Skin

Five Essential Oils to Benefit Your Life

Oils in Bottles

The use of oils to treat various issues has been around the since Ancient Egyptians in 1500 B.C. The Bible also referencing remedies using oils. The oils can help with conditions from depression to fatigue, from skin issues to muscle tension.

There is an oil for almost everyone. Oils can have a healing effect mentally, emotionally, and physically. These five oils can benefit your life in a natural, easy, and effective way through the natural healing properties they possess.

  • Lavender is very versatile. Well known for its calming effects, lavender also works on cuts, bruises, and skin irritations. It can reduce stress hormones in your blood. Just add a few drops to your next warm bath or to your pillow for a good nights rest.
  • Tea Tree oil derives from Australia and is for topical use only. It is a natural antiseptic with many uses. Used as a natural deodorant by many, it also helps treat blemishes by dabbing onto skin with a cotton ball. It can be used for fungal infections such as athletes foot. It can be added to your shampoo to naturally prevent lice. The next time you’re camping, bring tea tree with you for ticks. A couple of drops on the tick and they will usually unlatch.
  • Peppermint is excellent for stimulating the mind and creating mental alertness. It is said that inhaling peppermint oil can improve mental alertness. Peppermint can be taken internally and it can help with indigestion by mixing a few drops into a glass of water.
  • Frankincense is one of the oils that has been around for thousands of years. Referenced in the Bible as a gift brought to Jesus, it was valued in ancient times because of its healing properties and uses as a perfume. People across North Africa and the Arab world still believe in the power of Frankincense and use the oil to help treat arthritis. As time has gone on, the rest of the world has been discovering its uses for depression, inflammation, immunity, alertness, and the healing of minor cuts and bug bites. Add a few drops to your next warm bath to ensure deep relaxation.
  • Lemon oil is probably one of the best known oils, and for a good reason. Adding a few drops to warm water in the morning can be a great and natural way to detoxify your body and boost mental alertness. It can also increase focus and concentration with its uplifting properties. Not only does it work from the inside, but also on the outside of the skin to help clear acne. Your pets will love you too by adding a few drops on the back of their neck to help keep fleas away and give them a nice fresh scent.

There are many more essential oils that have proven to provide positive effects on people for thousands of years. Explore these natural products and see how they can benefit your life.

The Benefits of Argan Oil

The Production of Argan Oil Using Traditional Methods

Argan Oil Produced Using Traditional Methods

Argan oil is produced from the plant kernels of the argan tree. It is native to Morocco. In Morocco it is commonly eaten as a dip for bread or drizzled over pasta or couscous. But argan oil also has a variety of cosmetic uses.

  • Nighttime Moisturizer

    Apply one drop to moisturize your whole face and keep it soft and smooth.

  • Skin Toner

    Add 2 to 4 drops to your toner to take advantage of the oil’s nutrients before moisturizing.

  • Exfoliating

    Mix with brown sugar and use as a facial scrub. It will exfoliate and promote healthy surface cell turnover.

  • Acne

    Argan oil’s high linoleum acid content helps to reduce inflammation caused by acne.

  • Razor Bumps and Burns

    Argan oil is an effective treatment for men and women after shaving and also speeds the healing process.

  • Leave-in Conditioner

    This non-greasy oil makes for the perfect leave-in conditioner. Argan oil helps to tame frizz and fly-aways and protects against the heat of hot tools such as blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons.

  • Lip Conditioner

    Argan oil makes for a wonderful lip treatment or lip balm substitute. Rub 1 to 2 drops on your lips and wipe away any excess. This not only heals cracked lips but leaves your lips feeling soft, smoother, and conditioned.

  • Dry Feet and Heels

    If you are experiencing dry, cracking skin on your feet or heels, rub 2 to 4 drops onto your feet paying special attention to the affected areas. Cover with a pair of socks, let the oil soak in, and then remove.

  • Stretch Marks

    Argan oil can help to prevent stretch marks by improving the skin’s elasticity. Warm 2 to 3 drops of pure argan oil in the palm of your hands and gently rub into any problem areas.

  • Whole-body Moisturizer

    Add a couple of drops of argan oil to coconut oil (or any other natural moisturizing carrier oil) to enjoy all-over dry skin relief.

  • Overnight Deep Conditioning Treatment

    If you have dry, brittle hair, do an overnight deep conditioning treatment with argan oil once a week. Apply 1 to 2 drops of argan oil from the mid-lengths to ends of your hair and let sit until morning.

