Friday, July 31, 2020

To all FACIAL SALONS: I am so sorry! (Covid-19)

I love that. Stay strong everyone!
Fellow aestheticians and small business owners have been on my mind quite a bit lately for obvious reasons. To say I dodged a bullet because I recently retired isnt really the truth. As some of you know my home was a total loss in the October 2017 North Bay fires after closing my Boulder salon and moving a few months before, but that is beside the point. I don’t feel like I dodged a bullet, I was ready and willing to close up shop and do a slow glide into retirement. But I am certainly glad I’m not having to deal with this pandemic as a business owner, initially being required to close the doors and then dealing with all of the new regulations being placed on the personal service industry and small (and large) businesses nation- and world-wide.

We’ve all been affected; I lost my “retirement job” walking dogs and am currently out of work. Like so many, I’m able to work, but in my case everyone is home with their animals (lucky animals!). It’s a loss, for sure, but it is nothing in comparison to those of you who are struggling to keep your salons and spas alive. Having run my business for 24 years, I am well aware of all the hills and mountains that need to be climbed—sometimes daily—to keep a business afloat. Add to that being willing but unable to open due to restrictions in place where you live and work, it’s just such a sad state of affairs.

Because I still hold facial licenses in 4 different states, I get emails from each state commissioner about the new rules and regulations for opening a salon back up—if that’s even possible—and how things won’t be going back to “normal” any time soon. I’m not a fan of the phrase the new normal, but in this instance I think it’s the only way to describe what will come out of this after all is said and done. There will be a new way of getting back to a normal way of doing business that simply doesn’t and won’t exactly match the way it was pre-pandemic.

In my salons, clients always thought they were my only client because it was a rarity that 2 people were in my office at the same time. I scheduled things that way intentionally because for me it felt like a best business practice. I loved it when clients would mention they noticed they were the only person in the office from the time they walked in the door to the time they walked out.

Now, with new restrictions, it is inevitable that most if not all clients in salons, be it hair, nails, skin, or waxingeven massage and acupuncture clinicswill feel the same way. Interesting that now this “best business practice that I employed perhaps wont feel as good to people since it will be a forced way of doing business. Hopefully there will be clients who like the anonymity and will take comfort in being so well-attended to without distraction.

No one, except perhaps epidemiologists, could have predicted this epidemic and certainly not on the scale it has become here in the U.S. Watching how salons are having to comply with federal and state mandates, opening then closing and waiting to reopen again, I can’t imagine how tough it is for all salon owners and facial employeeswithout the ability to do your jobs and see the clients that you love. And when you all can reopen, it will be interesting to see how those jobs will have changed and what they will look like going forward.
I was reading an article recently in Allure Magaine online (click here if you’d like to read it) about how facials in particular are being affected by Covid-19. In it, a dermatologist (Dr. Nada Elbuluk) was quoted saying she didn’t think now is a good time to get a skin care treatment. “A facial involves exposure to mucosal sites (eyes, nose, mouth), and prolonged contact between the person giving the facial and the person receiving it. It’s not possible for a person receiving a facial to be wearing a mask so it places that person at higher risk of exposure during the procedure.” How I see it, the risk goes both ways.

I can say for a fact I hated wearing a mask when I was giving facials. The only time I did—and I did it throughout my career—was when a client would come in sick and I had to wear one. I can also say without question that 50% of the time I would still get sick even after wearing a mask and being very careful to clean everything thoroughly once that person had left the office. Because client and aesthetician are essentially sharing air during a facial, I was adamant about people not coming in when they were sick.

Now wearing a mask will be the norm. Perhaps forever, no one knows, and because of this I feel for all of the aestheticians in the world. Maybe others aren’t so annoyed with wearing a mask while giving a facial, but for me these face coverings are hot and they move when you look down so you have to constantly adjust them during the treatment. And along with the muffled conversation while explaining things to a client, wearing a mask gave me a feeling of being removed from the intimacy of the service.

For an extra layer of protection, many if not all facial salons will also employ face shields. Having never given a facial with one but knowing how much I disliked wearing a mask, I can only imagine how strange (and certainly, possibly, uncomfortably hot) it will be for practitioners to be so covered up during a personal service. Necessary—absolutely, comfortable—doubtful.

