How to Look Good (When you feel like Crap)

We’ve all had those days.

You either wake up sick with a dreaded cold (totally NOT your fault) or you wake up on your boyfriend’s parent’s bathroom floor with a raging wine headache and hangover, not knowing the day or the time  (hypothetically speaking……..) This one IS your own fault.

Regardless, you feel awful inside and out. While it takes time, meds and McDonald’s cheeseburgers to help the inside feel better, I have a few tips to help the outside look presentable when you actually feel like dying.

1- Water- drink lots of it and get a shower. Pretty simple. Drinking alcohol dehydrates you. You need to refuel and cleanse those toxins inside and out.  Also if you can, try and remember to wash off your makeup the night before.

2- Depuff swollen and blood shot eyes with either cold spoons or teabags. Use some soothing eyedrops. Apply eye cream and a good concealer. Finish with Mascara. All these things will help you look more lively and less “Walking Dead like.”

3- Your face. Fix it. Apply concealer, tinted moisturizer or whatever to hide any imperfections. Then apply a nice pinkish blush. So even when your nausea makes you feel as white as a ghost, you’ll still have a little bit of colour in your face so you don’t appear see through.

4- Apply some Moisturizing Lipstick. Pink is probably the best bet here as well. Just enough to again, give colour to your Casper face. This part does wonders. Trust me.

5- Wear your hair neat and pulled back. Apply some dry shampoo and get it out of your face somehow. Neat ponytails and topknots can act as a face lift.

6- Invest in some Big, Dark Sunglasses. (Do not wear these indoors though. It’s a clear giveaway you’re hungover…or that you’re a big loser, Don’t be that person!)

7- Throw on some nice earrings. The bling will distract onlookers from your hot mess-iness.

8) This may be a little self explanatory but, brush your teeth and pop in a peppermint. Peppermint has natural properties that can sometimes help with nausea and in your case, beer breath.

If all of these fail to help with your appearance, just call it a day. Throw on some Netflix and hide in your room. Ha!ha!

-Nicole xo 😉

Ps- I must say, I’m a big believer in making yourself look your best when you feel your worst. It may be hard to do for some, I understand that. But if you look a little better, I definitely think you feel better.  Hope this helps anyone who may have  had a little too much fun last night or plan to in the near future…*cough* Shauna *cough* 😉

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For the Fellas…..

Got a hairy back? Kind of like a “coat” under your actual coat?

A chest that resembles Steve Carell in 40 year old Virgin?

A set of talons for toenails? or perhaps heels that could cut your bed sheets to shreds?

I don’t know how many times I’ve had this conversation with people ( male or female)……

MEN NEED PAMPERING TOO!!!!!!

Looking after one’s self is not “girly” or “prissy” …..it is essential to not looking like a bum (unless you’re going for that hobo chic sort of thing?)

It makes you feel better. It makes you look better. A little trip to a salon/spa can do wonders!

You only have one set of hands, one set of feet and only one face. Why not look after it properly? Men’s skin and hands need love just as much as the lady’s do…maybe even more so?

I understand the spa can be an intimidating thing looking in from the outside….all the soft lighting… the smells…women chit chatting with other women who have so much metallic foil in their hair it looks like they could communicate with E.T….

Then there is the music that’s so calming it makes you want to go to your car and listen to death metal when you leave…(no? oh….just me then….)

Anyway….it’s a strange world. But….Women know what’s up and men should probably follow suit.

The majority of my clientele is most definitely of the female race. I do however have a few brave souls of men then come see me regularly and I see others that come to other Spa Therapists, Massage therapists and hair stylists.

I once had a very shy man surprisingly exclaim in the middle a joint facial with his partner that if he had known how great this would of been, he would of came in long ago!

Bam!!! One Man brought over to the dark side!!

Like I previously stated…you only have one face. Your skin needs to be looked after (especially if there are any concerns such as aging, acne, etc.) As a man, you probably have to shave that face…that can sometimes get irritated, dry or breakout. A facial is a perfect way to treat any or all of those issues and get to relax at the same time. And Lord knows,  everyone can always use a little relaxation in out busy/hectic lives these days, right?

