ssAs many of you know, I am a nerd 🤓 for the science behind skincare products! So let's dive into some behind the scenes info to help you be a more informed shopper at the cosmetic counter.
Today we are going to talk about Niacinamide. Also known as Vitamin B3, it is a water soluble molecule that is suitable for all skin types including sensitive and rosacea and can even be used around the eye area. What makes Niacinamide a shining star ⭐️ in skincare is that it has a benefits for just about everyone!
-Balance Oil Production (acne prevention)
-Improve Barrier Function (desensitizing and environmental protection)
-Protects Against Water Loss 💦 (helps dehydration)
-Softens Fine Lines and Wrinkles ( anti-aging)
-Improve Skin Tone ( helps laxity and “orange peel” look caused by sun damage)
There is practically nothing this magical ingredient doesn’t do! It’s not generally recommended to use with Vitamin C so be sure to use them at different times in your routine. I would recommend using Vitamin C during the day for it's anti oxidant and sun protection features and save Niacinamide for evening when your skin is repairing itself while you sleep. This is a particularly good routine for someone tackling hyperpigmentation. You can find this miracle ingredient in symphony with several other well know lightening ingredients in our Fading Gel. This product uses Niacinamide, Kojic Acid, Alpha Arbutin, Daisy Flower Extract and Glucosamine to help fight pigmentation from every angle!
If you are just looking to fill a gap in your skincare routine with some Niacinamide, I am a huge fan of the Niacinamide Powder you can get from a company called The Ordinary. They create clinical strength formulas that mostly just target one skincare concern at a time and are super affordable to boot!
Do you have questions about other skincare products and ingredients? I've got you covered! Put your comments below and I'll make it a point to do some research and get all of your questions answered! If you are curious about a particular product on the market or you have no idea what that ingredient is, take a picture of the ingredient label and I'll dive in and tell you what I think.
Why is is that men and children always have the most beautiful, long eyelashes and us women who really want them never seem to be able to achieve the same look no matter how many coats of primer and mascara we put on?!? So not fair! But I'm here to tell you that that voluminous look you are yearning for isn't out of reach thanks to the development of Lash Extensions!
What is this latest Lash Extension trend all about? What’s the big deal?
Let’s start with “What are Lash Extensions? “ Lash extensions are single strand false lashes applied one or many at a time to your natural lash to create an enhanced look. Even though they are commonly described as Mink or Silk, they are usually neither. Lash extensions are almost all made out of a PBT fiber that is heat molded into the desired length and curl your want. (Insider Info, all synthetic lash extensions are made and placed on those perfectly straight strips by hand. Whoa! Hats off to those factory workers!) Mink lashes are my Go-to because of their lighter more natural look. Mink lashes often have a matte sheen and taper for the entire length of the lash. This keeps their weight low and makes them the perfect candidate for volume lashing. Silk lashes on the other hand don’t taper as much or as quickly and usually have a glossier finish. These are a more practical choice for Classic lashes. On occasion a lash stylist will use real mink fur for extensions, but they more expressive, they don’t maintain their curl as well and they are a concern for people with animal allergies. Not an ideal choice for general use in a salon.
Now that we are clear about their composition, let’s talk about their size, shape and styling. Lash extensions come in several different diameters with the smallest usually around .03 millimeters in diameter all the way up to .25 mm. FYI. I dont recommend getting extensions thicker than .15 mm because the additional weight associated with these larger diameters is likely to be too heavy and therefore cause damage to your natural lashes. The thicker diameter lashes are used for Classic Lashes and applied in a one to one ratio. As the diameter shrinks, the weight decreases and the number of extension your natural lash can hold safely goes up. .03 diameter lashes are used for the most Volume and the style is usually described as Mega Volume. The diameters in between are used to create varying amounts of density to the lash line to create a custom look for each client.
