Blog Archives

Wellness

When I began as a student at Cinta Aveda, first thing in the morning we would go into the main room and conduct “morning wellness.” This normally consisted of meditating before we began to dive into our long day ahead.

We still continue to have ‘wellness’ during theory as Alphas. I love it! Not only is it a pick-me-upper from the long mornings, it allows me to look internally to make sure that I have a positive mindset. I truly believe that we—people in general—give off energies. And being in the beauty industry, estheticians must have a positive vibe so that we can care for our clients and give them the best service even if they are having a bad day. We intake that negative energy and in return fill them will new providential energy.

Major factors to our health are our perceptions and attitude. Jen, one of Aveda’s beautiful instructors, showed us a Youtube video “The Science of Happiness—An Experiment in Gratitude” that demonstrates how happiness can affect people.

This video made me think of myself and how I can continue to strive for good chi and find outlets to let go of the collected energies from our long days on the spa floor.

First is a hot shower to wash any unworthy emotions and promote a good night’s rest. On occasion, a glass of red wine or sleepy tea is needed. I think we need to focus our energies in the morning, since most of us wake up tired, sluggish, and dreading the day ahead of us. Apart from getting more sleep, there are a few quick and easy things we can do to help start our days off on the right foot.

  1. Wake up to great music. I think most of us are energized and motivated by great music.
  2. Floss. A lot of people don’t floss everyday. If you do floss first thing in the morning, that tiny action can make your mouth tingle and can make you feel like you’re doing something great for your health. Because you are.
  3. A quick workout. Yoga. Ten sit ups, ten push ups, and ten squats.
  4. A quick note. Write a quick note to your significant other, friend, or to yourself. Starting the day expressing gratitude for the little things in your life can make you amazing.
  5. Eat breakfast. Too many people skip out on breakfast, but it really boosts your mood and metabolism.
  6. Smile. Say good morning to strangers.

Setting the tone for the day is so important and it begins as soon as we wake up. Do what makes you feel good and alive. Get moving and attack your day with a smile.

Extractions vs. Waxing

Lately, the girls and I—all current Alpha’s—have been discussing the “great debate.”

What do you find more personally satisfying, performing extractions or waxing?

Personally, I love popping zits: extractions.

There, I said it. You can think I’m weird, gross, and all sorts of other things. But I’m positive there is at least a 75% chance that you secretly enjoy picking at your skin. For those who don’t, and rely on your estheticians, don’t worry. I’m a professional (in training). I now know the correct way to unblock clogged pores by pressing lightly to release a comedone—and I know when to stop. For safety, I use sterile equipment, wear gloves, and clean the area with preventive products from Aveda.

I’m sure you’re wondering, “How can you find unclogging pores pleasurable?”

There’s science behind it! Many theories have been proposed as to why it can be pleasurable from primitive habits from our remote past to grooming as a sexual stimulant.

I favor the theory expounded by Helen Fisher, author of the bestselling book “Anatomy of Love: Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray.” She explains that among hunter-gatherer societies, the brains and physiques of females are simply better at the fine motor-coordination necessary for good grooming, as well as certain other skills such as picking berries and making textiles. “In primate societies, females groom more than males: their children, their relatives and individuals that they are going to copulate with,” she says. “And they’ll do it for hours.”

If you are curious, you can read more at Salon.com—“In grossness and in health: Psycho-dermatology, female gorillas, and why women love to pick their boyfriends’ zits.

Extractions, to me at least, are very relaxing. But the other half of the Alpha ladies prefer performing waxing services for different reasons. So the debate continues—where do you stand?

Memorizing Facial Massages

Memorization can be one of the hardest things for some people, especially memorizing hand movements.

When I began learning to give facial massages, I thought, “Oh great. I’m only going to remember a few moves and forget the rest.” Thank goodness that our instructor allowed the video to run while we practiced the motions; it was a very soothing process. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when she told us that she wasn’t showing the video anymore, that my heart stopped for a second. I thought, “Oh snap. I don’t know it!” I should have given myself more credit. To my surprise, I had remembered it. From that moment, I began to practice more. It shouldn’t just be in class; I highly recommend practicing at home.