So now that I have convinced you to look after your face, lets work our way down to looking after that fur of yours. I’m talking back and chest waxing or laser hair removal.

Just like women, the trend this day and age is the less the hair the better…same kind of goes for guys. Sure you don’t have to get rid of all of it, but a little maintenance can go a long way.

Not going to lie at all here, this hair removal thing is probably going to hurt like a mother.

But if I see you on the beach looking like some sort of second cousin to Chewbacca, I’m going to contemplate handing you my business card.(and you should take it as a big, fat hint) Your wife/girlfriends can thank me later….saving them the time and effort of shaving your back will make everyone very happy!

Also, eyebrows. There should be two. I’ll let you contemplate that one.

Ps…I’m going to move on from the hair removal thing and skip over the whole “Man scaping…Man Brazilian thing”…that’s an entirely other post in itself and I’m not really sure I want to even go there…..Just take care of it gentlemen…that’s all I’m going to say…. K… Bye.

Next in line is your Hand and Foot care. If you are a business or white collar sort of fella, you are going to be dealing with people and trying to look professional. Nothing says I don’t give a rotten dam then gnarly hangnails and uber scaly skin. Get a “Man”icure. They aren’t just for housewives of Beverly Hills anymore. And for hard working Blue Collared Men, your poor hands deserve some TLC.

Keep nails short, clean and use a little moisturizer from time to time. Also, you would’t think it, but a hand massage is wonderful. People hold tons of tension in our hands and fingers, your digits will thank you.

This all goes the same for your tootsies. Keep toenails short, filed evenly, clean and get some of that callus buildup removed. Your feet will love you for it and so will whoever has to sleep in the same bed as you at night.

A pedicure and manicure DOES NOT mean you have to have pretty, pink polish! It is much, much more then that. Elderly men and men with any medical conditions (ex. diabetes)  should really look after your feet properly. You have to walk on these things for your whole life, a pedicure is not a girly thing….it should be thought of as an essential life thing.

Next on the agenda, Massage therapy. If you have medical coverage, Please take advantage of this. It’s amazing. Get over the whole stranger touching your body thing and get a massage. We are hard on our backs and limbs, it is also great for the mind and relaxation. Can not stress the importance of this in living a healthy life.

Lastly I’m going to discuss something I know a little about….I’m not a hairdresser….but you should definitely be getting your hair cut by a professional. You don’t have to spend tons of money…but just don’t use those rusty kitchen scissors and bowl to achieve your style. It’s bad. Plus, once you’ve had someone else give you a scalp massage….you will be hooked. Promise!

So there you have it. Now get your wife, mother, sister, bff to book you an appointment at your local spa and salon. You can be brave and go it alone or perhaps take them along and have a nice little spa day together.

🙂 🙂

-Nicole xo

spa room

Landscaping… And I’m not talking about the bushes in the back yard….

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Warning- if you are even  a little bit easily offended or embarrassed …You might not like this post.(and that’s totally fine)

I recently asked Facebook friends and family to send me some beauty related questions. I am currently putting together a list and coming up with the best possible answers. (Bare with me, the response was great and questions are still coming in, so that post may take a while to go up.)

For this entry, I was asked by a few friends everything there is to know about….. BRAZILIANS!!!! That’s right, Lady-bits Landscaping!

And I’m going to try my best to best to explain what happens from the time you come in for your appointment to the time you leave and everything in between (no pun intended!!)

When you first come into the spa room, you will be asked to undress from the waist down and lay on a table. Throw your inhibitions to the wind if you are coming in for this service. Aestheticians have seen it all and a good one should make you feel comfortable. You will be givin something to cover yourself whether it’s a towel, sheet, robe or even disposable paper thongs ( I would suggest going without the thong, it’s just easier for everyone and doesn’t get in the way. There are ways to cover and drape yourself with the other options that you won’t feel completely bare.)

