Beauty Tips

Beauty Sleep

You can moisturize, drink optimal amounts of water, and wear sunscreen daily. But if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you face an uphill battle.

Human growth hormone is produced at night during sleep. If we don’t get enough sleep, our cells cannot rebuild and repair themselves. Sleep deprivation also causes stress. This prevents the flow of blood and nutrients to the skin, as well as causing weight gain which also puts a strain on the skin. The quality of sleep is also important. The sleep must be optimal, alternating between REM and deep sleep to reap sleep’s anti-aging benefits.

The skin’s hydration balance is regulated during sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to the skin becoming overly dry or oily. The immune system is also weakened by lack of sleep. This can lead to skin conditions and disorders. Inflammation increases without sleep, opening up a host of aging, acne, allergy, and autoimmune problems. Inflammation can lead to the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, causing the skin to prematurely age and sag. Lack of sleep can even compound the effects of sun damage—your skin cannot combat it as effectively without adequate levels of sleep.

Sleep is clearly an essential part of beauty—and should be given as much importance as nutrition and a proper skin care regimen.

What if you know how essential it is, but still can’t get enough sleep? Try sticking to a regular sleep schedule, with a daily relaxing routine before bed. Avoid TV and electronic devices before bed; stick to reading before bed. When you’re ready for sleep, ensure the room is dark. Exercise earlier in the day, and avoid food, caffeine, and nicotine at night.

How many other beauty treatments are free?

A Chip-free Manicure that Lasts

Even though gel manicures are becoming the new norm, many of us girls still prefer the basic manicure with all its flexibility. I like to be able to change my polish color more often than once every two to three weeks. Chips are inevitable. But with a basic non gel manicure, together with these tips, chips are more manageable.

We all know a manicure often won’t last a full week with our daily routines. Here are a few of my favorite ways to extend the life of my manicure and keep my polish looking fresh.

  • Keep nails short—by keeping a shorter nail length, you can prevent snags and tears from occurring. Even if you don’t have beautiful hands, a clean polished short nail can make all the difference.
  • Prep the nail—using a product to remove any oils from the nail bed is an essential step before applying polish. Removing all the oils from the nail bed will allow your polish to best adhere and helps ensure your polish doesn’t chip.
  • Apply a base coat—sometimes we think we can skip this step, but if you want to keep your nails from discoloring while also keeping the polish in place, a base coat is key. The product I favor is Sticky from CND.
  • Apply a top coat—a good and fast drying topcoat should always be the final step. This effort will create a sleek and shiny seal for your polish and keep your manicure from chipping. My go to product is Sech Vite.

Always remember that it is important to keep your hands and cuticles hydrated throughout the week. Solar Oil is my favorite all around great oil.

Basics of Highlighting and Contouring

How to Contour

Learn how to contour your face to create the illusion of perfect symmetry! Contouring and highlighting are makeup techniques used by nearly every makeup artist designed to bring light to certain features on your face while creating a shadow effect on others. The goal is to create an illusion with makeup that draws attention to specific areas while diminishing the look of others. Depending on your skin or preference, you can contour and highlight using creams, liquids, or powders. For highlight, you will want to use a shade lighter then your skin tone. For contour, you will use a shade darker then your skin tone. I prefer to always use a highlight color that has a little bit of shimmer to give a glow to the face. For contour, use a matte color for the perfect shadowing.

  • Cheeks

    I like to start with my contour to map out my face. Start by applying a darker shade to the hollows of your cheekbones from the hairline down the cheek about halfway and blend. If you have trouble finding the hollows of your cheeks, suck in cheeks like a fishy face and you will find the hollows. You can add as much dark color as needed but always start out light and build up. You can also bring the contour up the sides of the forehead near the hairline to create a smaller forehead. Apply highlight right above the contour on the tops of your cheekbones where light naturally hits the skin. When applying blush, concentrate on applying it to the apples of the cheeks.

  • Nose

    The nose can be a little bit tricky, but with more practice it looks amazing! Apply your contour color on each side of the bridge of your nose. I like to start the contour from the tip of my nose and bring it upward to ensure a straight line. Apply the highlight color down the very center of your nose.

    Tip: The more you blend, the more natural your contour will look!

  • Eyes

    When it comes to highlighting the eyes, apply highlight underneath the brow. That will help arch the brow and make it look clean. Also you can apply highlight color into the inner corners of the eyes for a more awake look.

I Don’t Need Botox in my Twenties—And Neither Do You

This is my personal opinion but I believe getting botox in your 20s is way too early.

I think that both men and women become their sexiest after thirty. So why mess with your face now?

