I may love traveling in and out of different environments every month (or week), but my skin decidedly does not. To make its opinion heard, it has chosen to revolt. I’ll spare you the details, but let’s just say that ever since we left Cusco, Peru (which had a mountain climate quite similar to Colorado), my skin has been less than perfect. Now that we are in Bali, home to ubiquitous cheap spa treatments, I decided it was time to act. So I scheduled myself at one of the spas for a facial. While I was there, I might as well get a haircut, since I haven’t had one since last July and my ends were starting to get yucky. And I may as well add in the traditional massage with body scrub, moisturizer and floral bath. I mean, if I was already going to be there…
The spa scheduled me for the haircut first. Apparently not many people get haircuts at spas, and they had to specially schedule with the stylist because she isn’t usually there. This makes sense, since most people going to a day spa are on vacation, and who gets a haircut on vacation? Only someone whose vacation has been going on for a long time, ie, me.
So I couldn’t be too surprised that the stylist kinda sucked. The cut itself was shorter than I actually wanted, as she cut it crooked and then had to cut it shorter to fix it. (Whatever, it wasn’t nearly as bad as John’s haircut in Belize, and I still have lots of hair.) She then started styling and blow drying my hair which, even when she sucked my ends into the back of the hairdryer twice, felt like quite a luxury. I haven’t blow dried my hair since Lima, when our apartment happened to have one in the bathroom. I was excited by the prospect of having straight, smooth hair, and when she was finished, I looked downright presentable.
Sadly, that styled hair would only last about 30 seconds, as my next treatment was the massage and body scrub and I was told to shower first. (They really should have scheduled the haircut at the end, but what can you do.) After a lovely full body massage, I was exfoliated with a nice smelling traditional spice scrub, and slathered in fresh yoghurt. Once I’d marinated in the yogurt for a while and rinsed off the residue, I had a floral bath waiting for me, alongside a nice cup of hot tea. It looked lovely, but I must admit it was far too hot in Bali to be sitting in a hot bath and drinking a hot beverage. The cinnamon tea was delicious, though.
Finally it was time for the facial. I was escorted into another room, where a new therapist scrubbed and massaged my face, steamed open my pores and extracted the goo. I’m sure she found goo in there dating as far back as Cuba (it was really polluted in Havana.) Any time I’ve gotten a facial in the US – which is rare – it usually comes with a nice dose of shame, as the therapist tells me how terrible my skin is and how I really need to be coming in for facials more often. Then they try to sell me some products to help fix whatever is wrong with me. I don’t know if this is a version of a sales pitch that everyone gets, or if I just inspire a lot of shaming from the estheticians, but it doesn’t exactly make me want to go back. (A variation of this happens every time I get pedicures, too. Does this happen to anyone else, or am I just a huge beauty failure?)
I know for a fact that this lovely Balinese woman was seeing my skin at its absolute worst, but she never said a word about it, even though she spoke excellent English. No shame, no comments on the number of blackheads she had to extract, nothing but friendliness. Bless the polite Balinese.
All in all, my lovely 3.5 hour spa day cost less than US$47. I have no idea what that would have cost back home, but I’m pretty sure it would have been a lot more. Now I just hope I can keep my freshly cleaned pores happy and goo free for the next few months.
Still wondering what the image of butterflies has to do with going to the spa? Nothing, actually. But since I don’t have any photos of the spa, and I wanted you to have something pretty to look at, I decided to add this image of butterflies from the Sacred Monkey Forest instead. Close enough.