The past year has seen a rise in the number of launches focused on the fundamentals – not super serums, but good old cream masks; not lunchtime aesthetic procedures, but facials and massages. No, it’s not the end of the high-tech race to produce the next power-packed Insta-salve, but getting the essentials right is once again important – and shouldn’t it always be? We break it all down.

The treatment: facial + massage

Can’t deny it – aesthetic procedures give instant (and obvious) results. But more women are going back to this “classic” technique as it supposedly improves not only skin’s complexion, but also its health. Here, four of our all-time favourites that prove this (we tried them).

#1: Total V Face Shaper Treatment, Clarins Skin Spa

facial treatments

Using Clarinspro products to help refine facial contours and boost radiance, the treatment begins with breathing exercises, aided by scented basil and camomile oils to calm the senses. It then moves on to four different masks – one for each eye, plus decolletage and face. Almost half of the treatment is peppered with facial massages done using movements that supposedly improve lymphatic circulation and drainage of toxins, as well as fist-rolling techniques to reportedly break down fats. Says Leona Low, the spa’s training and customer care manager: “Touch is both a treatment and a therapy. Our hands are extremely sensitive and instinctive… No machine can replace the gentleness, warmth or precision of the hands.” #05-05/07 Wheelock Place, tel: 6838-5060, $250, 75 minutes


#2: Caviar Firming Facial, La Prairie Facial Cabin

facial treatments

This promises to lift and firm tired, sagging skin, and involves 20 various massage steps, supposedly to detoxify and improve blood circulation so skin can better absorb the benefits of the products used. One of the steps – Caviar Facelift Massage, created specially for this treatment to reportedly boost skin health – blends the Chinese philosophy of acupressure to balance the flow of “qi” in the body, with the Indian system of Ayurveda that encourages natural healing through the drainage of excess water retention and detoxing. Robinsons Raffles City, tel: 6265-1455, $260, 90 minutes


#3: Small Face Care, Yakson House Singapore

facial treatments

Two different therapists for one (supposedly) slimmer face. The first expert begins with a vigorous 20-minute back and arm massage to relax the body (and reportedly remove toxins), followed by a thorough cleanse. A master therapist takes over to perform the spa’s signature Golki Therapy massage. For 15 minutes, jawbone and cheekbones are pressed down and pushed up, while skin is kneaded forcefully, all done with just thumbs (this technique reportedly increases blood flow around the bone and helps reshape it). The crown of the head is massaged with short, sharp pinching movements, said to help make your head appear smaller. It ends off with a ginseng mask. #05-12A Wheelock Place, tel: 6734-8777, $258, 120 minutes


#4: Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Treatment, Sulwhasoo Boutique

facial treatments

Using products from the brand’s Concentrated Ginseng range, this treatment is said to enhance skin vitality and rejuvenation. The key feature: the two massages. The Jadeite Treatment involves the use of jade rings for massage, and supposedly helps balance the yin and yang in the body. The Capsulized Ginseng Fortifying Serum Finger Treatment comprises of “twist pinching” movements that reportedly energise and boost lymphatic drainage to improve overall complexion, and “pick up and lift” motions to supposedly keep skin dense. #B2-02 Ion Orchard,tel: 6509-9979, $260, 80 minutes


Like this? Check out the latest crop of moisturisers that promise clear, hydrated skin, wash-off face masks to add to your skincare routine and the best facial cleansers for your skin type.