In our 20s, we make the biggest skin mistakes. Those mistakes actually create wrinkles versus preventing them. I’m not saying it’s time to start chemical peels and microdermabrasion now, but little things here and there—and maybe some big things—will help you avoid going for the botox needle in the near future.

Here’s a list of lifestyle tips to follow if you’re serious about anti-aging or want to slow it down a bit.

  • 1. You Don’t Need a Cigarette or a Drink to Party

    I’m not saying be a bore and don’t go to parties. You’re only young once! When you’re older, it’ll be more awkward to explain. But while partying, make healthier choices.

    Say no to smoking.

    No, seriously. Not only will your health thank you, your face will love you. Smoking constantly deprives the skin of oxygen and vital nutrients. So some smokers appear pale, while others develop uneven coloring. Youth is about glowing skin and having makeup free days. And trust me, 20s are very youthful if you do it right. As for wrinkles? Smoking basically destroys any collagen or elastin which means your skin starts to drop and those laugh lines or forehead lines will be set in stone—actual hard lines.

    Also why do smokers generally have more eye wrinkles or crow’s feet than anyone else? The warmth from lighting up cigarettes and squinting to keep smoke out of your eyes contribute to visible crow’s feet. Meanwhile, chemicals from inhaled tobacco cause internal damage to the skin structures and blood vessels around your eyes.

    Alcohol consumption is no better. People can have allergies to salicylates which is usually found in wine whereas hard liquor and beer don’t let your body properly metabolize, resulting in puffiness and breakouts.

  • 2. Enjoy the Sun…with Caution

    I’m not saying to live under a rock for good, but there are safer ways to enjoy that summertime sun. You have to be smart and safe when you decide to lay down and get some color. Sun exposure is a major cause of premature aging.

    According to Dr. Arthur Perry, a Plastic Surgeon, “It is the ultraviolet light (UV) contained in sunlight that is responsible for much of the aging of the skin. Chronic UV exposure causes wrinkles, splotchy pigmentation, visible capillaries (telangiectasia) and loose, rough skin. UV causes damaging substances called free radicals to be produced. UV also depresses the natural antioxidants in the skin, contributing to more damage. Ultraviolet light damages your genetic material (DNA) every time you are in the sun. To convince yourself, compare the skin on the back of your hands with the skin on the inside of your upper arm. The upper arm looks better in everyone.”

    So stay safe with UV-Protection Sunglasses, a big stylish hat, a generous and constant re-applied amount of Sunblock/Sunscreen with UV Protection and take breaks from the sun. Note that just because the spf number is higher, does not mean you don’t have to re-apply it as often! As for tanning, though a little bit won’t hurt you—Vitamin D, whoo!—there’s always the option of tanning salons. But see this article from the New York Times.

  • 3. Sleep Deprivation—You Only Live Once

    Whether it’s starting work, going to college, or enjoying $5 Fridays, we lose sleep: for a good reason or not. We tend to sleep a lot less after we turn 18 and that continues until our 30s or beyond. One of the first places that lack up sleep shows up is on the face—those dark circles and bags under the eyes and sagging skin are all signs of aging and lack of sleep. Besides for sleep deprivation affecting your brain, it also prevents you from making the best decisions during the day time—maybe you grab the sugary cookie over a healthier option for that quick pick-me-up. Sleep deprivation is never a good idea.

  • 4. Dieting and Lifestyle

    Yo-yo dieting is a sneaky contributor to aging. Whether you’re Vegan, Paleo, Carnivore, or whatever else is healthy: stick to it. No heartbreak, reunion, wedding, or anything with a timeline is worth either:

    1. Starving yourself for days or weeks to fit into whatever. Your Health is much more important than That Dress.
    2. Emotional eating—candy, fast food, or any other “moping friendly” snacks.

    “Rapid weight gain or loss can cause visible changes in the skin, such as stretch marks and laxity,” says Dr. Jennifer Linder, a dermatologist. Healthy living is nature’s beauty treatment. “If you drink plenty of water and consistently eat a healthy diet, your skin will look better.”

    Also, now that you’ve embarked on a healthy lifestyle, it’s time to start taking vitamins and dietary supplements—One A Day, vitamin D, biotin, etc.

    Along with a balanced diet, an exercise plan will also help with your skin, thanks to that sexy thing we call sweat. “Increasing blood flow to any area of the body promotes the metabolism in that area, and it makes sense that [when you exercise] toxins would get flushed out and cells will heal and grow faster,” says dermatologist Dr. Jessie Cheung.

