Confessions of an Aesthetician

Answers to some of the most common sk in care questions.

How often do I really need to get a facial?

-For glowing healthy skin, every 4-6 weeks is best. As we age our skin cells natural sloughing process slows, making the skin look dull and allowing those dead skin cells to pile up in the fine lines and wrinkles. A good facial normally includes some type of enzyme or other mechanical exfoliation. Enzymes are usually plant based, and just as enzymes in the stomach help to digest food, enzymes on the face help digest dead skin cells. Also your esthetician can carefully extract any blackheads or blemishes that may be lingering in your pres. And don’t forget my favorite part, the facial massage. Makeup artist Gucci Westman, who can be found backstage prepping models for Oscar de la Renta and Jason Wu, is a devout practitioner. “For early morning shows when everyone’s puffy and not quite awake, facial massage is like coffee for the skin. Everything comes to life,” By relaxing muscles and connective tissue, massaging the face softens expression-induced lines around your eyes, lips and brows, helps expel acne-causing toxins and de-puffs and brightens the eye area.

Which is better Microdermabrasion or Chemical Peels?

– This question depends on a couple of different factors, what results are you trying to achieve, how much downtime do you have, and how much aftercare are you able to commit to after the procedure. Microdermabrasion uses either a fine spray (or some systems now use a diamond tip and are crystal free) to mechanically remove the top layer of dead skin cells. There is very little to no discomfort, no downtime with the exception of some temporary redness that is easily covered with a mineral powder afterwards, instant glow and no peeling or flaking. Chemical peels (depending on their strength) can involve a burning sensation when applied, and redness, and peeling that can last from 3-7 days. Usually an aftercare routine is recommended to protect the skin, and people who are “pickers” are warned not to pick and pull the skin off. I do a thorough consultation with every patient discussing the risks and benefits of each treatment before deciding which one to do.

Are the products sold at my Aestheticians office really better than the drugstores?

-Short version? Usually yes, and you can see this difference in a few different ways. One is to flip over your beauty products and look at the list of ingredients. Just like with food labels, the ingredients are listed most to least. In most products sold at Skin Care Professional Offices, the active ingredients are close to the top, are usually of better quality and also frequently they are more concentrated so you use less, so the products you think cost more, don’t really because they last twice as long.

What’s the most important thing I can put on my face?

-Using a spf every day will pay off in the long run. It takes ten years for the damage we do to our skin to show in your skin so I always tell people it’s never too late to start. Also when starting a skin care regiment it will protect the work you’re doing.

What’s the next important thing after sun protection?

– I tell people to pick something for anti-aging, Retinols, Antioxidants or Growth Factors. Retinol and Antioxidants have been around for a long time and they are known to help keep the skin healthy but Growth Factors are an exciting new field and some of the best new products are incorporating Swiss Apples Stem Cells, to promote tissue regeneration that helps repair skin that is aging. Growth Factors can mimic young skin’s ability to support rapid healing and rejuvenation of tissue.



I have been doing more research on juicing and stumbled across this and thought it was great info and wanted to share. Link at the site at the bottom.

(Reblogged from’s blog) 

Not Drinking Green Juice On An Empty Stomach – Recently a blogger friend of mine tried juicing for the first time, and when she finished her first juice she proclaimed to me that it gave her heart burn. Immediately, I asked her if she drank her juice on an empty stomach, and she said “No, I had it after breakfast.” Fresh juice should only be consumed on an empty stomach. The whole point of drinking juice is diminished if you don’t, and can end up giving you digestive issues like my friend experienced. Drinking juice on an empty stomach allows the vitamins and minerals in the juice to go straight to your bloodstream. Having fiber or a meal already in your stomach prevents your body from quickly absorbing the nutrients from the juice. A good general rule of thumb to follow is to wait at least 2 hours after a meal to drink a green juice and wait 20 mins after drinking a green juice to consume a meal.

