Blog Archives

Getting a Manicure

Most people have gone to a nail salon or spa for a manicure. Some places are better than others. I have a favorite place that I like to go, but what happens when you’re out of state, or your favorite place is closed? How do you know that you’re going to get the same level of service that you get at your usual place?

Do you going to Yelp and read reviews? Do you rely on a friend who seems to know what they are talking about? Do you take the time to go online and research the health code scores over the last several years? With all that, even the top places can still give you bad service. So here are a few tips and things that I want from a nail salon.

Manicure Close-up When you first walk into the salon, has anyone greeted you? Look around to see if you can locate a recent health code score—they’re required to be publicly posted. Always make sure that the person doing your nails has a cosmetology or manicuring license. You always want to be sure that any beauty professional performing service for you is properly licensed. Now look to make sure that the place of business is clean in general. Before sitting down for your service, your manicurist should have taken a clean cloth or paper towel and, with a bottle of disinfectant, sprayed and wiped down the nail station. A clean towel should also be put over the nail station as you’re being seated. It is very important that your manicurist has gotten all the clean, unused supplies from proper packaging. This includes the buffer. Most places try to get away with using the same buffer from client to client, but infection can get spread that way. Relax while the manicurist is performing your nail service, but still pay attention to what he or she is doing. Never let the manicurist cut your cuticles—they should just be slightly pushed back.

You’re almost finished. You’ve got nice, pretty, polished nails and hopefully you’ve received a safe manicure with great service. Have fun and happy nails!

Natural Cleanser with a Twist

Your face is the first thing people see when they look at you. Whether you are forty, twenty four, or fourteen, you don’t want to walk around with acne on your face. I have pimples and blackheads sometimes, so I know that when someone looks at me, they are thinking: “Why didn’t you take care of that before you left the house?” But you’re not really supposed to pop pimples, and when pushing out blackheads, you should be sure to steam your face first for fifteen to twenty minutes.



I’m always reading up on new things, and lately I’ve run across this natural way to cleanse the face that’s especially good for people with super sensitive skin. First, I steam my face and take a cotton cloth to gently push the blackheads out of my face once I’m finished. Then I rinse my face with slightly cold water. (Using water that’s too cold isn’t good for your face. You’re trying to close the open pores on your face, but you shouldn’t shock and stun your pores with extra cold water.) Then I’ll take about one fourth cup lemon juice, a half teaspoon of baking soda, and about a nickel sized dollop of honey. I mix them all together and gently start to apply and massage into my face. After two to three minutes of massaging, I’ll rinse my face. Then I’ll blot my face with a towel that has a light color to make sure it’s properly cleansed. For toner, I use witch hazel which is the best natural toner out there. Then I’m done. 

This cleansing ritual also works really well for people with chest and back acne too.

I’m taking Biotin. It’s helped my hair grow, but it has also helped my face. I’m not as oily and, at the end of the day, my skin feels a lot better—it feels firmer, replenished, and hydrated.

Try this little home remedy for yourself and let me know what you think.

Lemon Mask Setup

Substituting Keratin Treatment for Relaxers?

Fashion is always changing and when fashion changes, hair changes too. They go hand in hand and why not? I know my hair has to match my outfit in order for the look to be complete. For so many years, women of ethnicity mostly, or those with unmanageable curly corse hair, have gone to a salon every six to eight weeks to get a relaxer retouch. They are scared to see that unmanageable natural texture.

For those of you that don’t how relaxers work, first you use a protective base, then section the hair and apply relaxer cream, smooth out, rinse, neutralize, condition, blow out, flat iron, and finish. And that’s just a quick version of it. And then every six to eight weeks you have to go to the salon for a retouch. And be cautious because relaxers may burn the scalp if they are left on too long or if you have a sensitive scalp. And remember: no shampooing or scratching at least a week before service.

Things are always changing. Relaxers are still very popular, but there is a new product on the block called Keratin treatment, also known as a Brazilian blow out. Let’s take a closer look at a Keratin treatment to figure out if it’s any better.

