Beauty Treatments Abroad, Part One
I love beauty treatments. Massages, pedicures, manicures, facials, tanning, you name it. At home, the most anxiety I get when it comes to beauty treatments is when I go to the hairdresser. I get completely ridiculous and paranoid that it will be way too short, the wrong color, blah blah blah. And, despite the fact that the hairdresser has already cut more than the “centimeter trim off the ends, AND NO MORE,” that I requested, I still refuse to say anything and simply text angry thoughts I’m having to my friends and wait until I walk out of the salon to have a fitful cry in my car. After I’ve just put on a massive fake smile and gushed how much I loved it and even left a decent tip. Next thing I know, I’m at home washing it ten times in a row and tugging at it in the hopes that maybe it will grow faster.
Beauty treatments are also something that a lot of people who are traveling will try out. Whether you’re going to a resort for a week or traveling long-term, chances are you might need a massage or a bang trim. Depending on what country you’re in, you might encounter some fairly unique beauty treatments claiming to make you look more beautiful, more youthful, less tired, feel relaxed, you know, the usual. So do you go for it? That strange treatment that you’ve never heard of? Do you just settle for something you’re comfortable with, that you get at home? Or do you not try anything?
I’m not that adventurous when it comes to most things but I’m always game for trying a new beauty treatment. I’ve massaged eggs into my hair before and tried other weird at-home beauty things. Those are harmless. But I’ve never had, for example, a snake massage. I’ve also never smeared bird poop on my face, a facial done in Japan using Nightingale excrement. To me, those do not sound harmless, especially letting snakes slither around on my back. No, thank you, I’ll pass!
I have had a fish pedicure, though. On one of my last afternoons in London I spent the entire day around Camden Market. I came across a giggling group of Australians all sitting in a row, their feet in a tub of water. Their reactions made me stop and walk over to peer down at all these little fish nibbling at their feet. At first, I felt disgusted. Who would do that? Then, I thought it was rather amusing. It was funny, as long as I wasn’t doing it! Next, I became curious and after only a few invitations that I should join them, there I was. Sitting on my own cushion, the Australian man running the show helped me to wash my feet. And then it was time to place my feet in this bucket of water filled with little fish that wanted nothing more than to eat at my skin. It took me a few minutes but soon they were in, gently floating in the water as I made sure not to squish any of the fishies.
It was weird, all of these fish feeling like vibrations against my feet. It didn’t hurt like I thought it might because they don’t actually have teeth apparently, it didn’t feel bad… but it certainly didn’t feel good or relaxing. It tickled a bit and you could feel the fish going between your toes and tugging on the dead skin. When my feet came out half an hour later, they were smooth and soft. So it worked, I guess. Not the same as that medieval looking tool used in normal pedicures to scrape off dead skin, but it did make a difference. I might even do it again one day, if I was really tempted. Fish pedicures are everywhere in Southeast Asia as well. I saw quite a few in the markets during my time there this summer and there was almost always somebody in there, ready to try it out.
There’s been mixed reviews on fish pedicures, particularly regarding safety. There has been some speculation amongst health experts that disease and infection could be transferred from person to person through open wounds. In fact, some U.S states have banned this pedicure treatment. I’m not sure what the conclusion of those speculations are but, as always, trying out something new like this is at your own risk. Honestly? I would probably do it again but there is always a possible risk attached. If it makes you feel better, you are always allowed to question spa service providers as to how they clean their tools, whether they use UV-lit tanks that are filtered to stay clear of disease, etc.
Have you ever tried any kind of strange beauty treatments? What do you think of fish pedicures?