Category Archives: Esthetic Education

7 Rules of Layering Your Skincare Products

skin-care-product-layeringBefore we dive-in to skincare product layering tips remember this: DON’T strip your skin of it’s lipid barrier function and healthy PH when you wash it, that will make everything you do afterward a big.fat.waste of time (check out my favorite cleansers)!

1. Start light. Serums—the thinnest products—go first, because a) that just makes sense and b) they deliver active ingredients into the skin most efficiently. Pick two or three serums that each treat one of your skincare health concerns: wrinkles/fine lines, acneic or oily (Power Peel Glycolic Gel, Clear It), water or oil-dry (Hydrate Super Serum), sensitive/irritable to calm redness (Calm Down ).

2. Add an antioxidant. Vitamin C is one ingredient every skin type needs. It brightens, protects against sun damage, and promotes collagen production (C Power Vitamin C Serum).

3. Take a coffee break. If you give each product a minute to dry, it won’t pill. I flow my skincare in with the rest of my morning routine. For example, I put on a product, have coffee, then put on a second product, then brush my teeth.

4. Lock it down. Moisturizer is key to any layering routine because it seals serums on your skin, which can make them more effective (Atmosphere Protection Cream).

5. Know when to go in reverse. If your sensitive skin reddens at the thought of using even one treatment product, try putting on a simple, fragrance-free moisturizer first and then serums on top. The cream will reduce the potency of the serums but they’ll also be less likely to cause irritation.

6. Add an oil. In small doses, oils make skin radiant. Put them on dry areas after creams—as a rule, oils can penetrate moisturizers, but not vice versa. Skip the oil if you’re wearing more than two serums under your moisturizer (Botanical Booster).

7. Don’t forget protection. Sunscreen is your last step in the morning. It sits on top of your skin, so if it goes on first, it prevents other ingredients from penetrating (Oil-Free Daily Protect).

See you at the spa!

The Emotional Connection – Associated Skin Care Professionals

SkindeepCheck out my latest article The Emotional Connection page 25 in Associated Skin Care Professionals magazine Skin Deep. Here’s an excerpt:

Whether we recognize it or not, our Industry is an emotional “brand.” This is evident in our businesses and treatment rooms every day. Yet, we need to be intentional about building a successful business, staying safe in our professional relationships and communications, and managing the daily reality that our business is all about emotion — that, in fact, our entire profession revolves around the way our guest feels. How well we understand and use this phenomenon  will determine how well we build  the all-important emotional connections that can  drive our business success.

See you at the spa! Linda “Brow Boss” Ruberto

 

The Great Barrier – Skin

skin barrier brick

If you want healthy, beautiful skin it’s really important to understand some of the science behind your skin’s barrier function and how to maintain and protect it.

The Skin Barrier

I like to describe the stratum corneum (the skin’s outer layer) as a brick wall of defense. The study of this barrier is called corneobiology and according to researchers there are 16 separate types of barrier functions operating within this skin layer. They are all interconnected, so if one system is compromised others will also be effected.

The Acid Mantle

This is part of what forms the skin’s barrier. It protects the skin’s “underneath” from germs, pollution, toxins, and bacteria while at the same time  keeping lipids and moisture in. The acid/alkaline spectrum is o-14. Water is neutral at 7 and healthy skin is slightly acidic at 5.5.

This valuable mechanism is driven by a sensitive pH balance. We can easily disrupt it but often don’t pay enough attention to restoring it. Those of you who have been to Star Brows have probably heard me use the analogy of  the skin to a child you’re caring for – too much discipline and not enough skin care TLC or vice versa will create trouble! We unwittingly strip and disrupt the pH system during the all-important cleansing and exfoliating phase of our routine, and as a result it can takes hours to restore.

