Nail Maintenance

Biting Nails

Do you have a really bad habit of biting your nails? Does your manicurist go on and on about how damaged they are and how you need to take better care of them? Well, I feel your pain. I struggled with biting my nails and suffered from chipped dry nails and cuticles for years. It wasn’t until recently that I have taken better care of them.

For me, biting my nails was a way of dealing with stress and anxiety. It was easier to chew my nails down to the nub rather than to deal with my issues and nerves. It took a long time to beat my nasty habit of chewing them. I found a new way to deal with my stress through watching movies and spending more time with my friends. After spending time to rehabilitate my nails, I have found time to take better care of my nails, including trimming and filing.

There are plenty of ways to take care of your nail beds and cuticles to keep them healthy, strong, and looking nice. Here are five tips:

  1. Get a manicure: I know it’s a shock, but it’s important to have weekly nail maintenance to keep your nails strong and healthy.
  2. Wear gloves: When washing dishes, or being exposed to really cold temperatures, it is important to wear gloves to avoid having your nails become brittle. Then they will not chip as easily.
  3. Wear sunscreen: When getting your nails done, it is important to wear sunscreen on your hands and nails to avoid the LED light most salons use from internally damaging your skin and nails.
  4. Diet: adjust your diet to healthier foods, such as vegetables, fish (like salmon), and protein. These types of foods really help strengthen the nail and make your nails grow faster.
  5. Coating: always wear both a base coat and a top coat. Never skip one or the other. This process will help strengthen your nails and reduces the amount of chipping.

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.

How to Find the Right Curling Wand

Curling Wand Tips

Gone are the days of curls crimped and crunched by the clamp of a curling iron. The curling wand is here to stay! It’s a great tool to get effortless curls and waves without the spring and hinge contraption of yesteryear. Curling wands are essentially just curling irons with no clamp. They can provide most of the styling options that curling irons create but with a more natural, lived-in look.

The top things to look for in a curling wand are:

  1. Protection

    Many curling wands come with a glove to protect your hand from the heat of the tool. Without a clamp, you’re going to be interacting with the heated portion of the tool a lot more. This is great for getting just the right shape from a curl or wave, but the heat safe glove is a must have for protecting your hands during styling.

  2. Heat

    How hot will it get? How long will it take to get that hot? Check that there are multiple heat settings so your tool can both be customized to your needs and is flexible enough to be shared with friends and family.

  3. Material

    Wands come in a variety of materials from titanium to heat resistant plastics. Look for ceramic or tourmaline ceramic that protects hair during heat styling and reduces frizz.

  4. Size

    The look you’re seeking can be found and a lot of it comes down to the size of the wand’s barrel. Some curling wands come with removable attachments so you can mix it up. If you’re seeking big bombshell curls that fall loosely, then a larger barrel is for you. For shorter hair or tighter curls, you’ll want a smaller barrel.

Using these four criteria, you can narrow down the vast selection of curling wands to find the right one for you.

Educators and Mentors

Chalkboard with the word Mentor written on it.At the Cinta Aveda Institute, I’ve had the privilege to get to know and bond with my educators.

Every single one of them has made my experience here one to remember. They make me laugh constantly and always show me what a community should look like.

Being so comfortable with my educators has made it an experience of ease and warmth. I’m not afraid to ask them questions, or express any type of concern, because they come back to me with honesty and the uttermost care towards my concern. That was one thing I felt deeply when I came to this school; I never felt shame or embarrassment when I asked a question, even if i knew it might be nonsensical.

Educators at the Cinta Aveda Institute are mentors in this industry, constantly displaying different approaches to skin care and technical matters. I’ve learned from them that the skin care industry is neither black nor white—there are many shades of gray and variations on how to do things. Each has their own techniques or opinions about certain products or treatments.

I’m excited to see what they have in store to teach me. Each of them has their own distinct characteristics that make enliven every class. I’m very grateful for these wonderful people who have enriched my journey here. I only hope to carry forward these many attributes to upcoming estheticians.

One thing I have taken from them is to approach skin with different alternatives. Every client has multiple options available to them; and, with the many mentors I’ve had, I can properly advise them.

