conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, especially through cleanliness.
When sitting down to write this article, I had to really stop and examine a few things, and think about why I chose to take it upon myself 12 years ago to advocate for bright, healthful skin and the practices surrounding it.
- Why do I consider facials to be a necessity, and not a luxury service like it’s traditionally been considered?
- How do you educate clients on how vital good skin hygiene is?
What stuck out to me the most in those two thoughts, was the word “hygiene”. Because that, in fact, is what good skin health is all about. Basic hygiene. Healthy skin is a basic hygiene standard, not a beauty standard.
In a society where self-care and strict hygiene practices seem to be normal, when did the cost of great skin only become available to people who had hundreds of dollars to spend at a fancy resort spa? Is it because we think that cleansing and moisturizing, are extravagant steps to take in our daily regimen, and the only time to carve out for those steps is when you’re on vacation and pampering yourself?
Not the case. Skin health is a necessity, because our skin is the largest functioning organ in and our on body, and is directly connected to ALL of the other organs in the body. Good, healthy skin is actually our first line of defense in protecting our overall health.
Now, the second question: how do you educate clients on the importance of this? I’ll make it easy. I’m going to bust out a good ol’ formula we learned long ago in beauty school, and one that I have used time and again as a skin care educator nowadays. It’s the six primary functions of our skin; how it affects the body, and it’s arranged in a cute acronym to make it easier to remember.
- P: Protection. Your skin protects harmful foreign invaders (smoke, pollution, unfiltered sun rays, etc.) from physically entering the body. Also keeps your vital organs locked up and from literally falling out of your body.
- A: Absorption. Your skin absorbs essential vitamins, nutrients, and botanicals to survive.
- S: Secretion: Your skin’s way of pushing out oil and sweat combined to form a protective barrier on your skin, making it less susceptible to environmental pollution damage.
- S: Sensation: Your skin’s way of determining heat/cold/pain/pressure.
- E: Excretion. Your skin’s way of pushing out excess amounts of salt or toxins that don’t need to be in your body.
- R: Regulation. Your skin’s way of maintaining your body’s core temperature.
All of these basic skin functions can be compromised due to poor skin health.
Some of the conditions I’ve seen in my career stemming from poor skin hygiene, include:
- Acne (an inflammatory disease, “zits”/”pimples”, can be caused by poor diet, genetics, environmental stress/pollution)
- Dry, scaly patches
- Uneven skin tone; red and flushed in some spots, dark circles under the eyes, even broken blood vessels
- Yeast infections (yes, on the face!)
- Sweat or oil gland disorders (producing too much oil, not enough, sweating profusely which can result in uneven skin tone, not sweating enough which can lead to internal infection or disease)
Are all of these conditions treatable? Yes, to some extent. Am I a doctor and able to diagnose conditions? No. But as a skin therapist, am I able to coach you, the client, on maintaining good basic skin health and taking your lifestyle and commitments into account when making recommendations? Absolutely. So, as a skin therapist, I perform facials to promote great health. Facials include cleansing, balancing, and massaging the skin with a variety of cost-effective products and timeless techniques to restore your skin to ultimate health.
It’s not all candles and aromatherapy and $350 face creams and painting egg whites on your face!
There’s a rhyme and a reason to what we do, and it’s a very holistic health approach that seems to resonate with the relatively common desire to improve self care habits. Next week, I’ll be rolling out a few ideas on how to maintain your skin, and I’ll be listing some of the lifestyle choices that can lend a hand in keeping those skin health results long-lasting. Prefer to speak about it in person as well?
With a promising season of lush greenery and fresh blooms around the corner, spring will present us with an opportunity to engage the tradition of renewal. It's a time to watch the natural world emerge, and to help ourselves do the same. In Portland, spring will bring back the lilacs and cherry trees, filling the city with color and a heady floral fragrance.
