2-Hour Full Body Massage at RM48 / SGD16: JA Skin Solution in JB

JA Skin Solution Taman Century

If you’re heading over to JB and you’d like a full body massage, manicure or pedicure, one place you can consider is JA Skin Solution at 114 Jalan Harriman Tarum, Taman Century. It’s located along the main road so if you’re going to Taman Sentosa (ε€§ι©¬θŠ±ε›­) for food, or shopping at Plaza Pelangi, you can drop by JA first. We actually found this place via Fave a.k.a. Groupon (*you can change the ‘location’ portion and see the deals in Malaysia while you’re still in SG). There was also a RM9.60 promo cashback with a promo code applied. So the actual price we paid for this was SGD12.80 per pax. Of course, there was the offer of top-ups before the treatment commenced:

JA Skin Solution pricing

I picked the detox essential oil, which was supposed to be lemongrass – can’t say I really smelled it during the treatment though. I took it to be a ‘tip’ for the staff. Yes, the lady with the really long nails you see in this picture above did the treatment for me.

Within the room, the furnishing is sparse. And you’ll probably notice the peeling paint below…

JA Skin Solution JB review

I like the lymphatic massage. It started off with a back scrub, then (cool) steaming, then the massage and finally there’s a ‘mask’ applied all over. Of course, a shower right after was necessary…

JA Skin Solution JB

The shower stall with peeling paint on the wall

I think this outlet may require renovation. The peeling paint on the walls can be quite an eyesore. Other than that, the floor’s pretty clean, especially since customers and staff are supposed to walk around barefoot. The area near the entrance, where manicures and pedicures are done, is nicely furnished.

Regular prices: Express mani / pedi are at RM20 and RM28 respectively. Facial treatments cost anything from RM119 to RM450, and massages from RM128.

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JA Skin Solution

114, Jalan Harriman Tarum, Taman Century, 80250 JB, Johor

Review: Hada Labo Surprise Box (Really Worth Buying!)

Hada Labo Surprise Box

December was truly a month full of surprise boxes, and I’m not referring to Christmas presents (that’s for another upcoming blogpost!) I’ve already shown you what’s in the Etude House surprise box and Hysses surprise box. Now it’s time for another of my favorites: The Hada Labo Surprise Box. It costs just $29.90 but has over $106 worth of goodies within.

  • 2 x Care Cera High Moisturising Body Foam Wash (450ml) Exp: 30/09/20
  • Sunplay Skin Aqua UV Mild Gel SPF30 PA+++ (110g) Exp: 31/10/20
  • Sunplay After Sun Gel (200g) Exp: 09/2020
  • Hada Labo Lotion (170ml) Exp:06/2021
  • Hada Labo Hydrating Light Cream (50g) Exp: 08/2019
  • Mentholatum Lip Pure (4g) Exp: 11/2021

I like that they don’t stuff soon-to-expire items into these surprise boxes. There are boxes from some brands which really amaze me with their generosity. Take this Hada Labo Hydrating Lotion, for instance, which already retails at $22.90. It’s in this box which costs just $29.90. Madness, isn’t it? *ahem* I mean… isn’t it awesome? If you’ve managed to get your hands on one of them, consider yourself terribly lucky! πŸ˜€

You might be concerned about what to do with items that you don’t really use but come in the surprise boxes. Well, you can sell them off on Carousell and probably earn enough to pay for this box. Alternatively, you can wrap it up and gift them away during Christmas. XD

I do love online shopping but yes it does create a lot of wastage especially with the boxes the items come in, the packaging materials (bubble wrap and whatnot) and when there are so many items that you forget about some of them and they expire and have to be thrown away. Perhaps I should challenge myself to forego online shopping for a month or two. It’ll be insanely tough but worth a try. (@_@)

 

What’s In The Etude House Surprise Box? :D

etude house surprise box

I don’t usually buy stuff from ETUDE HOUSE, so I’m truly taking this 12.12 opportunity to grab a beauty box from the brand and see if I like their products. When this box was delivered, my first impression was wow, this box is pretty! This surprise box contains 6 items. If you’d placed your order on Shopee on 6th Dec, the box should be in your hands now. Yes, Shopee has totally gone one-up on Lazada and launched their mystery boxes way ahead of 12.12. And what I really LOVE is (1) you get to set reminders so your phone buzzes 3 minutes before the box you’re eyeing goes on sale, (2) you can ‘chope’ it first and pay or cancel the order later, and (3) it’s infinitely easier to grab a popular box via Shopee. (I’ve already grabbed a Laneige one, which is on the way to my home). πŸ˜€

