Have you ever read a book or listened to a speech and came away from it feeling it was so vacuous, you could sum it up in a line or two? Or, conversely, finished one with your notepad chockfull of hastily scribbled notes of talking points, because there were just so many takeaways? That’s Serena Adsit’s story for us.
series with WearOhWhere was meant to dive deep into our interviewees’ origins —
their original birthplaces and cultures and how they influence their present-day
selves despite being in Singapore and away from “home”.
When we approached Serena to be a part of this series, her story took a slightly different turn. Instead of focusing on the influence of her mixed parentage, she shared how her history as a model shaped her first views of what beauty was and “should be”, creating a toxic cycle where she silently imposed judgment and expectations on others’ bodies and on her own, in line with how much of the outside world similarly does to women’s (not just models’) bodies. We talked about how, in time, she chose to break her silence on her own flaws and “broke (the) spell of perfection”, and how that granted her relief and a profound sense of freedom.
Serena agreed to the interview, while requesting that we cover more ground beyond “what is beauty, success and happiness”… which forms, I guess, the cotton-candy, fluffier aspects of most interviews with successful entrepreneurs (Serena runs Mint Singapore, a commercial modelling agency that represents talents of all ages, shapes and sizes). We talked beauty and its impositions on society at large, and how her EveryBody movement seeks to change that.
Kind of felt
like a throwback to our tough interview with BBC just last
year, where we discussed whether beauty businesses were profiteering off
people’s insecurities and creating too much pressure on women to look a certain
Beyond beauty, we talked about resilience, outgrowing friendships and finding magic in life. And played with Nephra, her gorgeous, affectionate, friendly feline.
Detoxification is an integral part of our skincare philosophy — and for the skin’s recovery process, really. It’s one of the biggest processes that’s fundamental and necessary to help us regain clear, radiant skin, but also the most heavily misunderstood. While understandable, it’s also often a misconception… so let’s get straight to the lowdown.
WHAT IS DETOXIFICATION?
It’s a slightly misleading term, in the sense that your skin isn’t getting rid of toxins, but rather, clearing out the impurities. This includes the most superficial layer of the skin all the way down to the deepest ones. It means the restoration of the most important thing to skin health — pH levels.
For the uninitiated, detoxification happens in the form of spots and zits. So yes — sometimes, those nasties are good things! Even when they seem to keep. Coming. Back. When you make a deliberate move to detoxify, you’re essentially purging your skin of congestion and dirt — and where else can it go but up and out? This means it’s completely normal to have your skin break out, clear up, and then break out again. It’s called waves of healing.
WAVES OF HEALING
What’s that, you ask? I liken this healing process to decluttering — you don’t stop until it’s all gone. Similarly, when your skin is done cleaning out a pocket of toxins, it starts to clear up. Then, it goes deeper to find another pocket of dust to stake, thus causing another good kind of breakout. It can be tough to ride out these waves and many give up (who likes spots?), but bear with it! Once it’s gone, it’s likely your acne will be, too — if you have patience and the discipline in following a stringent skincare regime, and staying foundation-free.
We all have skin woes and goals, but did you know? To get anywhere
near your skin goal (be it brightening, anti-aging or a more even skin tone), your
skin needs to be as healthy, “normal” and pH-balanced as possible for it to
reap maximum benefits from any treatment or product.
WHAT IS PH BALANCE?
“pH” stands for “potential hydrogen” and it measures the acidity of substances. Beneath our skin layers lie our oil and sweat glands, and these contribute to our skin’s pH level – which is approximately 5.5, making it slightly acidic. When our skin is too alkaline, it becomes dry and sensitive, resulting in faster ageing, eczema, etc. When it’s too acidic, it causes inflammation and becomes more susceptible to bacterial infection — expect enlarged pores, blackheads, and acne… Therefore, the trick to healthy skin lies in ensuring that your skin’s pH is balanced at 5.5.
Before all else, we need to get your skin ready for the good stuff. This means clearing congestion, balancing the skin’s pH and moisture levels, and renewing the skin on a cellular level. This first stage — what we call the Intensive phase — is usually the most demanding, but also essential. Basically, your skin needs to undergo a reboot so it’s a blank canvas that’s ready for revival.
