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Facial Self Massage Woman

Facial massage can be used to help stimulate and strengthen facial muscles in order to maintain muscle tone and help more mature skin to become bouncy and plump. In addition to muscle toning, facial massage has other benefits. It can help flush out toxins that exist in the lymph fluid just below the skin’s surface. Pressure point massage can help calm angry and congested skin.

If you can afford bi-weekly or monthly facials, then you can reap many of the benefits of facial massage during your treatments. In between treatments, however, you can make a habit of giving yourself a calming, purifying, or stimulating massage at home. Making this a nightly or weekly routine gives your “at home” regimen a boost. All you need is your nightly moisturizer or creme and a few basic movements. Once you have cleansed, toned, and applied your nightly serum, grab some of your moisturizer and follow these guidelines.

There are four basic Swedish massage strokes that you can incorporate into your massage routine. Don’t be afraid to get creative. As long as you aren’t too aggressive, any routine you come up with is sure to be beneficial.

The first movement to know is effleurage. This is a soft, smooth, gliding motion that can be used to warm up the muscles, as well as to calm muscles and move lymph. Remember when massaging to always move in an upward motion, as we want to counteract the effects of gravity that tends to drag our muscles downward.

The next massage movement is called petrissage. This is a kneading and pinching movement. Apply this movement near the jaw muscles to ease tension in the masseter, as well as to stimulate muscles around the jawline. In addition petrissage can be used to stimulate oil production in dry skin types or help to expel excess oil in more impure skin types. Pinch and knead in areas where these imbalances occur.

The third massage movement is called tapotement or percussion. This is a light tapping movement over areas that you wish to stimulate muscles. It works well to tap with all ten fingers—almost like playing the piano—around the cheeks, forehead, and very lightly around the eyes. This movement is amazing for toning muscles, as well as maintaining muscle tone in younger skin types.

The last massage movement is friction, which are small movements using controlled pressure over a certain area. It can be very soothing and relaxing. Use light pressure and compression along the cheekbones and the temples to ease tension. This will feel amazing and you may ease facial tension that you did not know you had.

Test out these basic Swedish massage strokes at home before going to bed. Just remember to be gentle, to work against gravity and, if you have extra sensitive skin, take care with the more stimulating movements.

Starting as a Receptionist

Around the Institute at Cinta Aveda

When I started school at the Cinta Aveda Institute, I completely fell in love with the beauty industry. However, I’d never worked a job in the industry, and really wanted to get a jump start on my esthetics career. As I did not have my license—and most spas are looking for estheticians with at least two years of spa experience—my only option was to work the front desk.

I ended up finding a job as a receptionist in a spa and worked there for over a year. It proved to be an amazing entryway to the field and gave me an edge over other newbies.

During my year as a receptionist, I learned a lot about what it’s like to work in a real spa—how the clients are, what it takes to keep a spa running, how the team functions, retailing, inventory, and a lot more.

As a receptionist, I got to polish my waxing skills as well. Waxing was an aspect of the field that particularly intimidated me. I loved giving facials and pampering my classmates but, when it came time to wax, I was quite shy. Ironically, my first job was at a waxing boutique, where I had the opportunity to ask all my coworkers the tips and tricks of the trade.

One of the most valuable and surprising piece of information I learned was that most of my coworkers were also shy and intimidated when they began waxing. They were these incredible waxperts, but had started with a similar fear of waxing. They gave me great advice and even let me watch the occasional Brazilian so that I could improve my techniques. In addition, I learned a lot of the do’s and don’ts of waxing.

To this day, when I’m in a room with a client, what I learned at my receptionist job sticks with me. I received a lot of information listening to the estheticians talk to their clients.

Many spas hire from within, so it could be a great opportunity for you to work your way up if you work hard and show interest. For a first job in the industry, don’t discount the receptionist gigs! As an introduction to the spa world, it is a great learning opportunity.

The Skinny on Water

Exotic Waters in FlasksThese days, there seems to be a lot of mindfulness around the water we drink. When shopping at your local market, there are endless options for an individual to choose from. For our hydration, there are bottles labeled spring water, sparkling water, alkaline water, even black water is available. With the endless options at our fingertips, how do we chose something as simple as drinking water, and what is the difference between these choices?

If you have never stopped to consider what distilled water will do for your body versus what mineral or alkaline water will do, this blog post may answer some questions for you. For most people, the words “distilled water” are synonymous with purity and cleanliness. However, distilled water may not be the best choice to hydrate and quench your thirst. Distilled water has undergone a process of distillation, in which you take hard water, or water full of different minerals (good and bad), and turn it into soft water by means of vaporization and condensation. This new water is pH neutral and contains no traces of minerals. Because our bodies need minerals such as calcium and magnesium in order to hydrate and maintain the health of our cells, you can see why distilled water is not the optimum choice for providing the body with nutrients. Furthermore, distilled water has the ability to attract minerals to it. This means it can collect the bodys minerals as well as toxins and flush the system clean. This water may be great for a temporary cleanse, but living on distilled water can be quite harmful.