So what’s in the ETUDE HOUSE box? Don’t be fooled by the number of items below. The 3 brow pencils and pencil liner are my separate purchases but which came in the same box. πŸ˜€ I believe in throwing out makeup products regularly because they accumulate bacteria. Even if they aren’t used up yet, when it’s time to change them, it’s time to change them. πŸ˜‰

Here’s what the box comes with:

TRUE relief Moist Cream 80ml

Any Cushion Color Corrector 14g (Lavender refill)

TINT MY 4-TIP BROW 2g

BIG COVER Concealer Cushion 5g

Dear Darling Tint

Satin Fit Eyes

etude house surprise box review

The box of 6 items cost just S$29 with free delivery. Well worth the pricetag, I’d say. πŸ™‚

I don’t know who came up with the idea of surprise boxes but so far, it’s been fabulous.

If you’d love to get your hands on a surprise box from your favorite brand, do check out Shopee. Get $10 off your first purchase by using my code THEGR226. πŸ™‚

Beauty Hope: Meridian Bo Jin Facial Review

beauty hope waterloo

I have to be dragged to facial treatments because I don’t particularly enjoy them (especially the extraction process… OMG) and you will never know what the therapists apply onto your face. As a female pal told me once, these therapists may point to the shiny bottles and jars in their cabinets and say that’s the branded stuff that’s going onto your face. But once the lights are dimmed and your eyes are closed, who’s to know what exactly they apply for you? So it was with a little bit of trepidation, buoyed by reading the (likely sponsored) online reviews of Beauty Hope, that we popped by Waterloo Centre. The staff wear floral headbands and seem pretty friendly, so I saw that as a good sign.

I find the notices pasted everywhere “for gentlemen” quite hilarious too! πŸ˜€

beauty hope review

Their notices for the gentlemen are everywhere. I suppose the staff get many indecent proposals.

The first thing I noticed upon entering the treatment ‘room’, which was basically just a partitioned corner, was that the bedding seems a little worn out. But everything appeared to be clean, at least.

However, the sound-proofing was non-existent. I could very clearly hear the client + therapist speaking on the other side of the partition (not wall). They were talking about someone’s husband having an affair, and after the gossip was over, they chatted about their height and weight and who supposedly looks younger / lighter than whom. *eye roll*

The facial treatment itself wasn’t too bad, though the product sometimes got into my nostrils or between my lips. Otherwise, the therapist (whom I’m guessing is Malaysian based on the accent) was gentle enough.

And the effects last for about 2 to 3 days, and not the 7 they promised. Basically you get cleaner and brighter skin for a couple of days. And without the extraction, there’s no reddening and no pain as well.

~ But the ‘sales’ portion was a bit troubling ~

What I found most mind-boggling was that I thought I’d given them an objection they cannot counter, when I said the facial is good but the soundproofing is horrid. Wait, scratch that. There’s zero soundproofing.

Yet they still insisted on having us pay something. Whether it was $880, half of that, $100 and eventually even $30. I hate desperation. Don’t you?

And I think it’s also a rather sly move to have the two therapists who’d done the facials for us be the ones to sell us something too. I find it much easier to turn down someone who had done nothing for me, such as a sales consultant who has been sitting out there at the front desk the entire time.

Would I go back to Beauty Hope? NO.

Would I recommend you visit them? Yes. Why? If you are there for treatments, it is fine. Say if you have a problem with sagging skin, or need help with weight loss, or if you simply need a listening ear ‘cos you need to rant, this place seems right for that.

If you want to have a relaxing facial and massage session and bliss out on the bed, and catch up on much-needed sleep, then this probably isn’t the place for you. But otherwise, I think the service is good, the therapists are quite skilled, and the prices are not too expensive.

