Beauty discoveries, gains and woes in 2009

Another year is coming to a close and I want to take this time to thank all my readers who have been coming to this space to read, and or share your thoughts on beauty with me. All of you have made it possible for me to continue writing with passion and even though we may not always share the same views, but I know our objectives are the same and that is to stay beautiful inside out.

Today, I’ll wrap up with some of my beauty discoveries, gains and woes in 2009. Yes, I definitely have skin woes. It used to be pigmentation but now, I’m suffering a major acne breakout due to a case of hormonal imbalance. I NEVER had to battle with acne all my life till now and I am beginning to understand the grief of those who have to struggle with this skin problem!

But okay, woes aside, I’ve stumbled upon very interesting natural products and services, and met some really interesting folks who are in the business of beautifying people in a natural and holistic way. Through them, I’ve also learnt a lot more about beauty ingredients as well as the excesses that I should avoid.

Facial spas in Singapore using natural organic products
First, I’m really happy to have come across two beauty spas in Singapore offering facials using natural or organic products. My heart definitely goes to True Beauty, which provides the best facial I’ve tried in terms of results. I need to state upfront that I have an ongoing relationship with them but those who have tried their service would agree with me that their facials are truly excellent. The only problem is that their products are considered expensive so I reckon that not everyone wants to spend that kind of money. The other natural facial service I would recommend is The World of Organic Skincare. Their facials are above average to me, but their treatments using manuka honey are pampering. I like the fact that they use products from Living Nature and Organic Apoteke, which are certified organic and in my opinion, of superior quality but not over the top in terms of pricing.

Sun protection regime and holy grail sunscreen
This year also marks my discovery of a better sun protection regime for myself. On top of applying sunscreen externally, I’ve been taking Heliocare on a regular basis. Hence, I’m less worried about sun exposure these days although it doesn’t mean I will deliberately seek the heat. I’m also glad to have found the best sunscreen for myself. Most of you know that I’m a little obsessed with this category of product and have been hunting for the right sunscreen of natural formulation. It was by coincidence that I came across the Marie-Veronique Organic sunscreens and since then, I’ve been hooked even though it’s pretty costly to get them shipped to Singapore.

More particular about skin care ingredients
I also realized that I’ve come to an age where I’m more concerned about what I put on my skin, and I try to go natural and organic wherever possible, even when it comes to my shampoo and my deodorant.  I also scrutinized the labels harder and go against the grain, especially on the topic of alcohol in skincare. I know a number of you disagree with me on that front but it’s okay, I like to know that we agree to disagree amicably. I sometimes have weird theories about skincare and that’s only because I like to go beyond the superficials. But no, I’m not always right of course because I’m no beauty expert; just a beauty obsessed blogger!

Join me in my beauty journey
Going forward, Viva Woman will remain focused on the topic of natural and organic skincare but I may sometimes bring you information of products or services outside that scope if I find them interesting and relevant enough. I also hope more of you will come forward to share your views on some of the topics I discuss here. Because a number of you have asked me questions or shared your experience, my beauty blogging journey has been enriched as I’ve learnt a lot more!

So for a start, would you tell me what were your gains or losses in terms of beauty this year and what are your beauty goals in 2010?


  1. Justina says:

    Gain : Outbreaks have decreased significantly. Acne marks and scars have improved but not to my satisfaction.

    Beauty goal : Get rid all my acne marks and scars.

    Suggestion: Perhaps you can hunt more on products which can lighten acne marks and improve skin texture. Thanks!

  2. sesame says:

    I share the same goal as you – to get rid of my acne and marks! Actually, my face has improved in terms of clarity and firmness but my problem is internal hormone imbalance.

  3. pf1123 says:

    The great lesson I have learnt is not to skim on the skin care essentials. In case I have to see a derm again which will cost a lot more to rectify skin problems.

    I have learnt to be more observant toward my skin condition and apply relevant products each day.

    Now my skin is clear and even toned. Hope to manage my skin better with overseas travel next year and also try to get rid of my first wrinkles under my eye! Eeeeks!

  4. sesame says:

    Glad you’re happy with the condition of your skin. Actually, now that I try to recall, I don’t think I had any major problems with my skin during the days I used to travel a lot for work. I think my problem was not taking care of them properly in my teens and early 20s.

    Btw, I saw Yes To Carrot range at Watsons Compass Point recently.

  5. pf1123 says:

    Mine is just breakouts and also dehydration from being in air con environment overseas all the time I guess.

    Normally would work later and eat later and more oily food as well. All those might contribute.

    Not too terrible. But still its better to prevent it.

    Its weird…I don’t see those products anywhere else. Hope they are not discontinued by Watsons.

