Exploring The Product World

Jumble of Beauty ProductsFinding the perfect products sometimes feels like a never-ending journey. I am still trying to find the perfect products for myself. The truth is you will never stop searching. Everything is in constant change—your life, your environment, your skin. What you eat, how much you sweat, cry, use the sauna, bake in the sun—it all changes constantly and affects which products you need.

The key is to find a base product that will take care of your needs now and one that you can be confident using into the future. Makeup, cleansers, moisturizers, and shampoos—products are never perfect and can always get better. You’ll need to do a lot of exploring and testing.

Going into the Esthetics Program at Cinta Aveda institute, I walked in with my nose up. I had no intention of giving their products a chance. I had it set in my mind that none of their products would work for me, and I wouldn’t want to offer them to my future clients. It took working on other students, and testing them on myself, to really see the magic Aveda’s products were doing to my skin. I can now honestly and confidently recommend these products, especially a few favorites.

Hand Relief is my go-to. I use it after every facial and, from washing my hands all day, it really saves my hands.

I like everything in the Green Science line, specifically, the face crème. Since I have dryer skin, the thickness of it just leaves my skin feeling new and fresh.

And I really enjoy the Tourmaline Skin Refiner. This exfoliant does great things for my skin. The fact that it is all natural and will dissolve into my skin just makes it even better!

We all need to keep our minds open to new products as our needs change and new products become available. I hope that you find a set of products that really work for you.

The Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil

Since I started school, my friends have been asking for my recommendations on skin products. In particular, I have one friend with acne prone skin that suffers frequent breakouts. She has always struggled for clearer skin.

I started researching key ingredients more than product lines, hoping to find an active ingredient present in many products that would help her. I found tea tree oil, which has became one of my best friends because of all its benefits on the skin and for hair. Instead of using harsh topical ointments, like benzoyl peroxide, I suggested she tries an organic remedy. I recently heard back from her that tea tree oil has helped more than any other acne product she’s ever used!

Not only does tea tree oil help with acne, but it’s also great for use on eczema, psoriasis, ingrown hairs, itchy/flaky scalp, and fungal infections.

It kills bacteria in the skin, making it a natural alternative to benzoyl peroxide. Tea tree oil is much cheaper than speciality products, usually only costing between $3 and $10, and there are plenty of great products which contain tea tree oil as their main active ingredient. Here are a few I like:

  • Pure Tea Tree Oil
  • The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil line
  • Dr. Bronner Tea Tree Liquid Soap
  • Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner by OGx
  • Tea Tree Oil Skin Ointment from Vitamin Shoppe
  • Tea Tree Water from Lush

Tea tree oil may not be for everyone. It can have major side effects and is extremely harsh on the skin if used incorrectly. If you have sensitive skin, try diluting your tea tree product with water.

I have had outstanding results since I started using tea tree oil products, especially treating my dandruff and dry scalp, as well as on my constantly dried-out cuticles. I encourage any one suffering from dry skin, dry hair, dry scalp, acne prone skin, and even any rash or irritations to add a little tea tree oil to their lives.

Benefits of a Monthly Facial

Woman Receiving Facial

Unless it’s for a special event, most people don’t understand the benefits that a good professional facial can offer. They wait until they see a skin problem—weird breakouts, dry itchy skin, dark spots—before coming in for a facial. But these frustrating problems can often be prevented by receiving proper monthly facials combined with counseling on correct home care products.

Unless you have a specific skin concern you are trying to work on, such as acne, or hyper-pigmentation, then once a month is an ideal schedule for a facial. Your stratum corneum—the outermost layer of visible skin—completely renews itself about every 28 days. During this time, your skin cells are being replicated from the treated cells to replace the old cells. If you give your skin a head start with a great facial, your skin cells will replicate the now healthier cells. This results in a better complexion. Also, most skin products can take up to six to eight weeks to start to treat active skin cells. But by speeding up the renewal process with a facial, you can make these products work faster and more effectively.

Here are my top ten reasons why you should consider receiving monthly facials:

  1. Facials allow you to relax. They feel live heaven, and are healing to the soul. The power of touch, massage, proper technique, and professional products can heal.
  2. Facials increase circulation of the blood under the skin. That allows the skin to facilitate the renewal of skin cells.
  3. By manipulating the lymphatic system that lies just under the skin, facials can decrease waste underneath the skin that can cause puffiness and fluid accumulation. Facials also aid in detoxification.
  4. A good facial and facial massage can help smooth fine lines and promote collagen production—the builing block of the skin—to prevent premature aging, wrinkles, and sagging.
  5. A facial cleanses the pores on a much deeper level than home care. Even non-acneic skin can use a good deep cleanse. Extractions–cleaning out the pores–can help maintain clear skin and prevent acne formation and the appearance of larger pores. When left unchecked, pores can start to stretch and widen with the accumulation of oil and debris.
  6. Facials provide deeper exfoliation than you can achieve at home. Exfoliation smooths the skin, allows for deeper penetration of moisturizers or serums, unclogs pores, improves the skins ability to retain hydration, and evens skin tone.
  7. Receive counseling from a professionally trained esthetician on the best products for your skin that you should be using at home. This alone is worth the investment, as the skincare industry can be a difficult and expensive area to navigate without assistance.
  8. Facials can help even skin tone and lighten dark spots. Dark spots visibly age our appearance.
  9. Facials slow the aging process. They allow your skin to feel healthier, smoother, and look more radiant. Facials reduce fine lines, age spots, and relieve dehydrated skin. With these benefits, facials make us feel better about our skin. With the use of exfoliation, massage, and the penetration of nutrients and antioxidants, facials also fight to reverse aging. We will all age, but we can do it more slowly with glowing, firm, and hydrated skin.
  10. Although they are not a miracle in an hour, facials do give you a fresh start to a healthier and balanced complexion. Regular facials help you maintain optimal skin health.

