Featured

My latest manifesto

We’ve been hearing it from left, right, centre: SUPPORT LOCAL, SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES… We know it. In this turbulent economy, small business relies heavily on the support of its client base more than ever, and we’re feeling every small business closure reverberating deep in our entrepreneurial bones. Sounds poetic but it’s true. As an entrepreneur, I understand the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into building a business from zero, sleepless nights, worrying about whether or not when you flick that light switch, someone’s going to come through that door and actually spend money at your establishment. This is no joke, aside from the $100k plus, it’s sleep lost, family time that was spent working that you won’t get back, money you could have spent on a new winter coat that you spent on light fixtures, life plans put on hold because you’re saving up for your first and last month’s lease… No, this is no joke to see a virus not only wipe out PEOPLE, but your proverbial baby. Not everyone has the ability to pivot and change gears to survive, especially when you’re providing a service.

To me, supporting local means living your life the way you were before, abiding by the new bylaws to keep everyone safe, and continuing your appointments at your hair salon, your nail salon, your massage with your RMT, your acupuncture appointments… Heck, I’ll plug my business — GET YOUR WAX ON (at bare essentials). It keeps people employed, keeps families fed, keeps the economy going. When a business shuts its doors, the impact ripples. Staff laid off, personal loss, mental health issues for both business owner and it’s staff, loss of a client for the suppliers that business supports, loss of a tenant for the building it’s in, and one less place for you to spend your money with this crap is over.

So yes, support local. But don’t forget that service providers are also counting on clients to book services, and there’s only so much product you can buy to keep them afloat. The amount of people/business owners/estheticians/nutritionists/stylists that have been in support of this message just tells me that I’m not alone in this struggle.

What can you do? Well, if you’re not particularly nervous, go book something. If you don’t have anything to book for, you can buy a gift card for someone in your life that will definitely use it. If you are a little nervous, call ahead and ask what their protocols are. Chances are, they’ll be going over and above the requirements to help you feel safe. At Bare Essentials, we pre-screen before, screen again when you come in, take your temp to ensure you’re not fevered, have ample sanitizer everywhere, cover surfaces with paper, and disinfect with a high level surface disinfectant. We have our estheticians wearing the o2 mask to prevent any cross contamination from them to you and vice versa. The common thread in our reviews is how safe clients feel with all of our protocols… Guys, your personal service places are cleaner than Walmart or Sobeys.

And don’t rag on the big box stores too much. Yes, support local, but those big box stores are employing locals (thanks to Sandra Compton for bringing that point to light). Let’s all do our part and help make this Christmas season memorable in a good way. I love you all, and appreciate every single one of you and your transactions with my business — you help keep my staff employed, and every time I get an email confirmation, it’s one less bit stressful, and an extra hour that I don’t have to cut from that employee’s shift. I think among all of this, I’m more worried about the 20+ people I employ than myself. I’ll be fine. I hope.

Featured

Oh, hello again!

It’s been a minute since I said hi… And there are a bunch more of you that are new. Let’s keep this blog entry fun and playful! Here are 5 things you may not know about me:

1. From the age of 5-25, I was a member of the Armenian scouting organization in Toronto. I’ve been camping twice a year for 20 years, and the furthest place I’ve gone camping was at a Jamboree in Armenia. Best experience of my life! I know a decent range of campfire songs, and still have a pretty good grasp of knots. I’ve had my fair share of port-o-potties, swimming in lakes, and sleeping in tents that I now only ever prefer vacationing with plumbing and air conditioning. Ya.

2. Growing up, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer ranged wildly: mermaid, cleaning lady, doctor, fashion designer. Eventually my answer changed to, “I don’t know what I’ll do, but I just know that I want to make lots of money.” I guess when mom told me to never rely on a man for income, I took it to heart and just made sure I could always be stable on my own.

3. Greece is majorly on my bucket list of places to see. The only places I’ve traveled to outside of Canada/USA are Dominican Republic, France, England/UK, and Armenia. Also on my bucket list: Bahamas, Hawaii, Ireland, Lebanon, Hong Kong. I love travelling, and not being able to go anywhere during this pandemic is driving me bonkers. Christian, my 9 year old, also has the travel bug…I promised him that for his 12th birthday, we’ll go anywhere he wants. Here’s to hoping it’s somewhere cool!

4. I’ve always been good with my hands. I’m artsy, crafty, handy, can cook a half decent meal, can sew manually pretty ok, can knit with a decent pattern, and can assemble Ikea furniture pretty well. In high school, my parents put me in extra art classes to boost my portfolio, and when I went to apply to my fine arts uni programs, I had to redo my entire port. There was a portfolio evaluation clinic for my program, and the prof that evaluated my portfolio told me that although I could draw, I had to show that I was creative. I literally rebuilt my entire portfolio in a matter of months and got into a highly competitive program because of it. That was the first of many experiences that taught me to push a bit further when I think I’m done.

5. I’m an introverted extrovert. I love being around people, but I really enjoy observing and not necessarily share much. I guess because I’m always talking, engaging, making conversation with clients — when I’m in a social setting, it’s nice to just observe and act like a sponge. I’d say up until I was 18, I had a hard time making conversation with people…small talk was not my forte. At one point in my 20s, I joined a direct marketing business which forced me to talk to random strangers and my small-talk muscle was put to the test. No more direct marketing for me, my main hustle is enough hustle for me!

If you’ve read this far, you’re a superfan for sure. If you ever see me when you’re out and about, please stop me to say hi!

Featured

Collagen! Why you should care.

We hear this word thrown around all the time, and we know collagen is important when it comes to skincare, joint health, hair & nails…but why is it important, and why are we always chasing supplements and treatments that boost your collagen supply? I’m guilty of it too — I throw the word around like confetti but I didn’t fully grasp why were supplementing it, or what it’s function was until not long ago. I refuse to believe I’m the only one, so here goes:

Collagen is a protein that makes up a third of your body’s protein supply. It’s one of your body’s major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments. It’s found elsewhere, but let’s stop here for a sec. Your skin relies on collagen to stay healthy. Collagen provides structure to your skin, bones, tendons, ligaments. As we age, your body doesn’t produce collagen as well, or in as much supply. And I’m not talking when you’re over 40, 50, 60…your collagen production slows down at around 25.

SHUT UP. 25???? WHO MADE THIS SYSTEM?

Here are some things that deplete your collagen: smoking (duh, smoking kills you on so many levels, but it messed with your collagen stores); refined sugar and carbs (yay low-carb life); too much sun.

Read that last one again. TOO MUCH SUN. Yes, this is one of the many reasons why wearing an SPF daily, regardless of season, is vital. Your body can preserve and protect its collagen bank by avoiding the things that deplete it. When we start losing collagen, we start seeing a lack of structure in our skin, hence lack of glow, tightness, suppleness, etc.

Ok. Now that we know that losing collagen makes our skin age, how do we protect and replenish our collagen stores? Eating collagen-rich food isn’t totally proven to actually increase your body’s collagen, but a collagen supplement can be beneficial for hair/skin/nails amongst other things. My challenge here, personally, is that I’m the worst at taking supplements. I literally emptied out my vitamin/Medicine cabinet and dumped 20+ bottles of expired supplements. With any supplement plan, you have to be consistent with taking them for an extended period of time, so I’m all for something that I can do that doesn’t require me to remember anything.

Enter collagen induction treatments. Two of my FAVOURITE treatments to induce collagen production are: microneedling and radio frequency. Both of these procedures are minimally invasive, little downtime, and can pack a serious punch!

Radio frequency (a form of radiation) uses energy to heat the dermis, and the heat stimulates collagen production. Think of it as putting your skin in the dryer, like your jeans. The heat will cause your skin to tighten by producing collagen. Think of RF when you want to treat fine lines, skin laxity, saggy jowls, under eye, crepey knees… We have the Endymed RF at Bare Essentials, and my latest obsession has been treating my face with this machine. I have pretty decent skin, but preventative, amirite?

Then we have microneedling, which is all the rage these days. Microneedling stimulates collagen by using needles to create microtrauma to the skin, forcing your skin to repair by producing collagen. Think of microneedling for scarring (acne scars, surgical scars), wrinkles (potentially more than just fine lines), and overall tone/texture of your skin.

Anytime you do collagen induction treatments, you’ll need 3-4 treatments, and some patience. It takes 4-6 months from your first session to start seeing results. So I’ve given you all of this information, but what do you do with it?

GUYS. I have the answer. The Endymed RF machine we have at Bare Essentials is magic. I’ve treated some acne scarring, some skin tone/texture, ans the results are incredible… We can treat anything and everything, from maskne, to wrinkles, to cellulite, to acne scarring. If you’re curious, book in a consultation, and keep an eye out for some BLACK FRIDAY deals 😘

Featured

MASKNE. I said it.

Ugh. Just Ugh. So have you noticed how your skin under your mask is always congested and m-m-m-moist? (CRINGE). Yah me too. We’re all struggling with ways to fight the dreaded maskne that has crept up on our faces, and although we’re grateful nobody really sees it with the mask covering it, the consta-mask is making the sitch worse. It gets irritated, painful, and unsightly. Wanna know my top tips on reducing the impact? Read on.

Clean skin. Mask on Mask off! But seriously, clean skin is the first line of defence here. Get your hands on a good cleansing wipe, and make sure your skin is clean before you put your mask on. When you put your mask on, make sure your mask is clean. If you’re using a fabric mask, make sure it’s been freshly washed (or it’s like sleeping with your makeup on night after night on your dirty pillowcase). If you’re using a mask like my O2 and it has a silicone seal, take your mask apart, clean all your parts including your silicone seal with an alcohol swab or soap & water. If it’s disposable…. dispose of your old mask and use a new one. So: clean skin, clean mask. When you’re done with your mask, grab a cleansing wipe and wipe your skin where the mask was covering your face. The less you have of your “day” sitting on your face, the less congestion. Make sense?

Exfoliate daily! Especially since the constant contact will allow buildup on your skin — exfoliating will be important to get rid of dead skin, dirt buildup, and allow the products you’re using to penetrate fresh skin instead of sitting on top. Dead skin + mask = congestion = maskne. NO! You can use something like the Daily Concepts microscrubber (only $11!!) If you’re like me, you want something that can kill two birds with one stone and knock a few minutes off of your morning routine. Use your cleanser with the microscrubber, rough side for exfoliating and soft side for cleansing. Gentle motions, don’t scrub until you’re raw. You’re welcome.

Don’t forget to protect your skin. Just because you’re stuck inside, or half of your face is covered doesn’t mean you don’t need protection. Repeat after me: ESS. PEE. EFF. Always. You can use either a moisturizer that has spf in it, like the Salt + Stone that we have online, or a mineral powder spf, or even a foundation that has SPF. If you’re worried about sitting in front of the screen all day going from zoom meeting to zoom meeting, the Fitglow Day Essence spray also has blue light protection (not to mention other delicious goodies for your skin, like niacinamide for hyperpigmentation and agave stem cells that help lock in moisture). You can also mist the Day Essence throughout the day to freshen up, or continue protecting your skin from the m-m-m-askne monster.

Double cleanse in the PM. Before your head hits that pillow, make sure you wash the grime of your day off of your face. Double cleanse, meaning quite literally wash twice. First time to get the surface stuff off, makeup, dirt, bacteria, etc. Second time to actually clean your skin. I loooooove my massaging facial cleanser, my skin feels vibrant after i’m done using it, so i’ll often use it for my second cleanse and massage with a rolling motion from the centre of my face to the outer ends (think lymphatic drainage) to help blood circulation.

Mask it up! Hah. Gotcha. Sheet masks!!! I like masking once a week. Usually when i’m blogging i’ll put a matcha or pineapple maskeraide mask on… or if i’m chilling and watching netflix, i’ll throw a sheet mask on. So cleanse your skin at night, apply your mask, and then continue with your skincare (serum and moisturizer, from thinnest to thickest).

I know we’re all guilty of wearing a dirty mask because it’s just there. You forgot to wash it, or you forgot it at home. Or whatever. But before you go to grab that foundation-covered mask… Would you sleep with your makeup on? Ugh, don’t answer that.

If you’ve made it this far in my post, thanks for reading! I’ve linked quite a few of the products to my online store, and as a special treat, here’s a 15% discount code for you to use on anything listed above: MASKNE2020. The code will be valid for you to use until November 30, 2020! (Think Christmas gifts for your beauty enthusiast — they’ll thank you for it)

Featured

First Impressions are Everything.

This is a bit of a different kind of post. I know my schtick is all things beauty, but this sort of relates. I’ve done my fair share of interviews in my tenure as a BOSS, so I’m writing this blog in the hopes that it helps some of you ace that interview and land that job. Now — I can’t help you if your qualifications don’t match the employer’s requests/requirements, but barring those minor deets, here are my top 5 tips on making a great first impression.