Also relevant this time of year: the need to detox and start thinking about an active spring and summer season ahead
In order to take full advantage of what the warmer seasons have to offer (more hiking, swimming, boating, gardening, picnicking, trips to the farms and farmer’s markets…), you’ll need to be in your best physical shape and health.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what makes me feel healthy, and some small steps I can take to modify my normal routine in order to ease into better habits. As a skin therapist, that means many things to me. Diet, exercise, and general self-care are my top priorities, and it’s always a reflection of my esthetics practice here at Watershed.
“What does being a skin therapist, or facials, have to do with your overall health,” you ask?
A lot, actually. What if I told you I could actually detox or aid you in a personal cleanse just by giving you a facial?
It’s simple, really. Lymphatic drainage, a common form of massage and routinely touted in Eastern medicine as a necessary component, works to move stagnant lymphatic fluid that carries toxins and waste to the lymph disposal system, which detoxifies the body.
A number of noticeable benefits, like reduced puffiness, leaner jawline, and more energy, are just some of the ways in which lymphatic drainage is important. This type of massage, combined with natural skin care products and a variety of in-house concoctions, are all carefully designed to give you your best looking skin ever.
Sounds like a great start to spring, right?
Here are some other small steps I’m recommending for a rite of renewal.
- Throw away your old spices and clean out your pantry. The desire to make clean, healthy dishes is a great way to kick start good routines, but not with 1-2 year old spices. Restock your ground ginger, turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika, and all other goodies to ensure a healthy pantry.
- Stretch in the morning. The minute you wake up. Even if it’s just for five minutes, it’s better than not stretching at all.
- Switch up your daily water intake. Add some herbs or citrus fruits to encourage good circulation and better hydration. Buy a new water bottle or thoroughly clean the current one you’ve got.
- Clean off your feet and give them a good rub before you go to bed. Clean feet in a clean bed, along with a foot rub, will ensure relaxation and no grime from walking barefoot around the house. If you’re feeling spry–rub some tea tree or oregano oil on your feet before bed.
Last but not least, I’ve designed a Spring Detox Facial as my seasonal facial, available in a 60 or 90 minute** version
In addition to the classic serums and masques from Eminence, you can expect:
- Sparkling water infused with fresh lemon slices and vanilla-scented black tea, for cleansing the skin. This concoction will serve up refreshing antioxidants and polyphenols with a caffeine kick to revitalize. Lemon and sparkling water provide a cooling, invigorating tonic.
- Lavender aromatic steam towels, to promote relaxation.
- A detoxifying lymphatic massage to aid in waste elimination through the skin, combined with a relaxing facial massage to follow.
- An arctic berry polypeptide cream, to finish with true radiance.
**The 90 minute includes a detoxifying menthol-camphor foot treatment and an ice compress application at the end of the treatment. Feels truly amazing.
You might want to try pairing it with a check-in with one of our Naturopaths, a series of Acupuncture treatments or a therapeutic and relaxing massage. Treat yourself right as we move into spring!
Big news in the skin care department here at Watershed Wellness!
Last week, I had the opportunity to represent Watershed Wellness at the bi-annual regional training for Eminence Organic Skin Care, our in-house product line. In addition to new product education and discovering new tips and techniques for taking care of our clients, Watershed Wellness received an award for “Greenest Spa Initiatives”.
Out of all of the places that carry Eminence in Oregon and SW Washington, Watershed Wellness is greenest and most sustainable!
So, what does that mean exactly?
Watershed Wellness is at the forefront of sustainable practices, and we’re always mindful of ways we can reduce and conserve. Small things, like using washable glassware, filing paperwork electronically, using natural detergents, and biking or carpooling to work really make a difference. Our clients appreciate it, too, as most of them are also aware of their carbon footprint. This is one of the reasons we originally decided to partner with Eminence–not only are they the highest quality of organic skin care available, but the company prides itself on finding “Earth-friendly solutions in every aspect of our business.” For more information on Eminence's policies, check out https://eminenceorganics.com/us/green-company.
