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Five Things You Should Know Before Your First Brazilian

Brazilian Wax Bikini Area

Brazilian waxing has definitely become the newest craze in the beauty industry. In fact, it is becoming a regular routine for women, who simply like to remain bare! If you have never been waxed before and are thinking of taking the plunge, there are definitely some things you should know before going in for your treatment. As someone who worked at a waxing salon for over a year, there are a few things that I noticed from clients who were new to waxing; had they had a little bit of information, their first time would have gone a little bit ‘smoother.’ Here are five tips that you should know before getting your first Brazilian wax.

  1. If you are a shaver, you have to give your hair adequate time to grow out before your first Brazilian wax. Many clients transitioning from shaving to waxing do not know that they cannot shave before waxing. Your hair must be at least as long as a grain of rice in order to wax, and often times you will not get a clean wax if you have shaved the week before, because your hair will be on different growth cycles. In addition, the short coarse hair, due to shaving, may cause the experience to be a bit more painful. To ensure a more flawless and easy wax, let your hair grow out as long as possible first.
  2. Some estheticians do not give their clients a rulebook for the delicate twenty-four hours after having a Brazilian wax. Because you have removed the hair from the follicle, and did some light exfoliation, the open hair follicle is susceptible to bacterial invasion. Typically it takes about twenty-four hours for the follicle to close up again. So during that time period, avoid steam rooms, taking hot baths, and hot yoga. These types of environment create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. On a side note, a lot of clients who have had bacterial infections assume that it is the spa’s fault for using contaminated wax when, more likely, that is not the case. We all carry various strains of bacteria on our body, including staphylococci, the bacteria responsible for staph infections. Bacteria cannot penetrate solid, intact skin so normally our body is not in danger of infection. After waxing however, the skin is more vulnerable to this bacteria, so this advice is particularly important. In addition, avoid sexual activity for twenty-four hours, as this is a very easy way to spread bacteria. It may be tempting to show off your clean wax, but give it a day to heal up!
  3. Exfoliation in between waxing sessions is key to ensure you do not get ingrown hairs. When shaving, ingrown hairs are not as big of an issue because the hair is not being removed from the root, it is simply be shortened. So there is still an open pathway for that hair to grow back in. With waxing, the hair is being completely removed from the follicle, so sometimes the new hair gets trapped underneath the skin, which can cause an infection or inflammation. The way to prevent this is to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. About two days after your wax, it is okay to begin exfoliating the area. You may use a scrub in the shower, or scrubby gloves—making sure to clean the gloves after each use to avoid bacteria—or you can use an exfoliating solution with something like salicylic, lactic, or glycolic acid to digest dead skin cells. Exfoliating will help your bikini area remain smooth and healthy.
  4. Another new concept for people transitioning from shaving to waxing is the idea of letting the hair grow in between waxing. The typical time period between Brazilian maintenance is four to six weeks, but that can differ depending on your growth cycle, which may be a little messed up due to shaving. Between those four to six weeks, let your hair grow back in to ensure a nice clean wax. It may be an adjustment for some, but you will get used to the waxing cycle and come to love it!
  5. Lastly, it might be helpful to take a Tylenol or ibuprofen about thirty minutes before your first waxing appointment. This well help to ease the pain of the first time wax, as well as help to stop inflammation. Also remember to breathe and try to relax!

Aveda’s Perfecting Plant Peel

Aveda Product - Perfecting Plant PeelI love Aveda’s Perfecting Plant Peel, and every client I do this on absolutely loves the way their skin looks and feels immediately after. Powered by plants, Aveda’s Perfecting Plant Peel system performs like 30% glycol without the redness and irritation. It is a facial masque which actively smoothes with instant exfoliation and radiance. This can be performed as a standalone 30 minute service or an add on to our signature facials. Your skin will have an amazing glow immediately after the service.

I believe you get the full plant peel when used with the steamer. I like to apply the plant peel and let the client sit under steam for about seven minutes, while I do a hand/arm massage. When the seven minutes are up, I spray the activating spray over the face and massage it in so it warms up. I like to combine this with the hydrating mask mixed with a little Outer Peace Cooling Masque to cool and hydrate the skin after. When the client looks in the mirror they immediately notice smaller pores and a glowing face. I always get excited to see the look on their face when they see their skin. If you feel the client could benefit from this peel, you should always recommend and explain the amazing immediate results they will get. It is an extra $10.00 on top of the facial price, but I promise it is worth it.