  6. rachel says:

    hi sesame.. just want to say thanks for ur articles.. i hv stumbled upon ur website way back in Sept09 and have been a regular reader here ever since! ur articles hv been insightful and truthful, and i enjoy reading them.. like u, i am currently going to True Beauty salon on a regular basis (after reading your review on their facials)… hving a breakout now… according to Susan, it’s bcoz of my blockages in the facial skin.. sighh… hv missed you on several occasions when i went down for facials… i wd overheard snowy mentioning that u had come for facial in the next room.. haha ?

  7. Suz says:

    I am glad that by the end of 2009 I was able to come across your has truly informed me on many things I did not know about…so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for helping so many people, especially, myself, and other women out their!!!

    my gains would have to be:




    hahaha loss would be towards the end of the year, these three months:

    my soft acne free skin ?

    however, thanks to your tips and information on products…I will look after my skin more carefully…and on top…am using this time my acne medication…religiously!!! Until I get the results, without giving up on them too early…..:D….p.s…if you need a acne cream…look into TRETINION…I hear women use it for wrinkles too….:/…don’t know about that but…that’s if you are looking for a cream….

  8. Justina says:

    Me too. I have ovarian cyst due to hormonal imbalance which actually leads to these nasty outbreaks. Hate all these hormones.

  9. Amanda says:

    Within the last few months I’ve started to take an interest in skin care and have learned a lot! Your blog has been a great asset during my time of research and discovery!

    Gains for 2009
    -A lovely green cleanser that has greatly helped with my skin texture and probably my acne and acne scars.

    -I’ve learned a great deal about ingredients, and always read the labels now!

    Goals for 2010
    -Continue to treat my acne and the scars.

    -Look for more green products that agree with my skin and that work!

    -Continue my hunt for a great sunscreen, although my current one is pretty good, a potential HG product.

    Thanks for writing your blog, it has been great fun to read =)

  10. Stephanie says:

    Hi, I’ve recently subscribed to your blog and found some good, natural beauty tips! I am 23 years old and have acne breakouts, scars (because I pick/squeeze!) and hyper-pigmentation on my face because I didn’t use sunscreen. I went to a dermatologist this summer and he prescribed me 7% Hydroquinone w/ kojic acid. I can’t say it really helped.

    I’m going to order the Seabuckthorn oil and have already purchased the Grapeseed oil. And I’m wishlisting the Marie-Veronique Sunscreen. Thanks for your tips and beauty finds!

  11. s, says:

    My biggest gain is that I think finally got rid of the cystic acne i get on my chin!!

    Ever since I eliminated dairy from my diet 2 months ago my skin is becoming clearer and clearer. The cystic acne reduced, and I haven’t had one for around a month now.

    Another gain is that I found out that potato is excellent for dark undereye circles, it greatly reduced the darkness.

    My aim in 2010: Hopefully to remove my braces by the end of the year. And find a solution to my dark circles, especially the veins under my eyes. I may opt for a surgical procedure.

  12. sesame says:

    Hmm…not too sure. Or could it be the stocks are depleted at those outlets you saw?

  13. sesame says:

    Thanks for coming back regularly! ? Oh you go to Susan for facial too? I think Snowy mentioned you on Monday when I was there.

    Breakout due to internal problems are a big headache…sometimes it’s quite hard to know what triggers them. I hope yours will clear up soon and I’m hoping the same for mine.

  14. sesame says:

    I’m so glad some of the info here have helped out somewhat. Tretinioin is Retin-A if I’m not wrong and is chemical based, and can cause photosensitivity. Would not advice using this long term.

  15. sesame says:

    Hey, mind sharing what’s the sunscreen you’re currently using? ?

  16. prettybeautiful says:

    my woe….horrible breakup in the mid 2009, but i am glad that most of them are clear now ?

    as for 2010…i wish for healthier skin and fatter bank ? (not too much right…)

  17. sesame says:

    Ha…I like to pick and squeeze too despite dispensing advice not too. I find them a nuisance and sometimes, I find picking them get them healed quicker too.

    7% Hydroquinone is rather high. Most are 2 – 4%. Did your derm tell you you should not use this beyond a certain number of weeks? You might want to read my article here:

    Not advisable to use this product long term. It can thin your skin and cause more problems later.

  18. sesame says:

    That’s great! Diary does cause acne for some pple and it’s good you discovered in time.

    I’ve read about potatoes but haven’t tried. May experiment with it since you have some good review for it.

  19. sesame says:

    Of course those wishes are justified! Good ones too! ?

  20. dia says:

    2009 is a major skincare year for me ? This is the first year I started to use organic products on my skin. It all started with a friend recommending using rose hip oil! And voila, I did some research, ended up reading a lot of skin care blogs! Now, I’m such a fan of natural products for skin care (I have yet to progress to shampoos, bodycare) – maybe I’ll reserve that for 2010! ?

    Definitely for 2010, I would like to lessen the onset of wrinkles…I am at the brink were I am starting to see some small fine lines coming out and it scares me! ?

    Thanks Sesame for always enlightening us with Skin care tips!

  21. sesame says:

    So glad to know you’re also embarking on using organic products! May you find more products that’ll help you.

    For your fine lines, you may want to try using grapeseed oil and dab around it. I’ve tried it and I find it helped. Rosehip oil maybe too rich for the eye area.

  22. Amanda says:

    The sunscreen I’m using is Petite Marie Organics Sun Saver Lotion SPF15. It’s pretty good, hasn’t caused a breakout for me, and it doesn’t leave a white cast which so many physical sunscreens do. The texture and smell is great too!

    I would like a higher SPF though, so I’m still on the lookout for another sunscreen, but of those I have tried this year, this has been the best.

  23. debbie says:

    Gains: Severe Dry skin on face is ALOT better, found Coconut Oil (heaven!), rediscovered the benefits of drinking LOTS of water

    Woes: Still have severely dry skin on body, bad acne marks, acne in general

    For 2010: Lessen lines around eyes and mouth, I’m still young so I think this can be done by continuing drinking more water, applying coconut oil and getting more sleep (last is the HARDEST for me). I tried to use retinol and it only made it worse! Also, I want smooth, buttery skin all over and I want to get rid of my acne marks.

    I just found your site and I’m in love!!! I’m also very focused on using all natural products for skin/body care. I really love your blog, it feels like home ?

  24. sesame says:

    Oh okay, I’ve come across that but never got to try them. Maybe it’ll be on my wish list.

  25. sesame says:

    I heard coconut oil is great for skin but I’ve not used it before…keep thinking it’ll be very oily.

    For acne marks, I found using nutmeg with honey can help although it takes time. Using 100% unrefined shea butter too but not everyone reported good results with this.

  26. Suz says:

    sesame- yep it’s retin-a :D…what can I do…I need it for now…my derm put me on for 3 months…and Its only used at night and of course..cuz of you I use sunscreen…ALWAYS now …hopefully that will help!!!

  27. stiffedneck says:

    I have learnt a lot of things about skin care this year, thanks to you Sesame :-).

    I started having acne break out for the first time this summer (I’m thinking because I switched to a different birth control pill brand), so listening to you, I started using tea tree oil and other natural good stuffs. Thought I still have a couple of pimples constantly on my face, at least I know the stuffs I put on my skin are not harmful and full of chemicals. Which by the way, I want to ask if you know why I keep having pimples at the area under my eyes and around my nose? I usually have 2 pimples on each side hahaha. And I have no idea why.

    I also try to use organic sunblock everyday (currently using John Masters Organic), drinking more water, natural cleanser (Caudalie and Jurlique), and using toner which I never did before, also switching to organic shampoos and conditioner from John Masters Organic line as well.

    I hope that in 2010, I will win the battle against those stubborn pimples, fade away those ance marks, skin get even tone, and drink plenty more water. And thanks for sharing with us such valuable information.

  28. sesame says:

    Great to learn that you’ve moved on to using more natural and organic products. I think you’ll not look back!

    Pimples are something that will always be around. Some of us just have more to battle with. Not sure why you have pimples on those areas but you may want to take a look at something I wrote before:

  29. pf1123 says:

    Hi Sesame, I found yes to carrots stuff at Watsons in Bugis. Thanks!!

  30. sesame says:

    That’s good! I wanted to tell you I found them at Parkway too.

  31. sesame says:

    If you find that it is helping, you might use it for that 3 months (or shorter once your skin improves). If used at night, the photosensitivity is probably lessened but yes, it’s always good to use a sunscreen.

    If it doesn’t help after awhile, then no point persisting.

  32. Gwen says:

    Thanks for the informative and entertaining posts in the last year! Looking forward to seeing more from you!

  33. sesame says:

    You’re welcome! Come back often! ?

  34. Aloe Vera Beauty says:

    Thanks so much for this great blog! It’s lots of fun. I’ve been waiting to see a blog this good for quite some time! I see you’ve made allusion to natural products in this post – I love Dead Sea products personally.

  35. Nicki says:

    Those are magnificent beauty discoveries you have there! Your journey seems so fun and refreshing. Thanks for sharing it with us. I truly enjoyed reading your post!
    Nicki last post is: What Garcinia Cambogia Side Effects Should You Expect?

  36. Sesame says:

    You’re welcome!

  37. Jane says:

    I love Singapore. They have some fabulous spas there.
    I haven’t been able to get there for about 3 years now, but I might be making a trip this July.
    Jane last post is: Do Levela Reviews Say Anything New Or Interesting?

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