Tag Archive: Esthetic Education


Menopause is the 2nd big hormonal event in a women’s life, and even if you are nowhere near this stage of life, it is NOT too early to prepare. Like everything else, preparation and knowledge about the process of  “your change” will dictate your success in navigating through this natural occurrence.

So do as I say, not as I did. I saw menopause as something natural that I would float through seamlessly – didn’t I have my last baby at home? Super Woman! Not 😉 I mean I got through without a DNC, I let fibroids shrink on their own, I wore sunscreen, got moody, lived through night sweats, fought dryness, etc.

What I did not prepare for was the state of depletion that the declining levels of estrogen left me in. There are supplements to address these changes, but I didn’t see the need at the time. I do now, as a 55-year-old post-menopausal woman…better late than never!

But, I digress…let’s just stick to the skin part of this discussion.

The biggest skin bandit is undoubtedly the sun – which we love! but we must respect its power.

In 2nd position is the process of aging. First of all, can I just mention that I HATE the phrase anti-aging. Is it beneficial to be against aging? We, as women, spend our youth worrying if we are thin enough, pretty enough, sexy enough, toned enough…blah, blah, blah enough already! I like to call it healthy aging instead.

That said, let’s talk about what is going on behind the “skin scenes” in the aging process – and  what we can do to have the best possible outcome.

Decline in estrogen levels are the main culprit. This affects every organ skin of the body, including the skin. The estrogen receptors that carry this magic “women juice” are found most abundantly around the genital area (duh), face and lower limbs.

Dryness and wrinkling in peri and post menopause are the most noticeable effects on the skin and impact all women to some degree. But behind the scenes there are some other body systems that are changing:

  • The skin becomes less capable of storing moisture.
  • Collagen is breaking down.
  • The blood supply to the skin decreases.
  • The sebaceous glands shrink and produce less oil
  • The skin’s deeper fat layers shrink
  • Aging skin thins and becomes paler and more translucent
  • The skin bruises more easily and is generally more sensitive
  • Allergic reactions and body itching may increase
  • Risk of skin cancer, rosacia and other skin disorders increase.

Having fun yet? 🙂

Solutions:

  • Use a full spectrum block from an early age – or now!
  • Use Mineral Makeup , it calms, soothes, protects the skin from environmental factors and provides an SPF factor
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Don’t smoke
  • Exercise regularly
  • Start a preventative skin care regime, supervised by a skincare professional that addresses your skin type and issues.
  • Eat healthy raw foods regularly. Low-gylcemic index foods, will increase dermal hydration.
  • Consider supplements: especially a multiple vitamin, minerals and essential fatty acids like Omega 3
  • Use exfoilliants and/or get chemical peels regularly to increase cell turnover.
  • Moisturize using a formulation with hyaluronic acid
  • Practice regular/daily habits of elimination.
  • Develop stress management resources and a support system. Emotions create toxins that affect the skin.

The skin is a living, breathing organ of elimination. It also serves as a  protective covering and barrier – what works to keep it fit and healthy is constantly changing.

You have completely new skin cells every couple of months. Those new cells were grown in an ever-changing body, depending on: what you eat, drink, your skincare regime, hormones, the weather,  – even your thoughts and moods.

Note: When I do brow maintenance I also consult with my clients about the state of their skin, keeping them in touch with the changes the skin is going through, and how to best facilitate healthy, beautiful skin at any age.

See you at the spa!

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I’ve found some excellent priming products over the years that I love and use both at home and at work.
After all, great makeup is no accident, is not for the faint of heart, and requires attention to detail.
Still reading? Good! 😉 Let’s get started!
1.) Mineral Rice Setting Powder by Youngblood
Youngblood Mineral Rice Powder at Star Brows: This ultra-silky, translucent powder absorbs oil to control shine and diminish the appearance of pores, but doesn’t dry your skin. It prepares the skin for my favorite makeup, Natural Mineral Foundation (which comes pressed or loose). The rice powder (which also comes pressed or loose) sets a flawless, long-lasting matte finish. This unique formulation uses rice starch, corn starch and minerals, is 100% talc-free and calms and soothes the skin.
What’s in it?
Mica (CI 77019), Corn Starch Modified, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Hydrated Silica, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Extract, Centaurea Cyanus (Cornflower) Flower Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract. .35 oz. $22.
2.) Mineral Primer by Youngblood
Give your makeup real staying power with Mineral Primer, a lightweight, translucent blend that works with Youngblood Mineral Foundation. You will love its silk-to-powder touch within seconds of application, and be amazed at how fine lines and pores disappear effortlessly. Formulated with minerals and vitamins, the Primer also protects skin from environmental damage. Skin protection, a flawless complexion, and makeup that last all day.
What’s in it?
Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Smithsonite Extract, Rhodochrosite Extract, Malachite Extract, Hematite Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate. 1 oz. $37.50
3.) Mineral Lash Prime by Youngblood
This milky white lash “cream” works under mascara to create visibly fuller and thicker lashes after the first coat of mascara. The nourishing formula moisturizes and softens lashes with protein, vitamins and natural oils to help prevent lash breakage.
What’s in it?
Water (Aqua) , Acrylates Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Polybutene, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Triethanolamine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Oleic Acid, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil , Simethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Rosa Centifolia Flower Water. .13 oz. $22

