4 Brow Shaping Mistakes DIYers Make

I rehab brows that have suffered any number of terrible fates.  When it comes to brow imageshaping, I see many of the same mistakes over and over. If you’re a DIY kind of gal, make sure you’re not committing these brow sins.

  • Starting the arch too close to the nose. Starting the arch too far over leads to brows that are too thin and uneven. I call these tadpole brows. Because, yes, that’s what they look like. You’ve created a bald spot, and now your brow has round head and a thin tail.
  • Over-trimming. Trimming too much of the brow leaves too little for the tail. When the tail is too thin or too short, you seem to have half of a brow. Half of a brow is not a cute look, so make sure you leave plenty to work with.
  • Standing too close to the mirror. Take two giant steps back and look at the big picture before you tweeze. Looking at the small view leads you to take too much hair, which ultimately leads to an uneven line and too-thin brows.
  • Ignoring the rest of your facial features. People are so scared to have thin brows that they often leave them too thick. If you have delicate facial features, you need a delicate brow shape. Bushy brows draw attention away from the eyes. We want balance, and like Goldilocks, we want this just right.

Need to put your brows into rehab? Start by letting them grow in as much as possible. It may take months for them to fill in, so this is a great time to practice self-restraint. You can grab obvious strays, but steer clear of the brow line. You may want to consult with a professional to get on a treatment program.

Decide where the brows should start and end by using a straight line from the corner of the nose through the corners of the eye, as the photo above indicates. Your arch should start on the line between the corner of the nose over the pupil of the eye.

Remember that your brows are sisters, not twins. Each brow is different, and though we aim to make them look as similar as possible, it is not always going to happen. Don’t obsess over something that may never happen.

Revitalash Revitabrow Eyebrow ConditionerAim to have a smooth line above and below. The eye is automatically drawn to what is different, and holes in the brows are obvious. If you’ve overtweezed in the past, you may need to fill your brows in to create a smooth line. You can also try my favorite brow savior, the RevitaBrow Eyebrow Conditioner, which I have seen work miracles on overtweezed brows.

Your brows should enhance your features and frame your eyes, not pull attention. If your brows are well done, you shouldn’t even notice them. Arches that arch just right lift the eyes and make them appear brighter, more open, and youthful. Who wants to miss that opportunity?
 

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The Skin Care Puzzle

skin care puzzleMy job in life is to help people with their skin. Usually this means I’m helping them with a skin care problem. No matter where I am, at the spa or at the bar, I can’t stop until I’ve figured it out. Once someone’s given me a problem to solve, I start collecting information.

People are sometimes surprised at the number of questions I ask, and even what kind of information I’m looking for. But, like a detective, I am piecing together a puzzle. And everything you tell me is another piece of the puzzle. If I can gather enough pieces, I can see the whole picture.

So what kind of information do I need to figure out how your puzzle pieces fit together? I look at all kinds of details. I want to know what you’re currently using, from your cleanser to your prescriptions. Even oral prescriptions for conditions unrelated to the skin can affect how your skin behaves.

I especially need to know about what kind of exfoliants you’re using at home, and how often. Exfoliation is the puzzle piece that is often difficult to get just right. Not exfoliating often enough leads to dull skin, clogged pores, and flakiness. Exfoliating too often can lead to redness, irritation, and more flakiness.

I also want to know about your diet. What you eat or don’t eat can absolutely affect your skin. I’ve noticed that people on low-fat diets can be very dry. Your dairy intake can also affect your acne. If your stress levels lead you to eat lots of sweets, your skin ca be affected. Or you may simply eat fewer healthy foods, also affecting your skin.

Given this huge list of variables, it’s often hard to tell if a product is working well for you. If you are using an anti-acne regimen, but your stress levels are causing you to break out, you will still break out. We might be able to control them more, and diminish the frequency or the severity. Maybe your acne serum will work if it’s partnered with a different cleanser. It can be hit-or-miss to find just the right combo, but the more pieces of the puzzle we have, the faster we can put it together.

