Get Coco-Nutty!

November 22, 2009

I must admit that when my brother suggested coconut oil for our mother’s psoriasis years ago, I didn’t think much of it. I figured it as an intense moisturizer. Then, at The Lash Spa, the topic of Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil began frequently popping up. I decided to do some research on the How’s and Why’s it was so beneficial for our mother’s skin condition. I was amazed by this oils properties. My passion was born, thus Te Karanga became my baby.

The Virgin Coconut Oil used in Te Karanga contains nearly 50% Lauric Acid. Lauric Acid is one of the saturated acids found in human breast milk.  When coconut milk was recommended 13 years ago for my dairy allergic daughter, I immediately ignored the thought. I was thinking the Vegans who wrote the book were NUTS! Now I understand why…Lauric Acid. It is antimicrobial– meaning antiviral and antibacterial. Coconut Oil is rich in Vitamin E, as well, which is an excellent antioxidant.

Due to Coconut Oil’s small molecular structure, it penetrates quickly and deeply into the skin. Not just affecting the epidermis, your outer layer. It actually penetrates into the deeper layer of your “True” skin, where the cellular action occurs.  During these colder months, I realize the Oil may not feel like it’s not doing enough. Take heart, it is still working way down deep. However, the epidermis may need another product that provides an occlusive barrier, not penetrating the skin so rapidly. I have been inspired to bring on the first addition to my line…a Coconut Oil Body Butter.

Meanwhile, here is a quick review of what Te Karanga Virgin Coconut Oil can do for you: Nightly massage it into your cuticle and nail bed, the moisturizer properties will prevent brittle nails, and promote the skins ability to metabolize the dry, dead skin around your cuticle.  Use it as an all natural underarm deodorant. No, it will not prevent perspiration, however it will attack the odor causing bacteria. Massage it on your feet as a softening agent.  Nightly, douse your neck and decolette, never neglect your neck!!! Saturate your hair, before bed as a pre-wash conditioner. Use it as a makeup remover, for those of you without eyelash extensions. Use it as a post shave moisturizer. Yes, this is works incredibly well for MEN, too!  Men can use this around the eye area, in place of an eyecream.  Mama’s out there– Virgin Coconut Oil is an excellent skincare product for your children, too. Use it on any rash that may appear on your kiddos. You will be amazed by how quickly it works to help reduce the inflammation.

Follow my suggestions, and you will learn what an incredibly awesome, all-purpose product Te Karanga is. It’s a staple that should be in everyone’s cabinet. My family was laughing at me when my obsession for coconuts began to develop. For every ailment I heard a complaint about, I would quickly respond, “Coconut Oil works for that!!!” Soon, you will be finding yourself thinking the same.

If you are feeling as skeptical as I was, please feel free to come see me at The Lash Spa or post ant questions you may have. I will gladly give you a sample to try.

Peace from the Lash Lady.

Lash Conditioners.

November 15, 2009

Here is another obvious post…the world of eyelash growth stimulators. These products have been a blessing and a curse to us at The Lash Spa. We have sold hundreds over the last 3 1/2 years. The challenge has been keeping up with the rapidly changing formulas. 

Here’s a brief history on how it all got started… Glaucoma patients using Lumigan by Allergan were reporting a significant increase in eyelash growth. Jan Marini Skin Research was the first to isolate the active ingredient and formulate a retail product.  Jan had an amazzzing product in Age Intervention Eyelash. I must say that hands down, out of them all, this has been my absolute fave. Applicator was great, delivered AWESOME results, heard very few complaints from clients about eye irritation. Revitalash had a popular product, too. Lashes were growing like Spring grass everywhere. Then Allergan came along with a law suit, claiming patent infringement. Jan volunteered to remove the active ingredient. She took her product off of the market claiming they were out of the eyelash growth business. When she took it off of the market, we switched over to Revitalash, who had been ordered to remove the active ingredient, as with all of the other competitors.  There went the unreal results, becoming inconsistent from client to client. Jan came back, stating she had conducted new research and developed a superior product. Results were disappointing to us. Then she changed it again, changing the name and the packaging. Now she has Marini Lash. My opinion, I still have witnessed inconsistent results. For the client who lets her lash extensions go, I would recommend this product. I just don’t think it works as great with the extensions as her first one. For the lash extension client, at the moment there is only one choice: Latisse by Allergan. They got in with the FDA and now have cornered the market. Now you need a prescription from your doctor to get freakishly long lashes.