Too acidic when:

  • Your skin feels oily and not thoroughly clean after cleansing
  • You rarely need or apply moisturizer
  • Your skin is reactive and sensitive to products
  • Your skin is oily and prone to breakouts
  • Your skin often looks red and feels irritated
  • You have a greasy look

Too alkaline:

  • Your skin feels tight and dry after cleansing
  • You need to apply moisturizer more than once a day
  • You sometimes experience dry, rough patches
  • Your skin usually looks dull with more lines first thing in the morning
  • Your skin may sting or feel irritated after applying products
  • Your skin rarely appears plump or dewy

Don’t

  • Use products that contain unwanted chemicals like Sodium Laureth Sulfate (a known skin irritant and cheap foaming agent which strips natural skin lipids also found in the ever popular “Dermatologist – recommended” cleanser Cetaphil [yikes!] as well as Scrubbing Bubbles)
  • Use products that contain parabens which have been linked to breast cancer
  • Do too much exfoliation on your own
  • Forget to wash, moisturize, and protect your skin in the AM and PM

Do

  • Get regular facials
  • Use a soap-free cleanser like my current favorite Ocean Cleanser
  • Look at the ingredient deck on your products and choose more nourishing, gentle cleansers that maintain PH acidity
  • Control transepideral water loss (TEWL) with a “water-binder” like HydrateXS 1000
  • Feed your skin with serums like C-Power and essential oil blends formulated for your skin type like Essential Corrective Complex to build its strength
water loss
Unhealthy Barrier

 

To raise hydration levels in the stratum corneum increase the structure and function of the skin barrier. Essential fatty acids, ceramides, emollients and humectants will reverse the negative effects of water-dry skin by restoring elasticity, leaving the skin smooth and velvety soft.

To support you in your journey toward perfect skin, all of our products at Star Brows have been specially chosen to optimize and encourage skin health. We carry and professionally recommend two complete product lines: OSEA and Tu’el to address every skin type and condition.

See you at the spa!

 

water loss2
Healthy Barrier

January/February 2014 Product Feature

sodium-hyaluronateHi, it’s Kelli! I’m not usually a New Year’s resolutionist, but as my schedule and life in general get busier and busier I have developed a new appreciation for simplicity and have vowed to make 2014 as easy as possible.

How does this apply to skincare? If you’re like me, you want gorgeous skin but don’t want a million steps, or a big routine. So the Product Feature(s) this month contain  a special ingredient the Brow Boss has relied on for years and recommends to every one of her clients. It’s called sodium hyaluronate or hyaluronic acid (HA). It’s an ingredient that  I have listened to her explain the benefits of many times and have grown very fond of myself, having seen amazing outcomes first-hand.

So keeping it simple – add a product with HA to your AM/PM routine. We can recommend the one that will fit into your current routine seamlessly. And this month you’ll get double Rewards!

The Science Part

Linda explains: “This powerful ingredient (HA) has the ability to hold on to moisture in the skin (over 1,000 times its weight). We know moisturized, hydrated skin looks and feels more youthful. HA is actually found in the skin’s cell wall naturally and functions to repair, protect, and boost elasticity and firmness in the skin. It is actually a part of the skin’s connective tissue.

“Think of Sodium Hyaluronte like those Sham Wow towels you see on late night infomercials – it’s able to soak up tons of excess water and magically trap it inside. By topically adding sodium hyaluronate you are able to transform the dermis layer of your skin into a super-sponge for your face.

“You see, as we age UV radiation and other skin stressors like dis-ease (in body or mind) causes the skin to lose elastin and collagen (the breakdown of HA), which in turn increases interstitial (cell-wall) water loss. Hence the skin ceases to be a good barrier (keeper inner/keeper outer).”

As an added bonus, when HA is paired with OSEA’s Undaria Algae, the enzymes that break down collagen and elastin are blocked and HA becomes even more beneficial.

I’ve already enjoyed how easy and beneficial adding  products with HA to my skincare routine has been, and how successful my new year’s resolution has started off!