A Brazilian is typically the removal of all the hair from front to back. Some people opt for a small strip of hair left over in the front, but a lot of people choose to go completely hairless. So make sure you let your waxer know what you prefer before you start.

To make the waxing process easiest on you and the waxer, your hair should be 1/4 an inch or just past the stubbly, stuck up stage. If it’s too short, you will be asked to reschedule for another time. Too short means the wax will not properly grip the hairs and you will not get a clean wax.

If the hair is too long, I would suggest trimming with small scissors before you come in or the waxer will have to do it for you. Too long hair = more difficult! more painful!

When I received my training for this, we started off the service with the client on the table on hands and knees and proceeded to remove the hair in the back and work forward. I find that method a bit unnerving for a lot of clients (especially newbies), so I don’t start that way anymore, but don’t be surprised if some people ask you to be in downward dog when they re enter the room :/

There are two types of waxes that can be used for Brazilians.

Soft wax- a hot wax that is applied and removed with a material cloth.

Hard wax- wax that is applied and left to cool on the skin til it hardens completely. Most people would agree this type is the best for Brazilian waxing because it is more gentle on the skin and more sensitive areas and let’s face it, where we’re dealing with, it’s sensitive. :/

Most treatments are anywhere from 30-60 mins long. Experienced waxers will definitely try to get you waxed and finished fast, but in a safe manner.

A little side note for this service, make sure your waxer is wearing gloves and not double dipping their waxing sticks. This is all for your safety and to prevent cross contamination.

During your session there will be tweezing done for the hairs that would not come out cleanly on the wax strips

In your appointment , you will  be asked to “hold” in certain places to keep skin taunt to prevent ripping of the skin. You will also be asked to adjust your legs to get in the hard to reach areas.

I had a friend ask “Is there anyway to get the hair in the back without getting on all fours?” And there is!! You can either lay on your back and pull you legs/knees up or lay on your side or lie on your stomach and hold your buttocks. Surprisingly enough, this is the part that hurts the least but is definitely the part most women find scary. No worries though, it’s usually one of two quick strips and your done. If you are getting the front done, might as well clean up the back.

If you are absolutely terrified about the pain, it’s not as bad as you think. Sure it hurts, you are yanking hair from your nether regions!!! It’s bearable. Try to relax, things hurt more when you are tense and stressed.

Also try not to book your waxing right before or during your period. We tend to be sookier around that time and more sensitive.

Once you are done, you will be given an after wax/calming solution.  Rebook for 4-6 weeks and that’s it! You’re like brand new!

Another question I received was “what is vajazzaling? And “what is a Vajacial?” And well, the answer to that is they are services done after you would have your Brazilian waxing complete.

Everyone remembers their “Bedazzlers” as a child. You added rhinestones to clothing, shoes, etc. Vajazzaling is pretty much the same. Adding temporary gems and sparkles down there.

A “Vajacial” is basically a facial for your lady bits. Cleanse, toned, exfoliated, treatment masks applied, etc. Just skincare for down there……

I can honestly say I have yet to have to do either of these treatments. I feel these are probably more popular in Hollywood and are not very common in our small little town.

Hope this answered the questions of the few girls who messaged me!

I’m pretty well an open book on this stuff and nothing really surprises me anymore. It’s weird. I used to be the most shy person in the world and I’m pretty sure “Brazilian waxer” was not what I answered as a five year old on what I wanted to be when I grew up. But I assure you, it’s probably not the worst job in the world…like an accountant or something…ewww…

-Nicole xo 🙂

Fall Lipsticks!!!

It shouldn’t come as a huge shock to anyone that I love my fair share of lipsticks and lip products!! (but what girl doesn’t!!!)

At any given time I may be carrying 5, 10, 20? options in my purse ( excessive I know, but one never knows when you may need a color!)

Darks, Lights, Brights,  Glosses, Mattes, Balms, Scrubs! Anything goes!!… I Love em all equally!

