Mother’s Day: Our top picks

1. Luxury hand creams by Soap & Paper Factory; $29sgd

g2You might at first balk at the fact that we have put hand creams on this list, as they sound so boring. But not these ones by Soap & Paper factory – which your mum would cherish thanks to their nostalgic old-world packaging and uplifting scents (we haven’t managed to find another hand cream that matches the high quality of these ones!).

Our top pick from the hand creams is “Bella’ with bergamot, grapefruit & black pepper, because it was named after the founder’s daughter who was obsessed with drinking Earl Grey (this smells just like a comforting  cup of tea!). This scent is the most popular amongst our mum customers, but the “Close”, “Green tea” and “Neroli” scent are also popular choices. You can’t go wrong with any of these – we haven’t met anyone to date that doesn’t like these scents!

h1 Above: From left to right: Neroli, Close, Jasmine & Bella by Soap & Paper factory

Want to see our entire collection? Look how amazing all these hand creams look together below!    h3Above: From left to right: Midnight, Tuberose, Neroli, Close, Lavender, Jasmine, Bella, Green Tea, Marine & Verbena by Soap & Paper factory

2. Fun organic lip balms by Soap & Paper factory; $11sgd_DSC2380

What mum doesn’t need a limoncello lip balm in her purse?! These taste divine and come with a handy mirror as well. And for organic great quality ingredients they are affordable at $11sgd each, these will keep mum happy for a while! Check out how pretty the blood orange one looks below! holdujp

3. Extra virgin organic olive oil soap with lavender by Bottega Organica; $20sgd

Now we know what you are thinking: from hand creams, to lip balms to SOAPS?!!! But let us tell you – soaps are the NEXT BIG THING. It’s so much classier than using liquid soap that can look so ugly in the bathroom. You can use these soaps in the bathroom, in the shower instead of body wash – and these ones by Bottega Organica are SUPER LUXURIOUS! They have their own in-house organic farm in Italy, and you can be assured these soaps use the finest ingredients around that not only smell incredible but are also great for your skin. Our favourite pick is the lavender soap (pictured below) thanks to it’s subtle scent that reminds you of walking through lavender fields (not like those cheap imitation products that create a “soapy” smell). _DSC2395b

 4. Foot spa series by Carnation; $14sgd

This foot scrub & cream allows for mum to either pamper herself at home DIY style, or she could take it along to the salon and request they use these instead for an extra luxurious experience! The scrub uses walnut shell to create baby smooth feet and the foot cream with peppermint oil is cooling and perfect for swollen feet in the Singapore heat!_DSC2399bn

5. A big kiss and cuddle and tell your Mum how special she is to you

We don’t sell number 5 on our store, but we think mum’s are SO awesome, and want to give a big shout out to them for all the hard work they do! THE most important job in the world, so thanks for everything, Mum!

 

 

 

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SINGAPORE HAZE: The best tips from the web

For those living in Singapore, the infamous haze has returned. We know that this is a time when things go into *MELTDOWN MODE* with everyone scrambling around for N95 masks and air filters, but at Survive Asia we are ALWAYS looking for tips to beat air pollution (hello Hong Kong, Bangkok, Beijing, KL and the like!). So we thought it might be useful to collate all the amazing ideas we have encountered to help you beat the haze and air pollution in general.

1. TIP ONE (THE OBVIOUS ONE): WEAR N95 MASKS (AND WEAR THEM THE RIGHT WAY)

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Here is our founder Carmen wearing the N95 mask.

This is super obvious to anyone who has experienced the haze before (and anyone paying attention to any media source), however there are still people that walk around with surgical masks thinking that will help.

N95 masks will filter out 95% of super fine particles of 0.1-0.3 microns size, and 99.5% of particles of 0.75 micron size.

Surgical masks can keep out droplets from coughing and sneezing, and just to put that into perspective, those droplets typically are 100 microns across, which is the width of a human hair.

So N95 masks are SUPER EFFECTIVE – just make sure you wear them correctly (otherwise they reduce in effectiveness) and CHANGE THEM when they appear soiled or misshapen.

