Thursday, November 07, 2014
Did you know that we have forty facial muscles and about 50,000 muscle contractions every single day? Expression lines and wrinkles tend to form in similar ways across all skin types and ethnicities, with the most common areas being the horizontal lines on the forehead, the “crow’s feet” between the eyebrows, fine lines around the eyes, and the marionette or “smile lines” that extend from the corners of the nose to the corners of the mouth. When these lines start to appear and how severe they are in appearance varies widely depending on genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Before, it was believed that aging was determined 50/50 by genes and the environment. Now, with UV rays, pollution, and free radicals in an environment that is more toxic overall, it is believed that external aging factors amount to about 75%, while intrinsic aging amounts to about 25%.
Friday, November 01, 2014
Microdermabrasion is a skin resurfacing facial treatment that is a tried and true staple on many spa menus and is extremely effective in treating acne scars, pigmentation, sun damage, uneven skin tone, and expression lines. During the treatment, the aesthetician uses a hand held device that looks like a pen with a tube attached. Sterile crystal beads are gently “blown” across the skin, smoothing away layers of dead and damaged skin cells section by section, and revealing more youthful, healthy, and even toned skin in the process.
Friday, August 09, 2015
One product that is often ignored or skipped is the toner. Some may feel that it’s an unnecessary step, and others may not see the point of it at all. Well, it’s actually an important part of a good skincare regime. A toner will balance out your skin’s pH level after cleansing (pH levei is the level of acidity- the higher a pH is, the more acidic, the lower, the more alkaline, with 7 being neutral) and neutralize any mineral or dirt particles left on your skin from tap water. Toner is especially important if you do not have a water softening system in your home, as tap water can dry out skin and strip away its’ natural oils.
A potent acne fighter
Friday, July 19, 2015
The double whammy of scorching temperatures and steam room-like humidity may have resulted in some unwelcome visitors: red, blotchy skin and acne. If you are experiencing heat related breakouts or have oily or acne-prone skin year round, the best weapon in your skincare arsenal is a gel moisturizer with salicylic and glycolic acids. Salicylic acid is one of the most commonly used acne fighting ingredients- it is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that controls the production of acne causing bacteria and regulates sebum production. Look for a product with a 2% concentration of salicylic acid, the maximum amount approved by the FDA.
Wednesday, July 17, 2015
There is nothing quite like a facial done in a spa by an aestheician’s expert hands. However, if time and/or money is an issue, a quick at home version can work wonders as well. A 20 minute mask once or twice a week can give your skin the boost it needs.
Good skincare habits
Wednesday, May 08, 2015
‘Tis the season for spring cleaning and to change up your skincare routine if your haven’t already. We no longer need the heavy moisturizers and oils that we used during the winter months, and it’s a good time to consider changing some of the bad habits that we so often see that may be preventing you from having a clear, glowing complexion.
What do I use first?
Wednesday, April 24, 2015
So many products, so little time, so many opportunities to mix up the order in which to use them. If you have been applying serum after your moisturizer, no need to panic, it’s far from a disaster. When new clients come in for a facial, we will write out a skincare precription sheet for them to take home, laying out step by step their morning and evening routines. Simple, right? It may seem a bit intimidating at first, but I assure you it will all become second nature quickly.
Sunscreens: Chemical vs. Mineral
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Now is the time of year when we start to slowly emerge from winter hibernation (and it has been a very long, harsh winter here in Toronto) and look forward to spring, and of course, summer. While it may not quite feel like spring yet, the warm weather and the outdoor activities that come along with it will be beckoning soon enough. Now is a great time of year to go through your vanity table or bathroom cabinets and take stock of what you have. Make lists of what you will need and toss out old products that have been sitting around for awhile. This is especially true of that all- important product- sunscreen. Simply put, last year’s sunscreen (if you still have it) is not going to do you any good at this point. All products have an expiration date once they are opened and exposed to air, light, and bacteria. Sunscreens in particular break down extremely fast once they are opened. However, as I have mentioned before, this should not be an issue. If you are using as much sun protection as needed, every single day, you will finish that bottle long before it loses its’ effectiveness.
Dry skin cures
Thursday, January 17, 2015
It is absolutely freezing today and we have had many clients coming in complaining about dry, flaky, and irritated winter skin. If you spend a lot of time outdoors skiing, skating, or doing other winter activities, there are a few things you can do to prevent irritation and windburn. For starters, exfoliation is key during this time of year. We all seem to develop a layer of dead, flaky skin on the face and body, and getting rid of that first will make a huge difference in helping creams and oils penetrate the skin and maximize their efficacy. For convenience, I keep my body scrub in the shower, as a reminder to use it on a regular basis. For those who like all-in-one products, a scrub and shower gel combo product will get the job done in a flash. Slather on your body lotion or oil as soon as you step out of the shower, as skin will absorb the product more readily while it’s still damp.