Tip: For a fake eyelash effect, apply primer to bear lashes, wiggling at the base and sweeping out. Immediately apply multiple coats of your favorite mascara while it is still wet.

4.) Ultimate Concealer

Who doesn’t need help with the skin under the eyes? Youngblood Ultimate Concealer at Star Brows is a rich & creamy, mineral formula that gives sheer to heavy coverage, while still looking silky and natural. This perfect blend of light-reflecting minerals makes the skin look smoother, draws attention away from dark circles, and diffuses tiny lines. vitamin C and E help minimize lines and dark circles, allantoin extract stimulates the growth of healthy tissue, and jojoba esters prevent dryness throughout the day.

What’s in it?

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Octyldodecanol, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Jojoba Esters, Polyethylene, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Allantoin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil. .10 oz $27

5.) Concealer Brush

Now for my very favorite priming tip: Japonesque Foundation Brush at Star Brows – This is hot! The soft little brush dipped into a fabulous Mineral Makeup nestles into the labial folds of the nose, (new name please) and eye area. Use it any place where there are sunspots, blemishes, broken capillaries or redness, because: smaller brush = better coverage. This also helps protect vulnerable areas from UV rays, because minerals in a concentrated  area can give up to 30 SPF.

The tips I’ve given you are not just for aesthetic value, but holistic in nature – and therefore worth the time, I think, since they keep your skin and lashes radiantly healthy, as well as beautiful.

See you at the spa!


Aestheticians sometimes call their use of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) when doing facials – chemical peels; but they are not peeling the skin, they are resurfacing. Whats the difference? There are 3 levels or strengths of AHAs available:

1. Cosmetic-you can get these at the drug or department store – see The Isles of Beauty

2. Cosmeceuticals-available to licensed skincare specialists.

3. Pharmaceuticals-doctors use these or write a prescription for them.

AHA’s work mainly as  exfoliants. They cause the cells of the skin in the upper layers to become “unglued,” allowing the dead skin cells to slough off and making room for regrowth of new skin deeper down.

AHA’s also stimulate the production of collagen and elastin and improve wrinkling, roughness, and mottled pigmentation or sun damaged skin.

Some examples of AHA’s are: Glycolic – sugarcane, Lactic – sour milk products, Citric – citrus fruits, Malic – apples and pears, Tartaric – grapes.

For home use, I love: Glyco-A Gel by Tu’el

There is also a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) called salicylic. All  the acids have different strengths and purposes. So, what’s the difference between the BHA & AHA’s? Two words: lipid solubility, aka a substance’s ability to dissolve in oil. AHA’s are water soluble, and BHA dissolves in oil. So…oily skin likes BHA and normal to dry skin like AHA’s.

Try: 5% Salicylic Acid Clarifying Pads by DermaQuest Skin Therapy.

Side Effects of these acids include; irritation, sun sensitivity, redness, and itching.

Rosacea is a skin disease that responds favorably to some forms of resurfacing, but because this condition is often red, irritable and swollen,a patch test on the inside of the arm to check for allergic response or sensitivity is recommended. The capillary walls are near the surface of the skin in this condition (hence the redness and veiny appearance) so the skin needs extra protection. The skin is also thin, so toughening it up and thickening it with AHAs can be helpful.

AHA & BHA products may reverse some of the damage caused by the sun, but at the same time they make the skin more susceptible to sun damage. When using resurfacers use a good sunscreen – see Sunscreen 101 , that contains UVA and UVB protection.

My favorite: Oil Free Essential Protection SPF 30 by Tu’el

See you at the spa!

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’t 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’t 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 – run! 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 — 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!

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