Men are Vain

Aveda’s Invati Product Line

Aveda’s Invati Product Line

So I’ve come to realize that men are actually quite vain. It’s incredible the lengths a man might go if he fears he’s going bald, either to cover up a receding hairline or try to avoid it altogether.

Time to blast someone I hold near and dear to my heart—let’s call him Bob (sorry, Bob). Bob is a pretty confident guy except that he started showing a receding hairline before he was 21. He wore hats or shaved his head down to a #1 guard (about ⅛″). He would seek my advice on different haircuts or obscure Eastern home remedies.

One day, I suggested this new Aveda product line called Invati. I tell Bob it’s a commitment, but a worthwhile one. He agrees to give it a shot. I bring home the Invati shampoo, conditioner, and spray scalp supplement. It took a few months of daily use, but then even I start to see a noticeable difference. The Invati line took the baby hairs he had and toughened them up to be full grown adult hairs like the rest of them. It also cleansed his scalp so that the hairs he did have could grow to their fullest, thickest potential. Now he swears by the Invati product line and he has made a believer out of me to have seen it first-hand.

You do need patience and diligence for the Invati line to work well—it’s not a quick fix. But if you stick with it, I think you’ll see amazing things happen to your hair and your confidence.

A woman can benefit from it too if she wants a fuller head of hair too.

Go ahead and grab the Invati product line for him or her and watch the “miracle grow” right before your eyes.

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.

Importance of Hair Products

Aveda Hair Products Collage

I never really knew the importance of product until I started studying at Cinta Aveda Institute. Aftercare is vital for the longevity of your hair style, cut, or color. Without certain products, your hair won’t look the same when you leave the salon. It’s important to realize this when you’re spending a lot of money on salon services.

If you spend for beautiful hair color, you might not know that the shampoo you bought at your local drug store actually strips away your color in the shower. It’s always important that you ask your stylists questions about aftercare and that they are educating you with their knowledge of appropriate products.

Essential products that I always use are:

  • Shampoo and conditioner: the most important products you can buy. Most drug store brands actually do more damage to your hair because they contain sulfates and chemicals that dry out the hair and strip away color or the essential oils that your hair needs.
  • Prep or style primer: if you don’t like a lot of product, a style prep or primer is a great choice. You just spritz throughout your hair and blow dry. Benefits of some preps or primers are that they can be moisturizerizing, maintain a style, and can protect against heat damage.
  • Hair oil: this is good for dry or damaged hair. You just take a pea-sized amount, emulsify through your palms, and add to your mid-lengths and ends. Oils add moisture and some contain damage repairing vitamins and proteins that can help restore your hair.

Next time you visit your favorite salon, make sure you are using the right aftercare products. This will help your hair look fresher longer.

Best Hair Masks for Color Treated Hair

Hair Mask Combed in HairEveryone wants thick, healthy hair, but sometimes I feel like it’s harder to achieve this effect when your hair has been color treated.

Originally a brunette, I always felt my skin tone looked better against blonder hair, so I have been color treating my hair for years. I have done some research to find the best hair masks for hair that has been color treated. These act as a thicker, creamier version of conditioner, with a longer lasting effect.

If you are looking to protect your mane, adding in a nice mask such as Moroccanoil’s Restorative Hair Mask will turn hair from limp, frizzy, or fried; to repaired, thick, and lustrous. It coats strands like butter; and when washed away, leaves hair feeling smooth as silk.

If you are looking to preserve, Klorane makes a great pomegranate based conditioner, known simply as Conditioner with Pomegranate. This keeps color treated hair radiant, and helps extend the color longer as well.

If you are looking for a good mask that can be found at most drug stores, Neutrogena’s Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask should do the trick. Formulated with olive and sweet almond oil, this mask penetrates and coats each hair strand. There are so many high-end masks out there, but I can honestly say that this one rivals them all.

Lastly, it seems like everyone uses coconut oil for some this or another, and it can definitely be used to condition hair if need be. If you are not able to constantly go in for professional treatments, coconut oil is a wonderful at-home remedy.

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.