  • Nails

    Argan oil’s non-greasy moisture is an ideal treatment for cuticles and nails. Remove all nail polish from finger and toe nails and rinse thoroughly before applying argan oil.

Recurring Clients

Woman washing skin

When I started at Cinta Aveda, I didn’t know what kind of clients I would get: interesting ones, crazy ones, or quiet ones. Now that I’ve been working with clients, I’ve already had an assortment of people come in and out of my treatment room.

Lately, I’ve had many reoccurring clients coming back for treatments. I’ve learned that it’s important to create a dialogue with a client. Clients need to feel that they’re important and that they have been heard. Importantly, I need to give them realistic solutions for their problems.

To create that dialogue, and to engender a comfortable environment for the client, I ask them about their main skin concerns. It’s not just the particular problem, it’s also how it makes them feel. Are they embarrassed by it? Are they over it?

I ask about their skin care routine. I also try to understand their preferences: do they like something super easy or are they willing to take a couple of extra minutes by the sink and add some extra TLC? I get many answers. Some people just wash their face with water, while others will do weekly home peels.

After I’ve heard about their routine, I usually ask them about the products they use and try to understand what they don’t have in their skin care routine.

From that point on, I have a pretty good idea of where I can go with them and how I can help their issues.

I’ve found that the key to having clients return to me is by creating a routine that they can follow. My advice is to give your clients alternatives, and don’t give them Mission Impossible.

Aloe Vera Cooling Gel

Aloe Vera Leaf

Herbal medicines are natural, plant-derived treatments used for both internal and external health issues. One of the most common of these medicines is a succulent plant called aloe vera. Because it is so versatile, aloe vera is used by the cosmetic, medicine, and even food industries.

Aloe vera has many healing properties—soothing, cooling, and moisturizing. That’s why aloe vera is frequently topically applied to wounded areas including a sunburn, a sore, or a cut. Also, due to its moisturizing benefits, aloe vera is a common ingredient in cosmetics. Its moisturizing emollient effects aid in many products including soap, shampoo, and moisturizers.

With the sun becoming more present every day, sunburn is a high health risk for many people. Here is a sunburn repairing recipe that will cool any irritation on the skin as well as aid in healing:

  • 120 milliliters aloe vera gel (either store bought or from plant)
  • 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
  • 10 drops of pure lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops of pure peppermint essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a clean bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a sealable container and store it in the fridge. The gel mixture may oxidize quickly, so use as soon as possible.

Vitamin E is an effective moisturizer and can neutralize free radical damage. Lavender is calming and antibacterial. Peppermint is cooling and antibacterial.

The Benefits of Rice Water

Bowl of Rice and Rice Water

Rice water is rich in minerals and vitamins that make it fantastic for both skin and hair. What’s more, this beauty secret has been utilized by flawless-skinned Japanese Geishas for centuries. Rice is rich in a complex of B vitamins called “inositol” which helps promote cell growth, slows down the aging process, and stimulates blood flow.

Rice water can tighten pores, bringing an abundance of radiance to the face and body. Furthermore, rice water is moisturizing and contains antioxidant and UV-absorbing properties. It also has the ability to bind to naturally occurring copper in the skin, thereby preventing the formation of melanin (hyper-pigmentation) and age spots. Moreover, the soothing nature of rice water makes it an effective remedy for rashes and other irritating or painful skin conditions.

In a dermatological study at Brussels University, patients with atopic dermatitis—chronic inflammation of the skin—saw a 20% improvement after taking 15-minute baths filled with rice water twice a day.

Not only is rice water great for the skin, but it is also great for your hair. Rinsing or washing your hair with rice water improves manageability and protects it from future damage. In addition, the amino acids in the rice water strengthens the hair roots, adds volume and sheen, and makes hair silky smooth.

Now that you know about the benefits of rice water, your next question is probably: “How do I make it?” It’s super easy to make:

  1. Boil some rice, preferably organic rice boiled in distilled water.
  2. Pour the excess water in a lidded glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
  3. Once cooled, the rice water will be a potent ingredient for crystal clear skin and super-shiny hair.

Who knew that something we usually pour down the drain could be so beneficial?

