Hello from the Great Firewall of China! It has been quite hard to reach out on Facebook, but thankfully, Instagram still works in China and so does my blog.
It has been an exciting week in China so far. Ines and I were first in Beijing and we had a quick glimpse of the city from our hotel – The Regent, Beijing.
We did not have much time in Beijing because after 2 days, we were due in Shanghai to cast more models. We were on the lookout for the next GUESS? Girl China 2014.
Tomorrow is the big reveal because 10 girls have been chosen for the 3-day beauty camp. They will learn different types of walks, go through style challenges and be photographed.
We had some free time and got to sample some of the many restaurants in the Xintiandi, Shanghai area. This Mexican restaurant was recommended by a Shanghai food blogger, Shanghaigirleats.
Just two months ago, in July, I wrote about my first experience at Ginza Calla, the IPL specialist from Japan with over 21 years of experience in removing unwanted hair painlessly. And I have been going back religiously for my IPL treatments since.
#selfie with the plant outside in the waiting area of the Ginza Calla salon.
The results were obvious after my first treatment – the hair that grew out was less coarse than before and the areas that had undergone treatment contained significantly less hair. HOORAY!
The areas I got treated included 1) my legs 2) bikini area 3) below the navel 4) underarm and 5) knee caps. The knee caps were a last minute decision because to be honest, I never really knew what to do with the weird hairs on my knee caps. Shaving them invariably seemed like I was driving on hilly mountains because my knee caps are an odd shape and I would delicately navigate my knees with the shaver because I feared shaving the skin off my knees! Oh yes, it has happened one too many times.
But now, I have no worry about getting lost on uncharted knee territory; I simply leave the job of hair removal to the IPL therapists at Ginza Calla. I have no fear of wearing short skirts or shorts now.
Because it is only $40 for UNLIMITED sessions of hair removal.
Yes, I kid you not. $40 for a lifetime of safe, clean, FAST AND painless hair removal.
Fast and efficient
In the Ginza Calla treatment room
I took the liberty to try out some of the small parts that are included in the S$40 UNLIMITED package. Aside from my knee caps, I simply had to top up S$380 for the second small area to be treated. This time I picked the bikini area. No more worrying about unsightly hair when I am swimming next! Talk about freedom to move.
Speaking of freedom, the IPL sessions at Ginza Calla are so fast they are over in a blink of an eye. You never feel like you have to MAKE time for your IPL session. For treatment on small areas, the whole session takes about 20 minutes to be completed. INCLUDING the after-care with Ginza Calla’s Bihada-junbi cooling lotion.
I think I am going to get the therapists to remove the hairs on my toes with IPL in my next session. I want “Tsuru-puru” skin on my toes too!
IPL Do-s and Don’ts
BEFORE your IPL treatment
1. The most crucial DON’T of pre-IPL care is to NOT PLUCK the hair. IPL treatment targets the root of the hair, so you MUST leave the root of the hair in its place. Plucking removes the root and
1. DO moisturize regularly in between your visits to Ginza Calla.
2. DO shave 1 day BEFORE your treatment at Ginza Calla.
AFTER your IPL treatment
1. DO wash the area with gentle cleanser after your IPL treatment.
1. DON’T apply deodorant or anti-perspirant to the area after treatment.
2. DON’T exercise
Unlimited Brazilian Package
This September Ginza Calla has another promotion for their full Brazilian IPL.
Everyone who signs up WILL receive a BRAUN Electric Shaver from Ginza Calla!
Remember how I mentioned that in between visits to Ginza Calla you will need to moisturize and shave? Not only does Ginza Calla now take care of your skin in the salon and out of the salon with Bihada-junbi, they are extending their care to in-between treatments!
You should not miss out on this limited time opportunity. Head on down to the Ginza Calla flagship store or call +65 6238 8850 to make an appointment now!
Ginza Calla Singapore is located at
Plaza Singapura, #04-55
I could not be happier with my newest pair of kicks. These Palladium boots are all the rage with dancers right now, and if were not for my bb girl Liza who told me about them (and the sale that was happening at the Palladium ION Orchard store), I would not have gotten these beauties at a steal.