Wednesday, December 12, 2014
The arrival of winter means dry, flaky, easily irritated and dehydrated skin on face and body. The double whammy of frigid temperatures and harsh winds outdoors and cranked up heaters indoors can take a serious toll on the skin, but not to worry, there are plenty of things we can do to ensure that skin doesn’t take such a beating and maintains its’ health and vitality.
Holiday survival guide
Friday, December 07, 2014
‘Tis the season for holiday parties and entertaining, it’s also the season for…weight gain and looking exhausted. No one wants to spend the holidays counting calories while there are so many delicious things to eat, and who doesn’t love an excuse to break out the sparkly party dresses and smoky eye makeup? Here are a few easy ideas and tricks to keep in mind to have you feeling and looking your best throughout the busy holiday season and into January.
How to conceal a blemish
Thursday, November 29, 2014
No matter how good we are with skincare, everyone gets the odd blemish or two, especially around that time of the month. It’s nothing to panic about, but if blemishes appear before a special event or job interview, there are a few tricks you can use to hide and treat the breakouts so that there isn’t any scarring.
Perfume: an overview, part one
Friday, November 16, 2014
There is something intensely personal and sensual about perfume, and it has an amazing ability to evoke memories and experiences and remind us of people that we are or were close to. How many of us think of our mothers, aunts, and grandmothers when we wear Chanel No. 5, Dior Poison, or Fracas? Whether you’ve been wearing the same scent for years, switch with the seasons, or are constantly on the lookout for the hottest, newest scent, fragrance is always the perfect finishing touch to a woman’s beauty rituals.
Friday, November 09, 2014
If there is one treatment we offer at the spa that is suitable for all skin types and conditions and all ages, it would be our oxygen facial. As we age, our cellular metabolism slows down and it takes longer and longer for skin cells to complete a full life cycle. For someone in their early to mid twenties, it takes about 28 days for skin cells to complete a cycle. By the time someone is in their 40s and 50s, it will take significantly longer for cells to complete their cycle, resulting in dull, dry, and lackluster skin. Lifestyle and environmental aggresors such as smoking and pollution can compound the issue. So what’s a girl to do? An oxygen blast can immediately “wake up” the skin and address multiple skin concerns.
Friday, November 02, 2014
Our eyes are the first place to show signs of age, and requires special care. This is because the skin around the eyes is extremely thin compared to the rest of the face, and daily wear and tear from blinking, reading, staring at screens, and so on takes its toll. The skin around the eyes has specific concerns that do not apply to the rest of the face, such as dark circles and puffiness. Eye products also have to be specifically formulated to not cause stinging or irritation around the delicate eye area, and to be safe for contact lens wearers. For these reasons, a seperate eye cream or gel is absolutely essential for any woman past her early 20s. Prevention is key!
Friday, October 26, 2014
It seems that BB creams are suddenly everywhere these days. What’s all the fuss about? Well, they are marketed as an all-in-one product that can treat everything from fine lines and wrinkles to dehydration. The “BB” stands for blemish balm or beauty balm and was originated in Germany by dermatologists for their patients to use after cosmetic procedures. They have been wildly popular in Asia for several years and have just recently been introduced to the North American market.
Hand and nail care
Thursday, October 18, 2014
Our hands take a beating on a daily basis and are sadly too often neglected. Cooking, cleaning, typing, texting, and sun exposure all contribute to wear and tear, and nothing ruins a manicure faster than washing your hands a million times a day with ultra-drying public washroom hand soap. However, there are some easy, simple things we can do to keep our hands looking youthful and pretty.
Think pink: breast cancer awareness
Friday, October 12, 2014
October is breast cancer awareness month. Along with regular self exams, there are some easy lifestyle changes that we can all make to help reduce your risk.
Retinol: wake up to younger looking skin
Friday, October 05, 2014
Retinol is a form of vitamin A and is one of the most effective and powerful anti-aging ingredients on the market. It produces results that are immediate and long-lasting, visibly diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and smoothing out those annoying tiny bumps that tend to build up around the nose, forehead, and chin. It is designed to be used only at night, as it has a mild exfoliating effect, thus making the skin more sensitive to the sun. Sunscreen is a must when using any product with retinol. Retinol is a more volatile ingredient and should be packaged in a pump bottle to protect it from air and light.
When to toss your products
Friday, September 28, 2015
I know I’m not the only one with an overly crowded vanity table/bathroom counter/bathroom shelf. Sometimes we buy new products and add them to the collection before using up or throwing out the older ones that have been sitting around for awhile. This can lead to a bit more clutter than I’d like, but I understand that women can sometimes be reluctant to throw out older products because of how much money has been spent on them, even if it’s a product you didn’t end up using. All makeup and skincare products do have expiry dates, and beauty companies have been helping women out by putting a little symbol on most packages indicating how long the product is good for (it looks like a jar with the lid off, with the number of months, 6M, for example). To help keep better track of things, sometimes I will place a little sticker on the product with the date the product was opened. I find this helps me have a better idea of how quickly I go through certain products, and it also serves as a reminder to use up the products that I’ve had for awhile.