2. TIP TWO (ANOTHER OBVIOUS ONE): STAY INDOORS, CLOSE DOORS & WINDOWS, AND PUT THE AIR PURIFER ON FULL BLAST
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90% of all fine particles are below 0.3 microns, and the finest fragments are the most damaging to health, so what is important is the air purifier’s efficiency at retaining sub-micron particles in the .5 micron and below range.

One reputable and unbiased consumer group is the Consumer Search Group. You can check out their reviews of air purifiers.

Highly rated air purifiers from across the web typically follow the list below (which unsurprisingly also seems sorted from most expensive to cheaper models):

  • IQAir
  • BlueAir
  • AlenAir
  • Austin Air
  • Honeywell

Do not buy ozone-creating purifiers that ionize the air. This is a complete nightmare for Asthma sufferers (it can worsen their symptoms), and there is now data out there that suggests that ozone itself is in indoor hazard.

TIP THREE: BUY YOURSELF SOME NATURAL AIR PURIFYING INDOOR PLANTS

This may seem like a hassle, but you guys, NASA did a study on the best air filtering plants for their SPACE STATION, which not only produce oxygen from CO2, but also absorb benzene, formaldehyde and/or trichloroethylene.

filter plants

 

TIP FOUR: EAT, DRINK AND FIND WAYS THAT NATURALLY HELP YOU BREATHE EASIER AND RELIEVE YOUR SORE/SCRATCHY THROAT

EAT: Hot soups will help to soothe dry, scratchy throats. Eating a balanced diet will help boost your immune system.

DRINK: Honey & Lemon Tea (be generous with the honey); minimum 2 litres water per day

OTHER WAYS:
– Use a humidifier to soothe sore throats,
or take a hot steamy shower. Steam inhalation from a shower or sink filled with hot water can help reduce swelling and ease the pain of a sore throat.  Survive Asia highly recommends the Badger breathe easy aromatic chest balm, which can be used in your steam inhalation for further relief.

– Breathe easy oils include Eucalyptus (such a great oil for Australians as it also provides nostalgic benefits!), Rosemary, Thyme, Bay Laurel Leaf, Mint, Lemon and Tea Tree oil. We love the uplifting all natural bath oil by Ambre Botanicals containing Rosemary, Thyme and Mint and can be used in steam inhalation also. 

– Look after your skin. Your skin absorbs toxins too (which is super gross) so make sure you cleanse your face well and wash your hands. We highly recommend the super refreshing and zingy face exfoliating foaming cleanser by Suki – it’s lemon-y fresh and is very effective at cleansing your face. 

TIP FIVE: CHECK OUT THESE AWESOME POSTS FOR SURVIVING THE HAZE

Haze Plays: Your Ultimate playlist to survive the haze! by Rachel Ho
Because we are huge music fans, and there is nothing like a little musical irony to lift you out of your depressed mood.

7 PLACES TO ESCAPE THE HAZE IN SINGAPORE by Asiarooms.com
These are places to escape WITHIN Singapore which is great for those who just can’t jump on a flight. Our fave tip: head to the Flower dome at Gardens by the Bay to enjoy natural air filtering – genius!

Low cost, Last minute trip ideas to escape the Singapore haze by Expat Living SG
This was a post from last year’s haze, but it’s still great for inspiration on where to go to escape!

And there you have it! Stay safe everyone.

Survive Asia

Video: Watch what happens to your face when you wear sunscreen

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 11.11.00 PMThis video has gone viral and rightly so – it is indeed shocking to see what happens to your face when you turn an ultraviolet light on! Even more amazing is how effective sunscreen is at blocking out these rays.

And if you are convinced after watching that video that you need to buy sunscreen pronto, we have got you covered. You can check out our sun care solutions here.