People look at skin care products as the end all, when in actuality, it’s only one piece of a very large puzzle. [Tweet this!] All the pieces must fit together to get you beautiful, glowing skin.

 

 

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The Truth About Picking

skin pickingI am a recovering skin picker. My “joke” is that I went to esthetics school because I ran out of stuff to pick out of my own skin. I relapse occasionally, like I did last week when I improperly picked a blackhead and turned it into a nasty mark on my chin. When my acne was at its peak, I struggled not to pick. And I still get frustrated when I get a spot that I can’t seem to let go of.

Skin picking, or dermatillomania, the clinical name for extreme skin picking, can be a serious problem for many people. It can be an annoying problem for even more people. It’s easy to beat yourself up when you succumb to picking. I know from my own personal experience and the experiences of my clients that many people struggle to stop picking their skin.

Picking is more than just wanting to pop a pimple. It can be rooted in causes such as anxiety, depression, stress, boredom, and even anger. Picking a spot can feel like a release, a stress relief, and a feeling of satisfaction. It may give you a temporary high.

I’ve managed to (mostly) conquer my picking with soul-searching, tough love, and some serious skin care. Here’s what I can share about what’s helped me control my picking.

  • Get to the issue behind the picking. When you catch yourself, try to stop and ask yourself what’s really going on. What’s causing you to obsess over this spot? Is it textural? Are you bored? Are you stressed? Are you angry? Just being aware that something else is going on can be a huge help to decoding this habit. As you start to figure out the emotions under your picking, you’ll be able to come up with healthier alternatives.
  • Invest in some solid skin care. The fastest way to stop picking is to stop having stuff to pick. Ultimately, I didn’t conquer my picking habit as much as I conquered my acne. I found that investing in products that worked for me gave me a feeling of control so that I didn’t feel so helpless. And not having the bumps simply removed the temptation.
  • Pick in a healthy way. If I have that bump that’s screaming at me, I make sure to go through my proper picking protocol. Investing my picking time in a method that won’t cause scarring still gives me the satisfaction of doing something about my blemishes, and keeps my mind off further digging.
  • Reward yourself for not picking. Investing in a facial can be a reward for not picking, as well as a deterrent to further picking.  It encourages you to keep your hands off your own pores, as you are spending money to have someone else handle the problem. It also relieves the stress of having that feeling that something is stuck in your skin and needs to be removed.

These tips are not intended to replace the advice of a licensed professional. If you suffer from extreme picking, dermatillomania, trichotillomania, or any other compulsions, help is available. Please reach out if you need help.

 

 

I make a conscious effort to control my picking. Do you struggle? What works for you to stop? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

7 Things You Should Never Say To Your Esthetician

I am, generally speaking, a really nice person. I’m fairly patient. I see the good in everyone, to my own 7 things to never say to your esthetician before a facial detriment.

I’m an even nicer esthetician.

I am not an esthetician who will make you feel badly for using drugstore products. I won’t make you feel badly about not washing every single night. I won’t even make you feel guilty if your last facial was over 10 years ago.

But there are some things that my clients tell me that just drive me nuts. So here are a few things you should never say to your esthetician.

