Sanitation, waxing

Double Dipping and Other Gross Stuff

A recent waxing experience and conversation with another Esthetician friend, prompted me to write this post.  I am not looking to bash other professionals; but sanitation and safety of my clients is my first priority in my practice and I just want to share some information with you so that you are properly educated when choosing a waxing technician.

There are some common practices that I hear about in the industry that you should be aware of.  Some are so common that you may assume that they are normal, when in fact they are questionable, unsanitary, or just unsafe….

Not Wearing Gloves During Waxing

There is one very strict rule that I follow for each and every wax service, gloves must always be worn.  I’ve seen waxing training videos where gloves are not worn, even during very personal services, and heard of technicians choose to not wear gloves during certain waxing services.  But why? I won’t even go into listing reasons for this here because honestly, I don’t even know a reason to not wear gloves.

Universal Precautions (UP), as defined by OSHA, is an approach to infection control that is meant to protect the service/healthcare provider from bloodborn pathogens and pathogens that can be transferred through other bodily secretions.  The premise of following UP is simple… assume that all blood and human bodily fluid are infected with HIV, HBV, or other bloodborn pathogens.  By making that assumption, the service provider is protecting themselves from any potential exposure.

Blood Exposure. It is really quite simple, any waxing service can result in blood or lifted skin. It is completely normal to sometimes have a client experience pinprick bleeding, even during facial waxing. A technician puts themself at risk any time they wax without gloves. Any technician will typically touch your skin after removing the wax strip to calm your nerves, making the service less painful. That touch is immediate and does not allow for one to check for blood first or blood can appear after a few seconds. To summarize, when waxing any part of the body, the technician puts their own health at risk by not wearing proper protection. 

Brow wax
Many practitioners do not follow UP. It is very common to see facial waxing (including brows) being done without any glovesz

Other Secretions. I hope that I am preaching to the choir on this one. It almost seems silly to even mention it, but to be thorough, I feel I must. Waxing services on other areas of the body include mucous membranes and usually other bodily secretions. Failing to wear gloves while waxing any of this areas seems obvious but I have seen an older training video where a technician was not. Not only is this practice !ick! (there doesn’t seem to be a better way to describe this feeling), it is also dangerous. 

It is completely normal to sometimes have a client experience pinprick bleeding, even during facial waxing. A technician puts themself at risk any time they wax without gloves.

Bacteria. I think the thing that bothered me about my recent experience where gloves were not worn was the fact that I had no idea how clean the technician’s hands were. She may have touched any number of contaminated surfaces and then touched my exposed skin. A thorough technician will clean and sanitize every surface that was touched between each service. However, the client generally doesn’t get to see that and surfaces can be missed. For your clients health and peace of mind, wear the gloves! 

Double Dipping

The old practice of double dipping has mostly gone away.  Unfortunately, it has not be eliminated completely. There are folks out there waxing that for whatever reason, whether it is a lack or training or lack of care, continue to double dip. Any technician who values sanitation will tell you, it is infuriating!!! 

Imagine you are at the hair or nail salon and at the last minute you decide to get your eyebrows waxed. What you do not know is what the person before you had waxed. If that person was getting a Brazilian wax and the technician double dips…. @$#%*!!! I think you see my point.  Unless the technician keeps their wax at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (which would burn you), the heat of the wax is not warm enough to kill bacteria and viruses… so…. yeah.

There are folks out there waxing that for whatever reason, whether it is a lack or training or lack of care, continue to double dip.

Some companies make it a habit to break sticks or flip them around and use the other side.  To this I say Come on!!  Honestly, wax sticks are so stinking cheap, you don’t need to be cutting corners like that.  If someone is doing an underarm wax and they grab a stick, apply wax and then turn the stick around to dip the other end in, they are now exposing the entire can of wax to any bodily fluids that their hand may have come into contact with which has transferred onto the “clean” side of the stick. This practice is literally no different than double dipping and may save the salon about 1 cent.