For this post, I am going to name off some of my top picks for this Fall/Winter season! Which are typically more on the dark side, but I threw in a few nudes and light mauves as well.

Hope this helps anyone that is looking for some new products to try out. I have some drugstore and a little higher end lippies on my list!

Top Lipsticks (Non Drugstore)

Mac “Ruby Woo” (Matte) , Mac “Cyber” (Satin) , Mac “Viva Glam IV” (Frost)…All can be purchased either in store or  maccosmetics.com 

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Aveda Smoothing Lip Colour “Sheer Muscadine” (Local Aveda shop or Aveda.com), Kat Von D Studded Kiss “Love Craft”( Sephora.com ), Lime Crime Vegan Lipstick in “Styletto” ( Limecrime.com) ….Again, these are all roughly around $20-$25.

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Top Lipsticks ( Drugstore)

Milani “Sangria”&  Milani “Red Label” (both purchased at local Lawtons Drugstore), Wet n’ Wild “Cherry Bomb” and “Vamp it Up” (Walmart) …Under $10 🙂 🙂

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Top Glosses

Gerad Cosmetics Colour Your Smile Gloss in “Nude” (gerardcosmetics.com )Forever 21 Love and Beauty “RED”, Revlon Colour Burst “Bordeaux” ( Walmart) ..Prices vary from $5-20

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Liners

Mac “Night Moth” and “Whirl”…If you want “Kylie Jenner-esque lips…Whirl is a MUST!!!

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Milani “Spice”, Avon “Wild Berry” & “Deep Plum” ….for some reason these swatch pictures would not turn out! 😦 Sorry! Just take my word that these are nice!!!

Misc.

Lush Mint Julips Lip Scrub ( Lushcosmetics.com )… If you are going to be trying out a lot of the dark lip colours for Fall, you need to keep you lips well hydrated and flake free…this stuff is great for that! Also, its edible and who doesn’t like that!!!!!??

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and there you have it! some of my Favorite Lip Products for Fall/Winter 2014!

Tips

-When wearing a darker lip colour, go for a more neutral coloured eye. This will have you avoid looking gothish! (unless you are going for that look of course!!) Halloween is around the corner after all 🙂 🙂

-Apply a lip treatment or balm when you first begin your makeup….after it is done and you are ready to apply your lipstick, wipe the balm off. This way the treatment has time to sink in and preps your lips for a  longer lasting application.

-The key to wearing a different coloured lipstick such as black…is not giving a crap what other people think! If you have the confidence, you can wear whatever you want!!

-Make sure your skin is well covered and your complexion is even. Dark colours and reds tend to emphasize any imperfections if you have any. So, foundation and powders are a must!

-Blot lipstick with tissue after you apply it, to avoid any excess from smearing on your face or teeth ( THE WORST!!!)….also if you are the friend of said person wearing lipstick, please tell them they have something on their teeth…there is nothing worse then looking in the mirror and realizing you have been talking to everyone with a big gob of lipstick on your pearly whites….or in my case, all over my chin after I eat! 😦

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-Nicole xo 🙂 🙂

How to Stop Biting your Nails!

First off, sorry for super slacking the last little while. I realized it has been a month since my last post :/

I thought I would discuss something near and dear to my heart tonight. Nail Biting.

I bit my nails since I had my first set of teeth… luckily I skipped over the nose picking stage. ( the combo of the two habits could of potentially scarred me for life. Glad I avoided that one :/ )

I bit my nails till there was nothing left. Till they bled even. It was a bad habit that really affected me.

I was always afraid of meeting new people and having to shake their hands. Even something as little as picking up money off a floor could potentially turn into an embarrassing ordeal. 

I remember playing basketball and being scolded after games by my parents for just sitting on the bench and gnawing on my hands.

You see, my bad habit was definitely related to two things….the first and most influential cause was stress and bad nerves. The second was boredom.

I tried everything over the years to stop.

-Band-Aids on every finger…not a cute look and very obvious.