One of Porcelain’s core competencies is curating personalized, holistic skincare treatment plans for our clients. All new clients first experience a three-pronged skin analysis (including the Skin Discovery) which allows our therapists to design a bespoke regimen around their skins. After that, most new clients undergo said Intensive phase of treatment cycles before progressing to the Maintenance phase. Intensive phases are intended to rejig the skin back to normalcy as quickly as healthily possible… for this reason, severely congested skin, for example, has to undergo multiple cycles of hydrating, extractions and recovery facials to restore skin back to its clear, radiant, balanced self — detoxification. A clean slate.
WHY DOES DETOXIFICATION HAPPEN?
With some treatments (e.g. QuintessentialTM) and products (e.g. Balance – Sebum Control Essence), detoxification is a deliberate process we introduce to your skin to help with recovery. Again: Sometimes, it takes place in the form of a familiar, unwanted friend — zits. Your skin is simply trying to get rid of impurities, and it’s completely normal.
Here’s why / how detoxification can happen:
CONGESTION Oil, dead cells, hair follicles and makeup tend to collect in pores and cause congestion, resulting in breakouts and dull, dehydrated skin. Pollution is also another culprit, which is why proper skincare habits for urbanites are so important.
STRESS High levels of stress do show up on your face… that skin redness you’re experiencing? That’s increased sensitivity. Pimples? That’s due to increased sebum production and slower cell turnover.
LIFESTYLE HABITS Alcohol, smoking, too little sleep and too little water are surefire ways to introduce toxins to the body… and you know where these tend to show up!
TOO MUCH SUGAR Processed sugar causes inflammation in the body and is one of the biggest contributors of acne.
WHY DO WE NEED TO DETOX?
Simply because clean and clear skin is the only way for good stuff to ever penetrate. In fact, good stuff on clogged pores is only junk on junk — meaning it can trigger breakouts! In which case, it’s not so much the product that’s triggering a reaction, but your skin not being able to absorb the nutrients. If the product’s not going in, it’s staying on… meaning you’re just clogging it up more!
QUICK SIGNS THAT SAY YOU NEED A SKIN REBOOT
– Dull, sallow skin – Uneven skin tone – Oily skin – Wrinkles and sagging skin – Dry and / or sensitive skin
HOW DO WE DETOX?
FEEDING YOURSELF RIGHT
one of those that can survive on half a cup of water each day? Start living and
flushing your body with more than that (we
read somewhere you should be drinking half your weight in ounces), because it
aids in internal waste removal — so less toxins try to escape by popping up on
your skin! Add some lemon for extra detoxing power.
junk food? It might be hard to cut it out completely (and we won’t ask you to
try), but try laying off it for just one week. These include animal fats, dairy
products, white bread, fast food, and sugar. For just seven days, eat clean
with fresh berries and fruits. Feel the difference.
SWEAT IT OUT
Exercise gets your heart racing and your skin perspiring, which helps to cleanse impurities. That’s a handy excuse to take up a hot yoga session or if you prefer the an even more relaxed method, hit the nearest sauna!
treatments are one way to stimulate detoxification. For example, intensive
extractions sessions help to systematically and professionally rid
the skin of congestion (none of that DIY zit-popping!). With time, experience
smoother, brighter and more even skin that actually absorbs all the goodness
from award-winning products like ours (;
Another favourite facial treatment of ours is the ProionicTM facial. Aside from its winning anti-aging formula and benefits, it helps boost cellular ionic movement, exchange and equilibrium. Too Greek? The treatment basically helps to jiggle our cells and help our skin purge impurities easier, thus improving its overall health and metabolism.
brings us to the next point. Products! Supporting extractions and facial treatments
with a proper regime at home with efficacious skincare products helps heaps. Double
cleansing, exfoliating, toning and hydrating are key to keeping the skin clear
Double Cleanse. Doing this with a
pre-cleanser thoroughly removes environmental pollutants accumulated through the
day, making the same job easier for your cleanser. More importantly,
pre-cleansing softens your skin so that following products can be absorbed more
Exfoliate. This helps keep your skin clear and more even as it gets rid of flaky skin cells. Look for chemical exfoliants as they do a better job of dissolving dead skin cells without irritating or damaging the skin. The exfoliator should be applied to damp skin in a gentle, circular motion. Avoid scrubbing and opt for an exfoliator for sensitive skin if you’re experiencing distressed skin, as it only serves to aggravate and exacerbate any existing skin issues.
Tone. One of the most important parts of the daily skin care routine is toning. Face toners balance the skin after cleansing, calming and lowering its pH level. Toning also helps prep the skin for any serums that follow and removes excess oil your cleanser may have missed. Another perk? It shrinks the size of your pores!
