The beauty market is big business, which is why it pays to seek out providers by reputation and transparency as well as price. Photos by Bao Zoan
It’s not an uncommon tale — a Facebook page selling whitening cream, a customer ordering it, and finding, to their distress, that not only does the cream not work, but it is actually damaging.
One such case last year in Vietnam made it to a VTV documentary. The customer, Vu Minh Thi, applied the cream which quickly caused her skin to break out in an itchy rash.
“I decided to stop using the cream but it got worse,” she told VTV. Eventually, after unsuccessfully trying to get restitution from the supplier, she filed a lawsuit.
Then there was 22-year-old Ngoc Bich, who was persuaded to try a trendy new beauty method called skin needling, supposedly the skin smoothing technique favoured by Angelina Jolie and Kim Kardashian.
It involves moving a small roller fitted with around 200 surgical needles across the skin, the idea being that this stimulates the beneficial production of collagen and elastin and removes blemishes through the skin’s natural repair process. In Ngoc Bich’s case, it merely led to a nasty facial infection.
A Cutting Edge
Unsurprisingly, Vietnam’s cosmetic market is noted for lax regulation, products of dubious origin, and so-called beauty salons on every corner.
“The most important thing is that you have to keep your mind sharp,” advises Valencia Tran, a veteran of the cosmetic market who is managing director of Thea Beauty Solutions. “Most cheap products don’t have clear labels of origin. Cheap services are usually conducted by inexperienced staff with cheap products and old technologies. Say no to them.”
Valencia speaks from personal experience — she admits she tried everything to make herself look her best. Her advice? Get recommendations from friends, and above all, keep yourself informed.
“Before buying a beauty product or going for surgery, you have to get reviews of that product or salon from friends and the media,” she explains. “Then you have to study this industry to understand how that product or process works.”
Her experiences have also taught her that short-term solutions are a waste of time — you need to treat your health and beauty as an ongoing project.
“Most importantly, you have to understand what your body needs and have a long-term plan to take care of your health and beauty. Be wise for your beauty.”
A Personal Solution
It is with this in mind that in 2013 Valencia established Thea Beauty Solutions. A Singapore-based company operating a chain of skincare and aesthetic clinics in Ho Chi Minh City, Thea Beauty offers a wide range of products and services including aesthetic surgery, cosmetic dermatology and other procedures like botox, snoring and apnea treatment, and hair removal. Also, to ensure standards remain high, Valencia has employed qualified beauty experts and doctors from Thailand, Korea and the US. Their Vietnamese doctors are well-trained and fully qualified.
In a market that lacks enforced regulations, for Valencia the key is to be self-regulating and ensure that all treatments are top-notch and are conducted with the long-term in mind.
Thea Beauty Solutions can be found at Ground Floor Somerset Chancellor Court, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, HCMC; 9C Thao Dien, Q2, HCMC and CR1-06 Crescent Residence, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Q7, HCMC. For info call their hotline on 0911 489797 or click on thea-clinic.com