Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to find an Esthetician!

How to find and choose a great Esthetician

In this day and age of the internet online reviews are one of the top ways to find an Esthetician but sometimes the reviews can be misleading and sometimes you don't know if they are real reviews or slanted in one way or the other.  The Esthetician may have 5 star reviews but that doesn’t always mean that she or he is the right one for you.  There are also lots of facial deals and in my opinion some of those deals can be a true bargain and a great way to try different types of facials and facialists on your search to find “the one” but sometimes you are going to get a cookie cutter facial or a rushed job because you are not a full-paying client – I’m not saying this is right but it does happen.  It makes the best sense for your skin to find an esthetician you can feel comfortable with and stick with because they will know your skin. The following are some of my top tips for finding an esthetician you can glow with…

Do you have a coworker or friend or perhaps someone you have met who has gorgeous glowing skin? Chances are she or he might have an esthetician on their speed dial so don’t hesitate to ask what their secret is and you may just get an amazing referral.

Is there a skincare line you absolutely love?  If so,  check that companies website and see if they have a esthetician in your area who uses the products since many companies have a referral system in place with their customers.  You could also call the skincare company and ask them directly to recommend someone.  If you absolutely love a certain organic skincare line or a special alpha hydroxy based line it makes sense to find an esthetician who has a similar philosophy and recommends and uses some of your favorites in their skincare practice.

You can also contact estheticians and ask for a complimentary  consultation. When I had my skincare practice I offered free initial consults where I would have potential clients come in and perhaps bring their regimen in so I could see what their skincare routine was and I would examine their skin under the orb of truth aka my magnifying lamp. I would then offer suggestions and devise a plan of action based on what they wanted to achieve with their skin.  This was a great way to meet first and talk about their skincare goals and what services I had to offer and to see if I felt I could help them achieve their skincare goals. I also would give them samples to try, homework in the way of special teas to drink, vitamins to take and other lifestyle tips to support their skincare goals and then schedule a facial at that meeting.

Six questions to ask your potential esthetician:

What type of training have you had? (This is a good question to ask. Make sure your esthetician has attended classes and studied beyond the standard state issued license)

What’s your philosophy on skincare?

What type of products do you use during your facials?

What would you recommend for my skin and have you worked with my particular skin type or the issue I’m having?

What’s your specialty? (This is important because some estheticians specialize in Brazilian waxing or lash extensions which is great if that’s what you’re getting but I would recommend having an esthetician who is passionate about skincare and lists skincare as their number one specialty for getting maximum results from your facials!)



Monday, February 17, 2014

Facial Serums - Do you need one?

Serums – Do You Need One?

Collagen Serum from Exuviance - Lifting, Firming and Building Volume with Matrixyl 3000 peptides and Gardenia Cell Culture plus Polyhydroxy acids


I’m a huge advocate of serums. I call them the “Green Juice” of skincare since they have so many active ingredients and in a liquid form they give your skin vital nutrients and a high quantity of actives in one little drop – penetrating deeply! It’s the equivalent of a giant platter of veggies being reduced to a glass of juice – if you have ever made your own green juice you will know exactly what I mean – You can never eat that many veggies in one sitting but you can drink that juice and you feel so good when you do and not to mention your skin will glow with health.

Serums should be applied under your moisturizers day and night. For daytime use look for antioxidant serums – such as ECGC – the active ingredient in Vitamin C that comes from green tea. Serums will protect and hydrate and give you that wonderful glow of hydrated healthy skin. For evening you can use serums that contain ingredients that exfoliate and treat such as alpha hydroxy acids as well an antioxidants. I also look for peptides like oligopeptide and Matrixyl 3000, plant stem cells, Grapeseed extract, Lilac phyto stem cell, Geranium phyto stem cell, etc. There are many wonderful skin-loving ingredients. Hylauronic acid is one of - if not my most favorite ingredient ever to look for in a serum. It holds 1000 times its’ weight in water and will really lock in your skins own moisture and attract more moisture to your skin.

There are water based serums and oil based serums. Every skin type can benefit from water based serums and if you are normal to dry you may prefer an oil based serums especially for evening. While we are sleeping our bodies dehydrate and of course our skin being our largest excretory organ is going to be dehydrated when we wake up but not if you use a hydrating serum.

Serums go deep into the skin and if you exfoliate regularly you will find your serums penetrate really well – correct exfoliation is key as well! You don’t want your wonderful and pricey serums just sitting on top of dry dead skin cells so please exfoliate properly and get yourself a serum. Your skin will love you for it.

There are many skincare companies that make excellent serums. I love NeoStrata, Exuviance, PCA Skincare, YonKa, Jan Marini, Skin Ceuticals, SkinMedica among many others. I recommend going to your Esthetician and getting recommendations and /or visiting Sephora and Ulta and checking out what they have and talking to the associates that work there as they usually try everything in the store and may have some recommendations and maybe even a sample for you to try!