Breaking sticks, in my opinion, is only slightly better. Unless the stick breaker was wearing gloves or had sanitized their hands, those half sticks, which saved the company a couple cents per service, are also contaminated. Have I made my case? 

No Consultation Form

Who was the last person you saw for a wax? Did you have to complete any paperwork? Did they ask you about any issues you’ve had with waxing in the past? Did they ask you about medications? 

Believe it or not, medications can impact your ability to get waxed. Certain medications can cause you to easily bruise or thin the skin making lifting a risk. If you are getting a wax and you are not required to complete any paperwork, that is the first and easiest sign that your technician is either uninformed or not thorough, either way, the person who suffers is you.

No matter what method of cutting corners a technician uses, if they infect a client, they give a bad name to all waxing, including reputable professionals.  As I mentioned in a previous post about finding a waxing technician, do your research. Talk to your friends and colleagues and ask them about their experiences with the three items above. Waxing is a great service that can give people a lot of confidence. Put your health and safety in your hands and make sure your technician is not making these mistakes.

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eyelash extensions

Is it normal? A guide to your eyelash extensions 

There is a lot of confusion around eyelash extensions. People just don’t know what to expect. What is normal and what’s not? In order to help clear the air, I decided to put together a list of concerns that people often have before or after getting their lash extensions and follow it up with helpful information.

Is it normal?

My eyelash extension appointment took two hours.

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A full set of classic lash extensions can take up to two hours.
This is absolutely normal. A true eyelash extension appointment will take at least one hour, if not closer to two hours. Good, quality work takes time. The average eye has approximately 90-120 eyelashes; each of those eyelashes needs to be individually isolated in order to ensure a proper bond and protect the health of your lashes. If someone is telling you that can give you lashes in 15 or 30 minutes, they are not offering you true eyelash extensions. A quick appointment like that is more likely to be clusters or express lashes which shouldn’t be kept on for more than a day or two.
I already lost lashes the day after my appointment.

This could be normal but it really depends on how many lashes you lost. When your lash technician tells you that you will have three or four weeks of retention, they are trying to give you realistic expectations. The truth is that we naturally shed 2-5 natural lashes per eye per day. That being said, it is completely normal to lose some lashes, even the day after your lash appointment. To take it a step further, if we assume you lost two lashes every day, in one week you would have lost 14 lashes on each eye. In two weeks you would lose, per eye, 28 lashes and 42 in three weeks. Although we could never literally count how many lash extensions are on each eye, as a rule of thumb, you would like to have roughly half your lash extensions when you go in for your refill.  Never completely bare.

I can feel my eyelash extensions.

Not normal. Properly applied eyelash extensions should not be felt at all. Each of your natural lashes must be completely isolated before a lash extension is adhered to it. The lashes should be neither too long nor too thick for your own lashes to handle. Some reasons you may feel your lashes include:

  1. Too much glue
  2. The lashes are too heavy
  3. Lashes are stuck together
  4. The lashes are touching your skin

Occasionally, a lash may begin to detach at the base and poke your lash line so you may feel it. This can be normal but is an exception to the norm.

Will my eyelash extensions cause my natural lashes to fall out?

With proper application and aftercare, your eyelash extensions will not cause damage to your natural lashes. If you want to ensure the health of your lashes, be weary of these things:

  • Multiple lashes glued to each natural lash. This does not apply to volume lashes.
  • Volume lashes are too thick. When attaching two or more lashes per natural lash, they need to be very thin and light in order to make sure they are not too heavy and cause damage.
  • You can feel chunks of glue
  • Your lashes are stuck together
  • Lashes are too long. This one is hard to determine but a rule of thumb is your extensions should NEVER be double (or more) your natural lash length.

If you notice any of these problems, talk to your technician. Even lash technicians are people and capable of making mistakes. Give them an opportunity to fix any issues before seeking someone else. If they can’t or won’t address your concerns, it may be time to break up with your tech.