Here is the video from youtube:

 

 

Our top tips for maintaining your hair AFTER the keratin/ brazilian blowout

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If you have just spent hundreds of dollars (and hours) at the salon getting a keratin treatment or brazilian blow dry, you’ll hopefully be looking like a million dollars. We all know how hard it is to combat frizzy hair in the humidity, but now the million dollar question is… now what? How do you care for your hair after the hairdresser has worked their miracle magic on you, to ensure the results last as long as possible?

Here’s our top tips for what you should be looking for in your haircare post treatment.

1. Your post-treatment shampoo & conditioner should be
a. Free of sulfates: these sudsing agents can strip hair and leave it dry and hence reversing any goodness that may have been done at the salon
b. Free from sodium (sodium lauryl sulfate aka SLS/sodium chloride): this is a thickener that dissolves keratin – so make sure you stay away from this!
c. As moisturising as possible. There are still haircare products that are sulfate and sodium free but are rather drying. You want to find haircare that has as much moisturising properties as possible to keep your locks looking healthy!

If your shampoo/conditioner contains either of the above ingredients, you should seriously consider switching them for products that do not contain them. The good news is that these ingredients are rubbish for your hair & scalp health anyway.

2. Try not to wash your hair too often: we realise this is a HUGE ask when you live in a crazy humid environment. The less you wash your hair, the longer this treatment will last.

3. We also recommend shampooing with cooler water then usual: we know that sounds painful but this works to ensure your hair remains soft and smooth!

And there you have it. Nice and quick – get out there and enjoy your gorgeous new hair!

We highly recommend the Intelligent Nutrients haircare range which is free of sulfates, sodium and incredibly moisturising. The travel sizes start from $12SGD and are a great way to trial the product first to see how it goes. You can check out the product range here.

intelligent nutrients

An introduction to new brand Bottega Organica

You may not have heard of this brand before. That’s because it has only recently launched in a leafy street in Soho New York, but here at Survive Asia we are always looking for amazing new products, and we know this brand is going to be huge!window

Bottega Organica have combined proven scientific research (they have a world renowned scientist at the helm) with 100% natural organic ingredients, organically cultivated at THEIR OWN FARM in Italy! We’re talking several hectares of land growing organic herbs and fruits – all without pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

Tour their “Truly Organic” farm in Italy

All of the Bottega Organica products are manufactured in Italy. Here is the entrance to the Bottega Organica farm located in Liguria, Italy. Liguria is in the north west, bordering with France. The region features impressive mountains and lovely rolling hills, and includes the UNESCO world famous site Cinque Terre. entrance

This is where the organic herbs and fruits with anti-aging properties grow, in the midst of the bio-diversified Mediterranean flora.

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Some of the impressive mountains featured below! mountains

olive trees

The man responsible for cultivating the Bottega Organica land, Giacomo Manfredi Firmian, produces the purest olive oil exclusively for the brand, and always uses the latest harvest of handpicked Ligurian olives. olives

The olives on this farm are used to create their products such as the below. No animal testing is conducted, and the outer packaging is recyclable and made from 100% recycled paper with vegetable printing!

tag designAll essential oils are vapor distilled and active principles from plants are extracted through “green” methodology, with the application of vegetable organic glycerin, spring water and olive oil. salvia haenkei

We know so many products in the beauty and skincare industry promote themselves as “anti-aging” products, however Bottega really does have world class brains behind their product research. They don’t have any fancy marketing billboards placed up all around large cities, or take full page advertisements in magazines, but they have spent their time working out how to deliver quality products that combine breakthrough science with organic skincare.

The biggest difference between Bottega Organica and your typical skincare brand:store 

Many skincare companies claim to offer “natural” products, when the reality is that the milky base of creams and lotions contain plastic, or at best, an emulsion with synthetic preservatives. Before we start talking in words that would confuse a high school science class, Bottega Organica’s products rely on the simplicity and safety of pure olive oil and spring water.

You will notice the difference immediately with their products – using real natural products with no synthetic fragrances, dyes, preservatives or petroleum derivatives.

You can find an extensive range of the Bottega Organica skincare products here.