Get Your New Hair Color At This Japanese Hair Salon in Singapore

Belleza De Midori

[ Images courtesy of Belleza De Midori ]

Have you ever wondered what is the difference between the hairstyles and hair colors favored by Japanese ladies versus Singaporean ladies? Do you know how to pick the right shade to match your complexion and how to help that color last a little longer? We posed these questions and more to two of the stylists at Belleza De Midori, a Japanese hair salon located in Velocity at Novena Square. If you’ve read the previous blogpost, you’ll know that together with fellow blogger Tiffany, I got a new hairdo at this salon.

Yuan (pictured below) was the stylist who gave Tiffany a new hair color (or perhaps I should say ‘colors’ as there were three). He patiently explained which of the Hoyu hair colors would suit her complexion, provide a chic and natural look, and still look good even when her hair gets longer and she hasn’t done any touch-ups.

japanese salon singapore

Top 3 Tips From The Stylists At Belleza De Midori:

#1: Pick a hairstyle and hair color that suits your lifestyle. Do you lead a hectic lifestyle and often fail to have enough time in the morning to tong your hair properly? Choose a simpler and easier-to-manage hairstyle. For a more natural look, have your stylist pick a color that suits your complexion.

#2: Use color shampoos if you want your new hair color to last a little longer. Your regular scalp or treatment shampoos have harsher chemicals compared to color shampoos, so you’ll find that these harsh chemicals strip your hair of its new color a lot faster.

#3: Wait for a month before changing your hair color (again). Give your hair and scalp some time to rest before getting yet another hair color. Unless you need regular hair color changes for work (maybe you’re a model?) or if the previous stylist did a bad job of coloring your hair, it’s advisable to stick with your new hair color for at least a month before thinking of changing it.

~

Yuan is a stylist from Malaysia, who has been working here in Singapore for almost 7 years. Yusaku is Japanese and has spent more than a decade working as a hair stylist in Japan, Australia and now, Singapore! Tiffany and I asked them some questions and you’ll see a snippet in the video below.

And if you’ve not watched the previous video, here it is:

~

~ Ready for a new hairstyle / look? ~

I’d highly recommend you make an appointment before heading down to the salon as the stylists have a busy schedule. CallΒ 6358 2900 to book a timeslot. *Psst… there’s 20% discount if you are appointing either Yusaku or Yuan to be your stylist for the day. πŸ™‚ Tell them you read this blogpost. πŸ˜‰

Belleza De Midori is located at #03-43/44 of Velocity, Novena Square.

Belleza De Midori novena square

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Belleza De Midori. πŸ™‚

Belleza De Midori: Highly Recommended Japanese Hair Salon in Singapore

Japanese hairstylist singapore

The ultimate indulgence: having two hairstylists blow-dry your hair at once. πŸ˜€ Tiffany is one lucky girl!

Earlier this month, I met my new pal, Tiffany, for an afternoon of hair pampering at Belleza De Midori, a Japanese hair salon located at Velocity in Novena Square.Β I’ve only been to Belleza De Midori twice. The first time was during their weekend peak hour – I walked in, saw that everyone was busy, and walked right out. πŸ˜€ With Tiffany, we’d made an appointment for a weekday afternoon, right after lunchtime, and it was less crowded.Β I even enjoyed a quick session of their highly-popular hair spa treatment as I was waiting for Tiffany to arrive. Check out the “nano steam” machine they use in the video below. πŸ™‚

Yusaku, who is Japanese, was my hair stylist. He seemed pretty impressed despite my limited knowledge of the Japanese language. I can only do the simplest of self-introductions, like so: “Konnichiwa! Watashi wa Grace desu. Dozo yoroshiku onegaishimasu.” πŸ˜€

I’ll have a “cut-to”, please πŸ˜€

Japanese hair salon in singapore

And here’s a quick video I shot of our afternoon of hair and scalp pampering:

I think there are three main reasons why Belleza De Midori is so popular:

#1: The Stylists’ Professionalism

They know what you need even when you might not be so sure yourself as to what sort of hair style or color you want. Tiffany had about 6 different hair colors she’d wanted to try, and had trouble deciding on one.