Lash extensions are also categorized based on their curl. J and B curl being the least curled and CC and D curls usually being the most curled. Less curl is used for more natural looks and more curl will pump up the drama. Sometimes curls are mixed throughout the lash set to help open the eye or add a little lift to a downward facing eye shape. There is even an L Curl Lash that begins straight and then starts to curl about half way down the shaft. This is a good choices for many Asian eye shapes because their lashes tend to be very straight and often point downward and not outward. L Curl can also be used to create a super edgy and contemporary look for just about anyone daring enough to try!
Now I know what you are thinking. Aren't Lash Extension heavy and damaging to your natural lashes? And the answer is "NO"! Expertly applied lashes are not damaging at all. So long as the stylist is applying lashes that are no more than 3-4 mm longer than your natural lash for a standard .15 mm Classic Lash Extension or an equivalent weight in another smaller diameter Lash or Volume fan, you won't hardly even know you are wearing Extensions. Experienced stylists make sure that your natural lash is perfectly isolated before adhering an extension to ensure no lashes are stuck together. This prevents any unnecessary pulling on the roots of your natural lashes as they grow. If lashes are regularly stuck together and are constantly being tugged on, you can experience what is called Traction Alopecia. If this happens, your natural lash may never grow back. It's just not worth it to get cheap, poorly applied lashes if in 6 months you are hardly going to have any lashes left to adhere extension to anyway. Just don't do it! If your natural lashes are only 6 mm long and your stylist is talking about giving you 15mm extensions, RUN! Don't be afraid to ask question about styling, lash health or any other question you may have with your stylist. If they don't seem to be able to give your clear answers, seek out another lash artist that can!
Now you can see that there are SO many options available with Lash Extensions to help you achieve a custom look that will accentuate each individual's eye shape. Depending on the look you are going for, an initial application of Extensions can take up to 2 hours or more. On average people lose 3-5 natural lashes per eye per day. Because of this natural lash shedding you will need to come in for Fill appointments approximately every 3 weeks. Fill appointments are quite a bit shorter and usually clock in at about an hour, give or take, depending on the rate your lashes shed and the number of weeks between appointments. Most people love their regular "Lash Naps" and embrace the opportunity to slow down and take a minute for self care. When else do you get to fall asleep and wake up gorgeous? That's what I call beauty sleep!
So what are you waiting for? Go get the lashes you've always dreamed of!
Still have questions about Lashes? Leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon a possible!
Do you wake up every morning dreading looking in the mirror in fear of discovering yet ANOTHER huge, painful pimple. Or worse, multiple new cysts every day. If this is you, I hear you! It WAS me when I was a teenager. My face was always sore, I was embarrassed of my skin and I was a picker! (How do you think I got into this business?!?) It was so bad I eventually went on Accutane. Knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn't have taken it, but as a self conscious teen, I would try just about anything to make it stop. Now that I am armed with more information I am going to share my top picks for at-home treatment devices that deliver real results.
#1- High Frequency Current-
High Frequency Current works by sending electricity through an argon gas filled electrode, thereby creating Ozone around the tip. Ozone is pure oxygen (O3) and guess who hates Oxygen? Acne Bacteria! High Frequency current effectively kills surface bacteria, stimulates circulation and lymphatic drainage to help detoxify the skin, and enhances product penetration. Now that's what I call an Acne Fighting Machine!
#2- Blue Light Therapy
Blue Light Therapy is a more recent technology that is used to decrease inflammation, particularly in Cystic Acne, and kill Acne Bacteria. Blue Light has a wavelength of 400-480 nm which allows it to reach just into the pores of the skin. This stimulates specialized cells to destroy P. Acne Bacteria cell membranes, thereby killing acne bacteria. This treatment is recommended to be used 2-3 times per week for peak results in about 4 or 5 weeks.
#3- Ultrasonic Scrubber
Ultrasonic Scrubbers send super fast vibrations through a blade like tip. When passed over wet skin it vibrates the water molecules so fast it essentially "power washes" the surface of your face. It is powerful enough to blast off excess oil and dead skin cells, and in the hands of a skilled professional, can be used to extract the most stubborn blackheads without having to squeeze. Can you feel the power?
