6 Tips for Young Beauty Professionals

Throughout the duration of my 8 year career in and out of the Beauty World, and as a loyal client to a few exquisite Beauty Professionals in one of the most industry savvy cities IN THE WORLD, San Francisco -- there are several tips and tricks I've compiled into a short list with hopes of preventing the NEW professionals unnecessary complaints, negative Yelp reviews, and general dissatisfaction with their experience. When I began my career, older professionals were consistently telling me that the only thing that would make me better is EXPERIENCE, and while that is indeed one vital component, these six things would have saved me a lot of grief had someone divulged their tremendous, sometimes candid importance.

1.) Keep conversation light. - I cannot stress this enough. DO NOT OVERSHARE. Just don't.  Sometimes with the RIGHT client it's generally NOT a big deal, but when you're starting out and you don't have a firm grasp on your clientele, you don't yet know who might be best friends with your boss, and especially if you've never had a professional title; the relationship has potential to get uncomfortable quickly. Your clients are there to either a.) relax or b.) put themselves through torture. Your personal life is, seriously, the least of their concerns. Stick to positive topics like their hobbies, local events, music, travel, their love life (if it appears to be a source of comfort) and in general TRY keep the focus solely on them. If they are seeing you to relax (facial/ massage/ pedicure), or if they are on their phone the whole time, chances are likely that they don't want to talk at all and that they'd prefer utter silence. Give that to them.

2.) Do NOT gossip. Ever. - Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be nice and if you have to say something, steer the conversation in a positive direction. It's ALWAYS possible to be kind, to give someone the benefit of the doubt & to help someone have a better day. Do that instead.

3.) Promote yourself and promote others who do what you don't do. - This is the only way you're going to make any money. Truly. If you love what you do, this one will be easy. If you don't know what you love to do just yet, do more of everything until you do. Convince your friends and family to be 'Guinea Pigs'. Go to networking events, beauty conferences and classes (hey, a lot of them are held in AMAZING cities around the world), make FRIENDS with your colleagues and eat, sleep & breath BEAUTY. Surround yourself with like-minded professionals in related industries. Know your competition. Become resourceful for your clients who need references to find a new doctor, dentist, personal trainer, chiropractor, etc. Go have a drink with someone older than you who's been doing what you love to do for years. I'll bet you learn something. Network, network, network. As with most things in life; the more you believe in your abilities, the likelier you are to convince others to do the same,... and tell their friends to make appointments with you. Because YOU'RE THE BEST. 

4.) Continue educating yourself. - I used to think this was optional until I became a master at waxing only to find out that 30-40% of my existing clients now preferred sugaring and threading to waxing because 'their friend Lisa tried it and LOVES it.'. There will ALWAYS be a new trend. Lisa will always be gossiping at brunch. Instead of being rigidly opposed, stay up to date and at least take classes regularly so that you can educate your clients on your professional opinion when they ask about the trends. You might even pick up a new skill in this process that you will someday be known for.

5.) Be smart enough to gauge your own worth and NEVER be late arriving to work. - This is a constant battle in the beauty world for people who have been in the business for less than a year just as much as it is a constant battle for people who have been in the business for 15 years. You are the only one who can determine your worth, but a good rule of thumb that I TRY to follow is that you should be charging people for your time if you've mastered your skill, and your work if you haven't. 

6.) SPECIALIZE. - Stephen Covey said, "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.". I believe him (thanks, Dad). 

The Gift of Sensitivity

This past Sunday I was faced with a spiritual inquire about 'my gift' and whether or not I've found / am using my gift(s). The bible says in 1 Corinthians 12: 6 - There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Throughout my life I've strived toward compassion and empathy in not only my work but in my personal affairs, often times to an extreme degree of self-sacrifice. When I try to pinpoint the times I've felt most useful and like I was in the element of flow at work and at home it was when I was giving the most I could possibly give; without the expectation of something in return.

