Dermal fillers and Botox: What to do to avoid the black and blue.

Want to look magically younger without anyone knowing your secret fountain of youth? 

Botox, Juvederm and Restylene are practically household names nowadays.  These injectables and fillers will give you almost immediate results, enhancing your natural beauty.

We all want to be beautiful and remain young, forever!  These treatments will take years off with little or no recovery time. 

Here’s how to keep your treatments a little secret between you and your practitioner:

Pre treatment:

Stop taking medications that can thin the blood.  A week before you get Botox injections and dermal fillers, stop taking: aspirin, ibuprofen, Excedrin, Motrin, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, flax oil, cod liver oil, fish oil, vitamin A, vitamin E and other essential fatty acids. Also, avoid drinking alcohol a few days before your treatment.

If you have to take pain medication, Tylenol is your best choice.   

10 Post treatment recommendations:

1)   Elevate your headand avoid lying flat or prone (face down). Putting your head on a few pillows, will help reduce bruising, swelling, and pooling of blood in the area treated.

2)   Do not massage or touch injection sites. Avoid rubbing and massaging the treated area for at least 24 hours.  You don't want to make the injectable spread to other unintended areas.

3)   Exercise treated muscles.  For the first one to two hours post treatment exercise the area treated either by raising your eyebrows, squinting or furrowing your brow. (Botox ONLY)

4)   Avoid additional facial treatments.  Make sure to book other services including, but not limited to facials, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, etc. for at least 24-48 hours post treatment. 

5)   Use an ice pack .  Icing before, during, and after injectables can help reduce the potential of bruising. Ice helps to constrict the blood vessels and lessens the likelihood of a bruise to spread. Do not place ice directly on the skin. Use a clean barrier like a thin paper towel.

 6)   Apply arnica gel.  Apply arnica to injection sites with clean hands every 1-2 hours for at least the first 24 hours to help minimize bruising.  Arnica Montanais a homeopathic medicine used to reduce bruising  It is available without a prescription and can be found at most natural health food stores.

 7)   No strenuous activity.  Any activity that elevates your blood pressure and heart rate can cause bruising.  You should avoid running, weight lifting, pilates, yoga, aerobics, cycling, climbing, sun, heat exposure and sex.

 8)   At least 3 days post treatment avoid: aspirin, Motrin, ginkgo biloba, alcohol, carbohydrates, caffeine, sugar, garlic, flax oil, cod liver oil, fish oil, vitamin A, vitamin E and other essential fatty acids.

 9)   For at least 24-48 hours post treatment avoid: alcohol, caffeine, niacin, high sodium foods, high sugar foods, carbohydrates, spicy foods and cigarettes.

 10)  No topical products.  Discontinue Retin A for at leat 2 days after treatment.  Do not wear makeup or lipstick on the treated area for at least 24 hours.




Combat aging – EXFOLIATE!

Want to feel that silky smooth skin you had as a baby?

As we age new skin forms more slowly, because cell turnover decreases. Cell turnover is the process by which our skin produces new cells that travel from the lowest layer of the skin to the top layer and then shed off.  The slower the cell turnover the more built up or aging skin we accumulate.  A baby produces brand new skin in just 14 days compared to 42 days for a 50-year-old person.

Try exfoliation.

It is important to include mild exfoliation in your everyday skin care regimen, to keep the top layer of the skin from getting too old and thick with dead skin cells.

Regular exfoliation is the key to keeping pores clean, skin hydrated, and reducing sun damage.  The end result is a more even complexion, smaller pores and less fine lines and wrinkles.

Exfoliation shouldn’t be confined you your face.  You can exfoliate your entire body! This will keep your dry skin at bay and help to increase circulation, lymph drainage, and decrease ingrown hairs. 

The 2 methods of exfoliation you can try at home:

1)   Chemical Exfoliation:

Chemical exfoliation is achieved through the topical use of Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids (AHA & BHA).  They dissolve the glue that holds dead skin cells together on the skins surface.  AHA’s and BHA’s jump start the production of collagen, elastin and stimulate the production of new skin cells. 