  1. RESEARCH YOUR EMPLOYER. I’m always mindblown when I ask, “Have you heard of Bare Essentials?” and i’m met with a blank stare, or a passive “yeah, sure — i did a google search”. SRSLY. Guys, when you’re lining up that interview, if you really want the job, read up on that employer. Dig thru their social media. Find their IG accounts. Heck, follow their accounts and engage on their posts. Read their blog posts. READ THEIR REVIEWS!!! Anything and everything you can find on this new employer should be some good reading material for the day before your interview. When your potential future employer says, Have you heard of my company (for which you want employment from), your answer should resemble something like this: “Absolutely! You guys are the top wax bar in the tri-cities, and everyone raves about your amazing express wax service! Your social media game is on point, and i’ve loved reading your blog about your various services. I’m interested in learning more about ____________. I was also really impressed by your story, and how you started this business from the ground up. I’m looking forward to hearing more!” Whatever the answer is, make sure you tailor your lingo to their corporate culture. If the business you’re interviewing with is more “straight-arrow,” speak more to that narrative and use less “hip” lingo. Like, y’know…whatever. One of my latest hires actually listened to a podcast episdoe i was on with Bossy Women, and was telling me how she was speaking to her mom about me and my story. BROWNIE POINTS to the extreme.
  2. CLEAN UP YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS. Yes. The first thing i do when someone applies for a job, i creep any and all social media accounts i can find that are potentially yours. Totally. I look for hints into your personality, your likes/dislikes, do you have pets, do you have a family… anything that can speak to your character. Don’t get me wrong here, i’m not picking anything based on looks. I’ve always told my employees, i don’t care what you look like as long as you’re doing a good job. If you’re actively on the hunt for a job, and you want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward, give your future employers something that will tell them you’re a good option. It’s also not a bad idea to put your IG handle on your resume (if that’s appropriate for your industry), because it’ll trigger them to go there and not really hunt for anything else. Obviously, this works well for industries that are social-media-heavy. So. Take this for what it’s worth, but don’t kid yourself that the person doing the interview won’t be looking at your IG or Facebook profile. They totally are.
  3. SHOW. UP. ON. TIME. And by on time, i don’t literally mean on time. If your interview is at noon, if you’re not there by 11:45, you’re late. Don’t waltz in at noon with a fresh Starbucks-half-sweet-triple-whip-pumpkin-spice-with-cinnamon-shavings. Just don’t be late. Heck, show up half an hour early and wait in your car for 15 minutes. If I get a call from a candidate and they’re running behind, it tells me i’m not important enough for them to ensure they’re on time. To me, they’re automatically at the bottom of my pile, no matter how amazing that interview went. If it happens at the interview, it’ll happen for a shift at work.
  4. DRESS TO IMPRESS. I’ve had candidates show up with their hair in a messy topknot, ratty nails, no makeup on. Their outfit choice also questionable — but the important parts of this observation are the things they have control over. The messy bun could have been styled neater. The nails could have been done, or old nailpolish could have been removed and nails filed. They could have thrown some mascara on, and some tinted moisturizer. The clothes don’t need to be off the runway, but the effort needs to be made to look presentable. In my industry, where we’re selling esthetics, unfortunately looks play a part — you just need to show me that you’re able to give a rip. I’ve had candidates show up just all in black, but killed it with their makeup. That was good enough for me. Leave your patterned, comfy yoga pants at home and find one killer outfit that will work for any of your interviews (and hopefully you won’t be going on too many interviews before you land a job that pays well!).
  5. DON’T BACK-TALK YOUR PREVIOUS EMPLOYER. This one should be common sense, but nobody needs to hear how bad your previous boss was. You’re sitting in front of a boss that could have had similar bad runs, bad weeks, bad months. Worse yet, they may be friends with your old boss. When in doubt, don’t speak ill of anyone — think of it as a first date. You wouldn’t dish about your ex to your potential new partner, so don’t do this to your potential new boss.
  6. BONUS TIP. Bring a copy of your resume with you, just in case. Don’t have a printer? Go to Staples.

I know we’re not all getting a million interview offers these days because, y’know, pandemic. But I hope these tips will help you make a great impression. And if you’re interviewing with me, and you talk to me about my podcast, don’t be alarmed if i stop and look at you, smiling ear to ear from under my mask. GET THOSE JOBS, BABES!

Featured

Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving weekend (although as you’re reading this it’s actually Tuesday or later), and I’m feeling a bit sappy-sentimental. It’s definitely been a different kind of Thanksgiving weekend, I wasn’t able to see my family — my sister’s kids had possible exposure to c-19 at school so we decided not to chance it and stayed home. I miss my family, but was grateful that we were able to have a small Thanksgiving dinner at home, just us four.

If you’ve been watching my IG stories lately, you know that this last week or two have been very heavy for myself and my Armenian community, and it’s been all consuming for me…but I wanted to take this opportunity to show gratitude to all of you out there.

To the loyal clients who continuously gush over their brows and tell their circle about me, thank you.

To the watcher who just can’t bring themselves to take the plunge, but are always watching and engaging with my content, thank you.

To my followers who think of my little online boutique to buy from before putting in an order with a big box store, thank you.

To the clients who haven’t been following for long, but have had multiple people push you to see me for your beauty needs, your trust means so much. Thank you.

To those who have handed out my business cards, and keep coming back for more cards to hand out, thank you.

To my die-hards who have had brows, then liner, then lash lifts, then lip blush, and are always looking for the next service to do with me, thank you.

To the ones who enter every giveaway because they just don’t have the funds but would kill for a killer set of brows, thank you.

I’m so grateful for each of you — when you comment, like, share, read my blog posts, it really puts a smile on my face. I never once, in my wildest dreams, could ever have imagined I’d create a business that would allow me to connect with all of you beautiful creatures, and do something I’m so passionate about. Stick with me, cause the ride is just getting started! Love you all so much!

Featured

What to expect from a Consultation

So you’ve made the important decision to do something about your eyebrows, and you’ve scoured instagram for the best before and afters you can find. You’ve done some research on a few artists, and you’ve hopefully chosen yours truly to meet with to discuss your new dream brows. You’ve found a time for a consultation and you’re so excited but don’t know what to expect… right?

For the record, i’m not implying you should only meet with me — you should actually do quite a bit of research before you land on one person; part of this research should include conversations with your potential artist either face to face, over the phone, or through DMs. You should also scour their feed for lots of before and afters that you’re consistently happy with, as well as some healed work. Anyone can make the immediately after photo look great, but what’s important is how that work looks 6, 8, 12 weeks after (not to mention years later). Also, this isn’t the time to bargain hunt, folks. Find an artist whose work you’re happy with, and then wait until you can afford them. This is a tattoo on your face. I’ve always said, “Everyone has to start somewhere,” but don’t be alarmed if that start needs to be corrected. Your bargain brows may end up costing you quite a bit to fix if you’re unhappy. Not to mention, if you’re approaching an artist to take over someone else’s work, this usually means paying full tilt (their pricing for brand new brows) if not more (colour correction may require multiple sessions to achieve a neutral brown).

Ok, back from my rabbit trail: Consultation. Every artist has a different procedure on how they conduct their consultations. I’ll walk you through what i do for mine, so that if you have one coming up — you know what you can expect. You’re welcome to come having filled your brows, and it’s not a bad idea for me to see what you’re used to having on your face on a regular basis. If you don’t have makeup on, you can also bring in a selfie for me to get a glimpse into your daily makeup look. I’ll likely ask you what your brow goals are, have you walk me through what you currently do for your brows, and then i’ll roughly fill them in with the hairs that you’ve currently got. I don’t generally thread/wax/tweeze at this point, but i’ll use one of my brow pencils to give you a general idea of the shape. At this point, we’re not overly concerned about symmetry, we’re just trying to get a feel for my vision for your brows, and see if that lines up with what you have in your mind’s eye. When you actually have your brows booked, we spend time mapping, measuring, checking, re-checking, tweaking the shape. Once the shape is determined and we’re both happy, i’ll tweeze or thread any hairs outside of the shape. SO, if your brows are suuuuuper-uneven, or they hook really deep and we don’t want to go thick, i just disregard the hairs i don’t want and get rid of them after we’re settled.

I generally encourage my clients to leave on the shape that i’ve drawn in for them, take selfies, show friends, show significant-others, look at themselves in the mirror… Just to kind of get your eyes used to the new shape, especially if you’re going for a complete overhaul. Often when clients come back for their procedure, they’ll give me some feedback from the shape i drew on at their consult which helps when i’m mapping.

Ok so we’ve filled your brows in… now we go through any questions you may have. It’s always a great idea to go through my feed and save photos of brows that you love, so that i can get an idea for what you’re hoping for. I’ll have had a chance to assess your skin type and decide if we can actually achieve the result you have your heart set on, so come with an open mind. I’ll always do the best i can to achieve the outcome you’re striving for, but we have to keep in mind that your skin will do what your skin will do.

Write down any questions or concerns you’ve got! Now’s the time to drill me with all of your “what-ifs” and “i’m scared that” statements. There’s no question i haven’t heard, and if you somehow manage to stump me, i’ll check in with my colleagues and trainers, and follow up with you later. I’ll go over pre- and post- instructions, including the dreaded instruction to stay away from blood thinners (think caffeine, alcohol, ibuprofen), but my motto is: Beautiful Brows are worth anything. If you’re reading this and you’re booked in without a consultation, 3-5 days no blood thinners. It’s also in your confirmation email. There. You can’t say you didn’t know. HAH!

Do you have a consultation booked? Have you checked my online booking system? If you have any questions/concerns, leave them in the comment box below. I’d love to help you out with your brows!

Featured

FAQs: Round 2!

STOP. YOUR. SCROLL. Do you have some burning questions about cosmetic tattooing that you’re dying to have answered? Are you frustrated with constantly worrying about your brows, especially since now that’s all people can see? Read on, i’m answering some GREAT questions in this blog post.

A little bit of background, in case you stumbled upon here by accident, my name is Laurie and i’ve been a cosmetic tattoo artist for over 4 years, and i’ve done over 2000 procedures. I own Bare essentials Waterloo & Guelph, and i’m the self-proclaimed Brow Queen of the KWC region. If you have any questions that i don’t cover in this blog post, COMMENT! I read the comments and would love to help you solve your brow issues.

How long does microblading last before needing to get redone? I always tell my clients, bank on having a touchup annually. You may or may not need it, it’s kind of at your discretion. When you feel like you’re filling in your brows every day, and you’re getting sick of it, book it in. If you think you can stretch it out a few months, stretch it out. If you’re not sure, shoot me (or whoever your artist is) a photo of them in their current, natural state (sans makeup) and we can make a judgement call. I do, however, usually see people once a year.

What would you say is the most natural looking technique to fix patchy brows? It doesn’t matter what looks most natural. It only matters what your skin can handle. If you microblade oily skin, it’s going to look like rubbish when it’s healed, so it won’t look natural either way. I hear this from clients all the time, “I want it to look natural!” Yeah, i get it. You don’t want people to know you had them done. Sure. But my job as your artist is to make sure i choose the right technique that best suits your skin. If you have uncompromised, normal to dry, perfect skin with perfect pores, no wrinkles, that microblading is going to look undetectable. In fact, you have your pick of whatever technique you want to have done. If you come to me with oily skin, larger than tiny pores, scarring, compromised skin (think rosacea, psoriasis, acneic skin) i’m going to push you to go for powder ombre because i know what’s best for your skin type.

If you do microblading, as you get older will you have scar tissue? Long story short, yes. With microblading, you’re making superficial incisions in the form of a hairstroke. You’re cutting. It would make sense that eventually, down the line, if your artist isn’t working at the proper depth, you’ll have scar tissue. Also, in my opinion, and it’s a shared opinion amongst many PMU professionals, a microblading client can only microblade so many times before they can’t microblade anymore — they always eventually graduate to powder/ombre (the buildup of pigment will prevent you from seeing actual strokes after many years of touchups). Whether or not you’ll see actual visible scarring — I’m not entirely sure. I know my earlier works (say year 1) where i went too deep, I can see dips where my blade really cut into that skin… eep. But now, my strokes are so so so superficial… I’m not sure I can personally answer this question and say you’ll have buildup of scar tissue. I’d have to have a good 10 more years of experience under my belt to answer that with first-hand knowledge.

I love the natural, microbladed look, but i’m too oily. Nervous ombre will look too glam on me. Thoughts? I think the look we’re referring to here is this:

While this is beautiful work done by international artist, Brow Daddy (whose training i’ve actually attended) — this style isn’t for everyone. This is mega glam, and really only good for clients who will never be caught without a full face of makeup; and even still, really only done by a younger age group (think 20-30). Generally speaking, i go for a softer edge with my ombre brows so it heals with a feathered, pixelated edge. I hear you, my oily-skinned friend, but i also have oily skin and my brows are powdered — and you’d never know. I can still go without makeup on my face and i don’t look too glam, but i can add more makeup and glam it up when need be. I’ve got you, gf.