-That gross “No-Bite” nail polish stuff…but if you’re a die hard nail biter/picker like I was, this just gave you more of challenge when biting your nails. Gave me more stuff to pick at when I had my munch sessions.

– Sitting on my hands never helped either, Ma….

-Acrylic Nails….These covered the problem, but when it came time to remove them, I would pick them off. I remember once sitting in the bathroom and using scissors, nail clippers and  everything else to get them off. Needless to say, my nails were in bad shape afterwards and were even more tempting to pick at ( fyi this is before I knew anything about removing false nails, don’t judge this aesthetician!!!)

-Stick on nails from Wal-Mart….These were the best solution I had for a while. They stayed on fairly well and didn’t mess up my nails as bad as the acrylics. I just carried my little thing of nail glue around with me everywhere I went,so no nails would go missing! I was able to keep these on till I started Aesthetics school.

For School and our exams, you had to have clean, short, well manicured hands. Something I did not have. I couldn’t have press on nails on because they could potentially harbour bacteria or not to mention scratch someone’s eye out during a facial.

As the course progressed, No one wanted to be my partner for French Manicure Day 😦 hahahaha I had the shortest nails , both my ring finger nails were basically non existent. I don’t blame the girls for being frustrated when trying to polish my nubby little fingers.

I was told something in school that really stuck in my head. As an aesthetician, people are going to look at you and judge you by your appearance no matter what. If you have crazy messed up makeup, chances are people won’t want you to do theirs and same goes for messed up fingernails. If you can’t make your nails pretty, how can you be trusted to make other’s look pretty. I whole heartedly agree with this. I wear makeup almost every day and try to make myself look presentable. The last step was to fix my nails.

It is an extremely hard habit to break. Most Habits take 30 days to truly break the cycle. I had stopped a couple times in my life before and it lasted less then a month before I was back to mutilating my hands.

When I started my job out of school, I finally put the “nail” in the coffin (get it?!) haha and got my *#@% together and stopped. I believe anyone can stop biting their nails if they truly want to. I wanted to and this is what I did.

1) Try to relax. Anxiety is a big cause to biting your nails. I have definitely mellowed out a bit as I got older and learned to let things go a little easier.

2) Try and keep busy. Boredom was bad news for my nails. Do something while you’re watching tv. Don’t just keep your hands idle.  Knit, read, whatever!! Also, chew gum or mints! That way it’s harder to bite your nails with a wad of Hubba Bubba in your mouth!

3) Get regular manicures. Pamper your poor hands. This will also help with the relaxing part. Your nails need extra work and love. Come hang out with me and get it done. I know people are embarrassed of their nails and hands, but trust me….I’m willing to bet mine were some of the worst bitten nails out there. Wish I had pictures. I really won’t judge and totally “get” the whole issue.

4) Learn how to maintain your nails in between manis. I carried around a nail file, soft buffer and even cuticle nippers for a good while. This way if I got a hang nail, I could nip that sucker off before I would end up biting and bleeding half to death. Dramatic, but hand wounds bleed forever!!!!

5) Invest in some good cuticle oil and hand lotion. Carry that around with you too. Massage oil in every night and use hand cream whenever possible. One of the main reasons you can get hang nails is dry cuticles!!!

6) Wear rings, bracelets, watches, etc. Keep attention on your hands with these things so you are forced to make your nails look a little better.

7) Shellac. Now, being an aesthetician has it perks. One being I can buy and do my own shellac or gel polish manicures. It lasts longer then regular polish ( up to 2 weeks). It’s shiny and pretty. The only way to get it off is to soak it off with acetone polish remover. If you start having this done and you are a nail biter,I have some warnings for you. DO NOT PICK SHELLAC OFF!!! It can take layers off your own nails and do some damage. I love shellac and recommend it to people who are in the process of quitting nail biting, after they have a few regular manicures and get some length to their nails.

8) Know that biting your nails for a long period of time can seriously damage the integrity of your nail, your teeth and gums. A senseless habit is not worth the dental bills.