Ultrasound Technology for Skin

Woman Receiving Ultrasonic FacialThere’s an amazing technology that any beauty therapist or Esthetician should be familiar with—ultrasound. If you’ve ever seen a pregnancy ultrasound, you’ve seen images created by sound and vibrations. In the spa world, ultrasound is primarily used to penetrate products into the skin.

The skin’s outermost layer—the stratum corneum—is waterproof and makes it hard to penetrate water-based products or nutrients into the skin. Some argue that lotions and serums can’t be penetrated beyond the first few keratinized layers of the epidermis. But an ultrasound machine can penetrate products deep into the skin, helping with a host of skin problems including dehydrated, damaged, mature, photo-aged, and acneic skin.

This machine uses extremely fast vibrations to penetrate serums, lotions, and creams for optimum skin health. Unlike older galvanic machines used to penetrate the skin, ultrasound is not painful or scary. In fact, you can barely feel the machine going to work. This newer technology works with more than just water soluble ampoules and serums. It can also help penetrate oil soluble products into the skin.

There are currently many other uses for ultrasound in the beauty industry. It’s used for anti-cellulite treatments to burn fat, and can dramatically reduce the appearance of scars.

If you are looking to incorporate machines into your esthetics practice, this is an amazing choice. It will keep your clientele very pleased and help them glow!

How I Took Control of My Skin

Product - Clinique Number 4

I have extremely oily skin that is prone to breakouts, and I have always had a difficult time finding products that work for me. Products formulated for acne would always irritate and over dry my skin to the point of it becoming flaky. It was a constant battle to find a good system that controlled the oil and breakouts but still left me hydrated. This battle continued until I found my way to Clinique.

I was skeptical at first because Clinique is a brand directed towards sensitive skin. I had it in my mind that something made for sensitive skin could not possibly help control the excessive oiliness of my skin. I was so wrong.

Clinique has a few different skincare systems. They have their regular three-step system that is broken down into four groups and numbered one through four.

  1. very dry skin
  2. dry to normal combination skin
  3. oily combination skin
  4. oily skin

They also have an acne line. I was still nervous about over drying my skin so I avoided the acne line. I tried their 3-step system using number four. This system consisted of a gel cleanser, a clarifying lotion (similar to a toner), and the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel.

I used these three products twice a day, morning and night. To see a difference in your skin after switching skincare products, it is recommended that you use the products for at least one full month. This is so your skin has a chance to go through one full cycle of renewal which on average is 28 days. I kept this in mind when I began using the products.

However, in two weeks I saw a dramatic difference in my skin. I was not having consistent breakouts, my skin was nowhere near as oily and it wasn’t dry either. I’ve been truly happy with this skincare regime. I switched my skin care system to Clinique five years ago. I have tried others in the meantime but I always go back. It really works.

Cucumber for Healthy Skin

Woman with Cucumber on Eyes

Cucumber slices can fight dark circles and puffy eyes.

Cucumbers may do more for your skin than for your palate. These fruits, members of the melon family, have properties that soothe and soften the skin. For an easy do-it-yourself skin treatment, reach into your refrigerator and pull out a cucumber. You can use it to make a toner, or a mask, or simply lay slices over your eyes to help you look refreshed.

  • Antioxidant Power

    The older you get, the fewer antioxidants you have in your skin to fight wrinkles and sun damage. Because your skin has the ability to absorb antioxidants, cucumbers can help restore some of these. Cucumbers are a source of several compounds that fight inflammation and aging, including cucurbitacins and cucumerin.

  • Vitamin Rich

    Cucumbers contain vitamin C, an antioxidant. They also have plenty of vitamin K—also an antioxidant—which fights dark circles under the eyes. That’s why a couple of cucumber slices placed over tired, puffy eyes in the morning helps you look refreshed. Vitamin B-5 is another compound found in cucumbers that helps your skin retain moisture. The vitamin A, or retinol, in cucumbers fights dark spots and freckles because it helps control your skin’s production of melanin.

  • Wrinkle Fighter

    Cucumbers are a source of silica, which, as a precursor to collagen, can help fight wrinkles. A May 2011 issue of the “Archives of Dermatological Research” published a study concluding that the presence of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, makes cucumber juice a particular effective ingredient in anti-wrinkle products. You can add cucumber juice to your favorite lotion; or make a toner by grating a cucumber, straining out the juice through cheesecloth, and mixing it with an equal amount of witch hazel or rose water. Use a cotton ball to apply it to your face.

