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: 3 Sessions Hair Rejuvenating Therapy by TK Trichokare

Date: 18, 22 & 28 August 2011

Deal: $49 instead of $537, 91% off 3 Sessions Hair Rejuvenating Therapy at 4 locations by TK Trichokare

How it went:

Let me just put it out there that I actually go to Svenson’s for oily scalp treatment as my hair has been thinning for some time. I have fine hair to begin with and I’ve never had a thick head of hair ever. My oily scalp makes things worse because the grease apparently clogs your hair follicles and you get a bald patch. I’m very satisfied with Svenson’s at this point in time but I am still shopping around for a good deal on similar treatments so I tried out this TK Trichokare.

Frilly filigree patterns on the wall

Frilly filigree patterns on the wall at the reception

Frilly wall patterns and individual stations.

Frilly wall patterns and individual stations divided by frosted glass panels

Quiet & dim common hair wash area

Quiet & dim common hair wash area

I went to the Wheelock Place branch on 3 different days over 2 weeks. It’s nice and quiet. The decor was fake classical European-esque (compared to the more Scandinavian style Svenson’s). There were these frilly gothic type patterns and gold frames. And on the 3 different times I went, it wasn’t crowded plus a ton of magazines for reading which I loved. After I was greeted at the reception, I was led into a small office for a “discussion” with their consultant Sharon (I think). She was probably Malaysian and spoke with an accent. I found it a little difficult to follow her train of thoughts and her language skills were a bit of a problem too. She didn’t seem too comfortable speaking in English and her grammar was all over the place. But I get the general drift. She felt that my hair was thinning and I wasn’t getting enough from my Svenson’s treatments. Also I should upgrade to this other thing and top up about $100 (even before I did the 3 sessions). Everything here was expensive but nothing exceptionally outstanding. It was good but it wasn’t worth $200 to wash my head.

I loved the hair wash. I also love $10 hair washes and head massages, who am I kidding? Then there was this squirting of some tonic after my hair wash. After which, a red light was shone on my head for a bit. Then my hair was blown dry and styled. That’s all.

So was it worth $537? Nope! Was it worth $49? Maybe… a little too much money for a hair wash, blow dry and application of tonic. But it was in a fancy building in the middle of Orchard Road. They had nice magazines for me to read and I did thoroughly enjoy my ME-time! If a similar coupon comes by, I wouldn’t hesitate to snap it up! I do like the ambience but the location was a bit out of the way if I wanted to go there frequently. The Svenson’s branch I visit is 10 minutes away from my house, so yup! Oh but I did end up spending about $39 for a bottle of TK Trichokare “Black Shine” hair serum. Very easy to use – one pump, rub it through your wet hair, and that’s it! It’s supposed to make your hair soft and shiny!


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Couponing: Meridian Slimming/Full Body Massage at Youth Infinite

Date: 15 August 2011

Deal: 91% Off (1)Full Body Massage OR (2)Facial Therapy OR (3)Merdian Slimming OR (4)Bust Enhancement at $28 (worth $320)

How it went:

Actually I don’t know which treatment I went for. It felt like both a full body massage and possibly a slimming treatment. It was largely painful and scary, and lasted too long for my liking. It’s not that it’s bad but… just something I didn’t like at all. The therapist was from China and spoke in Mandarin. She had other colleagues who appeared to be foreigners too, but probably from Malaysia as they spoke a little more English. I was in pain most of the time and it was difficult to figure out what they were saying to me. I walked away with a good Mandarin lesson on words related to massage therapy and weight-loss terms. (Here’s a funny one: She said something that sounded like “bee hive organisation” in Mandarin when I broke the words up. In my head I had no idea what it meant and I was so confused trying to figure out what all those sounds strung together could be. Turns out, it means cellulite! HAHA!)

Youth Infinite in Ang Mo Kio Central

Youth Infinite in Ang Mo Kio Central

The session started with me having to strip down to my underwear and then being weighed. As usual, they are always shocked to see what I weigh because for some reason I look smaller than the numbers on the scale. The bed was small, the room was a little cramped but well-equipped. The walls didn’t touch the ceilings so you could hear people walking around or talking. There was red heat lamp that shone directly on my belly as she prodded, kneaded, poked, and stabbed (I’m serious! She took a finger and she pressed it all the way down several points in my soft tummy and it hurt like a bitch!). I whimpered.

The room and the bed. Functional. And a Chinese acupoint chart.

The room and the bed. Functional. And a Chinese acupoint chart.

The other side of the room and some torture devices at the sink

The other side of the room and some torture devices at the sink

The worst thing was CUPPING! OMG! It hurt and I teared involuntarily. She told me it was going to be ok and that I hurt because I was weak. Glass jars were placed on my belly, thighs and arms. After that I flipped over and it was placed all over my back. Before that, she took a glass jar and heated the inside with a cotton ball of flame, then slid it up and down my back as it sucked at my flesh. IT HURT HURT HURT!!!! I was told the marks would go away in 3-4 days. Nope… mine took almost 14 days to completely disappear. GGgRrrr ggggRRrr!!!

