Mama Sophia Gets Her First Tattoo

I’m a simple, work-from-home mom. Because I don’t have to see anyone except for The Princess’s teachers at drop-off, I usually just wear my yoga pants and t-shirt, no make-up, and my glasses. I generally save dressing up for when I fly out to Boston for work—about once a quarter—or when I see my doctor, or when there’s a special event/outing (very rare). So, when I went to Kim Sun Young Salon with my SIL this past weekend, I’m sure I was viewed as a fashion emergency—with my unruly gray hairs springing from the top of my shapeless hair, uneven complexion, and untamed eyebrows.

Originally I had just planned to get a simple haircut, possibly touch up my grays, and then get a facial. Instead, I ended up with all that plus an eyelash perm, a special hair mask, and an eyeliner tattoo.

The last time I went the Kim Sun Young Salon, it was at the end of June on a Friday afternoon. It turned out to be a four-hour adventure because my stylist, Mrs. Park, was very popular and very booked. That day I had a “magic perm” (got hooked up with numerous electrical cords that was set at different configurations to control the level of curl/wave, so it would appear more natural), hair coloring, straight perm, and a sassy bob-cut. The haircut was great—it lasted me up until now and was half the price at what I paid at my usual salon.

I decided that it perhaps time to revisit Mrs. Park before the craziness of Thanksgiving set in. We went in the morning, so it was a lot calmer and we ended up getting great service. I’m sure it also helped that my SIL and niece were dedicated customers.

(Whenever I go to the Korean grocery store, restaurant, or salon with my husband or with my SIL, I tend to get better service compared to when I go by myself. HB or SIL seems to project a “serve me well or else” vibe, while I’m more like “hi, sorry to bother you, my Korean sucks, but I need some help” vibe. It could just be me, but sometimes I get the sense that the Korean business people can’t be bothered by the likes of me—someone who obviously looks Korean but acts American. It doesn’t make sense because money is money regardless of whether it comes from a Korean speaker or not. But I’ve had some of my non-Korean friends say the same thing—that they feel like they get different treatment (often worse), if they go to a Korean business without someone-in-the-know—i.e., a fluent Korean speaker.)

Sometimes to get you to come back or spend more while you’re there, the folks at the salon will throw in a little lagniappe here and there (like a hair mask and a scalp massage, eyelash perm, shoulder massage, eyebrow shaping…). And since I got all these perks, I decided why not—let’s try the eyelid tattoo to look fresh and semi-made-up in the mornings.

I have to say that the facial was WOW! This wasn’t your ordinary facial—it was more like a swedish massage for the face, shoulders, upper back, and neck, combined with lots of different creams/cleansers/tonics to cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, and take years off the face. The massage on the face was a bit painful, but from my understanding it was to increase circulation and exercise/tighten the muscles, in order to better bring out one’s features. Apparently all the Korean actors get this kind of facial to maintain their youthful looks and complexion. But for me the highlight was the shoulder massage—I was amazed at the powerful hands of my petite aesthetician, who tirelessly worked out the boulderlike knots developed from long hours in front of the computer.

So how do I like the tattoo? I think it looks very natural—like I just put on a little liquid eyeliner a few minutes ago. My MIL says my eyes look bigger and I look as though I lost a little weight. (Hahaha!) I’m not sure if it’s the eyelash perm or the eyeliner tattoo, but it also looks like I have thicker lashes, too. My eyelids are a tiny bit puffy still, but I’m sure it’ll get better in the next day or so. I was told that I’d need to come back for a touch-up on the eyeliner tattoo within a month (which was included in the price). It’ll be the perfect excuse for me to go back for another facial/massage.

I can still feel the effects of the facial/massage—muscles are a little sore, but at least the skin is soft and smooth like a baby’s bottom. Best of all, no breakouts, which is sometimes what happens to me when I get facials.

The owner of the salon was eyeing the premature age spot on my left cheekbone. She says she can make it disappear as well as my other skin pigmentation issues. Very tempting, but I think I’m OK with my skin imperfections for now. Now, if she had a secret to remove some of my jelly belly without my having to go under the knife or to do endless hours of exercise, I’d be happy to listen.

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