My teenage nightmare was brought back to life. In a country of skincare freaks.
As a teenager, I was struggling with bad skin for years. Eventually, the problems disappeared. Just to suddenly reappear at the age of 23. This time, of course, I wasn't surrounded by sympathetic European teenagers but by beautiful Chinese girls with spotless skin and a lot of curiosity.
Let's get this straight: the Chinese have great skin. It's healthy and smooth while having a few pimples equals a catastrophe. They definitely deserve it considering the amount of time, energy and money they put into skincare.
Everyone, except us foreigners, knows exactly what skin-beautifying food to eat, drinks to drink and procedures to go through. Girls munch crazy amounts of fruit and drink litres of green tea. They avoid fried and fat food and never go wild with alcohol.
I went through some contemplation and had a trip to the nearest cosmetic section in a supermarket. First, all the shopping assistants tried to send me to a doctor: what would be a mild skin problem in Europe is considered severe here in China. I explained I would be just fine with one of their products, only if they recommended me one.
In the second round I refused all the super-expensive products.
In the third round, I refused all the regular products with skin-whitening properties. Then I finally bought a cream of my choice.
If looking at these beautiful-faced women wasn't enough, it gets worse. In a typical Chinese fashion, they are deadly sincere when it comes to discussing your appearance.
"Teacher? What's wrong with your face? You look like my grandmother. Haha."
"Andrea, what happened to your face?"
"(Elderly cleaning lady from a shopping centre curiously looking at me pointing at my forehead.)"
Well, I got it ages ago that in China, girls are mainly supposed to be...pretty. Seriously, you would be really surprised to see how much extra effort Chinese women put in their appearance in comparison with Western women.
All these encounters with beauty-obssession came at the right time though. I'm really trying to find out more about these beautiful Chinese women, their opinions and aspirations, and put it all in a new blog post. That gives me great obligation to meet my Chinese girlfriends for coffee and speak about it all. And I can ask about their beauty secrets.