I practice on my cat, Boo. Although it’s completely different, remembering the motions was the key to my success. Also, it was very amusing to watch my cat enjoy his personal massage while watching a movie.

Another form of practice is upon friends and family. If you have a very tight schedule, like I do, it can seem impossible to put the time aside to do this. I practice in the shower or on a small pillow. Making different fun learning environments can be better than always practicing on friends and family.

Working on learning through different avenues allows you a chance to become more adaptable and plays with your senses. It gives you a chance to become sensitive with your finger tips—playing with different textures and thus developing your senses. I find this beneficial because it allows me to become more detailed-orientated when I conduct skin analysis.

Homemade Coffee Exfoliant

In my previous blog post “First Day,” I mentioned that I exfoliate not only to clean my skin well but also because it boosts my confidence. I suffer from a common skin condition called Keratosis pilaris, often called KP, in which a protein in the skin called keratin forms hard plugs within the hair follicles. Keratin is a cream colored natural protein in the skin, but in KP, the body produces excess keratin which surrounds and entraps the hair follicles in the pore. This causes the formation of hard plugs in a process known as hyperkeratinization. Most KP bumps contain a hair that has become an ingrown hair because the keratinized skin “caps off” the hair follicle. The hair is prevented from exiting and it grows encapsulated inside the follicle.

KP is harmless, and medical treatment is neither needed nor necessary. Most people, myself included, just cope with it. Others seek out cosmetic alternatives including urea, lactic acid, glycol acid, tretinoin, laser therapy, vitamin D, or tropical retinoids. I’ve been dealing with KP for so long that it no longer bothers me. My own regimin is taking long, hot baths or showers followed by deep exfoliation of the areas of KP with a coarse washcloth or stiff brush. This helps unplug my pores.

My favorite exfoliate is a homemade concoction of coffee scrub. Since I drink a lot of coffee and I also exfoliate, why not kill two birds with one stone?

  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • ½ cup white or brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. After bathing or showering, massage the scrub on your wet skin and rinse with warm water.

After exfoliating with the coffee scrub, your skin will be soft, hydrated, and ready to be bared in your favorite warm-weather ensembles.

First Day

Everyone knows that the first day of anything can be terrifying. That was certainly true the first day at Cinta Aveda Institute. There’s the alarming sense of nervousness and the million things running through your head first thing in the morning. You end up skipping breakfast because your tummy is unsettled with the endless possibilities of what might happen. As you head towards Kearny Street, you feel a tug of doubt and questions begin to pop up in your head. Did I put deodorant on? Did I turn off the coffee machine? Did I choose the right outfit? Oh lord, please don’t let me be late.

If you didn’t react this way, congratulations! I know most of the girls, that are now my classmates and friends, had some level of this panic. It was the worst when we first entered 305 Kearny and saw each other all waiting for orientation to begin. As women do, we judged one another. I’m not going to lie: I thought some were mean-looking, some relaxed, and some inattentive. Others looked as sacred as I did.

If I could have given myself advice from what I know now, it would be:

  1. Prepare the night before.
    • This includes what you will wear. It took me an hour to figure out what I wanted to wear, even though it was in black, because I wanted to appear professional and trendy.
    • Make sure you have a note pad, pen, gum, and a snack in your purse or bag.
    • Exfoliate. I don’t need it, but it leaves my skin super smooth, which makes me feel confident.
    • Look up directions and calculate how long it will take to get there.
  2. Wake up an hour early.
  3. Listen to some upbeat music. Motown brings good vibes for the day.
  4. Do some light stretching. It invigorates the muscles and allows you to steady your thoughts.
  5. Eat breakfast. Even if you’re not very hungry, eat something light.
  6. Make sure to have fresh breath.
  7. Arrive five to ten minutes early.
  8. Smile.
  9. Don’t be afraid to begin a conversation with someone.
  10. Enjoy yourself.
  11. I hope these tips work for future students attending Cinta Aveda.