I've been at Watershed Wellness for over six months now, and it’s been great to be here! My facials are carefully crafted to suit the needs of your skin, and clients love the practically-edible potions and lotions that directly target their skin conditions. There are three products, however, that consistently sell out. They are the best-selling items in the house, and for good reason: they deliver INSTANT results.
Watershed’s Top Three Eminence Products
1)Bamboo Firming Fluid
After you wash your face and before you smooth on your moisturizer, there’s an important step to be taken, and it’s one of the deepest, most effective products you can use outside of the treatment room to get great results. Serums are those lipid-based products that directly target skin conditions, and should be used daily in between cleansing and moisturizing. The Bamboo Firming Fluid is a concentrated form of a serum, and only one pump delivers a Retinol-based treatment designed to firm and plump the skin.
2) Facial Recovery Oil
In Ayurvedic medicine, sesame oil is life. It heals, banishes bacteria, nourishes the gums, delivers powerful doses of zinc to the skin….the list goes on. Eminence came up with a formula that includes sesame oil, clary sage, ylang ylang, rue, olive oil, and sage leaf. Together, these key ingredients nourish, detoxify, heal, calm, and rejuvenate the skin. Yes. All of that. This product will replace your moisturizer in your daily routine, and also doubles as a fantastic treatment for tired-looking eyes. Great for every skin type, from the acne prone to aging. Use the Facial Recovery Oil at night if you’re oily or acne prone to replenish and balance the skin (also lightens acne scars!), or use it day and night to heal and illuminate your skin if you tend toward normal/combination/dry skin.
3)Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant
In this day and age, people are addicted to exfoliation. The feeling of perfectly buffed, smooth skin is desirable, and speaks of a person who loves to feel CLEAN. This product is a powder-based exfoliant, tha
t has an infinite shelf life (which means it doesn’t spoil). It has to be mixed with water or cleansers to be activated. At $48 retail price, my last bottle lasted me 18 months. This makes the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant the most cost-effective product this line has to offer. As the name implies, this exfoliant contains strawberry and rhubarb, which are packed with antioxidants and gentle astringent factors. It also contains chickpea flour, rice bran, and lactic acid. Not only is it a physical exfoliant, but a chemical one as well. Gentle, can be mixed with a cleanser for a 2-in-1 action, and lasts forever. What’s not to love? And it’s for every skin type!
Next time you stop into the clinic, please play with Eminence testers that we have in the waiting room, please ask for a sample if you’d like to try something out at home.
Smell, feel, and use the products. If the old saying goes “you are what you eat”, then it’s definitely a good thing we’re using organic fruits, herbs, veggies and spices on our skin! When you're ready to schedule your next facial, you'll have a jump-start on your regular skin care routine, and I will be happy to answer any and all questions you might have about these products!
“Will This Get Rid of My Wrinkles?”
In my line of work, there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned point blank question from a client to whip me into focus.
Clients don’t want long, involved answers on how to take care of their skin. We’re living in a world where instant gratification and shortcuts are favored over involved routines and lengthy solutions. Skin care is no exception to this. Clients want an answer, and they want it NOW!
I’ve got a list of solutions for you, after many years of trials and tribulations in the treatment room. They’re not the only solutions, but they are one of many solutions that will make sense. Let’s get right to the point.
What are some of the most common point blank questions I get from clients?
Q. “How do I get rid of wrinkles?”
Hyaluronic Acid. That’s exactly what Botox is–except, we all know that Botox is an animal by-product, which can’t be absorbed into the skin, hence why it’s injected. Lucky for us, organic or natural skin care companies have found a way to derive hyaluronic acid from plants. HOORAY.
Retinol alternatives are also a fabulous solution.
Q. “How do I get rid of zits?”
Probiotics, and being mindful of your internal health. Probiotics balance the internal bacteria that can cause acne. Find probiotics in yogurt, or special probiotic supplements. Better yet, come in to see one of our fabulous Naturopaths or our Nutritional Therapist for a consultation to discuss this vital aspect of skin health.
