Tag Archive: California Central Coast Day Spas


Most massage/bodywork aficionados remember the uncertainty that came with their first service. What should I expect? Will I have to take off all my clothes? How much do I tip? Will the pressure be too deep or not deep enough?

I got my first massage when I was 15 (40 years ago!). There were very few therapists then, and only elite health clubs or vacation retreat and resort properties offered spa services.

In fact, the woman who gave me my first massage(s), later opened a school – and fast forward 25 years, I became a student there. ūüôā

So,¬†hopefully¬† I’ve established myself as a veteran massage recipient turned provider – but don’t assume that I’m perfect at setting and honoring boundaries; it takes¬†conscious attention and personal assertion¬†– let’s begin!

For newcomers to massage, the prospect of those first visits can be unnerving. Here are some basic bodywork/massage guidelines to help you choose a therapist, get the most out of your session, and create a healthy client-therapist relationship.

If there are no forms, and no intake interview – in my estimation, the service is no good. Massage “on the cheap” is just that (and I’ll admit I have taken part – ¬†in desperation!). ¬†Reputable massage clinics, with skilled therapists, do intakes.

Seriously – do you have athlete’s feet, herpes, high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, history of¬†seizure?¬†We’re ¬†talking¬†safety¬†here!

And what about your preferences? Do you get cold, are your feet ticklish, do you like light – medium or deep pressure, and so on and so on.

And, in regard to the pressure used during a massage – more is not better people! (Is drinking a bottle of wine better than enjoying a glass?)¬†There is a term called “Echo Point” I like to use. It refers to the point between pain and pleasure – as far as pressure, there is no¬†benefit¬†in going ¬†beyond this point.

Note: At Star Brows, I have a thorough intake/interview process.  Actually, it takes about 2-3 sessions for you to really get comfortable with a new therapist. It takes the therapist that long Рand longer, to get to know you and your needs and preferences as well. Even if you only go a couple of times a year Рgo to the same person (once you find someone you like).

  • Punctuality = Full Session

If you arrive 5 or 10 minutes early each time, you will start the massage more relaxed and focused, moving sooner to a place of healing calm. Plus, you’ll get your full time on the table!

  • Cancellations

Most practitioners require a 24-hour notice to avoid fees. Outside of an emergency situation, last-minute cancellations or missed appointments usually result in paying a fee. Your therapist reserved that time for you and may have turned away other clients.

  • Honor Your Body

Figure out what you like, and communicate it. Yes, the¬†therapist is trained to do her job – but it’s YOUR body. Be in charge! ¬†The therapist should provide a ¬†comfortable atmosphere for you to express your needs and¬†preferences. They should be checking in with you, asking questions about likes and dislikes – and if they aren’t, you need to – as my dad ¬†says, “wiggle your lips”. ūüėÄ If they don’t listen, end the service – and don’t go back.

Some people have a hard time even considering massage because they are so unhappy with their body. This is primarily a female issue. It may be  hard thinking about getting naked, lying on a massage table having a virtual stranger touch you, as a pleasurable experience.

For those dealing with self-esteem or body image issues, massage therapy and bodywork can be produce anxiety. But developing trust and rapport with a skilled therapist can be transformational!

  • Shower Up

Common sense? Not always. ūüėČ

  • Consider Talking and Confidentiality

Sometimes massage sessions can bring up intimate issues about yourself, an issue,  or a relationship. The spirit, soul and body are one Рso integration of these realms can bring miraculous healing on a physical and emotional level. But, keep in mind Рmassage therapists are typically not trained in professional psychology. Some issues will require a referral to a skilled professional. An ethical service provider will refer if professional help, such as a counselor, seems needed.

To stay safe, only share what you want to share. Quietness is preferable overall – you should lead the way if there is going to be conversation.

Sometimes people become chatty because they are nervous. Keep your focus on breathing Рand speak only when you feel the need.