Wool lined on the inside and grey cracked leather on the out, one might think twice about this combination in our sunny humid weather. But I wore them out the whole of Thursday to run errands all over town and felt nothing but absolute comfort and happiness.
A quick search on the website will tell you that Palladium’s history started before the World War II. Founded in 1920 to make tires for the fledgling aviation industry, tires were made by layering canvas bands underneath vulcanized rubber. Palladium’s expertise was so advanced that soon the majority of Europe’s aircraft were using Palladium tires.
After World War II, with aircraft manufacturing screeching to a halt, the demand for tires decreased dramatically. Palladium decided to open a plant in Pont De Cheruy, France, to start producing footwear that was as hard wearing as their tires.
This clearly explains why the boots are designed both practical and stylish. With upcoming work trip to Shanghai next week, these babies will definitely be my go-to kicks for exploring the city.
Thanks for the shout-out Palladium!
I have previously written about my positive experience using John Frieda’s products to battle frizzy hair. Now a year later, this reputable home-care brand has revamped its look and improved its award-winning formula, making it even better than it already was.
Meet the new team that will help you beat frizzy, unruly hair on a daily basis at home.
This is the John Frieda Frizz Ease home hair care range. Let me introduce the team to you.
My Personal Favourite
John Frieda Original Serum
If you consistently blow-dry your hair, you MUST HAVE the John Frieda Original Serum. My personal favourite of the John Frieda Frizz Ease range is also their best-selling product. One use and it is easy to see why it has won at least 11 accolades in ONE YEAR from ALLLLLL the beauty magazines.
Using it is as simple as dispensing the product from the bottle and then applying it straight to you hair THE MOMENT YOU STEP OUT OF THE SHOWER. Yes, there is no need to dry your hair before you use this product. It is a leave-in product, and you can style your hair as you normally would after using it.
The John Frieda Original Serum old (left) and new packaging (right).
Not only does this best-selling product give you silky, straight hair, it has thermal protectant that prevents further damage to the hair when you blow-dry or style it with heat consistently. I swear by this product at home. My previous bottle of the Original Serum is just about running out!
You can see that the packaging of the John Frieda Original Serum has gone through a style upgrade. The previously skinny bottle is now more robust and eye-catching. In fact, the entire John Frieda range has gone and upgraded itself – not just how it looks but a newer and better formula too!
You can redeem a sample of the best-selling serum from the John Frieda Facebook page. You will have to log in from your PC because Facebook does not allow you to view this page from your mobile phone.
The John Frieda Frizz Ease Shampoo & Conditioner Flawlessly Straight went straight into our shared bathroom the moment I brought it home, and my roomie has given the thumbs up on the performance of the products. She even says I can quote her in my review. “My hair is less frizzy now! You must write that,” she says. Hahaha. And so I did.
With Keratin in the Frizz Ease Shampoo and Condition, the new formula enables repair and the elimination of frizz from the core of the hair strand. Why is Keratin so important, you may ask? Well, this is because our hair is a whopping 95% Keratin. This complex structural protein helps give our hair its shine and smooth texture. When Keratin breaks or peels off, that is when you get your split ends. Thus, having Keratin in your shampoo and conditioner can certainly do a lot to repair and protect your hair from damage.
Before I continue onto the other Frizz Ease products, you must be wondering how John Frieda got to be experts at treating frizzy unruly hair? Let me share with you a little about its history.
It started when owner and creator, John Frieda, worked in his father’s West London barber shop. He came from a family of hair stylists and barbers and obviously picked up a lot of technical know-how from a young age.
To expand his repertoire of skills, Frieda went on to work at another salon called Leonard’s and after 7 years, managed to gain a huge following while there. He eventually left Leonard’s and set up a salon of his own in 1976. Because he was so well-known for his ability to create smooth and silky hair for his clients, Frieda decided to bottle his secret formula so his loyal clients could have salon-perfect hair at home.
