WHAT: Japanese brand Fancl's claims its five-step range offers a comprehensive attack on dark spots and dullness. Each product has old favourites such as brightening vitamin C as well as newbies like anti-inflammatory calendula extract, malvidin, which supposedly repairs DNA, and VC ethyl, said to increase the penetration of other ingredients.
The regime is created around Fancl's Mutenka principles, so everything's additive- and preservative-free, and most products should be used within 60 days of opening.
In addition to skincare staples such as Lotion ($36 for 30ml), Essence ($65 for 18ml), Mask ($65 for six sheets), and Emulsion or Cream ($36 for 30ml), Mutenka Whitening also includes Inner Care supplements ($46.50 for a 30-day supply, not tested).
The Fancl Mutenka Whitening Skincare range is available at all Fancl counters and stores. For the complete list of where to buy Fancl in Singapore, go to www.fancl.jp/shopinfo.
REVIEW: In 2010, research from Procter & Gamble suggested skin radiance is the most important factor in determining how young and attractive we appear to others, outstripping everything from absence of wrinkles to symmetry.
I've spent the intervening three years chasing that glow, and trying everything from the obvious (whitening skincare and high SPF sunscreen) to the obscure (lasers and cleansing brushes) to achieve it. So I reckon I'm well qualified to assess this latest regime from Fancl.
What I'm unqualified for is actually getting into the packaging, which foxed me for a good 15 minutes. It turns out you need to remove the little silver 'collars' from the lotion, emulsion and cream, then replace the caps on the bottles to pierce the seal.
A good way of keeping the goodies fresh, no doubt, but cor blimey it caused some stress in my bathroom as I took teeth, nail scissors and (almost) the bread knife to the packaging before I cleverly read the instructions on the insert.
Once I was in, I splashed on the easily absorbed, watery Lotion (choose between I, for oily skin, and II, for normal/dry) and followed it with Essence, which comes in a pump bottle that even I could open in seconds.
Next came my favourite: the sheet mask. It was well-soaked (the marketing spiel says there's the equivalent of one bottle of Essence in every sheet), but not dripping, and adhered so well to my face that even a few star-jumps didn't shift it. You can use it up to three times a week.
Finally, there's a choice of three textures of moisturiser: Emulsion I (for oily skin) Emulsion II (for normal) and Cream (for dry). All absorb quickly, and the Cream kept my skin impressively soft and supple, even though I'm in a cold and dry climate right now.
Elusive-glow-wise, I wasn't expecting too much too soon, but there was a definite improvement after just one use of the mask - my complexion lost its tinge of wintry grey. Unlike old-school whitening regimes, this range doesn't leave skin dry and parched-looking. And there are some really smart touches, such as stickers (find them on the packaging inserts) that you can put on the bottles and write the date on to ensure you use up the products within the 60-day period.
Get more stories from herworldPLUS.