Category Archives: Beauty Tips

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!

 

High Frequency Facials

New at Star Brows! Star Brows Fashion Shoot resized-199

Recently we purchased a new skincare-treatment machine that has the capability to perform multiple functions. While we focus primarily on European-style facials (relaxing, hands-on, rather than machine-oriented), we value results too! Below is an explanation of some of the features and benefits you’ll experience during your next facial.

High frequency treatments are a safe, gentle, non-invasive means to achieve acne clarification and skin rejuvenation.  The gentle oscillating, oxygenating power of low level electrical current has been shown to enhance circulation, increase collagen and elastin production, eliminate toxins and acne-causing bacteria, encourage lymphatic drainage, exfoliate dead skin cells, and assist with improved skincare product performance and absorption.

High frequency current stimulation forces an infusion of enriched oxygen molecules into the skin, thus cleansing, massaging, stimulating blood flow, dilating superficial blood vessels, re-texturizing, and increasing lymphatic drainage. This results in an improvement in blood circulation and cell renewal.  Increased production levels of collagen and elastin soften and smooth away wrinkles, reduce pore size, improve overall skin texture,  and promote a pleasant sense of well-being.

The use of low level electrical current also promotes a cleansing, antibacterial action that helps eliminate and prevent the onset of acne.  The skin is left feeling energized, rosy, firm, refreshed, and noticeably softer – even after just one treatment.  The enriched oxygen molecules produced by the high frequency machine are safe and are also effective in treating almost any skin lesion from acne to scars.

Benefits:

  • Gentle, non-invasive resurfacing procedure
  • Effective treatment for acne, enlarged pores, and scarring
  • Consistent treatments can provide a lasting long-term, healthy-aging alternative to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin

The following precautions should be taken:

1. Avoid using AHA or BHA products and unprotected sun exposure at least three days before and after your treatment.

2. Do not schedule a high frequency facial if any of the following are present: pregnancy, cuts and abrasions, diabetes, heart disease or pacemaker, metal pins or plates, dental braces, sunburn, phlebitis or thrombosis, vascular conditions, or any other condition for which you are under a physician’s care.

See you at the spa!

 

Wedding-Countdown to Perfect Skin

Mindseye Photo Shoot 032With over 20 years in the beauty industry, I contend that style begins with gorgeous, healthy skin. Everything else is an accessory.

So, how do you get your skin in shape for the biggest beauty day of your life?

Let’s get started.

1. Body Waxing

Perfectly smooth skin, head-to-toe, takes time but is so worth it. Waxing is fast, inexpensive, and easy but can go seriously wrong if you don’t choose a professional who has an impeccably clean and sanitary facility and experienced practices in caring for sensitive skin.

Do: To get totally smooth, you need to start waxing three months before your wedding day, then wax every three to four weeks. Keep track of how long it takes for irritation to subside after waxing and make your last appointment based on that.

Do: It is essential that you follow post-wax aftercare directions from the performing esthetician.

Don’t: Cave and shave!

2. Brows

Do: Great eyebrow design makes a look. You’ll be close up and personal with lots of folks, and your eyebrows need to help communicate beautifully and effectively. If you are trying a new eyebrow designer, make your first appointment three months before. That allows for some re-growth/reshape time.

Do: Choose a MUA that does great eyebrow makeup using pencil, powder, and gel to guarantee a perfect brow. You don’t want your brows looking fake, but you also don’t want a disappearing act.

Don’t: Do your last wax any closer than three days before the wedding date, and only that close if your skin settles down quickly post-wax, and you’ve worked with the designer before.

3. Facials

Do: If you’ve got a skincare specialist you’re working with, you’re pretty safe to do a  facial or specialty treatment up to one week before. The sooner you start though, the better your skin will look. Starting at least three months early will give the best results, monthly thereafter.

Do: Your skincare specialist will recommend home-care as well. In the end, it’s what you do every day/night that will produce the best results.

Don’t: Try someone (treatment) or something (product) new that last month. The skin is so unpredictable, and the stress of the wedding planning alone will take its own toll on your skin.

4. Makeup

Do: Once you have your skin in beautiful shape, you’ll need to choose a professional MUA whose work you’ve seen. Start working with her at least a couple of weeks before the event to establish rapport and practice the exact look you want. Take pictures yourself of the look beforehand to see how it photographs.

Don’t: DIY.

