[By Geraldine Kane]

For the pampered and jaded spa junkie out there, you must be wondering what’s the big deal about the new Illumi Facial at the SW1 Spa that’s getting insiders all twisted. After all, isn’t it just another IPL photo-facial that’s a dime a dozen in the aesthetics and beauty market out there? That’s where you’re so wrong. The Illumi facial is one of the signature hybrids specially designed by the team of dedicated beauty experts from this upscale medi-spa, combining the comfort of a spa treatment and the efficacy of a clinical treatment to deliver so much more. To begin with, it’s not any run-of-the-mill IPL machines but the superior BBL or Broadband Light Therapy that forms the core of the Illumi facial. BBL is essentially a better, improved technology that stemmed from IPL. Compared to IPL, the more advanced technology of BBL is able to treat darker skinned patients better with a wider safety margin. The risk of complications and downtime is lower, and the number of sessions require for satisfactory outcome is less. So, what really makes this hybrid facial stand out from the rest?

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Immediate Skin Brightening Without Downtime

My therapist Xuan removed my makeup and cleansed my skin thoroughly before applying a pumpkin apple spice peel for 3 mins to melt away dead surface skin cells to prep my skin for the signature BBL treatment. After making sure that my eyes were well protected with a pair of goggles, she applied a thick layer of cold gel to my face before she administered the first zap of light on my face, starting from my jawline. I’m no newbie to light treatment and had tried IPL that were a tad painful, but I am happy to report that the Illumi facial was anything but that. As the treatment progressed I did feel the hand-piece warm up, but it was very gradual so I would say it’s a little warm but nothing intolerable. Xuan went about the IPL “photo shower” very deliberately, giving my cheeks an additional pass – she had noticed that I had small red vessels and mild pigmentation on my cheekbones.


Sonophoresis is an excellent way to deliver skin nutrients to the deeper layers of skin where they are required

After the BBL part, Xuan applied a refreshing face mask for firming and lifting and add on another layer of hydrating mask to calm the skin. This is followed up with another key feature of the Illumi facial, sonophoresis with a carefully selection of bespoke vitamins that matches your skin type and needs. There’s vitamin A for anti-aging, vitamin B to fight aging and redness, vitamin C for glow, Co-enzyme for intense antioxidant effects and Hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and skin softening. Sonophoresis uses ultrasound vibrations to temporarily create little spaces in the outer layers of the skin, allowing more rapid and intense absorption of the applied product.

Gentle skin rejuvenation with LED Red photomodulation, a completely pain-free 633nm red light therapy that reduces the signs of photo-damage and skin aging

The facial ended with an infra-red light therapy. LED Red is a 633nm red light therapy that works by activating new collagen formation while lessening the breakdown of existing collagen stores via a process known as photobiomodulation, leading to smoother and brighter skin with reduced pore size.

My skin was much brighter immediately after, pores were also noticeably smaller and the skin looked more firm and supple!

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IPL or intense pulsed light photo-rejuvenation has been around since the 1990s and started off as a treatment for hair removal, but soon found its niche for various skin concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, saggy skin, pigmentation and redness. As technology gets more developed and refined with time, this gave birth to the newer generation of IPL known as BBL, the latest and most advanced technology in light therapy that sets new standards for treating skin conditions associated with aging and pigmentation irregularities, with little to no downtime and exceptional long term benefits. With a wide selection of interchangeable filters, BBL penetrates deeper into skin to target a variety of skin problems, such as melasma, freckles, age spots, wrinkles and even redness and inflammation associated with rosacea and inflammatory acne.

Xuan told me after the first session that regular 3 to 4 weekly Illumi facials will improve the appearance of my skin and I should notice anti-aging effects with an improvement in my pigmentation, brightness of my skin, a textural improvement and even smoothening of fine lines on my face because of the regular stimulation of collagen for a glowing complexion.

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5 months later and 6 Illumi facials later, I realized that my photos show a more refreshed appearance. I used to get compliments about how “radiant” I looked within the first week of each Illumi facial but by the third session, I noticed that the results were lasting longer and longer. I highly recommend the Illumi facial for those who want the benefits of an aesthetic procedure that is able to clinically brighten the skin yet not forego the comforts of a facial. This medically inspired, scientifically proven skin treat is a painless procedure that’s a restorative, illuminative facial that giving your skin instant luminosity and health with long-lasting brightening of skin tone that sets it apart from other IPL photo-facials I’ve tried before!

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Treatment done: Illumi Facial

Price: $535 SGD per session

Special package:  $2975 SGD for 6 sessions (valid for 1 year from date of purchase


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