Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Retail vs. Professional skin care products

You may not be aware that there are two different classifications for products in the skin care industry: retail and professional. Read further to get familiar with all of your options so you can be a smart shopper when it comes time to buy skin care products.

In the professional, skin care salon/spa realm, there is a great separation between retail and professional products. For instance, I would never consider using or selling a retail product (something you could find at any department store for example) in my office. Why? Quite simply, quality. Professional products are invariably superior in quality to their retail counterparts—not always, but usually.

Retail products are sold in a retail environment, like a department or grocery store. These products are sold to the mass market. Manufacturers annually spend millions of dollars for ad campaigns on TV and in magazines, enticing you to buy their products. A retail environment is usually where the average consumer looks to purchase skin care products. 

Most people look to the department store not only to purchase skin care products, but to get their skin care advice as well. Many consumers just don’t know where else to turn. Retail, department store products are sold by counter salespeople who generally have no hands-on experience with skin. They go through product training pertaining to the line they are selling, but usually lack any practical experience in treating skin.

If you have no-problem skin, you will probably fare reasonably well in the department store because not a lot will be required from either the products or the sales staff. But if you have problems with your skin (or just want professional skin care advice), I recommend talking to a licensed aesthetician. Not all professionals excel at their craft, but at least they have training and a license to back up what they are saying.

Other retail products are sold in drug or grocery stores. In this case, you are on your own. There is no salesperson to help (or pressure) you. At the grocery store you can take your time, read labels at your leisure, and really study the products before you buy. Many times you will pay premium prices at the department store for comparable products found at the local grocery, paying for name brands in fancy bottles and their ads with beautiful models. Products at the drug or grocery store may not have great packaging and are not marketed as aggressively, but their prices reflect this.

Finally, there are the multilevel, marketing-type products, again sold by salespeople, not skin care professionals. They are trained on the product, not specifically on skin. I’m not saying that everyone who isn’t a professional aesthetician is unqualified to help you with your skin, I only recommend you look closely at the people who are giving you advice. What does their skin look like? And most importantly, are they making sense—or just a sale?

In general, retail products tend to be fairly inactive, rendering them less effective in their ability to tackle specific skin problems. This is the dilemma with retail products. They can’t really afford to be very potent or the products would no doubt be returned en masse. Even a great product can cause problems if the skin is misdiagnosed and an inappropriate product is recommended and used. What you may find with retail products is skin care advice from a salesperson plus products that do very little for your skin.

Professional products are sold exclusively in a salon or spa by a licensed aesthetician. The idea being that a professional can correctly analyze your skin and recommend appropriate products. In this professional setting, the aesthetician can take care of your skin on an ongoing basis, both through facial treatments as well as with products. Professional products can address specific needs, whereas retail products are more general or generic.
My Chicago salon 2004
Couperose skin (generally red, sensitive skin with capillary damage) is one of the best examples of this. I would be hard-pressed to find a retail product specifically made to address this common skin care problem, whereas many professional lines do. In fact, I’m sure I would have a difficult time finding a retail salesperson who could explain what couperose is, let alone have a product to recommend. The quality of the product as well as its ability to address specific skin care needs are two areas that separate professional from retail.

In almost every professional line there are specialized products that are produced exclusively for use in a facial by a professional. These products are generally not available for the consumer to purchase. Retail products are ordinarily made solely for at-home use. Occasionally you will find retail products being used in a professional environment, usually at department store day spas or salons. Using a retail product in a professional environment (in facial treatments) would be extremely limiting.

Again, there wouldn’t be the class of products required to address a client with special needs. Unfortunately, not all professional products are going to give you great results. With the myriad of products available to you (retail and professional), very few will truly meet your needs. Many clients come to me discouraged, having jumped from one product to another, never finding anything that truly works for them. But take heart, exceptional products do exist. It may just take time to find them.

For more information, see:

Friday, September 16, 2016

Yonka Products for Combination & Normal Skin

I wanted to post some information to help you put together a skin care program using Yonka products if you have combination & normal skin.

Click on any product name to be taken to its corresponding article on this blog. If one has not published yet, you will be taken to that product’s page on my website.

You first need to determine the amount of oil your skin produces to truly understand which products to use. Please read:


I have an oily t-zone and normal (or dehydrated) cheeks:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Aromatherapy, essential oils, and skin care products

Aromatherapy is the art and science of essential oils. Essential oils are volatile, gaseous substances extracted from plants and flowers. It is an ancient science dating back to before Cleopatra’s time. Although it has had a resurgence in popularity since the latter part of the twentieth century, aromatherapy has always been a part of our lives.

There are several characteristics to essential oils that make them perfect ingredients in skin care products. Since they are naturally acidic (on the pH scale), the use of products containing essential oils will automatically set up an acidic balance on the surface of your skin, rendering your skin less vulnerable to bacterial invaders. Essential oils are lipid (oil) soluble and therefore easily absorbed by the skin.

Essential oils are great for problem skin. Used “pure (undiluted) as a spot treatment, they have similar actions to what benzoyl peroxide (BP) is said to do. Essential oils have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties helping to render the infected blemish unable to grow. However, essential oils have no side effects like drying or irritating the skin like some people experience with BP. Anything can be irritating if you are sensitive to it, but I have yet to encounter anyone who couldn’t put dots of essential oils on their spots or who had an adverse reaction using oils this way. Essential oils are used to restore balance back to the skin; most over-the-counter spot treatments do just the opposite.