Here is a full list of the products we carry in the spa that contain HA:

Tu’el: Hydrate, Absorb, Eye Impact, Triple Splash BodyTonic, C Power, Daily Protect Oil Free SPF

OSEA: White, Red, & Black Algae Masks, Brightening Serum, Gigartina Beauty Bath

See you at the spa!

Motorized Facial Brushes: Harmful or Helpful?

facial brushI usually like to focus on doing product reviews based on what we love and use at the spa, leaving the rest to all of the great beauty bloggers out there. But the motorized brush (the most popular being the Clarisonic) has become so popular that I ask you to consider the following  information if you’re currently using or considering purchasing one. 

These are the effects and changes in the skin I have observed in clients who have used a motorized brush as directed by the manufacturer:

What are the motorized brush company claims?

1. Removes makeup six times better than manual cleansing

The electric brush is really just one exfoliating tool to physically lift off dry, dead skin cells and, in the process, remove dirt and makeup. But the truth is that you can only remove so much dead skin without affecting live skin. You do not want to exfoliate to the point of destroying healthy cells.

2. Gentle enough to use twice a day

My problem is not with the brush itself, because exfoliating is very important. However, I do have a concern with how often they recommend using it. It is my belief that this is way too much of this kind of exfoliation, I generally recommend using it no more than 2-3 times per week.

You have to understand how exfoliation affects the skin. An electric (or hand-held manual brush for that matter), facial scrub, acid, enzyme, wash cloth, or whatever form of cell-turn method you use can cause skin damage and may accelerate aging if used too frequently.

3. Minimizes the appearance of visible pores

Exfoliating too aggressively and too often can create inflammation (even if not visible), setting off a response that creates free radicals.

4. Reduces oily areas, dry skin patches, and blemishes

Exfoliating too aggressively and too often can cause dryness and disrupt the skin’s lipid barrier. This allows moisture to seep out of the cells more easily, causing them to become dehydrated. Your skin will produce more oil to compensate for the fluid loss.

5. Safe for cleansing all skin types

This just isn’t true. Excessive (or the wrong kind) of stimulation to the skin can be damaging, especially for clients with a skin disorder like rosacea.

6. Recommended for use with any non-abrasive cleanser

Definitely don’t use an abrasive or even a sudsing (pH modifying surfactant) cleanser. But this device seems to be used primarily by the “more is better” crowd, and I’ll bet some users are adding a grainy scrub.

Here are a few skin facts:

A major cause of aging is chronic and prolonged inflammation, which is associated with tissue destruction.

When you give the skin trauma, it goes into repair mode and stimulates cellular regeneration. This can be very beneficial to the skin, but if you create trauma too often by over-exfoliating, then it’s continually setting up a cascade of free radical damage that triggers premature aging. This is the last thing the skin needs to stay looking young.

For skin that is extremely reactive to stimulation (skin of color and for those prone to severe discoloration) you need to treat your skin gently to avoid post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation resulting in increased skin discoloration.

You do want your skin hygienically clean, but not clean like you want your kitchen floor. There is a certain amount of good bacteria that the skin needs to keep it healthy and functioning well, so you don’t want to strip it by over-using any product or tool.

What’s the right amount of exfoliation?

These are my favorite forms of exfoliation but they must be tailored to the individual’s skin type and condition, as well as personal skincare habits:

  • Use an alcohol-free Glycolic (AHA or BHA serum 1-3 times a week ) as recommended by a skincare specialist for your individual skin type and condition: Power Peel.
  • A gentle facial scrub like  Power Scrub OR your brush 2-3 times a week—and that’s it. The idea here is that using a fruit/food acid serum will dissolve the dry skin cells while a physical exfoliant like a scrub or brush will lift off the dry skin cells. They both work differently.
  • Cleansing Oil exfoliates (by the gentle massage action you use to apply it), and deeply cleanses because the skin doesn’t “resist” or tighten to the medium of oil as it is symbiotic with the oil found naturally in the skin. If red-flags go up when I use the phrase “cleansing oil”  know that we use individual  formulas designed for oily, acne-prone, sensitive and dry skin types.
  • A professional Resurfacing Treatment should be performed regularly. Recommendations for frequency vary, but the most effective is ten days to two weeks apart..