First you need a professional smoothing solution, anti residue Shampoo, deep conditioning masque, and smoothing serum. Next you’ll need to wash the hair with anti residue shampoo. Although it sounds crazy, the instructions say to wash the hair up to six to seven times to get it really really clean. And the hair has to be this clean so the treatment will stick. Towel dry the hair and then apply the anti frizz solution; depending on the length, you use half an ounce to an ounce of the solution. Next use an applicator brush and lightly apply the solution to one-fourth inch subsections. This is just like color applications except you’re using less product and you take a fine tooth comb and use it to comb solution through the hair. Repeat these steps throughout the rest of the hair.

Wow! So far this seems like a lot. But let’s keep going. It’s time to blow out the hair as smooth as possible to heat the solution. Next flat iron the hair and you have to use the flat iron to really activate the keratin solution. And with each subsection, you have to flat iron seven to eight times. You’re still not done yet. Now you have to apply the deep conditioning masque. The final steps apply smoothing serum and do a final blow dry and flat iron. Now you’re done.

Wow that was a lot of work, and after reading about keratin treatments, women still say they have breakage. So it’s up to you. Relaxer or Keratin treatment?

Hair Growth Supplements

A lot of people have trouble growing their hair. Some hair growth problems are just genetics or time taking its toll. But for others, like myself, there are some products that may help. Nowadays there are so many shampoos and vitamins. But how do you know you’re not just getting tricked into buying the latest trend? I’ve read a lot about these things, and I see a lot of ads on TV, in magazines, and even on social media websites. And I’ve gone through my own experience with damaged hair that just wouldn’t grow.



My troubles started about a year ago after coloring my hair way too much. I have naturally curly hair but, at the time, it didn’t have such a great curl pattern anymore. While I was at school at the Cinta Aveda Institute, my educator observed me cutting an angled bob on a guest. That day, I tried to wear my hair down with the the front slightly brushed back with bobby pins. After I was done, she admired the haircut I just did, and asked me what was going on with my own hair. I only have a slight body wave at my new growth with straight dead mid to ends. So I explained to her my situation. Then, she said, you should get the same haircut you just did on your last guest. I was a little scared, but an hour later I loved my new look.

About three months later, a few classmates and I were talking about hair, of course, and I brought up the fact that my hair was growing. One of the girls mentioned Biotin. So I read about this hair and skin supplement: Biotin 1,000 mcg. What I like about Biotin is that it replaces the natural Biotin that my body wasn’t producing enough of, which is why my hair wasn’t growing.

Note: When taking any new supplement, know that it may take 60 to 90 days to start seeing any results. I started taking Biotin in February 2014, and by June 2014 my hair was fuller, a nice length, and my hair feels great. So I like Biotin a lot. It’s a great hair supplement that doesn’t cost a lot.

Aveda Botanical Treatment

Most of us love to color our hair. Now, in 2014, silver ash color hair is very “in”, or color melting aka Ómbre. Have you ever noticed after your color service, your hair feels like hay? Yes, I said hay–with a stringy straw like texture. This happens because we’re opening the cuticle to lift cortex. With process, you walk out of your salon with beautifully colored hair, but now the pH level in the hair is off. What I like to do, both for myself and my guests, is use the Aveda Botanical Treatment.

Aveda Botanical Products

The Aveda Botanical Treatment comes in 3 different formulas: Damage Remedy, Scalp Remedy, and Dry Remedy. Plus, there are three concentrate oil formulas: Soothing, Conditioning, and Purifying. My favorite Aveda Botanical Treatments to use are the Dry Remedy and the Damage Remedy, mixed with the Soothing concentrate oil and Conditioning concentrate oil. This mixture really helped me after overly coloring my hair four different colors within a year. It’s safe to say that I had a lot of damage going on.