Benefits of Green Leafy Veggies

Vegetables in the Supermarket

Just from the title alone, some of you may be thinking, “Yuck!” But I’m here to tell you the benefits of what these delicious green plants called vegetables can do for you and your body.

Dark green leafy vegetables are not only delicious but, calorie for calorie, they are the most concentrated source of nutrition found in any food. They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins (including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins). These veggies also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which protect our cells from damage and our eyes from age-related problems, among many other effects. Pretty cool right?!

Some types of dark green leafy vegetables are: arugula, spinach, leaf lettuce, kale, collard greens, romaine lettuce, chicory, and swiss chard. You can do so many different things with these amazing veggies to incorporate them into your diet. I prefer to buy these types of vegetables at Farmers’ markets because I feel they are fresher and less expensive. Plus, at those markets you always come across some other great food choices and other really cool things. It is a great experience, and everyone is super friendly.

My favorite way to consume these dark green leafy vegetables is in a smoothie. I have a NutriBullet at home, and I mix these veggies with some fruit and a banana which fades out the taste of the vegetable so it tastes just like a fruit smoothie.

Exciting Renovation at Cinta Aveda!

Cinta Aveda Institute after its new renovation.Cinta Aveda is an exclusive beauty school located right in the heart of San Francisco-the Financial District at Bush and Kearney, near the mouth of Chinatown and the well-known hustling and bustling Market street where most Muni lines and the light rail passes. There’s a Bart station just a few blocks away. Coming into the city via car? No problem! There are close parking garages including the Sutter-Stockton garage.

Some cosmetology schools experience low foot traffic so students don’t have the advantage of working with guests, but rather on their doll heads (mannequin heads) or on each other during their year long program. But luckily the Cinta Aveda Institute is so centrally located in a very heavy foot traffic zone, that students may be booked by up to five guests a day! How so? The building stands on a busy corner where the Aveda retail center invites tourists, locals, and even business people who work around the corner to come in for a quick touch up service at the salon, or perhaps a nice long massage, or a relaxing facial to freshen up and then head out to continue on with their day.

Great news for students, staff, and future guests: the Institute has expanded! The corner of Bush and Kearney, that used to be a restaurant, has been transformed to accommodate another student salon and a larger retail space. The new windows provide a clear view into the salon as guests are being served, an ability to see how students interact, and the beautiful work they create. It feels like a high-end salon. This is also inspiring to aspiring hairstylists that desire to further their career in the beauty industry.

In any case, the beauty industry is about being personable, flexible, and adaptable. With the many guests that come in and out of our doors, Cinta Aveda has gotten quite a lot of attention. Congrats to Cinta, and the amazing educators and students attending Cinta Aveda who have created a wonderful atmosphere to learn, grow, and become professionals in the beauty industry!

The Perfect Blowout

Blonde Female ModelDuring my education at the Cinta Aveda Institute, I have been assisting at the Zindagi Salon on Grant Street. Absorbing as much as I could in a real-life professional salon, I was able to perfect my skills in shampoo and style. It matters what tools you are using and, as a stylist, it is important to invest in the right tools. Although it may be pricey to have the perfect arsenal while in school, saving up and acquiring sturdy tools will help you save in the long-run, as cheaper tools, non-specific for hairstylists, will break or deteriorate faster. More expensive tools will produce better results and last you longer. The saying is true in this case: You get what you pay for. Be savvy and shop around; you can find discounts if you look hard enough.

Personally, I enjoy using the ceramic round brush, specific for volume and shine. My guests so far have all enjoyed having voluminous “Texas Hair”. This calls for the Aveda Pure Abundance line, which comes as both shampoo and conditioner to create grit and texture, allowing the hair to be more full. I like to be generous with the volumizing tonic, it’s my go-to for every style. It’s a sweet-scented spray, heat-activated, and helps the root elevate creating a nice 60’s beehive look reminiscent of Amy Winehouse. I like to keep the crown last, and when working on the section, spritz the tonic at the root of the hair again after blow drying the rest of the head. Then I divide the crown into sections small enough and narrow enough to fit my brush, then blow dry upwards making sure the root gets blasted with heat. I make sure to have a nozzle on; that concentrates the heat to flow directly onto where I’m concentrating to create volume. Hair has a memory, when you wet the hair and dry it into a certain shape, this shape will stay until you wet the hair again, so blow drying upwards will coax the hair at the crown into feeling and looking fuller. Pin these sections into curls as if you had hot rollers with small clamp clips. Pin at the root. Finish off the crown and let cool dry, then take those curls out, and spray them with some Air Control hairspray to maintain this style during the day.