Q. “Does using cucumbers on your eyes to reduce puffiness really work?”
YES. In fact, you should pack your entire face with fresh cucumber every once in awhile. Cooling, naturally firming properties help lift and tone the skin, while reducing inflammation. We all know that inflammation is the chief cause of acne, right? So, it’s great for all skin types.
Q. “How do I make my dark undereye circles go away?”
Reduce your alcohol intake, don’t smoke, don’t rub your eyes when you’re tired, and get some fresh air. Dark circles are a result of lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, and rubbing your eyes could dislodge the tiny muscles under your eye, causing excessive wrinkles and sagginess (which could highlight your dark circles).
Q. “Does wearing makeup clog my pores?”
If you wear it to bed, yes. No one should be wearing makeup to bed, when it’s been coated in the dirt and debris from your daytime activities. Most cosmetic lines today offer high quality makeup free of parabens, mineral oils, and fillers. Almost all face makeup now includes SPF. So, no worries on wearing makeup during the daytime hours, and wondering if it’s causing your breakouts. What a time to be alive!
Q. “Can you recommend a product to pick up at a drugstore? I’m on a budget.”
No. You’re on a budget? Your skin isn’t on a budget! In fact, it’s the only skin you’ve got! It’s entirely possible to purchase a few key items and slowly build your arsenal of effective products. Also, high end products are meant to be diluted or used very sparingly. Spend $40 on a cleanser that’ll last you 3+ months, versus a $10 cleanser that lasts you a month. The math is real.
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear some more of your basic skin concerns or questions. There’s a good chance someone else has the same question you do. Get in touch with me and let’s see if we can’t get to the bottom of these issues.
This last weekend, I went to Vegas for a weekend of intense skin care education.
The International Esthetic Conference and Spa Convention is the largest spa conference in the nation, showcasing hundreds of product lines, advanced education, demonstrations, and networking. Watershed’s in-house product line, Eminence Organic Skin Care, was one of the largest exhibitors there, with 6 classes total as well as live demonstrations at the booth.
Armed with new knowledge and some hot new massage moves, here are a few things I picked up.
Did you know?
After the age of 30, the skin loses an 1/8th of a teaspoon of volume every year!
Your skin’s volume is comprised of collagen, adipose (fatty tissue), and hyaluronic acid. Optimal levels of all three give your skin the bounce and luminosity many of us enjoy.
So, what happens when your skin loses the ability to retain all three components?
Collagen and adipose are hard to replace naturally (read further), but lucky for us, hyaluronic acid is replaceable. Look for cleansers, masques, and serums that contain hyaluronic acid that can easily be absorbed into the skin. Eminence’s Firm Skin line contains acai berry and naturally occurring hyaluronic acid derived from marshmallow root.
When combined with a professional facial massage, prime absorption occurs, expression lines are softened, and facial muscles are relaxed. In addition to hyaluronic acid, regenerative stem cell technology has proven to rebuild the skin’s fatty tissue and helps us to retain useful hydration.
Look for products containing natural Retinol alternatives using tara tree and chicory root–these ingredients will be your biggest line of defense in helping to re-up your natural collagen content. Eminence boasts a huge line of these products, including the Bamboo Age Corrective Masque, the Monoi Nighttime Body Lotion for face and neck, and the Bamboo Firming Fluid, among others.
Did you know?
A lot of your wrinkles and expression lines are the product of your poor posture!
Think about it. The way that you scrunch your shoulders when you’re stressed, the way you hunch over at the computer, the way you’re constantly tilting your neck down to look at your smart phone? These little things will eventually contribute to unwanted wrinkles.
When your shoulders and back are tense, your face holds more tension. That’s where the “worry lines” and furrowed brows appear. When you’re tilting your neck to check out emails on your phone, you’re contributing to premature neck wrinkles. Unintentionally shrugging or hunched over at your desk, poring over work documents? You’re creating creases and lines on your chest/décolletage.
What’s the remedy for this?
Upper body massage during a facial works wonders.