I’d initially wanted to get a short bob that ends just above the chin-level. Yusaku asked if I would be tying my hair frequently. I said “no”, but with some hesitation. I wasn’t exactly sure if the recent hot weather in SG would force me to have to tie up my hair even after getting it cut. I think he picked up on that and gave my hair just a trim so I’d still be able to tie up my hair when necessary. πŸ˜€

As for Tiffany, she’d eventually decided she wanted to dye her hair red. I don’t even know how to describe this color she’d chosen when she last got her hair dyed. Copper? It’s pretty evident that the black roots are showing. That’s one downside of getting a new hair color that has a big contrast with your original hair color.

best hair salon in singapore

So Yuan, a stylist from Malaysia, recommended that instead of dyeing her hair bright red (which wouldn’t suit her complexion), he’d give her a more natural look with a darker color at the crown (so you won’t see much of a color contrast when the hair grows out), a redder tone in the middle and finally some violet towards the end. It’s kind of like an ‘ombre’ effect but done in a classy, inconspicuous manner.

Here’s Yuan explaining which colors work best for Tiffany:

japanese salon singapore

The hair colors are from Hoyu, which “enjoys the largest market share in Japan”. Little wonder why.

And here’s our before-and-after pictures:

Belleza De Midori

Tiffany’s new hair color looks so natural. And this new haircut suits me better as it frames my face, making it look instantly smaller. Muahaha! πŸ˜€

#2: The Very Reasonable Pricing:

Belleza De Midori price menu

For such a central location (at Novena Square), the prices are indeed affordable. Also, the salon uses premium Aveda products (from USA), Hoyu hair colors (from Japan) and they import the machines used for hair treatments from Japan.

There’s also a further 20% discount if you’re appointing either Yusaku or Yuan to be your stylist for the day. πŸ™‚

#3: The Friendly Vibe / Atmosphere

The stylists are friendly without being nosy, and are certainly not pushy. They also have a good sense of humor. Elsa gave me a really good scalp, neck and shoulder massage – probably the best I’ve ever experienced in a hair salon. And I couldn’t help but ask if she has a sister. (She does, actually. Three sisters!) Tiffany, being Tiffany, went ahead and asked for the sisters’ names. We wanted to know if Anna is one of them. πŸ˜€

As you can tell from the video above, we had a really good time. I’ll put together another video clip of a short Q&A session we had with our two stylists. So watch out for the next blogpost.

~ Ready for a new hairstyle / look? ~

I’d highly recommend you make an appointment before heading down to the salon as the stylists have a busy schedule. CallΒ 6358 2900 to book a timeslot.

Belleza De Midori is located at #03-43/44 of Velocity, Novena Square.

Belleza De Midori novena square

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Belleza De Midori. πŸ™‚

What’s In The Elizabeth Arden x Lazada Surprise Box?

Elizabeth Arden Lazada Surprise Box

This is the only surprise box I’ve purchased from the recent birthday bash that Lazada held. The Triumph x Lazada surprise box I’d earlier bought was cancelled the day after payment had been processed and the order confirmed. If you’d like to find out what happened, read my blogpost ‘Lazada Surprise Box Cancelled‘ for the details. I’ve never bought anything from the Elizabeth Arden brand, but it sounds atas enough for me to be curious about what could possibly be in their $29 surprise box. πŸ˜› As always, I like to find out what is the retail price of the products within the box to check if Lazada’s claim that the surprise boxes contain items worth $100 or more is true or not.

The two items in the Elizabeth Arden x Lazada Surprise Box are the Ceramide Ultra Lipstick (in watermelon) and the Ceramide Purifying Toner. There’s also an additional set of vouchers with discount codes for use on the Lazada shopping site.

lazada surprise box

If you’re wondering what ceramide is, I’ve found some info online: “A ceramide is one of three types of lipids (fats) that helps keep moisture in the skin.”

What I found most shocking was the pricetag, actually:

elizabeth arden ceramide ultra lipstick

What sort of lipstick costs $84?! And its net weight is only 3.5g!

The 200ml bottle of toner seems more reasonably priced at $39. πŸ˜€

elizabeth arden ceramide purifying toner

The total value of these two products (with the toner being on sale) is S$124.14, which is about 4 times the price of the surprise box. Wow. If you’ve ever wondered why the surprise boxes get snapped up so quickly (sometimes within seconds of the launch), here’s why. It’s really good value. Plus, there’s free delivery to your doorstep.