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How to survive JET LAG

We have all been there done that – caught the horrendous JET LAG bug – and if any of the below situations sound familiar, then we need to talk:

  • Struggling to keep your eyes open whilst standing in your local starbucks/ pacific coffee/ *insert international coffee chain name here* queue to buy that double shot caramel macchiato (because if you don’t get high enough from the caffeine, the sugar fix will keep you buzzing). When the person behind the cashier asks for the size of your coffee, you stare at them blankly for 2 minutes until you realise you were sleep talking/walking/living and putting all those (many) hollywood zombie actors to shame.
  • That incredibly dull meeting at work that doesn’t seem to be useful in any way unless its sole purpose is to torture your inability to stay awake. You start questioning all the wrongdoings in your life.
  • When everyone else in the same timezone has decided that the time has come to be in a deep slumber (humans, most animals that you are not afraid of etc), your brain is ON FIRE are after questioning the evolution of mankind (are we REALLY evolving?) you then realised that there are SO many TV show marathons that you need to catch up on (Breaking Bad, Homeland, Downton Abbey – take your pick). You manage to stay awake the entire night.

We could go on, but you get the gist. JET LAG SUCKS. So here are our top tips to fighting this horrendous first world problem:

1. Avoid alcohol or caffeine at least 3-4 hours before bedtime. Sounds obvious, but let’s face it, a lot of us don’t avoid these two things at the best of times (it’s ok, we’re not judging) but both act as “stimulants” and prevent sleep.

2. Spend lots of time in the natural sunlight after you land and drink MORE WATER THAN YOU HAVE EVER DONE BEFORE. We read about this – the low humidity in the cabin along with the increased breathing thanks to the higher altitude means you are in SUPER dry conditions when flying – so drink up (water, not sugary liquids!). Oh and your body naturally responds to daylight and the sun, so when it is daytime make sure you get outside to ensure your body KNOWS it is the day and needs to wake up already!

3. Set your watch to local time before you take off. This was a super obvious point to us, but we realised we never really do this before flying. That’s because we generally get super excited after take off – we’re browsing through the in-flight entertainment guide to find out what movies we need to catch up on. NOT ANYMORE. It’s just not worth the pain for the next few days after arrival. So set your watch, and ensure you actually sleep during the right time on the flight (i.e. night time!), and then pack in all those in-flight movies during times when it is “daytime” at arrival.

4. Exercise in the late afternoon. This will ward off those “very sleepy” moments when to combat the jet lag monster you usually reach out for your fifth coffee on the day. Forget it (remember point 1) – jump into your lycra and get yourself down to the gym (or for a run outside, whatever works!). Work out like you are competing in the current Commonwealth Games and push yourself beyond what you thought was capable. We promise you will not only feel re-energised afterwards, but you will (hopefully) sleep like a baby that evening after expelling so much energy!

5. Deal with your dry skin, pronto! 

Ok we know we mentioned this in point 2 that you have dealt with super dry conditions whilst flying and hence need to drink lots of water. That’s a definite. But on top of this, your skin can feel so dry, so our survival tip is…. moisturise, mositurise, moisturise! Your skin will love you, and you’ll notice how the cream/oil absorbs super quickly. If your face feels super dry we recommend a serum – the oils will not only instantly brighten up your skin but it will instantly provide intense moisturising properties that will revive dull, tired looking skin.

This face serum below is by Ambre Botanicals and is SUPER concentrated (this doesn’t contain ANY water, just jam packed with rapidly absorbing oils to moisturise your face!). At only $55 SGD, this is one of the cheapest serums for the amazing quality of ingredients inside!

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 2.37.44 PMIf your body is feeling seriously dry, then grab an intensely moisturising body butter, or for those that are even more time poor, go for a body moisturiser that is oil based – it’s even quicker to apply! The body butter (at $45 SGD) and body oil moisturiser (also $45 SGD) by Ambre Botanicals are both up to 5 times more concentrated then some mass produced “organic” creams and lotions!

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Wake up FAST with a refreshing face mist! These mists help cool you down and provide moisturising properties (especially in dry environments such as offices with air-con or plane cabins), and provide instant refreshment when sweating outdoors!

