The Aesthetic Beauty Treatments That Don’t Have To Hurt

The machines that Manon Allano uses in her aesthetics salon are from her family’s medical equipment business in France.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

The machines that Manon Allano uses in her aesthetics salon are from her family’s medical equipment business in France. They promise a pain-free experience.

When Manon Allano and her husband Bastien came to Singapore from France in November 2014, she had a mission: to extend Estheclinic, her family’s mediaesthetics business, into Asia. The first Singapore branch at Tras Street, its ninth after ones in France, Belgium and Morocco, opened in 2015.

With an MBA in luxury retail, and having done several internships in the beauty industry, including one in China, Allano, who joined the family business in 2011 and is Estheclinic’s managing director, was convinced there was potential here. “It’s because Singapore is at the forefront of technology in the beauty field,” she says. Manon’s father, Dr Gerard Boutboul, is a renowned aesthetics surgeon and doctor, and founder of Estheclinic in France, as well as BVA Technology Group, which has been making and distributing medical and aesthetic equipment to doctors and dermatologists all over Europe for more than 20 years.

The Allanos came with a strong sell: the ability, through their equipment, to offer conventionally painful beauty treatments without pain: highintensity focused ultrasound (Hifu), intense pulsed light (IPL) and cryotherapy (aka fat-freezing).

On the day I try their Ultimate Lift Hifu treatment, Allano, who gave birth to her second child in December 2018, assures me I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I’m sceptical – Hifu is known to be painful.

An hour later, the verdict: There is no pain – and any discomfort is bearable. I can only describe it as electrical zaps on the skin, which are more intense around bony areas like the jaw, cheekbones and forehead. These parts are slightly achy to the touch for a few days after. Weeks later, my face contours are more filled out as collagen production kicks in. The results are supposed to last four to six months, and it costs from $580 for an a la carte session.

Subsequently, I try their Intense Glow treatment (from $380 for the face), an IPL treatment paired with LED light therapy, meant to brighten the skin and make it more radiant, and generate collagen.

IPL usually feels like rubber bands snapping at your skin, but this was sensationfree. It felt a little warm in some parts, but not painfully hot. The only discomfort came from the light flashes of the IPL applicator, and later, the brighter-than-bright yellow and red LED light used to activate collagen production. My skin had a nice glow, and my freckles looked lighter.

The Silky Smooth IPL Hair Removal Treatment (from $90 a session) was similarly so comfortable that I dozed off for the short time the treatment took; no numbing cream was needed.

Estheclinic has also made fat-freezing, which has a painful reputation, painless. A handpiece is placed on the targeted area, and its strong suction “sucks” up and releases the flesh in that area before clamping it between two cold plates cooled to minus 5 deg C for an hour. The suck-then-release mechanism is what makes the experience painless. You may feel a little achy after, but that’s if you don’t have much excess fat.

How is it all so painless, I ask Allano. “This is a mystery for me too!” the 32-year-old says. “When we first introduced painless permanent hair removal in France in 2008, everyone was sceptical (and we were too). People had a ‘no pain, no gain’ mentality, and couldn’t shake it from their heads.”

She explains that BVA Technology works with engineers, and physicians with an interest in aesthetics, to bring the latest scientific advancements to the table and develop machines that focus not just on results but customer comfort as well. These aesthetic machines are exclusive to Estheclinic in Singapore.

The Hifu machine, Allano tells me, is painless as it uses fractionated Hifu. Traditional Hifu uses focused, large beams that cause pain deep in the skin. In Estheclinic’s Hifu, the beams are broken up into fractions to bypass the skin surface and penetrate at very precise depths.

“I’m among the people who cannot and do not wish to endure pain for the sake of my appearance. That’s why I’m so in love with our treatments, because I can see very good results without any pain or downtime.” Estheclinic has three outlets: 72 Tras Street, 424 Joo Chiat Road, and 44 Rochester Park. - PC

"When we first introduced painless permanent hair removal in France in 2008, everyone was sceptical."