There have been many times when I've not received even a fraction of what was given and in some cases my warmth has even (temporarily) backfired. The thing I've recently come to terms with is that I've always had the capacity to endure the negative outcomes, if for no other reason than the positive outcomes weighing in much heavier, more frequent, and in a much more permanent sense. Even the times when I've actually been to the point of questioning every last belief I've ever had about life, God, relationships and people in general - there has been some not so distant lesson in the forefront just waiting to creep up and give me that "a-ha" moment of clarity and sense of worthwhile. 

For the duration of my entire career in the beauty world I've listened to and felt for my dearest clients and friends who've experienced tremendous heartbreak, trauma and guilt and for that same amount of time I've been able to share with them the joy, happiness and pride that eventually breaks through. I've shared with them my heartbreak, my accomplishments, my inner battles and life experiences in hopes of connecting, relating -- but more often times than not, in hopes of making them feel more normal. This is a gift in itself, but wouldn't be possible if not for sensitivity. The gift of sensitivity is immeasurable and it's something I never want to lose, take for granted, or try to drown out in order to avoid pain. 

Developing a backbone and adding a layer of emotional 'teflon', as my sweet Dad puts it, is certainly something that's necessary some of the time - especially when dealing with the (occasional harsh and unforgiving) public. More importantly though, developing sensitivity, awareness and compassion has never not been worthwhile in some way or another. The bigger question too, as always is: what's the alternative? What truly satisfying and happy life can you live without sensitivity? Without vulnerability? It is so much more difficult to look back and regret not being open when you're still closed and the opportunity for love, for happiness and growth - has passed. 

In conclusion, I encourage you, whoever may be reading this,... to practice sensitivity. Practice kindness. Practice frequent application of SPF.

6 Tips to Go and Glow!

As the warmer months approach, I am reminded by my clients (and the condition of their skin when they come in for a treatment) the importance of protection as we indulge in the sweet sunshine. 

Assuming that you have been endlessly lectured about SPF throughout the duration of your life, I would like to spare that and share a few simple facts, tips and tricks I’ve learned throughout my career in regards to properly protecting the largest and most precious, delicate organ; your skin! 

1.) If you have sensitive skin, even if you don’t, and are in the market for a new SPF - always opt for physical(mineral) properties. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are the two mineral properties should be listed first in the ingredients on your label. Once applied, these properties become immediately effective and deflect the rays rather than absorb them. Chemical properties, Oxybenzone being the worst, penetrate the skin and act as a sponge to absorb the harmless rays (causing break-outs) along with being hormonally disruptive, they can take up to 20 minutes after applied to be effective, and can sometimes contain cancer - causing free radicals (errr, isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid here?).

2.) You absolutely need a separate layer of sunscreen. The SPF claimed to be present in your moisturizer and/ or make-up is not enough, because it is diluted. For example - if the label says SPF 30, it is usually diluted down to an SPF of 10-15, etc. and the properties have a likeliness to be compromised by other ingredients. SPF should always be applied after moisturizer. It can also be applied before AND after make-up. 

3.) Re-apply, re-apply, re-apply! I cannot stress this enough. Every 2-3 hours. 4 hours is too long. Grab a few travel-sized containers, fill them up and place them in your purse, the glove compartment in your car, your office (apply before going out to lunch), and your backpack. Be sure not to store in extreme temperatures and replace every 5-6 months.

4.) Your safest bet against the sun is to wear naturally sun-resistant clothing (hold it up to the sun to see how much light gets through), hats, and sunglasses, in combination with a sunscreen that offers UVA and UVB protection. Bring an umbrella to the beach / park and find shade during peak hours. 

5.) “I’m just going to the office today.”, “I’m only going home after this.”, “I’ll be in the car driving most of the day and my car has tinted windows.”, “It’s almost dark and I’m going straight home.”, “Sunscreen makes me break out.”; these are a few cleverly concocted excuses against SPF I have heard over the years and before applying sunscreen to my clients after treatment. Rays cannot be avoided, my friends! They sneak into your offices (sometimes the UV lights / lamps in your offices can even be harmful!), your houses, your cars, and sometimes the strongest rays emit just before sunset! The most common complaint is that SPF causes break out, which most CHEMICAL properties tend to do. Try to find a physical sunscreen that works for you, and don’t stop trying until you do. 