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Left: Red flower face mists Japanese Springs, Moroccan Hammam and Botanical ($55 SGD each)
Right: Bottega Organica Pure Organic Ageless face mist – Sage ($59 SGD each)Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 3.47.04 PM

There you have it – our guide to surviving jet lag!

 

Are you really sun safe? What’s wrong with many sunscreens today, and how to choose the right one.

sunscreenThere was an article in the UK Sunday times last weekend titled “Sun Safe” which raised some very interesting points about our use of sunscreen.

“Lethal skin-cancer rates have quadrupled in a generation…Even more worrying is the fact that most skin-cancer victims claim that they used sunscreen regularly.”

So what is going wrong here? How can we be purchasing more sunscreen then ever before, yet according to the World Health Organization, between 2 and 3 million non-melanoma skin cancers and 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year.

The article mentions two main issues with many sunscreens currently on the market:

1. SPF Rating issues

You don’t need to tell us that the SPF ratings are confusing. Why would you purchase a sunscreen with SPF15+ when there is another bottle with SPF70+ right next to it? And what does SPF even mean?

SPF is a multiplication factor. So if it takes 3 minutes for your unprotected skin to burn in the sun, a sunscreen with SPF30 means it would take 90 minutes (SPF 30 x 3 mins) for your skin to burn with the sunscreen as your protection.

HOWEVER the SPF ratings are typically determined by laboratories lathering their subjects with such a thick a layer of sunscreen that none of us really apply ourselves. Speaking from experience, people usually apply a thin layer of sunscreen to ensure that the “white marks” are easily rubbed in (and ensures application is as quick as possible), with one eye on the pool/ ocean/ kids etc. So we continue to believe that our sunscreen will protect us for those 90 minutes, however in reality the protection time can be highly variable depending on how much of the product you actually slather on!

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2. The use of Homosalate (anti-inflammatory ingredient)

This is super scary – sunscreens that contain anti-inflammatory ingredients basically remove the redness you experience when your skin burns. So if you don’t see your skin going red, you aren’t burning, right? Wrong.  What’s worse is these ingredients can skew the SPF ratings, because if it delays your skin from going red it will mean a higher SPF rating is potentially allocated to the product (remember SPF is determined by how long it takes for your skin to “burn”). The anti-inflammatories may reduce the visible signs of your skin burning, without necessarily protecting you from UVA/UVB rays.

So what products should you use?

The article does name and shame specific sunscreen brands that failed to live up to their so called SPF rating. We can confirm none of these suncreens are sold via SURVIVE ASIA.

FOCUS ON SUNSCREENS THAT CONTAIN ZINC OXIDE/ TITANIUM DIOXIDE. Both of these ingredients are effective UV ray protectors (and are considered “expensive” by large manufacturers hence why you find some looking for alternatives to these). Also try to avoid sunscreens that contain alcohol (which dry the skin and when it evaporates may alter the chemical structure of the product).

A look into sunscreens sold by SURVIVE ASIA

We are super obsessed with all of our products, and try our upmost to ensure our customers are only receiving the best quality possible. So let’s take a deeper look at our sunscreens:

Badger sunscreens (Baby, Unscented, Anti-mosquito, & Kids): 

  • Uses only pharmaceutical grade non-nano ZINC OXIDE
  • Provides protection against UVA and UVB rays
  • Does NOT contain the anti-inflammatory Homosalate
  • Contains no alcohol
  • Biodegradable and safe for coral reefs and other ecosystems (which we think is pretty awesome!)
  • Recommends applying liberally (2mg/cm2 of skin) and with SPF34+ recommends applying every 2 hours (or after 40 mins of swimming/sweating)

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Snowberry sunscreen (perfect for the face):

  • Uses non-nano ZINC OXIDE  
  • Protects against both UVB and UVA light.
  • SPF30+ (recommends reapplying every 2 hours)
  • Does NOT contain the anti-inflammatory Homosalate
  • This is primarily a sunscreen with moisturising benefits included (NOT the other way around!)

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