Essential oils stimulate circulation, so using products containing essential oils helps with cellular respiration as well as detoxification. The skin “breathes” through the oxygen in the blood, and toxins are released from cells into the bloodstream. Essential oils help with these processes and any type of skin can benefit from this. 

Whether you are using skin care products that contain essential oils (like Yonka-Paris) or have used pure essential oils on blemishes or other skin problems, you have no doubt discovered the lasting effects from these wonderful, ancient liquid remedies taken from organic matter: plants and flowers. If you havent yet tried essential oils, I highly recommend that you do!

For more information, see:

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Checklist for Problem Skin

  • Be diligent with your Basic 1-2-3 program as well as doing The Extras 1-3x per week
  • Eat well (lots of fruits & vegetables) 
  • Drink lots of water 
  • Try chlorophyll, 4T in water 2x daily 
  • Try evening primrose oil 
  • Get regular facials if possible 
  • Keep your hands off your face 

  • Pick at your skin
  • Eat sugar
  • Drink sodas (regular or diet)
  • Eat fast-food
  • Use harsh scrubs
  • Use products that dry out your skin
  • Let the phone rest on your face
  • Go to sleep without cleansing (especially if you wear makeup!)

For more information, see:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Sweet Cat Grace—what I miss so far

My little (petite) 22 year old kitty, Grace, passed away in May. She has been the only cat (present 2 included) who drank milk. I put goat’s milk in my coffee every morning and I always gave her some, too. Toward the end, many times a day.

Grace stopped eating much dry food so I also have tons of wet food for this picky eater. Now, day one without her, I opened a small can this morning and now this evening, half is still there. With Grace, I might have gone through 2 or 3 different cans trying to get her to eat something she liked. Jax & Jez will basically eat anything, so they would always eat what Grace didn’t want.

I like not having a food station in my bedroom. I eventually put G’s food on the nightstand on the side of the bed where she sleeps. Water, a small amount of dry food in case she got hungry in the middle of the night, and wet food or milk.

Tonight, night one with her out of the house, I have “heard” her cry and heard her walking around several times today. I’ve habitually gone to look in on her only to realize half way to the bedroom that she’s no longer there. Still, I’d go lay where she used to lay and shed a few tears and give thanks to her for everything she gave me, for every little thing she was.

I usually write (on my laptop) on my couch in the living room. Several times a day—a dozen if I’m home most of the day writing—she would come in and look for me to go feed her. But sometimes she would come in, I’d give her food, but what she really wanted was love and attention.

During the last 6 months or so of her sweet life I started giving her what I called Love Sessions. Periodically throughout the day I’d stop what I was doing and go in and give her love and pets and rubs and attention. I did this knowing she wouldn’t be around forever and I wanted to be sure I loved on her as much as time allowed. In hidesight I’m glad I had the inspiration to do this because now, with her gone, I don’t feel I left anything on the table. I played all the cards and gave her everything I could up until the very end. I don’t have any regrets; no would-a, should-a, could-a’s; no feeling bad about skipping something or not giving her tons of love and affection. When she was younger, I couldn’t give her love—she wouldn’t have it. But over these last few years, to my delight, she became more and more receptive to the magic power of love.

Apparently I was taking care of her more than I even realized. When I walk through my front door, my first instinct is to put down whatever is in my hands and go check on her in the bedroom. Same when I’m in the bathroom. I had a bird’s eye view of her if I cracked the adjoining door open. I would always see her ears sticking up even though she was usually sleeping. Or I would see her standing up looking at the door to the bedroom, waiting for me to come tend to her.

It’s so interesting to me how simple life has become since Grace—and Quincy, too—has passed. Each in their own way had multiple issues that required specific care. And now, with them both gone, I am starting to realize how much time and attention they required. And I miss giving all that time and attention to them—multiplied.

For more articles on the amazing and long life of kitty Grace, see:

A good idea: Facial Brushes for Beards

Although I’m not a fan of women using facial brushes (manual or electric) on their faces, a good use for a manual facial brush would be under a beard or even just a moustache. Due to the dense hair growth, the skin underneath doesn’t get any action and certainly little if any exfoliation. This can cause itching and possibly bumps under the skin, although you may not be aware of their existence.

To exfoliate the area under a beard or moustache, take a manual facial brush and gently nudge it underneath the hair onto your dry skin. Use this brushing technique prior to washing your face. Gently massage with the brush until you can feel the stimulation on the surface on your skin. Go over the entire area under your facial hair. If using this method on dry skin causes irritation, try wetting the skin under your hair growth and then use the brush.

Afterwards, take some cleanser and wash your face as you normally do (hopefully!), paying extra attention to the areas you just brushed, and work the cleanse into your facial hair. Be sure to get a thorough rinse to finish. Use your spray toner, and moisturizer your skin as usual. Do try to get some moisturizer under your beard, but don’t glob it on there. Just massage a little into the hair to help moisturize the skin you brushed underneath.

By using a facial brush under your beard, you are benefiting the skin by exfoliating that untouched area.

For more information, see: