Let’s Face It

In the aftermath of all the time I’ve been spending outdoors, it was time to do a little skin maintenance. The first thing you should know is that I am in no way a high maintenance girl when it comes to a beauty regimen. Read as: I wash my face with baby wipes. I actually use baby wipes for a lot of things (car dashboards, countertops, etc.). Baby wipes are good for people who like things clean more than they like the act of cleaning. Moving on. The SECOND thing you should know about me (if you already don’t) is that I hate lotion.

I mean hate it. I mean, it makes me gag. I mean, don’t even think about ever asking/making me put my hands into a jar of anything that might resemble – in texture or color – the greasy goo people use to keep their skin soft. The gag reflex has also applied to hearing other people squish lotion through their fingers.

I understand that it’s ridiculous, but as Nikka Costa so eloquently told us, Everybody Got Their Something. This is my something. Lotion. (Ok, so she was talking about good somethings. But still, you get it.)

I bet you’re on the edge of your seat wondering how I keep my skin moisturized, aren’t you? Well get ready, because it’s riveting. I use a moisturizing body wash. That’s basically it. I’m really lucky. If absolutely required, I’ll sparingly use Burt’s Bees Baby Lotion because I find it to be less greasy and mostly tolerable. And because I have fantastic, multicultural friends, I have also been introduced to a Japanese water lotion.

It’s the consistency of water (seriously!) and you put it on right after your shower. There isn’t an overwhelming smell either. It’s perfect for my face, and I think we can all agree that Asian people have beautiful skin, so if it works for them, sign me up.

Ok, so back to that maintenance I was talking about. I had wanted a facial since I returned from the Sasquatch roadtrip. Although it had improved in the weeks since, I knew the sun/wind damage I had inflicted on myself those two weeks was under there somewhere. It just so happened my neighbor returned from a multi-day hike in Sweden (I know!), so we thought it was the perfect time to hit up the Korean spa.

We tried a different one this time, and both added an extra treatment (the scrub is a must). She chose a massage, and I chose a facial. Don’t get me started on massages. Long story short, I’m really ticklish and am not a fan. I guess I have at least two somethings. Oddly enough, I do enjoy the scrubs these spas are known for.

So we do the various soaks and rooms. This one offers a hot tea tub where you basically sit in a hot tub of tea. (I bet you couldn’t figure that out!) Anyway, it smelled terrific and I enjoyed it. I have a hard time sitting in all the hot rooms tho. Steams and saunas and such. I try to get into it and meditate, but I never last very long.

After my scrub it was time for my facial. Last night my friend Babs (the one responsible for the water lotion and well aware of my idiosyncrasies) asked me if I had ever had one. I replied, “I think so, kinda.” And that was the truth. I thought I had something like a facial once a few years ago. Now I know not only what she was implying, but that I would have remembered having one.

So I walk into the room and laid on the table and the girl covers me with a towel and then a comforter. Things are really cozy. I wondered if people fell asleep…if I would. As she began to put something on my head to hold my hair back, I heard the first notes of some calming music. Everything was pretty much on par with how I figured it would go.

Not surprisingly, the first thing she did was put lotion on my face. I’m not sure why I didn’t realize so much lotion would be involved. Maybe because I was so focused on the picture with the girl’s face covered in cucumbers. I wanted my face covered in cucumbers. My face was at no point covered in cucumbers.

But it wasn’t MY hands in the lotion so I was mostly ok with all the creams and things. (Read as: I only slightly gagged three times.) At one point she turned the bright light on and did a once over without picking at anything. I internally high-fived myself. I didn’t have any noticeable blemishes, and I assumed that since she turned the light off I was going to be skipping the extraction portion of the show.

Nope.

She did more lotion-y things and some warm rag soaks and then the light came back on. Uh oh. Then she started digging around my face with needles and razor blades and God knows what else. I realized the method of her pattern and shuttered to realize we were only about the quarter of the way around my face. I had no idea what she could possibly be extracting. As she kept going, I imagined what my face would look like afterward. I wasn’t picturing anything good. I tried to focus on the music. I tried to focus on random thoughts. I tried to focus on anything but whatever she was putting my poor face through.

I’ve waxed and threaded and lasered and I’m pretty sure the acuteness of this pain exceeded all of those things.

All I could hope for was that the end result would be worth it. Of course I was terrified with having to go out in public with what I imagined could only be a blood-dotted scabby face. It turns out, my skin was harboring blackheads under its proverbial floorboards. To quote the girl, there were “A LOT” of them. Like it’s my fault? I couldn’t see them. They weren’t bothering anyone.

At one point she made me open my eyes to look at the fruits of her labor. Um. Yeah. Nope. I’ll never unsee that. I guess she was trying to teach me a lesson or maybe she secretly sells Biore strips on the side? Can you use those behind your ears? Long story short: it was horrifying.

She finally finished and put some more crap on my face, at one point using gel and then a light of some sort. She also – pretty violently – shook what I can only think of referring to as my jowls. (I didn’t know before that moment that I even had jowls.) I’m hoping it was an exercise or skin tightening of some sort. Then she massaged my neck, shoulders, arms and hands. More lotion was used to finalize whatever she was doing to my face. And then my 50 minutes were over. She sat me up and got my robe and I slowly turned toward the mirror. To my relief, there was no blood to be seen. I’m not even sure how that is possible given what my poor epidermis had just been through. My skin looked – dare I say it – dewy and refreshed.

As long as I don’t break out within the next 24 hours, I’ll even consider doing it again. I do wonder, tho. Is it one of those things that’s easier the more often you do it? Like teeth cleanings?

I don’t know if I’m into all that.

Note/afterthought: If it’s not clear, I’m super into teeth cleanings. Like every four months.

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