Just know, confidentiality is an ethical code that therapists ascribe to. ¬†It’s best to get to know the therapist before disclosing intimate life details, until you have developed trust.

If there is unwanted conversation happening, simply say¬†something¬†like; ” I would like to have quiet so that I can relax”. Remember – it’s your dime!

  • Sobriety, Please

If you’re on vacation, at a resort – you may be drinking. But, the last thing you want is to have alcohol in your system when you get a massage.

Alcohol wreaks ¬†havoc with the body’s systems. Combine that with the increased circulation from massage and you have increased absorption rates, potentially making you nauseous or outright sick. That’s no fun and a waste of good time and money.

Water, before and after is what the body really wants.

  • You’re Human

The body can have a lot of responses to therapeutic massage. While avoiding food at least one hour before your massage, not drinking the night before, making sure your bowel is empty, and drinking plenty of water the day before will help, there’s still the chance that you’ll have bad breath, tummy gurgles or pass gas (excuse me is all that’s needed).

Note: I don’t see male clients unless it is a¬†referral¬†from an existing client, primarily because of the sexuality issues involved. Advice for those ¬†who get “accidental¬†erections” – don’t get¬†professional¬†massage (especially¬†from a woman) if you are that sensitive, and control your thoughts while you are on the table – where your¬†thoughts¬†go, your body follows.

  • Tipping Tips

When it comes to gratuities, it’s ultimately the client’s decision whether or not to tip. Like in other service industries, providing a tip is usually done in response to excellent service. According to CNNMoney.com, the tipping norm for massage and bodywork services is 15-20 percent.

That said, I don’t see tipping as a way to¬†compensate¬†an under-paid employee (which in some clinics is the case). You paid for the service – if it was above and beyond your expectations, then a tip is appropriate. Sometimes the fee for service is all you can spend – this is understandable. Sometimes people tell me, “I would love to give you extra, but I only have enough for the service itself”. I understand, I’ve been there.

See you at the spa!

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Going bare ‘down there’ is an increasingly popular option for women these days, but things can get seriously ugly if you don’t take care of your sensitive nether regions in the weeks post-wax.

The bumps after waxing within 24 hours are called folliculitis or inflammation of one or more hair follicles. Common symptoms of folliculitis include a rash, itching, or pimples. There may also be ingrown hairs that grow – either way, the treatment is similar.

So, how do you take care of the skin before and after a Brazilian wax?

Pre-wax pointers

  • Your appointment shouldn’t be any closer than a couple of days before or after your period.
  • Don‚Äôt use any lotions in your bikini area before waxing.
  • You need 1/8″ ¬†hair growth for the wax to hold onto, no more – no less.
  • Take your favorite pain¬†reliever/anti-inflammatory¬†30- 45 minutes before your appointment.
  • Prepare an after-care kit from the list below ahead of time, so you can begin caring for your waxed bikini area right away.
  • You may not be a good waxing candidate if you have¬†very sensitive skin,¬†herpes, genital warts, an STD or any other skin condition or contagious disease. Regardless, the technician should be gloved and a thorough pre-wax interview and education should be done.

Waxing after-care

24-48 hours after

  • Don‚Äôt take a hot bath (shower is OK).
  • No tanning beds, saunas or steam rooms.
  • Use a cold compress to soothe the area.
  • Sexual activity should be avoided. Friction on the skin can cause it to become inflamed.
  • Don’t use products with harsh chemicals, perfumes, or dyes.
  • Apply only gentle moisturizers.
  • Keep hands away from touching freshly waxed skin, as this can encourage irritation or small pimples.
  • Avoid using a bar soap; it leaves a film on the body that could cause ingrown hairs.
  • Use tea tree, lavender¬†oil, antibiotic ointment or hydrocortisone cream.
  • Wear loose cotton undies.

48 hours +

  • Exfoliate using a mold resistant material like Ayate (made in Mexico from the fiber of the agave plant)¬†so you don’t introduce bacteria.
  • Use an acne medication or AHA lotion.
  • Try to gently tweeze out ingrown hairs.