  • 5. Skin and Makeup

    Whether you wear makeup everyday or every once in a while, there is a correct way to take care of your skin before and after makeup.

    This is a personal opinion but buying a foundation that is on the “cheaper side”—i.e. less than 20 dollars—for daily use is not a good idea. If it will be on your face daily, make the investment and get a good foundation for your skin. Please be willing to drop the money whether it’s a mineral powder foundation or a liquid. How you apply it is very important as well. Roughly applying makeup can torture skin. Rough handling can cause wrinkles and fine lines to appear from harsh handling. Be gentle to your face, especially tugging around the eyes.

    If you can, once a week take a day off from your makeup to let your skin “breathe.” Because of school or work, I wear makeup almost five days a week, but the second I’m off, I reach for a makeup wipe and go home prepared to do my nightly routine. Do not wait until bedtime to wash cosmetics off. The longer makeup stays on your face, the longer it will clog pores and the more likely skin blemishes will occur. A good idea for that makeup off day is to make that the day you do your eyebrows or use any home masks or facials.

    Forgetting to take off your makeup off at night ages your skin! You may find it tempting to fall into bed after a busy day—or a late night on the town—without cleaning your face. But skipping a cleanser at night can lead to breakouts later. During the day, environmental toxins, like dirt and pollution, build up on skin and invade pores. This can cause complexion problems. So don’t hit the sack before you wash. Use a good cleanser and save your skin. Keep a box of cleansing towelettes bedside for added convenience—simply swipe and sleep.

    Taking your makeup off correctly goes hand in hand with having a good skincare routine that has a cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer, and whatever else works for you.

But life shouldn’t just focus on whether or not you’ll look twenty forever. And who wants to, anyways?

The best anti-aging secret? Being stress-free.

Relax, crinkle your nose, and enjoy your days!

Pucker Up For Winter with a Do-It-Yourself Lip Scrub

Lip exfoliation is important to add to your beauty routine, especially in these dryer months. Just like your skin, lips regenerate and need help shedding those dead skin cells. Gently exfoliating them can prevent chapping and ensure your lips are soft and supple. Exfoliation makes your lips moist and helps retain moisture longer.

A good base is the key to an even and long-lasting lip liner, lipstick, and gloss application. Lipstick won’t stick to dry, flakey lips and also looks bad. So before you apply your favorite winter lipstick, try this homemade lip scrub. Lip scrubs are made to be sweet and great-tasting so scrubbing is healthy and enjoyable.

In the past I have purchased lip scrubs that were ridiculously expensive. But I’ve realized the ingredients were pretty much things I had in my kitchen. I use this every winter and absolutely love it! It makes such a big difference in how my lips feel and look, and it is so easy to make. It also smells yummy! Lip scrubs also make cute little gifts for the holidays for friends and family by placing the scrub into little mason jars adding a label and a bow!

Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

Brown Sugar Lip Scrub

  • One part honey
  • One part coconut oil
  • One part brown sugar
  • A little bit of vanilla extract, optional

Mix all ingredients together and put into a small container. Store in refrigerator and use when needed. I use it before bed and put on a good lip balm overnight.

Holiday Party Hairstyle

Holiday Hairstyle

To achieve this look, you should prep your hair with:

  • Pure Abundance Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Pure Abundance Style Prep
  • Volumizing Tonic
  • Phomollient Styling Foam

You’ll need these thermal styling tools:

  • Blow Dryer
  • Medium-sized Round Brush
  • Thermal Styling Iron/Wand

Use these products to add volume and texture:

  • Aveda Hair Potion
  • Aveda Air Control Hair Spray

Begin by spritzing towel-dried hair with the Pure Abundance Style prep, and then add the Phomollient Styling Foam and Volumizing Tonic. Work this into your hair so that everything is evenly saturated. Comb through the hair to ensure thorough saturation.

“Rough dry” the hair. This means to dry hair to about 80%. It sounds crazy, I know. But trust me, it makes styling much easier!

Section the hair into three to four equal horizontal parts. Begin in the lowest section on the back of the head and blow dry with the round brush. It’s okay if the curls you form aren’t perfect, as you can touch them up with a thermal tool later. Continue working this way up the head until all the hair is 100% dry.

After all the hair is dry, add Aveda Hair Potion to the root if more volume and texture is desired. Then section the hair again to begin adding finishing curls and waves. This is a deconstructed look; remember, it doesn’t have to look perfect; the messier, the better!

Section it one final time, into a half-up-half-down pony tail, and secure it with a hair tie. Use bobby pins if required. Finish the style with a little holiday ribbon tied in a bow, and enjoy yourself on your night out! You’ll look great!