There you have it! My perfect blow-out for any day of the week and any occasion.

Love your Body

Since we were little girls, we have been bombarded with images of women with small waists, big boobs, curvy hips, long legs, perfect skin, and the overall “perfect body”. We grow up with insecurities from these images thinking that is the way we are supposed to be and, if we are anything else, we are ugly. Of course, all of this is due to TV, movies, magazines, and advertisements placing pressure on women to be this unrealistic image of “perfect”. What really is perfect? I believe there is no such thing. How can one body image be the ultimate ideal for every person on this planet? The answer is there isn’t one. Everyone has their own image of beauty in their head.

I find beauty in everything. Our unique qualities—not mass populated images—make us beautiful. One of my personal favorite celebrities is the female artist P!nk. She is not the typical beauty that you see in Hollywood. She has a muscular physique and a more boyish figure, with small breasts and small hips. But she exudes confidence and love for herself and her body regardless of the Hollywood image of beauty. Yet we still have women like Kim Kardashian splashed across all of social media, magazines, and TV. She has had plastic surgery to alter her appearance and to maintain the Hollywood image. Don’t get me wrong, she has a very curvy figure and that has changed the ideal image from anorexic thin to voluptuous but, she is still shown as having absolutely no imperfections thanks to her plastic surgery.

As women, we need to learn to be happy with our bodies. Do daily affirmations and rituals to show love to ourselves. On my bathroom mirror, I have a card on which is typed “You’re Beautiful”. It reminds me that regardless of how I see my bodies imperfections, I should love myself. Even if you are overweight hating yourself won’t help. Learning to love yourself will give you the mental strength to push yourself to a healthier lifestyle. Think about it, if you really think everyday “OMG, I hate being this fat, I am so nasty” it will cause you to be depressed and depression brings on fatigue, anxiety, bad eating habits, and this whole cycle continues. Positive thinking helps bring results. it makes you push forward for a better and happier life.

Of course, eating healthy and exercising helps increase our confidence and makes us feel beautiful. I know that when I am exercising on a regular basis, I feel clear-headed and amazing. I see myself as strong and making good healthy progress in my life.

Another issue we have with body image is body-shaming. Social media is the most popular place to post pictures of people doing embarrassing things and they may not even know they are being photographed or filmed. The other day, I saw a video on Instagram of a bigger woman riding a bike at a good rate, working hard, and clearly trying to get some exercise. And all the video said was, “This woman is so big, you can barely see the bike. Elephants should stay at the zoo.” Why would we say this about this woman who is clearly trying to improve herself and become healthy? We should be encouraging this woman, not shaming her.

So ladies, let’s stop body shaming ourselves and others and start encouraging positive body image. Let’s face it, ladies, there is no real “perfect” in this world. We are all unique and we should embrace it and love who we are as women.

The Christy Effect

After the general Intro and our Esthetician course, we all wanted to know what would come next? Had we actually made the right decision?

The first day of the CIDESCO program, everybody was sitting quietly, with mixed feelings; a little bit scared but, at the same time, excited about the future. I didn’t know what to expect and I was scared. On the other hand, the last few months had not been easy for me either. For me, had it really been worth it to move to this different country, where I barely knew anybody, to start a completely new life from scratch?

CintaAveda Faculty Portrait: Christy SwensonBeginning my CIDESCO Program and meeting my new Teacher meant a lot to me. And there she was, crossing the room—a little person with beautiful golden curly hair and a great aura telling us straight in the eyes, “My course will not be easy guys. I’m Christy and you better learn, learn, learn…” She has both style and beauty. And she shines inside and out with her beautiful jewelry.

A deep silence fell in the classroom and her eyes started probing deep into our souls. Then I knew a whole different journey was about to start!

The next days, weeks, and months have been amazing—pure wellness for my mind and for my soul. Knowledge has begun to grow in me like in a hungry dog: I never stop asking questions and every day become more aware of the amazing teacher we have in front of us. She is not just a teacher she is a inspiration.

Christy gives us all of her knowledge, experience, comfort, straightness, and clarity, leaving no question without a good answer. She has opened an entire world to me, a world made of inspirational words and choices. She is somewhere between a kind mother and a severe father, always willing to listen to what we have to say and give us good advice.

She was our meditation in the morning and our anatomy in the afternoon.

