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  • TLC for Sensitive Eyes

    Eyes Spring2The delicate eye area is taking quite a hammering at the moment not only from environmental challenges, which play havoc on our eyes. A common cause of redness and itchiness around the eyes is hay fever (allergic rhinitis), occurring mostly in spring and summer. Or it may be atopic dermatitis caused by the inhalation of allergens, such as pollen, dust or animal fur, which trigger inflammation.

    We’re also in the era of the ‘super lash’, just about every other person is wearing eye lash extensions or false lashes, or using eye growth serums—all of which can be quite irritating and sensitizing to the eyes.

    Here are some easy things that can be done to care for red, itchy eyes.

    1. Ensure makeup is removed thoroughly using a very gentle, fragrance and S.D. alcohol free eye makeup remover. It will need to be water soluble to ensure that all traces of the product and makeup is leaving no residue (perfect for the contact lens wearer). Choose one with the added benefit of built-in lash conditioners (Silk Amino Acids) that prevent lashes from becoming dry and brittle, as well as keeping the skin around the eye area soft, hydrated and smooth.

    2. To help alleviate dry eyes, place a few drops of artificial tear drop solution; or for red eyes, try some vasoconstrictive eye drops.

    3. When the eyes feel, red, puffy and irritated, place a cold compress or cooling eye packs over them for 5 to 10 minutes. A cooling, hydrating eye masque (kept cool in the fridge) can also be used around the eye area, underneath the compress.

    4. To alleviate the dry, itchy skin, apply a reparative and intensely nourishing protective eye cream (fragrance free) each evening. Key ingredients will include Vitamin A, C, E and Pro-Vitamin B5, as well as soothing botanicals such as Green Tea, Cucumber Arnica and Butcherbroom

    5. If the eye area is very dry and in need of a ‘super protector’, apply an anhydrous moisturizer that melts into the skin, repairs the natural barrier lipid layer and reduces irritation and dryness.

    6. Wear hypo allergenic makeup that has been screened of all known irritants.

    7. Lastly, we should all know the ultimate skin sin by now—never, ever go to bed with your makeup on!

    Ensure everything placed near or in the eyes is super clean. Makeup brushes need to be washed in an antibacterial cleanser monthly, contact lenses need to be changed regularly and always kept thoroughly clean.

    It’s also important to check eye makeup and eye care products; have they been shared with anyone who may have an eye infection? Could your products be rancid, or well past their use by date harboring fungi or bacteria? It’s not common knowledge among makeup users that mascara is only supposed to be used for two months before discarding, perhaps this is the cause of the eye sensitivity.

    As red, itchy eyes can also be a result of an eye infection, it’s important to seek medical advice from a doctor if symptoms do persist.

  • Product Solutions: 3 Ways to Deep Clean the Skin

    deep-clean-blog

    Pore refining! Blemish free! Blackhead busting! All you have to do these days is flick through the latest copy of your favorite magazine or switch on the TV to see images of people with happy faces and flawless skin, usually accompanied with claims for products or ingredients that promise to deliver that clear skin we all strive for.

    In fact, breakouts and blackhead concerns follow very closely on the tail of our top contender, aging skin! And it’s no wonder because every one of us will experience unwanted blemishes at some point in our lives. I can bet that many of us even have a fail proof home remedy, like the humble toothpaste for example, which some believe can banish a spot overnight!

    Whatever the chosen method, for us as professional skin therapists there are varied options that enable us to graduate into different levels of ‘deep cleansing’, which we can recommend to our clients depending on their skin needs.

    Deep clean with Cleansers: Remove surface debris

    To fully reap the rewards of a consistent skincare routine we need to ensure that we start out with the most important step of all, a thorough cleanse. The ‘often underestimated’ cleanse can either make or break the remaining steps of any skin care routine or professional treatment. Many of our clients are under the impression that a cleansing wipe is all it takes to wipe away the grime that collects on the skin throughout the day, but unfortunately this is not enough to remove hard wearing makeup, SPF and dirt. To ensure a deep and effective cleanse we advise to do a ‘double cleanse’. 