What is recommended for someone with blonde eyebrows? I’m scared! I like to call myself a shopaholic. Whether it’s in relation to my supplies for work, or clothes, i love exploring and finding new things. I say this because i think i have a solid 20 bottles of pigment open, and another 20 bottles of different pigment colours unopened waiting to be tried out on a new client. Whether you have blonde hair and normal/dry skin, or blonde hair and oily skin, the pigment choice will be the key element to make you not feel like Eugene Levy. I can safely say, i have every shade of blonde, and i’ll have something light or dark enough to help you feel comfortable with your new brows. I will also say, with my nervous nellies i tend to do lighter and more conservative with my shape and colour, and almost ALWAYS we end up going darker and thicker at the touchup. But building is good, taking away pigment is an entirely different process.

healed blonde powder/ombre in taupe

As always, i LOVE hearing your questions, and I want to have conversations with you guys! If you’ve enjoyed this post and you have your own burning questions, please leave them in the comments below! you can also book a virtual consultation and we can become IG buddies. DM to set it up. Can’t wait to hear from you all!

Featured

CONSISTENCY

SECRET RECIPE FOR SUCCESS

Don’t tell anyone, but i’m going to lay it all out right here. The key ingredient for success in any endeavour will be revealed to you in this very blog post. So definitely dive in, because you’ll need this one thing to help you succeed in that thing you’re doing right now.

Ready? I don’t know… are you sure? Like for reals? Ok. Here goes.

Yep. That’s it. Consistency. Let me paint a visual here for you:

You’re trying to lose some of that covid weight gain. Yes, self love, but you don’t really want to spend hundreds of dollars replacing the jeans that you can’t fit into anymore. You must consistently eat cleaner, and add some activity to achieve success. If you eat clean four days of the week, but when friday hits it all flies out the window — you’re right back where you started on Monday. I speak from personal experience here.

Another example, you’re trying to amp up your social media game and hustle in your business. You have to be present and post consistently for people to notice you and start engaging back. You can’t just post five pics one day, and disappear for 3! You can’t just post once a week in stories and go silent the rest of the time… You have to hustle that sh*t consistently for your audience to get to know you, your service, your voice. I started posting consistenly on my IG in October 2018, and I always stall in growth when my engagement lags behind. When i start posting engaging content, my numbers start climbing. Again, speaking from personal experience here.

Consistency in social media also helps your audience know what to expect. They know that they can rely on your #OOTD post, or a weekly blog post. They know that they’ll see a cool beauty tip, or a before an after that’s going to really wow them. If they keep coming back and you haven’t posted anything in days, they’ll stop coming back. The algorithm will also stop showing your work to people because it’s just not engaging enough and there’s more content online that will keep users engaged longer. (did you guys watch that social media documentary on netflix???)

Here’s another good one: You’re a newer PMU artist, and you’re watching other people’s work on social, or even in real lift on other people. You need to practice consistently every chance you have to perfect your craft. You can’t take one course and expect to improve unless you’re consistently on that practice latex every day. I used to carry around a microblade (with a lid) and practice skin in my purse just so i could bust it out and play around with stroke patterns if i had a free moment.

Ok so maybe it’s not a full recipe for success, but all i’m saying is: Set a goal. Figure out the work. Be consistent in doing the work. Stay consistent, and 6 months from now you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.

Featured

It’s all a matter of PROPORTIONS

Brows, brows, brows. You wake up in the morning, wash your face, brush your teeth, then what? Do you bother putting any makeup on? I mean, only eyes and brows are showing, so is it worth it to put anything on? YES. The eyes are the windows to your soul (and your brows.. are the… drapes?), and since all people can see are your eyes, brows, forehead, brows have never been more important. I can hear you now, “But Laurie, i don’t know what i’m doing!!”

Stop. I can help you. This week i’ll be posting a bunch of videos in my IG feed on different brow products and how to use them. Watch those when they go up. But also you’ll need to know where to apply those products to maximize your brow effect. Lets go over some brow proportions, shall we?

The head of your brows should line up somewhere between the inner corner of your eye, and the bridge of your nose. If you don’t have hair here, play around with either a brow pencil or brow butter + angle brush to fake it. If you have a large gap to fill, practice until you’re comfortable.

I know some of you have tweezed the heck out of your unibrow, to the point where you’ve gone in and taken away valuable brow hairs… Leave it alone. Stop tweezing the head of your brows, please. I promise you, it’ll look better if your brows aren’t running away from each other.

Now the arch…. ahhhh, the arch. If you’ve got the comma brow, this part is for you. Your arch should be a gradual incline, and not a sharp turn.

If you were to draw a diagonal line from your cupid’s bow, through your iris, that’s roughly where your arch should land. You could literally draw a straight line from the bottom of the head of your brow to that point, and fill it all in with makeup. Try it. Again, something that may require practice, but well worth it.

The third component of your brows are your tails — often overlooked. This part of the brow is so easy to mess up when you’re getting them waxed, because one hair too many and it completely shortens them. And that’ll be the hair that never grows back. I know someone out there is nodding in agreement.

If you were to draw a diagonal line from the cupids bow past the edge of your eye, this is roughly where your tail should end. Draw a line from your arch point to the tail point. Pro tip, try not to let your tail go lower than the head. The tail should be level with the head, or a touch higher to open up the eyes.

Those are the basics. It all gets better with practice, but those are the general proportions you should follow when it comes to filling in your brows. Which weapon you choose (aka brow product) is entirely up to you!

A few more pro-tips:
• Start with getting a great brow wax/thread from someone reputable (you can find me at Bare Essentials Waterloo on mondays for brow waxing/threading, etc).
• practice when you’re not rushing. There’s nothing worse than rushing through your makeup, only to notice that one brow is sitting higher than the other, and then you’re so frazzled and strapped for time that it’s either your brows, or packing the kids lunch.
• A clean spoolie/mascara wand is a great tool to blend out and soften makeup that’s been applied too heavily.
• you don’t need to just put makeup where you have brow hair if you’re not happy with your shape.
• softer application is always easier on the eyes than strong application.

Want to see an example of me filling in some brows that aren’t my own? Comment down below, and i’ll record a video!!

Featured

Oops. Now what?

Ok so, you wanted to get your brows done, right? You found a great deal ($199!! score!!), looked at the artist’s portfolio, looked pretty decent… you held your breath and took the plunge. You went in for your appointment, you closed your eyes for a couple of hours, and then… crap. You’re not happy. Immediate regret. Whether you express your feelings to your artist are irrelevant at this point, because you can’t wipe these brows off. They’re there whether you want them to be there or not! So you grudgingly pay, leave, and sit in your car looking at your botched brows in your rear-view mirror, not sure what the eff you’re going to do next. You search frantically on google to see what home remedies have worked for others, or look up microblading removal (insert city name here), ask another artist in town that you should have gone to…

I’ve heard this story so many times. If i had a dollar every time i heard this story… well, ok maybe i could buy a nice meal. In terms of removal, there are a few ways you can deal with this, but the business i’ve been referring my removal clients to has been Laser Away Ink in Cambridge. I interviewed Lee with my own questions, but if you have any further questions drop them in the comments below!

What kind of laser do you have for tattoo removal? At Laser Away Ink we use a Quanta Q Plus-C Q Switch NDYAG that has 3 true wavelengths for all colours. 

Can your laser really give a client a clean slate? If you’re doing removal on bad Microblading, will it get everything off eventually? The laser can only grab what the laser can get. If the scar tissue is too severe, the laser may not be able to grab the pigment to remove it. There are many factors relating to scarring. **Laurie’s note: microblading that’s gone too deep will not only make the colour go blue-grey, but it’ll also leave divots in your brows, aka scar tissue

Is there any pigment your laser cannot treat? If a client has multiple layers of pigment, built up over years of having their brows tattooed, is this treatable? The laser can remove all colours. Certain shades the laser can’t pick up. If a client has nude colour there is a chance it will turn black. If a client had multiple treatments (layers) we can treat them but we let the client know we can only take one off at a time so multiple sessions are required. **Laurie’s note: Some cosmetic tattooing pigments contain titanium oxide, which is a major component of nude or camouflage ink. Even in body art, if a laser touches titanium oxide, it will turn black — the opposite of what you want.

Will the laser affect the existing, natural brow hairs? Is there risk of the hair follicles dying? As for killing the hair follicles. It’s definitely NO because tattoo removal is a short pulse and hair removal is a long pulse.

If a client has had a brow procedure done that they’re immediately unhappy with, can you help them? Do they have to wait for it to heal before they can have laser done? When a client has regrets immediately after brow procedure we can’t treat them the skin needs to heal before laser. Usually 4-6 weeks sometimes more. 

Does it hurt? Can the client numb their skin? Brow removal isn’t painless but the procedure is quick we use a cryo 6 chiller that blows -30 air for the thermal heat the client can also use numbing cream if they wanted. 

How long does a brow removal take? How often can someone have it done? What is the maximum number of times you can treat an area? Is there a threshold to pigment removal where it just won’t work anymore? Brow removal sessions are quick, they last about 10 min with minor downtime. After treatment the skin is a bit red but will go back to normal in no time. With session 6 weeks apart we can laser as many times as you want until you’re happy with the results. Laser is the most non abrasive way to remove pigment from the body. After laser you are left with perfect skin and no scar tissue so it makes it perfect to reapply new brows. 

Laser Away Ink charges $130 per removal session, and is a great option if you are having some regrets. If you’re looking to have a different artist touch up your work, your new artist may also require a quick snapshot of their current state to see if removal is necessary — i usually send them to Lee because i know he’s got a great machine! If you have any questions, drop them in the comment section below!

Featured

Pro-Tip: Stretch like a savage.

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. It’s a tip that changed everything for me when it comes to clean hairstroke brows, so artists: pay attention.

STRETCH. Stretch like a savage. I remember when i first started, i’d kinda stretch, kinda-sorta, and close my eyes and hope for the best. I knew from watching videos of other artists that i needed to stretch, and i knew from past trainings that i needed to stretch, but i never had anyone watch me do it and correct me on it.

I remember my lightbulb moment like it was yesterday — i thought i was stretching ok, and my trainer said: “No, tighter. Still tighter.” Now, i can’t stand over your head and tell you to stretch tighter, but you need to completely disregard your client’s comfort (to an extent) and get as good of a 3-point stretch as you can. At the end of the day, your client can be uncomfortable for a couple of hours if it’ll mean amazing, fine, crisp hairstrokes on their face instead of fat blobs.

Think of an inflated balloon. Take a sharpie and draw a line. Deflate the balloon, and take note of how much finer that hairstroke is… Of course you can’t make a good hairstroke with a crappy tool, so make the investment in good microblades. Go to tinadavies.com and invest in some good blades and pigments and don’t forget to use the code browbylaurie15 for a one-time 15% discount!

Featured

The road to success is paved with…

Failure. Oh sure, take a look at any experienced professional’s portfolio and you see 5 star work followed by 5 star work — right? It’s easy to look at this and feel hopeless, and feel like you’ll never get there, and you’re never going to be good enough, and your potential clients will just keep scrolling past your IG onto the BBD (bigger, better deal). To this, i say: SHUT YOUR MOUTH.

Here’s a true story: I was first trained on microblading in May of 2016. In June, i took a month solid of booking in clients and doing brows all day every day. Keep in mind, at that point i had been in business for 7 years, and i had a slew of clients that trusted me to let me tattoo their faces. This won’t necessarily be you, but that’s not the point. So at the end of that first month of practice, i started getting a few referrals from clients that were happy enough with their brows. Generally they’d book a consultation before they booked the full service, and it would give me the opportunity to map their brows, discuss the procedure, and give them a rundown of my experience so they had a fairly good idea of my service level.

One day, i had a booking for a microblading with a client who i’d never met before. Not even as a wax client…. so we called and confirmed she wanted the full service done sans-consult. Like triple checked. She was a word-of-mouth referral from a trusted esthetician in town, so she had confidence that i’d be able to nail it. On the phone, my gut told me to push harder for a consult, or cancel altogether… but i ignored that gut feeling (mistake #1). She came in and showed me these beautiful, wispy brows microbladed on relatively full natural brows and asked for this style. I had never done this style, and the artists she was referencing were pro, experienced artists who i was personally following and admiring. I knew i couldn’t do it, and i should have turned her away at that point — but i didn’t (mistake #2).

I finished the service while concurrently crapping my proverbial pants. 3 hours later, after sweating through both of my shirts, i showed the client her new brows and held my breath… she actually liked them. I swear, I was extremely shocked. I was on cloud nine!!!! I slept well that night.

