Real Men Use Eye Creams & Moisturisers

Well, in a way, it depends on the definition of a real man. I don’t know about your definition, but I define a real man, or woman, as someone who has the guts to be who he/she is. And not with reckless self-indulgence, but a true-to-self demeanour that at the same time, benefits others and the surrounding environment.

And what makes a real URBAN man? Well, a guy who does the above-said while looking dashingly, drop-dead good! Not sure if it makes sense but that’s my answer when asked for my thoughts about what maketh the modern homme.

That question came to me during my audition for the Urban Homme Urban Icon Challenge. Organised by Urban Homme, Singapore’s premium face and body studio for men, the contest will pit 6 male bloggers against each other to be the epitome of the Sensitive New Age Guy (SNAG). Today’s audition was to select the 6 from a shortlist of 15.

The selected 6 will go through a month of personalised treatments and blog about it, and an overall winner will walk away with a year’s worth of free treatments and cash prizes. The total value in prizes is worth over S$35,000! Get free treatments and win prizes, how can I not try for this?! But it turned out to be a pretty nerve-wrecking experience despite the organisers assurance that it was a casual affair.

The Cocoon

With a name like this, I wonder what metamorphosis awaits the guys who step in. This flagship Urban Homme studio is located at Ngee Ann City, #05-22.

Held at The Cocoon, one of Urban Homme’s 4 wellness studios for men, I didn’t know what to expect. It was the first time I’ve ever attended something like this, a session to determine that you’re good enough to be made good. But attending this audition was more than just skin-deep, it sent me on a spiral to think about my masculinity.

Guys should be thinking about careers, F1, football, beer and sex… not worry about eyebags and wrinkles right?

Cocoon nest

This is The Cocoon inside the studio. It serves as a waiting area where clients get to soak their feet while sipping tea and listening to relaxing music on a large comfy sofa. But, I could hardly relax with the impending audition!

But I do concern myself with how I look. Especially when I’m a single guy past the age of 35. I need to extend my dating shelf-life. Plus being an insurance agent, looking sharp and professional is part of the deal. Yet, I am sloppy and no trace of a well-groomed man can be found on me. Wearing a plain black t-shirt, scratched jeans and sneakers, I was the most under-dressed amongst the candidates who came in shirts, jackets and leather shoes. I felt apologetic about how I looked.

But that’s just me. Someone who never fuss too much about personal grooming and presentation. That’s ironic. I concern myself with my looks, yet do little about it. Most guys are like that, we do not know what to do or are just too lazy. We could probably get away with it in our younger years, well I did, but when age catches up, looking good requires effort. A lot of effort. And it takes a real man to take charge of the problems and ask for help!

Concentric Icicle Lights

A concentric pattern of light icicles formed a mesmerising centrepiece inside The Cocoon. As I sat there watching the lights, I started to drift off... with the bright spots reminding me of the size of open pores on my nose.

My mum is my beauty advisor and I use whatever I come across on her vanity shelf. That’s until she got me my own set of cleanser, toner and moisturiser. Cleanse, tone, moisturise. I’m not unfamiliar with that routine. Top that with an eye cream and an occasional hydrating masque, and I have my beauty salon right at home. However, this routine has begun to lose its magic. Age spots are sproutting out faster than I could slap on sunblock.

Yet, that’s only my secondary problem. My fastest growing problem is the waistline. I used to eat like a cow and have the waist of a wasp, but now, even just the smell of food is enough widen the inches. I’m not kidding. No amount of sit-ups, crunches and dieting could get my tummy to be ribbed. That damn fat is so stubborn! And I don’t need love handles because there’s no one to handle me lovingly.


With a serious machine like that sitting in the middle, you know you're gonna get results. It's called the Lipomassage and it slims problem fat areas and smoothes cellulite. I'll need 10 of these going at full power.

So here I am. Sitting in a vanity cocoon for the first time, coming to terms with the fact that self-help fixes need a powerful external ally. There is nothing un-man about taking good care of ourselves. Healthy skin can prevent infections and a trimmer waistline takes the pressure off the back and knees. Besides, who doesn’t like to look good and have a partner who is the envy of others?

I still have to get through the audition first. True to the organisers’ words, the process was casual. More of a chat to find out our personalities. As usual, when speaking in front of a camera, my thoughts ran miles ahead of my tongue and I ended up with half-baked answers again. But the questions asked really did get me thinking about what it means to be an urban man.

The interviewers

They are the ones who will pick the 6 finalists from a total of 15 shortlisted for the audition. They were surprised when I asked to take their photo. Well, this is what it's like working with bloggers. You become the subject too. Ha.

I was asked to rate myself on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being un-urban and 10 being the most urban. I gave myself a score of 5.3657… I feel I’m slightly above the half-way mark because I may have fulfilled the part about being a man, to live honestly, but I’m hardly urban. I’m still primitive in the way I take care of myself. So I hope I’ll make it through the selection to be inducted into an urban lifestyle. To start having an idea about what could be done without costing me an arm or a leg!

But what if I don’t make it? Well, then I’ll have to start making plans to move to a rural part of the world.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. PJ
    Sep 28, 2010 @ 22:54:34

    The new urban male needs to be confident, no self-doubt, well read, well travelled, well groomed, sensitive, tech savvy, the list can go on and on… But I guess most importantly being yourself and comfortable is key. Only when we are comfortable with ourselves, confidence will shine through. All the grooming and stuffs, we can learn along the way. And I must say today’s men definitely go beyond eye creams and moisturisers. These definitely doesn’t make you like half a man! :p


  2. Weetzdom
    Sep 29, 2010 @ 01:52:57

    Jia you! 🙂


  3. Ben
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 22:43:03

    Hi.. I was there too…
    Think I remember you lah.. you were snapping away haha..
    Wonder when will they announce the “results”…
    My take on the audition.. not as pro as yours with all the pics haha…


    • Darren Ng
      Oct 04, 2010 @ 11:57:17

      hey ben… thanks for sharing ur experience with me. ur post is funny! 🙂 no lah, mine not pro lah, just nothing to do while waiting mah… heh heh. guess we all had the same experience of our tongue escaping our mouths during the interview. good luck to us!


  4. PJ
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 22:18:32

    Hi Darren,

    How’s the results out yet?


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