See you at the spa!

 

Skin Deep Magazine – Selling Without Pressure

Selling Without Pressure, my article for the July/August edition of Skin Deep Magazine, made the cover! The art of sales is a fascinating one. My audience and intent is to help educate the spa and salon owner, manager, or technician. Here is an excerpt:

“The spa is one of the few places where a person can escape and relax, away from today’s constant bombardment of advertising—a place where it’s all about the client’s needs and desires. Sales practices need to be handled in a way that feels compatible with the esthetician’s identity as a professional healing arts practitioner who considers and respects the customer.”

The ideas I present in this article are not limited to my industry however.  An inspiration for the piece was Sharon Drew Morgen, author of Selling With Integrity (Berkley Books, 1999), she teaches a system that uses helpful and facilitative communications in place of the traditional sales tendency to push, convince, persuade, and influence. The process of selling, in and of itself, is irrelevant. According to Morgen, effective communication is all about helping clients discover a solution so that they can organize their own buying decision.

The average consumer needs answers, choices, and results before she can comfortably accept a professional’s recommendations. She may decide not to buy, no matter what you do. But if she does buy, she will buy when she has reached a clear understanding that what you’re offering fits her needs. The only way to ascertain her readiness, or her need for your solution, is to ask questions.

The other day I was in a salon asking about a jewelry display piece. The clerk went off on a spiel of how awesome the jewelry line was  (which was probably true), but he completely missed a “relational moment” with a customer and went right into his sales-shtick. I was completely uninterested in the retail offering and just wanted to know about the display. Hmm, pretty sure I’ve done this to people too.

In the end, I know that customers aren’t just showing up so that I have the opportunity to sell. However tempting “my own agenda” is, I’ve come to believe that serving my guests – and understanding their needs and desires  is the one-and-only reason for being in business.

Feel free to contact me at linda@starbrows.com if you have any questions or comments.

See you at the spa!

FDA and Sunscreen Report – International Dermal Institute

Update: New FDA Rules Regarding Sunscreen

Article from the International Dermal Institute

“Twenty years ago, the concept of sun protection was to prevent sunburn from UVB rays. There was no international SPF test, sun products had virtually no protection against UVA -there were only two sunscreens classed as UVA filters- and there was no concept of photo stability applied to sun care products. The goal was to get a golden tan and enhance it as much as possible (ahem baby oil users!) instead of protecting from future damage.

Today is a vastly different environment when it comes to sun protection. We know a lot more today about UVA rays than we ever did, and sun protection products are much more sophisticated. Regulations have finally caught up with the science, backing sunscreens as effective methods to prevent early skin aging. Last year’s FDA statement covered some ground on testing and labeling of sunscreens- and this goes into effect June 2012.

I’ve summarized the key points below:

• If the product passes FDA’s tests for both UVB and UVA, it can be labeled as ‘broad spectrum’. Previously, only UVB protection was tested, which is where the SPF value comes from. Look for ‘broad spectrum’ on the label for maximum protection.

• If a ‘broad-spectrum’ product has a minimum of SPF15 and is used regularly along with other sun-protection measures (clothing, shade), then these products can state on the label that they not only help prevent sunburn, but also reduce the risk of cancer and reduce signs of early skin aging.

• No more ‘sunblock,’ ‘sweatproof’ or ‘waterproof’ claims. Instead FDA will allow “water resistant (40minutes)” or “extra water resistant (80minutes)” as relevant.

• Remember to apply at least every two hours, especially if swimming or sweating.

• From now on, all sunscreen products must include standard ‘drug facts’ information, on the back and/or side of the container. Look for this panel on the package for detailed information.