6.) SPF diet? Did you know that what you eat can also help shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays? Adding these healthy foods to your diet may help lessen your chances of burning and developing skin cancer. 

•Tomatoes, Watermelon and Berries - antioxidant lycopene reduces your skin’s sensitivity to sunburn. Lycopene also increases with cooking. Tomato paste has much more lycopene than fresh tomatoes.

•Spinach - vitamins in raw spinach give you effective natural sun protection along with slowing your skin’s aging process. Those antioxidants that are loaded in dark greens disperse in your body and destroy free radicals from the sun. Try lightly cooking spinach to maximize the absorption of antioxidant vitamin E and phyto-antioxidants like beta-carotene.

•Sweet Potatoes & Carrots - beta-carotene is a carotenoid that protects skin from sunburn by increasing the strength in pigment. Sweet potatoes are also full of vitamin C, which adds to their effectiveness as an antioxidant. The darker the color of a sweet potato, the higher in concentration it is with beta-carotene.

•Salmon, Trout, Herring and Mackerel - Omega-3’s raise skin’s natural protection while reducing inflammation in the case of too much sun. Overall, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish lower your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. 

•Green Tea, Black Tea and Coffee - antioxidants called polyphenols which can offer skin protection by working from the inside, out. Research shows that drinking two or more cups of black or green tea a day may decrease the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 30 percent. Green tea is known to be the more powerful of the two, because it fights damaging rays from the sun to prevent pre-cancerous skin lesions. And for you coffee drinkers—drinking two to five cups a day is said to lower your risk for non-melanomas by up to 17 percent.

•Dark Chocolate derived from real Cocoa - Flavanol protects your skin from burning, this strong antioxidant can reduce reddening after UV exposure and make skin more moist and less scaly. Consuming two ounces of dark chocolate each day is a healthy way to obtain its benefits. Studies have shown that cocoa can make skin up to 25 percent less sun sensitive.

-AC

My Story

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I grew up watching my already angelic looking Mother spend hours in front of the mirror primping. Her skin was just like her Mother's - flawlessly porcelain. Still, a drawer full of ake-up would make it's way out in the boudoir each day. She embodies the definition of a refined beauty in every way possible, even to this day. The women in my family are exquisite. They are solely responsible for the moral compass of my career's foundation. Without their constant display of inner beauty and compassion shining out for a duration of my entire life, I would not have the strong and unyielding ambition to help other's achieve their own beauty from the inside out. My Mother's forbearing heart and my Grandmother's benevolent spirit particularly have much more to do with my journey than any other variable that has lead me to where I am today.

In 2006 I began my career as a skin care professional in a medical spa performing treatments such as chemical peels, laser hair removal, photo-rejuvenation, etc. . Anti-aging became a strong interest as I helped women, like my Mother, refine their beauty and extend a youthful appearance for as long as possible. For the following five years I worked in medical spas and clinical settings learning "that" end of correcting and beautifying. Something that left me in a single word, unsatisfied.

I lived in a desert climate where dehydration and lifestyle are the primary reasons why women age. I was ready for a change, so in 2011 I moved to San Francisco, CA where my real journey began. A more holistic approach to skin care lead me to leaving a final client base of 150+ at the medical spa where my fundamental understanding of results oriented treatments developed. I was eager to explore another avenue and ready to begin in a new direction on the opposite end of the skincare spectrum.

Serendipitously, I was quickly offered the opportunity to work in various bay area renowned wellness settings before landing at an elite health club where I maintained a clientele of 55+ in my first year and lead a team of 4 other skin care professionals. From there, I began my journey as an educator while still maintaining a hefty clientele performing custom facials, waxing, etc.

Now specializing in customized skin care, full body waxing, cosmeceutical ingredient knowledge, eyebrow design, eyelash extensions, & wellness education -- this website is intended to serve as a beauty Q&A, product & services review, portfolio display & educational record.