Latest Story

Your Body Needs Water

Water Splash

It goes without saying that water is very important for your body. Ionized water is what allows your body to absorb nutrients and function normally. Staying well hydrated has many health benefits.

Water, or the lack thereof, makes a big impact on your skin. Dehydration of the skin causes superficial lines which can give the appearance of aging. Dehydrated skin gets a crepe-like effect on the surface. The surface color can also appear dull.

Internally, water is important on a cellular level. Most of the important body processes use diffusion to move hormones, blood cells, and other important things around the body. When there is dehydration in the body, it can cause headaches, impaired vision, and even issues with judgment. Dehydration also causes fatigue.

It is important to drink water to keep the immune system healthy. Water is needed to flush toxins out of the body. Water is important to your kidneys and liver that work constantly to flush the body of toxic and unneeded waste. When your kidneys are dehydrated, your urine is much more yellow when it should be running almost clear. Your heart also needs water to keep blood flow moving well. Blood flow can become resistant when the blood is too thick from lack of water.

So how much water do you need a day? There is the theory that everyone needs eight eight-ounce glasses a day. Some people, however, believe you may need a personalized amount.

One personalized measure uses your weight and a simple formula. Take your weight, in pounds, and subtract a third. The resulting number is the number of ounces of water you need each day. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, you would need 80 ounces of water. This amount should be adjusted based on how active you are every day.

Tortoise Shell Hair

Tortoise Shell HairstyleBeyond popular ombre and balayage hairstyles, there’s a slightly different look showing up in the hair of celebrities like Lauren Conrad and Jessica Alba. Very similar to balayage, it’s a new technique called tortoise shell. Khloe Kardashian sports another good example of the tortoise shell look, which is also known as ecaille.

Tortoise Shell hair is a little softer. You start by either coloring your natural color a little darker or balayage darker highlights to add some richness to your natural hair color.

After you deepen your hair, you put highlights on top of that. These highlights will generally start higher up than a traditional ombre and, instead of a dip-dye look, you will be left with something multi-dimensional.

Instead of gradually fading from dark to light, you focus more on specific shades. Highlights will be warmer tones like honey, caramel, chocolate, and mahogany.

Since you are changing your natural color to a slightly darker shade, the maintenance is similar to regular color or highlights and will need to be touched up every 4 to 6 weeks as your roots grow out and begin to show. If you would like something a little less noticeable between your color appointments, you can use a toner to darken your natural color, instead of using permanent color, so the darker shade will gradually fade over time.

Licorice Extract

Licorice ExtractAlso called anise, licorice extract finds a home in some kitchens for its syrup-like sweet taste. But licorice’s medicinal properties are not as well known. Licorice also has the ability to promote healthy, even-toned skin as an ingredient in personal care products.

Licorice extract has been used for its health benefits as far back as ancient China, and it is an ingredient in some over-the-counter cleansers, toners, face creams, and spot treatments.

The syrupy juice from the herb’s root contains beneficial plant sterols, which promote skin elasticity, fight inflammation, and suppress wrinkle formation. It is also a natural ingredient that helps brightens the skin. It is a great alternative to more controversial skin bleaching products like hydroquinone.

Licorice extract contains glycyrrhizin, an acid that plays a role in increasing steroid hormones that naturally occur in skin. Glycyrrhizin helps to combat several skin disorders that respond to topically applied hydrocortisone. Licorice extract also can help soothe irritation caused by some skin-care products and medications.

Here are some benefits of products that contain licorice root:

  • Healing Troubled Skin. Body cleansers, body creams and facial skin-care products that incorporate licorice extract have effectively treated skin disorders such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Licorice extract is an anti-inflammatory.
  • Fading Dark Spots. Consistent use of licorice extract over time has been known to fade dark spots and blemishes and lighten skin. It can also reverse the darkening of scars, which are fibrous skin tissues that remain when an injury hasn’t completely healed.
  • Preventing Skin Problems. Potent antioxidants in licorice extract fight skin-damaging free radicals.

Make-up for a Tropical Vacation

Tropical BeachProduct: Aveda’s Inner Light Mineral Tinted Moisturizer

Going on a tropical vacation—you know you’ll be in and out of the ocean—can be a make-up challenge. Personally, I don’t want to spend a lot of time doing my make-up on vacation. But I still want to look and feel my best.

When my sister decided to vacation in Croatia for the country’s yacht week, she asked me what she should bring for make-up. Because she was backpacking around before settling on the boat, she stressed to me that she needed to be very conservative with her toiletry space. Right away, I knew the product she would not be able to live without: Aveda’s Inner Light Mineral Tinted Moisturizer.

Not only does Aveda’s Inner Light Mineral Tinted Moisturizer act as a moisturizing lotion for your skin, it also evens out your skin tone giving you a natural, healthy glow while providing sun protection with its SPF 15. It does all of this without clogging your pores and causing breakouts!