Of course change doesn’t occur suddenly so these are things to look forward this year, with additional changes in the future. Some issues that FDA will look at in the coming years include investigating whether some delivery methods are valid ways of delivering UV protection. These forms are eligible for inclusion in the future OTC sunscreen monograph: oils, lotions, creams, gels, butters, pastes, ointments, sticks and sprays. We should point out that sprays may be delisted pending FDA requested safety and efficacy testing. While spray sunscreens are easy to use, most people don’t use enough (you need at least a shot glass of the cream kind so imagine how much you really need to spray!). For now, the FDA will require an extra safety warning for sprays to ensure proper application. Other popular forms of sunscreen delivery, such as powders and wipes, are currently considered ineligible for inclusion in the sunscreen monograph. Since there is no hard evidence showing that really high SPF numbers are significantly better, FDA is proposing to cap SPF values at 50 – that means no more SPF 100! This is all still a work in progress, but it shows that government agencies are putting work into regulating the fast-paced world of over-the-counter drugs in cosmetics.

So what’s the difference between a drug-store sunscreen and a professional skin care product with sunscreen? It all lies in the formulation. Both will legally have the same sun protection, since they must adhere to US FDA (or other regulatory body’s) rules. But the world of skin care is also based on research and sometimes makes changes faster than governmental rules ie: broad spectrum protection has been around for many years before it became a labeling possibility. We know that protecting against UVA and UVB rays is only part of the problem when it comes to photoaging. Free radical formation is also a major culprit- professional skin care products with sunscreens are more likely to have higher levels of antioxidants along with broad-spectrum UV protection for maximum skin health benefits. Formulators of professional products can also enhance products to provide more benefits around specific skin conditions. They will also take into account the feel and texture of the product, so you are sure to get sheer, non-greasy formulas that deliver the same amount of sun protection as any basic sunscreen but formulated with ingredients that maximize skin health and prevent future damage.

The main point of this is to remember that sunscreen is not fool-proof. Be sun aware, especially when outside for long periods of time, either in summer or hitting the slopes in winter. And remember, in order to get the actual SPF designated on the package you must apply a full teaspoon of product to your face or a shot glass to your body… So enjoy the summer – but be sun aware!”

Cleansing Oil and Herbalizer – May Product Feature 2012


Tu’el Cleansing Oil and Herbalizer by Eva’s Esthetics  is my favorite way to cleanse the skin. It is like having an at-home  spa experience every night. This innovative two-step cleansing system features natural elements like fresh smelling mandarin oil, calming chamomile extract, healing extracts of arnica, and purifying grapefruit extract. You can experience it all in the Mother’s Day Special Offer this month!

Nothing cleans the skin like hydrophilic oil. Oil cleansers balance your skin and prepare it for exfoliation, hydration, absorption of nutrients, and protection.

As skin cells die, they lose moisture, flatten, and migrate to the skin’s surface. The face excretes a very sticky substance known as sebum that bonds to dead skin cells. In order for these cells to be released, this oily sebum must be dissolved.

When hydrophilic oil is massaged into the skin, it bonds with the sebum and releases the dead cells. This release of the dead layer of skin achieves exceptional pore cleansing and decongestion and a more refined skin appearance. Adding the correct Herbalizer, a sugar-based extract with essential oils, creates a custom cleansing system. This unique method balances the skin and eliminates the need for astringents or toners.

There are four custom formulations of Cleansers and five Herbalizers based on this cleansing system to ensure that, regardless of your skin type – dry, combination, oily, impure, or reactive – your skin will feel the profound difference of cleansing with Tu’eL.

If you’re new to Star Brows, you may not know about The Product Feature or Rewards yet. To put it simply, 10% of all your product purchases, all the time, go toward free Service Enhancements, like Raindrop Therapy, Lash Tint, Chemical Peels, or Star Massage.

When a product is the Monthly Feature, however, you’ll get 20% back in Rewards! The Cleansing Oil ($28) and Herbalizer ($23) duo are  $51 with $10 in Rewards.

See you at the spa!