#4- Ultrasonic Facial Brush
Much like the Ultrasonic Scrubber, these facial brushes use incredibly fast vibrations in conjunction with your cleanser to fully remove all traces of makeup, oil and debris from the skin. Ultrasonic Facial Brushes run the gamut in price, but don't be fooled. More expensive doesn't really mean better. The expensive brushes don't prove to be much if any, more effective than an oscillating brush. For more sensitive skin types I recommend one with a silicone brush head to avoid aggravating any inflamed skin conditions such as Cystic Acne or Rosacea.
As alway, don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you may have about how to use these awesome little gadgets and where to find them. Comment below and I'll get back to you ASAP!
In todays world we are busy! Well... Maybe not TODAY since we are locked in our houses in quarantine during the Corona Virus Pandemic. But, you know, usually. Between crazy work hours, kids and spouses at home and trying to occasionally have a social life, there isn't much time left for taking care of ourselves. We go to cosmetic stores and shop online for a miracle elixir to make us feel and look younger, but the truth... For ANY PRODUCT ON THE MARKET to do anything and show results, you have to commit AT LEAST a month to using it. You notice I say, "At Least". Some products, particularly those used for skin lightening, take more time than that. Sometimes 8-12 Weeks! Putting a lotion or serum on your face twice isn't going to make any remarkable difference in your skin no matter what the package tells you. Let consider the natural life cycle of a skin cell. As a child it only takes about 5 days for a new skin cell to start in the dermis and make it's way to the surface, but as we age this process slows. By our 30's and 40's this process creeps up to about 30 days and as we get into our 50's and beyond it could take upwards of 60 or more days. So lets pretend that our skincare products actually get all the way to the dermis (spoiler alert, most skincare products don't actually get this far). Once it reaches this layer of the skin it must enact some sort of change on these deep cells and then you have to wait long enough for that cell to come forward before you can see the changes. And if you want to see any lasting change, you will need to continue to use this products for enough time to change your cellular programing.
There is a good bit of commitment required of you when you pick that random product off the shelf, or decide to try whatever your bestie has recommended. This day and age, most of us either can't or won't dedicate that sort of time and effort into their skincare routine. I applaud all of you who are bringing your A-Game, but for those of you that aren't, here is where in office treatments can help. By coming to see a professional for a skincare treatment you can jump start your regimen so you can optimize your time and start to see results from your products faster. Whether it's a Deep Cleansing Facial to stop your acne in it's tracks or a few Microneedling sessions to combat your fine lines and wrinkles, Estheticians and Certified Skin Specialist will get you moving down the path toward real results.
A Classic European Facial at Holladay Spa consists of deep cleansing with skin type appropriate cleansers followed by Enzymatic and Ultrasonic Exfoliation. This preps the skin for easy removal of blackheads and excess sebum in a process called extractions. Midway through your Facial we make a shift from "removal" to "infusion". Because we have stripped away all of those dead skin cells and debris, your skin will be more receptive to the ingredients applied afterward. This means you will get the best absorption possible from skincare products both in the facial and in the days that follow. We now apply Toner and Serum, followed by a water based hydrating mask that is meant to work like a conductive gel for Galvanic Current and Ultrasound. Both of these technologies allow for maximum penetration of skincare products to deliver ingredients deeper into the skin than they could naturally absorb on their own. We finish every Facial with Serums and Moisturizer that are meant to target your specific skin concerns. They are applied using specialized facial massage movements to increase circulation and oxygenation, improve lymphatic drainage, and lift and soften expression lines. Not only will your skin be softer and more springy when we are done, but you'll be walking on air!