We’re not just talking about a light circular movement with fingertips. We’re talking neck stretches, pinching and rolling the facial muscles, sliding the hands into the upper back to release tension, using the hilt of the hand to pressure-release the forehead lines, and pressure point work at the base of the neck to fully relax the entire body and allow premium facial products to do their best work when applied during massage.
It’s amazing to discover that the healthiest skin comes from being relaxed and supple from simple, timeless facial massage techniques.
After a weekend of advanced skin education, and the excitement from being surround by other enthusiastic skin therapists, I'm excited to treat your most concerning skin conditions this summer. Here’s to perfect skin texture, ultimate sun protection, and learning the tricks to take care of your complexion outside of the treatment room!
Well, actually, they can be as complicated or as simple as you’d like them to be. Everyone has different skin needs or different time constraints. While one client may simply opt to use a cleanser and a moisturizer, another may spend 20 minutes in the bathroom slathering on cleansers, serums, eye creams, masques, and a bevy of other products.
Whatever your regimen is, whatever your needs may be, it’s confusing at times to remember when and how to use your skincare products.
A few common questions come up, such as:
“What’s a serum, and when do I use it?”
“Should I put my eye cream on before or after my moisturizer?”
“How often should I use a masque? Do I let the masque dry? Wear it in the shower? HELP.”
As the resident skin therapist at Watershed, I’m here to assist!
Here’s the complete guide on how and when to use your goodies you picked up after your facial appointment.
The Basic Order:
- Toner/Serum (a toner rebalances the pH of the skin, a serum is a deep treatment designed to drop into the deepest layer of your skin. Serums vary in their designated treatments, ranging from acne, to firm skin, to age/sun spots.)
- Eye cream
The High Maintenance Order:
- Serum in the morning, Toner at night
- Moisturizer/Night cream (former is day, latter is night)
- Eye cream
- Lip balm
Bonus: if you’re using a powder based exfoliant, like Eminence’s Strawberry-Rhubarb Dermafoliant, or Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, you can actually mix those into your cleanser for a “power cleanse”. Two birds, one stone, perfect for the low maintenance client.
The Deluxe Weekly or Bi-Weekly:
- Serum or Toner
- Moisturizer/Night cream
- Eye cream
- Lip balm
Also—wondering how much of your product to use?
I found this chart online a while ago, and I don’t know who to credit for it. But it’s highly accurate, and I share it as often as possible. So I’m going to share it again.
So what about a masque? When should you use it, and how? There’s a few ways, and they all serve a different purpose.
- Use in in the shower. The easiest way. Apply a teaspoon or so to the entire face, neck, and decollete (upper chest/clavicle area) and wear it for 3-5 minutes. This is best for stimulating masques, anti-aging/firming masques, or any kind of anti-oxidant/gel/vitamin/cream-based masque.
- Apply it to dry skin and let it dry, outside of the shower. This is best for clay or acne masques. This can also be worn for a little longer than the aforementioned masque step. I’ve worn clear skin or acne masques for upwards of 30 minutes while I’m cleaning my house or just relaxing. Highly effective. Use a warm, damp washcloth to remove the masque and proceed with a serum, moisturizer, and eye cream. Preferably done at night, after you’ve taken off your makeup.
- Use it as a spot treatment. For firm skin/anti-aging/gel/vitamin/cream-based, use a tiny bit around the crow’s feet (eye) area or around your “smile” lines (cheeks/mouth). For acne-based masques, use it on a blemish and sleep in it overnight.
- Sleep in it! If it’s for acne/blemishes, apply it only to the affected areas. For firm skin, apply the appropriate masque to the entire face and neck. Let dry, and hit the sack. The science behind this is particularly fantastic: if you’re “freezing” your expression lines and saggy/tired skin with a masque, and maybe you sleep on your side at night, your skin will NOT fold over and it’ll be perfectly taut. Welcome to amazing, glowing skin in the morning.
Thanks for reading! Beautiful skin doesn’t have to be hard, it just requires a little bit of careful consideration.