I love this product because it is very light and you don’t feel like you are wearing anything at all. With the lavender content, it soothes stressed skin and will keep you looking radiant without loads of effort.

Pair the Tinted Moisturizer with Aveda’s Petal Essence Blush/Bronzer in your desired color pallet and you will have natural, radiant skin without the hassle of a full make-up routine.

Benefits of Vanilla

Vanilla Beans

Last week, I wrote about the Vanilla Plant. But vanilla is much more than just a sweet and fragrant flavor. Pure vanilla extract possesses several medicinal properties and can be beneficial for your health in various ways.

  1. Treats Anxiety and Depression

    Certain neurological studies have shown that vanilla extract can have a huge effect on those suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. Vanilla scent is specifically helpful for this purpose. For example, sipping water or milk containing vanilla has helped cure people with these disorders.

  2. Assists Weight Loss

    Certain studies have shown that vanilla extract can help people lose weight. Though exercise and diet play a primary role in weight loss, these efforts can be supplemented with the intake of vanilla extract for greater and perhaps faster benefits.

  3. Relieves Nausea

    One of the best benefits of vanilla extract is that it can help calm the stomach in case of a feeling of nausea. All you need to do is add a few drops of vanilla extract to a glass of water and sip.

  4. Treats Cough

    Cough syrups often contain vanilla extract as a flavoring to mask the awful taste. Though further research is needed in this regard, the properties of vanilla extract can relieve symptoms such as pain from a sore throat or from a cough.

  5. Improves Dental Health

    Vanillin in vanilla is similar to capsaicin in chili peppers. This compound has a positive effect on the central nervous system. Vanilla can help fight toothache and infection.

  6. Treats Digestive Disorders

    Vanilla infused herbal tea can relieve digestive problems. A traditional remedy for vomiting and stomach upsets is to boil water with vanilla beans. Its rich aroma is effective in easing bloating.

You might find this surprising, but the benefits of vanilla extend to your skin. It is used as an ingredient in several skincare products like body lotions, lip balms, body butters, and creams to impart fragrance, but it has other skin benefits as well.

  1. Treatment of Acne

    The antibacterial properties of vanilla make it beneficial for the treatment of acne. Vanillin, through its antibacterial effects, helps cleanse your skin, reducing the occurrence of pimples and acne.

  2. Anti-aging Benefits

    Vanilla is rich in antioxidants which prevent and reverse skin damage caused by free radicals. It helps to slow down signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. It is widely used in the cosmetic industry for its fragrance and anti-aging benefits.

  3. Soothes Burns

    Vanilla is used as a traditional remedy to heal burns, wounds, and cuts. Concentrated vanilla extracts or essential oil should not be applied directly on recent burns. However, topical treatments containing vanilla extracts might be helpful.

  4. Promotes Healthy Skin

    Vanilla is a good source of vitamin B, which plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin. The antioxidant properties of vanilla protect your skin from damage caused by the environment.

For a facial masque, all you need to do is slice open five vanilla beans to scrape out its seeds. Add these seeds together with 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 drops vanilla essential oil to freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mix the ingredients and apply it on your face. Massage for a few minutes and then rinse off with warm water. Then rinse.

The Vanilla Plant

Vanilla Plant Illustration

The vanilla flavor is well known all over the world, but only some of us are aware of its source and origin. There is much more about this flavor that has been a part of many different desserts for centuries.

Vanilla ice cream, and other desserts that we love eating, attribute their flavor to the presence of an extract derived from vanilla beans. These beans are sun-dried pods obtained from orchids of the genus Vanilla. It’s fragrance and amazingly soft and sweet flavor make it a popular ingredient in sweet drinks and confectioneries. Obtaining these beans is a labor-intensive process.

The vanilla plant is an herbaceous climbing vine that requires a supporting tree or pole for optimal growth. It has trumpet-shaped flowers which are naturally pollinated by bees and hummingbirds. Vanilla pods turn yellow as they grow to be about 5 to 8 inches long and are ready to bloom. These are harvested, placed in boiling water, sweated, and sun-dried for a few weeks until they turn dark brown and wrinkled. The white crystalline essence known as vanillin is extracted from these quality beans. This essence is referred to as the vanilla flavor.

The most common form of vanilla is vanilla extract which is prepared by soaking chopped vanilla beans in ethyl alcohol and water for about 48 hours. The mixture is stored for several months and then filtered. Several varieties of vanilla are available in the market; Madagascar vanilla is the most widely used accounting for 75% of vanilla production. Tahiti and Mexico supply the majority of the rest.

Vanilla pods contain several tiny black seeds which are used to flavor many desserts and chocolates. Vanillin is the essence of vanilla bean, but artificial vanillin is also produced on a large scale from wood pulp by-products. The vanilla flavoring is often a blend of pure and imitation vanilla. The appearance of tiny black specks in a vanilla flavored dish is an indication that real vanilla beans were used.