My lash extensions extensions are not full/long enough.

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Your set of classic lash extensions can be customized to the look you want to achieve by using different lash lengths and thicknesses.
Meeting client expectations is probably one of the most stressful aspects of performing lash extensions. A lot of time people come to us because they want to shorten their eye makeup routine or want to give up the damage caused by cluster and strip lashes. Unfortunately, sometimes people’s expectations are unrealistic. If your technician places importance on the health of your lashes, you may find that the lashes are not as long or full as you expected.

You only have so many natural eyelashes and a classic set only places one extension per one of your natural lashes that is strong enough to handle it. That means baby lashes do not get extensions. Additionally, your extensions cannot be too long. Lashes that are too long, and therefore heavier, can either fall off quickly or cause your natural lash to come out too soon. Too much of that nonsense can damage your lashes over time. My advice, listen to your tech… if you want to keep the lashes you have, don’t stress them out trying to achieve unrealistic results.

 

Why did all my lash extensions fall out before my refill?

There is a lot that goes into being a lash technician. We are not simply taking lashes and gluing them to yours, there is a science behind this art form.  There are many factors that a good technician will aim to control, such as the lash sizes, tools, humidity in the room, room temperature, type of glue, glue storage, type of tape and tape placement, etc. However, there are many unpredictable factors that your technician cannot control, such as the season and weather; the most unpredictable factor in our trade is you! The rate at which you shed

This bugger is hanging on!
When applied correctly, lash extensions should shed with the natural lash.
lashes is cannot be determined. Your technician also cannot control whether or not you follow our aftercare instructions. Your technician will have given you specific instructions on how to care for your lash extensions, including for how long to keep them dry, how often to cleanse them, how to cleanse them, products to use and avoid. Follow those instructions. They are not there to make your life harder, rather they are given to you to keep your eyes healthy and, of course, help make your lashes last.

My nail salon offers lash extensions for $15-30, why are yours so much more?

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No true eyelash technician can afford to offer eyelash extensions for $15.  These “eyelash extensions” are clusters.
Truthfully, this is a topic of great frustration for me and many other people in my industry. I point to these businesses as the biggest reason people do not understand what goes into performing lash extensions and why there is such a price difference.

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to enhance the look of your eyes for a special occasion, these businesses may be the way to go. But they should not be worn long-term or repeatedly because that will sure result in lash damage. A true eyelash technician could never charge $15 for the the work that we do. It takes hours of training and hours upon hours of work and practice to get very good. The work is hard on our backs, eyes, and hands and arms as well as very time consuming. It takes a special person to tolerate the amount of time and frustration that it takes to learn our trade. For this reason, I can never charge $15-30 for my work.

The moral of the story…

The internet is a great reference and place to get information.  I hope this list was helpful to you!  However, if you are already working with a technician or have a technician in mind, reach out to them with your questions or concerns.

Skincare

Basic Skin Routine – 3 Easy Steps

Here is the truth, not everyone knows how to take care of their skin.  People young and old, from all walks of life, never learned a proper skincare routine.  Unfortunately, if your parents or caregivers did not know or never taught you, you probably did not receive the proper skin education. 

Here is the good news!… you are reading this so you are going to receive any easy starting point.  These are three simple steps to get you started!