  • Skin Irritations

    Cucumbers have high water content and a cooling quality, making them appropriate to help soothe mild burns, particularly sunburn. They can also reduce swelling and relieve minor skin irritations.

Skin Serums with Nanosomes

Illustration showing how tiny nanosomes penetrate skin.

Products encapsulated in tiny nanosomes can more easily penetrate deeply into the skin.

Many of us have heard of incorporating serums into our skin care regimens and some of us already have. Serums are a crucial step in taking care of our skin. They have a more highly concentrated blend of active ingredients than, say, a moisturizer. Serums have smaller molecules that absorb into the skin quickly. However, just like with most skin care products, serums are water-based, while our skin is oil loving. So, most of the time, the product sits on top of our skin and doesn’t penetrate much deeper.

What can you do to get your skin to absorb more of the ingredients and reap the benefits from your serum?

You could use a dermaroller before applying serum, but that’s not something your skin would be able to take every day. You could also use an ultrasound device to help penetrate the product deeper into the skin, but maybe you don’t want to have to purchase another tool.

Both of those methods are great but the easier way is by using a serum with nanosomes—which may also be called microspheres or nanospheres.

Nanosomes, made from phospholipids by using nano-technology techniques, are extremely small single or double bilayer liposomes. They encapsulate active ingredients; and, due to their tiny size, can penetrate skin to deliver products much deeper. Nanosomes aren’t just in serums either, they can also be found in sunscreens and moisturizers. When searching for products with nanosomes, it will always say on the bottle that it contains them.

Use Your Lymphatic System to Reduce Cellulite

Female Lymphatic SystemCellulite is a particularly unattractive disorder of the subcutaneous tissue. Typically, it is caused from an excess of toxins stored in the fatty tissue. It presents as a rippling or cottage cheese appearance typically in the thighs and buttocks and can be difficult to get rid of. Women are especially prone to cellulite because we store more fat; it can be seen on even the thinnest of women.

For ladies who seek to improve the appearance of stubborn cellulite, it’s all about harnessing the power of your lymphatic system.

First, good old fashioned cardiovascular activity is a great way to get the lymphatic system moving in order to move those toxins out of your body. Running is an excellent way to accomplish this; it gets your heart rate up high enough to increase circulation, thereby increasing the movement of lymph. Any time you’re raising your heart rate and doing cardio exercises, you are helping to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Another approach is through massage therapy. Having a Swedish massage helps to drain toxins and move the lymph–which carries fat–out of your system. If you are fortunate enough to receive massage on a regular basis, it can tone muscles as well as remove toxins that are sitting below the skin. Not only is massage relaxing and beneficial to the nervous system and muscular tissue, but it is a healthy way to eliminate waste products in the body. Be sure to drink plenty of water following a massage in order to expedite the removal of wastes.

A third way to improve the appearance of cellulite is via dry brushing. Dry brushing uses a brush or gloves on dry skin in light sweeping motions to help the lymphatic system to do its job. Start on the legs or arms and always brush towards the heart. This practice can be done daily, and is a beneficial practice for anyone looking to detoxify.

Fruity Face Masks

Woman with Avocado Face Mask

Here are a few easy face masks you can make with just a few things you most likely already have in your kitchen. All you need is a few fruits and veggies and, for the last three, a blender. These starter masks are all pretty much good for any skin type, So get creative and find the one that fits your needs best!

  • Avocado Mash: mash ½ of a ripe avocado with 2 tablespoons of honey and apply to the face. Leave on skin for around 20 minutes and rinse off
  • Banana and Honey Mask: Mash one banana with 1 tablespoon of honey and mix until it forms a smooth paste. Apply to face and set for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off.
  • Milk and Honey Mask: Mix together plain yogurt and honey. Put it on your face and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  • Pumpkin Pie: In a blender, combine 2 cups canned pumpkin, 4 tablespoons low-fat vanilla yogurt, and 4 tablespoons of honey. Apply to face and leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse off.
  • Berry Blitz: In a blender, combine ½ cup frozen or fresh berry mix (strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries or all three). Add ½ cup plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon of honey. You can drink the rest or double the ingredients for a full on smoothie and face mask mix.
  • Cucumber mask: In a blender, blend one peeled cucumber until it has a jelly-like consistency. Apply to skin for around 15—20 mins and rinse off. This one is best if applied when cold.

Facial Process

Getting a Facial

A facial is not necessarily something that someone has to have to live. Rather, it’s a gift—to oneself or to others. It is like having a spa day or treating yourself to some relaxation.