Ok, now I can’t wait for the next batch of surprise boxes on Lazada! πŸ˜›

Renaza: Unexpected Prices For Facial Treatments At Palais Renaissance

palais renaissance facial

If you were to ask me how often I visit Palais Renaissance in a year, my very honest answer would be “just once or not at all”. It’s one of those places that I believe only those who want to ‘see and be seen’ (*ahem* Mediacorp celebrities getting their hair done *ahem*), or just want to avoid the hoi polloi at (sometimes) crowded malls, go to. At any other mall during the weekday lunch hour, facial or hair salons should be packed but it wasn’t the case at Renaza during my visit. I was definitely pleasantly surprised. But there’s more…

You can try any of their facial treatments for as little as $38. And a jar of snail cream? The full price is $69 but I believe you can ask for the discounted price. *I’m not sure if their pricing strategy is doing them a disservice: wouldn’t the people who visit Palais Renaissance be willing and able to pay more? And wouldn’t some equate a higher price with better quality? Facial salons deep in the heartlands have tried to charge me more money!

Not a normal sight: Prices on the wall…

renaza facial price

Besides the comfy-looking blanket and pillow(for your legs!) you see in the first picture above, I’m also a fan of their (what I shall call) ‘towel-wrap’. At other facial places I’ve been to before, you have to pull the entire “garment” down over your shoulders. Here, you just wrap it under your arms and button it up.

renaza wellness lifestyle lab

Though I’d signed this when I was filling out the usual particulars form, I had not “discussed all of the above with the consultant”.

renaza consent form

In any case, I was there for the Vita Aqua Glow Express Facial, which takes anything from 45 minutes to an hour. They say the usual price is $180 but I suspect few (if any) customers have ever paid that price. πŸ˜€ Why do I say that? ‘Cos the package price for 10 sessions is $388. That means each session will cost just $38. If you opt for the full facial, prices vary. I’ve been told it’s $588 (consultant) vs $1088 (Facebook manager). *’Full facial’ means you get the works – extraction, massage, etc.

A handheld and wireless device is used to cleanse my skin, and the impurities removed are supposedly emptied into clean water thereafter. And the consultant shows me the result:

renaza review

I get 20 minutes of masking time in the dark, before my face is cleansed with the device once again. I actually took this picture myself, as I realized I could still see under those cotton pads, and my handphone was right next to me. πŸ˜€

renaza orchard

At the end of the day, I like that my face feels clean, there are no nasty red bumps from extraction (because it didn’t happen), and the result lasts for 2 to 3 days.

renaza palais renaissance

After the facial, there was a cup of tea and some biscuits awaiting me. I liked that there was no hard-selling involved. And I had even misheard and misunderstood what the consultant said to me. She mentioned that the 10-session package would cost 3-8-8. I thought she’d purposely dropped the final ‘0’ as most of us speaking in Mandarin will sometimes do, when the figures are ‘large’. And obviously, anything that costs a couple thousand dollars would require some mulling over back at home, so I left. πŸ˜€ Turns out it’s actually $388 for 10 express facials. πŸ˜€

renaza orchard review

Renaza has two outlets: Palais Renaissance #03-10 and Marina Bay Link Mall #B2-23.

If you’d like to experience a trial of their Vita Aqua Glow Express Facial too, simply fill out the contact form below:

*not a sponsored post*

Himalaya Herbals: New Look + A Giveaway

Himalaya Herbals Singapore

When I saw the press release, I got a shock. The packaging for the Himalaya Herbals ‘Root to Beauty’ range has been jazzed up with vibrant hues of orange, brown and green. That’s definitely standing out on any store shelf! My main facial cleanser at the moment is SK-II’s but I do have a ‘secondary’ cleanser that’s either from the Himalaya Herbals brand (which I shall call ‘HH’ henceforth) or Pond’s. Like with shampoo, I believe in switching up the products every so often so I reap the benefits of the different ingredients in each one. Apparently, the one from HH is great at preventing pimples but I’ve yet to use it for 28 days (or more) in a row so I don’t have a good review for you yet. πŸ˜€

Take away the gorgeous sleeves and you’ll see a more familiar sight:

Himalaya Herbals product range

What I’m currently using:

Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Face Wash

Truth be told, that little bar of soap is really quite small. So you’ll either be running to the store pretty often or you’ll have to stock up…

Himalaya Herbals Protecting Neem and Turmeric Soap

I’m not too sure how much turmeric is in the products, or even how much turmeric is even needed in beauty products in order to see a visible result. So if you’re so inclined, go check out the products in store and read their ingredients list.

