At home lasering?

First of all, sorry for the super long hiatus. I have a long list of excuses, but who really wants excuses? Anyway, this post comes as a response to an email I got from my sister. She asked:

"Have you heard of that new laser hair removal you can do at home? Is it safe? It's called Epila. Look it up and let me know what you think."
So here is my response:
I just looked it up. The laser I used in the salon was a 800nm diode laser, while this one is a 808 nm diode laser. My guess is that it wouldn't be much different. The thing is, at the medical office, I had to adjust settings per client, with the shortest wavelength being by far the most effective, but unsafe for darker skin types. The Epila says it is safe for all skin types so I would think their automatic setting would be at the longest wavelength setting, which would require more treatments for it to work well. And it is only ever going to work the best on dark coarse hair, on light skin. The laser is attracted to the melanin in your hair. Also, do not go over moles!!!!
Some of the reviews I read were people freaked out by the smell of burning hair, but that is definitely common with the medical grade laser. Also some people complained of scabs sometimes, and that is possible with professional treatments as well. With a professional service, you must have shaved prior to treatment, because any hair above the skin will certainly burn badly. Some of the complaints I read online sounded like people didn't shave beforehand. I would certainly say "no" to buying a home care service for treating your face. Also from my reading online, it sounds like you need to use a surge protecter as well for even usage.
It also sounds like the head of the Epila laser is pretty small, so it will take a lot longer to treat an area. But it is true that a lot of what you are paying for in the salon is the time of the professional. On the other hand, usually laser hair removal is pretty straightforward with little risks, but I did see some bad reactions and a tattoo that opened up into a huge wound (which should not have happened! But that was the reaction...) This is not a risk-less procedure, and is certainly painful, no matter what anyone tells you. But it is do-able, especially if you are getting permanent hair reduction!
Also I can't emphasize enough that you must have coarse hair for this to work. Even in the bikini area, after a few treatments and most of the hair is gone, I was surprised to find fine, blondish hairs that weren't going anywhere. Also you must not be pregnant when doing this treatment. In the office, we had protective eye gear for both the patient and practicioner. I would be afraid to do this without that. This laser can seriously damage retinas if shot towards the eye. Actually, it can damage quite a few things if the trigger is not depressed when the laser is flush with your skin. In a professional environment, we also used ultrasound jelly to help the laser glide along the skin, conduct energy, and minimize pain. If I used an at-home laser I would try to obtain that as well.
Anyway, let me know if anyone has more questions about lasering.


Best Self Tanner Ever!

Here's a quote from the site:
Sun Laboratories "Patent Pending" Self Tanning Aerosol Spray Can is revolutionizing the self tanning industry. Our Self Tanning Spray allows you to easily apply self tanning liquid evenly all over your body without ever having to rub it in. Simply spray self tanning liquid on and it dries within a minute. This smooth, dark liquid spray will give you a beautiful golden tan instantly that lasts five to seven days. Now you can get that same beautiful tan that you get in professional spray booths but in the privacy of your own home and at a fraction of the cost.
Go to this site to buy it online: http://sunlaboratories.com/ or it may be available at a beauty supply store near you. (Although I know that Sally's does not carry it.) I first bought this self-tanner at an aesthetics conference about 4 years ago and I love it! I have let my sister and sister-in-law try it out and the color looked great on them too. Also, everytime I apply it, someone will compliment my tan. It has a greenish undertone that seems to even out the orange look that can occur with self-tanners. It costs $29.95, but once you buy it, they send you two for one offers once a month if they have your email address.


Stila wants you to be beautiful...

This post is just about how much I LOVE the make-up line Stila. Here's the link to Stila Cosmetics website.

Stila, pronounced "STEE-la" was founded by celebrity make-up artist Jeanine Lobell in 1994, and is now owned by Estee Lauder. They have very cute girly packaging, which I will admit first attracted me to them when I was oh, maybe 16. I first tried them out by buying a shimmer cream that had been recommended in a fashion magazine. Over the last 14 years, I have used eye shadows, eye liners, lip glosses, lip stains, etc made by Stila and I have never been disappointed. Here's the thing about Stila. Everything is made to enhance your natural beauty. They make georgous shimmery, complimentary creations in shades of cream, taupe, browns, and grays, with a few funky colors thrown in (but not so much, its not Mac!).

My favorite eye color is Wheat, a gorgeous basic that looks good on everyone I've tried it on.

I have also used their lip stain for years, and I love it. I drink water all day long, so gloss never stays put. But I apply this stain and keep a nice color for hours. Cherry Crush is my latest favorite.

I am lusting after this right now. Here's the product description:
A must-have for a day at the beach, a tropical holiday or anytime you show a little skin. The dry oil formula adds a gorgeous natural looking tint with a hint of glistening shimmer. It's formulated with macadamia and jojoba nut, sandalwood and barley extracts for fabulous moisturization.
To get the red carpet after sun glow, shake bottle well, and spray 2 or 3 pumps into palm of your hands to apply and blend with fingers. Let it dry before putting on your perfect outfit.