Wearing thin rubber gloves could also become a part of the aesthetician’s new “uniform.” Yet another way to create a protective barrier between provider and client, yet another way to be once removed from the touch and feel of the wonderful sensory experience (for both giver and receiver) that is a facial treatment. I am so sorry for all of these changes.

From Wikipedia: This too shall pass is a Persian adage translated and used in multiple languages. It reflects on the temporary nature, or ephemerality [lasting for a short time], of the human condition.

Sometimes (always?) when someone dies, you’re not quite sure what to say to the bereaved. With this pandemic I think the same thing is true. This too shall pass, we’ll get through it, it’ll be over one day, be thankful for all the good in your life. I don’t know if anything said can really help the multitudes of people who are suffering through these times, but what I do know is life—eventually—will get back to a familiar, albeit different, “normal” place.

Another quote from the Dalai Lama keeps coming to mind: If a problem can be solvedtheres no need to worry, and if it cant be solvedworry is of no use. Its similar to The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Blessings to all everywhere and also to those who have passed away during this pandemic. My heart and thoughts go out to all of you.

For some hopefully helpful articles, see:

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Yonka’s CREME MAINS: Repairing, Comforting Hand Cream (replaces Nutri-Protect)

Nutri-Protect was the first hand cream Yonka-Paris came out with in 2013. It was yummy and fabulous on so many levels. To state the obvious, I loved this cream! And, like so many favorites in the last many years, Yonka for whatever reason decided to take this product out of their lineup. Im happy to say Yonka did replace Nutri-Protect with CREME MAINS Repairing, Comforting Hand Cream. (Mains means hands in French.)

The professional size (for treatment rooms) says Creme Mains et Pieds (hands and feet) and I totally agree! By just using a small, pea-sized amount of this cream on both your hand and your feet, your nose will be in heaven and your skin will be super-hydrated. The scent is different than Nutri-Protect. In a way I miss that aromatic, but the lovely scent of Creme Mains makes up for it.

The ingredients in this hand treatment are almost identical to its predecessor Nutri-Protect, but like Masque Nº1 and its replacement Hydra Nº1 Masque, some ingredients are in a different order on the list. When it comes to Creme Mains, this makes for a different, more orange/mandarin aromatic than the precious hand cream. Still wonderful, still Yonka-yummy.

From Yonka headquarters: Take it everywhere you go to care for your hands, nails and cuticles. This ultra-comforting cream repairs and protects very dry and rough skin via a specialized formula, a combination of shea butter, vegetable glycerin, grape seed oil, bisabolol and vitamins A, C and E. A hand treatment gem that promotes their beauty and comfort.

This hand cream is a great solution to fight the dryness of your skin caused by the accrued use of using hand sanitizer. Recognized efficacy: Skin is nourished and repaired: 89%. (As you can read in other posts, sometimes these percentage numbers seem ridiculous in terms of hard science, but in this case since it’s a hand cream and not going on your face, it’s not such a big deal to me.)

Yonka Paris Creme Mains Comforting Hand Cream Features & Benefits:
  • Superior repairing, nourishing, comforting treatments for hands, nails, and cuticles
  • Fast absorbing, non-oily
  • Repairs and relieves even extremely dehydrated, irritated, chapped skin
  • Ultra moisturizing formula leaves hands incredibly supple and comfortable
  • Promotes and preserves hands youthfulness
  • Protects against unforgiving external stressors
  • Paraben-free
  • 97% ingredients of natural origin

Essential ingredients:
  • Shea butter—repairing, nourishing, protective
  • Grape seed oil (rich in essential fatty acids)—restructuring
  • Vitamin B5, bisabolol—comforting, soothing 
  • Vegetable glycerin—hydrating
  • Vitamins A, C, E—antioxidant, regenerating
  • Essential oils of sweet orange, grapefruit, mandarin, and magnolia—refreshing phyto-aromatic effects
Directions for use:
  • Apply CREME MAINS cream to dry, clean hands
  • Massage in well
  • For damaged or cracked hands, apply frequently during the day
  • For very damaged hands, apply a thick layer of cream and wear cotton gloves overnight
  • Remember: A little goes a long way
  • For an extra treat: use on your feet, too!

Due to the pandemic we are all using a lot of hand sanitizer, which is usually very drying, along with washing our hands more than we have in the past. Your hands, nail, and even cuticles will appreciate having this soothing, smoothing cream on especially at the end of a long day. Take it with you during the day and keep it on your bed table at night. Happy hands, happy life!