What's your favorite serum?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

For Your Eyes Only - Prevent, Correct and Renew

The eye area has the thinnest skin on the body and there are no oil glands. It’s also an area of expression and is usually the first area of the face to start to show the signs of age and sun damage.  It’s far easier to prevent than correct but luckily there are amazing doctors and researchers that have created effective topical treatments that actually reverse some of the signs of aging. Prevention though is key so the earlier you start on a good eye cream the better.

There are many things we can do to protect our vulnerable eye area.   When we wear the correct eye creams, remove our eye makeup gently and effectively at night, wear sunglasses and/or a hat when driving and/or in direct sunlight to prevent squinting and thus wrinkling the eye area.
How to Apply an Eye Cream - An eye cream should be applied to the upper and lower lid and a good eye cream without fragrance and artificial color can be applied all the way to the lash line.

Eye Cream: Essential part of a healthy skincare regimen

Depending on what your concerns are around your eye area you definitely will want to use an eye cream with unique and effective ingredients for what your specific concerns are.  Everyone can benefit from an eye cream – men and women-  and should start by age 20. It is equally important to wear an eye cream during the day as it is in the evening. During the daytime hours we want to hydrate and protect and while we sleep our body naturally rests and we want our ingredients to repair and correct. There is a plethora of eye creams available. So you may be wondering,  “What’s the best eye cream for my eyes?” Let’s look at some common concerns and ingredients that address them.

Issues that affect the skin around the eyes:

Dark Circles: Vitamin K – this amazing nutrient heals the tiny capillaries under the eyes, they can leak blood and it pools under our eyes.  Plastic surgeons have been prescribing vitamin k for years for their patients pre and post operatively. (helpful hint: if your eye cream isn’t yellow it doesn’t have adequate levels of vitamin k and wont help your dark circles!) One to try: Exuviance Brightening Bionic Eye Cream: it’s bright yellow and has no artificial colors….the yellow tone is vitamin K which has another added bonus of immediately brightening and dissipating that purplish dark hue that dark circles produce. Jan Marini, Skin Medica, Yon Ka and many other professional skincare lines also have excellent eye creams.
Puffiness:  Caffeine – this ingredient is a diuretic and removes excess fluid from the eye area. (helpful hint: apply the eye cream from the inner corner outward in small tapping motion with your ring finger- this will stimulate your skins own lymphatic system and help the caffeine be even more effective at removing fluid). There are also some relatively new patented ingredients called Actiflow and Eyeliss that target puffiness and I can tell you from my experience working with many women and men that these ingredients work well.  Rosemary Essential Oil is also effective. I also recommend refrigerating your eye creams if puffiness is a big concern.  Also, make sure you are drinking enough water since dehydration actually leads to fluid retention.

Easy to Make Eye Treatment pads for puffy eyes and dark circles

Pulverize 1 organic cucumber
Pulverize 1 handful of parsley
combine and wrap mixture in gauze and apply to eyes for 10 minutes
This mixture will keep in the fridge for about 4 days

Dryness/Crepeness: Grapeseed Extract, Shea butter, carrot seed oil, lipids, hylauronic acid (this amazing plant derived ingredient holds 1000x its weight and gives your skin instant hydration

Wrinkles/Lines:  Retinol Palmitate (Vitamin A), Maltobionic acid, Polyhydroxy acid, Lactobionic Acid, Vitamin C, Grapeseed extract

Sagging/Loss of Firmness:  Matrixyl 3000, Peptides - this amazing ingredient lifts and firms and you want to look for medically formulated creams with this ingredient since peptides need a certain percentage to actually work which you wont always find in drug store or mass produced creams

Prevention :  Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Algae Extract, Hylauronic acid

Antiflammatory: Chamomile, Ginseng, Calendula, Green tea extract, cucumber extract and many more.

Remove Eye Makeup Thoroughly but Gently!

A gentle cleansing Cream will not only remove your eye makeup gently and effectively but also has ingredients like polyhydroxy acids that will provide gentle exfoliation and gently remove the dead skin cells which will help promote healthy cell renewal in our eye area. It’s very clogging to the delicate eye area and can even by aging to sleep with your makeup on especially eye makeup since eye shadows, mascaras and even concealers can contain a lot of drying and irritating ingredients.  It’s been shown that inflammation can lead to aging and there’s even a new topic of study by the medical beauty industry called “Inflammaging”. Its best to remove your makeup to prevent inflammation and any irritation that can trigger redness, clogged pores and puffiness around your eyes.

