Gladys Chung checks out the latest product breakthroughs in the industry.
From $225, available at Sephora stores from September
Why it is a breakthrough: This Swiss-made gadget is the first of its kind. Other sonic cleansing devices in the market come in the form of brushes and do not have a function that is solely for massaging the face with sonic vibrations.
How it works: Shaped like an oval bar of soap, this multi-purpose ergonomic gadget taps on T Sonic Technology, or transdermal sonic pulsations (up to 8,000 per minute), to cleanse and massage the face.
There are two sides to the gadget - a tapered and flat side has soft silicon bristles of two different sizes that pulsate to get rid of surface impurities.
Vibrations are delivered through the other rounded and ridged side to relax facial tension (great for knotted brows and a tired neck) and firm the skin.
The device is made with hypoallergenic silicone and comes with eight speed options.
It is available in four versions for different skin types: normal, ultra-sensitive, combination and men. There is also a mini version and a luxe one with an 18-karat gold base.
Our only gripe: the device can be charged only with an international plug adaptor.
Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate
$105, available at Shiseido counters from September
Why it is a breakthrough: Ultimune is Shiseido's first skincare product that targets the skin's defence mechanisms through the Langerhans cells. Previously, its products focused mainly on brightening and anti-ageing effects.
How it works: Think of this product as a vitamin shot for the skin. Based on more than two decades of research, the formula is said to boost the function of the Langerhans cells, which suppress skin inflammation and neutralise damage.
According to the brand's researchers, the function of the Langerhans cells deteriorate with age, stress and external factors like UV damage and pollution.
This lightweight serum promises to directly rev up the function of Langerhans cells in mature skin, while preserving the efficacy of those cells in younger skin.
It is made with the antioxidant ginkgo biloba leaf extract, a yeast extract, Bulgarian rose complex and the moisturising agent aqua-in-pool. Perilla and wild thyme herbs are also added for their anti-bacterial properties.
Goldwell Kerasilk Keratin Treatment
From $350, available at Chez Vous, 05-05 Takashimaya Shopping Centre; call 6681-4743 for other salon listings
Why it is a breakthrough: This is the first formaldehyde-free keratin treatment that can be tailored to your hair type, while making it possible for you to dye your hair immediately after. Keratin treatments are used to make hair smoother and more manageable. However, they have come under fire in recent years as they have been found to contain ingredients which turn into toxic formaldehyde fumes, a cancer-causing substance, when heated.
Formaldehyde-free keratin treatments are now available on the market, but they are not customisable. As conventional keratin treatments (formaldehyde-free or not) seal the cuticles, it is difficult to colour your locks for weeks afterwards.
How it works: The treatment formula is based on the KeraShape Technology, which contains glyoxylic acid and smoothing ingredients such as keratin and silk proteins.
Instead of sealing the cuticles, it penetrates the hair shaft to create new bonds and give hair a sleeker appearance.
The formula is customisable, so if you have permed hair, you can choose to get smoother locks with volume and curls. It will not resign you to lifeless, poker straight hair.
The effects of the treatment last up to five months. For best results, use the Kerasilk Keratin home-care regimen that contains the same KeraShape Technology as the treatment formulas.
The brand claims that over time, with repeated treatments done once every six months, your locks will become less wiry. Expect to set aside at least three hours for the keratin session.
A word of caution: as heated tongs are applied onto the hair during the session, expect coloured locks to become a shade lighter afterwards. But you can always choose to dye your hair right after the treatment.
Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum
From $106, available at Clinique counters from September
Why it is a breakthrough: Clinique claims that this product is smart enough to customise itself to different skin conditions when applied and only repairs as and where needed.
How it works: This product is based on the premise that when skin damage occurs, signals are sent to the nearby cells for help to repair the affected areas.
The serum is made with various ingredients that respond to specific damages in the skin.
For instance, the UP302 molecule in the serum responds only to areas of the skin that send out the hyperpigmentation signals. The various molecules are also activated only when the cells send out their "distress" signals.
For the ingredients that are not activated, they remain "on standby" in the skin for up to two weeks.
This viscous serum claims to repair visible and underlying damage, such as uneven skin tone, dark spots, dullness, lines, wrinkles, sagging and dehydration.
Kerastase Discipline Ritual salon treatment
From $150, available at Salon Vim, 04-07 313@somerset from next month; call 6738-3113 for other salon listings
Why it is a breakthrough: This new in-salon service is a first in Singapore, as it gives hair the sleekness of a keratin treatment, without changing its structure.
Regular keratin treatments bond conditioners to the hair, which regains its natural texture only much later, when the bonds dissolve. So if you are not satisfied with the keratin treatment, say, because it made your hair too straight, you will have to live with it for months.
With this treatment, hair stays frizz-free and smooth for 72 hours.
How it works: The Discipline treatment is made with Morpho-keratine, a blend of three amino acids that are naturally present in the hair - glutamic acid, serine and arginine - to strengthen hair fibres.
These three amino acids, as well as a wheat protein, are naturally drawn to damaged areas to repair them.
Also, surface-smoothing molecules attach themselves to the hair cuticles like a top coat to give it a sleek finish, while biomimetic ceramides (which imitate the natural ceramides in hair) add suppleness.
The treatment takes around an hour: the formulas are flat ironed and sealed into the hair twice before they are washed off and the hair is blow dried.
For best results that last up to a month, it is recommended that you follow up with the Discipline range of home-care products.
Sulwhasoo Luminature Essential Finisher
$112, available at Sulwhasoo counters from September
Why it is a breakthrough: The South Korean brand was the first to introduce the concept of the pre-serum with its First Care Activating Serum (to be applied after cleansing and before an actual serum to boost the benefits of the products slathered on after).
Now, it is the first to propose the idea of a skincare "finisher", a product that is used as the last step in a beauty routine, after the moisturiser and before the sunscreen.
How it works: Inspired by the skincare ritual of women in the Joseon Dynasty of the 19th century, the finisher apparently seals in all the goodness of the other products while giving the skin a protective veil of hydration and a luminosity. Imagine a cross between a lightweight serum, a moisturiser and skincare water finishing spray.
The formula is a cocktail of two main ingredients: red ginseng and green tea to regenerate and purify the skin and boost collagen production. The brand claims that each bottle of its finisher is made with the concentrate of five red ginseng roots and 110 cups of green tea.
Lancome Renergie French Lift
$170, from Lancome counters
Why it is a breakthrough: It is not the first anti-ageing product to come with a massage tool, but the patented silicon disc that comes with this jar of cream is unlike any other.
The supple disc has just the right amount of tension to give skin a firm massage that very closely mimics the movements of an expert facialist.
The disc clicks into place on the magnetic cap of the jar of cream, so it will not get misplaced.
How it works: The easy-to-use tool is inspired by face-lifting surgeries and shiatsu massage techniques that get rid of water retention, stretch, lift, re-position and strengthen the facial muscles.
To be used on clean and bare skin, the grooved disc does not pull on the skin, even without a lubricant. Instead, it grips and glides onto the skin for a deep massage.
The product, made for the face and neck, comes with a set of detailed massage instructions. Skin feels firmer and tighter after it is massaged.
The night balm, to be applied after the facial massage, has a velvety texture and is made with resveratrol to energise the skin, and oligoside to help firm it up.
Ioma Ma Creme
$260 each for the day and night creams, available at Ioma counters from September
Why it is a breakthrough: Each Ma Creme cream that is recommended to you by an Ioma skin-analysis device, is picked from 40,257 possible formulas. So far, no other off-the-shelf brand offers skincare products that can be customised to this extent.
This is the result of the data Ioma has collected over three years through its hi-tech skin-analysis machines at its counters. In that time, the brand has conducted more than a million skin diagnosis globally.
How it works: After a 15-minute consultation with the skin-measuring machine, the results of your skin condition are churned out along with customised day and night formulas.
Each cocktail is made of a base (neutrazen peptide and Vitamin E), and eight different serums of varying dosages that are customised to suit your skin. Three of the serums target hydration levels, while the other five are made to firm, strengthen, tighten, smoothen and stimulate cell turnover.
This article was first published on Aug 08, 2014.
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