Beauty Behind Ice

Freeze your flaws away by trying out an ice facial treatment. Ice can be used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions from blemished to aging, and it can be done simply from home. Depending on what you’re looking to treat, ice can provide some major benefits.

  • For blemished skin—Hold an ice cube directly on a problem area to reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain from deep, cystic acne. Wrap an ice cube in a plastic bag, and hold it onto the blemish for 10-15 minutes for results.
  • For tired eyes—wrap an ice cube inside a clean wash cloth and hold over your eyes for 10-15 minutes to reduce swelling—or “bags” under your eyes. For a more powerful effect, brew caffeinated tea and freeze it into cubes, following the same instructions.
  • For dry/flaky skin—Create an icy scrub which will produce an awakening, cooling effect that’s perfect for mornings. Combine a few ice cubes with a few pieces of papaya into a blender to make your exfoliant. The ice pieces act as a mechanical exfoliant, while the natural enzymes in the papaya will act as a chemical exfoliant, to help further smooth the texture of your skin.

Ice cubes held to female face.

Getting a Manicure

Most people have gone to a nail salon or spa for a manicure. Some places are better than others. I have a favorite place that I like to go, but what happens when you’re out of state, or your favorite place is closed? How do you know that you’re going to get the same level of service that you get at your usual place?

Do you going to Yelp and read reviews? Do you rely on a friend who seems to know what they are talking about? Do you take the time to go online and research the health code scores over the last several years? With all that, even the top places can still give you bad service. So here are a few tips and things that I want from a nail salon.

Manicure Close-up When you first walk into the salon, has anyone greeted you? Look around to see if you can locate a recent health code score—they’re required to be publicly posted. Always make sure that the person doing your nails has a cosmetology or manicuring license. You always want to be sure that any beauty professional performing service for you is properly licensed. Now look to make sure that the place of business is clean in general. Before sitting down for your service, your manicurist should have taken a clean cloth or paper towel and, with a bottle of disinfectant, sprayed and wiped down the nail station. A clean towel should also be put over the nail station as you’re being seated. It is very important that your manicurist has gotten all the clean, unused supplies from proper packaging. This includes the buffer. Most places try to get away with using the same buffer from client to client, but infection can get spread that way. Relax while the manicurist is performing your nail service, but still pay attention to what he or she is doing. Never let the manicurist cut your cuticles—they should just be slightly pushed back.

You’re almost finished. You’ve got nice, pretty, polished nails and hopefully you’ve received a safe manicure with great service. Have fun and happy nails!

3 Steps to Prevent Ingrown Hair After Waxing

An ingrown hair occurs when a shaved or tweezed hair grows back into the skin, causing inflammation and irritation.

Sometimes, dead skin can clog up a hair follicle. That forces the hair inside it to grow sideways under the skin, rather than upward and outward. Ingrown hairs aren’t serious. But they can be irritating and embarrassing.

Here is three steps to help prevent them before they start:

  1. Exfoliation is key; use a good quality scrub before and then 24 hours after your treatment. A product I love is Aveda’s Caribbean Therapy Body Scrub applied with a loofah mitt. Ideally, you will already be exfoliating the area already. But if you are not, you can start your regime the same week as your scheduled service. Just don’t start on the same day. Twenty-four hours after your wax, you will want to exfoliate again. Continue to do so a few times a week, depending on your skin’s sensitivity and hair type.
  2. Apply a product that contains salistitic acid to the area with a cotton round. This step clears out the pores and helps to prevent the area from getting infected. The product I prefer to use for this step is “Tend Skin.” This is my go-to anytime I wax my bikini area, underarms, and even my face.
  3. Moisturize with a product that is free of perfume so it does not irritate the skin. Applying a light layer will be sufficient. It’s important to avoid over moisturization as this can clog pores and create even more irritation.

Nice hands, Grandma!

Aveda Hand Relief Product

Just kidding, that headline was kind of rude.

On a serious note, when we think of anti-aging regimens, we think of serums, eye creams, night creams, and so on. When used correctly, a great skincare routine can really turn the clock back on your face and neck, and help prevent premature aging.

Radiant skin? Check.

Healthy, bouncy, hair with not a gray in sight? Check.

Soft, spot-free hands? Whoops.

Oh hands. If one day I decide to lie about my age, you will be my dead giveaway. Hands show the signs of aging faster than other parts of your body. They physically go through much more. Whether they handle chemicals, are used for manual labor, or are chaffed from winter winds, our hands need protection too.

Now is the best time to add an extra step in your PM routine.