Ayurveda Diet

Ayurveda Diet

Ayurveda, which originated in India in ancient times, is a traditional form of healthcare that uses holistic healing practices customized to each person which takes into account the need for nutrition, exercise, hygiene, social interaction, and other lifestyle elements. Ayurvedic theory uses the principal that everything in the universe is interconnected including mind, body, and spirit. And when we are in harmony with our environment, we’re able to keep a peaceful inner equilibrium. Aveda uses Ayurvedic theory to promote good health and keep the body in balance.

Each individual’s mind/body makeup can thrive in a particular environment. But when we are out of harmony with our environment, the body can suffer. As humans, we are constantly affected by everything around us including sights, tastes, smells, and things we hear. All the energy transfers we encounter can wear out the body. Ayurveda tries to prevent illness by using natural forms of medicine derived from plants, minerals, and roots to restore the body’s delicate balance through detoxifying, energizing, or soothing the individual.

Interestingly, there is even an Ayurvedic diet. Everyone has different needs but a basic introduction to an Ayurvedic diet isn’t what you might think—it’s not just beans, vegetables, and grains. It can be applied to any diet.

The saying “you are what you eat” is literally true, especially because what we eat affects our emotions. Our digestion is sensitive and, when we eat things that don’t agree with us, it upsets the stomach leading to an uncomfortable feeling. Bad digestion can be upsetting both physically and psychologically.

Ayurveda recognizes six tastes and it’s important to have all six of these tastes in your diet every day to contribute to feeling satisfied at the end of your meal. The six tastes are:

  1. sweet (sugar, honey, rice, pasta)
  2. sour (lemons, hard cheese, plain yogurt)
  3. salty (salt, cured meats, anything salty)
  4. pungent (chili peppers, ginger, hot spices)
  5. bitter (leafy greens, turmeric)
  6. astringent (pomegranate, green apples, cauliflower)

These are listed in the order they are digested by your body. Sweet gets digested first. So it’s a bad idea to have dessert at the end of the meal. It’s better to put it at the beginning. Salad, on the other hand, is good near the end of the meal.

The Ayurveda diet uses a holistic approach to caring for your digestion. You can learn how and what to use in order to apply Ayurvedic remedies into a balanced lifestyle by taking a Dosha Quiz. Good luck on your journey to balanced health!

Educators at Cinta Aveda Institute

Classroom at Cinta Aveda InstituteI had the privilege of getting to know and to bond with my educators at the Cinta Aveda Institute. Every single one of them has made my experience 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 my time at the Institute an experience of ease and warmth. I’m not afraid to ask them questions or express any type of concern because they will respond with only honesty and uttermost care. I’ve felt this deeply at the Cinta Aveda Institute; I felt no shame or embarrassment when I asked a question, even if I knew it was nonsensical. Usually, there was some real question underlying my query which the educators could also answer.

These are the mentors in this industry. They constantly display different approaches to skin care and technical matters. I’ve learned from them that the skin care industry isn’t black and white, there are so many variations on how we do things. Everyone has their own techniques or opinions about certain skin products or treatments. I’m always excited to see what they have in store to teach me.

Each one of Cinta Aveda Institute’s educators has their own distinct characteristics; class is never boring. I’m very grateful for these wonderful people who have enriched my journey here. I only hope to pay my education forward to upcoming estheticians.

The Beauty of a Rose

Rose IllustrationFew people can resist a rose. Fragrant, soft, blooming full–it demands that we smell it, touch it, and stop to admire its beauty. It is an iconic flower and also has a myriad of different uses in skincare. The Greeks and Romans would put rose petals in their baths to perfume them. In distilled forms, roses have been included in both in cosmetics and medicines for centuries.

Rose essential oil is important for more than its attractive scent. Rose helps rejuvenate and replenish skin. It can make your skin as soft and velvety as the petals. It also has anti bacterial, anti fungal, and anti viral properties. Rose water is known for its health and beauty benefits. You can pour rose water into a bath, or use it as a toner, or use in cosmetic formulations of lotions and creams. It can help treat acne and acne-prone skin. It also has cleansing properties. Rose oils help reduce swollen spots or redness on your skin. It has calming properties perfect to sooth rosacea and eczema.