When I was in Beta phase is when I started doing more research on our Aveda Botanical Treatment. My educator at the time cut my hair into a very short bob. About three months later, another student and 
I were talking and she noticed that my scalp was super itchy (also I was probably scratching or patting my head a lot that day due to the irritation I was going through). She asked me if I’ve ever tried our Aveda Botanical Treatment since I’ve been eyeing it lately. I said no but I should.

We mixed Dry Remedy, Damage Remedy, Scalp Remedy, plus two concentrate oil, the Soothing concentrate oil and the Conditioning concentrate oil. I have to say, it’s been almost a year and about five treatments. I no longer have to use Scalp Remedy as much as I use the other because my scalp feels so much better and my hair is getting past my shoulders now. I love this Aveda Botanical Treatment. It’s hands down the best, and I’ve tried lots of different deep conditioning products. So go out there to an Aveda school or an Aveda salon and try a Botanical Treatment.

Life in Gamma

“Gamma Phase—finally!” you’re thinking.

Also known as the “State Board Phase,” the Gamma Phase is one of the most important parts of the cosmetology program. You learn each step to pass the skill certifications for the State Board including all the official verbiage that will be used.

One of the best things about being at the Cinta Aveda Institute, during the final phase of the program, is that the school provides us with a practice State Board kit which most other cosmetology schools don’t provide. There are lots of practice tests.

Now this is the home stretch. When you first get into gamma phase, you’ll talk about the things that we’re going to complete this phase. The State Board haircut, basic blow dry and curly iron set, the perm, the relaxer (virgin application and retouch application), color (virgin application and retouch application), manicure, sculpture nail, waxing procedure, and last but not least, the facial.

One of the most important steps for State Board are the three S’s: sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. You can do everything right at the State Board, and I mean perfect to a “t”, and you can still fail if you forgot to sanitize. I try to always keep in mind what our Gamma teacher has taught us—you can never “over sanitize” during the State Board. Even if you get confused and think you don’t need to sanitize, do it anyway. It might just help you pass your test.

Don’t get scared of State Board. You’ll get plenty of time to practice. And you can take advantage of the fact that our school offers us an opportunity to come in on our off days to get extra help with the State Board’s practical.

The Gamma Phase is very very important. You may not be motivated. You may be working long hours. You may have many kids and little time. But whatever your situation, you need to find some motivation and get here. The last thing you want is to get to State Board and not know how to do a procedure. The practice State Board tests are scary, so I can only imagine being in a room full of people I don’t know trying to perform under pressure. Study and take the time to learn and understand every step to State Board. I’m so ready for State Board because of what I learned during Gamma Phase.

New Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight

Product - Aveda Smooth InfusionHave you ever struggled keeping your hair naturally straight? Living in San Francisco and having curly hair, the fog always finds a way to bring back my curls. But with Aveda’s new Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight, I have found a balance. The other day I had a guest with curly hair. After her daily routine of letting her hair air, it always seemed to be frizzy.

I know what you’re thinking: “I thought that it was only for blowing straight and to help when flat ironing the hair.” But no, I’ve been trying new things. On the day that my guest wanted beach waves, I was very happy to hear it. I’d been telling her all day about the new Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight product. So I brought over the Dry Remedy oil, the Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight, Volumizing Tonic (for memory hold), and Air Control. They’re all light weight products, which I think is the best after a fresh hair cut.

I start with a little Dry Remedy oil and a little Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight (Naturally Straight also has heat protection in its formula), then I rough dry the hair to about 70% dry. Next, I take about a dime size of Dry Remedy oil and Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight, work into the hair starting from ends to root, then add the Volumizing Tonic spraying from end to root. I then choose the proper size round brush and section the hair into about 1/4 inch sections, split in two. With the round brush, I start with the brush under the hair and the blow dryer on top but not touching the hair or brush. I start directing the up and the down. Next I switch the round and the blow dry.

This next step is very important. I take the blow dryer and the brush and choose which way I want the body to flow. So I over direct the hair, flipping the hair the same way. Repeat throughout the whole head. Finishing touch with Air Control and a little lip stick or gloss to help polish off the new look.