Aveda launched the Hand Relief™ Night Renewal Serum as a new way to improve the texture and evenness of your hands while you catch up on some sleep. Skin loses hydration throughout the night, which is why it’s the best time to pull out the big guns with heavier serums and creams. Before you know it, your alarm goes off, and your hands look like you’ve never worked a day in your life.

The benefits include:

  • Visibly reduce dark spots
  • Moisturizes and plumps to smooth fine lines
  • Andiroba oil protects skin’s natural moisture barrier
  • Refreshing aroma with certified organic orange, lavandin, and eucalyptus

Plus, unlike thick hand creams, this serum absorbs into skin instantly without leaving a greasy finish behind.

It doesn’t hurt that the usage is so easy. You massage the serum onto your clean hands thoroughly and…hit the pillow. You worked hard and so have those hands.

Show them a little love.

Learning Challenges at Cinta Aveda

Cosmetology school at the Cinta Aveda Institute was a good experience. There was so much to learn in so little time. It was quite an experience learning color, hair cutting, using different brushes, and all the different types of up do’s.

I think, at first, the most challenging thing for me was using the round brush. I never knew how to use a round brush, or how to use one hand with a brush while using the other with a blow dryer. To be honest, at first using a round brush made me feel like an idiot! But as my hands got used to the brush/dryer combination and as I learned the different twists and turns involved in a round brush blowout, it became really fun. It’s amazing how lifting the hair up in one direction and pulling it out in the other direction can create so much beauty and volume in a hairstyle.

I also thought that using a round boar-bristle brush to create slick straight hair was an amazing technique to learn. In combination with the Aveda product “Naturally Straight”, the boar-bristle brush could straighten curly Latino or African American hair into straight slick hair. I’ve used this technique on several clients and they’ve left extremely surprised and impressed that their hair could go from curly to straight without using a straightener. It’s always rewarding to see your clients happy and feeling great about themselves.

Another thing I’ve appreciated learning at Cinta Aveda was giving scalp and shoulder massages. I think I’ve gotten more complements on the massages I’ve given compared to the services I’ve performed. The different aromas that Aveda provides in combination with a good back rub or scalp massage gives the client a great sense of peace and relaxation before going into a hair cut or putting color in their hair. I always get a positive reaction or expression on my client’s face.

By the end of the Gamma Phase, we sometimes get lazy. But I strongly believe in a good scalp or shoulder massage! I enjoy giving a shoulder massage because it’s an extremely rewarding sensation to see someone physically feeling better.

Learning to Love Makeup

Before I started my education at Cinta Aveda Institute, my interest in makeup didn’t go much further than wanting to know how to make my own face look presentable. I knew the basics—like how to apply foundation, blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick—but anything more than that made my brain scramble.

It wasn’t until we started learning about makeup at school that I really became interested. Some great things my educators demonstrated for us were contouring and bridal makeup, two things I knew nothing about.

This came to good use when I had my first bridal makeup application last weekend. I was caught off guard when the guest told me that she wanted to do a trial run for bridal makeup, but I thought back to what we had learned and put it to good use.

I started off with a clean face, then applied a light layer of Aveda Tinted Moisture. This was great for my guest since she wanted a beautiful but natural look. I then went in with different shades of pink and purple, with a touch of gold for her eyeshadow. I was a little unsure at first, but as I continued to blend all the shades, it looked really beautiful. We finished off the look with a neutral lip with a touch of pink.

I was nervous to show her the final look, as this was my first bridal makeup, but was relieved when she looked in the mirror and told me how happy she was. The smile on her face was infectious. I left school that day feeling really proud of myself, and with a bit more confidence in my ability to do makeup.

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.

Natural Remedies

Some of the most cost effective and naturally beneficial skin care for all skin types can be made from ingredients you can typically find in your own pantry. Some of my favorites include:

Skin Care for Dry Skin

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt

Leave this combination on for 20 minutes and rinse with cool water.

A Firming Toner for Aging Skin

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups purified water

Paint this mixture onto your face and neck and let dry.

A Calming Milk Mask for Rosacea or Red, Irritated Skin

  • Vitamin D milk
  • 2-3 drops rose oil, optional

Soaking a clean cloth the milk until fully saturated. Optionally, add in rose oil for added aroma and more calming effects. Wring out the cloth lightly, being careful not to remove too much of the milk. Lay the cloth over your face and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse your face with cool water.

Brightening for Oily Skin

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • A few drops honey
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ a small lemon, juiced

Mix together the ingredients and leave on the skin for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse face with cool water.

