singapore style – products, part i

I was Skyping with a friend back in the States the other night and she asked about the little things that have changed for me since the move to Singapore.  There are lots of things – big and little – that have changed, but one of the things that came to mind at that moment was the amount of sunscreen I slather on myself on a daily basis.

I am extremely fair skinned and burn easily.  Before departing the States I made an appointment with a dermatologist back in Seattle to have all of my freckles and spots checked.  I’ve always been careful about sun exposure, but it seems that ever few years I managed to get caught in an unexpected outdoor situation without sunblock or the sunblock someone has handed me turned out to be expired and I ended up with a terrible burn.  It has not happened for a while now, but still before moving to a part of the world where the UV index is far higher than anywhere else I’ve lived, I wanted to have everything looked over to make sure that I was fine.  Or, if things weren’t fine, I wanted to know ASAP so that if there were any questionable spots, I could take extra precautions.

Thankfully all of my spots were fine, so I purchased a few sunblocks to use over here to see what would work the best.  I know what works well for me in the States, but the conditions here are totally different.  What might work well in one situation may not work well in others. This seems to be true not only for sunblocks but for all products.  So here is a run down of some of the products that I am currently using in Singapore.  I promise I will post more in the coming weeks.

Dr. Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar as Toner


I’ve never really been a toner person before, but since moving to the sweatiest most gross place on earth I wanted to try out something that would help in killing off bacteria to prevent breakouts.  I read about using Dr. Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider as a toner on someone’s blog ages ago and figured that this would be a great product to try in Singapore where all products in Sephora cost 400% more than they do in the U.S.

Do not,  I repeat DO NOT apply Dr. Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider to your face straight out of the bottle.  Either go for a mixture of 50% distilled water and 50% Dr. Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider or 70% distilled water and 30% Dr. Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider.  This stuff might be organic and all natural but it is powerful.  Initially, yes, you might smell like a salad, but once it dries the smell disappears and it leaves your skin looking radiant – and I am not one to toss about the word radiant.  On many of the beauty sites people also talk about great results from drinking the Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.  I have not tried that yet, and I am not sure that I will, but I figured I would put it out there as well.

Josie Maran Argan Oil Daily Moisturizer and SPF 40

Facial Moisturizer and SPF 

After I let the toner dry a bit, but not completely, I apply Josie Maran’s Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 40.  A little bit – two pumps – goes a long way.  I’ve used this moisturizer for a while now and in Singapore it does great pulling double duty for me as a moisturizer and daily facial sunblock.  In Seattle this was not all that great on its own.  I learned to apply a moisturizer like CeraVe first and then layer this over for its UV protecting powers.  This facial moisturizer and SPF does not leave my face feeling or looking greasy at all.  There is no stickiness either.  Also, I love that this product is made with organic and natural ingredients. 

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream


In case you can’t tell, I am on a bit of an all natural, organic kick.  Actually, I’ve been all about the natural, organic, cruelty-free products all of my adult life, but as of late I have been kicking it up a notch as I get more and more concerned about the things I put on and in my body and the long term effects of those things.  Still, there are just some all natural products that have never quite made the grade.  Deodorant fell into that category for a long, long time until I learned about Soapwalla Deodorant Cream.   And OMG, it works!!!

I discovered Soapwalla in April and quickly ordered two containers from Rachel the Soapwalla Chef.  I was really impressed with the product – I like the way it smells and feels.  I will admit that I was worried about transitioning from an antiperspirant  to a deodorant – Kiehl’s Superbly Efficient Anti-Perspirant and Deodorant Cream had been my go to for years –  but Rachel’s stuff is amazing.

So, I was totally convinced of Soapwalla’s awesomeness back in the States, but I was truly worried about how it would stand up to life in Singapore.  Each day here is above 90*F with 90%-100% humidity.  I knew that such conditions were going to be the real test of the Soapwalla Deodorant Cream.  And yes, I did bring Kiehl’s as back up, but even on the most hot, humid, sunny and gross day here, the Soapwalla Deodorant has held up to the conditions.  I am very impressed.  Now I am going to have to figure out how to get more of it here for myself and for others to try. And at some point I would love to try her other products.

Physical Sunblock

Chemical Sunblock


I have always been someone who has taken great care in moisturizing my skin.  Here, my morning routine no longer consists of gently rubbing moisturizer into my arms, legs, and torso.  I have replaced my body lotion with sunblock.  I see no reason to hop out of the shower and gently massage moisturizer into my body when I am just going to have to put on sunblock at some point before I leave the house.  Post-shower I am already naked, so I don’t have to worry about accidentally smearing sunblock on my clothes.  Also, like moisturizing, your skin does a better job of absorbing the sunblock if you apply it while you are slightly damp.  I find this to be really important if you are using a physical sunblock.

The Banana Boat Ultra Protect was one of those international airport duty-free purchases because I was in need of sunblock after I killed an entire bottle in a week in Thailand and we still had another week of sunny adventures in Cambodia back in January.  This sunblock has been excellent.  It goes on nicely and it is not at all greasy.  It also comes highly recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.  The down side to it is that it is a chemical sunblock and it does not have a good score on EWG.  Would I purchase it again if I happened to be in a tight spot?  Yes.  It is a great sunblock.  If I can avoid it and go as chemical free as possible with the same sun-blocking protection, then yes, I will continue to do my best to go with a physical sunblock.

The Goddess Garden Kids Natural Sunscreen is pretty good as physical sunscreens go.  If you put it on just after a shower it absorbs well and does not leave you sticky or ghostly white.  Well, that may just be me as I am pretty ghostly to begin with.  It does a good job of keeping me from getting burnt, but it does require more reapplications than the Ultra Protect.  I did get a bit pink one day last week while walking around.  I was out more than I thought I would be and it had been a few more hours than I would have liked since I last applied the sunblock.  I am not totally in love with this physical sunblock as I think I can find something that works even better than this one, but as sunblocks go its EWG score indicates that it is far better for me than many others, so that is a HUGE plus in my book.  Finding and using a good physical sun screen rather than a chemical one has become even more important to me since the move as I am now coating more than 50% of my body in sunscreen daily if not multiple times each day.

Next week on Singapore Style – hair and make-up products.


About OneGoneTwo

bioethicist, cultural studies, literature, and visual cultural scholar, writer, and lover of design
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