SPF numbers: how much protection is enough?
Friday, September 21, 2015
We all know by now that we have to wear sunscreen every day, wherever we happen to be in the world, and regardless of weather. Even on gray, overcast, or rainy days when the sun seems to be absent, harmful UVA and UVB rays penetrate through the ozone layer, wreaking havoc on our skin. Another thing that we should be aware of is the reflected glare of the sun’s powerful rays off of snow and water, creating a double whammy of potentially damaging sun exposure.
Friday, September 14, 2014
One of the areas of skincare that we are asked most often about is serum- what they are exactly, how should they be used, are they effective, and so on. In a nutshell, serums are a hybrid betwen water and gel that are packed with active ingredients and can be layered on top of one another underneath your moisturizer. They absorb more quickly and into a deeper layer of the skin than a moisturizer. Simply put, they are the star performer in your skincare regime and will deliver the most bang for your buck.
Autumn skin care
Thursday, September 06, 2014
With the temperature dropping and fall just around the corner, now is a good opportunity to take stock of your current skincare routine and update it as needed. Whenever the seasons change, clients will tell us they notice subtle changes in their skin-more whiteheads, breakouts, and oilier skin overall during the summer months, for example. Once fall arrives, some may find that they need to give the lightweight gel moisturizer, clay mask, and acne spot treatment a break.
Tuesday, September 04, 2015
One of the comments that we hear most often from clients is ” I have sensitive skin.” They then proceed to tell us about a product they used that resulted in any of the following: a rash, redness, bumps, breakouts, flakiness, dryness, oiliness, etc. The thing is, irritation caused by a product does not mean that you have sensitive skin. It just means that you used the wrong product. I am always amazed by the frequency in which we hear this complaint, as I can tell immediately that the woman complaining about her sensitive skin isn’t sensitive at all. Sensitive skin is nowhere near as common as women would believe. If that were the case, the cosmetics industry would be flooded with products that claim to treat sensitivity, rosacea, and redness. As a quick scan of the drugstore or department store shelves reveal, these type of products are few and far between. Text
Skincare 101 Part 2
Thursday, August 30, 2015
Here is a more detailed, step-by-step breakdown of my earlier post.
Thursday, August 23, 2014
With all the skincare and makeup products on the market today, the number of choices that women have can be overhwelming and intimidating. So how many products do you really need? The answer will depend on your age and skin type, but a standard routine for a woman past her teens is (in order of use) cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer, eye cream, and sunblock, twice a day (obviously, sunblock is only needed in the morning). Not so intimidating, right?.
Friday, August 03, 2015
The closest thing to youth in a bottle
Friday, August 03, 2015
In our quest for the perfect complexion we often look for the newest, cutting edge skincare products and clinical treatments. These offerings can utilize ingredients from a wide range of sources: from nature (apple stem cells, marine algae, etc) to what some genius chemists have cooked up in the lab (peptides) to age fighting factors that already exist in our DNA (clock genes).
Sometimes, however, in our mad quest for the newest, brightest, and let’s admit, whatever comes in the best packaging, we forget perhaps what is one of the most important, if not the most important product in every woman’s skincare arsenal: sunscreen. Yes, we’ve heard it all a million times before, from dermatologists, aestheticians, and our own mothers, but the fact is that many women either do not use sunscreen as often as we should (365 days a year, regardless of weather) or do not apply enough of the product. Simply put, a woman could spend a fortune on skincare products, facials, and trips to the dermatologist and then counteract all of it just by neglecting sunscreen. It is simply the easiest and most effective way to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays while preventing premature skin aging and skin cancer. With the endless number of sunscreens available on the market today, at every price point, there just aren’t any reasons to skip or skimp on sunscreen anymore.
To make things even easier, cosmetic companies have added SPF to moisturizers, primers, and foundations. These are a fast and convenient way to get your daily dose of SPF, and they are great for superbusy women who don’t want to spend a lot of time primping in the mornings. Something is better than nothing! However, women more likely than not will not use enough of their foundation or moisturizer to provide the level of sun protection that is indicated on the bottle. For example, your foundation’s label may say it has an SPF 20, but if you are merely applying a thin layer on portions of your face, your actual level of sun protection could be as low as a 6 or a 4. In an ideal world (if only!) and for an optimum level of protection, a sunscreen should be applied after moisturizer, and before makeup. Any brand and price point will do, as long as it has a minimum SPF of 15 (30 is ideal) and broad spectrum protection (meaning it protects from both UVA and UVB rays).