Anyway, it is carried at Sephora and Ulta, unfortunately no longer at department stores. (and nowhere in Utah anymore, more's the pity for my Ut girls, but order online, or come visit me)


Mineral Make-up On the Go

This post is not about sunscreen or mineral make-up per se, but I feel I should start with a quick introduction of the two.

If you have ever opened a beauty magazine, or talked to an esthetician or dermatologist, you know that sunscreen is crucial to good skincare. I know some girls who like a little sun on their cheeks, but just grab some self-tanner and wear your sunscreen, everyday, no matter what. So this is where mineral make-up enters the picture.

Good mineral make-up is made-up almost exclusively of minerals, the two major ingredients usually consisting of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Coincidentally those two play a major role in sun-protection. On this post, my only advice about which mineral make-up to use is to check the ingredients. If talc figures into the ingredient description, then you are being ripped off. Talc is just powder and has none of the protective qualities of true mineral make-up. But this is for another post at another time...

At one of my former workplaces we carried Jane Iredale mineral make-up but were constantly approached by other product reps giving out samples. During my time at this particular office, we were happy with old Jane and did not decide to switch. But I did enjoy all the free samples from those other companies. My favorite was IS clinical's portable mineral make-up. It was so handy to carry in my purse and reapply when I felt I needed more sunscreen. (I did use it primarily as a sunscreen, rather than everyday make-up.) Eventually it ran out and I debated tracking down a spa that sold it to buy a replacement, but eventually just bought more of my favorite Bare Escentuals color. The thing is, most mineral make-ups come in loose form, in a jar. I do think that is beneficial for even coverage and extended usage, but not exactly portable.

Then I saw Sephora's refillable powder brush for $22! Now I have the option of which make-up I want to make portable. I do also recommend IS clinicals brush, although I do think it is a little pricier and I do prefer the colors and grade of other make-ups in that price-range. I also saw that Neutrogena's mineral make-up comes in this portable form. I haven't checked their ingredient list so I don't want to make a hard recommendation there, but it is nice to know that there is that as a possible economic option.

Another choice for you thriftier gals is to buy a cheaper powder, such as the one found at drugstores by the brand "Jane." Last summer I was looking for an inexpensive line to use for a darker color, strictly for the summer months, and didn't want to pay for the more expensive line. I perused the drugstore line's ingredient lists and as of last summer, found Jane's to be a higher concentration of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as well as more pure minerals than most of the other brands. And I think it costs like 4 bucks.

Anyway, this post is really just a recommendation for making your mineral make-up portable for the best sun protection. And Sephora's brush offers you freedom of choice, if you don't want to pick just one brand.


Vitamin A for the Masses

First off, as an esthetician, I have always worked with high caliber product lines. There are so many really great products that are only available through a spa or doctor's office. And I'm not even going to touch what prescribed products can do for you. However, I am starting this blog as a way to help out the girls (and some guys) I know who are interested in their skin-care but probably aren't going to invest in some really expensive products.

One of the most important steps to good long-term skin care is exfoliation. One pretty standard weapon in the arsenal is topical Vitamin A, known as retinol. I have used it and recommended it often to clients, using a variety of brands. However, my skin is extremely sensitive and retinol usually comes in some pretty harsh doses. If your skin is pretty hardy and you want quicker results, you are not going to want to use an over-the-counter product, and certainly not one you can buy at the grocery store. That said, if you are simply not going to pay more, see a doctor, or your skin is sensitive, then this recommendation is for you.

I recently bought the Neutrogena Healthy Skin, deep wrinkle cream which has apparently less than .2% retinol. This is very mild, but in my experience, pretty effective. In fact, it is still too strong to use daily for my skin. Here is a more clinical description of dosage and possible side-effects from FutureDerm.com:

According to experts cited in this article, retinol should be used at night only, in small quantity (a pea-size amount to make a thin layer on your face) after cleansing, and NOT in conjunction with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Retinol also should be used in conjunction with sunscreen every morning, as retinoids/retinol make your skin more photosensitive (sensitive to the sun). Finally, retinol may cause redness, flaking/peeling, and possibly stinging at first, and most experts recommend using retinol products once every 2-3 nights at first for the first 2-3 weeks. The negative effects should be short-term as the skin acclimates to retinol, but if they worsen, the product may not be right for your skin. If ever in question, ask your dermatologist!

And here is another recommendation from someone other than me:

According to dermatologist Dr. Mary Lupo in the October 2007 issue of Allure magazine: “With regular use, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream improves skin’s brightness, color, and texture, and softens existing lines and crepiness. If you start using it in your twenties, before you see these changes, you could push them off further.”