Skin Care Procedures—Misc: all links so far

Skin Care Procedures

  • A cautionary tale about IPL treatments (upcoming)
  • Botox: Is it a miracle—or not? (coming soon!)
  • Derma-rolling: a few thoughts (upcoming)
  • “What is a derma roller and should I be using one?” Clients questions (upcoming)
  • What is laser resurfacing? (upcoming)

also see

Rosacea: all links so far


  • A client’s new rosacea diagnosis + product questions: Part 1 (upcoming)
  • A client’s new rosacea diagnosis: Part 2 (upcoming)
  • Rosacea & makeup suggestions (coming soon)—dont get too excited, there are actually no recommendations for specific products in this article

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Eye makeup removal with Vaseline question

I’ve been taking mascara off for years with Vaseline and have used it on my lips also. Is it harmful, and if so, what should I use instead?

Vaseline® or any other petroleum product in and of itself isn’t harmful to the skin necessarily; these ingredients can clog the pores if contained in a moisturizing cream or foundation.

The most important thing to remember is whenever you are removing mascara, you have to be sure not to pull your undereye skin as you are wiping off the mascara. That tissue is delicate and should not be pulled or tugged daily. This is the number one reason using Vaseline isn’t such a good idea.

Due to its gooey consistency, this petroleum jelly will naturally stick to the skin. Therefore, the potential for having to pull the skin near your eyes increases. Vaseline tends to stick around wherever it has been applied, so if you choose to use this as a makeup remover, along with the potential to pull the sensitive tissue around your eyes, you also add the potential for it getting (and staying) in your eyes. If this has ever happened to you, you know that it takes quite a long time for the jelly to get out of your eyes, creating blurred vision temporarily.

Therefore I can say I am not a fan of using Vaseline or any other gooey product to remove your eye makeup. A thin oil is better than petroleum jelly, and a product made for makeup removal would be my number one recommendation. Vaseline is probably inexpensive, but because you run the risk of pre-aging the skin around your eyes, it could end up being an expensive proposal. See the articles listed below for details on how to properly (and easily) remove your eye makeup, including mascara.

For more information, see:

BOOKS—MINE & misc: All links so far

books—mine & misc

  • Some of my favorite health books (upcoming)

Hyperpigmentation: all links so far


  • Is even skin tone achievable? (upcoming)

Monday, July 27, 2020

IPL & PhotoFacial treatments for hyperpigmentation, capillary issues & scarring

In your book you say there isn’t anything that can be done about broken capillaries, but I had successful laser sessions a year ago that erased most of them from my face.

This email came from a client of mine. She actually had IPL treatments, which are a bit different than laser therapy. Indeed, she had severe couperose (broken capillaries), predominately in her cheek and nose area. She did achieve remarkable results from having her capillaries treated with IPL. It took several sessions, but over 70% of the damage was eliminated.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) can be an effective treatment for mild or severe couperose, rosacea, or just getting rid of those pesky capillaries that have been hanging around on your face for so long. I have many clients who have had success with this procedure and are now enjoying less redness in their skin. One of the benefits of this treatment versus some of the older laser versions is it can treat tiny broken capillaries as well as redness deep within the skin where abnormal vessels are found, which is especially good for rosacea sufferers. Because IPL helps to alleviate the flushing associated with rosacea, treatments can really have a long-term effect.

IPL is also effective for getting rid of hyperpigmentation, making your skin tone even and free from pigmentation spots. Because sun exposure is what caused this condition in the first place, you will be instructed to be very aggressive with your sun protection program; it will not be just temporary care, but diligent sun protection for the rest of your life.

Although I don’t believe in before and after pictures in most circumstances, in several articles discussing IPL for redness, the before and after pictures speak volumes for this procedure’s efficacy. These photos give a clear view of the patient’s skin prior to IPL, which looks like skin with medium to severe capillary damage. Afterward, there is at least a 60% reduction in redness—the capillaries have disappeared. I have also seen these results in several of my clients.

Usually you will first go through a consultation with your dermatologist or a physician’s assistant in the office. They will go over your needs and wants as well as procedural information. Then you will find out about cost. IPL is not cheap. On average, each treatment is anywhere from $700 to $1,200, and you have at least five treatments in a series. However, if you are suffering from severe hyperpigmentation, rosacea, or just capillary damage, and you are willing to truly commit to aggressively protecting your skin (especially your face) from sun exposure, then IPL may be the miracle you have been searching for.

