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Modern twist on ancient beauty

By Xu Junqian | Shanghai Star | Updated: 2014-08-21 10:11

Modern twist on ancient beauty

Light complexion: The spa's reception was designed in a modern minimalist style but its healing practices are centuries old. Photo provided to Shanghai Star

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Cleopatra wore kohl eyeliner in ancient Egypt. A few hundred years later in China, Concubine Yang from the Tang dynasty (618-907), bathed in spring water with mulberry leaves.

Concubine Yang Yuhuan, one of the four beauties of ancient China, claimed such a bath would rejuvenate her skin, which poets described as "transparent as congealed lard", a state so desirable that she was accused of distracting her husband, Emperor, from his work, plunging the country into anarchy.

The point is, staying ahead of beauty trends is not always about looking to the future. Forget about space-age machines and cutting edge technology, ancient treatments, ingredients and skills may be the next big thing to hit the beauty industry.

It is this idea that inspired a visit to Herborist Spa, owned by China's largest cosmetic company, the Shanghai Jahwa Group. The spa's treatments are based on the theories from Huangdi, or the Yellow Emperor, which were recorded to form China’s most authoritative ancient medicinal text.

The spa's promises certainly work at drawing you in.

"A natural complexion that is not toned by any cosmetics but resembles the first light of day reflected on the fresh snow," is how Zhang Xiaolin, the spa general manager, describes the result of the TCM-style treatment.

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