  1. Do not jump into a 10 step regimen on your first attempt. If you are currently not using anything or using only one product, purchasing an entire regimen to get started may not be the best move for you. There are a few reasons for that: A) It can be very overwhelming to use five different products every day and night if you have never done that before. Start with one or two of the most important products (more on that later), get acquainted to those, and then slowly incorporate more condition-focused serums and creams month by month. B) Skincare products are not cheap. Buying a ten step regimine can cost several hundred dollars. If you become overloaded and don’t end up using any of them, you may as well have flushed the money down the toilet. C) Skin care is customizable. While it may seem easiest to buy every acne or aging product in a line, that can be irritating to the skin and will not address all of your needs.  Starting with one or two great products to build upon will be your best bet.
  2. Starting a new skincare routine does not need to be complicated. When clients come to see me about their concerns, we go through what products they are currently using and fill in what is missing. The three essentials for everyone are a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen. If you can find a sunscreen with SPF, all the better! If you are moisturizing, but not cleansing, it’s time to pick up a cleanser that is appropriate for your skin type. Serums, exfoliation products, and masks are important but can take a back seat to the essentials.
  3. Talk to a professional. If you’ve never taken care of your skin on a daily basis, it is hard to know where to start. You may hit the store and pick out products that just are not right for you…. in my opinion, that’s more of a waste of money then spending a little extra to talk to a professional or invest in professional products. A Licensed Esthetician will talk with you about your current products, if there are any, and advise you on where to begin. For example, there are many different type of cleansers available and they are not all appropriate for all skin types. An Esthetician will most likely recommend a professional product to you, for many reasons.  However, even if you don’t want to buy what they have to offer, they can stear you in the right direction for products at the beauty counter. 

We only have one face. That face has to represent you for the rest of your life. If you haven’t started a skin routine yet, late is better than never. 

Sanitation, waxing

5 Things to Look for in a Waxing Technician

Waxing, when done correctly, is a safe and effective way to remove body hair and have lasting results.  Licensed professionals have been through special trainings which go through the different types of wax, which wax types are most effective in different areas, proper cleansing and sanitation (for your safety), universal precautions (for their safety), and waxing techniques.  Waxing is not a skill you can learn by watching a few YouTube videos; it is a skill which requires hands-on training combined with lots of practice.  Without the proper training and following best practices, it is possible to be injured.

My experience as an Esthetician has revealed a new (scary) world to me.  I was never one to pay attention to things such as body hair too much as a young adult.  I guess one reason was because I was lucky enough to have blond hair on most of my body; my eyebrows are so blonde you wouldn’t even know I had a set if I didn’t tint them every month.  As my business grows, more and more clients have made the switch from nail salon waxing to Esthetician waxing and have been amazed at the difference in service and results.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to make the switch too!  Regardless of where you go to get waxed, there are several things to keep an eye out for. Here are five things to look for in a waxing professional:

  1. A proper license.  Licensing requirements vary by state but in order to protect yourself, please verify that the person you are planning to see for waxing has the proper licensing requirements for your state. Ensuring their license is current and active is also very important.  In the state of Illinois, it is as easy as a website search.  Many nail salons offer waxing services for your convenience (and their bottom line), but in many cases the technicians performing them do not have the proper licensing.  If you’re not sure, when you are there, you can ask to see a copy of their license.  A professional will keep their license on display or at least within reach in case someone asks.
  2. Recommendations.  These days, with social media and local facebook groups, there isn’t anything easier to do that ask for a recommendation.  Then do your research.  View their website and social media, their pricing, and call or email them to ask some questions.
  3. A clean environment. You should be able to walk into a treatment room and see that the professional puts time and care into their work space.  Is there wax all over the wax pot?  Are their tools in an organized state?  Every technician will have their own system of organizing their tools in a manner that is ergonomic for them, but the same theme should be apparent… tools which are clean and covered, gloves within reach, surfaces are clean and sanitized, etc.
  4. Gloves.  Universal Precautions, as defined by OSHA, “is an approach to infection control to treat all human blood and certain human body fluids as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens.”  Waxing can draw blood, period, no matter where on the body you are waxing.  It is in the interest of the technician and the client that gloves are worn to protect both parties.  If your technician is not wearing gloves while waxing you, I suggest that you request that they do.
  5. No double dipping.  This one is more difficult to determine until you actually get into the place.  Generally, however, if you step into the room and there is a stick sitting in or on top of the wax, that may just be the wax stick they use.  Double dipping can be seen anywhere. Protect yourself.  You do not know what/who was waxed before you.  This also goes back to recommendations; hopefully, a friend would not recommend you to go to a person who they witnessed double dipping.