The ‘Root to Beauty’ range of products, in their newly designed turmeric root product sleeves, are available at Watsons, Guardian, NTUC, Giant, Mustafa and NHG polyclinics. The price range is between $7.95 and $12.95.

~ GIVEAWAY ~

Want to win a Himalaya Herbals Gift Set worth $100? πŸ™‚ I have 2 to give away. So head over to my Facebook Page to participate.

Elegance Beauty & Slimming: We Tried The TCM Body Massage At Tanjong Pagar

elegance beauty & slimming

[screenshot from myfave.com]

There’s one Chinese phrase which perfectly describes how I am feeling today:Β θ…°ι…ΈθƒŒη—› (both my waist and back are hurting). The worst part is that I’m not even sure if it’s a good thing. You see, we went for a massage together yesterday and the therapists seemed so knowledgeable and they were locating knots in places I did not know could have knots (like at my waist area) and after that massage, even pulling my shoulder blades together hurts. Yikes!

He’d purchased a Fave voucher for a massage at International Plaza and so we went to Elegance Beauty & Slimming. I went into the centre first as he’d gone off to look for a parking lot. And initially I was taken aback at the strong smell of smoke in the air. Possibly why the glass doors to Elegance were left wide open too. I couldn’t tell if it was cigarette smoke or not. Asked the lady (M) at the reception counter and she said it’s from moxibustion. But are the smoke detectors in the building not working? (>_<) Shouldn’t there be an alarm or security officers running over?

Anyway… I thought we were off to a bad start as I really hate when there are strong smells. And the air here made me choke. I was coughing so much they asked if they could get me a glass of water.

But when it came to the massage, all I can say is that it was really good. Sure, I hated the white translucent paper undies and so wore the blue paper boxers for men over it as well, but everything else was good.

tanjong pagar massage

My masseuse (S) and his (J) are from China, and clearly skilled at providing massages. And according to him, they’re really good at sales too (he said he’d poach them if he’s opening a massage parlor, but I guess he’s kidding).

I’d requested a “Relaxing” massage as I don’t really like massages; I basically tolerate them. Anything that’s painful or ticklish… is not my thing. He went for “Medium” strength, and his masseuse looked double the size of mine. LOL. But S, though petite, managed to make me scream in pain. I’d made it quite clear that I didn’t want any ‘baguan’ or ‘guasha’ or anything that would leave a mark on my skin so I escaped unscathed except for some aches here and there. When he got home though, his back still looked like this:

guasha massage tanjong pagar

Not a great look if you’re going swimming (people might think you have some severe skin issues) or just before you head off to a beach holiday, ya? πŸ˜‰

*And oh, S wanted to do naval candling (at least I think that was what she meant in Mandarin) for me but I refused even though she claimed it’d make my tummy feel all warm and fuzzy. Nope, thanks. No fire or heat or scraping or cupping or all of that. πŸ˜€ I’ve read too many horror stories in media reports already.

~

The sales pitch after the massage went pretty well. I wouldn’t say there was any hard-selling. M tried to have us sign for a package:

10 sessions for $888 / 20 sessions for $1500 / 50 (+6) sessions for $3888

And when we said we’ll go back to think about it, she asked if we’ll just pay for 1 additional session. It did seem a little bit desperate but overall, she was pretty nice about it and we left the place satisfied.

And no, we didn’t pay for any of those packages. If we decide to return, we’ll just pay per session. It’s too much of a risk, really.

~

Do you like / enjoy massages? Lucky you! I’d say this 1-hour massage at Elegance was worth the price he paid for it. $46 for 2 pax is decent; cheap, even. If you’d like to go try it yourself, I believe the voucher is still available at Fave (previously Groupon).