To be honest, I’ve not heard of Dr. Ci:Labo prior to this trip. Even though they’ve been around since 1995, they just made their entrance into Singapore with a retail boutique at ION Orchard in 2013. Before jetting off to Shanghai, I had to give at least one of their products a try to understand the brand a little better. I tried out their signature Aqua Collagen Gel Enrich Lift – an 8-in-1 gel that helps solve skin dehydration – and the product honestly felt like it was one of the best moisturisers I’ve ever tried. To watch the review, scroll down!
During the course of the Shanghai trip, we stayed at the amazing Park Hyatt Shanghai. The view from my room was pretty spectacular, and it was the same view we looked at during the press conference with Dr.Ci:Labo founder Dr. Shirono, where we got to interview him and try our hands out at some biochemistry! During the press conference, we were also introduced to the Super100 Series, which are essentially 4 serums you can combine with your Aqua Collagen Gel for a more customizable, effective result! For instance, there is an Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) serum which can stimulate skin growth at the cellular level to accelerate the skin’s recovery rate. If you prefer to target your dark spots, you can opt for the Vitamin C serum instead! I talk more about the “experiments” we conducted in my press trip video, which you can watch below as well!
While waiting for my interview slot, Elsie and I jumped on a cab to explore The Bund, a tourist-spot you inevitably have to visit because it overlooks the Huangpu River and the Oriental Pearl Tower (which has an observation deck you can visit too!).
If you find yourself having a bit of spare time in Shanghai, you can also check out some of these cafes we visited: 1984, Seesaw Coffee, Zinn Café, The Press Shanghai, Tea Funny.
Come sundown, we found ourselves hailing the first cab we saw and rushing back to Park Hyatt Shanghai for my Q&A with Dr. Shirono. The generally reserved and soft-spoken Dr. Shirono was super friendly and accommodating, and one can immediately sense his passion and seriousness when it comes to dermatological-science. I sat down with Dr. Shirono for 10 minutes with a translator and asked him a few key questions about the brand and his signature gel.
Me: What is your inspiration behind the Aqua-Collagen Gel (ACG)?
Dr. Shirono: I developed the ACG 20 years ago after meeting many patients and realizing that there were no products out there that could properly address their skin concerns. Most products I’ve encountered do not cater to differing skin types, hence it was my vision to ensure all our products don’t just serve one function. Furthermore, I did not like the fact that we had to use so many different products when it came to skincare. I wanted to develop a product that can be your toner, milky lotion, beauty essence, eye-treatment cream, facial mask, makeup base, serum, and massage cream all in one.
We also developed the Super100 series to complement the ACG, and even help to address other skin conditions.
Me: What do you feel are customer’s biggest skin concerns?
Dr. Shirono: In recent years, I find that the biggest problem is maintaining firmness of the skin. In this instance, customers can consider the Super100 Series Marine-Collagen, which helps in maintaining elasticity of the skin. Subsequent issues would be the appearance of pores, freckles and dark spots. This can be addressed with the Super100 Series Vitamin C serum – Vitamin C inhibits melanin production, reducing the appearance of dark spots!
Me: What is the common mistake people make when it comes to their skincare regime?
Dr. Shirono: When it comes to skincare nowadays, people want efficiency and efficacy in the shortest amount of time possible. They are not very educated about the ingredients used in the products. You might see the initial results, but these products may not be the best solution in the long-run, and may cause even more of a burden eventually. We need to ensure we use the most natural ingredients so that our skin can receive the best care possible.
Me: In Singapore, our weather is very humid. What products should we use in this case?
Dr. Shirono: If the weather is hot all year round, sebum is produced in excess, and this can cause a lot of pimples, acne and scars. Use ACG with the Super100 series Vitamin C serum in this case. Vitamin C is a powerful anti-oxidant that reduces the harmful effects of free radicals (i.e. UV, Stress, Pollution, etc.) one is exposed to daily.
And that’s about it from my interview with Dr. Shirono! I hope you guys got a few takeaways, especially when it comes to being aware of how certain ingredients can affect or help our skin! As always, stay tuned for more articles on Dr. Ci:Labo!