Trendy health masks to combat the flu

Japan is a nation famous for being meticulously sanitary. Long before SARS and Swine flu erupted, the Japanese were already wearing flu /surgical masks for various health reasons; to avoid catching other people's illness, to avoid spreading their own germs to others, defense against hay fever... But if you're picturing a train compartment reminiscent of a hospital where passengers wear regular white surgical masks used in clinics and hospitals, you're quite wrong. Given their adoration for all things cute and clean, the Japanese have naturally found innovative ways to fuse these together! Just check out these trendy flu masks:

Images from: Ebay,,

As the numbers of suspected cases of swine flu and affected countries are spiralling, we may all have to start wearing masks when we go out. The upside: No need to bother with makeup. The downside: You look like a patient.

So why not give those trendy face masks a shot? I haven't personally seen any sold in Singapore though. Shops selling Korean and Japanese character goods like Action City might have them. The Hello Kitty store at Vivocity might sell them too. But I've definitely seen some cute masks selling on Ebay. Just do a search for 'cute flu mask' or 'hello kitty mask'. Since Asia has just recently gone through a SARS epidemic, you may also find cute masks from countries like Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan (Why not Singapore? I wonder too. I guess we're just too practical to be bothered with appearances). If you understand Japanese, Rakuten is an ideal place to shop for Japanese goods online.

However, bear in mind that some of the masks are merely for fashion purposes and may not offer adequate protection against germs. If you're not sure if a certain mask is designed for health purposes on top of being trendy, you'd best stick to clinical masks. Health is still more important than beauty after all!

Oh the heat!

The weather has been crazy lately, hasn’t it? It rains one moment and becomes scorching hot another. My heart really goes out to the promoters and surveyors who have been roughing it out in the open in view of the poor economy. It’s essential that we know how to protect our skin from the heat of the sun!

The importance of sunblock application goes without saying. However, while sun block protects your skin from the UV rays, your skin may be reeling from the harshness of the sun’s merciless heat.

Quick Hydrating Mask
You can easily make one yourself using an empty mask sheet and toner (I explained this in an earlier post). But if you haven’t got time to make them, you can get them cheap from pharmacies like Watson’s and Guardian. They are usually imported from Taiwan, a country famous for its home remedies and beauty-savvy female population. They make great pick-me ups when you’re back home from a day in the hot sun and feeling too exhausted to do anything else.

Using steam to quicken the hydrating process
It is best to use your hydrating mask in the bathroom, while soaking in a hot bath or after a hot shower. Steam from the hot water will facilitate quicker absorption of the nutrients in the mask. On the other hand, when you’re using a deep purifying mask, do not do so in places with high levels of moisture, because such masks absorb dirt from pores using the pulling force from the dried mask.

Moisturizing Essence
Moisturizing essence is generally able to penetrate the cuticle more easily in comparison to moisturizing milk because a molecule of essence has a comparatively smaller surface area. To relieve dry cells more effectively, apply moisturizing essence, followed by milk. Moisturizing milk will act like a cap, firmly encasing the essence and prolonging the time moisture takes to leave the skin.

Baby Oil Relief
The results of prolonged exposure to the sun usually show up most prominently on the skin around your knee caps, joints and lips. That’s rather unsightly, isn’t it? Here’s where baby oil comes in handy. After a bath, apply baby oil to parts of your skin which are peeling. That should offer some relief as well as smoothen your scaly injured skin. However, skin doctors have advised against the use of baby oil if you’re currently suffering from or have a history of Keratosis Pilaris (rough little bumps on skin)

Replace excessive water loss
When you’re engaging in activities that result in high water loss, such as vigorous exercise, sunbathing or even enjoying a sauna or hot tub, it is crucial to replenish the water. Bring a bottle of water everywhere with you and sip it every now and then. This will prevent your cells from drying and also maintains healthy blood circulation.

Chanel: Automatic Liquid Eyeliner

I love liquid eyeliner because it adheres easily to the contours of my eyelids, allowing me to draw really fine and sleek lines. Some eye liner users find liquid eyeliner a hassle to use, but it’s really the application tool that affects its user-friendliness.

Applying liquid eyeliner is no rocket science with the right brush applicator, and Chanel’s automatic liquid eyeliner proves it. It’s foolproof even for newbies and anyone who needs to apply eyeliner in a colossal rush.

The brush applicator is designed in such a way that you can convenient draw fine lines quickly and perfectly. Especially for the more seasoned eyeliner users, you’ll certainly be able to get the polished, tattooed eyeliner look effortlessly. Furthermore, if you’re out for a long day and tend to get oily lids, this liquid eyeliner stays on and doesn’t smear and give panda eyes unlike other liquid eyeliners.