Many people are becoming increasingly concerned about the health of their skin. And why shouldn’t they? Skin is the largest organ in our bodies. It regulates heat, sweat (via sudoriferous glands), and oil (via sebaceous glands), among other things. More people are turning to estheticians and skin therapists for answers to their skin related questions.
As you might expect, a few common themes come up…
What are the most common questions I get as a skin therapist?
“What does a facial include?”
A typical facial includes a cleanser application, toner spritz, exfoliant treatment, mask treatment, serums or other lipids designed to drop into the deepest layers of your dermis (skin), eye cream, lip balm, and a moisturizer. Treatments vary in length. Each treatment is tailored to the client’s individual needs. What sorts of needs? To treat acne, signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, dryness/dehydration and oiliness, among other things.
Treatments vary depending on location of spa or salon. Typically, a salon-style facial will be very focused on product application with minimal hand-to-skin contact, whereas a spa or health facility-style facial will be more hands on and massage focused.
“Will I experience breakouts after my facial?”
Maybe. There are many variables surrounding this answer–when was the last time you had a facial? HAVE you had a facial before? Are you on any medications that could contraindicate your treatment? Do you have any allergies? Addressing these specific questions is best done in communication with your skin therapist. It’s best to show up 15 minutes before your appointment time, so you’ve got a minute to chat and lay any concerns to rest.
I’ve also recently scheduled clients for a 15 minute initial consultation appointment 1 week before their facial. This gives the client a chance to go home with some samples from the skin care line I work with, and then we’ve got a week to see how the products react with the skin. Perfect!
“What does a facial REALLY do for your skin?”
Lots of things! It boost your collagen through stimulation. It feeds nutrients directly into the skin. It increases product absorption (beneficial for a client’s home regimen). It can separate wrinkles and fine lines. It can directly fight acne. It detoxifies the skin. It moves lymphatic fluid under the surface of the skin. It evens out skin tone and texture.
I could go on, but that’s the short and important list.
“If you could only send me home with a few skin care products, which ones would you choose?”
There are 3 basic maintenance items every client should have in their bathroom. Cleanser, toner or serum, and a moisturizer.
- Cleanser rids your skin of dirt, sweat, grime, and other impurities–quite literally, cleans the skin.
- Toner rebalances the pH of your skin, so that your skin doesn’t try overcompensate or correct itself after being cleansed. The skin care line I work with, Eminence, doesn’t formulate cleansers to be overly acidic or alkaline, so it tends to negate the need for a toner. That said, a toner is a great way to dilute your moisturizer; and it can also set your makeup, if that is part of your routine.
- Because of the lower need for toner with Eminence products, I generally choose to use serum as my 2nd basic maintenance item. Serums are lipid-based treatments that are molecularly designed to drop into the deepest layers of the skin, and continue to work over the course of the day. This makes serums the highest form of treatment available outside of the professional’s treatment room! I use a serum celebrated for it’s firming properties, as well as being high in vitamin C and anti-oxidants.
- Finally, moisturizer. You can’t be kind to your skin without protecting it. It’s your first line of defense against environmental damage and premature wrinkles! A must, even above everything else.
“But what about eye cream? I hear I should be using eye cream.”
I don't consider that to be a basic maintenance item. While very important, and a mainstay in my professional and personal routine, the above three products listed are the absolute bare bone requirements for at-home skin care. I don’t think anyone should be without a good eye cream, or a mask for that matter.
“How often should someone get a facial?”
Once a month. Think of it this way: your skin cells technically regenerate, or turn over, every 28 days. That’s a month. So I always tell my clients that optimally, I’d love to see them once a month. If that’s not possible, then every 6-8 weeks will do,too. You could even go a little longer if you’ve got a thorough skin care routine going at home.
What's a thorough skin care routine? Generally, a mask 2x weekly, cleanse, serum, daytime moisturizer, night cream, eye cream, and an exfoliant a few times a week. Also known as my personal routine, or the model client’s routine. Less than that, and you should be coming in for a facial to ensure the health of your skin!