5. Sun Protection

Every bit of skin that shows will need to be protected: face, neck, decollete, arms, and hands. You’re not going to see tanned skin on the real beauties, it’s damaging and aging. I can’t advise on spray-tan, but this would be my choice if I wanted my skin to look darker. Have it done professionally and try it out a month or so beforehand just in case you don’t like it.

Do: Use an SPF30 to prep the face and decollete months in advance for perfect skin. On the day-of use an oil-free SPF15 before an outdoor ceremony or pictures begin. Stay away from zinc oxide, it photographs blueish.

Don’t: Lie out in the sun less than seven days before your wedding. Newly-tanned skin may look “brown” to the naked eye, but the camera registers pigment colors differently and will likely see the “red” in your skin instead.

6. Changing Medications

Do: If you’re starting or changing ANY medications (like hormone-based birth control methods)  in the last three months before your wedding, be sure to discuss with your doctor how it might impact your skin.

6. Toxic Habits Stress the Skin

Do: Drink water, eat “healthy,” exercise, and get good rest.

Don’t: Try to do everything yourself!


Below are some designers’ collections from bridal market day  to show you how some of the beauties rock perfect skin, or at least the “illusion” of it, thanks to great MUAs!

Maggie Sottero: Glam dresses with a 1920s, Great Gatsby feel.

Amsale: Clean, modern gowns with show-stopping backs, with origami-inspired details.

Kenneth Pool: Luxe, glamorous gowns with sparkle – from beading to amped-up bling.

Christos: Ethereal and romantic dresses with a Shakespearean-maiden feel.

Anne Bowen: Reminiscent of Tim Burton’s dark and dreamy Alice in Wonderland.

Austin Scarlett: Classic bridal gown styles with flattering details

Reem Acra: Feminine and fashion-forward wedding dresses with some  unique accessories

Monique Lhuillier: Check out this designer’s regal and lacey/romantic new collection

CCWP member Linda Hall Ruberto, aka the Brow Boss, esthetician and owner of Star Brows in Grover Beach, is a blogger and nationally published author who recently made the cover of Skin Deep with her article, “The Beauty of Weddings.”

Give Me Some Lip!

ybskinTry this DIY Lip Treatment!

But first, do a mini teeth-whitening by swooshing with some hydrogen peroxide in your mouth and brushing with baking soda.

Step 1: Prepare a mixture of some, or all, of the following:

  • Course ground coffee
  • Brown/white sugar
  • Honey
  • Vanilla
  • Maple surup
  • Olive oil
  • Powdered cocoa

Step 2: Use your finger and gently smooth the mixture on your lips in little light circles for a minute or two

Pop it in the fridge to use again, but be sure you use a clean spoon, and not your fingers, to get it out.

I’m not a fan of petroleum based chapsticks and balms, so after your lips are super-smooth I love these: Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics’ Lipstick, Mighty Shiny Lip Gel, Lip Gloss, and Lip Liners and OSEA Eyes and Lips.

See you at the spa!

The Brow Boss

Brow Boss www.vectorimages.org

Youngblood Review: Luminous Creme Blush

Cream Blush ReviewYoungblood has asked me to review their Luminous Creme Blush. Since I’ve professionally and personally been using it since this past summer, I happily said YES!

What’s not to love about this cream-textured blush that combines a shimmering glow with sheer, long-wearing color?  Let me count the ways:

1. Oil-Free

2. Contains healthy, skin-beautifying ingredients:

  • Vitamins C & E – to fight against oxidative stress
  • Allantoin – a moisturizing botanical and anti-irritant
  • Jojoba Esters – an emollient

3. Accentuates bone structure – It illuminates the cheekbone, catching and reflecting light. Most 20-somethings can use it alone, but I like to use it as a base for a powdered blush or bronzer for more color and depth.

4. Seals in lip color – I like my lip treatment to be long-lasting, so I use Lip Liner Pencil with Luminous Creme Blush over it. It stays and stays! I keep a little pot of it in my makeup bag for quick color touch-ups for cheeks and lips.

5. Comes in six luxurious shades – We carry it in Rose Quartz, Tropical Glow and Plum Satin, but it can be ordered in Champagne Life, Taffeta, and Pink Cashmere. .21 oz $26 (price subject to change).

See you at the spa!

 

OSEA Bath Products: January Product Feature 2013

bathA good soak in a warm bath is a wonderful wintertime ritual 

It really is hard to beat the relaxing, cathartic effects of lounging in a warm tub of water, where the mind can so easily find peace and calm. These simple moments of indulgence are a great way to end the day, as well.