Waiting Too Long To Drink Your Green Juice – As soon as your freshly made green juice gets exposed to air, its live enzymes begin to degrade, therefore decreasing the nutritional content. I can immediately tell the difference in how I feel after drinking fresh juice vs. an older juice. The live enzymes of a fresh juice give me immediate energy – where as older juice just doesn’t give me the same boost. For this reason, unless you have a slow masticating juicer, twin gear or Norwalk press juicer, I recommend always consuming the juice fresh and within 15 mins of making it.  This is especially important if you make your juice without a juicer using a blender and strainer. For slow or twin-gear juicers, I recommend storing juice in an airtight container (filled to the top with no air gap) for up to 24-36 hours, and for a press juicer up to 72 hours. If you decide to store your juice, remember to keep it refrigerated at all times before consuming. This is also important to keep in mind when you buy pre-made, raw unpasteurized juice because as soon as the juice becomes warm, bacteria can begin to grow that could be harmful. Always keep your juice in the fridge or a cooler if traveling if you don’t drink it right away. If you notice your favorite juice bar keeping juices longer than 72 hours, make sure they are using high pressure pasteurization technology (like Suja Juice and Blueprint Cleanse) – otherwise, they are getting away with selling you lower quality and nutritionally degraded juice.

Using Too Many Sweet Fruits and Vegetables In Your Green Juice – Sweet fruits and vegetables like watermelon, apples, pears, and carrots are very nutritious when consumed whole, but if you consume too many of them juiced, the amount of sugar and fructose you are adding to your diet could be over the top. If a juice has too much natural sugar it can affect insulin levels pretty dramatically, causing cravings and other not so pretty things to happen, like gaining weight. This is why I recommend keeping the sugary fruits and vegetables in your green juice to a maximum of 1 per serving. For example, in the juice recipe below you can add one green apple for a bit of sweetness. It’s important to keep sugar in check to be able to sustain steady and consistent energy levels. I personally do not add any fruit to my daily green juice any longer, but I still love the occasional carrot (for their eye lash enhancing properties) and beet (for their detoxing capabilities). Exceptions to this rule are lemons and limes that are naturally very low in sugar and do not spike blood insulin levels like other fruits. (One caveat – if you are trying to get your children switched over to green juice, you can start by adding 2 fruits per serving, but then slowly decrease this over time as they become accustomed to the taste.)

Treating Green Juice Like A Meal (unless on a fast or having it as a snack) – Juice isn’t a meal replacement, rather it is a meal enhancer or snack. Juicing is nature’s vitamin pill and should be consumed like a supplement within 20 mins before a complete meal. It’s really hard to eat the amount of vegetables recommended by most experts (6-8 servings) in a typical day. It’s rare to see Americans eating vegetables for breakfast, and at lunch a typical vegetable serving could be as small as a piece of lettuce or tomato on a sandwich, making it probable that your target amount of vegetable servings for the day will not be met. It takes a few pounds of vegetables to get a 12-ounce glass of juice – which gives you an entire day’s serving in one glass. Juicing should be like taking a vitamin but of course it’s a billion times better. Additionally, drinking juice before a meal (like I recommend in the Eating Guide Program) reduces carb and sweet cravings and completely changes your taste buds to want something plant-based versus something heavy or processed. Juicing allows you to absorb many more vitamins and minerals than you would otherwise by consuming smoothies or eating fruits and vegetables with the fiber. The only time I wouldn’t consume a meal after juicing would be during a juice fast.

Not Chewing Your Green Juice – Juice (and smoothies) are food and should be chewed. It’s important to swish around the juice in your mouth or move your jaw up and down for a couple of seconds before swallowing it to release saliva that contains important digestive enzymes. The digestive enzymes are crucial in delivering key nutrients to your cells. When I visited with Dr. Mercola for lunch, it was fun witnessing him doing this when he drank his green juice – he swished it back and forth quite energetically! I personally like to use less of an obvious gesture and keep the juice in my mouth a few seconds before swallowing it.

Leaving Your Juicer Dirty – I know juicing can take time and life can get busy, things like cleaning your juicer right away can get pushed to the side, but let me tell you, cleaning your juicer (at least rinsing it off) will save you and your knuckles a lot of scrubbing later. If I know time is going to be tight, I’ll often throw all the parts of the juicer in a sink and let them soak with water and a little soap – that way, when I get back to cleaning the juicer, it will be much easier. Also, to save time when I juice in the morning, I’ll pre-wash the vegetables the night before, eliminating this step the next day, and allowing me more time to clean the juicer right away. I’ve gotten my juicing routine down to 20 mins using a 2 step press juicer, which is pretty darn good if you ask me! When I use a centrifuge or another type of juicer, my timing is usually around 15 mins from start to cleanup.

Juicing Spinach or Kale Over and Over Again – Variety is the spice of life, and it’s key for juicing correctly and safely and to avoid hormonal issues. Remember to rotate the greens (kale, chard, spinach, mustard greens, collards, dandelion, arugula, etc.) in your juice each week to prevent build up of oxalic acid (which can affect the thyroid gland) and provide a balanced amount of different vitamins and minerals for your body.