    Using an oil based cleanser for the first cleanse is a bit like using a magnet to attract excess oils and debris from the skin. It is brilliant for lifting that initial film of impurities and preventing potential breakouts that can occur through poor cleansing habits. However, there is the small minority of clients who won’t be swayed to use any kind of oil on their skin especially if oiliness is their key concern. In this instance it is best to opt for a clay based cleanser containing a hint of Menthol, which will absorb excess oil and act as an astringent, leaving the skin matte and refined—an oil-phobe’s dream!

    To enhance the cleansing step there are additional tools we can use such as a soft bristle brush which will further assist with removing oils and debris, turning an ordinary cleanse into power cleanse.

    Deep clean with Exfoliants: Renew and refine 

    As we already know, our skin naturally renews and sheds itself every 28 days or so. However, for various reasons this process can sometimes become a bit sluggish and needs some intervention… enter exfoliation. We know that exfoliation smooths and brightens the surface of the skin by removing dead and dulling skin cells but it also helps to clear out excess oil in the follicles, the combination of these two elements are the usual suspects in the formation of the dreaded ‘spot’. There are different types of exfoliants we can choose from such as a scrub, which make use of ingredients like Corn Cob Meal to gently polish the skin. Other types are hydroxy acids and enzymes, which include ingredients such as the lipid loving Salicylic Acid that actively clears out any impactions and provides anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce obvious redness and irritation. Whatever your client’s skin concern, this is that key step that can bring about dramatic and instant change to the skin, especially when it comes to keeping unsightly breakouts at bay.

    Deep clean with Masques: Detox and purify 

    The possibilities are endless when it comes to treating the skin with a masque. Yet this is often the step of a home care routine that is neglected, so we need to ensure that we are communicating the benefits of masquing to our clients. Introducing a masque into the routine is the best way of getting highly active ingredients into the skin in a matter of minutes, and the good news is that we can use more than one in order to address a number of skin concerns often found in different areas of the face at the same time. A great option for purifying and detoxifying is a current trending ingredient, Activated Charcoal, which is great for pulling impurities out the skin leaving a smooth and more lively looking complexion.

    When we hear the term ‘deep cleanse’ we tend to think only of oily or congested skin as the perfect candidate, when in actual fact all skins can benefit from a good clear out. With Spring around the corner many people will be planning on de-cluttering their homes and living spaces, so what better time than now to do the same with our clients’ skin. Bring it back to basics to achieve a fresh and luminous looking skin this Spring.

  • Jump Into Spring Clean Skin

    March came in like a lion and is going out like a lamb. Slowly sweaters are moving toward the back of our closets, which means more skin will be getting exposed. Aside from shedding away cold weather gear, now is the time to get your clients ready for Spring by deep cleansing their skin.

    Let’s take a look at the top 3 electrical devices that can be used to deep cleanse the skin.

    Electrical Brushes: Various rotating brushes can be used with cleansers or exfoliants to provide that “power cleanse” during a treatment. If clients have a similar device at home, suggest products they can use with the device. Combining a creamy cleanser and an exfoliating scrub once a week could be that extra boost your clients are looking for.

    Ultrasonic: Using vibrational sound waves can get stubborn particles and build up to move, revealing cleaner healthier skin. Really want to customize their treatment? Alternatively penetrate specific ingredients like peptides for aging, brightening ingredients for pigmentation or soothing extracts for irritated skin to make the treatment target specific.

    Direct High Frequency: After extractions use Direct High Frequency to intensify drying and healing of inflamed acne lesions. The germicidal effect not only eliminates excess oil but also provides that deep cleanse within the follicles. Pesky breakouts that will not go away? Combine Direct High Frequency with a leave-on spot treatment containing Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid or Colloidal Silver, alongside Vitamin C and watch that spot disappear without a trace!

    Of course as the seasons change, your clients’ skin care needs will change. Make sure that you thoroughly analyze the skin and recommend any changes they should incorporate into their routine. Of course with the weather warming up its evermore important that clients are remembering to apply their sunscreen. It might not be summer yet but warmer temperatures mean more time outside.

  • Spring Skin: The Seasonal Change that Can Come with an Itch!

    Being a native South African, I can honestly say that I’ve currently come through one of the longest, most severe Canadian winters of my entire life. Having survived through -27 C, months of endless grey skies and snow storms, I am nearly at the point of jumping out of my skin at the mere thought of Spring and its promise of blue skies and brightly colored blossoms!