You should look for products containing: Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid.  These products are typically a lotion or gel and can be found counter at any supermarket or drugstore.  However, your local esthetician or spa will have a stronger and more effective product.  You will also benefit by getting professional advice for your specific skin type and needs. 

2)   Mechanical Exfoliation:

Mechanical exfoliation uses a tool (i.e. glove, brush or sponge) or material (i.e. apricot seed, salt, sugar, oatmeal, etc.).  Pressure and friction combined with your choice of mechanical exfoliant will loosen and reduces the outer layer of dead skin cells. Be careful, excessive abrasion can result in skin irritation. 

My favorite method of mechanical exfoliation for the body is exfoliation gloves.  Exfoliation gloves are cheap ($2-$5) and can be used in combination with your favorite body wash.  I recommend starting at your feet and hands and working towards your heart.  This way you get the added benefit of increased lymph drainage, which can help to improve your immune system.   




Sales with heart.

Don’t sell your soul for a dollar.  Selling beauty products is all about educating your clients. You are the expert.  Clients come to you for beauty advice, trends and styles.  Don’t hold back, they trust you and want you to teach them how to achieve that professional look at home. 

Did you know that approximately 30-40% of what your take home pay should come from retail sales?  Get comfortable with it. You are simply making a professional recommendation.

Here are 5 ways to make a sale without selling.

1)   Trust yourself.  You are the professional, and this is your area of expertise. You know what would be best for your clients’ skin, hair and nails.  Don’t be greedy.  Share this information with them. 

2)   Know your stuff.  Use it (yes! on yourself and your clients), love it (only sell products that you can stand behind whole heartedly) and learn everything you possibly can about your product lines.   It is important to educate yourself on the key ingredients, benefits, who it is best for, how to use it/apply it, how long a bottle or jar will last, and how much it costs. 

3)   Show and tell.  Show them how to use products and tools to get the same look/effect at home when you aren’t there with them.  Teach them.  Help them to be comfortable with new products.  Let them try it with you there to correct them.  Make it fun and experiential. 

4)   Make a connection.  Be relatable.  Share your own stories about product use and results.  Get good at understanding your clients’ desires and what they are trying to achieve.  Don’t oversell.  Be realistic and honest about what a product can and can’t do.

5)   Take note.  It is your job to listen and observe your client during a consultation or service.  Ask them questions so that you can achieve optimal results.  Make sure to take thorough chart notes about products used during services or products you discussed during a consultation.  If they decide not to purchase a product that day they can always come back and it will be easy to find what products you recommended in their client file. 

The perfect brow: How to work with what your mama gave you!

Accomplish the best design for your eyebrows without giving up their natural appearance.  The uni-brow and uber-thin looks are out!

Remember you can take hair off, but you can’t put it back on.  When shaping brows you must take into consideration their natural shape and the amount of hair there is to work with.  

Eyebrows are meant to be sisters not twins.  No two sides of any face are perfectly symmetrical, so don’t worry if your brows follow suit. 

How to personalize your brow shape to emphasize your eyes:

1)   3 guide-lines.  First you must decide where to start.  The above photograph shows 3 lines. 

Line #1: the starting point (vertical line closest to the nose).  This is where most eyebrows should start.  You can determine this line by finding the upper corner of the nostril and picturing a vertical line. 

Line #2: highest point of the arch (middle, angled line).  The second line is found from the same corner of the nostril, and then angled out to the iris.  The arch should be gradual not dramatic.  It should reach its maximum height at this line. 

Line #3: end of the brow (far left line).   This is where the brow should end.

2)   Less is more.  There are multiple ways to remove hairs.  Waxing.  Tweezing.  Threading.  I recommend having your brows professionally shaped by and esthetician that specializes in brows.  My preferred method for my clients is a combination of waxing then tweezing.  I always error on the side of taking less.  You can always come back and remove more if necessary.