Fast-foward to 6 weeks later, the client comes in for her touch-up. She barely makes eye contact as I greet her, doesn’t say much when i make small talk as i’m taking her down the hall to my room… she takes a seat on the chair in my room, and says, “We’re not doing anything today.” And then continues to tell me everything she hates about her brows. Colour, shape, symmetry, she’s had to buy special makeup to cover, on and on. I sat there, listened, kept everything in, and said, “What can i do to make this better?” She asked for a refund. I happily complied, and let her know that this meant we’re basically washing our hands of each other. She agreed, and left.

I closed my door after she left, and cried for ten minutes. I used to be a crybaby as a child, but I’d like to consider myself a pretty strong individual… I cry at sappy movies, or something related to my kids, but i don’t get anxious or worked up over anything work related. I had a hard time sleeping that whole week, and i was gutted over ruining this woman’s face. I still look back and shake my head at how bad those brows turned out. Every service after that one, i had to give myself a 10 minute pep talk, and i dreaded it the entire time. I almost threw in the towel. ME. I ALMOST GAVE UP. But people still booked in — i really don’t know why. I always say i wasn’t that good at microblading, and my friends/staff/family always said i was. I chalked it up to them just being my people, and kept plugging along.

I kept practicing on latex, pencil and paper, actual clients… i took more courses, followed artists better than me to see how they worked… i kept pushing myself. I could have just stopped, and quit. I did consider it, i pulled back from posting on social and i went down to just a few appointments a week. That would have been the perfect opportunity to just not take any more clients. Maybe i was just too busy with waxing and product development to notice, or to do anything drastic. Maybe deep down i knew that if i just kept practicing, it would eventually get better.

That client wasn’t my first failure, and it wasn’t my last. I still have moments where clients look at the finished result and i’m seeing all of the flaws, but they’re loving it.. The difference is, now i’ve acquired the skill and mental fortitude to solve the problem.

I didn’t write this post to just tell you that i’ve had failures too — i wrote this post to remind you that in order to get better at anything in life, you have to fail. Don’t look at anyone’s portfolio of work and marvel at how amazing they are, without realizing that they failed too. They just picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and started all over again (cue Diana Krall. Anyone?)

New artists? Keep going. Keep failing, keep practicing, keep trying new things. Ask questions. Investigate. Take notes before you try something new. Watch what your industry leaders are doing, and learn whatever you can. Invest in new courses.

If you’re reading this, and you’re looking at taking a training course (whether you’re brand new, or just looking to brush up on your skills) — Hit me up! I’m looking at finding a few students to take my beta course on Microblading.

Featured

Pro tools = pro work

I took a bit of a hiatus from writing my blog, because i was trying to focus on creating more educational content (as well as finish my online course, which is super close) — hence today’s post! I take for granted that i’ve been doing this for almost 5 years, and that things come naturally for me now may not necessarily be common knowledge. SO, in true collaborative spirit, I’m here to spill my figurative beans: #communityovercompetition amirite? Today’s lesson: How to choose a microblade to best compliment your mad skills. Read to the end for a discount code!!

First off, quality blades are key to producing quality work. Your stroke pattern can be so on point, and you could have spent hours upon hours pouring over a thousand latex pads, but if your blade is crap, your work will also heal the same: crap. It may be tempting to search for the best deal on a blade, but unless you’re buying from a reputable company, you’re not really doing yourself any favours. Your blades should be sharp, needles should be fine. Also, it’s important to note that they’re marked sterile, cause gross. My favourite blades to work with are either the Jenn Boyd Ink blades (available for Canadians thru MinxBrows), or the Tina Davies blades. Yes, they’re a bit pricey, but i know for a fact that they’re a good quality blade and they stand behind their product as artists who currently produce work as well. Next in line are the pre-assembled blades from Minx Brows that come in a variety of configurations and needle sizes — i tend to use these when i’m doing a combo brow with mostly shading.

Speaking of configuration and needle sizes, that’s next on the list of things to consider. And its a doozy, so buckle up. Microblades can come with anywhere from 7 needles, to 18; meaning, 7 microneedles in the blade formation, up to 18 microneedles. They can come in a slanted config, a curved slant, or a u-shape. The needles themselves can range from 0.16 to 0.35mm in diameter. Take all of these factors, throw them into a tool, and you’ve got mass confusion. Lets take it one bite at a time:

In terms of needle size:
• If you want to create strokes that are super fine (and your client’s natural brow hairs are super fine), go with a nano blade, or a .16 to .18
• If your client’s brow hairs are naturally thicker/coarser, go with a thicker needle like a .20 or .25.

In terms of the number of needles:
• The more needles in your microblade, the wider your blade is.
• The wider your blade, the more difficult it’ll be to create a curved stroke — these blades would work well to create thicker brows where each hairstroke is longer.
• The thiner your blade, the easier it’ll be to curve your blade, which is great for thinner brows. Proceed with caution if your brow hairs are longer, it’s almost easily to inadvertently curve your stroke without intending to.

In terms of blade shape, it mainly comes down to technique:
• if you’re used to planting your blade and making your stroke with one swipe, use a slant, or curved slant.
• if you complete your stroke with a back and forth motion, try a u-blade.

I’d recommend having a few different configurations on hand so you can decide what to use based on your clients hair & skin. My personal faves would be a 14 slant in a 0.18 and 0.20 needle size.

Pre-assembled blades by Tina Davies
The blade and blade holder in this case are separate, and assembled
in front of the client.

Last thing — assembled, disposable microblades vs. disassembled. You can purchase individual blades and use a blade holder, which would allow for switching up your blades during the procedure fairly easily. Pre-assembled blades tend to be a bit more expensive, so if you’re swapping out the blade in your blade holder, you’re saving a bit of the cost. If you plan on using a single blade for the full procedure, pre-assembled will do just fine. The main thing to remember is to try and use disposable blade holders. You could, in theory, autoclave your holder… but having an autoclave in your studio would mean doing bi-weekly spore tests with a lab, and keeping those lab results on file for public health. More expense, more work, more administrative duties… Just chuck the blades into a sharps container and use a new one for the next procedure. Your clients will also appreciate seeing a new package being opened in front of them for their brows.

And now for that discount code i promised you: This one is specifically geared towards the PMU industry. Want 15% off your next purchase on www.tinadavies.com? Use code browsbylaurie15 and save on your whole purchase — blades, pigments, practice pads.. you name it! Do it up, it’s a great deal!!

Featured

Back to work, back to the grind

It’s been 4 weeks since phase 2 was released and we were allowed to get back to work on a limited basis. No services to the face, body only. This made most of us happy, my crew was able to get back to work and start making an income again…clients were able to come in and get pool and beach-ready again… People were out and about, and the economy had some movement again. We’ve had some hiccups along the way, but I know there are still some of you that aren’t back to work; or clients that just aren’t ready to be in an enclosed room with someone to receive a service you wouldn’t have thought twice about before March. And now we’ve got PHASE 3!!!

So a few things you should know:

– as of Monday, July 13, everyone needs to be wearing a mask in every indoor public setting. This includes Bare Essentials, shopping malls, grocery stores, heck — elevators. I know some of you may have a medical condition excluding you from wearing a mask, so if that’s you and you want to come in for a service, hit us up with a phone call or text. As an employer, I have staff to consider. I can’t force anyone to do anything they’re not comfortable with. If you can’t wear a mask, I have to find you a spot at the end of the day with staff that is ok with providing your service (at a distance less than 6ft).

– if you’re looking to get your brows done, shapings are HAPPENING! Phase 3 was just announced– more information to come. Stay tuned to social media!

Now that those bits of housekeeping are out of the way, here are the things I’ve learned during lockdown:

– time is precious, and finite. I’ve honestly grown in my relationship with my family, and being home all the time has taught me patience with my kids. We’re closer than ever, and for once — Dad isn’t automatically the favourite.

– there is beauty in routine. I’ve enjoyed my morning workout routine as much as our evening dinner routine. We’ve learned to really love watching cooking and baking shows together while we eat dinner. We’ve added words to our vocabulary, like “crisp, buttery, flakey” and the ever so popular “m” word. I won’t even type it. Gag.

– set aside time for work. Being productive is as important and cherishing time with the fam. I could easily just chill by the pool all day (and let’s be real, I did do that a lot last week when it was sooooooo hot out), but setting achievable goals on a daily basis helps you decide when it’s time to kick back and relax.

– start your day early, and pretend as if you’re leaving the house even if you’re not. I did this every day (hello #ootd shots), and I honestly feel like it helped me be more productive. I didn’t feel gross, or lazy when I had my jeans on and my hair/face put together. I also put jeans on to make sure they still fit….if I’m strapped for cash, I can’t buy a whole new wardrobe, can I?

– last, but not least: make lemonade. Guys, quarantine SUCKED. Like, hard. We all had to learn to pivot, hustle a different way, in order to survive. But I bet those of you that did the pandemic pivot learned something about yourself that you didn’t know was in you…right? Or you literally took an online course and added a new skill to your arsenal? Or you (ahem) built an online store and sold product to keep revenue going?

Guys, 12 weeks has passed. You’ve stuck with me the whole way, and I can’t thank you enough for listening to my voice and engaging with my brand. Everything I do, I do for you guys! My fans, my friends, my family, my ride or dies. If you’ve read this far, I have an ask: subscribe to the blog, and I’ll be sending out a coupon code soon, but only to my subscribers. Haha, offer hidden at the end of the blog. Much love ❤️

Featured

Mantras I live by

I found this definition online for what a mantra is:

A mantra is supposed to help you clear your consciousness out of the noise, so you can make room for one idea you want to concentrate on. A mantra is an idea, a philosophy or a world overview, concentrated in a sentence, a phrase or even one word.

It was the most unofficial, relaxed definition of mantra I could find that didn’t go too deep into meditation practices, because I think we use the word “mantra” a bit more casually in today’s culture. I think for most people a “mantra” has more to do with “words to live by,” than meditation — but the foundation of the word, as noted above, says your mantra should help you focus on one central thought. If you were asked, “what advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?” I’m sure you’d have a few mantras to share… Here are mine:

1. LOVE YOURSELF: I specifically put that one in bold, because I think we’re so quick to tear ourselves down. Most often than not, you’ll point out your flaws than embrace them, and you know I’m right on this one. This idea to love yourself, or self-love and body positivity, is a really buzzing idea right now with influencers that aren’t cocaine-chic posting cellulite shots in bikinis, or real-life models posing in photo shoots for a women’s underwear line…but I think self-love goes further than just esthetics. You could be gorgeous and a size 2 with no cellulite and not a blemish on you and still not love yourself. You may think your intellect isn’t all there, or you think that your social circle thinks (insert thought here) of you. Something I learned after baby #2, when I was struggling with baby weight and some serious body image issues, was that none of it matters. You are perfectly imperfect, and that’s what makes you YOU. If you want to lose weight, do it — but dont punish yourself until you hit your goal. If you want to get that tummy tuck, do it, but realize that you’re doing it for you and nobody else. I still have these conversations with myself, so I still struggle with it, but I love myself because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.

2. Trust the journey. I don’t believe in coincidence, and I think everything happens for a reason. Could I be more cliché? Hah. Seriously though, I think our destination is unknown and the journey is the exciting part. Your life will work itself out, and the challenges you’re facing right now are temporary and possibly something you need to learn something from. Use every experience, downfall, obstacle as a learning point. You’re here for a reason.

3. I am worthy. This one ties in with “love yourself,” because you can’t expect to feel worthy of what life is giving you unless you love yourself. Your life didn’t happen by accident. You deserve all of the good in your life! Have grace, and love yourself. When we feel worthy, we strive for more because we feel that we deserve it. So hear it again: YOU are WORTHY. Love yourself, know you’re worthy, strive for greatness, and trust the journey. And I’m not just talking to my boss babes out there, this applies to you too. Yes. You. Don’t hold yourself back from greatness because I’m not the only one who thinks you’re worthy.

I didn’t know where that all was going when I started writing it. I don’t typically go deep with my blog posts! Now that you’ve read it, what are some mantras you live by? How do you make sure these mantras are top of mind?

What got me thinking about this whole topic was really our new Mantra Band products that we’ve launched in our store. I love them and I think they’re powerful reminders that we can wear daily to keep us focused on inspiring words to live by. You can check them out here: https://waxonomy.myshopify.com/collections/mantra-bands

Featured

My Own Skin FAQ

I’m no skincare expert by any means, but i’ve done enough of my own research and have had enough of my own ???-moments that I can answer some of my own previous questions that confused me. It was definitely a sight to see when a skincare rep would come and do her shpiel, and i was like a deer in headlights — i always had to have someone else in on my sales meetings with them so i wouldn’t look like a complete newbie. So read on, nobody is judging you.

