An Exercise In Trivial Pursuits

Fatshion, Food & Frivolities – Life in Las Vegas & Singapore


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Couponing: Facial + Lymphatic Face Massage + Shoulder Relax Massage + Eyebrow Trimming at Xin Beauty

Date: 26 August 2011

Deal: 88% OFF on 75mins Facial (3 Choices) + Lymphatic Face Massage + Shoulder Relax Massage + Eyebrow Trimming @$25 ONLY

How it went:

Midpoint Orchard is a really strange building that’s out of place in fancy Orchard Road, especially with the addition of Ion Orchard, 313@Somerset and Orchard Central. It’s a building that’s stuck in the late 70s with minor renovations done probably in the early 90s. There are so many small beauty salons and electronic shops, I really wonder who patronises them. Xin Beauty is one of those neighbourhood shops that basically transported its entire operation there – no upscaling for town, and the size of my living room!

Whilst the location was good, everything was so basic that I’d rather not get a facial in town. My hair was sticking up after the facial and there was no space, nothing to help me get out into public without looking like a doofus. I just needed a hair brush and a hair dryer to sort the mane out. I went to one of the small hair salons and they tried charging me $12 to do just that. I’m not even asking for a wash. Just blow and brush. ARGH! Luckily they had those old fashion hand dryers in the toilets and I bent down, put my head under the hot air stream and brushed my hair out with my fingers. Sometimes old fashioned is good. Forget those fancy air-stream hand dryers where you dip your hands in.

Practical sized room. Just enough for the bed & a tray of products.

Practical sized room. Just enough for the bed & a tray of products.

Ok so anyway, this is a $25 facial in the heart of town but in a dingy building, where the entire shop (reception, pantry, and treatment rooms) was enclosed in a space the size of my living room (I’m not even joking). The deal was that I could choose from 3 facials – Option 1: Skin Perfector Anti-pigmentation Treatment; Option 2: Anti-blemish Skin Renewal Treatment; Option 3: Oxy-Pure Rejuvenating Treatment. I had no idea which treatment I received and it certainly didn’t match any of those fancy-titled options. It was largely one of those old fashioned “Mode Circle” (anybody remember those?) facials that I had in the early 90s. As a pimply teenager, I’d have been okay with it, thinking that facials were all like that. Painful, uncomfortable and awkward. But I’m not. It didn’t feel like it was worth my time. I didn’t feel any better after the treatment. Firstly, the technique was so-so. I wouldn’t say it was bad but I’ve had a lot better, many more times. Secondly, the products used were very generic and hardly anything special. Thirdly, I could hear the girls outside gossiping at the top of their voices because the entire space was open on the top and it is really small.

Generic products

Generic products

So was it worth $288? Nope! Of course not! But to be honest for $25, I suppose it’s justified. Also I might go back again (if I have a ride straight home) because the beautician working on me thought I was still in school. She thought I was a 22 year old with really dry skin. She tsk-tsked me when I said I barely used home care products other than the basic facial wash, make-up remover, exfoliator and sunblock. When she asked me to guess how old she was and it turned out she was only 5 years older than I was heehee… Cheap thrills, I know. But people should stop tsktsking me when I see so many people my age who actually look older!


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Couponing: Nobel Award Winning Facial + 30 min Massage + 30 min Neck and Eyes Treatment at Beaute Hub

Date: 25 August 2011

Deal: $15 for 60 min Nobel Award Winning Facial + 30 min Massage + 30 min Neck and Eyes Treatment at Beaute Hub (Worth $448)

How it went:

Let’s just say, this is an experience I’d rather forget. Even if there was another deal offer at $15, I wouldn’t take it and neither should anyone else, unless you’re desperately in need of a quick facial/massage. It was trouble from the start. I bought the voucher on 31 May 2011. I called up 2 days later (in June obviously) to book an appointment, but I was told to call back in August because they had no more slots. The voucher is valid from 1 June to 30 November 2011. I’m assuming this meant that they didn’t have the capacity to accommodate. Imagine if I were to buy a package, I’d only be able to have a facial every 2-3 months? So anyway, I did call back in August and I managed to get an appointment on a weekday afternoon (alarm bells, hello)…