Lashes are growing like Spring grass again, however we have heard many complaints about this product. First and foremost, they did not come up with a great application process. The disposable brushes that come with the drops are thick, rough and coarse. Common Client Comment: It must have been a man who thought that one up. My clients are savvy in the lash world, having used the various products on the market. My thought, why could they have not teamed up with JMSR to create the mac daddy of all lash products? Combine the 2 great technologies and BAM you have the best product on the planet. I guess corporate greed does not work like that, huh??? In my experienced opinion, the Latisse is a little too strong. We have heard this from many clients. Will we stop using this product that bothers different people in different ways? No way, not for now…life is always better with long lashes.

Peace from the Lash Lady.

Product that quite often catches my eye: Shimmers. From my angle while doing eyelash extensions I have noticed various types of body shimmers applied to the decollete, highlighters dusted along cheekbones, upon the brow bones, and sparkly lip glosses trying to compete with the stars in the sky.

Some body shimmers include pigment, either as a self tanner or as a straight up bronzer. My advice on any bronzer–watch out for the orange tones. I can not calculate how many women we have seen walking through the door at The Lash Spa resembling the OJ they drank that morning. It takes a particular skin tone to carry off orange, it most definitely does not complement all.

Lorac’s  TANtalizer Baked Bronzer is one that carries a nice shade. Bobby Brown’s Body Brick is another fave of mine. La Bella Donna’s for face comes in a cream or powder, gorgeous. These products have a micronized shimmer. Some of the less expensive shimmers are not only pumpkin toned, they have larger shimmer particles. We do not want to look like we have spilled a container of glitter. We want the light to reflect off of us, creating the luminosity we carried as a child. Although the Bobby Brown Body Brick was not suggested for the face, I use on my face, as well as my decollete. It has 3 tones in one grande compact. It runs about $75.00, but I am guessing I am going to have it in my drawer for a while, due to its size. Check out Lorac’s whole line of TANtalizer products at www.Sephora.com. Verrrry easy on the eyes.

Bottom line: Look for shimmers, sparkles, and bronzers with micronized particles and avoid orange tones. All of the products we buy, try and apply have one common purpose–to bring out our beauty, not detract. Let’s make 2009’s Holiday Season shine and bring on 2010 with lots of sparkle and promise.

Peace from the Lash Lady.

Mascara.

October 20, 2009

An obvious post from the Lash Lady…Mascara deserves an on going commentary. When I hear of, or come across an extraordinary product at The Lash Spa, I will most certainly share my findings. The one sure thing with this ancient invention is that all are not created equal and the end results greatly depend on the state of your bare, naked lashes. They can claim to lengthen, thicken, separate. But if you do not have the lashes of a Greek Goddess to begin with, I can assure you, you are not going to end up with the lashes in the magazine ad. I do have some tricks that have served me well over the years. I was a Dial-a-Lash die hard back in the 80’s. Then I moved on to Lancome’s Aquacils until it’s discontinuation in 2002.

The key to a better application–scraping excess product off of the wand and combing it through with a dry wand. Remember ladies, eyelashes are hair. When wet, it wants to cling together. I also recommend allowing a few minutes to pass between coats. Keep combing through with a clean, dry wand. Your lashes will lengthen and thicken this way, without applying too much product.

Many ask if mascara may be worn with the eyelash extensions…the answer is yes and no. We sell a specifically formulated mascara for the extensions. It does not contain the emollients others are formulated with that would cause the glue to dissolve. As with any other mascara, too much will most definitely destroy the over all look of the extensions. As well as causing them to fall off pre-maturely. A little goes a lonnnnggg way with the extensions. Gentle combing of the lashes with a clean, dry wand is essential. The most IMPORTANT factor here… DO NOT remove the mascara from the extensions. Allow it the gradually dissolve and fade away. You attempt to remove it, you will wipe away everything. Total wipe out.

The names I hear dropped at The Lash Spa, in the world of this subject, are many. Stila Cosmetics has a great one I hear that has a double sided wand. One for the top and one for the bottom. Genius! The bottom lashes are a completely different breeding ground of fertility. There just are not as many, which can be challenging to get the right application, without looking like a racoon. Dior Show is another that comes up often. Back in my cosmetic days, Dior was another fave of mine. The Classic “pink and green” Maybelline Great Lash is one I have grown to appreciate. As I hear of more, I will promise to post…

Peace from the Lash Lady.

Nightly cleansing.

