Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Art of the Cremebath. -Metta Murdaya

Now here’s a hair/spa treatment we are missing out on in the US. Imagine having big yummy bowls of creamy, dreamy, custardy botanical hair mask slathered all through your newly shampooed hair in a gloriously revitalizing head massage as you sit and relax in a comfy chair. After 20 minutes of head heaven, your hair is then wrapped in a warm, moist steamy towel as this massage wonderfully moves to your shoulders and neck, releasing all tension. Then moves down to your arms, forearms, all the way to your fingertips. Delicious olive oil and lotions are combined to create a massage oil that will give you that mmmm-give-me-more-just-right-there-oh-yes! feel as your muscles are released. (No dirty thoughts now, this is a family show!) Imagine this goes on for another 45 minutes. Try not to drool from bliss. I call this heaven. The Indonesians call it a traditional cremebath. Short of being a full spa treatment, this head-to-arm treatment is a traditional beauty ritual that you can find in many spas and salons in Indonesia. Convenient because it takes less time and doesn’t require you to disrobe, it nonetheless gives you release and pampering in just the right areas. And since we all need air hair washed, it also has a purely functional aspect to it too, rendering your hair clean, healthy and beautiful, so this treatment is very popular with the women there, myself included. After the treatment, you are served tea or Jamu, an ancient herbal health tonic, you can sip while slowly reconnecting to the world out there… where you can begin to dream about getting the next cremebath…

One can choose from a variety of conditioning masks with different traditional benefits. Their claims for the masks with following ingredients are:
Ginseng – energizing, for thinning hair
Candlenut - increases shine and darkens hair (what I chose!)
Avocado – hydrating nourishment for dry hair
Aloe Vera – straightens hair

I went with a friend of mine in Jakarta, Indonesia. Sometimes they’re in fancier salons, but ours was in a local salon with a simple Javanese theme, with batik chairs and traditional rotan furniture. We wanted to be in the same room so we could chat through the treatment, but once the fingers touched our heads, we both, as if on cue, became radio silent for the next hour, lost somewhere in “this feels so good” and “Calgon, take me away!” land. But definitely bring me back, especially after I saw the price tag on this ritual: $6. (It can go up to $15 in fancier salons/spas.) If you’re in Indonesia, I highly suggest you look for one in a salon/spa near you.


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