Layer Hydration. Complete the detox regimen by keeping moisture levels balanced. Opt for hydrating serums and essences that contain ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, and Aloe Barbadensis leaf extracts to help lock in optimum hydration.
NOW WE’RE DONE DETOXING. HOW ABOUT SOME PROTECTION FEE FOR THE SKIN?
from clearing the skin of congestion, we should also be working on protecting it
from the likes of pollution and airborne bacteria (hands off your face, now!). Now,
wouldn’t that help in creating less work for our skin in the first place?
Our best friend for that is…. Antioxidants! Aside from aloe vera, our next favourite hero ingredients are those that come jam-packed with these. Super multitaskers that they are, antioxidants fight environmental aggressors, neutralize free radicals and heal the skin.
YOUR SKIN DETOX STARTS NOW.
Do you want to hop on the detoxification bandwagon and reboot your skin? Curious to find out what your skin is like, and how exactly to care for it? For a limited time only, enjoy a Skin Discovery analysis at $65 and receive a complimentary 3-piece customisable travel set (worth $102).*
What’s inside the Travel Set? 1x Cleanser, Toner, Gel, and Travel Pouch
* $65 is redeemable for credits to offset the cost of any ala carte treatment. Terms & conditions apply.
We love storytellers with good stories to tell, and chefs with good food to give. In May, we collaborated with a woman who generously shared both with us. Celebrity chef Angela May’s tale is the first of two It’s What’s Inside That Counts stories, which also falls under the Origins series (headlined by Kelly Latimer). While Kelly’s story focused on how her English roots inspire her present and future in Singapore, Angela’s prods us to take a closer look — within ourselves.
Hello, Sunshine by Angela May
been advocates of not just topical care for healthy and radiant skin, but also
being mindful of what we eat and drink so we’re nourishing our skin from within
as well. With the opening of Porcelain Origins and the quaint café that nests
within it, it was most opportune to work with Angela just in time for summer. Hello,
Sunshine is Angela’s take on a fruity summer smoothie — available for a
limited time only at Porcelain Origins at $12.90.
Angela’s recipe incorporates yummies like peach, lychee, aloe vera, and rosemary and bee pollen for garnish. Is it a coincidence that they’re some of our own favourites and are key ingredients in our products and treatments?
Something similarly bee-inspired is used in our Beespoke™ Honey Facial, a treatment that was specially created for Sofitel City Centre Singapore — bee propolis!
B E E
P R O P O L I S
Yes, again, rosemary has amazing antioxidants properties. More than that, it’s a great oil-balancer (just in time for summer) and cleans out impurities without drying the skin. Catch a whiff of it in our Soothe – Hydro Cleanser.
We do love bare skin and outward confidence as much as we love feeling good…
HERE COMES THE SUMMER’S SON HE BURNS MY SKIN I ACHE AGAIN I’M OVER YOU
T E X A S
We all love the sun (with sun protection, of course). Summer is pretty
much perpetual in hot, humid places like ours, though the recent rain spells
could use a reminder who’s boss around here. So summer, real summer, is
just around the corner with a warm invitation to its party. Sun, fun, beach,
books to read at the beach, water, shorts and sandals…
We all really love the sun, but we don’t much fancy its plus ones:
Excessive sun exposure, the sweltering humidity and too much heat — they’re our
definitions of party poopers that have fun at the expense of our skin. Think
pigmentation / sunburns, oil glands in overdrive and parched, parched skin.
Many of us know by now that sun protection is key — that’s the prevention bit. But did you know that other factors
like hydration play an equally important role in fortifying the skin during and
post-summer? That’s prevention and cure.
Read on for more essentials for dewy, glowing summer skin!
SUMMER SKIN TIP 1: LAYER
DOWN — LESS MIGHT BE MORE.
SUMMER IS THE TIME TO EASE UP ON THE NUMBER OF LAYERS YOU PUT ON YOUR SKIN AND LIMIT THE NUMBER OF PRODUCTS YOU USE.
D R . S H E R R Y I N G R A H A M
Sweater weather skincare isn’t for humid summers. Consider layering less products on the face, swapping makeup for skin that’s bare except for sunscreen, and opting for dual-purpose products (e.g. a tinted sunscreen)!
SUMMER SKIN TIP 2: MASK
ON — BALANCE THE OILY.