    However, the thought of Spring can leave some less fortunate individuals with a dreaded promise of an ensuing runny nose; red, puffy eyes and itchy, sensitive skin.

    In Spring, the skin is exposed to invisible airborne allergens, such as pollen, which in some individuals can lead to release of histamine, a neurotransmitter that dilates blood vessels and leads to inflammation. Higher levels of histamine can lead to the skin being more reactive and can even trigger eczema and allergies. The most readily effected areas for this to occur on the face are on the cheek and the skin surrounding the eye.

    Due to climate change, experts are predicting a worse-than-average spring allergy season and expect the situation to escalate as time goes on. The reason being that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen, which increases the release of allergen levels such as pollen and types of fungal growth, such as mold, and the spores they release.

    As professional skin therapists we need to be armed with a few handy tips that we can provide to our clients as part of a prevention plan:

    Reduce Stress Levels
    Stress has been found to actually make your response to allergens worse. Offer a 15 min back massage as an add-on to an anti-inflammatory skin treatment and market it as a “Spring Skin Program.”

    Change Up Your Routine
    If you tend to be someone who experiences some of the symptoms of “Spring Skin” then you may need to consider temporarily switching to a 4 week skin care program that can actively target skin inflammation, puffiness and irritation while repairing the barrier function of the skin. Once your skin is healed and all your symptoms are gone, it’s more than likely that you’ll be able to revert back to your normal home care program.

    Ingredients to look for in your “Spring Skin Care” program should include Avena Sativa, which is proven to have natural anti-irritant and anti-redness properties, and Red Hogweed Root Extract, another amazing ingredient that targets inflammation by limiting the production of pro-inflammatory agents (such as prostaglandins), as well as promoting the production of natural anti-inflammatory agents in the skin. The delicate eye area is often the first to show signs of irritation, so try using a light weight, gel-based eye cream that contains Harpoon Weed and Norwegian Kelp combined with Golden Chamomile. These three ingredients work very well together by limiting the inflammatory mediators, thereby significantly reducing eye puffiness and inflammation by 43%.

    Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
    Many may not be aware that there is naturally occurring histamine in alcohol, which is made during the fermentation process. Wine, beer and champagne contain the highest concentration of histamine which could exacerbate your symptoms.

    Eat Right
    “Avoiding certain foods and adding more of others — can affect your likelihood of developing seasonal allergies, as well as the severity of your symptoms”, says Leonard Bielory, M.D., American College of Asthma and Immunology.

    German researchers from the University of Bonn published an article in 2007 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” (AJCN) that identified high-histamine foods. Fish high in histamine include mackerel, herring, sardines and tuna. According to the Michigan Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Specialists (MASAS), fermented, aged and processed meats and cheeses are also high in histamine. It would be advisable for you to refer your client to an allergist and or nutritionist to really get some expert advice in regards to what food to avoid and include in their diet.

    Resources

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/10/best-worst-foodallergies_n_3017544.html#slide=2300996

    http://www.livescience.com/28320-climate-change-allergies.html

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/106451-foods-trigger-histamine-response/#ixzz2QZCqcovx

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/106451-foods-trigger-histamine-response/#ixzz2QZF4d3OX

  • Spring Promotions for your Business

    Spring, a season of renewal and beauty, is the perfect time to revitalize your treatment center with revenue boosting promotions for clients, both new and old. There are so many people who have yet to receive a professional skin or body treatment, so it’s imperative to continuously provide updated and fresh, seasonal promotions to draw new business to your door!

    A great way to plan a spring promotion is to start small. Weekly, mini events for a smaller group are a great way to celebrate the season without interfering with business as usual. The business owner or manager can run the event, or each skin therapist could host her or his own mini event. One idea I love is to host a mother-daughter tea party, in which a small group of mothers and daughters come in on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and receive customized skin care lessons. Offer a discount on products purchased at the end of the event, and include a gift bag with samples and a coupon to encourage their return. Always offer a discount for rebooking a future service on the spot; this is a great way to ensure they will be back! Mini events can be promoted in-store or by sending out an e-mail or postcard to your customer database. To save money on postage, send out a mailer to your top clients only and offer them a “Refer a Friend” discount if they send a friend in to the event.