You Stopped Green Juicing Because You Heard That Drinking Smoothies Is Better (or maybe you never started) – For the record, I consume both smoothies and juices, but I also know there is no other way to get the extraordinarily amount of powerful nutrients trapped inside green vegetables than to juice them. Drinking juice has the power to make you feel like you have never before – it’s quite magical and something I wouldn’t give up for every smoothie in the world. Our soil is nutritionally depleted due to the use of pesticides, genetically modified seeds, and conventional farming practices, drastically reducing the amount of many vitamins and minerals once abundantly available to us. Eating a piece of broccoli now vs. 20 years ago does not yield the same amount of nutrition. It’s crucial that we try to compensate for this fact by juicing. Juicing allows you to get the extra boost you need much more efficiently than trying to chew an unachievable amount of vegetables all day. When I started drinking carrot juice, my eye lashes immediately started to grow longer within just a couple of weeks. Feeling the extra energy boost is one thing, but seeing the results in the mirror can be quite dramatic and make you a firm believer of the powers of drinking juice. Drinking juice reduces the amount of energy your body uses for digestion, giving your cells a chance to repair and rebuild. It’s the ultimate preventative medicine when it comes to avoiding disease. Don’t wait until you are already sick or trying to get better to consume juice, it’s about creating a healthy body from within now so you never get sick in the first place.

Miss Popularity 2013

I came across this from a fellow blogger an liked it so much I wanted to share her healthy lifestyle routine, I pretty much do everything on the list, and am kinda jealous I didn’t write it 😉

Miss Ella Said

pathAccording to WordPress my most viewed post for 2013 was:

I’ve changed a few things to that routine. See the items in RED below as additions and changes.

  1. This is still true. More so in the winter in Edmonton. I use coconut oil to cook, and as a facial moisturizer at night and on my body day and night. Coconut oil has found a place in my heart, my kitchen cupboard, and my bathroom vanity. I use 100% pure organic virgin coconut oil. It’s important that you source a brand that is virgin and organic. I use this as a face and body cream, straight up. At times I will apply a small amount to the tips of my hair. I also use coconut oil as the main oil when cooking. I use the Nutiva brand. You can find it almost anywhere. I buy mine at Planet Organic or

View original post 1,210 more words

Easy Homemade Granola (warning this will make your house smell incredible!)

My new favorite snack:


Homemade Granola

Yes, the fact that I am now making my own granola does make me chuckle. Especially because last year someone actually called me “granola”, which I’m not even sure what that means, or how she could tell anything about me because I was volunteering at a music fest and wearing a staff t-shirt and jeans?  But I can laugh at myself, my hybrid driving, bring my own bag to the store, yoga-loving, kale chip eating self. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me that I’ve started making my own granola, it’s delicious, I can out in whatever I like and it’s cheaper because this recipe makes a lot of granola.

So on Pinterest I found a recipe for homemade granola and I pinned it, thinking it would be a great thing to make for Christmas to send out to relatives and you know what it was. It was super easy to make, made a ton of granola and I know it’ll keep well. It actually made more than I needed so I’ve been snacking on it and have since made another batch it’s so delicious! And so easy! I cut the original recipe in half because like I said it made a ton, too much to fit on my baking sheet.


2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (quick cooking)

½ cup slivered almonds

1/8 cup unsalted pepitas

¼ cup pure maple syrup

2 tbsp canola oil (I used safflower and want to try coconut oil next time…)

¼ tsp kosher salt

½ cup dried fruit


Heat oven to 350

On a rimmed baking sheet toss oats, almonds, coconut, and pepitas together

Mix maple syrup, oil, and salt in bowl and drizzle over oat mixture, use hands to mix it up (could be a fun kids activity)

Bake, tossing once until golden 25-30 minutes

Add dried fruit let cool

New Years Resolutions


 I know it’s corny, and a lot of people don’t make them or people say “they just set you up for failure”. But I love New Years resolutions. Even if I don’t do all of them. Last year I really wanted to do a pottery making class, inspired by my friend Zach’s anagama and his gorgeous pottery. I googled it, read a book about it, looked for classes (the closet was an hour away and I just never made the time to do it…) . So what? There’s always next year. I did however try Stand Up Paddle Boarding and fell in love with Yoga SUP. Every year I say I’m going to try to learn a new language. I never have so I actually omitted that one last year…

 This year (so far) I have four resolutions, which I think is a good number, do able. Especially since the first one is going to be a project…

  1. Feng Shui my house.

       I have always been interested in Feng Shui and have been reading more about it and the

       first step is to declutter, which sounds like a great project to start off January.


