I distinctly remember asking my Mom if I could start wearing make-up when I was in junior high school. She obliged, under the condition that I would apply moisturizer first. And so began the morning and evening ritual of moisturizing my skin that I would follow religiously…until I had children.
Over the past three years I’ve become like many Mothers, somewhat of a martyr. I’ve let things slip and slide, and have tended to my children before myself. The moisturizing routine has fallen to the wayside and I placed my hope in genetics carrying me through, since lucky for me, both of my grandmothers had amazing skin.
Apparently genetics can only get you so far though, because one day not long ago, as I was driving, the inevitable happened. At a red light I glanced at my reflection in the rear-view mirror and much to my horror and dismay, I saw them: fine lines and wrinkles.
I was worried. If my skin was betraying me already what would it look like 30 years from now?
On a recent trip to Asia, I couldn’t help but feel jelous and envious of the beautiful skin every local woman seemed to have. Flawless. Youthful. Wrinkle free.
While we were in Hong Kong I heard about an amazing facial that I instantly knew I wanted to try. It incorporated jade stone rollers which had me curious right from the beginning because I had no idea what that even meant! The Chinese seem to know some kind of secret when it comes to aging, or not aging for that matter. Was it all the tea? The early morning Tai Chi? Or had they been secretly holding out on the fountain of youth? If jade rollers were part of common practice here, I wanted to find out what this was all about.
I left my kids at the hotel with my husband and made my way to The Ritz Carlton where I took the elevator up to the 116th floor and entered the tranquil surroundings of the spa.
I felt younger already! This place was beautiful and as I was shown around the facilities I felt the stress rolling off me.
A quick change into my spa gear and Kalpana, my spa therapist, led me to my treatment room, where I climbed into a big comfy chair and she began by preforming a foot treatment while we discussed my skin. When she asked what my skin type was, I told her the truth, “I have no idea.” Surprised by this, she said she would do a skin analysis on me in a few minutes.
With a clean canvas, Kalpana could now use her expertise to decipher just what my skin type actually was. She turned off all the lights, handed me a small mirror so I could see what she was explaining, and then she brought out what I like to call her ‘magic’ black light.
She turned it on and every imperfection came screaming out into the mirror. Yikes! I quickly learned that the red showing up on my skin meant that it was dehydrated, especially around my eyes. My nose and chin appeared orange, meaning oily. The result: I had combination skin. The good news: the tiny patch of skin on my jawline, just under my ear, was neither oily or dry. That area, where no one every really sees; was okay. Elasticity was also good, so not all hope was lost.
The magic mirror felt like a science experiment and I was completely in awe with all I was discovering.
The treatment began with an array of cleansers, scrubs, oils and lotions. After the first few I wasn’t sure which was which, so I just continued to enjoy the soothing smells and touch of the cold creams and lotions, followed by the warm cloths. It was in perfect Chinese yin-yang balance, and I was feeling very well equilibrated. Kalpana’s hands moved with the grace and precision of a figure skater gliding purposefully across the ice.
And ice there was. My spa therapist made her way over to the counter where she reached for a small bowl, heaping with ice. It was the moment I’d been waiting for: the jade roller. When it made contact with my face, the jade felt like cold ice melting on my skin, but in the most relaxing and enjoyable way possible. My skin was thirsty as a sponge and maybe it was all in my hopeful mind, but I swear I could feel every pore absorbing the benefits of the jade. While she rolled this magical contraption across my face, she explained to me that jade is a traditional oriental gemstone which is believed to heal, discharge toxins and remove negative energy. Maybe this was exactly what I needed. An ancient Chinese method of treatment could be the solution to my skin looking like a sun-dried raisin.
Usually at the spa I’m quiet and simply enjoy my peaceful surroundings; but not this time. With those magic hands on my face, and my somewhat overactive imagination, my western self felt like I was in the midst of wise, ancient Oriental healing powers. I just knew I was on my way to having ageless skin. So instead of quietly enjoying my facial, I sounded less like a woman in the ‘I have wrinkles’ age category and more like an excited, inquisitive three year old, ‘What’s that? What’s it for? What do I smell?’
My cover of trying to maintain any air of sophistication was obviously blown, but I was okay with that because I needed to know the ancient Chinese secret if I wanted to have any hope of impressing my friends and family. This could make for very interesting girl’s dinner information! Kalpana went on to explain that she was massaging around my eyes with Jade stone roller to stimulate blood circulation and reduce under-eye puffiness, resulting in a fresh look. I couldn’t wait to look in the mirror; I probably looked like Taylor Swift!
When my facial was done I made my way to the relaxation room where I had some tea, cookies and relaxed in a lounge chair as I looked down 116 floors to the striking Hong Kong skyline below. The whole experience left me impressed.
Did I find the fountain of youth at the spa that day in China? It’s hard to say. But I do know that the magic black light scared my dehydrated skin right back into my moisturizing routine; so maybe in a roundabout way I did.
One thing is for sure. After spending the evening at The Ritz Carlton Spa in my bathrobe, overlooking the impressive Hong Kong skyline, sipping rose, papaya and lemongrass tea, without the sound of a toddler in earshot; I felt relaxed, carefree and at ease. I felt young again. It was just what I needed. As a matter of fact; upon returning to our hotel where my husband spent the last few hours chasing our kids; one glimpse at him revealed that he just might be in need of the fountain of youth himself.
Thank you to The Ritz Carlton Spa for welcoming me as a guest. All opinions are my own.