Patients can return to work as early as the next day. The results will last for about 12-18 months and possibly longer*, if combined with a skin tightening procedure later on.

*Results vary based on the individual

How does Ultra V-Lift compare to Traditional Lifting Though?

The traditional lifting methods are more invasive and involve a longer recovery period. In contrast, the Ultra V-Lift has a short procedure time and requires no general /local anaesthesia.

And while many assume that "face lifts" are solely meant for the older population, the fact is that any patient experiencing the effects of aging is a suitable candidate. Ultra V Lift patients are often aged from 25 years old and onwards, because that is when skin tissues start to thin and collagen fibers begin breaking down.

It all seemed pretty straightforward to me, and I'm not that afraid of pain anyway so I decided to go through with it. The results seemed so miraculously that I JUST HAD TO try it out.

The Process

So here I am numbing my face out before the Ultra V-Lift. I chose to go through about 30 minutes of numbing but I've heard of patients who are deathly afraid of pain and have requested for up to an hour of numbing too.

Astique clinic is pretty versatile and very open to customer requests, so I think that's fine if an hour is what you need. However, be sure to let them know your concerns though, so they can schedule a longer appointment period for you! :)

After the numbing was done, the cream was cleansed and removed from my skin so that the doctor could begin marking out the necessary points for the thread lift.

As you can see, the marks are drawn in a white pen and they're in rows of three. These areas are swabbed with an alcohol cotton ball before any needles begin pricking through.

In case you're wondering just what do the needles do... the secret behind this procedure lies in the expert placement of ultra-thin polydioxanone (PDO) threads. When deftly inserted into the treatment areas, loose skin is tightened and skin tissues are triggered to produce new fibroblasts and collagen, leading to the creation of a more sculpted V-shaped face.

Since my area of concern was my lower face, up to 55 threads were used going around from the end of one ear to the other. That naturally included my lower chin area too.

Here I am right after it's all done! Really zero downtime (looks-wise) but I did feel pretty sore. I was told not to press onto the areas too hard, lest the threads break, and also not to do any facials till a minimum of 3 weeks after. This is mostly because facials can include massages which can also cause the threads to loosen.

I think the area that hurt the most after everything was my chin.. but when I say "hurt" I don't mean any sharp pain. It felt like... my chin had done a million sit ups LOL does that make sense? I also tried not to sleep on the side of my face for a week -- a pretty tough feat in itself but I think I did pretty well.

No one could tell I did a lift when I returned to work the next day, so don't worry about looking like a monstrosity or anything!

The Results
Here are my results after 4 weeks. I even drew out the face shape LOL in case you found it difficult to infer from the photos.

I definitely think the V-shape is a lot more apparent - hence the name of the treatment - but my cheeks still feel SLIGHTLY meaty.. I guess I can't run because I've definitely gained weight. All in all though, I am VERY pleased to have done something to prevent those jowls from getting any worse. Plus the effects will continue to work over as the collagen is stimulated so I'm excited to see what the future holds too!

I've managed to bid my bulldog face adieu for now and for that I am extremely grateful to Astique Clinic! Who says time reversal is impossible!? ;)

Here are the prices, in case you're interested in trying this out too:

Call Astique Clinic at 6732 3801 / 9857 7892 (24-hr SMS) to find out more! :)

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