Things I wish I’d known last week

Right now there are two things I wish I had known before I came to Shanghai. Actually there are way more than two things, but these two are personal care related. (I apologize in advance for the image quality in this post. Had to do this quick and dirty).

The bar soap selection in a personal care store near our hotel. They still make Safeguard??
  • Where is all the soap? I have a well documented love of body wash but what a lot of people don’t know is that my love of body wash is mainly aesthetic. I use it to supplement my workhorse product: bar soap. More accurately beauty bars: Dove or Olay ONLY. Without getting into too many details, there are certain places I just don’t trust a liquid body wash to clean. Clearly Chinese people don’t agree. When we have been able to find bar soap in the small stores we’ve gone to (granted we haven’t yet been to one of the international chains like Tesco or Carrefour) there have been single digit numbers of bar soaps. And the major brand is … Safeguard. Triumphantly we found a few Dove white beauty bars languishing in the corner of a lonely convenience store shelf yesterday and truly I contemplated buying them all. At this same convenience store there were also at least 12 different varieties of whitening face mask though.
  • Does anybody use tampons? Uh…no. Apparently  people traveling to China bring their expat friends boxes and boxes of tampons the same way Trinidadians bring food (cooked or uncooked) back and forth from New York in their bags. Tampons are a rareity in China apparently as Chinese women aren’t big fans. I saw an expat forum a few minutes ago where women are literally begging others for information on WHERE can they find an international tampon brand (apparently ob applicator free are as good as it gets  lol). Don’t believe me? Do some more research here and here. (Update: one of my friends told me that someone DID tell me about this before I left but clearly it went in one ear and out the other. Listening is fundamental people)
Tampon selection in a beauty/ personal care store near our hotel.
Just one side of the sanitary napkin selection in the same store. There were two other sections as well.

Wish I could go to duane reade right now and pack a carryon full of Olay beauty bars and Playtex Gentle Glide. Anybody want to send me a care package??

3 thoughts on “Things I wish I’d known last week

  1. No soap or tampons? That’s serious. Especially the tampons bit. I never would have guessed that those amenities would be scarce somewhere like China. And by ‘like China’ I mean vast and populous ergo catering to many tastes and preferences? But I suppose cultural preference trumps em all. Good luck!

  2. Alas, ’tis true… most of my female friends who have lived/grown up in Hong Kong attest to this and the ones who do use tampons are usually the ones who have received “outside” influence – such as if her mom had grown up outside of Asia or she had grown up/was educated outside of Asia herself. Most of the girls who I know who are “homegrown” definitely are strictly “sanitary napkin” users. I can count the number of girls I know in Hong Kong who use tampons on one hand and as you move further ‘in’ to China, the likelihood of finding tampons dwindles to a negligible amount! And rest assured even if they do offer tampons at a store, they could have been sitting there for ages and cost a crapload more than if you were just to buy pads.

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