Tea & Talk: Beauty secrets from Annie Fung (my birthday gift)

Saturday, May 18, 2013
Spa expert Annie Fung

So today is my birthday. It's funny: since I turned 30 two years ago, I kind of stopped counting the digit after the big 3 and on each birthday I have to ask my hubby how old I am.

His reply always surprises me. Seriously! In my mind I'm still 24 years old

I don't know why it's particularly 24, but I think it's because it sounds nice and on some days I catch myself behaving accordingly. Not sure if this is a good or bad thing. But, hey, one needs to embrace the inner child, right?

One thing that's different for sure is the way I celebrate my birthday. Long gone are nights spent partying with way too many vodka shots and sore feet from all the dancing. Now my typical birthday is like this (and today is no exception):

- I'm wearing my "Forever 21" T-shirt to make me feel better (and for everybody to notice)

- A 90-minute yoga session to relax my stiff muscles

- I'm turning my bathroom into a home spa and block it for at least 2 hours (yup, hubby is not happy)

As for my birthday gift, I actually have three wonderful presents pour moi:

This uplifting sea-salt body scrub with olive oil, Frankincense and Grapefruit essential oils

a wonderful aromatherapy massage from my great therapist Cherry at my aromatherapy school,

AND - something for me and you, my dear readers: I had the opportunity to meet the amazing and lovely Annie Fung who is the spa expert in Hong Kong.

With more than 10 years experience in the beauty and spa industry in Hong Kong - among them managing the Ritz Carlton spa and training therapists across the Asia-Pacific region - Annie is now director of brand & training in the Vincent Raya Group who specialize in innovative salon-waxing products. 

We sat down and talked about Hong Kong's competitive spa industry, current trends and her beauty secrets to gorgeous skin:

1. Working in the spa industry seems like a dream job - how is it really like?

Well, working in hotel spas really is a high-demanding, stressful job. There are high expectations and competition is fierce. It is very money-oriented which is a challenge for every spa manager. In fact, the spa & fitness departments of the hotels are always the ones with the lowest income. Therapists in Hong Kong usually work 10 hours per day with only short breaks in between treatments. I used to be a workaholic myself until I realized health is everything. It's important to be well-balanced.

2. What are the most popular treatments clients book?

Definitely body massages. People need to release mental as well as muscle tensions. Clients love to be pampered and experience the sense of touch. Professional therapists do a lot of energy healing - they can sense what the client needs and give energy.

Each culture has its own spa culture depending on the country's resources. For example the hot springs in Europe and Japan. In fact, water therapy has become quite popular over the years.

3. Let's talk a bit more about spa trends - which developments do you see?

In Hong Kong / Asia people became familiar with the term "spa" only 8 years ago. Before that there were just beauty salons offering facials, pedi / mani and body treatments. Spa managers didn't have the holistic concept in mind. Treatments were result-oriented but didn't focus on the whole body. They needed to learn about the 5 senses first. So spa managers were sent overseas to Europe and Australia to study nutrition, herbal products, wellness, alternative therapies and so on. Only then their mindset and philosophy changed. And now I can say it's quite a mature industry with high consistency and on-going training.

In 10-20 years from now I see a combination of wellness and medical spa, like a total health retreat. For example, the hotel group Chiva Som are already going in this direction by offering a "medi-spa" with cosmetic treatments and surgeries, holistic health programs and wellness retreats.

4. In terms of spa design - what are your favorites?

A spa designer has to work with the natural environment and bring the 5 elements into balance. My favorite spa overseas is in New Zealand, Queenstown near the hot springs: the design in combination with the wonderful environment create a perfect harmony.

In Hong Kong, my favorite day spa is "Bodywize" in Happy Valley.

5.  Can you share some beauty secrets and home spa tips with me?

Sure! I have several tips for you:

- Blend your own shower gel with nice aromatherapy oils, preferably 4-5 for different needs

- Make a body scrub with sea salt for exfoliation

- Drink lots of water (for body & spirit)

- Allow your body to get enough rest (6-8 hours sleep)

Have a great weekend, everyone! And celebrate like it's your birthday!

Cake for breakfast
Photo Credit


  1. It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on Massage Training, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks for sharing this with others.


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