I have to thank Christy for all of this and more, for letting me be inspired every day by the beauty industry, for letting me see the future with openness and clearness, and for helping me fall completely in love with the CIDESCO program. I know now, for sure, that I made the best choice for my career.

A teacher is not only a teacher, but is a mentor. She will always be part of your life and will stay in your memories forever.

It is somebody who activates something in you—an energy that keeps you expanding your knowledge and inspires you to do, and be, your best.

Namaste…with love.

Makeup Makeup Makeup!

Makeup Display

Having guest speakers come in to share their words of wisdom is always such a delight. A huge idol of mine, James Vincent came in to talk with us. He’s a professional makeup artist, a beauty editor, an educator, and mentor. He gave a makeup demonstration that was phenomenal. I find him inspiring and feel lucky that I got a chance to meet him. He discussed “The Makeup Show” which I knew I had to attend. I bought tickets right away.

The show was over a weekend. A couple of girls and I made an awesome trip out of it. We sat in on a couple of great seminars. One was “Bridal Makeup” by Buntricia Bastian for Pinnacle Cosmetics. She was very informative. Some information I took away from that seminar were the zones of the face:

  • Zone 1 is the hairline, and eye brow
  • Zone 2 is the zygomatic arch, eyes, nose, and cheekbone
  • Zone 3 is the lips, jawline, and chin
  • Underneath the eyes is the driest spot on a woman’s skin.
  • When working with older clients, use translucent powders.

Another great thing about the makeup show were all the products I got, and at great prices too!

If you have a chance to go, I highly recommend attending. I’m extremely grateful and happy I got to attend this show.

Women Before Banner

Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

It’s almost spring and summer will be right around the corner. The one thing we always hear during the spring and summer months is “Wear Sunscreen!” Ok, we know the the risks of not wearing sunscreen but do we know the risks of wearing it? Everyone thinks that sunscreen is all upside with no downsides. Unfortunately, sunscreen comes with many risks.

Most store-bought sunscreens contain harsh cancer-causing chemicals that cause aging and damage to your skin. For instance some of the most well-known and widely-used sunscreen in the U.S. have some chemical ingredients that may be extremely harmful and could cause serious problems. What are the ingredients that may be harmful? There are many, but here is a list of the ingredients that I try to avoid:

  • Oxybenzone: This is a chemical penetration enhancer that provokes a reaction when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. When absorbed into the skin, it can provoke an eczema-like reaction that sometimes spreads beyond the exposed area and can stay on your skin well beyond your time in the sun.

  • Octinoxate: One of the most common ingredients in sunscreen, it helps other chemicals to absorb into the skin. It can disrupt hormone balance when mixed with water—perhaps by jumping into a pool while wearing sunscreen. It can also produce free radicals which can damage your skin and cell tissues.

  • Retinyl Palmitate: A derivative of vitamin A, Retinyl Palmitate is supposed to improve the sunscreens performance against UV damage but actually, when exposed to the sun, it can break down and create free radicals that damage cells and DNA, and possibly cause cancer.

  • Paraben Preservatives: Parabens are in many products and could be very harmful. They can cause allergic reactions, hormone disruption, and are suspected to be a major factor in breast cancer.

Now that you know that there are risks, please make sure to look at the ingredients to make sure the product is safe for you and your loved ones. The Environmental Working Group does an annual study of sunscreens and they provide a list of healthy sunscreens and brands that you can research yourself. They also provide a breakdown of the ingredients of the various products and why they are safe for you.

Get out there and enjoy these glorious seasons, but use a safe and effective sunscreen so you can fully enjoy the sun without hurting yourself or your skin.

My Love for Aveda

When I first came to Cinta Aveda Institute, to me it was just another school. Now that I’ve been here and have done more research, I have a genuine love and respect for this place. I love how Cinta Aveda is so passionate about the world we live in and about the ways we can come together to help make it a better place. From the products we use to the different fundraisers we do to help give back to our environment, Cinta Aveda cares.

This month at Cinta Aveda is Earth Month. We partnered with the Clean Water Fund to help keep our local waterways clean and sustainable for future generations. I think this is just amazing for Cinta Aveda to be so generous with helping hands. Since 2009, Aveda has raised over $400,000 to protect clean water in Northern America. This has made me more aware of my water usage and has given me more of an interest to be more involved to really care about our environment and make a change.

Cinta Aveda is truly a wonderful Institute in more ways than one; I am proud to be a student here.