Your skin may be red for a day or two, but (if you have rosacea) it was red already, so it may not look very different after the treatment. Once the redness subsides, what you should be left with is less redness and an overall improved condition.

Depending on your pain tolerance and the normal procedure at the doctor’s office, you may have a topical anesthetic applied to the skin being treated. This is not a painless procedure, but the effects can last a long time, making it worth the small amount of discomfort you may experience.

I had a wonderful treatment called PhotoFacial that really helped to eliminate acne scars I’ve had for years as well as hyperpigmentation from when I was pregnant. It’s a bit uncomfortable, like a rubberband snap, but tolerable—and worth it! I had a series of 5 treatments, each one was about 2-3 weeks apart.

PhotoFacial (developed by Dr. Patrick Bitter, Sr.) is yet another name for IPL therapy; FotoFacial and EpiLight are a few more. No matter the name, if hyperpigmentation, rosacea, broken capillaries, or perhaps even acne scars are a concern, investigate IPL and see if it works for you.

Laser as well as light therapy are analogous to computers; the technology is advancing and expanding so rapidly that the techniques and machines used today may be obsolete tomorrow. As with all procedures, please get more than one opinion, and do your homework. When it comes to your face, you want someone who has a lot of experience and a great reputation working with IPL.

As with any and all procedures you are seeking, ask around for referrals. Once you have a few names, talk to someone in each doctor’s office. It’s doubtful you will get to speak with the doctor until you pay for a consultation, but sometimes you can get a feel for the office by the people who are working there. You always want to find a professional who has a lot of experience doing these treatments and using the machines, not a doctor who is just beginning to do this procedure.

For an example of someone who had a bad experience with IPL, the article below will be published soon. I think it’s smart to read the good and the bad and make your decision from there. As you’ll read, this client was probably not a good candidate for this procedure, but the doctor went ahead and performed it anyway.

For more information, see:

Blackheads/Whiteheads: all links so far


  • Questions about blackheads & the importance of clay mask (coming soon)

For more help with blackheads

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Trends & Fads: all links so far

trends & fads

  • Derma-rolling: a few thoughts (upcoming)
  • Renova the Retinoid to the rescue? (upcoming)
  • Retin-A: Q & A (coming soon)
  • “What is a derma roller and should I be using one?” Clients questions (upcoming)
  • What is laser resurfacing? (upcoming)

  • What is topical vitamin C?

also see

Skin Care No-Nos: all links so far

skin care no-nos

  • Skin care and sleep loss: “I need help!” (coming soon!)—not a “no-no” exactly, but I put in this category for exposure 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Do NOT do this to your blackheads!!!

I was doing some research online and came across these photos of a young lady having a DYI spa day at home. I will make this short and to the point: Do not under any circumstances use Elmer’s or any other type of glue on your blackheads!!!!Please!

I get itI think. The glue will stick to the debris in your pores and will therefore pull it out. However when it comes to using things like this: please just use a product manufactured to do the job of removing blackheads vs. a multi-purpose glue [that] bonds strongly to a variety of different materials, including paper, ceramics, leather, fabric, wood, and more.

Looking at all the DYI “using Elmer’s Glue to remove blackheads” posts on the Internet, I can just imagine someone contacting me because they have developed a severe skin sensitivity after using this method. If you have any type of sensitive skin, applying glue to it might be a disaster waiting to happen. And if you don’t have sensitive skin, it’s still a dumb thing to do. I’m sure some people might find this blackhead removal procedure intriguing, but coming from a professional in the skin care industry—just don’t do it!  
Elmer’s glue is FDA approved but not as a skin care ingredient. The ingredients in glue have not been tested for skin sensitivities to say nothing about preservatives in glue that simply aren’t meant for epidermal application. Glue hasn’t been tested for skin because it is not meant for skin! The only bright point here is glue is generally “non-toxic” in case a child tries to eat it, for instance; still it is simply not meant to be spread on your skin.

I understand the fun of experimenting with glue on your blackheads and perhaps the excitement of peeling the dried adhesive off your skin, but please—please—reach for a high quality clay-based mask next time you want to really “get rid” of your blackheads. As you will read in the article below, at best your blackheads are just temporarily removed no matter what you use. However using a clay mask on a regular basis can help to keep your pores cleaned out and that helps to keep enlarged pores to a minimum down the line.