Why would anyone ‘double-cleanse’? Because, if you watched my video the other day, if you’re just washing your face once, you’re not really getting all the junk off of your face. You can use a microfiber cloth to wash your face, literally wash it twice, or use a different cleanser for that initial clean-up. The Korean skin-care gurus will suggest using an oil-cleanser for the first wash, and a water-based cleanser for the second. The oil-cleanser will clean off all excess oil and oil-based residue, and the water-based cleanser will really deep clean and remove all the dirt that will end up clogging your pores. Korean skin-care is known to be experimental, high end, top of the line, but you don’t have to go from 0 to 100 overnight. Just make sure your face is clean before going through your skin care routine.

What products do i need? So, a decent cleanser, and it doesn’t need to be expensive, is a good first step. I personally have been using the FacEnvy (EyEnvy brand cleanser) because it does a good job in getting my lash glue off, and my face feels squeaky clean. I also enjoy the mild hint of rose, because it’s not overpowering and it’s quite pleasant. I also use an eye serum, eye cream, face serum, face cream, daily peel. You don’t have to be nuts like me, if you’re just starting to think about taking care of your skin, lets start with a cleanser, a serum, and moisturizer. The cleanser’s function is obvious, the serum will treat your skincare concerns, and the moisturizer…moisturizes. Once you get into this rhythm and you’re seeing some positive results, you can add in steps into the routine. The rule of thumb is to apply the thinnest to thickest, so after i wash my face: I use my daily peel pads, apply eye serum, eye cream, face serum, spf moisturizer. But start with the basics and work your way up from there. No point in investing in a skin care regimen if you’re just going to let it sit on your shelf.

Do i really need to “invest” in skin care? I get your on this question, really i do — up until 3 years ago, i would maybe wash my face. I certainly did not want to invest big bucks into a skincare routine because i felt like my skin looked fine, and i was about to cover it with foundation anyway, so WHO CARES. Right? See, i told you i get you. And then i turned 35, and it was like my skin puked all over itself overnight. I found hyperpigmentation spots id never seen, my skin felt dull and blah, and i just didn’t enjoy having to always put on a full face in the morning. Plus hanging around my friend Desiree who was all about skincare had a bit to do with it. So now that i’ve invested in my skincare, my attitutde about this question has done a complete 180º. Everything you put on your face is a preventative measure. Hyperpigmentation takes years to surface, so SPF daily year-round is vital. Anti-aging may seem silly when you don’t have wrinkles, but preventing them is way way easier than reversing them. If you don’t have acne now, when you have a breakout — you can dump all the expensive skincare you want on your face, but it takes a while for you to condition your skin to have it respond to product. Figure out what pricepoint you’re comfortable with, and find a skin-guru you trust that can actually look at your skin and give you a plan. My skincare regimen won’t work for you, necessarily, because all skin isn’t the same. Invest while you’re younger and don’t have “skin conditions” to fix. Preventative.

What other skin treatments can i do? This answer depends largely on what your skin is saying to you. Treating your skin can be as simple as changing diet (dairy can be really inflammatory to a lot, and cutting it out may mean less breakouts — but talk to a naturopath, derm, doctor, before doing this. Dairy does nothing to my face, and if i cut cheese out of my life, i don’t know what i’d do). A good deep-cleaning treatment every season change is a great idea. Microdermabrasion or dermaplaning will help you by getting that top layer of dead skin off, which can often act as a barrier to your skincare. Imagine how much better your skin will respond to your products if it was actually sinking into your skin, rather than fighting to get to it thru dead skin. Microneedling is a service that can literally change your skin in a few months. It’s collagen-induction therapy, and by creating microtrauma to your skin forces it to product collagen to repair it. Collagen is a protein that keeps our skin from sagging and helps it look plump, youthful. Your body has a “collagen bank” and as you age, your production starts to slow down (around the age of 25). The less collagen you have, the more your skin looks aged. So by doing treatments that help build collagen, you’re literally making yourself look younger. I swear, once the ‘rona is gone, i’m getting trained specifically on microneedling because it’s a miracle treatment. You can induce collagen production with Radio-frequency facials, which is more cost effective but is better as maintenance for your microneedling. Microneedling can be the initial jet-pack, and radio-frequency can be your booster fuel to keep it going.

Do i really need to wash twice a day? Do you brush your teeth twice a day? Yes. Wash. Your. Face.

Do I need day and night products for my face? Lets go back to the answer for my second question about investing. Start off slowly. Once you get into your rhythm of using skincare, and you’re doing your steps consistently, then you can invest in specific day and night products. I know, i said the word aging and wrinkles and you freaked out a little bit.

Ok! I hope this helps a little bit! I’m looking forward to phase 3 when i can start working on peoples’ faces again, so until then invest wisely, use some sheet masks once a week, and sit tight.

Featured

So someone else tattooed your face…

And you’re not happy with the outcome. You’re hoping someone (maybe me?) will be able to save your face, quite literally, and fix the mess. Here are a few things you need to know about cosmetic tattooing, and how it can go wrong:

  • Your old microblading has changed colour. It’s been a few years, and it’s looking either too warm, or too cool (aka orange or grey). First things first, brown pigment is made up of yellow, red, and purple. As the pigment ages, there’s no way of knowing which colour will fade faster than the other, which can result in the colour shifting to orange or grey. If this is what you’ve got, don’t freak out — it’s fixable. And it happens to the best of us. Your artist will try to avoid this by using modifiers, but sometimes it just happens.
  • Your old microblading isn’t crisp, it’s blurry, and its super dark. This happens for a couple of different reasons: Either your original artist wasn’t super experienced and went too deep (resulting in blurry, dark strokes), or your skin isn’t suited for microblading (also resulting in blurry, dark strokes). Microblading isn’t for everyone (on both ends of the service). If you’re oily, or have trouble skin, microblading won’t end well. Powder brows are much better suited, and is a much more gentle technique, will last longer/age better. I also am of the belief that eventually everyone will transition to powder — you can only go into the same strokes so many times before it just gets blurry and messy anyway.
  • Your shape doesn’t suit your brows. Either the shape is off, or is sitting too high on the brows, you have a double tail, whatever the case may be. You’re just not happy with the shape anymore.

So what the heck are you supposed to do now? In most cases, an artist will work on someone else’s work for a fee. Please don’t expect to pay an artist’s touchup rate if they didn’t do the original work. You should expect to pay at least the cost of a brand new set of brows, at the very least. You may also be required to have removal of some sort to lighten pigment that’s too dark, or remove pigment that doesn’t belong in your best shape.

If you’re OK with your brows becoming thicker or darker than they currently are, it’s usually an easier fix. If you’re hoping to get lighter or thinner, count on a few rounds of laser removal so that your skin/pigment is workable. If you’re in the tri-cities area, DM me and i’ll send you over to a clinic in Cambridge that’s done a decent amount of removal on old microblading.

Corrective work is an advanced technique, and requires a skillset you won’t find with a beginner artist. There’s a reason experienced artists charge what they charge, and it is extremely important to check an artist’s portfolio for healed work. I’ll be the first to say everyone starts somewhere — we all need practice on actual skin before we can start to improve. And you may be someone’s practice… that’s ok. If you’re sitting across from an experienced artist asking them to fix your brows, don’t try to bargain: you’re paying for years of experience.

Featured

My top 5 products I can’t live without

Ok that’s a bit extreme. I wouldn’t die if I didn’t have any of these products, but you’re reading aren’t you? So here’s a list of the 5 products I use on a daily, and love love love having them as part of my regiment:

1. Salt + Stone sunscreen. Summer or winter, I love this sunscreen. We discussed the importance of sunscreen last week, and how you should be wearing this stuff year round. The reason I’m a huge fan of the s+s is because it goes on so nicely under my makeup, so if I happen to be using a foundation that doesn’t have SPF (and many don’t), im covered. You still have to reapply throughout the day, and for this you can find an SPF setting spray, like Coola. It’s also a clean SPF, so you can use it on your littles without worrying about harmful ingredients!

2. St Tropez Purity Vitamin Serum. Ok, I’m pasty. I hate being pasty white in the summer. When you have a glow, a slight tan, everything just looks healthier…but we know sun damage isn’t healthy. I use the purity serum on my face after my moisturizer in the morning, and it helps maintain my glow year round. If I want more colour, I put it on day and night until I get my colour where I want it to be, and then switch back to once a day. Originally I was concerned about the price tag ($40) on such a small bottle, but I’ve been using the same bottle for about 2 months now, and I’m good for probably another 2 months.

3. Olaplex 3, 6, 7. This one is actually 3 products combined, but I didn’t think you guys would object to more product recommendations. My hair is dark brown, as the lockdown has made painfully clear. I enjoy being blonde. What happens when you make dark brown into blonde? Typically the hair goes brittle and dry, and looks unhealthy. Everyone’s on the quest for the Holy Grail of hair products to make your overprocessed hair look glossy and shiny, and I think Olaplex has it it right on target. When I wash my hair (once a week), the night before I put my #3 hair mask on and sleep with it on. Wash it off in the morning, use a salon quality shampoo/conditioner, and dry/style. While it’s still damp, I use a small quantity of #6 styling cream (less is more), and 5 drops of #7 bonding oil. Rub my palms together, and work it thru my hair focusing on mids-ends. I also like using a drop or two of the #7 if I have a lot of fly aways on top…helps me look like I don’t have a frizz halo.

4. Esqido strip lashes + companion glue. You guys ask me all the time what lashes I’m wearing, if they’re magnetic. When I tell you I use the glue on ones, you’re baffled at how I get them on. Guys! I’ve been wearing strip lashes since August 2017, almost daily. My first two or three applications were kinda ridiculous. I’ve figured out my own tips and tricks on getting these beautiful strips to stay on all day, one of which is the glue. I don’t use drugstore glue, they usually come in a tube and you can’t get a precise application. The companion glue from Esqido has a liner brush applicator so you’re not over-applying, and if you let it dry for a good 30-60 seconds, you’re not fighting to get them to stay on your lash line. Plus the Esqido strip lashes will last for up to 30 uses if you take care of them, and I’ve put this to the test. My fave lashes are the BFF, Lashlorette, Nebula, and Gin and Tonic from the Unisyn line. Trust me on this — you can do it.

5. The Scrub. This is my all-time favorite. I’m biased because it’s my formula. We created this formula over the course of a year, and have it made exclusively for Bare Essentials. I use it every time I shower, and I love how it keeps my skin moisturized and smooth. We’ve picked our top 5 scents and they all smell AMAZING. And you know how you’ll use a bath product, and smell good in the shower…and then you get out of the shower and you don’t smell that product anymore? Well, with the scrub you still get the fragrance on your skin, so you smell delish. Seriously, if you haven’t tried it — get it now.

Featured

The New Normal

Today’s announcement has everyone EXCITED and BUSY preparing to open with proper policies & procedures to ensure safety for all customers & clients of local businesses. It got me thinking about this whole NEW NORMAL. It is totally NEW. Experiences will be different, approaches will change, but the good news is we’re on our way BACK to providing you with the best in beauty services. We are still figuring out our official re-open policies & procedures, but there are some thing we do know…

The new normal isn’t going to be the way things used to be. It will include things like, masks, social distancing, arriving at your appointment alone, arriving on time instead of early, not coming in if you have any symptoms of a flu… Just because the economy is starting to open up, doesn’t mean the threat of the virus is gone. We have to remember we’re all still susceptible to being bit by this virus, and still need to be careful about exposure. So, that being said, here are a few protocols I predict we’ll have to adopt at Bare Essentials when we reopen:

• All staff and clients must wear a mask. If you don’t have one, we’ll provide one for you at a cost of $1. If you refuse to wear a mask, we’ll refuse service and have to enforce our cancellation fee.

• Show up 5 minutes early to your appointment to allow time for handwashing and checking in. If you’re new, you’ll be asked to fill out our new client waiver online prior to your appointment. If you’re a returning client, you’ll be asked to fill out our health check waiver prior to your first service back.

• Upon entering, you’ll be asked to wash your hands for 20 seconds. Handwashing is still one of the best preventative measures to stop the spread.

• If you have any symptoms of flu or illness, and cancel the morning of your appointment, our cancellation fee will not be enforced. Just be mindful to allow us enough time to fill the appointment.

• Don’t bring anyone with you to your appointment. This includes friends, and children. If you’re bringing your underage child to get a wax, our preference is for you to wait outside — however if you’re uncomfortable with this option, you’d be expected to wear a mask. We’re just trying to limit exposure for our staff here as well, but we understand if your teen isn’t old enough to ride solo!

These are just guidelines we’re assuming will be enforced by public health, but until we get a firm date from the government on when we reopen, we won’t have much detail or direction on their expectations. We may be going overkill here, but since we’re a busy wax bar and there are many many bodies coming through our doors, it’s our duty to our clients and staff to be as safe as possible.

Aaaaaand a reminder: Black Friday is when we have our best laser sales. Just putting that right there.

Featured

ONE WORD. SUNSCREEN.