Apparently I am sick/weak so the discolourations were darker

Apparently I am sick/weak so the discolourations were darker

I did some research and I read HERE that athletes do this all the time. Apparently these are not bruises because a bruise is the result of broken capillaries from impact traumas while these marks are the release of toxins. I don’t know and I don’t quite understand BUT if you can take the pain, I suggest you try it at least once. I suppose it can’t be that bad, it’s probably my own personal reaction to it. The massage hurt like mad but the day after, I immediately had better bowel movements (maybe from the vigorous prodding) and I felt better. Is it psychological? I don’t know.

So was it worth $320? NOPE! But it was definitely worth more than $28 if you understand that Chinese Physicians usually charge more for such treatments. So it’s a good deal, despite the torture, because it was an interesting experience. I was also offered a package deal which was quite expensive at $180 per session but then a 30% discount was thrown in because I came via a website (i.e. streetdeal.sg). The funny thing was I didn’t understand what she was saying and I was wondering why she told me that she’d give me a discount for a night stand. Turns out the sounds for “night” and “stand” together means “website”. HAHA on me again!


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Couponing: Cell Enzyme Face Treatment + De-stress Body Massage at Maple World Beauty

Date: 21 July 2011

Deal: $39 Instead of $446, 91% off Cell Enzyme Face Treatment (75 min) + De-Stress Body Massage (45 min) by Maple World Beauty. Available at 2 Locations

How it went:

While the branch I went to was located in central Singapore at Orchard Road, it was not exactly the nice part of Orchard Road. You had to walk past dodgy Orchard Towers, for one. And also the walk from Orchard MRT station made me break out into a little sweat. I guess for a beauty salon that started in Ang Mo Kio, to be able to open a branch downtown is sign that they were actually doing pretty well.

Orchard Hotel

Orchard Hotel

I had no problems with the therapists and the treatments. They were 2 small-sized women who didn’t speak very good English but they had brute strength. I didn’t need them to talk to me anyway. My face actually looked a lot brighter and my pores much smaller after my facial. This wasn’t one of those “See! It looks so much nicer!” and me squinting to see the difference. The entire process took about 2 hours so it was well worth my trek and well worth the money!

Maple World Beauty - treatment room

Maple World Beauty – treatment room

Unfortunately I didn’t like the room they put me in. Mainly it was tiny and freezing. It looked like they had about 6 other different rooms inside another area but I was put outside right next to the reception. So it was a little noisy and there was a group of women who laughed and talked at the top of their voices in Malay whilst I was inside. Relaxing, it was not. Perhaps it’d have been better if you had the treatments inside in privacy instead. Every time the therapist opened the door, anyone seated at the reception can see me lying on the treatment bed.

Was it worth $446? No! But I’d pay up to $70 for this combination of treatments. They also recommended some packages which I’d have taken up if a) I didn’t already sign up with Fresver b) I had tried the treatments inside instead c) I didn’t mind trekking down Orchard Road to get to the MRT station in messy crazy hair (which always happens after facial). They had a promotional offer which cost about $48 per treatment (you had to buy 10 at $480) and I thought that was really decent. If you had the chance, you should get it!


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Couponing: Facial + Foot Care Treatment at Y. S. Beauty Salon

Date: 16 July 2011

Deal: $26 for a Facial + Foot Care Treatment at Y. S. Beauty Salon worth $269

How it went:

This was one of the first coupons I bought and I didn’t check where this beauty salon was located. It took me ages to get from Kovan to Clementi and you still had to cross the road and walk a few blocks as it wasn’t located at Clementi Central itself. This is very honestly a neighbourhood beauty salon and save for 1 person, the other people in it didn’t speak much English. I am assuming they do not only serve the neighbourhood but also ONLY Chinese-speaking customers.

My therapist was a woman called Jess (why do people with English names not speak English?) who tried her earnest best to explain the treatment to me in English. I understood her enough and I didn’t really want to talk when I was trying to relax. The scary machine strikes again and I literally begged her to stop. She was puzzled because it was an expensive treatment. The mist-spraying machine came out and I didn’t like that either, but out of courtesy, I braced myself for it. This woman has strength. Her massages were forceful (not firm, but with force). (Surprisingly, I didn’t bruise this time.) So other than the face and upper body massage, the “foot care treatment” was actually a soak, scrub and leg massage (not unlike your run-of-the-mill foot reflexology or pre-pedicure routine). The room was merely partitioned panels and I could hear people laughing and talking at the top of their voices while I had the mask on and was told to relax. Not exactly spa-like but I guess it’s typical of your suburban neighbourhood outlets.

Another thing not in their favour is trying to charge me TWICE. I handed over my printed voucher before the treatment and after the treatment, they asked me how I was going to pay the $26. I asked them why I needed to pay for anything and it turns out they have been charging OTHER CUSTOMERS $26 despite their having a voucher. I explained that the fact that the voucher was in my hand proved that I had made payment via VoucherWow. I was told that “some customers” haven’t paid for it and that they weren’t sure how this voucher thing worked. ALARM BELLS! Poor aunties who got double-charged.

Was it worth $269? Uhm no. Maybe not even $69 because it was located in a far-out HDB flat downstairs shop. At the same time, while I think their prices are too outrageous, it might be because they are misguided into thinking that it is the “standard” price. I’d pay $200 for a facial if it was located in a convenient place, has a relaxing environment and if it came with all the frills. Sometimes, it’s not just the treatments. You pay for the perception of quality too.