Now all this being said, some things may not work for you. I have been Nail Biting Free for over two years now and I could never imagine letting myself go back to the way my hands looked. Its a sucky, dirty habit. Go look up some articles on what can be found under your nails on any daily basis..Try and gross yourself out if nothing else works. So much bacteria is living under you nails and you are sticking them right in your mouth when biting them. Yuck!

And there you have it! A few tips that helped me and hopefully will help anyone out there, snacking on their hands as they read this post. 

-Nicole xo 🙂

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Wedding Time…My favorite Season!

Wedding Season is just around the corner and soon salons and spas will be overrun with beautiful bridal parties.

For those of you who don’t know already, I love makeup and most of mine and my coworkers weekends over the summer will consist of early morning wedding prep. Lots of hairspray and false lashes will be flying!!

There are some very important things anyone involved in a wedding needs to consider when it comes to their hair and makeup for the big day. Whether you are the bride, the bridesmaids, Mother of the Bride/Groom, etc.

For the Bride to Be, most of these tips are for you, but first lets start with the wedding party.

Bridesmaids- First and foremost, and I’ll be stating the obvious here but, you are not the Bride! Although it is great you are getting to spend this day standing for your sister, bestie, cousin, etc…It’s not your time to be the star of the show.! Sorry!…Not sorry!!(that’s still a thing right?) …However, you are aloud to be dolled up and look glam and beautiful and have false lashes and the big updo, whatever, but please keep this important reminder in your head. You want the day to run as smoothly as possible for everyone. Show up on time for your appointments, don’t be a diva. Be clear on what you want your hair and makeup to look like with your hairstylist and makeup artist. For Gods sakes, Don’t try and upstage the Bride!! Same goes for the MOBs and MOGs…everything will just flow better if everyone concentrates on keeping the Bride happy and confident and feeling pretty when she leaves the salon. If you are super worried about your hair or makeup, book a consultation and/or a trial run before hand. This can help alleviate any stress for you and  your beauty team.

Now that I’ve got that little rant out of the way, On to the Bride! 🙂

1) As I stated previously, book a trial run and consultation. Do it to save everyone grief on the big day.

2) For your trial run or the actual wedding day, prepare questions and any issues to address before we begin. If you hate red lips or hate dewy looking skin let me know. Bring pictures, products or anything you think will be helpful to your stylist and makeup person make you look the way you want. BUT, do realize pictures just give us ideas. You will not look the exact same as a model. Your eyes may be a different color or shape or the model may have a different face shape then yours. Have reasonable expectations. Pictures can be very helpful or a nightmare, if you are not realistic on how you really look.

3) Pick one feature you would really like to emphasize, especially if you want one of those features to be really dramatic. Rule of thumb with most makeup looks, if you go bold on the eye, you go more neutral on the lips and vice versa. Some people, but not many can pull off both at the same time and not look too cray cray! Bottom line, You don’t want to look too over done and clownish.

4) Flawless skin is a great way of guaranteeing the rest of your makeup looks nice. If you have no issues with your skin, Great! Lucky you! But if your skin is less then flawless, you may want to wear a little more face makeup then your used to. A good concealer, foundation and powder will help you achieve this. There are ways to wear a lot of makeup, but not look like you caked it on.

5)You should also know when getting your makeup done, at first it may seem like a lot, but you want that makeup to last an entire day, through crying, dancing, kissing, hugging, sweating, pictures, etc. You also want it to stand out in pictures and not make you looked washed out. Don’t be alarmed if there is a little more eye shadow and blush to begin the day, it’ll wear off as the day goes on.

6)Try false lashes! Whether they are strips or individual, they make a world of difference on how a makeup application can look. They make your eyes stand out in person and on camera. I personally love false lashes and wish I had the time every morning to put them on. They may seem weird and foreign if you are a first time wearer, but I Swear you get used to them as time goes on.

With Individual lashes you can wear a lot and be dramatic or wear a little just on the outside corners for a natural, flirty look. Strip lashes come in various shapes and thicknesses and are definitely more noticeable.