What to do if “problems” occurs:

  • Resist the temptation to pick. ¬†If ingrown hairs are not remedied with gentle tweezing, the use of regular exfoliation and the correct products, then it is a good idea to go back to see your waxing specialist who should be trained to extract stubborn hairs.
  • Call your health care provider if symptoms last longer than 2 or 3 days or ¬†if the infection spreads. If the area is infected, ¬†a doctor may prescribe a topical antibiotic lotion or a systemic antibiotic if it is severe.
  • There are other reasons for bumps and redness, that may be unrelated to the waxing like warts, STDs, herpes, fungal infection etc. Practice safe sex, just in case it is communicable.

See you at the spa!

Brazilian Waxing

As I write my very first blog post, you may be thinking about getting your very first “Brazilian” wax.¬†There are other methods of hair removal, but nothing takes the place of waxing.

Here’s why:

1. It is fast. (The first time, allow up to an hour or so, but it normally takes 20-50 minutes.)

2. Maintenance can be done monthly (as opposed to shaving, which needs to be done almost daily).

3. For the results you get, it is well worth the cost. I charge according to how long it takes. (There is a maintenance price offered if you come on a regular basis.)

4. The hair follicle is pulled by the root, so over time (barring hormonal and other unforeseen variables) it is discouraged from re-growing, and the hair can become softer and less dense.

5. The discomfort involved with this procedure is mainly associated with a sudden sensation as the hair is removed, but quickly diminishes.

6. It is a professional service and feels like pampering. I use essential oils, light candles, play music and use clean, fresh sheets.

7. Women prefer the “clean” feeling¬†they get.

8. Skimpy swimwear requires grooming.

9.  Ingrown hairs mostly associated with shaving are painful.

10. Body hair is not considered fashionable.

Exactly what is Brazilian waxing?

It is a type of waxing  involving the bikini area. This procedure normally involves the complete removal of all hair in the bikini area, front to back. Some types of Brazilian waxing leave a small line of hair. It is named after Brazil, the country with which it is most often associated and from which the modern practice originated. In Brazil itself, it is not called Brazilian waxing, but simply depilar (to wax, to pluck hairs). In Middle Eastern societies, removal of the body hair is considered a proper form of hygiene, necessitated by ancient local customs. Contemporary sources indicate that the French nobility also practiced waxing during the 17th century.

And what is the process, you ask?

The client begins by completing a Wax Questionnaire. If this is not done where you go Рrun! The lack of a proper intake shows the level of care the salon takes in general.

You will remove your clothing from the waist down, use a disinfectant wipe and apply Lidocaine –¬†a topical¬†anesthetic. The procedure starts with the professional trimming the hair to about 1/8 of an inch, if needed. (Some service providers like to have you come already trimmed, but don’t overdo it or the wax won’t be able to grab the hair.) Then, a light application of oil¬†is spread over the area to be waxed. This prevents the wax from sticking to the sensitive skin. Next, wax is applied in sections over the area from which hair is to be removed. The wax is allowed to harden briefly, then one edge of¬†each wax strip is pulled off¬†in the opposite direction of the hair growth. The waxer then works¬† her way around the body. This procedure removes the wax, hair, and any dead skin cells lying on the skin surface.¬†Finally, a soothing and healing post-wax essential oil ¬†is applied, as well as an antibiotic ointment.

The skill and experience of the service provider is key. The first time you do it, you may need “breaks” and a slower pace to acclimate to the new experience.¬†Most say they¬†have less¬†discomfort during subsequent treatments.¬†There are¬†over-the-counter products available if you are very sensitive.¬†I don’t recommend¬†any waxing¬†immediately before¬†(or during) your period when¬†you are generally¬†most sensitive. About a week after your period, if you can time it that way, is the ideal time.