3)   Trim.  Once you have shaped the brows a final dusting or trim may be required, so that all hairs lie in an orderly fashion.  Make sure not to trim too much, you could create a hole or bald spot in the brow by cutting them too short.

4)   Finish them off.  Finishing your brows with a brow powder and gel is essential to the final look.  Find a brow powder that closely matches the color of your brows or one that is slightly lighter.  An angled brow brush works best to apply the color.  Begin application in the center of the brow and work out towards the tip using short strokes in the direction of the hair growth.  Brow powder will help enhance your brows to fill in any holes or gaps between hairs.  The final step is a clear brow gel.  It is applied similarly to mascara, but on your brows.  Only a small amount is needed to encourage your brows to stay in place. 


How to make your gel polish last.

Love that polished look, but hate the up-keep of regular old nail polish.  Tired of chipping and constantly repainting your nails?

Step up you nail game with the lasting color of gel polish.

Ensure that your gel polish will last at least 2 weeks by trying this application method:

1)   Trim and file nails to desired length.

2)   Push back the cuticles.

3)   Wash hands to remove any oils and lotions.

4)   Lightly buff with a buffer block to remove shine.  Be careful not to buff too aggressively as it will damage the nail.  Wash your hands to remove residue from the buffing.

5)   Apply a Ph bonding product.  Dehydrating the nail.

6)   Apply a base coat.  Make sure it is thin and that you don’t touch the cuticles – then Cure

7)   Apply color of your choice.  Make sure it is thin and that you don’t touch the cuticles – then Cure.  You will need to apply 2-3 coats.  Cure after each coat.

8)   Apply top coat.  Make sure it is thin and that you don’t touch the cuticles – then Cure.

9)   Wipe nails with a nail cleanser or alcohol to remove tackiness. 

10) Apply cuticle oil to the skin surrounding the nail. 

 Tips of the trade:

 1)   Remove excess polish on the cuticle or skin before curing.  If you get polish on your cuticle or skin, remove it with a brush dipped in alcohol or nail cleanser BEFORE curing your nails under the light. 

2)   Cure time.  Gel polish typically cures with an LED lamp in 30 seconds, or 2 minutes with a UV lamp.  Know what kind of light you are using and read the label on your gel polish for curing times.

3)   Doing it yourself?  Finish one hand entirely before moving on to the other hand.

4)   Use thin coats of polish. Gel is not the same as regular nail polish. In this case less is more.  Instead of adding more polish, add another thin coat curing between coats.

5)   No picking. If an edge begins to lift, grab a nail file and gently smooth it down.  Picking will cause trauma to the nail.

6)   Cap the ends. I saved the best, and most important for last.  You MUST remember to cap the ends of your gel polish. Cap EVERY layer of your gel pulling the gel over the end of the nail's free edge.

La La Lash Extensions: How to make ‘em last.

Have an active life? Still want to feel beautiful without wasting time with mascara application and removal?  Get a gorgeous and natural look without batting an eye.  Eyelash extensions are ideal for women on the go. 

Are they right for you? Ask yourself do you want to save time on your daily beauty regimen?  Do you enjoy the look of mascara?

Throw out your mascara.  Forever. No more messy raccoon eyes.

Enhance your eyes.  Eyelash extensions create a brighter, more open and dramatic eye. Giving a youthful rested and rejuvenated appearance to many clients.

They are applied individually to eyelashes, one extension at a time, adding length and fullness to the existing lashes. Eyelash Extensions look and feel completely real.

So, you’ve just got your first set of eyelash extensions.  Here’s how to make the most of them. 

Keep up that Va Va Voom: 4 tips for beginners

1)   Don’t sleep around.  Try to sleep on your back.  Rubbing and friction will cause the lashes to come out quickly.

 2)   Keep your hands to yourself.  Our hands have natural oils.  Touching your new lashes will breakdown the adhesive bond. Rubbing your eyes, pulling at your lashes and wiping/removing makeup will shorten the life of your lashes. 

 3)   No lube.  Avoid oil based make up and removal products, they will breakdown the bond of the adhesive.  Especially eye makeup remover.  Make sure to get oil-free products.