So it’s June, which means it’s FINALLY summer. Is it just me, or has this been the shortest/longest season getting from winter to summer? Seriously though, with the onset of warmer weather, there’s something important we need to discuss. Sunscreen. Don’t roll your eyes at me, seriously. SPF should be part of your daily regimen for all four seasons, but even more vital during the hot summer months when the sun is hotter and more dangerous.

Little known fact — My dad’s a redhead. My mom has an olive complexion. Guess who’s skin i got? Ok well, both — i get burned in the sun, which eventually develops into a tan. But i feel like my dad’s redheaded-ness gave me a threshold to my ability to develop that golden tan, which is why i just opt for sunscreen and self-tanner. I also am a workaholic, so my face doesn’t see much sun, and this is what i attribute my youthful look to (I’m 38, and i don’t think i look it). I also now take better care of my skin than i ever did in my youth (can we all agree that at one point we’ve all used cetaphil, or neutrogena, and those toning wipes?)… But don’t you wish someone would just have shaken you in your early teens when you’d lay out in the sun with tanning oil slathered all over you? UGH. That’s one thing Stella’s never going to do.

Ok, lets talk about what happens in your skin when you tan. I found this great explanation on self.com:

When your skin cells are threatened by the UV rays coming at them from the sun, they kick into protection mode, distributing darker pigment cells (melanocytes) to those cells on the surface. The pigment blocks UV radiation from hitting cells’ most valuable parts. “What the cells do with this pigment they received as a gift is pile it all on top of the cell’s nucleus, like an umbrella,” Sekulic explains. When pigment piles up, your skin looks tanner. The more threatened your skin is, the more it works to form pigment shields. That’s why you get darker the longer you stay out.

…That base tan you rely on to prevent burning is at best the equivalent of putting on SPF 3 sunscreen, according to the CDC. Most derms recommend that you wear at least SPF 30 to protect yourself from sun damage. That includes both DNA mutations that could lead to skin cancer, and the weakening of connective fibers, which leads to wrinkles, sagging, and sunspots.

So we’ve established we need to protect our skin from the sun, regardless of the colour of our skin — all skin types are susceptible to the damage of UVA and UVB. Wait, what? 2 kinds? There’s actually UVC as well — but we’re really mainly concerned about A and B. UVA is what’s used in tanning beds, plays a major part in skin aging and wrinkling, and can go thru clouds and glass. GLASS. UVB is what’s linked to skin cancer, can burn your skin in 15 minutes or less, and damages your skin’s DNA. So really, you’re not safe without SPF whether you’re inside or out. This is why you should wear sunscreen every day whether you’re inside, or outside; whether it’s summer or winter.

Available thru Bare Essentials & Brows by Laurie

How do you pick a sunscreen that’s effective enough to prevent all this nasty sun damage? Find something that’s marked as broad spectrum, which means it’s effective to protect you from UVA and UVB rays; and ideally find something that’s zinc-oxide based instead of synthetic chemicals (like oxybenzone, octisalate etc). But honestly, any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen, so if you don’t have any better quality sunscreen, coppertone spf 30 will do the trick until you can get your hands on some.

It’s also worth noting that sunscreen application isn’t a once-and-done kind of thing, you need to reapply once every 2 hours, or more frequently if you’re swimming and sweating. If you’ve got a full face of makeup on, it’s worth investing in a face spray with spf so you can stash it in your purse and spray it every few hours.

The last thing to know about sunscreen: The difference between spf grades. SPF 15 blocks 93% of all UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%. The 1% difference is minimal, but it’s important to also know that SPF 30 means it’ll take 30 times longer to burn than without SPF. There’s a lot more to this answer than I’m equipped to answer, so for full details a simple google search will give you a ton of information on how to decode SPF.

The most important take-away from this post though: Wear sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours. When we put sunscreen on, we feel a false sense of securuity, and don’t necessarily seek shade, put a sunhat on, cover up, etc — and we tend to get more sun exposure than if we didn’t have sunscreen on, which totally defeats the purpose. Reapply, reapply, reapply.

REAPPLY THAT SUNSCREEN.

Featured

The Pandemic Pivot

If this quarantine, self-isolation, social distancing period (whatever you want to call it) has taught us anything, it’s that:

  • Don’t compare yourself to others, do what you need to do to survive
  • Use this time wisely, because at some point it’s all going to end and we’re going back to work. Soak up the time for self-care, or spend the time with your kids, take that online course, start that business idea, or binge watch that series you’ve always wanted to watch.
  • Dry shampoo is your best friend, and you can never own too many loungewear pieces
  • Put your jeans on at least once a week to make sure they still fit, but
  • Don’t feel guilty about eating that donut, but also
  • Try to get some workouts in because movement is medicine.

There are so many conflicting messages that we’re all being exposed to, and the message has never been more unclear. People are spending so much time on screens because they can, and because it’s entertaining, but it can definitely be a negative. The word i’ve been focusing on for the past 9 or 10 weeks has been: PIVOT. I heard my business coach use that term on a zoom call at the very beginning and it stuck with me. I’ve made some broad changes in my personal and business lives and I’m here for it.

My morning routine: wake up, get kids fed, get them started on their school work, and hit the elliptical for half an hour. At minimum, half an hour of cardio followed by 15-20 minutes of some strength training. I’ve followed a few accounts online that i use for inspo on strength training, so i change it up, but i’ve gotta say — i’ll be selling tickets to the gun show soon! Also, i’ve been watching Schitt’s Creek every time i’m on the machine. Kinda bummed that in a few days i’ll be done the whole series, and i’ll need a new show/movie to watch while i work out. Feel free to comment below with recommendations. So i work out 5 days a week… but i’m not really losing weight. I still eat. meh. Once this is all over, and i go back to my normal busy schedule, i won’t have the interest in boredom-eating. I’ll be too busy doing brows to want to eat!! I CAN’T WAIT TO DO ALL THE BROWS.

I’m definitely blessed — i haven’t fully embraced the homeschooling role like most other moms have. Peter is wayyyyyyy more patient than i am when it comes to the kids, and i’m kind of a meanie when it comes to teaching. He’s taken on a lot of the schoolwork and i step in when necessary. I help with art homework, spelling, occasional math work… but the kids definitely gravitate towards Dad when it comes down to it.

I have also turned into a full-time freaking chef. Is it just me, or does it feel like as the main meal-prep person, we’re always in the kitchen? Breakfast is easy most days, cause cereal is easy enough…smoothies are done in a jiff… but sometimes, i’m in the kitchen prepping something that seemed like a brilliant idea (cue cinnabon copycat recipe), but just ended up being a time-suck. Don’t get me wrong, homemad cinnamon buns are always a hit, and they’re definitely worth the reaction from the rest of the family, but the prepping, proofing, baking, icing, washing, putting away… ugh. And then when you’re done, you still have to make dinner! I often wonder what’s worse: making dinner, or coming up with what to make? We have meal prep convos on sunday evenings, and I make each person at the table give me meal ideas for the week. They’re not terribly inventive, but i’ll take it. Any idea is better than no idea. Amirite?

Amongst all this, I’ve done something i’ve generally said I wasn’t all that interested in: Online sales. I’m not a salesy kinda gal, but whenever i’ve been put in retail roles, somehow i’ve done well. I remember going back to my university days, I had a job at Fairview Mall (in Toronto) at a small boutique called Melrose. My boss, Harry, loved it when I was in — “Laurie! My superstar! Lets get some great numbers today! You’re my heavy hitter!” I was always surprised that he thought this of me because i was never really selling… When clients would come out of the change room, my face was very telling. I could not lie and gush about how great they looked when clearly it was too small, not the right cut, not the right colour, or just plain ugly. I think this has carried over to my online store, too. I’m not a BS-er. If i don’t like something, i’m not putting it up on my Shopify store. I’ve legit handpicked everything on there, and i’ve used 99% of my inventory. If i haven’t personally used it, someone i’m directly affiliated with has used it, and has vouched for it. Honestly, this online store has been the thing that’s kept me most busy, and fortunately has helped me pay my rent. Hah, not all of it — but a good chunk. So share my site with friends, post it on your social media, tag me, etc. When you buy from a small business, especially at a time like this, the support is immense and trust when the business owner says THANK YOU, they mean it on another level.

And although i’m not the best teacher for my children — i’m building some online courses. Some free mini courses, some bigger paid courses, because I’ve educated myself enough that i’m ready to educate others and raise the bar. This is the area i’m having the most trouble with, not because i don’t have the content, but because i’m all those other things — there’s always something to interrupt or distract me. I just need to lock myself away, hunker down with my laptop, and just get to it. Goal: finish ONE course by the end of lockdown.

That essentially sums up all of my lockdown modes: Morning workouts, part-time homeschool teacher, full time chef, online salesperson, and online educator. My head is spinning. In a way, i’m super grateful for having the time to tackle all of these things that i never would have had the time for beforehand. Pre-COVID, if i wasn’t with clients, i was with clients. Now i’ve got the time to hopefully finish all of the things i never had time to start. Don’t get me wrong: this post isn’t meant to make anyone feel bad, or show y’all how amazing i am. Everyone is doing GREAT, and everyone is doing what they need to do to stay sane, but instead of talking product, this post was just a conversational insight into a day-in-the-life. I feel like i’m funny and interesting enough. yeah? no? what do you think? will i get some comments in the comment box below?

Featured

Sheet Masks 101.

So, i think it’s safe to say we all are aware that i really have enjoyed upping my skincare game in the past year or so. I wash my face twice a day, make sure to never sleep with my makeup on, and apply SPF every day. I also have had the pleasure of being such a workaholic that my face doesn’t usually see the sun, so i’m not really exposed to UV rays all that much regardless of the SPF I apply before i put my makeup on. One thing i haven’t used much of until recently are sheet masks. I just didn’t think i had time, or I used them as a special treat when hanging with some girlfriends and a glass of wine.

You’ve probably seen them in line at Sephora, or Shoppers… Or even at Bare Essentials on the retail wall. You likely don’t give it much thought, or see it as a gimmick-y kind of thing. Yeah, I get it — i thought the same until i had all this time on my hands to do whatever, and i started using the sheet masks i had stockpiled over the past couple of years. You know what i mean — you get one as a freebie, you pick one up cause it had a cute package, it was part of a gift set… yeah. same. So here’s a quick rundown of what sheet masks are, what they do, how often you should use them, etc.

Sheet masks are face shaped bits of material, soaked in a serum. If you were to take serum and slather it on your face, the liquid when exposed to air would evaporate eventually. The reason why a sheet mask is beneficial here, is because it doesn’t have that evaporation factor. The liquid is locked into the fabric, the fabric is sitting on your face, your face is absorbing the goodness of the serum. You let it sit on your face for 20 minutes, and then peel the fabric off and chuck it. Pat in any leftover serums into your skin/neck/decolleté. Theoretically these things shouldn’t fall off your face because the serum sticks it onto your skin, so you *could* potentially do stuff while you’re masking, but put that mask on, throw on an episode of Schitt’s Creek or The Office, and fuggedaboudit.

Sheet masks can target a plethora of skin concerns — hydration, brightening, hyperpigmentation, inflammation, acne, really the possibilities are endless. If you can get your hands on a Korean sheet mask, these can tend to have experimental and weird sounding ingredients that could have surprising benefits.

Korean skin care is top notch, and amazing stuff. I say these things but i don’t know exactly why. I did a quick google skim to see why Korean skincare has the rep it does, and i think based on what i’ve found, is that: they don’t have as strict regulations so they can experiment with things like snail slime to see the effects it has on skin; they focus on hydration because hydration is key to plump, radiant skin; they act preventatively, so they’re not worrying about how to get rid of problems they prevented from earlier on; they are focused on being squeaky clean (think double cleansing, and never going to bed with makeup on).

There are a few different kinds of sheet masks as well, in terms of the material the mask itself is made of. I bring this up in case you’re looking at different masks, and wondering why “a” is more expensive than “b”. Let’s compare:
– cotton/non-woven fiber masks are inexpensive, but not the most amazing delivery of serum into the skin. so these are the ones that are good for girls nights with wine.
– hydrogel masks are a little more expensive, but great delivery of serum into the skin; they usually come in 2 pieces, top and bottom of the face.
– bio-cellulose masks are the priciest, but best absorption properties and delivery of serum.

You can use sheet masks as often as daily, every two or three days, or even just once a week on a Sunday night. But with all skincare, or any kind of routine, consistency is key. You can’t expect to ignore all skincare rules, pop on a sheet mask, and look like (insert skincare goddess’ name here).

Got a favourite sheet mask? Have you tried the ones in my store? Let me know! I’d love to hear about it!

Featured

Do Blondes really have more fun?

I’ve been trying to go blonde for a good decade now. I have pictures from my engagement party in 2008 where I had gone blonde a bit, but not blonde enough. I gave up in the middle for a period cause it was just too much to upkeep, and i just didn’t have the funds for the constant maintenance. I went from stylist to stylist, and had started accepting my blondorexia, and then i found my blonde angel. Van, at Studio Aura, gave me my dream hair. DREAM. HAIR. you know, the one i referred to a few blogs ago? Ya. hers.