October 9, 2009

I know this is a dreaded topic for some. Yet, I feel I must address its importance. Doing eyelash extensions for over 4 years now, I have peered over many pores.  I know– the end of a long day, you have crashed on the sofa or somewhere else, maybe the floor??? The last thing you want to do is splash your face with water and get into the complicated regimen that the perfectly complected woman has prescribed you. Women who sell skin care and cosmetics have naturally great skin, right? Not so. If this esthetician did not wash her face morning & night and regularly tend to her rigorous exfoliation techniques, her skin would be riddled with milia, hormonal breakouts and be screaming SUN DAMAGE from miles away. What a good skin care therapist should ask her client who is concerned about breakout is: How often are you cleansing and what are you using? During the day, most women wear some form of makeup, our oil glands have been secreting their substance, and dust in the wind has grasped onto us. Hence forth- makeup, oil and dirt have all accumulated on the surface of our skin. If it is not cleansed away before we drift off, pores will begin to clog, oxidize and form the dreaded black heads. If you are prone to acneic conditions, the bacteria is going to explode in your pores, creating pustules. You wake up wanting to cry. All of this can be greatly reduced by nightly cleansing. Our bodies have been beautifully designed to heal and rejuvenate during our nightly ventures into dreamland. Why not mix in some Vitamin C or glycolic acid action? Some discipline will go far here, ladies. Work with nature, not against it. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but after the early age of 30, it’s a down hill slide. Fight the fight, fight it armed with all you can…proper cleansing habits,vitamins, sunscreen, exfoliation, moisturizers, good oils, water, etc… you will notice the difference when you  do make the effort. I will acknowledge that yes, there are genetic freaks of nature that can get away with doing nothing. Ignore them and wash your face, my friends! 

Peace from the Lash Lady.

Vitamin C…a necessity

September 27, 2009

My addiction…Vitamin C. Applied topically or taken internally, I crave it. I was enlightened with its miraculous skin care properties back in my 20’s. I have a gorgeous Italian friend who has regularly visited her awesomely talented esthetician for the last 12 years. Yes, my friend has great genes working for her, but I have known her since the age of 12 and her skin has not changed much. She has preserved her skin with Vitamin C.

Vitamin C is necessary for our bodies to produce collagen.  As we age, collagen begins to break down and cross link creating what looks like lasagna noodles under the skin. Free radicals and time are the culprit here. Every stressful encounter, every sun ray you are exposed to, every alcoholic beverage you consume, every cigarette you smoke or inhale second hand, is going to knock your skin cells out of balance. Our bodies can do amazing things when nourished properly. When the naughty, negatively charged free radical comes knocking at your door, you need to be armed with a positively charged antioxidant. Vitamin C is my choice. Not only will it neutralize the negative energies attacking your cells, it’s also going to assist your body to produce collagen. Double bam!

How much is enough? Here’s the controversy. The good news–your body consumes what it needs, then eliminates the rest. Unlike minerals, which can be stored and cause damage to some organs, you can’t OD on Vitamin C. Great news for the addict, huh??? Back to the question of what’s enough. What makes sense to me is that it’s an individualized amount. The stress junkie’s body is probably going to consume more than the Zen girl’s. Internally, I consume 1000 mg’s at different times of the day. If I am tired, I will kick it up that day. We don’t know when we encounter the latest germ-monkey virus, they are invisible. I want to be armed, big time.

Topically applied, is another story. As an esthetician, I insist this is a necessary part of anyones regimen. When taken orally, over 70% is consumed by our internal organs.  Recall Scurvy??? That happened when those poor souls sailing the High Seas did not have access to fresh fruit and vegetables, which are packed with this vital nutrient. Our heart, lung, kidney, liver, etc… tissue is comprised of collagen. That’s not leaving much for our largest, most exposed organ–the SKIN.

The most important factor in Vitamin C skin care products…stability. If it’s not a stabilized form, then it’s efficacy will not be so great. At The Lash Spa we sell Jan Marini Skin Research. Jan has amazingly effective skin care products. No, they are not organic or all natural, but you will experience awesome changes in your skin. I LOVEEE her C-ESTA line. Tightens, brightens and tones the skin. The 2 C-ESTA eye creams are the BOMB, combined or used individually. The gel cleanser is a hands down favorite, too. Jan worked with Dr. Pericone, he is a Master in this field, as well.