Brightening for Dry Skin

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • A few drops honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, almond oil, or olive oil

Mix together the ingredients and leave on the skin for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse face with cool water.

A Gentle Exfoliant

  • ½ cup hot water
  • ⅓ cup oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 small egg

Mix ingredients together. Apply a thin layer to the face with a brush, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water, moving your hands in circular motions to gently exfoliate. Use this mask once a week to remove dead surface cells.

The Invati System

The Invati SystemThe Invati System is a three-step system, created by Aveda, for people with thinning hair. “Invati” means invigorate in Sanskrit. This product was made and derived from India and contains a unique blend of herbs—97% all-natural ingredients—designed for thicker, longer lasting hair. The three steps are a shampoo, a conditioner, and a revitalizing spray.

The shampoo cleanses and exfoliates the scalp. It helps remove dry skin and products from the scalp, helping keep it healthy and moisturized instead of tight and dry. The shampoo consistency is creamy and runny compared to most shampoos, leading some to think that the shampoo does not cleanse well enough. But really, it’s actually the opposite. This shampoo helps exfoliate the scalp, which most shampoos don’t. It’s so important to exfoliate our skin and, to continue having healthy hair, it’s just as important to exfoliate our scalp. The Invati shampoo is very cleansing and healthy for the scalp even for those who aren’t worried about thinning hair.

The conditioner was created to thicken and strengthen the hair. This conditioner helps prevent more breakage and gives the hair more elasticity. The grape seed that is in the conditioner wraps around the hair cuticle and gives it its moisture and thickness. The conditioner also has nut oil which gives the hair its shine. The conditioner’s texture, similar to the shampoo’s, is runnier than most conditioners. But it does its magic when used correctly.

The revitalizing spray is the third step to this system. This product, sprayed and massaged into the scalp, helps rehabilitate the hair and scalp. The directions say that after shampooing and conditioning, the product should be sprayed six times on each side of the scalp while the hair is still wet. The revitalizing spray contains vitamin E oil that helps give the hair its strength. But the product is not oily at all. It is recommended to use the spray twice a day while giving the scalp a nice massage, which helps the scalp with circulation. The spray is an extremely important part of the Invati System, and it is important to follow the directions.

I used the whole Invati System for over six months. After just a couple of weeks, I experienced a significant difference in the amount of hair that I had been losing. Before I started using this product, my hair would fall out in significant quantities after a shower. But afterwards, I would come out of the shower and the hair that I would lose was countable: literally less than twenty hairs. I did a test and stopped using the Invati System and went back to use Aveda’s Scalp Benefits shampoo. But I noticed a dramatic difference and switched back to the Invati System. With the Invati System, my own hair has been thicker, too. There are also many more fine baby hairs than usual.

Because I personally used and believed in this product, I recommended it to a client that was experiencing thinning hair due to thyroid problems. I wasn’t sure that the Invati System would help because her thinning hair was caused as a side effect of a medication she was taking. But after a month, my client came back and told me that she had been losing less hair than usual and was extremely impressed and happy with the product. It’s a great feeling to be able to help someone with hair loss, especially because I know personally how bad it feels when too much hair is falling out.

I think the Invati System is amazing, but it’s important to be religious with the product. The Invati System smells great and leaves the hair healthy and clean. However, the product is on the pricey side. Everyone wants healthy skin, and everyone wants their hair to be as healthy and beautiful as it can possibly be. If you’re someone that cares about your hair the way that you care about your skin, then this product is worth the purchase. Because the Invati System is also helpful for preserving a healthy scalp, I recommend this product 100% even for people who don’t have thinning hair.

Natural Cleanser with a Twist

Your face is the first thing people see when they look at you. Whether you are forty, twenty four, or fourteen, you don’t want to walk around with acne on your face. I have pimples and blackheads sometimes, so I know that when someone looks at me, they are thinking: “Why didn’t you take care of that before you left the house?” But you’re not really supposed to pop pimples, and when pushing out blackheads, you should be sure to steam your face first for fifteen to twenty minutes.



I’m always reading up on new things, and lately I’ve run across this natural way to cleanse the face that’s especially good for people with super sensitive skin. First, I steam my face and take a cotton cloth to gently push the blackheads out of my face once I’m finished. Then I rinse my face with slightly cold water. (Using water that’s too cold isn’t good for your face. You’re trying to close the open pores on your face, but you shouldn’t shock and stun your pores with extra cold water.) Then I’ll take about one fourth cup lemon juice, a half teaspoon of baking soda, and about a nickel sized dollop of honey. I mix them all together and gently start to apply and massage into my face. After two to three minutes of massaging, I’ll rinse my face. Then I’ll blot my face with a towel that has a light color to make sure it’s properly cleansed. For toner, I use witch hazel which is the best natural toner out there. Then I’m done. 