I was in hair heaven! I loved everything about having so much long blonde hair, and it suited me! The tone was perfect with my complexion, and the curls were just so…pretty! Van suggested i use Olaplex with my hair, so I bought some Olaplex. I also made sure to use heat protector spray every time i took a hot tool to redo my curls, and I thought i was set. One day i realized my top layer of curls was looking a bit short, and it just looked funny. I asked my stylist about it, and she asked me what i was using on my hair… Apparently, not enough!

Blonde hair is high maintenance (like me). And the beautiful hair you see on insta, and magazine ads, has been highly maintained! I basically had to start thinking of haircare as an extension of skincare — daily haircare products to maintain the health of my long locks: mask treatments, serums, oils, heat protectors… they all play a role. Up until recently, my blonde hair was the right colour, but the texture was dry and brittle, like hay. It didn’t really inspire you to run your fingers through it (and if you see me now, please don’t touch my hair. that’s weird). So here’s a list of the products i use on a regular basis that i attribute my hair health to:

• Olaplex #2: This is a professional treatment that typically you can’t get to use at home. I have a trade account, so i have a massive jug of this stuff that i mask my hair with before I wash it. You can also get Olaplex #3, which is essentially a milder version of #2. You apply it to towel dried, wet hair, leave it on for 10 minutes, and shampoo/condition.
• Salon grade shampoo and conditioner: Since all hair salons are closed, i can’t get to my hair salon for my blowouts. I’ve invested in some Kevin Murphy shampoo/conditioner to make sure the products i’m using to wash my hair are still up to snuff. No Pantene here.
• Olaplex #6 and #7: Olaplex #6 is a leave-in cream that smooths, strengthens, rehydrates your hair, but a little bit goes a long long way. Don’t make the mistake to over-use this product, it’ll weigh it down. I like to mix it with #7, the bonding oil. Olaplex #7 is a styling oil that helps restore shine, reduce frizz, and has heat protection up to 450º. I put a bit more than a pea-sized amount in my palm, drop 5 drops of the oil, rub my palms together and run it mids to ends mainly, and whatever residue i have left in my hands i use it on the top of my head. I like to do this when my hair is dry too, on a daily basis.
• Moroccan Oil Perfect Defense: I know the Olaplex #7 is supposed to be a heat protectant, but because i’m not necessarily applying it everywhere, i like to be extra sure that I’m protecting my hair from heat. So I apply this to my dry hair when i’m flat-ironing, or curling with my wand.
• Silke Hair Bonnet: This — this i won’t leave home without. I think i was watching something on IGTV where this little girl with braids kept her braids smooth and tame with a silk cap, and then i went down a rabbit hole on silk cap posts which led me to learn that sleeping with a silk cap does wonders for hair health! I had spent so much on products to keep my hair healthy, but i was still finding i had to re-curl my hair in the morning, which meant more heat in my hair, more damage. A 100% silk cap will help distribute natural oils from roots to ends, and because your hair isn’t rubbing against your pillowcase all night, less breakage, less tangles, etc. I apply my olaplex #6/7 combo, wrap my hair into a bun, and without securing it with an elastic, i put the silk cap on. Peter laughed at me the first night i did this. I didn’t care. The next morning i woke up, slipped my silk cap off, and my hair looked the way it did the night before… i swear i heard cherubs.

Full disclosure, I am not a hair stylist. I am not trained on hair, hair products, etc — these are just products that i’ve been introduced to that i personally use, and love. I started really focusing on haircare products in december or so, and since then i’ve noticed significant growth, and a decrease in breakage. My hair texture has transformed, and i’m really happy with how far i’ve come!

And since you’ve read up to this point in my blog post, here’s a special treat for you. A pic of Peter and I at our engagement… Look how happy we are! And young! And Pete doesn’t have a beard!

Featured

Glow Up

A few years ago when we first got our spray tanning system for Bare Essentials, i had no idea the monster that was about to be birthed. In the summer months, i am always tanned. And i don’t mean by the sun — gosh no, i work too much and don’t see the sun enough. I also don’t have time to go tanning in a tanning bed daily to get tanned. Enter self tanner. Instant tan, takes all of 20 minutes a week.

I’ve mentioned before, my skin is weird and doesn’t tan easily. When i was getting wedding-ready, i swear i went tanning every day for up to 25 minutes towards the end. I remember laying in that bed, sweating profusely, butt cheeks burning like a lobster… my tan was ok. Not the deep golden tan i wanted, but just a regular tan. Kind of underwhelming. I tried every tanning bronzing lotion under the sun — i can’t tell you how much i spent trying to be super bronzy and tanned. When we first started offering spray tans, i was SO excited — i could finally be as bronzed and dark as everyone else in my family that can tan just thinking about it.

The question i get asked many times is: “Will I go orange?” No. At Bare Essentials, we use St Tropez products, and they’re known for their natural colour! The only time i’ve ever had my colour look “off” is when it gets old, and i have too much fake tanner layered on. At that point, i scrub it all off and start all over.

Another FAQ: “How do i know what product to choose?” Ok — So here’s a long answer, explaining the nuances of the St Tropez line. It took me a bit of playing around with the products to really learn my way around so bear with me.

• Gradual Tan Line: This includes products like the in-shower or pre-shower lotion. Any product marked as part of the gradual tan line is exactly that. It’s a slow build, and you’re layering on your colour. I’ve tried the pre-shower mousse, and it’s definitely a light glow. I left it on for a minute, showered it off, woke up the next morning to being a shade darker. This is the perfect line for my snow-whites, or those who just want to really control how much colour they get. One of my favourite products in the whole line is the St Tropez watermelon lotion. I self tan with my St Tropez bronzing mousse, and then exfoliate lightly in the shower. Pat try after the shower, and i use the lotion everywhere to replace the tan i would have exfoliated off! I used to skip this step, and by the end of the week i’d be really blotchy and patchy regardless of what self tanner i used. Now that i’ve discovered this pro-tip, i self tan every 2 weeks!

• Self Tan Line: This is your typical self tanning mousses — comes in express, classic, dark, extra dark. You apply, leave it on for 8 hours, and the next day you’ve got an even, golden tan! Generally speaking, products in this line have a guide colour so you can see where you’re applying. Most people are afraid of coming out looking streaky, or stripey… With the guide colour, as long as you apply everywhere, and cover all of your white spots, you’re good. Pro tip, apply moisturizer on knees, knuckles, elbows, heels. Also, use the remnants on your mitt to apply self tanner to your hands and feet, otherwise they end up looking blotchy and too dark. The St Tropez self tan line also includes a few products with no guide colour in their Purity line. My favourite product in this family is the Purity Vitamin Serum for my face. I wash my face twice a day, the self tanner naturally will wash off my face quicker than my body. I apply this at least once a day after applying my moisturizer and it keeps the colour up. If you’re not a serum kinda person, the purity also comes in a face mist that you can use under or over makeup (think a setting spray), and the colour develops over 8h. The purity line also has a body gel and spray as well! No guide colour means no brown body print in your bedsheets.

Ok. Now that i’ve given you a bird’s eye view, your next question will be: What do i get? Fair question. If you’ve never self tanned, the starter kit is a great start. Comes with a small bottle of bronzer, mitt, moisturizer, and exfoliant. It’s good to exfoliate before self tanning so you’re applying tanner on fresh skin (vs dry buildup). If you have self tanned, and you’re not worried about taking a plunge, pick your level of darkness, make sure you have a mitt, and grab either the face mist or face serum. If you want to make sure to extend the life of your tan, Watermelon Lotion!

I honestly could go on and on and on… and on about the St Tropez line. Self-tanner in general. I feel like i have gone on and on in this post. I like the little pick-me-up that i get when i have a bronzed glow — especially in the warmer months. I can rock my pasty white when its chilly and i’m hiding in sweaters, but when you put on a cute white off the shoulder top… you don’t want to blend. ha!

Featured

The Truth about Lash Serums

Closeup — Riekie’s lashes. One of the estheticians at Bare Essentials Waterloo; these lashes are the result of consistent Eyenvy use. Undoctored, unfiltered. AMAZING.

So since i do quite a few lash lifts, a question i get asked frequently is: How do i make my stubby lashes look longer? I honestly get asked this question about as much as i get asked about brows, so if you’ve asked me (or thought about asking me), don’t worry — you’re not alone. I know everyone’s found some brand of lash serum, and often i’ve heard that they’re gimmicky and don’t work… This one though, this one is different.

The one product that i can recommend with zero, absolute ZERO, doubt is Eyenvy. Eyenvy is a lash serum that you apply daily, and in about 3 months of consistent use, you’ll notice your lashes are longer and fuller than ever! No gimmick, no sales pitch, just truth. Eyenvy is safe to use while wearing lash extensions, so if you’re thinking of weaning yourself off of them, this is a great step to add to your regimen. I know, i know. the thought of not having lashes on is crippling for so many of us (which is why the magnetic lashes have done so well), but this is one way to get those long lush lashes you’ve dreamt about. Pair that with a lash lift and tint, and you’re set.

Question is, how the heck does this serum work? It’s not a medication like latisse, which is approx $200, so what’s in this little tube that makes the magic work? I’m not a scientist, but i managed to find this breakdown online:

credit: https://www.sundaybeauty.com/eyenvy/

In essence, Eyenvy is like lash food. It strengthens the lashes, and allows them to grow in thicker and longer. It also strengthens the thin, fragile lashes and helps them grow in to their full potential, so you’ll see more lashes than you regularly would have.

Full disclosure, i’m not currently using Eyenvy, mainly because i wear strip lashes on a regular, daily basis; but when i was using Eyenvy, the difference was remarkable! You can also use this to apply to thinning brows to help them grow in, so a 2 in 1 product, always a bonus!!

The one thing i like to warn people of, is that once your lashes are long and lush, if you stop using the serum — your lashes go back to normal when the eyenvy lashes naturally shed. This isn’t a once-and-done kind of deal. It won’t damage your existing follicles, but it won’t change them forever! We’ve always got Eyenvy in stock, so DM us for more info. We also have the Eyenvy QUADS! These kits have your Eyenvy serum, mascara, fiber mascara, and liquid liner — for an amazing deal. DM or email me for pricing and availability.

Featured

xoxo

There’s a myriad of products out there claiming lots of miraculous things when it comes to your lippies. Google it, you’ll see i’m right! Today i’m talking about my new, and not so new, favourite lip products: The Polish, The Pout, both exclusively made for Bare Essentials, and a new addition to my lip routine — Fitglow Beauty lip serum.

First line of defence, a good lip balm: The Pout. A step we usually ignore, or forget, is keeping your lips hydrated with a good lip balm. Apply as frequently as you can remember to keep the dry lips at bay. Other factors can help you keep your skin hydrated, like drinking water — this is great for all of your skin, and not just your lips. I find when i’m using my lip balm throughout the day, i’m less likely to chew on them (guilty of this addiction, and you can often find me biting my lips when i’m working, stressed, etc).

Second line of defence, a good scrub: The Polish. Just like you’d exfoliate the skin on your face regularly, your lips are no different. I make this step part of my evening routine on a minimum. If i’m particularly dry, i’ll do it in the morning as well. You can’t overscrub your lips. Secret guilty pleasure, i love the way this one tastes. The mint flavour mixed with the sugar granules is kinda deeeelish. It’s also coconut oil based, so once you’ve scrubbed off the dry skin, it’ll leave them hydrated.

My newest addiction, and apparently according to the response on my insta-stories i’m not the only one: Fitglow Beauty Lip Serum. My question is, why have i never heard of this product before?! So i scrubbed my lips (top pic), and i was pretty happy with the way my lips looked. Lipstick would definitely apply smoothly and although i have some ridges in my lips, definitely not unhappy with the result. Then i applied my Fitglow lip colour serum, and took a nap. Not intentionally, i just had a goal for the day to take a nap (i’ve been busy with kids and work during this social-distancing time that i haven’t had a nap yet). Woke up a couple hours later, and my lips felt almost springy! Weird way to describe it, but the bottom photo still has some of the coloured serum (which is basically coloured gloss with serum in the formula). No editing, no filter. Pretty unreal, right?

So Fitglow beauty comes in at a 0 on the Think Dirty scale, which means they’re super clean. If you’re unfamiliar with Think Dirty, i’ve pulled this description from their website:

Think Dirty® is committed to helping consumers identify the potential risks associated with the personal care products they use every day. Unlike other ingredient databases, we focus exclusively on the chemical content of the products in question. We have consciously avoided the widely-used practice of “greenwashing”, whereby the environmental or social responsibility of a product’s manufacturer is factored into the assessment allowing a product to receive an artificially low toxicity rating.