Firstly, bad location (for me) because you had to walk a distance from the MRT station before you actually get there. Also when leaving, I had a bad time trying to hail a cab. Secondly, the place was a little dinghy and perhaps in my crazy imagination, what a whorehouse would look like inside (please see pictures). Thirdly, they made me leave my shoes outside!!! Along the sidewalk!! Mind you, it’s not within a building. This was a shophouse. Okay, I had to remove my shoes (this I understand for cleanliness) but can’t you put the shoe racks within your shop? Fourthly, I didn’t like the 2 consultants at the reception. One (Malaysian) was ambivalent but tried to get me to upgrade before I even went in ($99 for an ampoule of Jasmine whatever) and the other (PRC) was staring at my trolley bag filled with toiletries then told me not to drag it on its wheels on their floor. Yes, I probably looked like a hobo so I deserve that kind of stare. But… your floor is made of cheap chip-wood. There’s a hollow-echoing sound when you walk on it. And Miss PRC, are you wearing your skanky heels inside the shop if we can’t bring our shoes in? The same shoes I see you wear in and OUT of the shop to buy food from next door?

Beaute Hub - almost missed it because it was partially hidden

Beaute Hub – almost missed it because it was partially hidden

They had about 6 treatment rooms when it looked like they only had space for 4

They had about 6 treatment rooms when it looked like they only had space for 4

I waited for almost 15min in this corner space that was just wide enough for 1 armchair.

I waited for almost 15min in this corner space that was just wide enough for 1 armchair.

Can’t say I enjoyed the treatment either. I don’t know what kind of back massage requires me to lie on my back while you try to shimmy your arms down the grooves between my shoulder and the treatment bed instead of having me lie on my front. I don’t think it’s the therapist’s fault while I was wincing in pain several times – from the extraction to the scraping face massage (was it a rock she was using??) to the weird shoulder and upper body massage. I suppose that’s how they do it at Beaute Hub. If this was their award winning facial… I’d be afraid to try the other treatments. Oh! But I did like what she did on my eyes. She used a very hot/warm eye mask before brushing on the cold/icy face mask. The contrast was interesting and I think the eye mask did make me relax. I probably nodded off during a) the head massage bit b) the eye masking.

Super cramped room. You had to crab-walk sideways to move.

Super cramped room. You had to crab-walk sideways to move.

Saving grace - hair dryer, mirror & hair brushes!!!

Saving grace – hair dryer, mirror & hair brushes!!!

So was it worth $448? Not at all! I guess the $15 I paid would’ve gone to the cost of the hair-straightener (why do they even give out these things?) as well as the nice eye mask that was used on me. Other than that, if I’d known, I’d just say hello can I pay you $15 for the eye treatment and please don’t do the other stuff on me. One saving grace is the mirror and hairdryer! I must say that this cancels out having to put my shoes in the alleyway and risk losing them. My hair goes crazy after a facial because they put it up in a headband. The hairdryer and brush is important for public service (i.e. don’t want to scare people with my Mad Max head).


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Couponing: Brand New Skin Facial at Beauticove

Date: 24 August 2011

Deal: 89% off Negative Energy Cleansing Facial (New in Singapore!) or Pore and Scar Reducing Facial or Tummy/Thigh Slimming at $22 (worth up to $200) FREE Eye Treatment for Facials (Clarke Quay)

How it went:

It actually was quite good! It didn’t start off well because I had a bit of a problem booking the appointment. I called 3 times before I managed to get someone on the phone but after that, I had SMS confirmation and reminders so that was good. My post title says a different thing from the actual deal because I went there with really bad skin that day. It was a terrible weekend before and I had a breakout. My surface skin was dehydrated but underneath it was oily and I had 4 huge zits like a constellation on my face!

Beauticove  at Riverside Point.

Beauticove at Riverside Point.

The treatment room and the terry towel tube I changed into

The treatment room and the terry towel tube I changed into

The other end of the room

The other end of the room

A Eurasian lady named Carole (who appears to be the boss) attended to me. She looked at my face and explained the various offers in this coupon. None of which matched the treatment I urgently needed so she decided to customise a session that was closer to their “Brand New Skin Facial” (usual price $130) but threw in the eye treatment from the coupon as well. The room was nice and spacious. They had about 3 treatment rooms side by side and it all opened up to become one big room for training. There was a projector overhead in my room and Carole reassured me it wasn’t a spy camera. Carole was very motherly, firm but gentle. I fell asleep almost immediately. There was no extraction (YAY! No pain!) and she said it wasn’t something they did at her beauty parlour anyway. She did 2 mild acid peels, followed by the masks and I swear my skin felt almost back to normal after the facial!