As an esthetician, I know that performing a facial is very precise and has many small details to which you need to attend. It is important to follow each step by step procedure and make sure the facial is relaxing, yet beneficial as well. Some components of a facial include cleansing, a refinement, steaming, massage, a masque, a skin analysis, etc. Missing any of the steps can result in an incomplete service and a sub-optimum result.

For a basic one hour facial, the esthetician’s step by step process goes as follows:

  1. Opening ritual: Begin the facial with some calming inhales and slow exhales to relax the client in a calm setting. Offer them a calming essential oil that will remind them of something they can relate to in a positive way. They should be very relaxed before starting the facial.
  2. Cleansing: Cleanse the skin with an appropriate cleanser based on the consultation with the client. The skin has yet to be analyzed, so the cleanser has to be picked based on what you know their skin can tolerate.
  3. Analyze: After toning, analyze the skin with a magnifying lamp and determine their skin type, temperature, tone, dehydration level, and any other concern they have or you see.
  4. Refine: After determining what needs to be addressed, decide on a choice of products and determine which refinement and masque to use during the facial. Apply the refinement for seven to ten minutes depending on the client’s skin condition.
  5. Massage: After removing the refinement and toning the skin, move into the massage. Start from the décolleté up to the neck, from the bottom of the face and then upwards. It is important to use enough oil to smoothly move your fingers but to not slip across the skin.
  6. Masque: The masque is one of the most important parts of a facial. This is usually something that complements the refinement done or help to heal any extractions or intense work performed on the face. This also lasts after application for seven to ten minutes.
  7. Closing ritual: When the facial has come to an end, help the client adjust back out of relaxation and provide them with some stretches and movements to help them get ready to leave.
  8. Finishing touch: Before your client leaves, a nice thing you can do is provide a minimal makeup touch up. Offer them a quick lip, mascara, blush, etc. They will appreciate the offer and will remember the gesture.

Treating Keratosis Pilaris

Arm with Keratosis PilarisEveryone wants smooth, healthy skin. If you’re bothered by pesky little bumps that feel rough to the touch, you’re not alone. Those bumps might be keratosis pilaris — check with your doctor or dermatologist to be sure. While the bumps are harmless and painless, they can be difficult to treat.

This condition is common in children and young adults and can sometimes resolve itself by early adulthood. It is important to have a skin specialist or dermatologist examine your skin to make a concise diagnosis.

If you run your hand along the back of your arm and it has a bumpy or rough texture, you could have keratosis pilaris. The bumps are often in patches and can resemble a “goose-like flesh” or “chicken skin”. They appear white and are somewhat hard to notice from a quick glance. They are most commonly found on the back of your arms, although they can also be found on the cheeks, thighs, and buttocks. They can become red, but are not painful, and are generally not itchy or cause any kind of discomfort.

These bumps can also become inflamed, and can scar if they are picked at or scratched. Keratosis pilaris is caused from the build-up of keratin under the skin’s surface. The keratin develops a scaly plug that blocks the hair follicle at the opening. The result is bumpy skin.

If you have keratosis pilaris, you want to know how to get rid of the problem. While keratosis pilaris is not curable, you can lessen the appearance and signs. It can be challenging to treat, but you can usually reduce the appearance of the bumps and redness over time.

A topical retinoid therapy using Vitamin A can promote cell turnover and keep the follicle from getting plugged. A topical exfoliant or medicated cream containing alpha-hydroxy acids and moisturizers can soften the dried out skin and remove dead skin cells. Green tea also helps reduce the visible redness and bumps associated with irritated dry skin and keratosis pilaris.

Being consistent with your skin care will help keep your keratosis pilaris under control and replenish a smooth skin finish. Before trying medical grade products to treat this skin disorder, I would definitely recommend trying just a simple exfoliating scrub; this alone can do wonders for your skin tone and texture.

When using an exfoliating scrub, apply generously to the affected area and rub in with your hands in an upward motion to slough away dead skins cells more effectively. Do this one to two times weekly and apply a moisturizer after to keep the skin hydrated.

Skin Foods

StrawberriesBeing in the Esthetics program, my focus is on skin care. We spend many hours learning about the skin on different levels. We study skin diseases and disorders. We study the various types of skin based on hydration, or lack thereof. We spend a lot of time learning about ingredients and products to put topically on the skin to address and balance each person’s unique issues.

