Sunday, 27 October, 2013 - 12:49

Spa day drama in China

by AbbeyH

The horrors of Halloween are nothing compared to the horrors of blocked pores. Everyday life takes its toll on our delicate feminine features. Moisturisers, facial products and make-up weigh heavily on our skin, making it oily, greasy and unhealthy.

So every few weeks, a girl needs to retake cosmetic control and chase out her make-up monsters and everyday demons. That's right, it’s spa day!

In England, it is easy to get hold of basic cleansers and spa-style treatments to unblock pores, cleanse oily skin and reenergise oneself facially. In China, however, buying cosmetics is a risky and dangerous process for a westerner. Not only is everything in written in Chinese, there is also the added peril of whitening creams and bleach, which can be found in almost every cosmetic product in China. Coming from a western country where tanned skin is considered attractive and pale skin is an indication of illness, it came as quite a shock to me when I discovered China’s obsession with whitening.

A new spa has opened in my area, and to celebrate they are offering great discounts on spa treatments. For only Y98, I was given a two-hour aromatherapy massage and a two-hour facial! Incredible, I know!

There were two girls looking after me on my spa visit, and neither of them spoke any English. At first they were shy and quiet, but after a little encouragement they soon started talking. Within about ten minutes we had exhausted their limited English, but I was intent on teaching them, and learning some Chinese in the process! Starting with basic body parts, and the use of “good” and “bad”, we managed to negotiate the complexities of the full body massage. The girls’ favourite phrase being: “Your back, feel good?”

Next it was time for my facial!

Using the same technique of “good”, “bad” and body parts, we managed to verbally navigate my face! All was going well until one of the girls, who had been removing my make-up, suddenly gasped in horror, pointed at my eyebrows and started shouting in Chinese.

With a little difficulty, and a lot of embarrassment, I managed to explain to the frightened girl that, being blonde, I have invisible eyebrows and that, without make-up, they simply disappear. Talk about culture shock!

Once they eyebrow crisis was over, our language-exchange spa facial continued smoothly, and I have been left with a completely relaxed back, perfectly soft skin and no eyebrows. Small loss, I’d say, and a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

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Have you ever been to a spa? Did you enjoy it?

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