Eye treatment pads

Cooling, soothing, hydrating and firming. These little pads are a favorite of Hollywood starlets and even some metrosexual  Hollywood hunks.  The Eye Treatment Pads from Exuviance have an amazing ingredient called Lactobionic acid which has been used for years by the medical world as one of the ingredients to preserve organs prior to organ transplant.  There are also many professional skincare lines that make eye treatment pads like GM Collin and also SK II has some with Pitera which are very hydrating. Of course since our skin is our bodies largest organ and an outer one at that – it takes a lot of abuse so what better way to treat our eye area than with an eye mask with this potent and special antioxidant. We apply masks all over our face except for our eyes so these pads are the perfect way to treat your eyes while you treat your face.  For extra calming benefits (especially if you suffer from seasonal allergies) keep the pads in the refrigerator and they will be even more cooling.  What’s wonderful about the eye treatment pads are that they can stay on your eye area up to 30 minutes and you will see instant results. The effects are immediate and the long-lasting results are cumulative as well. These pads can be used 1 to 2 times per week and will remove the morning puffiness and hydrate the skin.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

18 Tips for an Effective Juice Cleanse

18 Ways to Get the Best Results from a Juice Cleanse

If you are going to take the time,  energy and expense to do a juice cleanse you want results!!

I started doing juice cleanses many years ago- one of my coworkers came back from vacation with a radiant glow to her skin and a fit and trim body. She was always gorgeous but she was shining like a light had been turned on inside of her. She shared her secret spot in Palm desert and soon I was sipping juice and trading colon therapy session stories with 
Bianca Jagger (Mick's ex-wife) who was in the room next to me and who actually may have saved my life that week - she awakened me when the water heater outside the back of our shared building had overheated in the 110 degree heat and caught our building began to burst into flames!  Hey Bianca if your reading this thank you! This place was a low key juicing getaway for famous actresses and supermodels so of course I fit right in - haha. I survived the week quite well and dropped 10 lbs exactly where I needed to - took breaththerapy classes, sat in a special vortex triangle, meditated, hung upside down, experienced rolfing and it was life changing  and I felt so good. I was so inspired by cleanses and all of the amazing things I learned that I decided to become a Holistic Nutritionist and it has really helped me to better serve my clients since a lot of skincare concerns can be linked to diet.

I've since sought out juice cleanses around the world from a Retreat in Thailand  to a rustic camping experience a few years ago in the sierras complete with a giant black spider as a tent-mate and with what turned out to be a group of juicing nudists . How was I to know that "Natural Hygenists" actually meant naked juicers? For 2 weeks we swam in the rivers of the sierras and drank juice together - I was a bit out of my element and had moments where I just thought how the heck did I end up here - YOLO and it was an experience I won't forget and I learned a lot from those hippies. I've also been to Optimum Health Institute in San Diego a few times, which I really like- having a regimen and schedule and being surrounded by like minded guests who are fully dressed helps keep me on track and plus it's inspiring to hear peoples stories of how juicing and raw foods has actually cured them of many ailments and diseases. At OHI they call them "health opportunities" since really it's an opportunity to create change in your life. I learn a lot every time I go here. I truly believe and have seen miracles happen when people give their body the right nutrients and also maybe take away the excess that's not needed. There is an intelligence in our bodies that wants to be healthy. When I lived in San Francisco I did group cleanses with the amazing Teresa from Rock Solid Fitness

I have some tips from all these years of doing them that I want to share. I do not recommend water only cleanses and I have been told that water cleanses can really sap your energy as you are detoxing too fast and without nutritional support. You can design your own juice cleanse that works for you easily and maybe you want to incorporate raw foods as well since a raw food diet is very cleansing.

How to get the most out of your juice cleanse!

1. If you can take a few days off work and stay home. Cleanses can effect your energy levels and moods since you will have less calories and your body is detoxifying so if you can stay home and juice then do it. Some people get headaches especially in the beginning and if you are used to drinking caffeine you are most likely going to be getting some headaches for a day or two.

If you must work,  start your cleanse on a Friday after work and for your first cleanse try a weekend and see how you feel.  I believe it's easier on the body to cleanse in the Spring and in warmer weather especially if this is your first time.

2. Gather recipes from the web and make your own juice. For the price of a 3 day pre-made cleanse you can buy a good juicer and make your own juices.  When Juicing it's even more important to buy organic because you don't want to be consuming pesticide residue when you are cleansing.

The raw ingredients for Carrot Orange Ginger Juice

3. If you already know you are a bit of a "Juicing Diva" and aren't going to want to shop, prepare juice and clean up your juicer every day-- then find a local place and buy your juices fresh every day. Juices are best consumed fresh and make sure the place is using organic fruits and veggies. Many Whole Foods have juice bars now. You can also mail order fresh-pressed juices and have them delivered if you don't mind spending a little more. I've been wanting to check out Paleta's juices- in Southern CA because they look delicious and they even have a skincare regimen package.  There are many companies that will send you juices in the mail if you can't get to a store.  I regularly go to Déjà Vu Juice Bar in downtown Burlingame - they have great juices and are such great people they can supply you with your own jars or you can bring your own and carry out for at home juicing.