It’s also very important to treat the skin from the inside out. It’s important for the skin to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. But what are good foods and herbs that can enhance and beautify the skin?

Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keeps the skin supple and smooth and help to fight age related damage.

Per serving, strawberries have more anti-aging vitamin C than oranges or grapefruit. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who eat foods rich in Vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and less age related dry skin than those who don’t. Vitamin C fights free radicals, which damage cells and breaks down collagen, leading to fine lines. You can also apply a berry mask for smoother, more hydrated skin.

Olive oil is another powerhouse for the skin. It has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. You can use it topically to soften skin and create more radiance. It is also wonderful as a lipgloss or for rough patches of skin that may occur on the elbows or knees.

Another excellent addition to the diet is green tea. It is filled with antioxidants. There are studies that show drinking green tea may reduce your risk of skin cancer. Green tea contains tannins which act as an astringent. When applied to the skin it can reduce puffiness. You can use this feature of green tea on your eyes: chill damp tea bags in the fridge and put on eyes for 10 to 15 minutes.

Stay aware of what we put both in and on your body.

Home Facial Massage Techniques

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.

Can ‘Expensive’ be Cheaper?

Tarte Cosmetics Product Collection

Before I started at Cinta Aveda Institute, I’d buy all my cosmetics from the Ulta Beauty Store. Ulta displays their pricy, high end cosmetic lines and products on the left side of the store. To the right, they have typical drugstore lines like CoverGirl, Maybelline, and Rimmel London. To me, makeup has always been a “Want to Have” rather than a necessity, so I always went for the cheaper side. I figured I could find some pretty descent stuff for a low price. For years—and I mean years—I had used Rimmel’s liquid foundation and CoverGirl’s pressed powders. I was happy with the products and I never noticed any problems that I might be having with them.

Once I started school however, some of the first topics we discussed were makeup. To my surprise, I found that it is a lot more important to use good quality makeup than I thought. I learned that you shouldn’t judge a line based on their price, and that the more expensive products can be the best for your skin. The cheap makeup I was using was actually the reason I was breaking out so much, and the more I broke out, the more makeup I used.

I finally decided to take the plunge and shop on the expensive left side of Ulta. To my surprise, a lot of the brands I was interested in weren’t that much more expensive. On top of that, I wasn’t going to need as many products. I started trying bare minerals first. I used that for a couple weeks, but it made my skin itchy and it basically covered up nothing. I used so much of it that it only lasted me 2 weeks. So I went back to find something I knew would be healthy for my skin and still give me perfect coverage.

I tried Tarte Cosmetics and instantly fell in love. Tarte has easily become one of my absolute favorite makeup brands and has really transformed my face. Tarte is made from Amazon clay which helps to really get the coverage you want, but it’s not heavy on your skin. You barely notice it’s there. It also lasts the entire day and doesn’t get greasy-looking. Finally, the company is socially aware. It does many things to help people and the environment with their profits. I love Tarte and my skin finally looks and feels great because of it.

Steam Your Face With Herbs

Face Steaming

When Spring arrives, it will bring an array of useful medicinal herbs and flowers. For skin health, one of the easiest ways to incorporate these herbs and flowers is to use them in steams. Even if you live in the city and don’t have the fresh plants around you, you can have these herbs on hand. They should be dried and stored in glass jars out of direct sunlight.

Why is it Important to Steam?

One benefit is that the vapor imparts a glow to your complexion, and you will find that your skincare products penetrate deeper and work more effectively. The heat and moisture also open the pores freeing dead skin, dirt, and bacteria. It brings toxins to the surface. Oily and acneic type skin can greatly benefit from steaming—it helps get rid of both blackheads and whiteheads by opening plugged pores and softening blockages. Those with rosacea, severe acne, sensitive skin, or coronary issues should skip steam or consult with a doctor.

The process of steaming is very simple. Bring a pot of water to a boil, toss in a handful of fresh or dried herbs and flowers, simmer for two to three minutes. If you are using essential oils, remove the water from the heat before adding a few drops of the oil. Move the water to a comfortable location where you can sit alongside and keep your face 8 to 12 inches above the water, drape a towel over your head and the bowl to hold in the steam.