The winter months can be harsh on our skin, regardless of our moisturizing regimens. But when done correctly, a nice bath can actually hydrate and re-mineralize your skin.

Ideally, your tub water is not too warm, as that can dehydrate your skin. Around 100 degrees Fahrenheit is where you want it. Turn off the phone, turn on some soft music, and close the door to the day’s problems.

Here are some of my favorite ways to make bathing (or showering) a spa experience

  •   Undaria Algae Oil – We use this for the body massage during Facials at Star Brows! This lightweight marine-based body oil is rich in organic botanical oils, sea minerals, and antioxidants. This is the ultimate skin repair, loaded with luscious seed oils–acai, babassu, passion fruit, sesame–and Undaria Algae, to deliver powerful antioxidant vitamins and essential fatty acids to dry, sun-damaged skin. Check this out for use with tattoos.

 

  •  Gigartina Beauty Bath – “I wanted to bring the ocean into the home,” says OSEA Skincare owner Jennifer Palmer. “In Patagonia, I took a fresh seaweed bath and really wanted to recreate that experience. Most seaweed baths are either straight powders that are difficult to dissolve and smell like low tide, or they are water-based, diluted and laden with preservatives, or they are nothing more than Epsom salts with fragrance. The Gigartina Beauty Bath performs as a true bath therapy product that is tied to the water and the sea – the core concept of spa.”

 

  • Green Marine Detox Bath – This is a potent bath powder that helps heal eczema and psoriasis and is rich in minerals, enzymes, and vitamins that the skin is able to absorb, including phosphorous, zinc, potassium, and calcium. USDA Certified Organic Undaria Seaweed from the pure waters of Patagonia. This purifying, powerful, antioxidant-rich seaweed helps with hormonal imbalance and water retention.

 

  • Salts of the Earth Scrub – Spiked with certified organic botanical oils from around the globe. Salts of the Earth come from the Dead Sea, the Bolivian coast, the Utah desert and the Himalayas. This exotic blend of the purest salt on Earth contains 84 trace minerals and gets its unique pink color from the rich ores they contain. The ingredients in these salts plump up the skin, enticing it to soak up nutrients and look more youthful.

 

  • Undaria Body Polish – Natural exfoliants feel gentle on the skin while delivering a stimulating scrub action. Small and powerful pumice grains help remove dead cells along with a bio-scrub blend of acai and guaraná. Guaraná is recognized for it’s tonifying and astringent properties, as well as reducing cellulite. Acai delivers a powerful synergy of healthy-aging properties to skin, plus hemp and passionfruit seed oils feed the skin Omega 3-6-9 essential fatty acids.

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, like the OSEA Bath Products this month, you’ll get 20% back in Rewards.

See you at the spa!

 

Felicia’s Fabulous Finds: Crushed Mineral Eye Shadow

Hi, it’s Felicia again, guest blogger at Star Brows! Are you tired of boring, neutral, everyday makeup? Do your eye shadow options go from beige to brown, and that’s about it? Do you want to spice up your look for work or school without feeling like a clown? And like me, are you concerned about using chemicals on your skin? Well look no further! The ingenious makers of Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics have come up with 100% crushed minerals and highly pigmented eye shadows in a myriad of fun, but classic colors.

I had the pleasure of working with the shade Heather Smoke. It has a lovely satin finish, which makes the color muted enough for daytime, but it can be layered for more intensity or used wet for as much drama as you need.

I love that it isn’t packed with synthetic fillers and chemicals like over-the-counter brands. And ingredients like honeysuckle flower extract and jojoba seed extract make it gentle on the eye area. In fact, when I look at the Youngblood company page, each product listed has a set of attributes. For instance, this formula is fragrance free, water resistant, oil free, vegan (made without animal by-products), and paraben free.

I’d describe Heather Smoke as a rich satiny violet. This color looks great washed over your lids, which helps brighten the eye and makes you look more awake.  I usually use a primer under my shadow, however when I swatched Heather Smoke with a couple of other purples for comparison, it stayed on so well, even after I rubbed off the others. So, Yb Shadow may make me reconsider this step!

Try this look:

Apply it with a small, flat shadow brush across your lids and the inner corner of your eye.

Follow up with a matte brown shade blended into the crease.

Add a hint of white under your brows as a highlight.

Next, apply your choice of black or dark brown liner. (If you really want to mix it up, hunter green looks really flattering with Heather Smoke on hazel and brown eyes.)