The overhead projector in the room

The overhead projector in the room

Beauticove uses Alpha-H products from Australia. I ended up buying the Liquid Gold for $60+. It has been doing wonders and I swear it works! I wasn’t being pushed to buy products or packages and I felt reassured that I could walk out without feeling any pressure. I’d be honest and say that I was skeptical about the Liquid Gold. It was a plain cheap packaging and I was bleagh about it. But after using it for almost a week, I’d buy it again once I’m done with this bottle! If you can get over the smell (like drinking sherry), then you should try it too! My pores are more refined, my t-zone less oily. Though I was told not to use it for an extended period because my skin is quite thin.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid

Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid

So was it worth $200? Not really. I’d maybe pay between $80-$90. Would I go back again? Yes! I might even consider taking the 6-session package for the “Brand New Skin Facial” as I was offered a 30% discount. Clarke Quay MRT station is on the Northeast Line and less than 30mins ride on the train for me to get back home! I definitely am thinking about the offer. Also a boon is that Riverside Point is a strange place because it’s so quiet! I like it!


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Couponing: Creative Coloring + Pre-Chemical Protection for Scalp at V HAY-TIQUE SALON

Date: 6 August 2011

Deal: 68% OFF, $48 for Perm / Straightening / Coloring + Scalp Treatment / Wash & Cut + Premium Treatment for ALL Hair Lengths @ NEX Mall (Serangoon MRT)

How it went:

It didn’t go well. I waited a week before blogging about this, thinking that I should give it some time to settle in. Booking an appointment was easy enough, but I still can’t pronounce the name of this salon. I love Nex mall as it’s only about 10 minutes from where I live (1 train stop away) and there are so many shops there. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to this salon again. There are more than 10 hair-dressing salons in this mall alone. This one is in my bad books.

This guy showed me some pictures from magazines but my hair doesn't look anything close

This guy showed me some pictures from magazines but my hair doesn’t look anything close

After paying $48 for this coupon, I still had to top up $50 for a “two-tone” treatment. Mind you, I have very short hair and didn’t they say it’s “Creative Coloring”? What’s so creative if it’s just colouring in 1 shade? I can do it out of a $15 bottle from the pharmacy! It’s been more than a week and it’s just flat red. There are no two-tones and even my colleagues say I’ve been conned. According to the description, this option usually costs $120. So my hair dye job is worth $170?! It doesn’t look that special to me. I had a great hair cut from CHARME and it wasn’t enhanced by this dye job. The hair stylist oversold it when he asked me to pay the extra $50 for two-tone colouring that’d bring out the layers.

There was tea and a choice of magazines.

There was tea and a choice of magazines.

The upside is that they did a better job than EXCLUSIVE HAIR SALON and didn’t injure me or stain my face. They also provided magazines and tea. So I was kinda entertained while I had to sit in the chair for almost an hour. Also, it was very near where I live.

Was it worth $120? Nope! And I paid $98 in total for a stupid dye job that wasn’t anything. It would’ve been worth buying the coupon for $48 – even at this price, they’d have made some profit already. Don’t go to this hair salon unless you really have to. If you’re at Nex, there are many others that are similar and maybe cheaper! Shop for one that is more affordable. Nothing special here.


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Couponing: RF Eye Treatment at Euro Sense

Date: 5 August 2011

Deal: $23 for a 60-min Lymphatic Detox or RF Eye Treatment at Euro Sense worth $150

How it went:

I chose the RF Eye Treatment at their Parkway Parade outlet and went there after work on a Friday. I was hopeful that this would be a great way to wind down my work week. But I was wrong. Firstly, I had a slight difficulty trying to find the outlet. Parkway Parade’s upper floors does that to you. It is actually located in the wing that was used to be known as the Medical Centre. Then when I arrived, the reception was really small and cramped. The customers were kinda seated outside the shop as their seat straddled the doorway – how… erm, HDB.

Euro Sense at Parkway Parade

Euro Sense at Parkway Parade

I was quickly ushered into the treatment areas at the back after they took my printed voucher. Again, it’s entirely Mandarin-speaking even though I answered them in English. There were at least 4 rooms behind but all small and rather cramped, connected by a narrow hallway. At least there were lockers for your belongings, so that was good. The room that I was in was narrow but functional. There was a treatment bed, a machine near the foot of the bed, a stool for the therapist, a mirror haphazardly hung on a wall hook (not even lying flat on the wall) and a mobile tray of generic creams and gels.