If your skincare concerns go a bit deeper than maintenance, you might consider a treatment that goes a bit deeper too. For that, you are going to see our in house Registered Nurse, Micro-needling Expert, and Cosmetic Tattoo Artist, Sophia Abbott, for a Collagen Induction Treatment. As in a Classic European Facial, the client's skin is cleansed with an appropriate cleanser for their skin type, but the similarities stop there. Following cleansing, numbing cream is applied to ensure there is no discomfort during the treatment. After the numbing has taken effect, a digital Micro-needling device it run over the treatment area creating micro-channels in the skin to allow treatment serums to penetrate all the way down to the dermis layer. The most common serums include some combination of Hyaluronic Acid, Amino Acids, Peptides, and Epidermal Growth Factor. Once the entire face has been treated, soothing masks and LED Light Therapy are used to calm the skin and encourage the body's natural healing response to create more Collagen. Though Micro-needling is often referred to as Collagen Induction therapy, it is used to treat much more than that. Many people have positive results with skin lightening as a reaction to the rapid exfoliation that happens a few days after the treatment and the application of lightening serums during the treatment. Micro-needling is also used to smooth the appearance of Acne Scars, minimize the look of pores, and soften fine lines and wrinkles.
Positive changes can be seen in as little as 1 treatment, but best results are achieved after about 6 sessions, 4-6 weeks apart. Collagen Induction Therapy isn't exactly an instant fix but you will get far superior results compared to even the most expensive serums on the market no matter how many months you commit to using them.
As you can see, skincare products all have their place and nothing will replace your regular daily skincare routine. But if you are trying to make significant changes in the appearance of your skin, sometimes you need to call in the experts!
Stay tuned to our social media pages to find out how to get
$50 Off your 1st Collagen Induction Treatment with Sophia!
Hyalu.... What?!?! What is Hyaluronic Acid and why is everyone in skincare talking about it?
Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring compound in the human body. Much of it resides in our joints and other tissues to keep them lubricated and hydrated. Hyaluronic Acid is also very prevalent in both the dermal (deep skin layer) and epidermal (superficial layer) layers our skin, making up about 50% of our body's total HA. How does it work, you ask? Hyaluronic Acid is one of natures most hydrophilic molecules, which means it LOVES water!! HA can hold up to 1000 times its' weight in water, making it an excellent moisturizer. It does this job by capturing and absorbing water in its' jello-like grasp as it tries to evaporate from the skin.
Unfortunately, like every other mechanism in the body, Hyaluronic Acid and Collagen production slows as we age. If these precious Collagen Fibers aren't constantly being bathed in water they dry up and lose elasticity leaving skin looking rough and saggy. Here is where HA Skincare products come to the rescue! Well formulated products can penetrate into the epidermis and replace the Hyaluronic Acid production that the body can't keep up with. This will help keep your collagen healthy and happy, plump up fine lines and wrinkles, and moisturize the driest of skin.
Though HA can really make dry skin sing, it is also beneficial for oily skin. It is commonly misunderstood the difference between Dry Skin and Dehydrated Skin. Any skin type can be dehydrated or lacking in water. The body's only defense against water loss if the natural Hyaluronic Acid stores aren't enough is to produce more oil to try to seal the water in. Dehydration is often the culprit when adults claim to have oily skin. There are actually very few people over 30 who naturally have oily skin. It is almost always dehydration causing oil glads to over act. Putting water back into the skin allows oil production to normalize for a more balanced complexion. Dry Skin, on the other hand, doesn't produce enough oil to prevent water loss which makes getting moisture into the skin so much more difficult. Not only do you need more Hyaluronic Acid to hold water deep in the skin, you need some kind of occlusive agent like oils and butters to help seal it all in. Depending on how sensitive your skin is and it's propensity to break out, you may have to play with a few moisturizers until you find the right blend of oils that's right for you.
Be wary when purchasing Hyaluronic Acid Products though. Not all HA products can actually absorb to a depth that allows them to do any good. Hyaluronic Acid is made up of potentially thousands of carbohydrate molecules linked together. If these sugar chains aren't broken up to an appropriate size or attached to some kind of delivery molecule they will never do more than sit on the surface of you skin. So be skeptical of an HA product that seems too good to be true. At the very least, ask more questions before you buy.