Some good herbs for use in a steam are rose petals, chamomile, lavender, sage, calendula blossoms, fennel seeds, and rosemary leaves. There are many more options but do your research first. Steaming too often or placing your face too close to the water can lead to broken blood vessels. Once a week should be sufficient. Follow with a splash of cold water and pat dry. You can then apply your serum, facial oil, or moisturizer.

Introduction to Micellar Water

Micellar Water Brand ExamplesIf you follow fashion week beauty or even some beauty vloggers, you may have heard of micellar water. Bioderma is the most well known brand. I first read about it years ago when it was only available in Europe. But as soon as I got my hands on a bottle, I wondered how I had ever lived without it.

Micellar water is made up of micelles—tiny oil droplets suspended in water. They get rid of makeup, oil, and dirt from your skin with no need for rinsing. It doesn’t leave an oily residue on your skin nor does it dry it out. It’s also gentle enough to use as an eye makeup remover. Micellar water is great for sensitive skin types since it is formulated without harsh chemicals and soaps. However, if you are wearing heavy makeup, you’ll still need to wash your face or use makeup wipes in addition to micellar water.

I like to use it at night after washing my face for gentle, extra cleansing. It gets the traces of makeup that my cleanser may not have removed. I also use it as a substitute for washing my face in the morning, as I believe in a more gentle morning routine for skin.

It’s great a substitute for toner to freshen up and cleanse your skin without irritation while traveling.

Micellar water is no longer hard to find. As it has risen in popularity, many American cosmetic companies have released their own micellar waters.

Developing a Skincare Routine

Skincare Routine Application

Finding the perfect skincare regimen can be a hassle. Here are four essential must haves for developing the perfect routine to have flawless skin.

  • Skin Cleanser

    There are many face washes on the market for oily skin. I would recommend a gel cleanser. If you’re acne prone, it can contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. For sensitive or dry skin, you can use a cleansing milk or cream cleanser that is much more gentle and moisturizing.

  • Toner

    Start with a spray toner. These are easier to use and it’s just one or two spritzes and you’re done! Toners are good because they restore the PH balance in your skin and can be firming as well.

  • Moisturizer

    SPF, SPF & SPF! Make sure your moisturizer has sun protection factor in it. Depending on its strength, you may need to reapply it throughout the day. Also make sure it’s not a chemical SPF which can cause free radicals that can irritate and damage the skin.

  • Eye Cream

    Eye cream can be selected depending on your needs. There are a wide variety on the market, designed to treat different problems. Some are for moisturizing, some are for dark circles, some for puffiness, and so on.

Oh, and ask for samples! A lot of cosmetic stores offer take home samples so you can try out products before you buy them.

Make Your Own Lotion Bars

Homemade Lotion Bars

Have you ever used any of Lush’s scented lotion bars? Amazing, right? Those lotion bars are super easy to make at home and half the price!

Lotion bars are solid at room temperature like a bar of soap, but when rubbed on the skin, they melt leaving your skin super soft and moisturized. You can add any mixture of essential oils to customize the scent. You can even add coffee beans to make a massage bar. These are fun presents, and can easily be made for baby shower gifts, birthdays, Christmas gifts, or just for yourself.

Did I mention the directions are super easy to follow? This recipe can be adjusted to make any quantity that you’d like. I make mine with 1 part=1 cup so I used 1 cup of coconut oil, 1 cup beeswax and ⅓ cup each of shea butter and cocoa butter (you could also just use 1 cup of any for the individual sized bars). I also added some vanilla essential oil. I set them in silicone baking cups, though any mold or shape would work. The recipe I used made exactly 12 lotion bars. You can store them in any plastic container. I keep mine in the fridge, labeled so nobody tries to eat them!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup shea or cocoa butter or a mix of both together equal to 1 cup
  • 1 cup beeswax
  • 1 tsp. vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 30 drops of essential oil like vanilla (optional)

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients, other than the optional essential oils, in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a smaller saucepan with 1 inch of water in it.
  2. Turn the burner on and bring the water to a boil. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and add the optional essential oils. Gently stir until essential oils are incorporated.
  4. Carefully pour into molds or whereever you will be allowing the lotion bars to harden. I used silicone baking cups, though any mold will work. Different shaped molds can be used for holiday gifts (hearts for valentines, flowers for Mother’s day, and so fort) or made in a square baking pan and then cut into actual bars.
  5. Allow the lotion bars to cool completely before attempting to pop out of molds.

† If you add an extra ounce or two of beeswax, you get a thicker consistency, which leaves less lotion on the skin when used.