The nutritional value of vanilla makes it beneficial for your skin, hair, and health. Vanilla extract is known as the storehouse of essential oils, vitamins, and minerals as well as sugars.

Next week, I’ll post about the health and skin benefits of vanilla.

Aveda Dry Remedy Oil

Aveda Dry Remedy Oil Bottle

By now, I’m sure everyone has heard of the Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil. If not, it’s time to get hip. Here are a few ways to use this holy grail product.

  • Detangle: Apply a few drops into your hands and smooth through hair to help eliminate tangles.
  • De-frizz: Apply 1 to 2 drops to hands and gently smooth over crown to tame frizz and flyaways.
  • Moisturize: Apply along with your favorite styling product for a moisture boost, then continue to blow dry or style as usual. If you have thicker hair, apply a little more once hair has dried.
  • Finish: Apply a few drops, then follow with a flat iron to get a straight, sleek looking finish.
  • Shine: Apply a few drops to hands and smooth over hair to add a little extra shine.

Uses for Coconut Oil

There are many uses you can get out of using coconut oil, here are just a few:

  • Hair Loss

    Coconut oil has been used since ancient times in India for grooming hair. Various remedies were prepared using herbs and coconut oil to prevent hair loss. One such remedy can be prepared in modern times by boiling sage leaves in coconut oil. This mixture can be applied to the scalp for the improvement of healthy hair, and its use will also help prevent hair loss.

  • Hair Damage

    Using coconut oil on hair helps to reduce protein loss in both damaged and undamaged hair. Coconut oil, rich in lauric acid, has a high affinity for hair proteins and, due to its low molecular weight, easily penetrates inside the hair shaft. It can be used for pre—or post-wash hair grooming.

  • Hair Conditioning

    Coconut oil is a better conditioner for hair than any synthetic one available on the market. The use of warm coconut oil helps keep hair shimmering and soft. Apply some warm oil at night and wash your hair the next morning. This can be repeated every few days for healthy, strong, and well-conditioned hair.

  • Lip Balm

    Chapped lips don’t stand a chance against ultra-hydrating coconut oil. Scoop some into a spare contact lens holder and throw it in your purse so you can dab it on with your finger throughout the day.

  • Cuticle Softener

    Get double duty from your new DIY coconut oil lip balm case and say goodbye to ragged cuticles. Using your finger, swipe a small amount of the oil onto each of your cuticles and allow it to sink in. The coconut oil will strengthen your nails and hydrate the delicate cuticle skin, making your hands look more youthful.

Advice to New Cosmetology Students

Around the Institute at Cinta Aveda

Finishing the last phase of my education here at the Cinta Aveda Institute, I realize that I’ve learned a lot. I have some advice that I think prospective students would find helpful.

As with any type of schooling, organization is key! For a cosmetology student, this could not be truer. Although you will be doing a lot of hands-on activity, you will still need to acquire or use organizational skills. You need them to keep your school kit orderly, your schedule on track. You need to be aware of deadlines and events and keep track of when you have to study for quizzes or finals.

Another piece of advice I would offer new students is to minimize absences. Making up the hours later on becomes a big hassle.

Also practice what you learn from school at home or on your downtime. Practice on doll heads or on family and friends. You will master the techniques you’re learning much faster if you practice at home as well as school.

Personally, I stayed motivated and excited about school and the beauty industry by keeping up on trends. Whether it be your favorite blogs, or watching YouTube tutorials, stay in tune with all that is going on in our industry. Seeing emerging trends will stimulate your creativity and make you want to experiment with your friends or clients. This will make you a better stylist.

Enjoy your schooling and your career.

Facial Tips and Tricks

Woman getting facial.

An Aveda facial consists of an aroma sensory journey, a deep cleansing, skin analysis, having an educator look over your analysis, a refinement with a hand and arm rub, a facial massage, a mask with either a foot rub or a neck and shoulder rub, and ending with eye cream, serum, and moisturizer. You can also add on treatments such as a revitalizing eye treatment, a plant peel, enbrightenment, outer peace, or green science which targets certain skin problems.

Here are a few tips to really making your facial extra special and leaving your clients feeling pampered and relaxed.

  • Put essential oils — lavender, vanilla, rose, tangerine or bergamot—in your water bowl
  • Mix up different masks. For example, use deep herbal clay mask with exfoliant, enbrightenment toner, or green or sea science
  • Mix in tea with a mask
  • Use energizing composition oil during the hand and arm massage
  • Use a composition oil, mixed with the essential oil of their choice, during the neck massage
  • Place a hot towel on their back after the treatment. (This is such a crowd pleaser, it really ends the facial with warmth and soothing while also wiping excess oil off the skin.)

These are some techniques I have personally used in my treatments. The response is always great.

Making the treatment your own is a great way to please a client, and it is more likely that they will come back to you because you added your unique touch. And having some clients who follow you is really important when you’re looking for a job.