Poor man’s concoction??? I get my Te Karanga Organic Coconut Oil and Vitamin C crystals, mix them together in the palm of my hands and massage it into my facial skin. How much you ask??? The best consistency I found was when I put 1/4 tsp. crystals into an ounce of coconut oil. Loved the consistency, but this experiment created an awful odor when left in my cabinet. Which led my mind to the stability of it. Probably not great. Fresh is best any ways, right? So now I usually do about a tablespoon of oil with about  1/16 tsp. of crystals. You will come up with a scrub type mixture. Massage it in, including your neck.  Feel the burn, but not too much. If it feels too grainy, add some more oil.  How excercised your skin is, in the areas of exfoliation, will dictate how long you leave it on. I prefer to sleep with it on.  Beginner’s: wash it off after about 20 minutes. Then massage on more pure coconut oil. Your skin will glow when powered with this immunity booster, my love: Vitamin C.

Peace from the Lash Lady.

Eyes: the window to your soul.

September 20, 2009

They say your eyes are the window to your soul. What if your eyes look tired and you are not? Thank the heavens for concealer. Eyelash extensions do wonders, mascara comes in at a close second. But sometimes all of today’s modern cosmetic miracles just can not cover what time and genetics bring about. What’s a lady to do??? I have seen an amazing cosmetic procedure called an Eye Pinch. I say amazing and I mean amazzzzzzzzing. The incision is made right along the lash line of the bottom lid. The loose skin, which creates the saggy bags, is snipped and sewn up just right. The scar fades right into the lash line and can NOT be noticed. Best part…the procedure can be done under local anesthesia. The recovery time is rapido, too. No one will know what you have been up to, just that you look marvelously rested:)

Peace from the Lash Lady.

Eyelash Extensions.

September 15, 2009

Eyelash Extensions. When I first learned how to do them, everyone was saying, “Huh???” Back then we wondered if the trend would last, and now I must say…I feel they are here to stay. I receive the same questions regularly, “Will they damage my lashes? Do they hurt? How long will they last?” The answers I give to all of my clients is this, “What people experience is highly individualized.” What one woman feels, the other does not. How long they will last is greatly up to how well you baby your beautiful lashes. General rule of thumb…NO rubbing, touching, pulling. Avoid any activity which involves rubbing, touching, pulling. Any rubbing, touching, pulling will diminish the length of your lash life cycle. Lashes have a life cycle??? Your body has 3 phases of hair growth and your lashes are no different. If you pull out a lash, then you will have to wait for the follicle to produce the next lash, which may be way down there. So again, no rubbing, touching, pulling. This is where the damage could come in, partly. If you land in the lap of a lash extensionist who uses way too much glue–you are in trouble. Yes, there will be damage. Yes, they will hurt. And they will not last long because they most likely will be falling out in huge clumps. If you have heard these rumors, they are true.  At The Lash Spa we have seem some doozy lash jobs walking through the door in search of someone to fix the mess. My business runs off of personal referrals. If you are wanting to try lash extensions, my advice is ask around. Get a referral from a happy client, ask your hair stylist, ask your nail girl.

Let’s talk positives… Waking up in the morning with gorgeous lashes, not having to remove mascara at the end of a long day, someone commenting on how rested you look or asking if you have had some work done. Or maybe someone may look at you knowing something is different, but just can’t say what. My favorite: shaving down my morning routine. I am notorious for taking way too long to get ready. Eyelash extensions take it way down. I have had clients tell me that their husbands love me for what I have done to make their wives get ready so fast. I have even heard a few times that women are actually WAITING for their hubby’s to finish grooming. Historically, I think that may have been unheard of.

Yes, they do require new habits to be formed. But isn’t changing things up good for the soul? I can’t explain the difference I see in a woman’s face after she has received her first new set. I love lash virgins. They are always filled with anxiety, then when everything is said and done, and they look in the mirror, I almost always see a look of amazement. Those are the moments I think, “I love my job.”

Peace from the Lash Lady.

At The Lash Spa in Dana Point, CA we hear beauty secrets from some of Southern California’s most beautiful women. As an Orange County native, I have been blessed with some gorgeous friends and I must say, mother.  One might think I am prejudiced. You have to be pretty to be in her circle??? Not so, so I guess this blog was just meant to be– Beauty Confessions of Cali’s Finest. I promise to share what I hear on any given day…the newest long lasting lip gloss, the perfect polish, the latest laser, the best in nip/tucks, an amazing hair spray or shine, an unreal shampoo or the best in body shimmers.  I hear it all and now it’s time to share. Feel free to fill us in on your new faves, as well. We would love to know what makes you look soo fine:)