Shiseido: Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55 PA+++ Sunscreen

Recently, when the weather’s sunny, it gets scorching hot, so I thought it would be a perfect time to review my current favourite sunscreen.

I have been using this sun screen for about two months. I love it for the fact that it mattifies my face. Also, it doesn’t look or feel greasy on my face. No breakouts on my pimple-prone days either. I apply it in regular intervals of an hour when I hit the beach or have to be out in the open for a long time. It does effectively keep me from getting sunburnt.

The downside of this sunscreen is that it does leave a white cast after application, which is rather noticeable if you have dark skin tone, and also interferes with the application of powder products. On the other hand, if you have fair but dull complexion, it could even brighten up your skin like foundation.

A sunscreen that works and is accompanied by beautifying effects is a rare find. I’ll certainly recommend it to anyone with fair, combination skin like myself.

Feeling off-colour? Don't look it too!

As discussed in the previous post, your self-image influences your state of mind. You feel better about yourself when you see a healthy reflection in the mirror, and consequently recover faster. Your image also influences what others think about you. If you’re ill but well enough to go about your daily activities, you should be able to make the effort to look healthy, or you may end up scaring people with your sick visage.

Red, tired, puffy eyes are common problems that occur due to lack of sleep when you’re being plagued by illness. In the morning, make 2 ice bags by wrapping some ice cubes in 2 clean, separate towels. Place them over your eyes for up to ten minutes, taking breaks if the cold gets intolerable. The coldness should reduce swelling and constrict your blood vessels so that your blood doesn’t redden the whites in your eyes. It will also refresh your eyes!

As your skin is likely to look dry and dull, and sometimes patchy in certain areas, moisturize your skin well with moisturizer or olive oil, then add a little foundation to even out your skin tone, followed by a little blush with a pink tint that will give you rosy cheeks. Instead of lip stick, use shimmery light pink lip gloss to dress up your lips. Lip gloss is often the better choice because it keeps your lips moisturized and a shiny, glossy texture would add some vitality. If your lips are dry and crackly, lipstick will make these flaws more obvious.

Last but not least, keeping your mouth fresh is very important. Brush your teeth, and rinse your mouth thoroughly with a mouth wash. Bad breath is a real bane for the sick and no matter how good looking one is, odour is always a turn-off. Bring a travel-sized bottle of mouth rinse with you so you can use it after a meal or whenever your mouth feels dry.

Beauty for the Sick

Yesterday, when I went to Action Hair Salon for a hair treatment session, my hairdresser told me the salon is sponsoring and providing hair stylists for Audi Fashion Festival Singapore 2009. That's really cool because Audi Fashion is the most happening fashion event in Singapore! But what I found even more impressive was the fact that National Cancer Centre Singapore is a recipient of the funds raised from the event. Firstly, raising funds for the less fortunate is always a noble cause, especially in this recession. Secondly, it’s a very novel concept. It is very seldom that people relate beauty to the sick.

But why should this be the case? I find it disheartening and unnerving to step into the hospital or clinic and see so many dead, haggard faces staring back at me. It reminds myself of my sickness and makes me feel worst. On the other hand, I believe they stare at me because I look absolutely glowing compared to them.

Life goes on even when one is sick. Unless you're too weak to hold up your make-up pouffe, why choose to look your worst when you can look better? Who knows, you may find that hot, single doctor extremely appealing, but with your drab-looking face, just-got-out-of-bed hair and ratty t-shirt, shorts and slippers, you wouldn’t possibly have the confidence to look him in the face, much less ask him out. Or you may meet a prospective client and you wouldn’t want him to remember you at your worst. Singapore is a small country and there is always a high chance you could bump into someone you know. I’m not sure what could be more depressing; that he sees you and doesn’t recognize you, or he starts raving about how ‘different’ you look from usual.

An even more important reason to maintain a happy and healthy image at all times is the psychological assurance that comes from a good self-image. A love for beauty is associated with a love for life. Looking good and feeling good about oneself does help to boost one’s recovery process. An optimistic patient who enjoys life to the fullest is likely to recover more quickly than a patient who drags himself out of the house for medical appointments and spends the rest of the day at home mopping around in bed clothes.

This psychological influence also extends to the people around us. For someone like me who’s always at the frontline interacting with customers, I always make sure I look my best, even when I’m recuperating from a sickness. If I’m well enough to go to work, I’m certainly well enough to perform my duties, but if I look off-colour, neither my employer nor clients would think I’m capable of doing my job. That said, if you’re well enough to get yourself out of the house, it can’t be too challenging to take a little effort to spruce up your image.

In my next post, I'll discuss simple ways to make yourself look less sickly. With the flu bug going around, there can't be a better time to share such information!

Kudos to Action Hair Salon and NCCS for reminding us of the relevance of beauty and confidence, even for cancer patients.