I recommend working with a licensed  Esthetician (skincare professional) to perform this procedure. There can be complications, side effects, or contraindications to the treatment, and a skincare professional can address these best.

As a professional, I need to include a few words of caution:

  • There is a risk of infection if done on a person with a weakened immune system.
  • Folliculitis can occur with sensitive skin. It usually appears as small, white-headed pimples around one or more hair follicles ‚ÄĒ the tiny pockets from which each hair grows. These may itch, but on occasion they’re painful. While most¬†cases are superficial and short lived, often clearing up spontaneously within a few days, deep or recurring folliculitis may need medical treatment.
  • On rare occasions tearing may occur¬†and an MD will need to do a stitch or two. If a thorough health questionnaire is not given, contraindications may be missed.
  • It may flair a Herpes outbreak if you are prone. (You can take a medication from the¬†MD to prevent this.)
  • Waxing during a “healthy” pregnancy is fine.

Here are my tips for a successful experience:

  • Use a licensed professional (an esthetic or cosmetology state license is required to be posted for public view).
  • Check to see if they carry professional insurance in case something goes wrong. (You can ask to see a certificate, but even so, some insurance companies that cover all other waxing won’t cover this procedure).
  • Make sure the working conditions of the waxing salon,¬†as well as the ¬†supplies, are clean and sanitary.
  • Get all your questions answered up front before you start (preferably on the phone when making the appointment), and be sure to discuss medications you take, medical history, contraindications, and other concerns.
  • Think about taking an¬†anti-inflammatory ¬†before your appointment to help reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Discuss post waxing care before you leave the salon. I use a special essential oil to help calm and soothe the area after the treatment. At home you may need to use a product that helps prevent “acne.” Again, ask your professional what she recommends for YOU.
  • Hard (strip-less) wax is best, it is designed for sensitive areas – I use Berins.

See you at the spa!

So, you’ve heard me say before that you have the skin you’ve inherited until about 30, and then ¬†you have the skin you deserve after that. Which means,¬†beautiful skin¬†doesn’t happen naturally¬†(just like the body!). So, what are the top 5 things to guarantee¬†a great complexion?

1.) Find an esthetician that you can visit at least seasonally. Facials are a real boost to the health of the skin and a good way to get professional feedback on how your skin is doing and what it needs more or less of. Your esthetician will also get you hooked up with the best products to use for your skin. ¬†Remember: Your skin is always changing, so what you use should change as well.¬†There are seasonal changes that all skin types experience, and personal changes and stressors¬†that are unique to you. Even if your skin is so problematic that you need a doctors help, that’s no excuse to neglect caring for it at home.

2.) Use great products even if this is a low priority or you have limited resources, there are some key product that really are a must. Let me tell you about a few of my secret weapons:

Facial sunscreen – USE THIS DAILY! In other words, don’t let UV Radiation hit your face without protection (UVA penetrates glass), and keep some in your purse (pocket) for prolonged exposure. In case you’re wondering, the numbers on the bottle don’t mean much; the use of them is unregulated. What does mean something is “full spectrum coverage.” Zinc Oxide is the key ingredient for achieving that. ¬†Not to give you a science lesson, but Zinc Oxide is what¬†lifeguards used to wear before they developed a clear formula. ¬†(Remember that thick white stuff that covered their t-zones?) It’s an important ingredient because it is natural. You don’t have to get it full strength (bit much) but try to get a¬†sunscreen with Zinc Oxide as an active ingredient.

Moisturizer with Sodium Hyaluronate – Sodium Hyaluronate is a polysaccharide¬†¬†found in the extracellular matrix of our connective tissue. ¬†It is a tissue lubricant that holds over¬†100 times it’s weight in water. ¬†(Ok. That was REALLY a science lesson.)¬†As we age, this ingrediant¬†needs to be¬†supplemented. Bottom line? Don’t use a moisturizer without Sodium Hyaluronate as one of the top ingredients. The product I recommend is¬†Advance by¬†Serum from DermaQuest. It contains¬†¬†40% Hyaluronic¬†Acid. Don’t worry! ¬†It doesn’t act like an acid (burn), it is called¬†an acid because of its molecular size and thus, its ability to penetrate the surface of the skin.

