Let’s start this new week with something a little more light-hearted, shall we? I think we all need that after the miserable political events of the last few days… So coming up today – Shanghai beauty tips!

This city is packed with stores that sell beauty products from all over the world, and local salons offer every face/body/hair treatment that exists. But unfortunately China doesn’t always have the best reputation when it comes to quality, reliability and hygiene, so finding the good spots with a high enough standard is worth gold! Here are a few tried and tested favorites that I can gladly recommend to anyone in need of some beautifying.

Hair care at Franck Provost
We’ve all heard the horror stories about expats going to Chinese hair salons and coming out with either no hair, burnt hair or just the worst imaginable haircut (like Robert who accidentally got the Kim Jong-Un style a few years back). I’m very protective of my hair, but the other week I gathered all my courage and made an appointment to the Franck Provost salon on Anfu Lu after hearing so many good things from a handful of reliable (=blonde) sources. And boy am I glad I did! Turns out that they do blonde highlights much, much better than I ever had done when living in Copenhagen. No burnt hair, no yellow tones. Only beautiful, soft, ashy, bright blonde. I paid around 1300 RMB for highlights + cut, so about the same as I’m used to back home. Too bad I don’t have a good before and after shot (will do next time), but in the picture below you can get a sense of the result. The salon also has such a nice, modern vibe and the staff made me feel super welcome and relaxed. I even got the membership card since I’ll definitely be going back soon, that way I’ll save around 10-15% on their services. The salon also sells imported hair-care products from big brands like Kérastase, Davines and L’oréal.

Shanghaista Shanghai Expat Blog

Manicures at Helen Nail Spa
Pampering yourself with manicures and pedicures is so wonderfully easy and cheap in China. Nail salons are everywhere, but finding a nice, clean enough place can sometimes be tricky. Helen Nail Spa is my favorite so far. I’ve visited two of their three locations (819 Julu Lu and 120 Nanchang Lu) and both are clean, cozy and casual (if you want uber-fancy, this is not your place). The staff is always super friendly, and usually someone speaks a little English if your Chinese manicure-vocabulary is lacking. They seem to take good care of the equipment and pay attention to cleanliness and hygiene, which is very important to me when it comes to places like this. Helen’s offer services like manicures, pedicures, waxing, foot massages and more. The price for a manicure is around 100-150 RMB and a pedicure goes for a little less than that. By the way, Helen’s also sells OPI nail polish, and I just discovered that Sephora finally does too! Taobao and Tmall are of course filled with shops that sell OPI, but I don’t trust them to be the real stuff (especially with the suspiciously low prices)…

Helen Nail Spa Shanghai Expat Blog

Soothing sheet mask for amazing skin
Moving here to Shanghai definitely made my skin react. The pollution, humidity and lifestyle changes caused my face to freak out quite a bit, and adding any harsh products to that would have probably caused even more trouble. Luckily the beauty gods heard my prayers and guided me to try this amazing mask a few weeks back: Aloe Soothing sheet mask from Korean skin-care brand Jejuen. I absolutely love this product, it calms any ongoing irritation while providing skin with plenty of moisture, leaving my face looking super balanced and glowy. This is perfect for sensitive, combination skin like mine. So now once a week for 20 minutes I look like Freddy Krueger, scaring poor Robert and the neighbours, but it’s so worth it. Sephora is my #1 place to shop anything beauty-related, and that’s where I found these babies too. Get a pack of five for 200 RMB. Hooray for K-beauty!

Jejuen Aloe Soothing Sheet Mask

Bath products by eco&more
I’m totally hooked on the heavenly hand and body washes from Shanghai-Australian company eco&more. They smell and feel AMAZING, plus their line of products are made of safe, plant-based, hypoallergenic ingredients, which means less skin exposure to harsh or even toxic chemicals often found in personal care products. It’s obviously not the cheapest soap in the store – a hand or body wash will cost you between 60-110 RMB – but the bottles are pretty big, plus I don’t mind paying a bit extra for quality products that add some luxury to everyday life. I’ve seen eco&more products in convenience stores and supermarkets around popular expat areas (French Concession, Jing’an, Xintiandi), and also in the Fields online supermarket. You can also order products through their website here.

eco&more Hand Wash

Bronzer discovery
I just found a department store that not only sells a proper bronzer, but actually my all time favorite one from Bobbi Brown! Now, some of you might not get what a huge deal this is, but for years and years all you could get in China were whitening products. Whitening body lotions, face creams, masks, foundations, powders, you name it. The beauty ideal is all about being as white and pale as possible, and products giving any bronzed, sun-kissed glow to your face or body have been veeery hard to find. Maybe buying quality bronzer in Shanghai is old news by now, who knows as I’m still a newbie in town, but I just wanted to share in case someone else is on the lookout and don’t know where to start searching. Get Bobbi Brown’s Bronzing Powders in various shades at the Isetan department store on 1038 Nanjing Xi Lu.

Got any hot beauty-related tips for Shanghai? Please share in the comments!

Have a great week everyone, let’s hope this one will be better than the last. X

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