Thus, in 1990, the John Frieda Frizz Ease range was created.
John Frieda House of Experts
Fast forward to present day, John Frieda Frizz Ease has had a long and successful history of transforming the hair of ladies everywhere. They have built up a solid reputation over the years and John Frieda is now headed by a team of celebrity stylists who dare to lend their name to this efficacious brand. They have been appropriately dubbed the “House of Experts” and continuously innovate and deliver styling solutions to the modern women.
John Frieda has its own House of Experts here in Singapore too!
Meet the House of Experts on John Frieda Day
John Frieda Day is a special day that happens every month where 30 ladies get treated to a complimentary John Frieda Blow Out at the House of Expert salon.
Pssst! You will want to SIGN UP for this complimentary wash-and-blow session by the House of Experts because they will be using John Frieda products. You get to experience how well the Frizz Ease range tames frizz yourself. The John Frieda Facebook page will be constantly updated with the latest dates of John Frieda Day!
I got to meet Dexter Ng, one of the two House of Experts, when I went down for my complimentary wash-and-blow during this month’s John Frieda Day.
Dexter Ng shot to fame in 2003 when he appeared on television on the popular local-based Taiwanese beauty talk show, Lady First Singapore. Dexter has also racked up tonnes of experience working with celebrities. The celebrities he has worked with include Michelle Yeow, Angelababy, Gong Li and local songstress Stefanie Sun.
When he first ran his fingers through my hair, Dexter knew instantly that I suffered from dry and split ends. As he candidly chatted about his career, he also pointed out what John Frieda products I could use at home to take care of my hair. He explained that there were two simple steps to getting smooth and manageable hair with Frizz Ease:
1) Prep it with the right shampoo and conditioner
Whether you choose the John Frieda Flawless Straight or the John Frieda Dream Curls range, you will find that you hair is softer and easier to style after washing.
The best-selling John Frieda Original Serum
2) Treat it to the most luxurious care
After you prep your hair and cleanse it, treat it with the anti-frizz John Frieda Original Serum or the Nourishing Oil Elixir. These two treatment products are non-sticky and light on the hair. There is no residue after application and you can style your hair any way you want after using them.
So, with her deft fingers, the stylist washed, conditioned and massaged in the treatment serum and in no time at all, ta-dah my hair was soft to the touch and absolutely luxurious. It was as straight-forward as it sounds (pun intended)and in this photo, you can see how beautifully my hair falls around my shoulders.
Frizz Ease for Both Straight and Curly Hair
But the John Frieda Frizz Ease product is not just for straight hair; this effective anti-frizz range combats unruly frizzy curls too. Whether you have naturally curly hair or permed hair, the John Frieda Frizz Ease Dream Curls will help to redefine your curls giving you easy-to-manage hair. The Original Serum, in particular, can be used for either straight or curly hair.
There is, however, no need for you to simply take my word for it. The next John Frieda Day is coming up in September, and you get to experience the beauty of smooth, frizz-free hair by signing up for John Frieda Day. You will have to log in from your PC because Facebook does not allow you to view this page from your mobile phone.
The new range of John Frieda® Frizz Ease® products will be available at selected Watsons, Guardian and Cold Storage outlets from August 2014. Prices start from S$15.90.
The happiest run on the planet is back in Singapore! Last year, I had the chance to join the first ever Color Run Singapore on Sentosa. It was an experience full of squeals, laughter, photo-taking and… very little running on our part.
Gen and I went last year and obviously had a lot of fun and we are going back this year on the 31st of August! New Balance kindly sent over a kit in preparation for the upcoming 2014 Color Run. This year, aside from getting decked out in colored powder on the day itself, we get to decorate and color our shoes however we want BEFORE actually getting decked in color powder.
The New Balance Runnovation Fresh Foam shoes BEFORE meeting my artistic talents.
The kit comes with puffy paint, spray bottles and instructions on how to unleash your inner graffiti artist.
I started getting creative and went ahead and decorated my shoes immediately. I’ll upload another photo when I’m done with splashing paint on my shoes. Haha.
