(Or, “A Break from the Minutiae of Making a Dress”)
I had some errands to run today in Chinatown, as did my husband, so we drove out together. I finished up first so I spent some time trolling the ethnic food shops in the area while I waited. I love ethnic groceries- for the food and also because they offer a glimpse into daily life in another culture. What products do immigrants miss most that they can’t find? Which are irreplaceable elements of a transplanted culture? I can’t help myself. Grocery stores are living anthropology exhibits. Today I stumbled across a small southeast asian grocery, tucked away on the second floor of a semi-dilapidated mall.
I stood transfixed in front of a rather large shelf stacked with this soap. It’s a whitener bar. I’ve been curious about whiteners since I saw them for the first time a few years ago, but I’m scared. “Today is the day,” I thought. I picked it up and had no idea how to pronounce any of the ingredients on the box- usually a bad sign. I put it back, even though it smelled nice.
I moved on to Yoko Face Whitening Cream. I don’t tan, I cover up in the sun, but I am not obsessed with being “the fairest of them all.” Genetically and geographically, it won’t happen. I am happy to be myself. (Though I’d like to be the best version possible.)
However- I miss one element of tanning. When my skin is tanned, the color covers annoying spots and imperfections in my skin- it even camouflages blackheads. Pale skin shows everything and acne scars take forever to leave; in fact, my blackheads often re-arrange themselves to spell out SOS messages when I don’t exfoliate regularly. It’s amazing.
So I looked at Yoko and thought- what’s the harm? How does it work? Will it work? I whipped out my phone for quick google search of Yoko Face Whitening Cream. Some hate it, some swear by it, some use it as foundation but the major concern for me was the mercury found in the cream a few years ago, and the fact that Malaysia banned its sale and distribution. Right. No Yoko Face Whitening Cream for me.
Plain yogurt does a great job. When I feel like it, I squeeze in half a lemon which has a mild “bleaching” effect on any dark spots. (It tingles a little, but if you try this and it burns rinse it off quickly.) Sometimes I mix in oatbran. It works really, really well for me- those marks fade out and the yogurt leaves my skin dewy. Just slap it on thickly, leave it for 20 or so minutes, and cleanse. If I leave it longer than 20 minutes my skin gets “fat.” It’s ridiculously cheap. And I don’t have to worry about mercury and God Knows What Else.
Where’s the line between maintenance and vanity? Is the line drawn when vanity causes physical harm to the person, or is there another place to draw the line? Where’s your own line? I’d like to hear any thoughts on this, y’all are an interesting crowd.
Have you ever tried face whitening creams? How was it?