Even before the Lunar New Year has properly started, the Year of the Dog has already gotten off on the wrong paw as some quarters, in attempting to play to certain sensitivities, have drawn the ire of others.

I miss how it used to be, when the 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac were just that – signs to mark a 12-year cycle, calculated according to the Chinese lunar calendar, without some smart alec reading more into it. In trying to please everyone, you please no one. Well, we’re already smack in February so let’s see what new trends are in store.

They say fashion goes one full circle, and it’s no different for beauty.

Introduced by Japanese brand Shu Uemura in 1967, oil-based cleansers have since become the cornerstone of its products. Five decades on, cleansing oils are experiencing a resurgence as beauty websites extol their virtues and how they are headlining this year’s beauty trends. Tons of brands have their own versions now and while their benefits are manifold, those with acne or sensitive skin should be cautious as a cleansing oil may aggravate skin issues.

Shu Uemura introduced cleansing oils way back in 1967 and it has since become the cornerstone of its products.

When I read that the coloured “underliner” is making a statement in 2018, I laughed to myself as I’ve been working the look since the day I started putting on make-up. If I had to dash out of the house, there will always be two things I will never be without – my eyeliner and lipstick.

The coloured underliner is in again.

Not everyone is comfortable with drawing on the lower lash line though, especially as Asian trends tend to highlight just the upper lash line for that wide-eyed innocent look. To rock the underliner, beauty experts recommend minimal face make-up and letting boldly lined eyes speak for themselves.

Whitening products have long gripped the Asian market and beauty companies are making a killing in the skincare industry. One of this year’s latest bizarre fads has men whitening their nether regions.

It seems Thailand’s public health ministry has issued warnings as the number of cases involving pale-looking phalics are rising, stemming from the belief that a whiter penis, including the groin area, is more attractive.

However, health officials warn of the dangers of the procedure which could lead to scarring, inflammation and “nasty looking spots”, reported The Telegraph. The whitening procedure, which involves breaking down melanin in the skin using lasers, doesn’t come cheap either, and in my opinion, is a waste of money. Who in their right mind bothers with skin tone when deep in the throes of passion?

Olivia Munn was seen working the underliner on the Red Carpet.

I don’t know when exactly scrunchies started getting a bad rap or why, but apparently they are “back in fashion”. What was, to me, one of the most useful things to come out of 1980s fashion, was decried a faux pas by fashion mainstream, claimed Misty White Sidell from WWD.

Featured prominently in Balenciaga’s resort 2018 collection, models had their hair tied with chouchou (funny how everything sounds so much classier in French) made from lambskin at US$200 (RM780) each. Sometimes, all it takes is the right term to improve a product’s image or make it fashionable again.

Likewise, for a more positive connotation to something so retro, Comfort Objects founder Line Sander Johansen renamed the scrunchie “hair cloud”.

“The Hair Cloud as I named it, instead of the mixed feelings I had about the scrunchie concept, is based on the idea of them looking like silk clouds around the hair,” said Johansen. I’ll stick to my pasar malam version at RM5 each, thanks.

For the longest time, KonMari was the decluttering buzzword. Now, the Scandinavian term “dostadning” – from the Swedish words “death” and “cleaning” – is this year’s new phenomenon, predicted Time magazine.

Outlined in Margareta Magnusson’s The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, it advocates the proactive and mindful clearing out of possessions before death. The idea is to save loved ones from the painful reminders and distressing decision of what to do with all the stuff you leave behind.

The Chinese, and probably most Malaysians for that matter, would probably see this as pantang (taboo) to talk about death when you are nowhere near dying, although it’s an inevitable conclusion for everyone eventually. My father-in-law refused to draft out his will until his late 80s (he passed away at 90) for this very reason.

However, there’s sound reasoning behind death-cleaning, especially since we live longer now and accumulate more stuff. And, given today’s digital footpath, it also means leaving behind photos, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and other accounts which loved ones can’t access, and hackers may misuse along the way.

Among Magnusson’s many tips are having a book of passwords for family to access online data and leaving clear instructions on what to do with the digital content. It’s about taking responsibility for our personal belongings, both physical or digital, and making the grieving process easier for our loved ones.

According to a New York Times story, a new emerging health trend is “raw water” – water that hasn’t been treated, filtered or processed in any way. This caters to those who have misgivings over treated tap water or advocate ingesting natural minerals found in water at source.

Public health has improved significantly over the past century since filtration, chlorination and sanitation practices for public drinking water have been introduced. Drinking untreated water, and the pathogens that can lurk within it, could expose people to disease outbreaks once again, said Vince Hill, chief of the CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch.

Over here, some village folks still get their water from nearby springs or rivers, which are not exactly the cleanest.

Here’s hoping this trend won’t catch on. As it is, some people still don’t have the luxury of piped water, and conversely, unscrupulous tricksters have been known to bottle tap water and pan that off as “mineral water” for a profit.


Patsy Kam regrets throwing out her old cassettes as now a new gadget plays them. Share your thoughts with star2@thestar.com.my