Most people dress up in crazy and funny costumes… and this was us last year. Haha. A poor attempt at trying to be ninjas. Take a look at the photos from the official Color Run website that captured the fun!
The Color Run Singapore happens on August 30 and August 31 on Sentosa, Silso Beach.
And there are two ways to getting there
1) silly and time-consuming rituals like this one
Or 2) professional help from The Sloane Clinic
After competing on the global stage in Miss Universe, people always ask me if plastic surgery is prohibited in an international competition. The truth is, EVERYONE at the beauty pageant had some sort of work done. Whether it was permanent or semi-permanent, there was no one who was entirely natural. If you think about, these are absolutely necessary. As Osmel Souza, the National Director of the very famous Miss Venezuela pageant says, “it is a BEAUTY contest, not a natural contest.”
Beauty can be subjective. But, little did you know, facial beauty is actually a mathematical formula. Cultures may vary in terms of what it considers beautiful (different skin colours, hair types, thickness of eyebrows etc), but there are three general rule of thumbs that beauty can be defined by.
Image source: The Sloane Clinic
Here is a overview on what scientists have concluded is facial beauty:
1) The face has to be symmetrical
2) Beautiful faces follow the golden ratio of 1.618 and the rule of thirds
3) Youth is beautiful
After attending The Sloane Clinic’s beauty workshop and putting my own experience of rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s most beautiful women, I realise that simple changes in a person’s face can make a big difference. Whether it is making a sharper nose tip, making your cheeks fuller or changing your skin colour (not many of us will go to the extremes Michael Jackson did), these things can change the way people people react or treat us.
Then, there is the whole science of face reading that the Koreans are absolutely obsessed with. With that said, don’t you think that everyone has the right to be beautiful and young?
I have personally undergone aesthetic treatments and can attest to the effectiveness of non-invasive aesthetic treatments such as fillers, Botox and skin facials. What I found interesting was the fact that you can do BOTH invasive and non-invasive treatments at The Sloane Clinic. You can create new double eye lids (upper blepharoplasty), alter the shape of your nose or opt for simpler treatments like getting rid of dark spots and acne. Non-invasive procedures and injectables can be done at all The Sloane Clinic branches, while double eyelid, epicanthoplasty and lower eyebag removal surgery are performed at The Sloane Clinic Plastic Surgery Centre.
The Pursuit of Youth
Double eyelid surgery is a very common procedure in Asia. The desire to have doe-eyes stems from wanting to be young. And to be honest, I have sincerely considered it. My eyes are your typical hooded Asian eyes. Over time, hooded eyes can become droopy and make you look sleepy.
Image from The Sloane Clinic.
Before and after effect of double eye lid surgery. Image from The Sloane Clinic
When I first started competing in Miss Earth, I wanted bigger, rounder eyes. At that time, I experimented with double eyelid tape to create bigger and deep-set eyes. During our make up time, my roommates, especially those from the Western countries, would watch and peer curiously as I carefully aligned a clear little piece of plastic on my eyelid. I cannot count the number of times I had to repeat what the little tape would do for my eyes and how I wanted eyes like theirs.
My stash of eyelid tapes that just keeps growing.
Thanks to Dr Tan Ying Chien, Consultant Plastic Surgeon from The Sloane Clinic Plastic Surgery Centre, I learnt there were two different methods – aside from my little voodoo act – that The Sloane Clinic uses to create double eyelids. They are the traditional open surgery or the suture method. Both methods aim to create the fold that is absent.
Image from The Sloane Clinic website
Double Eyelid Surgery – Upper Blepharoplasty
Traditional open surgery involves a surgical incision to remove the excess skin and fat from the eyelid BEFORE placing stitches to create a crease that folds inwards when the eyes open. This method is permanent and has a slightly longer downtime – roughly a 7 to 10 days – whereas the suture method is simpler and has a shorter downtime. Suturing the eyelids simply involves placing the stitches inside the eyelids to create the new crease without the surgical cut. However, the suture method is not suitable for eyelids that have excess skin and fat and may not be as permanent (lasting only a few years whereas the traditional open method is permanent).