On the flip side, there is “mineral water”. Most of the time, these are carbonated water, with a varying degree of mineral content. This water is normally bottled at the source and contains minerals that our cells need for optimum hydration. Our muscles, cells, bones, and tissues need these minerals in order to maintain health, so choosing a mineral water labeled high mineral content is a great choice when seeking hydration.

Another choice, and by far the best choice of drinking water, is water that is labeled “Alkaline Water.” Alkaline water has a higher, stabilized pH normally of about 8-9. This alkaline pH means that this water contains many electrolytes, the key to our body’s hydration. Our body needs these chemicals in order to transmit electrical messages. When at all possible, this is the water that will give the body the most nutrients, and provide the cells with much needed energy. In addition the alkaline pH will help to provide balance from so many acidic foods that we eat and drink, such as coffee, chocolate, meat, and dairy items. An individual with chronic dehydration (often seen through fine lines on the face) should strive to drink water that is alkaline to balance and hydrate.

Lastly, if tap water is the only option, using a filter can help to rid the water of heavy metals that can be harmful to the body. In addition, a slice of lemon can alkalize your water, and provide your body with a healthy jumpstart each morning.

Choosing the Right Job

Jobs want ads and magnifying glass

As you reach the end of your beauty school journey, you will have to start thinking about the next step in your career—finding a job.

If you are like me, you have spent endless hours obsessing over Craigslist job posts, and perfecting your resume and cover letter. At times it seemed a little dubious that I would find the right job—entry level, but still at the caliber that I feel I deserve. Although you might be fresh out of school, don’t settle for any job just because they are willing to bring you on.

Here are some ideas to carefully reflect on before choosing your first job. If you are lucky enough to be called in for an interview for a job that peaks your interest, really pay attention.

  • What is the atmosphere in this spa or salon?
  • Is this a place you would feel comfortable?
  • Is it aesthetically pleasing to you?

Ideally you want to begin a career and a relationship at this spa but if it does not align with your sense of beauty or ideals that may create a conflict down the line. You want to come to work and feel at peace in a setting that you like.

If you are interviewing with the owner or manager, make sure you ask exactly what his or her expectations of you will be. If it is a spa that expects a lot of retail, make sure you know this and are prepared to do your absolute best. In addition there are some very hands-on and demanding spa owners. If having someone watch you and give you very precise directions will rub you the wrong way, it’s best that you seek employment from a more relaxed individual.

Another aspect to consider: which products does the salon or spa carry? Are they organic, or are they more scientific or clinical? These are important questions to ask. Depending on your feelings and ideologies as a cosmetologist or esthetician, it’s important that you and your employer are in sync. Furthermore, I think it’s important that the products the salon or spa carries are products that you believe in. Have you used these products? Is this a line that you can work with and sell?

Finally, continuing education is very important no matter where you end up! I chose a place where I knew I would learn a lot.

Obviously things like salary and schedule are important to consider, but these other tips are important to really think about before accepting a job.

The Benefits of Microdermabrasion

Female model with exfoliated skin.

If you’ve never heard of Microdermabrasion, it is an amazing machine that can help to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, increase the production of collagen and elastin, smooth out and retexture the skin, and help to diminish sun spots, scarring, and other discolorations. This machine creates a mechanical exfoliation using small crystals as well as vacuum suction. The vacuum sucks the skin up while the crystals work to exfoliate dead skin cells and imperfections.

Exfoliation is important for all skin types, including the most healthy of skins, to ensure the process of cell turnover. As we age, the rate of our cell turnover—or the amount of time it takes new skin cells to reach the surface and replace the old, dead ones—becomes slower and slower. For this reason, we all need a little help with desquamating the old skin cells. Microdermabrasion is an excellent way to slough off those dead skin cells to reveal a more polished and lively skin tone.

Another benefit of this treatment, in comparison to other forms of deeper exfoliation such as chemical peels, is that there is relatively no downtime. You can leave the spa the same day with a glowing and fresh complexion.

These treatments can be done alone, or in conjunction to an anti-aging, skin brightening, or deep cleansing facial. It is also extremely beneficial when compared with a gentle peel, to really stimulate cell turnover, as well as to decrease pigmentation and sun damage. In addition, for desirable results, it is necessary to have more than one treatment. Microdermabrasion is a progressive treatment, requiring anywhere from two to twelve treatments to see the desired change in your skin.

Check out your local spa scene to see which spas offers this amazing service.

There are a few things to consider to make sure your treatment goes off without a hitch:

  • Make sure your treatment is followed up with some kind of hydrating product. For full facials, a nice hydrating mask is perfect following microdermabrasion, as exfoliated skin can drink up all the nutrients of the mask. For shorter services, a hydrating serum or rich moisturizer can do the trick.
  • It is also crucial that a good sunscreen be applied following your service, as exfoliated skin is more susceptible to sun damage. Aim for at least an SPF of 30, but SPF 50 is ideal.
  • Furthermore, as one of the goals of this treatment is to help to reduce sun damage, it might be a good idea to avoid prolonged time in the sun for a few days.

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!