  1. Be a better friend. I have been very busy this year finding the love of my life, getting engaged and nesting with him, and along the way have neglected a lot of friendships… From Birmingham to Japan to right here in my sown city. Reconnect is going to be a big theme for me this year.


  1. Focused Meditation. I am going to do a study and meditate on each chakra for 40 days, starting with Muladhara (the root chakra) and working my way up.  According to Subtle Body Medicine, chakras are energy centers or “wheels” as chakra means in sanskrit, in the body, each one relates to different physical, emotional and mental nature. I have always been fascinated with chakras and learned about them in my Yoga teacher training. 40 days always seems to be a symbolic number, signifying a time of change or preparation.


  1. Start painting and/or making pottery. I have never thought of myself as being artistically inclined, I can’t draw a straight line, whatever I’ve tried has never been “good”. But earlier this year I met a woman who made art just for herself, she said she gave away most of it to family and friends and participated in one or two small art fairs, but she didn’t care what people thought about her art, she just did it because she enjoyed it. I know at 31 that shouldn’t be some huge revelation to me, but it was. I realized I never tried painting or drawing because I was afraid it wasn’t going to be good enough or people would judge me and here she was telling me, basically forget that, create if you want to. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


So what are your resolutions? 

Conscious Consumerism


Where I live in Florida is a popular vacation destination, with many adorable communities stretching along a road called 30A.  A mere 2 miles down the road from me is what I consider to be my favorite, Rosemary Beach. I love the design of the cottages and the green parks, also it tends to be less crowded than the other little cities (re: Seaside’s Farmers Market can be a nightmare unless approached on bike). The squares of Rosemary are lined with shops and restaurants and one of my favorites is a store called Pish Posh Patchoulis. This awesome little boutique carries some of the best and most unique range of quality skin care products, hair care, fragrances and to die for plush pajamas. Let me state that part of the reason I am an Aesthetician is that I am a product junkie, and this store is like Christmas for me. Especially because a lot of the lines they carry are more focused on natural and organic products.

All fall I have been searching for a perfect red-berry shade and I spotted it at Pish Posh Patchoulis a few weeks ago. They carry a line called ILIA, an organic cosmetic company that focuses on lip care.  I purchased “Lust for Life” (love the name because I’m an Iggy Pop fan). It is a gorgeous berry/red shade. It’s also a lip conditioner and fells silky smooth on. This brand ILIA walks the walk in addition to talking the talk. The products are 85% organic, cruelty free ( I love urban decay cosmetics because on their packaging it says “We don’t test on animals, how could anyone? ”) the lipstick came in a recycled aluminum container and packaged in a easily recycled cardboard box.  Another BIG plus- the products are made right here in the U.S of A! The cost of my lipstick : $26. Not bad for a quality lipstick. Conscious Consumerism means putting your money where your mouth is, and I’m happy to find another cosmetic line I can support.

My Favorite juice for healthy skin and hair


I recently (finally) remembered to get my juicer back from my moms house, I have been going a little juice crazy and I found this juice on pinterest and love it, it’s mild and a good “beginner” juice. A lot of the super green juice recipes can take a bit of getting used to… Just sayin’ but this one with cucumber and apple is mild and sweet, omit the lemon if you need to (I added small amounts at first and worked up because I honestly am not a lemon fan.)

Since cucumbers are 96% water they make the perfect juice veggie. They hydrate skin with valuable nutrients. When applied externally, the astringent properties in cucumbers draw out dirt and cleanse the pores and reduce puffiness around the eyes.  They are very high in silica which gives you strong hair, nails and skin.  The potassium in celery juice helps to regulate body fluid and stimulate urine production, making it an important help to rid the body of excess fluid. Often after few days of drinking celery juice your face and neck look slimmer and you lose bloat.  Ginger has antiseptic properties and keeps the skin clear and blemish free. Apples are loaded with beta carotene and apple peels are particularly rich in polyphenols which offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection to slow aging of skin.


  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 apple
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1/2 lemon


Wash all veggies and fruit. leave skin on if organic. Lightly peel or wash with a fruit veggie wash to remove pesticides if not organic.

Juice the cucumber first, followed by the apple, ginger, lemon and celery.

Drink plain or pour over ice and enjoy your cool refreshing cucumber juice !