For information about more proper (and improper) ways to help get rid of blackheads, see:

Hormones & Skin Issues: all links so far

hormones & skin issues

      • Tetracycline—does it help with problem skin or is it just a temporary fix? (coming soon!)

      Friday, July 24, 2020

      Some thoughts about cosmetic surgery—a totally personal choice

      I found this great quote by writer Judith Krantz in a wonderful little book of quotes called, Age doesn’t matter unless you’re a cheese: Wisdom from Our Elders by Kathryn and Ross Petras:
      “A woman I graduated from college with told me plastic surgery was vulgar, that lines were a sign of character, that it’s beautiful to age. I said bull. Character is internal. If you want to present yourself to the world with a face-lift, why the hell not?” 
      I love this quote because, for me, it really says a lot. I agree with the woman Ms. Krantz is talking about. I do believe that aging can be a beautiful thing if we let it. And I do believe, for myself (and I know I am not alone) that lines are the manifestation of the accumulation of life—a life well lived. I also agree with Ms. Krantz when she says if you choose to get cosmetic surgery, or any type of procedure, that is purely and unequivocally your decision and in fact your right. I don’t think we should judge others for what they decide to do with their appearance. But perhaps we can learn from it. And this goes both ways.

      Cosmetic surgery is purely an individual decision. Many of my clients probably think that I am totally against it, and that is not true. As I tell anyone considering such procedures, I will drive them to and from the hospital if they don’t have a ride. And I am serious! I do believe, because I have strong opinions about surgery, that people are afraid to fill me in on their decisions.

      I have even had some clients “disappear” and never return to my office. Later I find out a client has had a procedure, and I guess she didn’t want my judgment. On the contrary, anyone who has come to my office after plastic surgery can tell you, I am fascinated! I want to know all about it—whether the client is happy with their decision, and because I have seen my client’s skin prior to the surgery, it is so interesting to see their face and skin afterwards. For me it is all just information, and I try not to judge anyone for doing what they need to do.

      But some people, in my opinion, are chasing after a dream—a dream of youth and looking young forever. This is where I stand on my soapbox and hope that if you’re going to get surgery that you also do inner work as well. Inner work to make sure you aren’t trying to fix the unfixable with a cosmetic procedure. The unfixable meaning a view of yourself that is unrealistic, a self condemning view that no surgeon’s knife will be able to fix or heal.

      Everyone has surgery for their own reasons. I just want to make sure that all the options have been looked at before someone forever changes their appearance. And in the end, everyone is going to do what they want to do anyway, so who cares what I or anybody else thinks! I am nearing 60 now and still I am fascinated with the changes taking place (and there are definitely changes taking place!), but I can confidently say I can’t see changing anything, not right now anyway. However you certainly don’t need my approval and if you really feel the need to do a cosmetic procedure and you feel good about your decision then go for it!

      There are a few very important points that cannot be excluded from any discussion about plastic surgery. The first and most important thing to find out about is credentials. You must know who your doctor is and what kind of doctor he or she is. There are many people who have “M.D.” behind their names, but are they well-versed (and certified) to do cosmetic surgery? Please read the article on plastic surgery listed below to get further information on this most important topic.

      Second, have you gone to several doctors (yes, this takes time) to get several different opinions about your potential changes? Personality as well as skill level are important to match up with a doctor who is going to be essentially cutting on your body. I hope you invest enough time to discover the perfect doctor for you. They may not be who your best friend chose, but if the fit feels right to you, then so be it.

      In closing, I have a little quiz for you. Let’s say surgery was not an option. I know it is, obviously, but just for one moment, let’s say surgery is not an option. Then what would you do? What would you do differently to take care of your skin, your body, and your total self that you aren’t doing now? Would you slow down or limit your sun exposure? Eat better and drink more water? Spend more time on rituals to stimulate your health rather than break it down? Would you be more accepting of yourself because you’d have to be? Remember, for this one moment there is no cosmetic surgery available. What would you do differently? I think it’s an interesting question to explore.

      In the end nothing really matters—not really. We live our lives the best we can and I think, at least this is true for me, we search out happiness in every corner and down every road we can find it. There are many roads to choose from and many different paths we take in life. So be well, enjoy your life and feel good about yourself always.

      For more information, see: