5 surprising skincare tips B1.png

Let’s face it, the bulk of us beauty buffs would have run through the grooming gamut – faddish facial oils, discreet doctor’s quick fixes … you name it, we’ve done (and applied and injected) it.

So yes, it was a thrilling test for us to think up of and test-drive these tips that we hope the most jaded of junkies would raise a Botoxed eyebrow at. (And don’t worry, we skipped the pig’s skin.) After all, beauty is at its core about being bold and brassy, so have fun experimenting in the new year ahead!

1. Get a quick high on a skin cocktail

With all the clinking and carousing going on this time of the year (or every weekend, if you’re one of us bachelorettes), you might be wondering if that glass of Glenfiddich is dampening your glow.

Alas, booze is indeed a bane to beauty, says Gene Ho, managing director of CADO Asia Pacific, a Singapore-based beauty research laboratory. “Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it increases your urge to pee,” says Gene. “It also messes with your production of antidiuretic hormones, so your body is less effective in retaining electrolytes and fluids.” This one-two punch is the reason why your jug of punch essentially causes you to wither away from the inside out.

Top 5 surprising skincare tips Clarins

From left: Clarins White Plus Intensive Brightening Serum, $130 for 30ml; Double Serum, $180 for 30ml; and White Plus Total Luminescent Brightening Hydrating Emulsion, $92 for 75ml

Short of becoming a staunch teetotaler, the solution is – wait for it – a skin cocktail. Yes, we’re being mischieviously misleading here: This cocktail is strictly for topical use only.

For nights when you just can’t be arsed to put yourself through the paces of a seven-step routine, Leona Low, Clarins Singapore’s training and customer care manager, suggests concocting a custom “cocktail” made up of serums and a moisturiser.

The trick, Leona says, is to know your molecular dermatology: “You need a fat-soluble base – think featherweight botanical oils like the sort found in Clarins’ Double Serum – in which you dissolve your other emulsions.” She suggests warming up three ingredients in your clean palms – two serums mixed into a moisturiser – and lightly cupping the custardy concoction onto your face and decollete, pressing it in to encourage absorption.

This “off-duty” quickie isn’t for keeps, though: The gold standard for regular days is to layer your skin care by texture, starting from the most runny serums and working your way up to the heaviest cold creams.

2. Coffee on your hips, not your lips

As if the revelation that the ethanol in your Edinburgh is evil wasn’t bad enough, it turns out that caffeine is also catastrophic for your complexion. According to Charlotte Brockett, Dermalogica’s international senior training specialist, that jolt of java you need to function at work causes your blood vessels to seize up, so less nutrients and fluid get to your face – hence, dehydration, dull skin and puffy, inflamed eyes.

But, and this is a big but, Charlotte says that topical caffeine is superb for soothing saggy skin under your eyes: “Caffeine’s ability to constrict blood vessels may be bad for your body, but when diffused through your delicate orbital skin, it actually helps to placate puffiness.” Look out for caffeine in the labels of your depuffing eye gels – it’ll be there.

We’ll go one step further. Try a coffee scrub for a miraculously “slimmer” waist – actually the result of caffeine draining off water retention, but that quibble’s just counting (coffee) beans. Save your morning coffee grounds, break a handful of vitamin E capsules into the moist mush, stir it around a bit, then use a loofah to scour away.

3. The eyes shout what the lips fear to say

5 surprising skincare tips UltraSmoothing Eye Serum.png

Dermalogica UltraSmoothing Eye Serum, $98 for 15ml

Here’s a neat fact you can bandy about at your next beauty party palaver. The skin around the eye is literally paper-thin: Just five sheets of standard copier paper, to be precise. This is why a top-grade eye cream is so very crucial … and why you should be slathering that same eye cream onto the equally sensitive skin around your lips.

This “secret” is something we’ve practiced for the longest time ever, and it’s stood us in good stead in our fight against smile lines and other shabby signifiers of age. Try Dermalogica’s UltraSmoothing Eye Serum, which we pat into the U-shaped undereye crescent as well as the N-shaped nook above our cupid’s bow. We find that the extra loving helps to stave off the pesky puckering that cigarette smokers and gum-chewers tend to sport around the fragile mouth region.

4. Sweet “spots”: Put food on your face

5 surprising skincare tips Apivita

From left: Apivita Thyme Honey, $70 for 430g; Floral Honey, $52 for 430g; and Heather Honey, $52 for 430g

Spots suck and should be banished from the face of the earth (not to mention our faces, of course). Since we don’t live in a perfect world, here’s something to sweeten the deal. Instead of rubbing metaphorical salt into your wounds, add literal sugar. The glucose and trace minerals in honey are natural zit-zappers, and its moisture-drawing humectants help to seal off small nicks and cuts from infection.

Our “recipe” for an at-home honey mask is embarrassingly straightforward: Dole out a good-sized amount from the jar, smear on damp face, wait 30 minutes, wash off. We like Apivita’s thyme honey, which has a pleasing unctuousness that prevents it from slipping and sliding off your face (the warmth from your skin will cause honey to “liquefy” somewhat, so be prepared for a little messiness).

5. Rub away the years

A facial massage is the best thing ever: It feels good and is good, with its stimulative motions coaxing collagen from the fibroblast cells for fishball-bouncy skin. Jenny Teng, massage meister and director of Porcelain The Face Spa, says that shiatsu – which translates roughly to “finger pressure” in Japanese – helps to jumpstart skin circulation and corral oxygen to the surface of the skin, “to restore energy flow and release trapped toxins”.

Blow your beauty wad on a Restorative Facial ($195 per session), which combines the high-tech wizardry of pressurised jets of hyperbaric oxygen with the manual elbow grease of your therapist. Expect to emerge from the spa with skin that, according to our sweet-tongued masseuse, is so luminous we could do away with makeup entirely, if we chose to. A tall order, but totally in line with the “surprise” element of this story! 

The Restorative Facial ($195 per session, 75 mins) is available exclusively at Porcelain The Face Spa at 15 Cantonment Road. Call 6227 9692 to make an appointment and visit www.porcelainfacespa.com for more information.

Dermalogica UltraSmoothing Eye Serum, $98 for 15ml, is available at all AsterSpring Origin of Beauty Centres and all Dermalogica-authorised skin treatment centres. For more information, visit www.dermalogica.com.sg and follow the brand on Facebook.

Clarins products are available at all Clarins counters. For more information, visit www.clarins.com.sg and follow the brand on Facebook.

Apivita Thyme Honey, $70 for 430g, is available at Apivita stores at ION Orchard and VivoCity. For more information, visit www.apivita.com and follow the brand on Facebook.