  • My skin is just so sensitive. Sensitive is such a vague word. I need specifics. Are you prone to redness? Do you have a lot of allergies? Are you prone to breakouts? What has happened in the past that makes you choose the word sensitive now? Don’t tell me that you’re sensitive; give me details about your past reactions.
  • I’m just using a hodge podge of random skin care products. We all mix and match. I don’t stick with just one line either. But when I ask you what you’re using, I’m looking for name brands, where you purchase, or active ingredients. I need to know what you’re using so I know what kind of products your skin will tolerate. It also helps me figure out why you might be having problems. The more information you provide, the better I can help you.
  • I just saw my plastic surgeon for Botox/ Restylane/ Juvederm/ other injectables this week. All injectables have a waiting period before you can manipulate the skin as I will during massage and extractions. The last thing I want to do is screw up a $1000 worth of filler. Come back after 7-10 days, or better yet, schedule your facial before your visit to the plastic surgeon.
  • I’m just using stuff my dermatologist gave me, but I can’t remember what it is. I’m not trying to go against the recommendations of your dermatologist, but I still need to know what you’re using. Dermatologists often sell or prescribe products with aggressive ingredients. I need to know what you’re using so I can make sure that I don’t overstimulate your skin.
  • I’m using really good stuff. I trust that you think what you’re using is good. You wouldn’t spend your hard-earned dollars on it if you didn’t believe that. But what does good mean to you? Brand name? Expensive? Dermatologist recommended? Recommended by another esthetician? I still need to know what you’re using to prevent an adverse reaction. And “good” skin care doesn’t guarantee it’s good for you. [Tweet this!]
  • I don’t need extractions. Everyone needs extractions. And in addition to that, you’re spending a lot of money to see me. Don’t you want to take advantage of that time and let me do what you shouldn’t be doing at home anyway?
  • I’m allergic to (insert common ingredient here) and this is the first time I’ve told anyone. I take allergies seriously, as I take all adverse reactions. But if you don’t tell me about an allergy until after I start your facial, the time I spend reading ingredients on every single bottle is now coming out of your massage time. [Tweet this!] If you have an allergy, call ahead and let me look at ingredients before you come in. It will allow the treatment flow better for both of us.

I really care about my clients and their skin conditions. I want to make sure that your experience is amazing from start to finish. If you have one single concern about your skin, I want to make sure we find a solution that works for you. It’s why I write this blog. But you have to let me help you, and you help me by giving me as much information as you can.

 

 

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Just the FAQs: If I Get A Chemical Peel, Will I Look Like Samantha From Sex and the City Did?

Samantha gets a chemical peelThe episode of Sex and the City where Samantha decides to get a “freshening” peel just days before Carrie’s book launch party is probably one of the most iconic moments in skin care. Not only did it put chemical peels on the map, it struck fear in the hearts of women everywhere, leading them to ask estheticians, even ten years later, “If I get a chemical peel, am I going to look like Samantha did when she got one?”

I love to recommend peels. Chemical exfoliation is my preferred way to get rid of dead skin cells. But without a doubt, people are nervous when they hear the word peel. Visions of red, flaking skin flash through their minds, and who wants to look like that? So what should you expect if you get a peel? The answer is, as always, it really depends.

First, it depends on who’s giving you the peel. The law governs who can do what peel in what strength. My license doesn’t even allow me to do a peel that would give you the severe redness and flaking that you see in this episode. Barring an adverse reaction, the most I can do without a doctor’s supervision is cause a bit of flakiness and flushing for a few days. If you’re at a dermatologist’s office, you are more likely to get a peel with “downtime,” or, a peel that will make you want to hide under a black veil for a few days.

Next, it depends on the strength of the peel. This is the tricky part to predict. Someone who is used to exfoliating (a regular glycolic or retinol user) will probably be more tolerant of stronger peels. Someone who’s recently used a prescription though, may find that their skin reacts more noticeably. Generally I recommend that if you’re going to get a peel, you should stop all prescriptions for seven days beforehand.

Samantha hides her chemical peel under a veilMild flaking is not the end of the world. It just means that your skin is healing. Remember that we break the skin down in order to build back stronger, and flaking is just a sign that stronger skin is growing. I will camouflage flaking with a great primer with lots of dimethicone, an ingredient that conceals texture by laying on the surface and filling in. Try Smashbox Photo Finish Primer if you need some help.

As a reader of this blog, you are obviously a savvy consumer. And savvy consumers ask lots of questions. Before agreeing to a peel, you need to ask about it. Specifically, how much flaking should I expect? How red will I be, and for how long? What home care should I use in the following days? How much pain can I expect?

The only mistake that Samantha made here was making her “impulse purchase” without thoroughly considering the side effects. Her skin probably looked great after ten days. Chemicals peels need to be thought about for an extra minute or two, but they are nothing to be afraid of.