Before I could even change out of my clothes into the gown they gave me, my therapist barged in and opened the door. I was just adjusting myself anyway. This RF Eye Treatment was really just the eye treatment. There were no shoulder massages or face prep or anything. She did attempt to remove my eye make-up (but poorly done because I had black streaks after the treatment) and also cleansed my face before covering my eyes and slapping on layers of gels or creams or I don’t know. There was a machine involved and that was soothing but the bed that I was sleeping on… oh gosh! I don’t know why they lay hard plastic sheets with sharp edges on the bed. The towels they throw over these sheets hardly protected me from them. It was uncomfortable and difficult to relax.

Was it worth $150? Nope! Not at all. Firstly, the environment was subpar. Secondly, the service was at best lukewarm. Also, I was in and out of the place within the hour. This means the entire treatment was less than 60-min. Or did they mean 60-min for the facial instead? Needless to say, I didn’t even express any interest in anything they wanted to sell me. Not that she made any more attempts than asking me if I was interesting to sign on a package and why not. This wasn’t a place I’d consider coming back to. But for $23, I think I got my money’s worth. So thanks for the deal!


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Couponing: Signature Radiant Facial with Eye Treatment + Neck Care + IPL at Angel Face

Date: 2 August 2011

Deal: $38 for 90 min Signature Radiant Facial with Eye Treatment + Neck Care + IPL at Angel Face (Worth $432)

How it went:

The Adelphi is actually walking distance from my office, so I sauntered there after work. However, the beauty salon was hidden in a quiet corner in the basement and I had to make a few turns before I realised where it was. It would’ve been a great way to end the work day if it weren’t for the fact that the beautician (Li Yong, I think) was really rough. (Well to be honest, I don’t think she is unskilled but too rushed and rough for my liking because I did really want to relax.)

Tucked in a corner, right next to the National Council of Churches Singapore

Tucked in a far corner, right next to the National Council of Churches Singapore

Why do all these spa places only speak Mandarin to you? I usually respond in English, just in case I use the wrong words or say the wrong things. I hardly speak Mandarin, save for learning it in school. I’m not comfortable with it. I’d rather if you need to speak a Chinese language to me, you speak Cantonese. At least I converse with my Grandmother on a daily basis in Cantonese. Also, I thought it was kinda rude when she looked at my name and asked me “You not Chinese ah? You what? You Malay? You Philipine?”. I smiled and didn’t bother answering her.

Drapey curtains over the ceiling...

Drapey curtains over the ceiling…

The room was rather large and had 2 beds. The decor was a little surreal. It had fake brick walls, these flowing chiffon drapes on the ceiling but also a very quaint antique-looking Chinoiserie basin. I did notice it was really really quiet though. And I could’ve really just fallen asleep if it weren’t for the fact that the therapist kept bumping into the treatment bed or knocking over things. Also, I had no idea what she was saying to me and what the hell she put on my face. The first lotion she put was biting and it stung my entire face. She mentioned something about it softening my blackheads. Then she used something to scrape at my entire face and it hurt like a bitch. I tolerated it because I just wanted to see what their “Signature Radiant Facial” meant. She said RF RF RF several times and I didn’t know what she was talking about – I really thought it was something about radio frequency. Then when I left, I realised RF meant Radiant Facial because she kept insisting that I look in the mirror after the treatment because I looked “radiance”. I saw nothing to be honest, and I was kinda glad because I thought the scraping would’ve left some unsightly red bruises. I didn’t enjoy this facial at all. The therapist wasn’t thorough and she was very rough. After the treatment, I got up and I saw that my neck still had a huge patch of mask. She tried to quickly wipe it off and was really rough again.

The quaint basin... but the curtains hides a huge mess of machines

The quaint basin… but the curtains hides a huge mess of machines

So was it worth $432? NOPE! I don’t know what this facial was all about and I didn’t even relax! (However, if you need to do a multi-pronged programme. Go to Li Yong, she’ll have you in and out within an hour.) After the treatment, as usual, I was told there was a promotion that I had to get that very day. That I should stop buying vouchers and really buy a package at 1 fixed place so that my therapist can work on the condition of my very bad, very dull, very dry complexion. When she asked what skincare products I used and I said “L’oreal”, she ppffft at me and said that I can’t just buy cheap off the counter skincare when I really need intensive treatments. Little does she know, I don’t even use L’Oreal. I buy whatever is cheap that month. BAH! Will I go back again? Nope! Not even if there’s another $38 coupon waiting. Sorry!