Use a foundation everyday – Before mineral makeup came on¬†the scene I could not get my staff (at the Spa in MN), to put makeup on women¬†after a facial, because they didn’t want to “clog the pores”. Mineral makeup doesn’t clog pores, but not all mineral makeup is created equal. I ¬†carry¬†Youngblood Mineral Makeup,which¬†also has an SPF value. ¬†Some of the minerals reflect UV, some absorb it. When wearing mineral makeup, getting a good match is key. Using it daily is also important because the enviroment stresses the skin and mineral makeup soothes¬†and protects it. It calms redness, conceals “spots”, and evens skin tone. It is also¬†not a¬†comedigenic¬†(acne feeding) makeup.

Note: Get a small concealer brush to apply minerals under and on top of the eye area before using shadow. It adds extra  UV protection and conceals redness and dark circles.

So now that you know about some great products to care for your skin, what are the remaining three ways to guarantee a great complexion?

3.) Eat right

4.) Exercise

5.) Drink plenty of water

See you at the spa!

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

Star Brows by Linda Ruberto Press Release

starbrowsbuilding.jpg

Entrepreneurialism runs in the family

Paso vintner’s daughter moves to area and launches local beauty business.

ARROYO GRANDE, Calif.¬† ‚Äď November 12, 2007.¬†¬† Linda Ruberto, daughter of Robert Hall, owner of the well-known Paso Robles winery of the same name, has decided to follow in her father‚Äôs footsteps by opening a business of her own in Arroyo Grande.¬† And though her business and her dad‚Äôs are very different, both cater to the same class of clientele:¬† people who enjoy the finer things in life.

Star Brows by Linda Ruberto will offer eyebrow design, body waxing, massage, and skincare and will officially open its doors Nov 12th.  The new business will be located at 1148 E. Grand Ave. in Arroyo Grande.

Ruberto, a licensed esthetician and certified massage therapist, is a recent transplant from St. Paul, Minnesota.  Back home, she ran a day spa and salon, which she owned for 13 years before selling and moving to the Central Coast.

Ruberto is pleased to report that she‚Äôs been welcomed to the area with open arms‚ÄĒan area she is fast growing to love.¬† Says Ruberto, ‚ÄúI feel like a local already. Everywhere I go someone knows me or my family.‚ÄĚ She describes Arroyo Grande, where she‚Äôs decided to both live and set up shop as ‚Äúthe perfect blend of small town friendly with a big city feel.‚ÄĚ

According to Ruberto, she and her husband Paul have been planning this move for 6 years.¬† ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve visited the area many times over the years, for our daughter Valery‚Äôs graduation from Cal Poly and her wedding to Jonathan Hoekman, for our second daughter Angela‚Äôs move to the area to attend Cuesta College, and for visits to my dad in Paso Robles.‚ÄĚ

Ruberto finds it ‚Äúfun to be reunited with family, have a new business, and wear flip flops every day.‚Ä̬† She adds, ‚ÄúI thank this community for all the love and support I have received.‚ÄĚ

Regarding her chosen profession, Ruberto candidly admits, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm obsessed with eyebrow design and am known for stopping people on the street (men too) to offer a consultation.‚Ä̬† About her new enterprise, she adds, ‚ÄúI also do body waxing, massage and shiatsu as well as skincare and chemical peels.‚ÄĚ

Ruberto looks forward to helping her clients fulfill the Star Brows motto:¬† ‚ÄúLook for the beauty in others and recognize it in yourself.‚ÄĚ

For additional information about Star Brows or to schedule an interview with Linda Ruberto, please call 805-722-8222 or send an e-mail to lindaruberto@gmail.com.

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