When you’re next inhaling the fragrance of roses, or stopping to admire their beauty, give a little thought to the other properties of this amazing flower. Consider adding rose oil to your beauty regime.

Oil Cleansing

Oils in BottlesMany of us have been conditioned to be afraid of using or having oil on our skin. A visit to a store’s skin care section bombards you with oil-free products to treat acneic skin types. Many of these products strip skin of their natural oils. This can create problems for the acid mantle, which in turn, causes our skin to produce more oil to balance the natural lipid layer of the skin.

Contrary to popular belief, oil dissolves oil. Oil cleansing can be greatly beneficial to acneic skin types and can be moisturizing for drier skin types. For oily skin, try cleansing with a three parts mixture of castor oil to seven parts of sunflower seed oil. For dryer skin types, vary the proportions two parts to eight.

Castor oil is quite drying, so you want to make sure you mix it with a nurturing oil for the skin. Sunflower oil is best, but it can be replaced with any type of vegetable oil.

Massage the mixture into your skin for a few minutes, focusing on the more congested areas of your face, and gently remove with a hot, wet washcloth. Use hot running water to clean the washcloth, and again gently remove any additional residue on the skin. When massaging the face, it is best to work in upward motions.

Some other good oils to try are flaxseed oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil, to name a few. Each oil has its own benefits and can be mixed in combinations for added benefits.

The Beauty Of Balayage

Balayage Hair from the BackBalayage has blown up in the past couple years. It’s very popular among celebrities and salons all over the world. The beauty of balayage are sunkissed highlights that look like natural pops of color.

One reason people are obsessed with this hair trend is because it’s low maintenance. The highlights are painted free-handed, and away from the root, with no lines of demarcation. When your hair grows out, you don’t need to get it retouched every four to six weeks. Some people even go up to six months without touching it up. Typically, the base color isn’t lightened, so the grow out is beautiful. It’s versatile—the look can range from natural to dramatic. Think “beautiful sunkissed goddess”; it’s never boring, and it can be downright amazing!

Personally, I’m obsessed with this hair trend. I don’t feel like it’s going away anytime soon. I have been balayaging my hair for the past two to three years and I never get tired of it. I can truly say I’m possessed!

The American Wave: Curls are Back

Models - The American Wave

A few weeks ago, I stopped into Dre Holder Salon to visit one of their stylists, who is also one of my good friends. It wasn’t too busy, so some of the other stylists were on break just chatting about some of the new hair trends. However, there was one that really stuck out to me that I wanted to share: “The American Wave.”

The American Wave was pioneered by one of New York’s master stylists, Nick Arrojo. He defines the American Wave as “a professional salon service to create soft, natural-looking, wave and curl patterns, bounce, body and movement for those that want to make the graceful elegance and individuality of texture a part of their hairstyle and identity.”

Nick Arrojo utilizes a system of ‘soft tools’ that reduces the stress on the hair. The techniques he employs, and teaches to others, ensure that the textures that are created are always contemporary, fashionable, and wearable. The system also uses a specialized waving lotion that reconditions the hair for a smoother cuticle filled with life and vitality, not dryness and damage; instead of chemical compounds, American Wave smells like eucalyptus.

As a wave, texture, and volume enhancing service, it creates a range of customized looks, from cascading beachy waves to increased fullness and bounce to curly shapes and styles. The four service options include The Beach Wave, Style Support, Expanded Curls, and Color Wave.

  • The Beach Wave: Using a vertical drag wrap soft tool technique, this style marries straight and wavy textures to create the sexy, tousled beach waves on the vanguard of fashion and beauty trends.
  • Style Support: For clients with fine and/or straight hair, Style Support uses a new spin on soft tool wrapping techniques. It adds volume and texture to hair that lacks life and vitality by creating a resilient consistent wave pattern that helps create better blow-dries and hot-tool styles.
  • Expanded Curls: For those with curly hair, Texture Specialists use a round soft tool wrapping technique to create buoyant and resilient wave and curl patterns that are healthy, frizz-free, and fun.
  • Color Wave: Color Wave allows for any of the American Wave styles to be applied to lightened hair, so you can pair bombshell blondes with bombshell waves and curls.

Since its launch in 2012, American Wave-made hairstyles have been featured at a cornucopia of global hair and beauty shows, shared with thousands of American professionals, and inspired American Wave editorial images and videos. In the salon it is used on clients who want to make the timeless elegance, beauty and grace of texture a part of their identity. Meanwhile, the technology, techniques, and results have featured everywhere from The Today Show to The Chicago Tribune to Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Allure.

Now is the time to embrace your curl, and Nick Arrojo is “proud to be on the front line of the texture trend and to be part of a healthy, free-spirited and unrepressed approach to beauty.” He feels that, “hair should make you look and feel young and carefree, sexy and fun and fabulous. So boost your body and bounce, enhance your natural texture, make your roots pop, create sexy, tousled beach waves and curls suited to the easy-going and versatile fashion and beauty zeitgeist.”

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.