In honor of International Men’s Day, we got facials

A lesser used tool in the men’s grooming arsenal, facials are frankly awesome. We sent Daven Wu to three of the manliest ones in Singapore.

Nov 19, 2020

For all the hype about the metrosexual man, most Singaporean guys still think of facials as a feminine indulgence–a floral-scented appointment to be squeezed in between Pilates and lunch with the girls. If you’re that guy, here are three high-tech, male-friendly facials that just might change your mind.

1. ESSENTIAL FACIAL RE/JUVENATION, THE DRX CLINIC

“This is not a relaxing facial,” says Dr. Harvey Ho about the DRx Clinic’s brand new treatment, the Essential Facial Re/Juvenation. “It’s functional and essential. And it’s gender-neutral.” Hrmm… What was that? I’m a little distracted by his unblemished, dewy alabaster skin.  

A raft of science and technology is involved in this 90-minute treatment, much of it couched in sci-fi jargon and improbable ingredients. Exhibit A: the proprietary Derma-RX Arazyme Exfoliant, which mimics the digestive enzyme of the Golden Silk Orb Weaver spider to dissolve dead skin cells. Yes, dissolve. Because exfoliation is so 90s.

Next, the Venus Glow, a first-to-market contraption that uses a 360-degree rotating tip to force jet streams of a botanical brew infused with micelles into the pores to purge impurities which are then sucked out. Imagine someone running a Lilliputian-sized Dyson vacuum on full blast over your face, because that’s what it feels like.

Another gadget using DermaElectroPoration technology then pumps another high-octane cocktail of minerals and multi-hyaluronic acid infusion deep into the skin to reverse the effects of aging. “The device is FDA-approved,” Dr. Harvey says reassuringly.

As I lie there in the bare, all-white treatment room–my face now completely encased in an icy alginate mask whose antioxidants and minerals would, I am assured, provide long-lasting deep hydration–I can’t help but wonder why I don’t have facials more often.

Especially as, when at the end of what is actually a deeply relaxing treatment, and I’m handed a mirror to inspect the results of all that high-tech buzzing and suctioning, I am startled by my own bright, dewy-smooth reflection. It’s not quite Dr. Harvey, but maybe that just means I need a return trip to the Orb Weaver. drx.clinic; SG$420.

2. BLACK DIAMOND FACIAL, EPION AESTHETICS

The U.K.-trained Dr. Melvin Tan set up Epion in 2018 in a row of faux Tudor shophouses in Singapore’s fancy Tanglin neighborhood. The name–a sly play on both Epione, the Greek goddess who soothed pain, and epidermis–headlines a small but comprehensive menu of treatments based on lots of derma-tech and proprietary products. The latter are manufactured in Switzerland to the maddeningly smooth-skinned Dr. Melvin’s specs.

The demographics of his clientele is reassuringly broad. “I have teenage boys who come in for their acne, all the way to men in their sixties who want Botox,” he says, adding that his most popular treatment is the Black Diamond Facial, designed for the more robust male skin. “It’s not gentle,” he promises.

Well, the first part of the medi-facial is gentle enough. A mechanical wand spritzes cleansing serum over the skin, while a second tip sucks up the released grime and bacteria. It’s all rather soothing until May, the genial chatty therapist, flourishes another wand. “This is the microdermabrasion,” she says cheerfully, as she aims the diamond-tipped device at my face.

It feels as if someone is repeatedly running a dessert fork over my skin. It’s not exactly painful, but it’s not gentle either. Apparently, the increased blood circulation from the pressure reduces acne and hyperpigmentation, and triggers an uptick of collagen levels.

A pressure point facial massage with lavender-scented cream is next, followed by a fresh minty charcoal mask “to purify, detox and hydrate,” May chants.

How did I look when I sat up at the end of the 75-minute treatment, you ask? Suffice it to say that after a week, I found myself still admiring my noticeably brighter skin, and considerably lightened pigmentation. Diamonds are my new best friend. www.epionaesthetics.com; SG$250.

3. NEOGEN, MOYEM MEDICAL AESTHETICS

If Stanley Kubrick had made a film like 2001: A Space Odyssey about a facial salon, one of the sets would have looked a lot like Moyem. It’s wall-to-wall fantasy sci-fi. A machine takes 3-D images of the face from three angles, and then adds filters to check on everything from wrinkles to sun-damage. The treatment rooms are slick white pods with soft lighting, and furnished with steely machines with tubes and cables, that make reassuring whirring sounds.

“The treatments here are all gain, no pain,” says Moyem’s effusive founder, Dr. Tan Wang Theng. Based on my skin analysis, she recommends the NeoGen, one of several non-laser, gender-neutral facials on her menu. It’s marketed as a 60-minute lunchtime power facial.

Photos courtesy of Moyem Medical Aesthetics.

A gizmo converts nitrogen gas into plasma energy which penetrates the skin in a series of warm puffs. The thermal energy, later paired with antiseptic LED red light, is meant to trigger gentle skin renewal and stronger collagen. “The healing and regeneration all happen deep within the epidermis,” Dr. Tan chirps. I can’t spot a single line on the woman’s face. “So many facials out there just focus on the surface.”

As if I don’t already feel renewed after the Neogen, I’m persuaded to add on a quick session with the Exilis Ultra 360, another high-tech weapon in Moyem’s arsenal. This one pumps nano-gold hyaluronic acid serum with “medical-grade monopolar radiofrequency energy and ultrasound energy deep into the dermis” to create collagen contraction. Hand on heart, I look like I’ve just had a facelift. But in a good way. My skin hasn’t been this pert and lifted since high school.

How have I only just discovered facials? I apologize to my younger self and promise to keep trying to conjure him. www.moyemmedical.com, SG$450 (Exilis Ultra 360, from SG$420).

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