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More spas offering quick-fix facials

Express facials are popular with busy people who want to freshen up their skin in a jiffy

To cater to the time-strapped individual, more skincare labels and spas are now offering express facials that take 30 minutes or less.

Their customers? Busy working adults and stay-at-home mothers who want fast treatments they can squeeze into their hectic schedules.

Labels such as local skincare brand Skin Inc and spas Freia Aesthetics and La Source Spa added quick-fix facials to their menus last year.

Other spas say that demand for such treatments has gone up by up to 20 per cent in the past year.

These facials typically cost about half the price of full-length treatments and are completed in half the time. Regular facials usually take 60 to 90 minutes and cost as much as $600.

  • Where to go for express facials

  • Sugar K Organic Peel Bar
    What:
    Organic Peel, 20 minutes, $55. Customers get a skin analysis before their skin is cleansed and prepped with a pro-peel toner. An organic peel is applied and removed with a toner. The treatment is finished off with serum, moisturiser and sunscreen.
    Where: Kew Organics, 03-83 Clarke Quay Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, tel: 6904-4161; open: 11pm to 9pm (Mondays to Fridays), noon to 8pm (Saturdays and Sundays), closed on public holidays

    Freia Aesthetics
    What:
    Classic Express Facial, 30 minutes, $58. This treatment includes exfoliation and a mask and is capped off with serum to moisturise the skin.
    Where: Freia Aesthetics, 19-02 Wisma Atria Office Tower, 435 Orchard Road, tel: 6734-3219; open: 11am to 9pm (Mondays to Fridays), 10am to 7pm (Saturdays), closed on Sundays and public holidays

    Skin Inc
    What:
    Facial In A Flash Treatment, 20 minutes, $45. A treatment using Skin Inc's Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light, a handheld device that uses coloured light-emitting diode (LED) chromotherapy. The label says this helps to lift and firm skin, among other benefits.
    Where: Skin Inc Concept Store, 03-14 Scotts Square, 6 Scotts Road, tel: 6536-6789; open: 10am to 9.30pm daily

    Spa Esprit
    What:
    VPL Power Facial, 30 minutes, $192.60. Variable pulsed light (VPL) is used to treat sun-damaged, ageing, wrinkled and pigmented skin.
    Where: Spa Esprit Paragon, 05-10 Paragon, 290 Orchard Orchard, tel: 6836-0500; open: 10am to 9pm daily, closed on selected eves of and public holidays

    Porcelain
    What:
    Cosmopolitan Pick Me Up Facial, 30 minutes, $80.25. A facial designed to rejuvenate the skin, provide hydration and stimulate cellular repair and collagen production.
    Where: Porcelain, three outlets including one at 15 Cantonment Road, tel: 6227-9692; open: 11am to 10pm (Mondays to Fridays), 9.30am to 8pm (Saturdays), 9.30am to 7pm (Sundays)

    Damai Spa
    What:
    Express Facial, 30 minutes, $188.32. Each session includes a consultation, cleansing, exfoliation, a personalised facial mask, a short facial massage and application of a booster serum.
    Where: Damai Spa, Grand Hyatt Singapore, 10 Scotts Road, tel: 6416-7156; open: 10am to 10pm daily

    Jet Concepts
    What:
    Express Facial, 30 minutes, $78. A treatment that involves exfoliation to get rid of dirt and bacteria to clean and brighten skin.
    Where: Jet Concepts, three outlets including one at 03-05 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road, tel: 6733-7055; open: 10.30am to 9pm daily

    Adonis Beauty Studio
    What: Quick Fix Facial, 30 minutes, $85.60. Each facial includes a cleanse and massage or exfoliation.
    Where: Adonis, seven outlets including one at 04-50/51 Nex shopping mall, 23 Serangoon Central, tel: 6634-2466, open: 11am to 9pm daily

While the shortened versions are less luxurious on the pampering scale compared with a regular facial, some include a pared-down massage or light therapy, such as variable pulsed light which treats a range of skin issues including pigmentation.

Most, however, involve only cleansing, exfoliation, application of serums and moisturisers.

The demand for such services is so great that Ms Lily Kew, founder of Kew Organics, opened a new facial bar in her Clarke Quay Central mall outlet offering only 20-minute treatments. For $55, customers get a cleanse, organic peel, skincare serum and oil-free sunscreen.

Named the Sugar K Organic Peel Bar, it has been "well received" since it opened in November last year, with the number of customers increasing by about 15 per cent every month, says the 46-year-old.

"There are too many busy individuals looking for quick and affordable solutions for their skin. Good facials are also not cheap. I saw the need and so Sugar K was born," says the mother of one, who plans to open a similar concept at her other outlet in Everton Park.

At La Source Spa in Scotts Road, a 30-minute facial - including a cleanse, scrub, mask and scalp massage for $108 - was added to the menu in October last year.

Manager Yumi Van Thorale, who is in her 40s, says the service was introduced due to demand and it is "very popular with working professionals who come at lunch time and with jet-setters who come for a quick hydrating treatment before heading to the airport".