At Holladay Spa, we offer many products with this coveted molecule. At the top of the list is our HA+Collagen Serum. This powerhouse uses hyaluronic filling sphere technology to get the HA right as deep into your skin as possible. It is blended with Marine Collagen for an extra moisture boost and Multi Peptides to encourage new, healthy collagen production. This oil free formula is a great Anti-Aging addition to any skincare routine, including Sensitive and Oily Skin Types.
Leave us a review and get 10% off your next online purchase! We are sure you will love it as much as we do!
Well, the truth is, the most helpful version of Vitamin C where skin is concerned is Ascorbic Acid. But it is also the most volatile and unstable form of Vitamin C. This means that it oxidizes and becomes inert very easily and therefore isn’t offering any benefit to your skin anymore. Not to mention, it can be a bit irritating to some skin types because of the low ph that is required to make it absorb and perform optimally. So laboratory scientists started to add Magnesium, Phosphorus, etc to adjust the formula to a less irritating level. But by making the molecule larger you are also effecting how well it can penetrate. If it can’t reach the depths of the skin where it can do the most good, then what’s the point? If you just care about UV protection, then sitting on top of the skin isn’t such a huge deal, but if you want it to help rebuild collagen and lighten hyperpigmentation, you are going to have to go a little deeper. The only form of Vitamin C that your body recognizes and knows what to do with is regular old Ascorbic Acid, which means in order for these other forms of Vitamin C to work the body has to be able to convert the derivative back into Ascorbic Acid before it can achieve any of the desirable results. Some of the forms do absorb and convert but some of them have no evidence to support that they do this. And how is the average consumer supposed know which ones are best? Is it Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate or Ascorbyl Tetra Isopalmitate?
Buyers Beware, many products on the market only put a small amount of active compounds in their product just so they can make an ingredient claim on the label. For Ascorbic Acid to achieve maximum absorption it needs to be between 8% and 20%. More than 20% and it doesn’t actually absorb as well and increases in irritability. So when searching the back of your serum bottle, look for your active ingredients to be in the middle to top half of the list. If they are lingering down in the bottom somewhere, there is practically no effective concentration in the formula. Ascorbic Acid also needs to be at a ph of about 3.5 which is quite low. If other ingredients in the mix bring up the ph the Vitamin C won’t perform as claimed. Only water soluble formulas have a ph at all. No Water = No ph problems. There are some waterless formulas out there that make the ph a non issue so be sure to check labels. But be careful of oil based formulas. When oil soluble Vitamin C's come in contact with sunlight they become toxic! Pre-made products also need to be packaged properly to keep the ingredients away from light an air. Both will speed up the oxidation process making the Vitamin C and potentially any other antioxidants or active ingredients inactive. When this oxidation process takes place, Ascorbic Acid will turn a Yellow/orange color. In order to disguise this reaction, many manufacturers will add colorant to the product so you won’t see the gradual color change taking place as your serum becomes less and less effective. Given the volatility of Ascorbic Acid you can see why they might do this. A product may sit in a warehouse for weeks before it makes its' way to a retail store shelf. And then how long did it sit there before you brought it home? All of this means that commercially manufactured Vitamin C and other antioxidant serums should ideally be filled into airless pump bottles of a dark color. Unfortunately, rarely do I actually see them packaged this way.
As you can see, there are a lot of criteria that need to be met for a commercial Vitamin C Serums to really deliver the results that you are hoping for and it requires an awful lot of label reading and ingredient knowledge. But did you know you can avoid all of the confusion and save a boat load by making your own at home? With a few simple ingredients you can make your own small batches of Vitamin C Serum to achieve maximum results for pennies compared to store bought.