    Another idea is to partner with a local gym or yoga studio and plan a “Beauty Bootcamp,” offering guests your selection of complimentary mini services while a nutritionist or instructor from a gym can offer to get clients summer ready. Partnering with a gym or yoga studio is also a great way to meet new clients and cross promote throughout the year. Bounce backs for each other business’ are a great way to do this; for example, with every skin treatment your clients receive, they’ll get a bounce back for a discount on a yoga class, while the yoga studio can do the same for you. When looking to cross promote, look for businesses that share common ground with you.

    Spring is also a great time to introduce a new series or package to lock clients in for the season and keep them coming back all year long! Your clients are recovering from the winter blues and are usually inspired to start some new healthy routines! Make sure to provide a selection of packages that will appeal to a variety of different clients, such as a bundled package in which clients receive larger discounts the more they purchase. If you are trying to introduce a new service or add-on, this is a great time to add it in!

    Another offer I love is a gift with purchase and new product samples! Clients always love a gift when they make a purchase, even if it is small. Offer tiers of gifts depending on how much they spend, such as a new eye cream or complimentary service such as a brow wax. If you are offering a gift with a purchase, make sure to advertise it on a sandwich board outside or on a window sign if you can. This will help draw in new business, and if your clients know they can usually get a small gift or sample with a purchase, they’re more likely to remain loyal to you.

    April is also the perfect month to plan spring celebration events such as a “Spring Fling” or a “Beauty Brunch,” with customers already in the mood surrounding holiday celebrations. Reaching out to local women’s groups, Girl Scout troops or schools is a great way to network. Additionally, May is a great time to start planning some events surrounding Mother’s Day and other focuses later in the season, which could include some bridal, graduation, and/or prom-themed series or events. Partnering with a flower shop is a good idea for May as well.

    And speaking of flowers, it’s always great to keep fresh cut flowers in your business to create a warm and inviting environment. A small bouquet near your cash wrap is all you need but it helps create a sense of renewal and beauty, and I believe it helps increase sales. As one of my skin therapists said recently, “How can anyone be in a bad mood when there are daffodils in bloom all around?” And when clients are in a good mood, they are more likely to book their next service and purchase that new eye cream. It’s the little things that can make a big difference!

    Happy spring selling!

  • Spring Skin Events

    I love events! Attending them, hosting them, planning them – there’s such excitement in the gathering of like-minded people with so much to share. And even better if the event offers additional benefits like learning a new skill and supporting a good cause!

    So what are you waiting for? Capitalize on the energizing spirit of spring and the most effective marketing tool you have available, and organize a Spring Skin event for your skin center. Not dissimilar to holding a party in your own home, there are a few key rules that will help your event to be a storming success.

    Rule One: Make sure your event is one that people want to attend! It needs to be fun, engaging and teach them something new. Spring is the perfect time to talk cleansing and exfoliation – slough off the old and bring in the new!

    Rule Two: Hold an event that is applicable to a specific audience and invite a small group of 20, specially selected guests rather than try and be all things to all people. Build on client loyalty by inviting customers from your existing database, and then encourage the growth of new business by offering that they bring a guest. So if it’s a Spring Skin teen event, for example, make sure the food is fun, dress is a little more casual and there is a ton of interaction.

    Rule Three: Make sure there is great conversation by preparing your staff with conversation starters and methods to introduce guests to each other. You know the sort of thing, “Have you ever had a skin treatment before?” “What cleanser do you currently use?” “What experience do you have with exfoliation?”

    Rule Four: Wow guests with your expertise by giving free services such as skin analysis, hand treatments and mini skin services, and make sure you couple them all with a plethora of educational tips, from the importance of double cleansing to how to choose the right exfoliant.

    Rule Five: Offer a special promo that night to show your guests appreciation. Perhaps bundle a few services and produce a whole new Spring Skin special at a one-off price. Or offer a free mini skin treatment with every purchase of X amount of product.

    Rule Six: Tie your event to a philanthropic cause that will show your guests that you are giving back.

    Rule Seven: Send everyone home with a gift, a hug and an invite to come back soon.

    Eventing is the single most fantastic marketing tool that you have to retain existing business, grow new business, increase sales and increase services. Do it in house, take it out to community groups or partner with other businesses to create a local buzz. Just do it – you will not regret it I promise!