The same theme should be apparent… tools which are clean and covered, gloves within reach, surfaces are clean and sanitized, etc.

Waxing can be a confidence boosting service and save you time each day but there are also risks associated. Find a technician who is professional and makes your health and safety a priority. 

Skincare

Skin Cancer and Hispanics

Sometimes I feel like a broken record. That is why I love to be able to direct my clients, friends, and family toward research as often as I can.

Wear sunscreen!

I can’t even tell you how many times people have told me they don’t wear sunscreen because they don’t burn. Or they want a base tan so they won’t burn. 

My husband is Mexican and he is one person I am still trying to get to wear sunscreen regularly. He never understood the need because he doesn’t burn and he doesn’t like how it feels {insert my tiny violin}.

So when I came across this research from 2013, I knew it was something I needed to share. Skin cancer in Hispanic people is on the rise. This study points to misinformation and lack of education regarding skin health as the reason for this increase.

It is true that people with fair skin, like myself, are more at risk for developing skin cancer. It is also true that burning more easily is a skin cancer risk factor. However, that does not exempt people with darker skin or skin that doesn’t burn easily from the dangers of skin cancer. 


Please be informed. Wear a broad spectrum sun screen every day. That means YOU too! And if you are going to be in the sun, reapply every two hours.

We will, of course, talk more about sunscreen in time but get started now.

Uncategorized

Your Esty Besty

So you have somehow stumbled across my blog… Thank you for coming! Unless you already know me, you may wonder who this chick is and why does she think she can tell me about [insert topic here]. While this particular post may not be the most interesting read, there are a lot of blogs and vlogs out there, many of them with plenty of DIY tricks up their sleeve, I think it is important to make people aware that I do have the educational background and practical experience to back up the advise I provide.

First and foremost, besides being a wife and a mom of two amazing, beautiful children, I’m a Licensed Esthetician in the state of Illinois. You could say this is my third career; it was formerly not headed in the direction that I had hoped. Despite my B.S and M.B.A, I ran into some job prospect struggles, namely, I was not finding the right ones. I knew that I needed to make a change. I didn’t have to look long before I found the Esthetician career. I knew immediately it was something I could do and love. I wasn’t sure if I could make good money but I knew that it would make me happy.

In Illinois, the Esthetician training requires 750 hours of theory and practical experience. I spent approximately eight months in school, hands-on learning about the anatomy and physiology of the skin. My education also went into nutrition, muscle anatomy, ingredients, sanitation practices, among other skills. I gained lots of practice by working on fellow classmates and clients who came to the school. I honestly knew from the very first day that I had made the right decision. The happiness that I felt then hasn’t faded, and only continues to grow. I opened my own skincare studio, Harmony Aesthetics,  in July of 2016, doing primarily facials and waxing.

I started working as an eyelash extension technician in May 2016. I started by working for a studio that provided training so I do not have a technical certification, as of this date. However, I trained with that studio for about a week (which is longer than your standard lash training course provides) and got my first seven months of experience with them. Meanwhile I did a lot of research and looked to more experienced lash technicians online for guidance and knowledge in order to continue to grow as a technician. It was not until I felt very confident in my own skills that I quit that job and brought eyelash services to my own studio.

I love my work.  My business is my third, very expensive, baby.  As a result, I invest a lot of time and energy (oftentimes outside of work when I should probably be more present with my family) into being the best professional that I can.  I believe I have a moral obligation, as an Esthetician, to assist my clients in feeling confident and comfortable in their own skin.  I make every effort to keep my environment safe, comfortable, and sanitary and use some of the best products available to me (more on that later).  I hope that, if nothing else, you will find something in this blog that helps you or encourages you to take care of yourself… for you.