7)Invest in some good touch up products. If you like them, buy the lip gloss or powder your makeup artist uses on you, if they have it for sale. Most of your makeup should last the day, but lips with eventually rub off while eating or kissing and shiny foreheads and oil slick noses are not cute. Put these in your clutch along with mints, bobby pins, mini deodorant and whatever else you feel will be necessary to get you through the big day!

8) This may be hard in times of high stress, but when we ask you in the end what you think of the finished look, be completely honest, but not too brutal (we have feelings too you know 😦 )  Tell us if there is anything you want removed or fixed or added. We can usually tell if someone doesn’t like their hair or makeup even if they say “yeah, its fine” . I’d much rather know and fix the issue then know you went home only to have a meltdown and wipe most of it off or take out your updo.

9) The last and probably the most important thing about Bridal makeup is……You want to look like a better version of yourself, not someone else. Your significant other loves and proposed to you just as you are. Don’t try and change the way you wear your makeup so you don’t look like “you” any more. Sure, you want to look beautiful, but not look like someone you’re not. If you’re a natural gal who wears no makeup, don’t go full on glamazon so that you’re unrecognizable. And if you are always done up to the nines, then keep it the same but better(if that makes sense?)  This is all  my own opinion but I just don’t like it when people don’t even look the same in the wedding photos. You want to enhance and embrace what you already have. You want to walk down the isle feeling comfortable and confident and feeling like yourself.

Hope this was helpful for any of you future Brides and wedding party people.

-Nicole xo 🙂

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Sun Safety and Self tanning…because Spring and Summer are hopefully around the corner :/

Being a  ”somewhat recovered tan-aholic” myself, I know first hand how much I love the first signs of spring and summer. Suns out, Guns out!! Woo Hoo!!!

The Sun however is not our friend. Tanning, even though everyone feels better with a little color on their skin, is not good for you.There are so many consequences to basking in the sun and cooking yourself to a nice, toasty brown color. I know because I did it and still have urges to just slather on some tanning oil and lay out by the pool all day. For some reason, I have this notion in my head and I know others do also, that being tanned is better and prettier. It may be temporarily, but in the long run, its sooo, sooo bad people!

This summer, I’m going to try as hard as possible to be a little more vigilant with sunscreen and resort more to self tanners and bronzers(which may be scary at first, but trust me they get easier the more times you use them!)

So before I get ahead of myself and start discussing self tanners, lets talk sun safety, sun tanning myths and sunscreens.

Like I previously stated, myself and others feel “prettier” with a tan. I don’t know why and where this all started (maybe we can blame those dam Victoria’s secret models…$#@*\=+ Giselle!!!!) but for the rest of use mere mortals we should be layering up on sunscreen, wearing sunglasses and covering up whenever possible.

-Find an SPF that you will use. Whether it’s a lotion or a spray or whatever. Make sure that it is SPF 30 or higher. A lot of makeup lines now has SPF 15 in them, which is great but not nearly enough to really protect you against the strong rays of the sun.

-Reapply your sunscreen. The biggest misconception people have is that putting on their sunscreen at 9 a.m. and going out for the rest of the day will be good enough….WRONGO! You need to be reapplying throughout the day. Especially if you are swimming or sweating  or outside for extended periods of time.

-Another big misconception is a “base” tan will prevent you from getting burnt or decrease your risk for skin cancer. Even though a slight tan doesn’t give you the pain of a full on burn, it is still damaging to the skin. You are altering the melanocytes and keratinocytes (cells that give your skin pigment) and speeding up the aging process.  You might not notice the affects today or tomorrow, but down the road when you look like a wrinkly old leopard at 40 or have to get treatments for melanoma, you’ll realize it wasn’t so smart to go tanning every day.

