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Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Beauty Shop

Religiously every month, since the age of sixteen, I have had a facial – up until I had my first child that is. I always tried to look after myself, and liked to make the best of my skin. After the babies were born I was at home full-time for four years. I neither had the time or the money to spend on myself and so my self indulgent ritual was abandoned.

Recently I drove past the tiny local beauticians, that I frequented before I became a mum. This shop was very popular with my flatmates and work colleagues, and had been the most wonderful relaxing haven in the past. I remembered the sense of calm and the sound of wind chimes that tinkled in the air when you opened the door and the far fetched claims that were made regarding the potential benefits of the treatments on offer, but mostly memories of pampering relaxation.

I made an appointment for a facial by phone at the weekend, and went back this evening for a treat. The shop is apparently under new management now, and what a culture change! The 'technician' who looked after me had a curiously motionless face. I must have been asleep for the last five years, because things have changed dramatically at the beauty shop.

'Sindy' (my father had a Jack Russell called Sindy when I was a child) suggested that along with my facial, I allow her to arrange to have some ‘fillers popped in – just to the deep furrows’ ...........Thanks for that sweetie! She further advised a ‘chemical glycolic acid or microdermabrasion peel, lazer depiliation and lip plumpers’. I am not suggesting for a minute that I am not the owner of wrinkles appropriate to my age, but I was not aware that I have grown a beard of late! Sindy made a much anticipated treat into the equivalent of a trip to the dentists for a root canal treatment, only substantially more damaging to my self-esteem, and just as expensive.

What happened to the pampering massage, the masques and facial steaming? Where are the aromatherapy oil burners and whale music? Where is the charm and the complementary glass of warm UHT orange juice? I am not convinced that an NVQ Level One should qualify these people to wax a bikini line. Who gave them their medical diplomas, syringes and exfoliating acid? Whatever happened to ageing gracefully? It was like Frankensteins lab in there!

I managed to get out the door without eyelash extensions (they last four weeks apparently) or acrylic nails. I quite like the idea of spray tan, but would the children recognise me? A frozen face and thick lips are not the look for me. As for the chemical peel - well, its all a bit too scarey, and colonic lavage? If anyone tries that on me I will have them arrested. I had to come home and lie down for half an hour.

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