Finish the look with some black mascara, a light dusting of blush and bronzer to keep up your fresh glow, and a quick swipe of pink gloss on the lips.

This gives you a fun, fresh look for everyday without going over the top.

Transform this look to evening:

Apply the shadow wet for more drama across the lids and up into the crease

Deepen the outer corners a little more with a matte brown

A nude lip goes really well with this look, and with an extra coat of black mascara, you will be ready for a night out! So there you have it – a fun flattering shade for both day and night that goes on smooth and lasts until you are ready to take it off.

Obsessed with makeup! Felicia

 

Felicia’s Fabulous Finds – Absorb by Tu’el

Welcome guest blogger Kayla Felicia Gardener!

As a person who has long battled oily, acne-prone skin, oil control has been one of my biggest concerns in skin care. Whether its oil-free face primers, blotting sheets, setting powders, matte (powder and liquid) foundation, or even oil-controlling setting sprays, I have literally tried it all. But as you may imagine, the more I try to control oil, the more my body creates and overcompensates for it once the oil is finally gone with super dry flaky skin. So it’s a balancing act, to moisturize so that my skin healthy and glow-y, but also control the oil without over-drying.

This is where Linda at Star Brows came in with a great suggestion for me (as well as all those who suffer from oily skin) from Tu’el, called Absorb. This amazing facial serum, when applied before moisturizer and sunscreen, finally answers the call! Thanks to the amazing science of Sodium Hyaluronate, which is able to hold 1000 times its weight in water, the skin is kept moisturized without having to produce more oil! It also contains cinnamon extract, which helps clear any breakouts, and green tea extract, which reduces the appearance of redness.

Since I began using Absorb about two weeks ago, I have not once had to use a blotting sheet on my face, or even touch up with powder. Before, my makeup almost always seemed to slide right off my face by the end of the day, but thanks to Absorb I haven’t even had to think about it! This amazing serum works better than any facial primer I’ve ever used, beating out big department store brands, and that’s just one of its perks!

I use Absorb morning and night before my moisturizer (as I usually go to bed with a night cream but wake up super oily) and just let it soak in for a minute. It always leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft and of course, oil free! So if you’re looking for a spa-like experience every day, with fewer touch-ups and no more oily shine, Absorb from Tu’el is a no-brainier!

Watch for other fabulous finds by Felicia.

See you at the spa!

Essential Oils – September Product Feature 2012

This month’s Product Features are OSEA and Tu’el essential oils. As anyone who has had a service at Star Brows knows, we use essential oils in every single service we do! They are truly essential to the spa experience, and I believe irreplaceable in a personal-care routine.

An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aromatic compounds from plants. My favorite application is for the facial skin, and there is one for every skin type and condition.

The oils have many benefits, and each oil has different attributes. Our collection is targeted to skin types, but they are also relaxing, detoxifying, sleep-inducing, and generally tonic for the entire body. Once applied to the facial skin, they actually enter the bloodstream and go to work throughout the body.

The Tu’el lineup of essential oil synergy blends for each skin type are explained in detail here. New to our family of essential oils are the OSEA blends:

Essential Corrective Complex is a pure blend of essential oils that create a disinfecting, absorbent treatment to rapidly heal blemishes.

Essential Hydrating Oil is a 30% blend of pure essential oils that provides deep hydration, working to reduce the appearance of fine lines.

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! Oils range in price from $28-$31, with Rewards points totaling $6. Prices quoted may not be valid after September 2012.

See you at the spa!

 

Luminous Creme Blush

LUMINOUS CRÈME BLUSH

Recently Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics  sent me their Luminous Creme Blush to review in a new color set to launch this summer. I had been using the new blush in Rose Quartz, a silvery petal-pink which I love, but it’s a little “young”  for the over-40’s.

One of the new colors, Plum Satin, which is a rose-berry with a hint of shimmer, is perfect for that crowd, less shimmery and deeper in pigment. I’ve been using it on everyone I see at the makeup studio!

On the cheeks, I personally wear it over the awesome bronzer, Mineral Illuminating Tint – Body, or under Crushed Mineral Blush in the color Plumberry. I am pretty pale, and I wash out easily, so layering color is great.

And here’s my favorite part: I like it over Youngblood’s  Lip Liner Pencils (which I apply to the entire lip) for super long-lasting color!

Jojoba Esters, the skin-healing and moisture-binding  effects of Allantoin, and their trademark mineral elements make this formulation oh-so-fine!

See you at the spa!