This cleansing ritual also works really well for people with chest and back acne too.

I’m taking Biotin. It’s helped my hair grow, but it has also helped my face. I’m not as oily and, at the end of the day, my skin feels a lot better—it feels firmer, replenished, and hydrated.

Try this little home remedy for yourself and let me know what you think.

Lemon Mask Setup

Summer to Winter Skin Adjustment

Climates are changing as we invite autumn in. Here in California, where we only really have two seasons, we experience Indian summers into October. The weather seems to be getting warmer versus taking a step back to cool off.

Other places that do not experience Indian summers actually have four seasons and are starting to become chilly. People there are preparing their homes to greet the snowy nights.

So our topic is climate change! Sudden climate changes can leave skin and hair a bit dull if not treated head on. So how does a warmer or cooler climate affect your skin?

Let’s meet the skin first. When dealing with extreme temperatures, the skin goes into a panic. She’s a tough cookie, but when it comes to dealing with drastic change, she puts her defense up.

Most people forget that the skin is an organ and its job is to protect above all. It acts as an external shield to the inner organs to keep the body within a normal temperature (37°C, 98.6°F) at all times. When the skin suddenly shifts locations to wildly different temperatures, it reacts. It happens all the time. Walking indoors from the hot, humid weather to a cool, air-conditioned building and, within a couple of seconds, the skin must adjust. Oh skin, don’t we all!

Whatever climate the skin is faced with, being moisturized is very important. The moisture—consisting of fatty acids, lipids, and natural oils—should be between pH level 4.5 and 5.5 (acidic) which is enough to repel bacteria. Doing this successfully depends on external factors (e.g. moisturizers) and internal factors (e.g. water bottles galore).

Sunscreen should always be used daily, no matter the weather and climate! And in any climate, moisturize the skin and make sure you’re drinking enough water.

Now, when the weather is warm, your skin reacts by sweating, which cools down the body. Heat and your skin tends to butt heads. This is the time where most breakouts occur because your skin is in overdrive producing oils already so people think: “Why even moisturize? It’ll only clog pores even more and cause more bumpity bumps.”

You do want to avoid the thicker, heavier creams for moisturizing during the warmer climate and stick to something light and noncomedogenic. But you still have to moisturize your skin. Botanical kinetics™ hydrating lotion is a great option because this quick-absorbing lotion—which contains emollients derived from coconut, jojoba and other naturally-derived ingredients—replenishes moisture with a gentle touch. Camomile and lavender blend helps promote a soft, supple skin texture.

Remember those tips for warmer weather. But now let’s add humidity. Moisturizers that contain humectants—a hygroscopic substance used to keep things moist—is ideal for humid weather. They prevent the loss of moisture so the skin retains the natural moisture it already has. According to a Mayo Clinic article, you should look at the ingredient list for urea, glycerin, aloe vera, or alpha hydroxy acids.

But if you actually live where fall transitions into winter, your skin functions differently. Circulation becomes sluggish which results in sensitive skin. Remember, your skin just went through a season of hot weather and is about to adjust to the colder weather. Keep those summer products to the side, or even toss them to avoid using them after expiration, and grab the thicker creams for the cold air.

In a 2011 article, Jessica Krant, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center said, “Winter brings dryness from every direction, which sucks the moisture out of our skin, lips, hair and even our eyes.” She makes a series of suggestions on how to combat the effects of winter cold.

In an article from HealthDay News, Dr. Amy McMichael, a dermatologist at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, offered the following tips for protecting skin during the winter months:

  • Switch to a thicker facial and body moisturizer.
  • Do not use indoor tanning beds.
  • Limit alcohol consumption and avoid hot beverages to minimize rosacea flare-ups.
  • Laser and chemical procedures are available that can help treat rosacea, melasma (a kind of skin discoloration) and other skin problems.
  • Take advantage of off-season or post-holiday sales on sun-protective clothing to help protect your skin all year long.

The Daily Glow, which is now EveryDayHealth, released a report on the Best and Worst Skin Cities. There’s also an infographic.

San Francisco is number two, yea!

Five Minute Makeup

We can all be a little busy sometimes or have no time at all for something as simple as putting on some makeup. This post will guide you through a quick and easy five minute makeup routine that you can even do in your car! It will just liven up your face a little bit and make you look ready to go for your day.