If your eyes are like mine, I am guessing that the traditional open surgery method is highly recommended. The traditional method can address all kinds of eyelids (those with excess skin and fat as well as droopy eyelids). But, I am not the expert. It would be best to consult with the doctors at The Sloane Clinic Plastic Surgery Centre where the plastic surgeon will first access your eyelids and then recommend the most suitable method.
Image from The Sloane Clinic website
Eyebag Removal – Lower Blepharoplasty
If you are plagued with heavy eye bags that make you look older than you really are, there is the option of removing them at The Sloane Clinic. The formation of eye bags is a natural process. As we age, both men and women will start to lose elasticity in the skin around the eyes. Muscles also begin to relax, causing the lower eyelids to appear baggy. The effect can be worse in some people than others due to hereditary factors, excessive sun exposure or smoking. Eye bag removal surgery will help to give a younger, fresher and less tired appearance.
Image from The Sloane Clinic website
Eyebags can be corrected by the removal of some fat from the lower eyelid area and redistributing the remaining fat. Compared to the traditional method in which there is just simple fat removal, this new technique the doctors at The Sloane Clinic use avoids excessive hollowing over the lower eyelid area that is aesthetically unpleasing. This usually also involves re-suspending the outer corner of the eye.
Being beautiful, however, does not mean you have to resort to invasive plastic surgery.
The secret to looking young also lies in correcting uneven skin tone, pigmentation and brown acne scars. With accumulated skin exposure and no protection, skin begins to fade and lose its youthful glow. The doctors shared with us about rescuing ageing skin with The Sloane Clinic’s Divine Whitening Program and Brilliant Skin Program.
The Sloane Clinic website has a comprehensive list of the different types of medical facials offered on premise.
Their website http://www.sloaneclinic.com will give you a better understanding of the ways they can help treat skin problems.
Hyaluronic Dermal Fillers
Finally, my favourite treatment for instantly looking younger is dermal fillers. Hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane® can help to augment and shape features without having to undergo surgery. In the past, fillers were used for smoothing away wrinkles and lines. Now they are also used to enhance facial features such as the nose, chin, lips or restore facial volume to cheeks, giving the individual a more sculpted and attractive appearance.
Just before I left for Brazil to compete in the Miss Universe competition, I got fillers in my cheeks to give my face and cheekbones a lift. This also helped to create a more heart-shaped face and sharper V-jawline. On hindsight, I probably should have used them in my lips for poutier lips and in my nose to create an upturned nose tip. I have always been obsessed with the Venezuelan noses.
Popularized by Korean celebs who desired both lifted, contoured faces sans scalpel as well as dewy, luminous skins, the Restylane® Hydrolift is specially designed to deliver these multiple benefits – skin lifting, elimination of fine lines and healthy glowing skin, using natural hyaluronic acid. In the picture above, you can see the difference in the way the nose tip is angled after using hyaluronic fillers. It gives the face a cuter appearance.
What I personally like about dermal fillers – I have used them repeatedly – is the fact that they closely resemble our body’s own hyaluronic acid. Because our body’s natural “factories” slow down in the production of hyaluronic acid, topping them up with alternatives such as Restylane® Hydrolift will give you the same natural effect. As such, fillers are perfectly safe with little or no risks. As the acid is administered through tiny injections, the procedure takes about 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the area of treatment) and is associated with little downtime.
The fillers normally last about 6 to 9 months, depending on the individual’s lifestyle habits and metabolism.
You have the ability to take control and stop the hands of time.
With this powerful information at the tip of your fingers, what will you do to take 5 years off your age?
About The Sloane Clinic
The Sloane Clinic is a chain of aesthetic clinics offering total beauty solutions from non-invasive aesthetic treatments, plastic surgery to hair transplant and medical facials in Singapore and Malaysia.
Visit their website @ The Sloane Clinic or email their help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.