4) Stay regular. With proper care and maintenance, touch-ups are typically only needed once every 2 to 4 weeks to replace the lashes that have shed.



The Brazilian Wax: How to get what you asked for!

The dreaded bikini wax.  Most people have misconceptions about what really goes on down there. 

Why wax vs. shave?  Waxing removes the hair from the root, and creates silky smooth results.  Consistent waxing can lead to a reduced density of hair over time.  Once hairs are removed via waxing a brand new hair grows back, soft and tapered.  Hair re-growth after shaving results in blunt, pokey hairs that can be itch and more readily grow back under the skin creating unsightly inflamed ingrown hairs. 

A typical Brazilian waxing service lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on your technicians level of experience.  The long lasting results of a Brazilian wax, far out weigh the short-lived discomfort some may experience during the procedure.  The majority of my clients happily remark that the discomfort was much less than they had initially expected.  

Here are some waxing guidelines, so that you can achieve the best possible results.

Pre-Service Recommendations:

1)   Ask questions!  When booking your appointment, make sure to ask the following questions:

How much experience do you have? (1+ years is advised)

How long will the appointment take? (less than an hour is ideal)

What kind of wax do you use? (You want hard wax! The brand doesn’t really matter.)

2)   Wait 4 weeks between waxing sessions. This is best due to the hair growth cycles.  If you wax before or after this time frame you won’t have the smoothest and longest lasting results.  If you have shaved it is necessary to wait 3 weeks before your first waxing.

3)   Exfoliate.  This will help to get any sneaky hairs that may be growing under the skin loose, so that they may be more readily removed with the wax.

4)   To trim or not to trim.  If your hair is longer than a ¼ inch - ½ inch you should trim it.  If you must trim a safe guideline is to “pinch it”.  Actually grab your hair with your thumb and pointer finger.  Everything on the outside of the two fingers should be trimmed.

5)   What’s your style? Getting a Brazilian wax does not mean you have to take EVERYTHING off.  You can leave what I like to call a “maturity patch”, typically in the shape of a V or rectangle. However, I’ve had people get creative and try a heart or a star shape if you like to walk on the wild side.

Post-service Care:

1)   Not Hot!  Hot tubs, saunas, sunbathing, and strenuous workouts may cause inflammation and irritation of the skin.  Make sure to keep the area cool and dry for the first 24 hours (showering is ok).

2)   Exfoliate.  Yep, here it is again.  It’s really important.  Wait 24 hours post wax, and then scrub like crazy.  My favorite tool is exfoliation gloves.  You can squirt your body wash directly into them then with vigorous circular motions scrub the bikini area.  This will help to reduce the likelihood of ingrown hairs.  Ingrown hairs are caused by skin growing over the hair follicle trapping it under the skin.  Exfoliation helps to remove that skin so that the hair may grow unhindered and without the unsightly bumps. 

3)   Call your esthetician if you have ingrown hairs.  DO not remove them yourself! You can cause serious infection.

4)   Reschedule every 4 weeks, and book your next appointment before you leave.


How to Achieve a Natural Glow without the Harmful Sun.

Don’t you love the way you look and feel in the summer?  Sun-kissed, glowing and full of life.  A natural looking tan can make you feel slimmer and sexier. 

Here are 3 smart ways to achieve a bronzed glow while protecting yourself from the suns harmful UV rays:

1) Slather on the sunscreen.  Most importantly, protect yourself!  Apply sunscreen daily, even if you don’t anticipate having much direct exposure.  Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to receive maximum protection, and reapplied every 2 hours thereafter.   

2) Get a professional spray tan.  You won’t look like an orange Oompa Loompa, I promise!  Go to a professional though, not a machine at the tanning salon.  Make sure to exfoliate and shave before your service.  This will help to extend the life of your tan.  One of my favorites is SunFx, check and see if your local salon or spa carries this product line.