Given our heat and humidity, you probably didn’t think that
dehydration might be an issue in summer. The strange thing is, summer can lead
to parched skin, which in turn leads to oilier visages, and if you coat it with
thick, oily moisturisers, you’re on the fast track to congestion, especially
once these meet perspiration. What you need is lightweight, water-based hydrators
to balance your pH back out, like a good old-fashioned mask.
Our favourite, super-hydrating, pH-balancing, oil-free mask. Treat your skin to its cocktail of ingredients: Cactus Extracts to calm, hydrate, balance sebum levels, Litchi Seed Extracts and Vitamin A-rich Fig Fruit Extract to plump and that come rich in antioxidants to fight free radicals in summer.
Tip: Keep in fridge for an extra cooling treat for distressed skin.
SUMMER SKIN TIP 3: WATER
IN — DROWN THE PARCHED.
On almost all days
of the year, we perspire while on this sunny island. When it boils down to the
actual summer months, though, the extra sweat makes it even easier for
pollutants to stick onto our skin. Clog our pores. Have a party. Essentially, the
heat is giving us congestion while drying us out.
What we need is to stick
to our cleansing regime even more religiously with water-based products. We
love lightweight products that lift impurities and hydrate, while revitalizing
us from the heat. As always, we recommend double cleansing to thoroughly rid
the extra layers of oil, SPF, and dirt.
A sulphate- and paraben-free hydrating cleanser: Immerse your skin in a sea of calm. Made up of 80% pure Aloe Vera, 8 natural ingredients and free from sulfates and parabens, this gentle cleanser hydrates even sensitive skin while freeing it from impurities, ensuring a clear and glowing complexion.
Tip: You might feel the urge to, but don’t over-cleanse or you’ll trigger more oil production once your skin gets tricked into thinking it’s too dehydrated / dry! Limit your washes to the AM / PM and use the right cleanser for your skin type.
SUMMER SKIN TIP 4: UP THE ANTIOXIDANTS.
sunscreen, it’s important to feed your skin with a heady brew of antioxidants,
both topically and food-wise. Sunscreen and antioxidant-rich skincare products
help act as a bodyguard for your skin externally, but UV rays sometimes
inevitably still penetrates our skin. Eating foods that are rich in
antioxidants, then, helps protect us within.
A lightweight lotion packed with antioxidants. With its concoction of natural Jojoba Seed and Rose oils, Vitamins E and B5, Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid, it combats free radicals in our environment and stimulates regeneration in our skin. Damascena Rose extracts also help deeply hydrate the skin and improve its natural resilience.
Tip: Keep this lightweight mist in the bag for all-day revitalization. Spritz to instantly refresh and hydrate for a glowing, radiant complexion. At night, soak cotton pads with this lotion as a quick-fix mask for dehydrated, tired skin.
SUMMER SKIN TIP 5: TLC FOR YOUR EYES, TOO.
area around our eyes are often neglected but they are delicate and even more vulnerable
to dehydration and the resulting fine lines. Remember to shower it with love, moisture
and gentle yet powerful ingredients that help smoothen and destress.
Reduces fine lines, puffiness, dark circles and signs of aging in 20 minutes. Harnessing the ancient benefits of silk, this mask contains 10 active ingredients to counteract the effects of stress around the eyes. The combination of Collagen, Algae Extract and Antarcticine de-puffs the eyes by reducing excess fluids, and promotes circulation to reduce the appearance of eye bags.
Tip: Keep in fridge for an extra cooling treat for distressed skin.
SUMMER SKIN TIP 6: HELLO, ALOE.
Aloe vera is such a simple, unpretentious ingredient with amazing
benefits — and it’s
good for so much more
than sunburns and soothing inflamed skin! It also helps heal, protect, reduce
the appearance of blemishes… it’s also a wonderful water bomb for your skin,
which is why it’s a key ingredient in many of our skincare products.
Foresee yourself overdoing it this summer? Prep and step up your
repair game with our #1 fix.
Distressed skin requires a special touch. This weightless curative gel, suitable for any epidermal ills ranging from pimples to open wounds, not only repairs skin but increases its resilience over time. The feathery texture and anti-inflammatory properties also work to keep the skin cool and soothed.
Tip: There are many kinds of aloe vera plants, but there is one that is most
beneficial for us. Look for products that contain Aloe Barbadensis, i.e. “true
aloe”. The gel from this plant contains chock-full of nutrients for humans that
help with cellular regeneration, hydration and anti-inflammation. Plus, look
for products where the Aloe Barbadensis is the first ingredient on the list, or
you’re simply buying a watered down, ineffective version.
