May 12, 2015

Every week, countless beauty products pass through our desks, and we’re thankful for it – that’s how we get to test drive the latest and greatest launches in the beauty world, and tell you what needs to go into your stash, and what should be trashed.

When it comes to beauty, most of us have an innate adventurous streak, which extends to being more likely to take beauty risks outside of work as well. While this can lead to discovering more good stuff, it can also lead to a good number of beauty disasters. Here are the NYLON Singapore team’s stories of the biggest beauty missteps we’re still regretting:


“SK-II does so much marketing for their range of skincare that we see it everywhere, and hear so much about how good it is. Working in media, I’m not one to easily believe advertising, but I do also have many good friends that swear by the brand’s iconic essence and face mask. So when it lands on my desk, I’m always tempted to try the products myself. They are award-winning after all. My first experience with the Facial Treatment Essence years ago had me a little disappointed. My skin didn’t appear any ‘brighter’, ‘clearer’, or ‘fresher’, and instead, after a week of religious application, I started breaking out! And I hardly break out. I put the product aside and within days my skin was back to normal. Now what is Pitera? SK-II’s website says, ‘Derived from a strictly controlled natural fermentation process, Pitera™ is a clear liquid rich in vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids.’ And my skin is apparently allergic to this yeast extract. Pitera isn’t for me. It isn’t for everyone. It is for many, many lucky girls (and guys) out there, but it clearly doesn’t agree with me. In the past couple of years, every time SK-II launches something new and exciting, I always forget how Pitera doesn’t like me and I get tempted to try the new skincare full of promises. And I once did – when they introduced the sheet face mask that my friend was once again swearing by. And once again, my face started getting itchy and blotches were threatening to appear. After that second incident, I’ve learned my lesson and those bottles of Pitera goodness that land on my Editor’s desk? They go to a very lucky friend who gives me feedback for the review. It’s important to know what works for your skin and stick to it. It’s ok to be adventurous and try something new, but if you know it’s going to do something bad and ugly to your face, why would you do that to yourself?”

–      Adele Chan, Editor-in-Chief


“You know how you’re advised to throw away your mascara after three months? Well, I tend to close one eye on that. So when I ran out of sunscreen, I thought it was okay to bust out one that I’ve been keeping in my cupboard for a while – thing is, I wasn’t sure when I got it. And that’s how it started. The cream didn’t smell particularly bad, maybe slightly medicinal, but suddenly I was a teenager again, scrambling to get rid of my rashes, stat. I panicked. Surely, this wasn’t happening to me! I didn’t change anything else in my regime. Except for that sunscreen, probably expired. It could be the skincare elements in it, as sunscreen should last three years. Oh, whatever. Toss.

Thankfully, I had an anti-inflammatory product at hand (I used Skin Inc’s Licorice Serum), and my skin was clear after a few days. It’s tempting to wanna hoard our favourite miracle moisturisers, but take heed: try not to go beyond a year for foundations and creams, or, at least, to religiously check for weird smells, colours, or separation when in doubt. And trust me, I’m way more skeptical now.”

–      Amelia Tan, Writer 


“When I coloured my hair for the first time in the first year of university, I started with a subtle, unexciting shade of brown, recommended by my hairdresser for a hair dyeing newbie. By the second time, I felt brave enough to attempt something on the other end of the spectrum: a bright, fiery red almost the shade of Ronald McDonald’s curls (that’s what another hairdresser at the salon called me when he saw my hair after washing off the dye). Nothing wrong at all with adventurous hair colour, but I picked the worst time to do it – I left on a six-month exchange programme in Sweden a week after, with no access to affordable hair salons or hair care products. I didn’t visit a hairdresser and survived on cheap drugstore shampoos obviously not made for Asian hair the whole time. By the fourth month, it had faded into a strange shade of copper, and my roots had grown out by inches. Coupled with a lack of hair trims, in all my travel photos I just look terribly unkempt. Lesson learnt: don’t try exciting things in the hair salon if you don’t have the resources to maintain your mane.”

 –      Tami Lai, Writer


“Using drugstore primers. When I just started using foundation, I had the misconception that it had to go hand in hand with primer. And one of the first products from the drugstore I experimented with had this silky texture that dried off matte on the skin to give the illusion of pore-free skin. Now I know that putting too much product on my face makes me break out, especially if the product comes in a tub (germs!), and I don’t actually need primer for my foundation to last longer. A dusting of loose powder on the top works better.”

–      Kelly Koo, Writer


“Whatever you do, do not – I repeat, DO NOT give your aesthetician the go ahead for extractions unless a. you’re in a state of ‘what else do I have to lose’ or b. you completely trust her. I went for a facial at a new aesthetics spa and despite having three pimples, decided to let them extract whatever they felt like they could see under their magnifying glass. Despite my scars healing, my skin some how developed an allergic reaction to the products that were applied onto my skin after my pores have been opened up due to the prying and pricking on my skin’s surface. I had to deal with what look liked the kind of acne you’d get going through puberty all along the sides of my cheek for about four months. My skin got terribly dry, and it took months of constant hydration and DIY facials at home to revive my skin.

So remember, don’t be afraid to say no. You know your skin best after all.”

–      Ashley Tang, Designer 


“My regret is hair extensions. I had both the weave-in and clip on ones done before. They were a complete nightmare towards the end of six months, as I literally had a ball of hair at the back of my head due to all the tangles! It was nice having long hair when my real hair was really short, but I don’t think it was worth the hair loss and breakage.”

 –      Jolene Quek, Senior Account Executive


  • May I add another one, not all homemade recipes are good for you. I’ve heard so many good things about honey and used them as face mask for the first time. My whole face became itchy after a few minutes and I had an allergic reaction. Only then I realised I am allergic to pollen; after living for 25 years.