Tuesday, December 4, 2018

To steam or not to steam in a facial treatment

A blog reader left the following comment on my post One facial experience—not a great one:    

Hi Carolyn! I was reading on your blog about not using steam in your facials, and I’m wondering what you use in its place? Do your clients ever ask if you could use the steam on them or question you why you don’t use it? Many thanks!

Those are great questions. It is rare that a client questions me about not using steam. If it does happen, it would be on their first visit. Steam is so prevalent in facials that it is a rarity to not have that machine used in a facial.

I can say unequivocally, I have never had a client ask if I could use steam on them. If and when the subject arises I simply explain why I don’t use it and why I don’t recommend it in facials a client may get elsewhere. Once I give them information on how unnecessary it is and how detrimental it is to the delicate capillaries, at that point it becomes a non-issue.

Sometimes in life until a thing is challenged, it just becomes normalcommonplace. This, I believe, is true with using steam in a facial. My first job was with Repechage skin care in spring of 1985. I was a novice aesthetician and wasn’t yet questioning what I had learned in skin care school nor what I was being asked to do within this job. I was trained in school to use steam and steam was what I was told to use in the Repechage facials.

Steam is said to soften the skin for extractions. Or that is probably the main reason aestheticians use it in a facial (although not the only reason). What I found in these first facials I was giving as a new employee was once the steam was taken off the skin, the skin hardened (dried) making extractions harder to perform.

As an example of this, I was recently working on one of my teenage clients. She had been to another salon for quite a while and they used steam in the facials prior to extractions. (This client did need a lot of extractions, named large embedded blackheads.) I did what I normally do: instead of steam I used a glycerin-based Yonka product called Dermol 1* on the to-be-extracted places, let it sit for a minute, then performed the extractions. Dermol helps to soften the skin and makes the debris in the pores come out much easier.
*The Yonka Dermols have gone through two changes in the past 5 years, starting with being morphed into one product: Hydralia, and recently this was changed into Hydra+. Still and all, a glycerin-based product works wonders when performing extractions in a facial treatment.

Out of curiosity I asked this client if she felt her (many) extractions went easier with the use of steam in her previous facials or if the extractions I just did on her felt “better”if extractions can feel good in any case! Not surprisingly, this young lady said she noticed a big difference in the pain level of today’s extractions. In other words, my extractions felt better—much less painful. I believe this was due primarily to the use of the glycerin product. It is a must-have for aestheticians.

Granted, I am proficient at extractions and have a good touch when it comes to performing them. But I know beyond doubt that using a softening agent (in this case, Dermol, Hydralia, or Hydra+) vs. using a steam machine is a much better way to perform extractions.

The bottom line is I am not a fan of stream in (or out) of facials. I also encourage my clients to try new things if they feel so inclined, but to monitor their skin to see if, in the case of using steam, redness occurs when it wasn't there or there is more redness than there was before. I have written several articles with more to come about the use or not of steam on the face and why I am so against it.

For more information, see:

Friday, November 30, 2018

My Gray Hair Story

This, FYI, is not me :+)
Although this was piece was written a decade ago (c.2005, when I was nearly 45), it still rings true for me today and I’m sure going forward as well. In the past year, two friends who are my age (57) have decided to stop coloring their hair and let the gray come through. I dedicate this article to them and anyone who decides to just be themselves—gray hair and all.

I have gray hairs; more and more every day. I am in my 40s and the stray grays started appearing around age 35. It began as just one solitary gray hair I found one day. I didn’t pull it out, I think I marveled at it actually.

A few years later and after a few more gray hairs had appeared, I was getting my hair cut. My stylist was on his way to pulling one of them out and I said, “Stop!” I’m sure for him it was instinctualto get rid of the gray, but for me these hairs were almost indicators I had graduated to a new phase of my life. Even at this early stage I was determined to adopt a different view of aging than most people I had run across. Certainly different than the massesand the media.

1926 gray hair dye ad—!
As the years have gone by, the gray hairs have increased. I could color my hair and get rid of the gray, but that is actually not an option for me. I don’t want the maintenance of having to dye it constantly, and I truly don’t want to mask or cover up what is naturally happening with regard to my own aging process.

For me, it all boils down to choice. I have the choice to love, hate, or be indifferent to my gray hair. I am somewhere between indifference and love. And since I do have a choice, why would I choose to hate my gray? Although the outside world begs us to change the way we naturally are, I dont feel moved to do so. In the end coloring my hair is my choiceand yours!

I am sure some of you think I’m crazy, but I know there are others who can relate to my story. My reality is based on the ultimate truth: I am aging. And to hide it is at best temporary, and at the worst it is a pain in thewell, at least in the wallet. And then theres the element of time. The time and money I save on not focusing on changing my gray hair helps to fund other things I enjoy.

Recently I was waiting in line at a movie theater. The woman ahead of me, probably in her late 50s, had gray and brownish hair. I looked at her and thought that might be what my hair will look like in another 10 years. I thought she looked good. And I always appreciate someone who wears their age as is. It’s a statement of acceptance.

My path, my choice, is acceptance. And along with accepting the gray, I am saying I love it just for good measure. Since I am choosing to keep it, I might as well love it too. Then when I look in the mirror, I have good things I am thinking about myself instead of the alternative.  If on a daily basis I resist the truth and wish or want things to be different, until they are different I will be unhappy.

Obviously this is my way of handling the aging process and may not be (and probably is not) your way. I am certainly not against coloring over gray hairjust my gray hair! We live in a world filled with choices; hair color is just one of many. So go forth and color your gray away or not. Regardless, do try to enjoy the aging process. Some parts are easier than others, to be sure.