SUMMER SKIN TIP 7: AMP IT
UP WITH THE ULTIMATE RESTORATIVE TREAT
Props to you if you’ve noticed that our summer skincare revolves
around protection, hydration, calming and recovery. Aside from homecare, in-spa
treatments can really help to repair overindulgence in the sun. Seek treatments
that incorporate the same steps, with hydration being the most important factor
as it plays a part in soothing and healing the skin as well.
Soothe sun-damaged skin instantly with a combination of Oxygen- and Cryo-therapies to calm, stimulate repair, shorten recovery time and reduce skin sensitivity. Our tinted moisturizer with sunscreen is applied after to retain the facial’s effectiveness.
Tip: The Sun Rescue facial isn’t just for skin that might’ve suffered with all
the sun and fun! It’s perfect for people with sensitive, dehydrated skin and is
our clients’ go-to when they need a quick, calming moisture boost.
Enjoy our favourite skin treats for summer (and all-year long) for a limited time in-store and online! Props not included (;
“IT’S NOT THE TEMPERATURE THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE BUT THE HUMIDITY… IF THE AIR IS DRY AND HUMIDITY IS LOW, THEN REGARDLESS OF WHETHER IT’S HOT OR COLD, YOU CAN ESSENTIALLY USE THE SAME PRODUCTS. BUT WHEN THE HUMIDITY IS HIGH, YOU NEED LIGHTWEIGHT TEXTURES.”
Iman Fandi is the face that tops off our #BareWithMe stories with WearOhWhere.
“Better an “oops” than a “what if”.”
– Iman Fandi, Model
For those who don’t know, #BareWithMe is a campaign we kicked off with Lucinda Law (Founder of WithinArtNature) and WOW back in 2017 — a spinoff from #FoundationFreeConfidence. Porcelain has always told the story of good skin from within and preached the benefits that going foundation-free would do for it. Natural beauty on the outside. How about on the inside? We thought, there lies so many parallels between physical and inner beauty, skincare journeys and personal ones. How do we inspire confidence not just on a surface level, but from within?
We reached out to old friend Karman,
the maker of WearOhWhere, storyteller of people’s — well, stories. There was no one better to help us capture the essence of people — inspirational women, to be exact. And to capture their experiences, triumphs, flaws, journeys and definitions of beauty. It was no longer just about physical beauty; we wanted to go beyond skin-deep. And when said influential women bared to us how they were (are) equally fallible human beings, we all hoped to spur others to similarly bare their own stories. Owning them. Finding strength in them. (Re)gaining confidence both outside and within.
Just like that, Bare with Me was born.
It’s now 2019. Bare With Me came further and lasted longer than we expected, together with Viola Tan, Co-Founder of Love, Bonito and Olivia Eleazar, photographer, stylist and self-proclaimed unicorn. We began planning a capstone story to top off the series and to kickstart the year. This story would take the form of a video, showcasing a woman stripping off her makeup after a day with the world. Symbolism of emancipation.
In all honesty, when we first started talking about this, I had in my mind a 40-something-year-old woman who had reached enlightenment, or something close to it. Someone who had seen much in life. Probably glamorous and strong on the outside, fun and strong on the inside (yes, “glamorous” and “fun” are antonyms in my head). The video would take on a darker, more somber look and feel. Adult.
What we ended up producing was this:
I got it completely wrong and the production team got it completely right. Well, I got one part right — Iman is a girl who’s glamorous and strong on the outside (as a model), and fun and strong on the inside (as herself).
“To anyone out there who doesn’t feel beautiful, I want to tell you that it’s OK not to be OK, and we all go through phases where we just shut down, but in the end, everything will be all right — it just takes time. It took time for me to understand what I like about myself, and how I can improve myself. With body image, I go to the gym and eat healthy, so that’s how I try and basically take care of me. You just have to figure out what is your way.”
– Iman Fandi, Model
We wanted to portray a typical day in her life as a model by day, Iman by night. The idea was to showcase a woman who displays to the world her game face and who then slowly relinquishes that persona to become… her. And as we went from shooting scenes to interview time, Iman literally morphed from professional model to bare-faced girl with candour and ease. And as we uncovered her story, we found someone who was precocious, wise beyond her years and brimming with positivity for the future.