At Freia Aesthetics in Wisma Atria, founder and spa director Serene Seah, 41, says the label included a 30-minute facial for $58 on its menu when it opened in April last year.

The demand for these express facials went up by 10 per cent in the past year, prompting the spa to plan to introduce two more short facial treatments this year.

"These facials tend to be popular with busy working professionals who desire a... refreshing facial, but need to return to the office in an hour," says Ms Seah, adding that most of the customers who take up the service are women in their early 20s, who might have just started working.

"They don't want to spend as much and they have shorter lunch breaks than older working professionals. It is really about saving time and maximising that hour-long lunch break.

"The luxury of having a 90-minute facial treatment is simply not feasible these days."

Other brands such as Skin Inc, known for its personalised serums, started offering 20- and 30-minute facials, for $45 and $65 respectively, in September last year to cater to busy urbanites who "want it all", says the chain's founder Sabrina Tan.

She says: "It is literally a pit stop for the skin for time-starved urbanites, modern males and millennials who want results without the fuss."

Other standalone spas such as Damai Spa at Grand Hyatt Singapore and chains such as Jet Concepts, Spa Esprit and Adonis Beauty Studio have also seen up to a 20 per cent increase in demand for their quick-fix facials in the past two years.

Their customers run the gamut from busy professionals with offices nearby to mothers with young children to those who are attending an event right after work.

Fans of the quick facial agree that such sessions are easier to fit into busy schedules. Ophthalmologist Ho Ching Lin, who is in her 40s, heads to La Source Spa for an express facial once a month. "It is difficult to spare an hour as my schedule is really tight. The shorter treatment fits my needs," says the mother of one.

She feels she does not need a full facial, but wants to cleanse her skin and feel refreshed, especially before social events. "I usually go after work or before a social event. I also travel often and the quick facial is a great pick-me-up for my skin before and after I fly."

Entrepreneur Carol Butel, 56, who tried an express facial at Damai Spa for the first time recently, likes the treatment for its convenience. She is likely to return for another session. "I like the professional service and that the facial does not take long. It is efficient yet gets the job done."


D-I-Y facial with kitchen ingredients

If you cannot find the time for a quick facial, you can do it yourself at home. All you need are the right products or a couple of kitchen ingredients to get that fresh-faced feeling. Here is a routine to follow.

STEP 1: CLEANSE

Start with a clean slate without dirt and make-up. This helps the skin absorb products better.

Remove make-up thoroughly with a good make-up remover, then wash your face and neck with a facial cleanser. Next, rinse your face with lukewarm water. This helps keep your skin hydrated as water that is too hot strips the skin of healthy natural oils.

Try: Soy Face Cleanser (photo 1), $23 for 50ml, $63 for 150ml, from Fresh counters and Sephora outlets. It is an extra-gentle gel cleanser that is suitable for all skin types. The label says the cleanser removes everyday impurities and make-up without stripping the skin of essential moisture.

D-I-Y: Raw honey and lemon. Mix a teaspoon of raw honey with half a teaspoon of lemon juice. Add a little warm water to the mixture so it is easier to spread on your face. Then wash it off with lukewarm water.

STEP 2: EXFOLIATE

This removes dead skin and rejuvenates the skin. Regular exfoliation - about once or twice a week - also helps to keep the skin tone even and increases the absorption of skincare products. Use your fingers to gently rub the exfoliating product all over your face in small circular motions. Focus on areas that tend to be more oily, such as the forehead and the nose.

Try: Skin Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste (photo 2), $50, from Aesop, B1-54 Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road. It is a creamy paste which contains fine river-bed Quartz that helps polish and exfoliate the skin.

D-I-Y: Baking soda. It is gentle and has anti-fungal properties which make it great for managing pimples. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of water to get a paste. Use this to exfoliate the skin, then rinse it off with lukewarm water.

STEP 3: APPLY A MASK

After cleansing your skin and removing dead skin cells, you want to feed it nutrients and add moisture with a treatment mask. Those with dry skin should select a hydrating gel or cream mask, while those with oily skin can go for a clay mask that will help to reduce oil production.

Try: Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque (photo 3), $47, from Kiehl's counters. A purifying mask that helps to minimise pores, it contains Amazonian White Clay which the label says draws out oil, dirt and toxins that clog pores.

D-I-Y: Plain yogurt and aloe vera gel. For a hydrating and revitalising mask, mix equal parts of plain yogurt and aloe vera gel and spread the mixture thinly on your face. Leave for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

STEP 4: MOISTURISE

As a final step, moisturise the skin to keep it hydrated for the rest of the day. Keeping your skin moisturised helps to prevent fine lines. Massage the moisturiser into your skin in circular motions to relieve tension and increase blood circulation.

Try: White Dew Tone-Up Cream (photo 4), $56, from Laneige counters. A creamy emulsion that is easily absorbed into the skin without leaving it feeling greasy.

D-I-Y: Argan oil. It contains antioxidants and vitamin E that can help protect and moisturise the skin. Massage a few drops in circular motions all over the face.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2017, with the headline 'Quick fix for skin'. Print Edition | Subscribe