3) Invest in a moisturizing tanning lotion.  You don’t need to be embarrassed anymore by your ghostly legs.  Grab a moisturizing tanning lotion at your nearest drug store.  The cheap ones usually work fine, however my fav is SunFx Summers Secret.  It builds and extends your tan while keeping your skin uber-hydrated.

Zen Laundry

Congratulations, you are a Cosmetologist!  Your newly honed skills allow you to be creative, expressive and beautify others.  Doesn’t it feel great?  You won’t have much down time as a rockin’ hair stylist, esthetician or nail technician, so use your time wisely.

In the bustling field of cosmetology LAUNDRY is LIFE!  A day won’t pass without having to start a load of laundry, switch it to the dryer, fold towels….REPEAT…all day, every day.  Seriously!

Now its time to find the balance. You have chosen a glamorous, diverse and exciting career.  Allowing you flexibility, independence and room for growth.  Lucky you!

FACT: Laundry is an everyday facet of this profession.  Instead of dreading it, make a healthy ritual or fun practice out of it by trying these 3 steps while folding:

1)   ZEN-OUT.  Redefine this time as a break or meditation.  Make it something you look forward to. Practice mindfulness by focusing your awareness in the moment staying calm and present.  This can bring your nervous system back into balance.

2)   Try a relaxing breathing technique. Deep breathing can effectively help combat stress, by activating the body's natural relaxation response.  Here is a simple technique to try.  Equal Breathing: To start, inhale for a count of four, then exhale for a count of four, all through the nose.  This can calm the nervous system, increase focus and reduce stress.

3)   Focus on what you are grateful for.  Maybe it’s your awesome clientele, healthy body, or peaceful work environment.  It doesn’t matter how big or small just as long as it is positive. Gratitude is directly correlated with greater happiness. Just watch and feel the positive changes that will occur from this shift in awareness.  You will have increased positive emotions, improved health, better at coping mechanisms and cultivate strong relationships. 

Self care - so you can care for your clients.

You are only as good to others as you are to yourself.

I first learned this lesson over 10 years ago.  I was a massage therapist at a 5 star resort in Santa Barbara, CA overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean.  My clientele included Coretta Scott King, Pierce Brosnan and Penelope Cruz just to name a few. This was the life; I was earning money while working on the rich and famous.  How could it get any better than this?  I didn’t realize I was constantly giving both physically and emotionally through this work.  Helping my clientele with their ailments and lending an ear to their issues. 

After working at the resort for over 2 years performing 30+ massages a week I developed chronic sciatica.  The cause was a bulging disc in my lower back from the exact work I was doing.  I continued to work through the unbearable pain.  Then it hit me one day during a massage as I stood there in excruciating pain I asked myself, “How can I make others feel good when I am in pain myself?”  I didn’t learn self care in massage school, and it wasn’t required at work.  I needed to put my health and well being first.  It was my responsibility; no one else was going to do it for me.

Here are 3 great ways to focus on self-care in the salon and spa industry, so that you may have a long and prosperous career beautifying and helping others feel good:

1)   Take regular breaks – make sure you advocate for yourself and create a schedule that allows for time throughout your day to replenish your energy (eat a snack, do some stretches, go on a walk, etc.)

2)   Stretch – The following are some excellent stretches that will help to loosen stiff fingers, hands and wrists.  If completed daily for a few months, hands will gain strength and flexibility!

Finger & Wrist Stretch

Step 1: Starting with the right hand gently extend the fingers back one by one.

Step 2: Then take them all back at the same time. This helps to stretch open your palm. Repeat several times.

Step 3: Take your thumb back towards your wrist. Then bring it forwards, stretching gently and firmly. Never force it. Finish by making a fist and slowly opening it, stretching your fingers and thumb out as far as you.

Step 4: Put your palms together, fingers pointing upwards, as if you were praying. Stretch your fingers and press palms together strongly. Keep the base of your palms pressing together, as you gradually lower your hands until your lower arms are horizontal.                                                                      

Step 5: Then take your hands down still further, fingers and upper palms together. You should feel the stretch on the insides of your fingers and wrists. Hold for a few seconds, and then repeat.