 

 

 

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Battle of the White Jackets: Dermatologists versus Estheticians

dermatologist speaks to patient about skin Dermatologists and estheticians both treat the skin. But we each treat the skin differently. As an esthetician, my license allows me to only treat the epidermis, or the outermost layer of the skin. I treat the layer of skin that you see. Doctors can treat anything from the epidermis down to the deepest layers of the skin. They treat the layers that support the visible layer of the skin.

Dermatologists cure medical conditions, while estheticians focus on the beautification of the skin. [Tweet this!]

I can help you control chronic conditions like eczema, acne, or rosacea, but I cannot prescribe medicine if that’s what you need. I can help you build a routine around a prescription. People can tolerate different levels of prescription meds, and I can help you to balance your routine around your new treatment. I can offer alternatives if your prescriptions are causing your skin to be sensitized, or experiencing excessive redness, flaking, or tenderness. I can help fill in the holes in your routine if you’re still not seeing theesthetician applies aloe mask in a facial results you want.

I don’t see this as an either/or kind of question, but lots of dermatologists seem to. To be fair, there are many dermatologists that respect what estheticians do. There are plenty of dermatologists that recommend great products. But there are times that the recommendations some dermatologists make are aggressive and over-drying. I have seen dermatologists put patients on a daily Retin-A and a glycolic pad (nevermind that AHAs and retinoids break each other down, making both ingredients ineffective) or Retin-A without a moisturizer. I believe that if you are on an aggressive product like a prescription, you may need to go more gentle with other aspects like cleanser or moisturizer. I feel some dermatologists neglect to help their patients with the entire picture.

So what does this mean to you? If you have a chronic condition or a funny mole, see a dermatologist. If you are concerned about a dull complexion or just not looking your best, see an esthetician. Ultimately, we can all work together to get you your best glow.

 

 

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What Is An Esthetician?

esthetician giving a facialOutside of the spa, I often tell people that I’m a facialist, simply because they don’t know what an esthetician is. If I say that I’m an esthetician, the next question is usually, “An anesthetician? Like, you put people to sleep before surgery?” No, I put people to sleep during facials. And that’s an anesthesiologist, by the way. It’s a very different kind of job! But this is a bit about what it means to be an esthetician.

I am a skin care specialist. I like to summarize what an esthetician is by saying that it’s like a nurse in dermatology. Except estheticians focus on the beautification of the skin, with some knowledge of diseases, while the medical community focuses on the diseases. My license allows me to work superficially on the epidermis (the outermost layer), while doctors can work on everything deeper.

  • I have a license from the Board of Cosmetology in the state I work. This is the board that also licenses nail technicians and hair stylists. I had to attend a state approved school for 1000 hours (hours required vary by state) to be able to sit for my boards, then I had to pass a written and practical examination.
  • My education focused on skin and all things pertaining to the skin, but it also included anatomy and physiology, ingredient knowledge, and chemistry. I learned all the muscles and bones of the face.  I learned about diseases and disorders. I also learned massage techniques, aromatherapy, and makeup. Just like any field, people might specialize in any aspect of their business. I’ve always been more clinically oriented.
  • I have a knowledge of prescriptions and can build regimens around them. I cannot prescribe medications or diagnose conditions. But I can help to control chronic conditions like eczema, acne, or rosacea in conjunction with your doctor’s recommendations. I can act as a first line of defense if you have a problem with your skin. Ultimately my advice should never replace that of your doctor, but I may be able to help and answer questions.
  • My scope of practice increases under the supervision of a doctor. The state board limits the strength of peels that I can do or lasers that I can run, based on my license. Working under the supervision of doctors broadens what I can do, even though only they do the intense stuff.

I’ve always preferred to call myself an esthetician, because I feel it incorporates more of what I do. It includes a lot of science, as well as a lot of intuition. I’m not just someone who massage creams on your face, waxes off undesired hair, or squeezes white heads. But I can be an important part of your skin care, as well as your health.

 

 

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