Here is all you’ll need:

  • Eye Brightener / Concealer
  • Volumizing Mascara
  • Brow Gel or Wax
  • Cream Blush
  • Bright Lipstick
  • Clear Lipgloss
  • Primers (optional)
  • Eyelash Curler (optional)
  • Concealer/Brightener

    Woman with triangle under eye showing where to apply the concealer.

    Hides dark circles, bags, blemishes, and adds life to skin.

    Apply a little of your eye brightener or concealer in areas you feel need a little coverage. For example: under your eyes, around the nose, blemishes, etc. Blend in with a clean finger; no brushes for this.

    Tip: Apply concealer in a triangle shape. It helps the illusion of flawless skin under eyes.

  • Curling Lashes

    Eyelashes Being Curled

    Lifts lifeless lashes and makes eyes look more “awake.”

    Curl your eyelashes in a pumping motion. Be gentle. You do not want to pull your lashes out.

  • Volumizing Mascara

    Eyelash Makeup Being Applied

    Helps define lashes and open up eyes.

    Apply a volumizing mascara to top and, if necessary, to bottom lashes.

    Tip: Apply in a zig zag motion starting at roots of lashes. Make sure you coat every lash evenly. Do not apply mascara to tips of lashes, it only weighs them down.

  • Brow Gel or Brow Wax

    Woman brushing her brows with gel or wax.

    Smoothes eyebrow hairs down and keeps them looking fresh.

    Brush through brows with your choice of gel or wax. No filling in this time because we have no time! Au naturel it is.

    Tip: Use a spooly to brush through if needed.

  • Bright Lipstick

    Lips with Bright Lipstick

    Adds color to the face and makes you look put together without trying.

    Apply lipstick in a dabbing motion.

    Optionally, add a clear gloss for some extra shine if needed.

    Tip: Make it look like you just bit into some berries and they stained your lips.

  • Cream Blush

    Cream Blush Applied to Face

    Gives a ‘dewy’ flush to the cheeks for a more natural looking complexion.

    Use fingertips to dab it on the apples of your cheeks and blend upward along cheekbones.

And there you have it, a look completed only in five minutes. Of course you may add your own twist on it if you feel you are missing a must have. I love putting this look to use on days when I have long errands to run or when I’m running around chasing kids as a Nanny. It’s perfect for one of those days and super basic. Anyone can pull this off.

Makeup

When putting on facial make up, you have to decide what look you’re going for. Just a natural look? Or an exotic look?

First, you have to figure out what kind of coverage you need or like. Do you want a soft look or full coverage? If it was up to me, I’d go light during the day and bam it out for the evening. The cool thing about makeup is that, if you begin light, you can start off with one look, and then dramatize it for the evening.

To me, someone’s every day face should consist of some powder, blush, mascara and, of course, a lipstick. That way your skin is not clogged by a bunch of product throughout the day. In the evening, looks can be a little more dramatized depending on the outfit or where you’re going. My favorite part of an evening look is that there really is no limit. Get that full coverage foundation with a bronze and a blush. You also have so many options for your eyes. Either black Smokey eyes or even just different shades of brown with some black liner.

But an evening look is never complete without some eyelashes! And, of course, your lipsticks. Depending on the color of your eye shadow, you can pick out whatever lipstick you want. If you do a dramatic eye, stick to a simple lip. If you do a simple eye, go for the dramatic lip!

There are endless options when it comes to makeup. Just try whatever works best for you!

Box Color vs. Salon Color

As professional colorists, we often struggle with getting certain clients to make the switch from box color to professional salon color. Most self-coloring clients settle for box color because “it gets the job done.” But why settle for less? Truly beautiful hair color results come out of a salon, not a drugstore. Here are a few top reasons why you shouldn’t resort to box color:

  • Can’t be customized—you pick a shade, and that’s what you get (maybe).
  • Never guaranteed—box color was formulated to alter a wide range of hair types, and hair colors. Generally included in universal box colors is a 12% or higher percentage developer; however, not everyone requires that much peroxide. In fact, most people require a lower percentage developer to color their hair, resulting in a healthier, truer end result. Where you’re starting from level-wise plays a huge role in determining your outcome.
  • Difficult to buy—not enough people realize the difference between permanent, demi-permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary hair colors when shopping for themselves. You could wind up buying the completely wrong product.
  • Harmful to the hair—box colors are designed to deliver quick, “easy” results. When formulated, they often use harsh chemicals and fillers to “get the job done” and are not designed to condition the hair.

The list goes on. Treat yourself to a color service from a professional at a salon, and experience the difference for yourself! Nothing beats a professional color application.

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