What you’ll need:
1/2-3/4 tsp Ascorbic Acid Powder
1 tsp deionized or distilled water
(for best results use deionized water to keep the solution
as stable and efficacious as possible but distilled is ok)
1 tsp glycerin
1 glass or ceramic bowl
Non-metal mixing utensils
Dark Colored storage bottle
Ph test strip- optional
Mix all ingredients in Glass bowl until Vitamin C powder is dissolved. Store in dark colored container Airless pumps are best but because of the small batch size, Dark Brown or Blue Dropper bottles are ok. Use within 3-5 days. As I said in the article above, Vitamin C is incredibly volatile and therefore will oxidize and lose efficacy very quickly. If testing ph, aim for about 3.5. For sensitive skin types, mix solution with less Ascorbic Acid powder and work up to a stronger concentration.
What topics would you like to hear about next? Comment Below and I'll do my best to get you the REAL Science Based Facts about your skincare products that you are looking for!
,In early 2020, town after town began recommending "social distancing" as a means of slowing the spread of the deadly Corona Virus. Over time, recommendations turned into Governor demands to "shelter in place". Now, nearly all Non-Essential Businesses have been shut down and we are quarantining at home. As if "normal" life wasn't stressful enough, now we have the added chaos of cooped up kids and their deafening screams, or the loneliness of days and days alone. So how do we turn it all around? With a little self care, of course! Below I have put together some helpful tips and tricks to help you destress AND get your Glow On while you are trapped in your home.
Tip #1- Don't forget to wash your face
If you are like me, you probably haven’t put a stitch of makeup on since they told you to keep your distance from other people. If no one is going to be close enough to see me, what’s the point?! But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to wash your face. Over the course of the day your skin is constantly reacting to the environment, trying to protect you from the oxidative stress caused by pollution, the sun, and all sorts of harmful pathogens. Just because you can’t see how hard it’s working, doesn’t mean it isn’t. You may be a little lazier about your routines these days but at the very least, make sure you are washing the day away every evening. I recommend following up with a moisturizer with antioxidants to help your skin keep fighting those free radicals while you sleep. If the extra time at home is inspiring you to go the extra mile, consider doing a double cleanse. First with an Oil Cleanser to start to break down the pore clogging sebum and second with a water based cleanser to remove and residual oil cleanser and water soluble debris. PS. Water based does not necessarily mean foaming or bubbling cleanser. For sensitive and dry skin types, chose a Cream or Milk Cleanser, massage into damp but not wet skin for 60 Seconds and then rinse.
Tip #2- Get plenty of sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep the stress hormone cortisol increases in the body. Not only is cortisol partially responsible for a little extra weight gain (the quarantine potato chip consumption is responsible for the other half) but it also increases inflammation which can in turn cause flare ups in skin conditions like Acne, Rosacea, and Eczema. Since you have never had time on your hands like this before, don’t skimp on that Beauty Sleep!
Tip #3- Have fun with it!
We have all been stuck at home for weeks now. Some of us are ready to kill our families and some of us are feeling isolated. Whichever you are, you can use your skincare routine as an opportunity to inject some fun and joy into your life. If you are still working, that could mean ordering some new skincare products to play around with. There are some seriously adorable Korean Sheet masks out there that will surely put a smile on your face. If you aren’t working these days, like me, then you might consider more of a DIY approach. Nature is chocked full of powerful antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients if you know where to look! Check out this fun one I did with my kids!
Soothing Cucumber Mask
What you'll need:
2-3 inch length of Cucumber
1 tsp Honey
1 tsp Aloe Gel (preferably with no fragrance or alcohol)
Either 1tsp Avocado Oil for a Sheet Mask
OR 1/4 Fresh Smashed Avocado for Cream Mask
Gauze-like material if you are doing the Sheet Mask
How does it work?
I got my DIY Skincare Glow On!
Laura Has been an Esthetician since 2003, started working for herself in 2008 and took the leap into business ownership in 2018. She strives to bring you the truth about skincare and take the guess work out of your cosmetic purchases.