Another thing I believed for years and am still on the fence about, is tanning “cures” acne. It may temporarily fix the problem, but in the long wrong the tanning will be worse for your skin then the acne and can help along hyperpigmentations left behind from breakouts. ( I know this part all too well)

Now don’t get me wrong me, like I said, “I’m a somewhat recovering tan-aholic” . I tan so easily and rarely burn. I love the heat and used to go to the tanning beds religiously. This was all before I went to Halifax and stuck my face in a Wood’s lamp….Mother of God! Before this experience, I thought “I have no sun damage. Maybe a few freckles here and there, but my skin is fine.”  What I saw was all these dark marks and hyperpigmentation lying beneath the skin waiting to just jump out at any time! At this point in my life a tiny light bulb went off in my head and was saying “wait a second,you dummy!” All along my biggest hint about my skin and how it reacts to the sun and what it will look like when I’m older was my own mother and her struggle with hyperpigmentation.

Now supposedly, I’m the spit of my mother. She can never deny me!!! ( I have the papers and brown eyes to prove it) I got all her good qualities and bad,which includes the fact we can get so brown we don’t notice the damage we are actually doing. Now being the good little aesthetician daughter that I am, I’ve tried recommending things to Mom to help with her skin. Tried them on myself. I’ve stressed in previous posts, a good skin care regime is important. If you have signs of aging caused from sun damage, the sooner you start treating them the better.

If you really NEED color on your face and body and don’t want to look like Casper the Friendly Ghost, might I suggest self tanners and bronzing makeup?

The formulas for self tanners have come a long way. There are sprays and gels and foams galore. You can strip down and have someone airbrush tan your body and give you abs!!!!!! and who doesn’t want that?! or if you are more modest, there are lots of spray tan booth places popping up. With the rise in skin cancers and more people becoming aware of how bad the sun’s rays really are, spray tans are becoming more accessible.

I’ve used tanning gels and gradual tanning lotions which I don’t mind, but my favorite are sprays. I’ve tried a couple different kinds and by far my two favorite are Loreal’s Sublime Bronze Pro Perfect Salon Airbrush Self tanning mist (longest product title ever!) and the one I’m actually going to put on tonight is Quick Tan Instant Self tanner. This can be bought at Sally’s beauty supply or for fellow aestechians and hair stylists at Maritime beauty supply.

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Some things I would suggest to make self tanning as easy as possible are;

-find a product you like. Easier said then done. Only way you will know if you like it is if you try it. What may work for me or the next person, may not work for you. Look up reviews on products. Worst things worst, you’ll look like an oompa loompa for a day or two. It washes off.

-Exfoliation is sooooo important. Make sure your skin texture is smooth and even before hand. Do any waxing or shaving prior to applying self tanner. Use a gentle body scrub all over and concentrate on your hands, feet, knees and elbows. These areas are prone to having the color pool and look blotchy.

-Moisturizing your skin is also helpful. If an area is dry, that area will look darker..

-If you’re using a tanning cream or lotion, wear gloves. Nothing looks worse then stained nails and palms.

-As far as tanners on your face goes, wear one that won’t cause you to break out. A lighter formula will do.

-Very important!! If you are using a spray, cover the floor, avoid walls, shower curtains, anything you don’t want stained. Lay out towels or anything you won’t mind getting ruined.

-Make sure you are completely dry before getting dressed or going to bed. Apparently, I hold myself in my sleep? I’m reminded of that when I wake up with hand prints on my chest or arms ( not a good look 😦 ) You can dry yourself a little faster by putting a hairdryer on a cooler setting.

-If you aren’t into the whole “tan in a can” thing. Makeup can help you achieve some color. I wear powder bronzers daily. Just apply them where the sun would naturally hit you. The Chin, forehead, cheekbones, neck and chest. Blend lots so that there are no harsh lines.

Now with all this being said, there are studies out there that show some ingredients in some self tanners are not great for you. I am no where near saying self tanners are healthy, but they are a “healthier” alternative to skin cancer from the sun, which I personally don’t want.  Do some reading and research, maybe you will find you don’t want to self tan and be paler. That is completely fine. Porcelain skin is gorgeous too. It’s whatever your preference is. Just be sun safe.

-Nicole 🙂 xo

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