My Orange, Carrot & Ginger Juice

4. Dry brushing your body-  obtain a dry brush at the health food store and every day before shower  dry brush from bottom to top towards your heart before showering. You will be stimulating your lymphatic system and this is helpful for your bodies detoxification process. 

5. Usually around the 3rd day or so your tongue will develop a coating - it's your body detoxing. Buy a tongue scraper at the health food store and use it a couple times a day!

6. Take a technology cleanse as well! Turn off your tv, computer and take this time for yourself. Don't watch the news and stay away from people who stress you out too.

7. Keep a journal while you are cleansing - think about what you are grateful for and what your goals and ambitions are. When you cleanse your body and take this time for yourself it's a great time to be a little more introspective and stay positive and try some daily meditation

8. Get books about cleansing, health, nutrition and yoga - you can go to the library and find a bunch of books to inspire you to stay on track. I love Kimberly Snyder's books 

9. Moisturize your skin with natural oils like evening primrose, extra virgin olive oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, etc. and cleanse and with ingredients like honey and home made sugar scrubs.
If you normally wear makeup go makeup free while you are cleansing

10. Wear loose comfortable clothes made of natural fibers - lets your skin breathe and be comfortable - don't use deodorants or perfumes - this will really help facilitate cleansing. Our skin is a detoxification organ and called the "second kidneys" for a reason

11. Take a bath with equal parts sea salt and  baking soda and you can add a couple drops of lavender or an essential oil you like

12. Drink juice flavors you like- it's bad enough you aren't eating so don't torture yourself with horrible tasting juice. An apple added to any green juice can make it taste so much better. I avoid pure fruit juices and try to stick to green juices since fruits have so much sugar

13. Stock up on tea that you like - I'm a rooibos tea fan. It doesn't have any caffeine and has 30x the vitamins and minerals than green tea.  Zhenas Gypsy Teas has some of my favorites. Tea is good and for sugar cravings. Ginger tea is very warming and increases circulation. In my opinion it's a good idea to wean off of caffeine before a cleanse and to avoid it during a cleanse

14. Look into getting professional colonics, or at home colemas or enemas. Of course if you have any concerns check with your doctor. My advice would be to seek out an experienced,  professional and gentle colon hydrotherapist if this is something you want to do to enhance your cleanse. Some therapists will also do implants with probiotics and wheat grass. It's important to support your intestinal flora. A friend "released" a barbie shoe that had  been swallowed as a child and this was 30 years later - that can't be good to have a little piece of pink plastic stuck in your body for years! You never know what you might find.  

This a great T-shirt I saw at a popular SF Street fair
  We ended up at the Folsom Street fair and met the fun and funny bearded guys from Bearded Guy T-shirts  Truth: You HAVE to have a sense of humor when you get a colonic and also ask for the "small" tubing - there are two sizes.

15. Don't exercise vigorously during your cleanse. Walking, stretching and light yoga are enough.  It's important to let your body use it's energy for the cleansing process. What's amazing is the bodies inate healing process and you will lose unwanted pounds exactly where you need to and cellulite disappears on cleanses as the body breaks down fat and detoxifies - our toxins are stored in our fat as it's the safest place for the body to keep what it can't clean away

16. Eat lightly for a couple days leading up to your cleanse - fruits and veggies and also to "break" your cleanse. Papaya and pineapple are two of my favorite foods to eat pre and post cleanse since they are full of digestive enzymes. 

17. Ask for support from your family and friends. if you have a cleansing partner you can support each other.
A lot of juice shops offer this type of support too and so do some of the online juice cleansing companies too.

My Cleansing crew - trust me you don't want to see her litterbox after a 3 day cleanse!

18. Wheatgrass - this is the  SUPERJUICE and loaded with nutrients. They say one ounce of this has the equivalent in nutrients and 2 1/2 lbs of cruciferous veggies. The more of this you drink during your cleanse the better. It's very sweet so it helps with sugar cravings. At OHI we juiced our own in their greenhouse and they forced I mean encouraged us to drink several ounces a day. it's not my favorite but some people love it. If you want to make this at home you have to buy a special wheatgrass juicer. For all things health and juicing I have purchased from  Mike at The Raw Diet  and he is very helpful and has good prices. You can also find equipment at Costco, Amazon and even Craigslist.
2 oz shot of wheatgrass with an orange chaser

Good Luck with your cleanse and I would love to hear from you about your cleansing experience!

Stay healthy and vibrant!!

Juicing Essentials:

Herbal teas
Dry brush
Sea salt (for bath)
Baking soda (for bath)
Essential oils
Health books (inspiration)