We’ll be adding Fitglow lip products to the online store soon — keep an eye out so you can grab your own miracle lip product! In the meantime, The Polish and The Pout are already up, so grab yours today! Weekly pickups are every Saturday at Bare Essentials from 12-2.

Got any products you want me to review? Comment below!

Featured

Eating your way thru Self-Isolation

Hah, the COVID-19. Get it? Freshman-15? COVID-19? Yeah — i don’t know about you, but i didn’t gain the freshman 15. I gained the freshman 50. I’ve struggled with weight, and my relationship with food for as long as I can remember. Actually, scratch that, since i was 8. I remember going on a family trip to Myrtle Beach, and coming back 10 or 11 pounds heavier. I have a distinct memory of eating junk on the road trip there, junk in our condo, junk for dinner, junk junk junk. We had an appointment with the family doc after the trip, just a regular checkup, and i was 80 pounds at the age of 8. He suggested I do 10 minutes of activity daily, and said I should run up and down the stairs as my cardio. Never did… and my parents weren’t really at fault, they didn’t really keep much junk around the house on the regular, but the thought that I “wasn’t allowed” to have chocolate, ice cream, chips, etc made it all the more desirable to me. I would binge eat in private, and hide wrappers and evidence in the DUMBEST places (couch cushions, piano bench, under my bed).

Fast foward 30 years, and I still would say that of all the things i’ve conquered and mastered in my life, food is still a daily battle. Most of my followers have heard me mention that i follow a keto eating plan on a regular. My family, on the other hand, doesn’t. I’ve been trying to lose the last 15 pounds from my last pregnancy for the past…. what, 5 years? Ok lets be real: 15 pounds is not a huge deal. Its a bit more than one dress size. I know. I also am aware that i don’t look bad by ay stretch. I love my wardrobe, and am comfortable in 99% of what i wear. I am happy to report my husband also finds me attractive. No issue there. But it’s a goal that i have set for myself, eventually one day i’d like to get there without compromising my daily life-enjoyment practices (for obvious lack of a better word).

Before the coronavirus hit the fan, i was on a freaking ROLL — i was down to just 8 pounds left to goal. I was intermittent fasting at a ratio of 20:4 (20 hours fasting, 4 hour feeding window) and i felt GREAT. Brain function clear, energy levels stable, mood stable, the whole deal. And then i was all of a sudden STUCK at HOME surrounded by my addiction. Not gonna lie, i haven’t been great these past 3 weeks with my food choices. I put on 8 pounds at the highest, and i’m currently at 4 pounds up from where i was before this all went downhill (or uphill). So writing this maybe isn’t as much an advice piece, as much as it is a journal.. or accountability piece. Here are my tips that i try to follow on a daily:

Drink water. I try to keep my 24oz water bottle on me wherever i am in the house. If i feel like i’m hungry, i take a swig. It’s proven that staying hydrated not only does wonders for your skin, but also helps your body run optimally including your metabolism. This is probably the easiest thing you can do, because you won’t run out of water, so you don’t need to go to the grocery store to restock.

Stop night-time snacking. Another obvious one — snacking = more calories ingested. duh. I usually have my last bite of food around 7/730 pm, and i don’t eat anything else until at the earliest 2 or 3 pm. When i was fasting for longer, i’d go a solid 20 (sometimes 22) hours before eating my next meal or snack. I’d go to work and bring no food with me, so there was no temptation to eat. Now that i’m stuck at home, and literally at arms length to snacks, i don’t fast for as long, but i can definitely stop eating food after dinner. I make sure to eat a satisfying dinner, and keep my water close.

Figure out what works for your body. I’ve been eating keto/low carb for a while… probably 2 years at least. I know some people who’ve gone full keto and have lost a ton of weight and maintained that eating lifestyle without fail, without cheating. They have no regrets, and don’t look back. Personally, and honestly, i break keto every so often. Again, these last two weeks have been really difficult because i’m out of my routine, but i’ll indulge in birthday cake, or a piece of bread, or whatever every so often. But I do know for sure, when i have white sugar my restless leg flares up and my nerves go nuts in my shins within minutes. I also know that if i have pizza for a meal, i’ll be up a solid 3 pounds the next day. So for me, carbs don’t really sit well… i do well with protein (meat, i’m not vegetarian), veggies, some fat. I don’t put butter in my coffee, although i know some people swear by bulletproof coffee; i moderate my cheese consumption; i will definitely enjoy bacon and eggs as a meal. If your body does well with good carbs, like quinoa, lentils, legumes, etc — listen to your body and do what works for you. But don’t lie to yourself either. Cookies didn’t do anyone’s body any good. Your mouth may disagree, but it’s still just sugar.

Move yo’ body. Chances are you’re moving a lot less while in self-isolation. Maybe before this went down, you were walking to work, taking the stairs, even just walking from your cubicle to someone else’s a few times per hour… making sales calls… going to the gym… anything more than just clicking thru Tiger King episodes. There are a lot of free online resources that you can find, either on IGTV, YouTube, etc. You could go for a walk (and stay 6 feet away from others), bust out that bike that’s been collecting dust in your garage, or finally sort/put away the laundry that’s been stopping you from using your elliptical. But if your finances allow for it, consider supporting a small business that is potentially hurting by subscribing to their online feed and pay a fee for a class.

At the end of the day, energy consumption is basic: calories in vs. calories out. If you want to be able to fit into the same wardrobe when we come out of this (not saying you want to actually lose weight or anything insanely ambitious), make sure you’re doing something to burn the calories you’re consuming. Here’s to hoping i’ll have the opportunity to wear the pretty summer wardrobe anywhere but my four walls.

Featured

Goodbye Razor, Hello Laser!

One of the things people ask me about relatively frequently while i’m tattooing their brows is Laser Hair Removal (LHR). Honestly, if you’re thinking about picking my brain about non-brow beauty things, don’t feel bad. you’re not alone.

In 2013, we made the decision to invest in a Lightsheer Duet. It was a huge decision, an even bigger investment, and a bit of a risk for sure. At the time, we were still operating out of the house in a single room, just me solo. Clients were asking me about LHR, if i had any opinions or insight, and it just kept coming up. I was at the Toronto Spa show, and i started talking to different companies about their equipment, and training companies about their programs, and it planted that seed. I ended up taking a week long course on LHR, and spent some time with another beauty boss babe in Hamilton — Bozana Skojo, owner of the Laser Spa Group in Hamilton. I’ll tell ya, she’s probably one of the earlier influences on my path. She suggested that when i grow big enough, i’d start hiring people to expand and grow bigger… I snickered at the thought. Look at me now!

So in 2013 we bought our laser, and we’ve been doing LHR since — 7 years! I can’t answer questions that are too in-depth about any other machines, but i know my machine and i’ve answered a million and one questions at countless consultations. Here are some of the most common questions i get:

I’ve had laser done before elsewhere, and it didn’t work. We hear this one all the time — You had 20 sessions, and it never worked. You had 6 sessions and it worked for a bit but then all of your hair came back. They told you 6 sessions and it only worked for half… Here’s the thing. Your hair is an organic thing and there’s no way to know how well it’ll work. At Bare Essentials, we have a Lightsheer — gold standard in the industry. It’s proven, it works, and it works well. If you went elsewhere and it didn’t work, i’d ask what kind of machine was used? If the machine wasn’t a diode laser, it’s likely it was an IPL — which is NOT a laser. I’ll get a bit science-y here: A laser has 3 characteristics, it’s collumated, coherent, and monochromatic. I stress the monochromatic part, because an IPL is a broad wavelength light source and is all the colours of the spectrum, whereas a diode is just infrared light. It’s designed specifically for hair removal, whereas IPL can do some hair removal, but also treats skin pigmentation, photofacials, etc.

Ok, now that we’ve cleared up that one part… If you’ve had laser done before, and it legit was a laser and it still didnt work, the other factor could be technician error. Not all training is equal, and even if they had great training, a laser is a scary beast of a machine and it’s easy to go too easy on someone for fear of burning them. Go too easy, and you get no results.

So you’ve had legit laser, and your tech knows their stuff, and you still didn’t have the results you wanted? Laser won’t get 100% of your hair. You’ll always have something left behind, and a typical range of success is 65-95% reduction. That being said 10% of clients are non-responders. Meaning, sometimes no matter what we do — some hairs just don’t respond to the laser.

Does it hurt? Yes. It’s bearable mostly, to be honest. The later sessions definitely hurt more than the earlier ones, but keep in mind — we’re using heat to kill your hair follicle. The settings change with every session, usually increasing in heat. Theoretically, the less hair you have left the less it should hurt, but everyone’s pain tolerance is different. I always tell people to do their first session at least without numbing, and if you feel like you can handle it, don’t waste $60 on a tube of numbing cream. If your first session is intense and you don’t know how much more you can handle, yes. Go for the numbing cream. You’ll need to put it on 45 minutes prior, and occlude with saran wrap (cover the numbing cream with saran), but it should take the edge off.

How often do I need to come in? Can I speed up the process by coming in more frequently? We book sessions 8 weeks apart, and here’s why: Laser hair removal will only work on hair that’s in anagen, one of the phases your hair goes through in the growth cycle. Follow me here for a sec.

Anagen as noted in the image above, is when your hair is still actually attached to blood supply. Your hair is actively growing in this phase, and when treated while in anagen — any damage you cause will be permanent. Amazing, right? Right! BUT you can’t tell when your hair is in this phase. You can’t just tug on your hair and think, “oh — it’s not coming out so it’s definitely in anagen!” … LOL. If only. Just factor that 20% of your hair is in anagen at any given time. Now that we have a range, imagine you came in for a session and we’ve zapped all of your hair. What happens next — your hair will all start shedding and falling out. Here’s where most people get super excited about laser, and think they only need one session and they’re golden. Nah, sis. Remember, only 20% of your hair is in anagen, and these are the only hairs that are being affected. 6 weeks after your first session, you’ll start seeing hair grow back. At about 8 weeks is when you’ve had that full growth cycle come thru and you have a new batch of hairs grown in, and you’re back to that 20% range in anagen. We want as much as your hair in anagen as possible, so you need to wait that FULL 8 weeks to make sure you get the best possible results. You also will need at least 5 sessions to get rid of your hair (5 x 20% = 100%, although you’ll always have some hair remaining — but 5-6 sessions gets you a good chunk of the way there).

I have hair on my (insert body part here) — can you help me? Ya, usually i can. Here are the factors that will determine success rate:
• Hair and skin colour: Sorry to all of my gingers and blondies out there, you’re SOL. I know. I KNOW…. *virtual kleenex to wipe your tears away* … moving on. Laser is targeting pigment!! If your hair is too light, the laser can’t find your hair. If your skin is too dark, the laser gets confused on what to treat. This is why the dark hair/light skin combo is ideal. The laser is super clear on what to treat and what to leave alone. Darker skinned clients (latin, east indian, middle eastern, indigenous) can still get LHR, but will be treated with more caution to prevent burning.
• Hormonal issues: If you have hair growth due to a hormonal imbalance, you can treat the hair with laser until the cows come home. The laser will kill those hairs, and your body will say — “HAH. you think you can defeat ME? fool. Here’s a new hair to negate all the money you’ve just spent.” Think I’m kidding? Well, I am funny, but it’s true. Hormonal areas that are commonly a concern are under the chin, areola, inner thighs. Most other areas are pretty safe — your armpits are not a hormonal area so don’t worry. Also on the hormone note, if you’re on the pill, changing it up could also cause regrowth if it’s messing with your hormones.
• Location: Certain areas will definitely be more successful than others. Underarms, bikini line/brazilian… these two are the most successful cause those hairs, don’t we know it, are coarse and easy to target. Leg hairs, arm hairs, upper lip… these areas all will work, but may not be as successful as others. Also mens back/chest hair takes more than the typical 6 sessions — the hair here is much deeper and takes more sessions to target. Sorry dudes.

I honestly could go on and on and on. And on. And since we’re all stuck in quarantine, JOIN ME on Wednesday April 1 at 9pm for an IG live convo. No joke. Hit me up with aaaallllll of the laser questions. Or comment below, and i’ll cover them on IG and you can catch it pon de replay.

Featured

Surviving the Self-Isolation Game

We’re all in the same boat. We’re all stuck inside, self-isolating, going stir-crazy. AMIRITE? Right. So, how do we survive? I don’t mean literally survive, because i’m sure we’ve all got our stocks of food, non-perishables, kleenex (cause you couldn’t get your hands on toilet paper) — i’m talking beauty & self-care. Here are 8 things you DON’T want to do while you’re self-isolating.

1 – Don’t tweeze your own brows. Take this time to let those puppies grow in. Who knows? You might be able to leave them alone long enough to correct your shape a bit. This isn’t the time to be concerned with the way your brows look — trust me, your significant other won’t notice the few extra hairs, but when it comes time to go back to your esthetician, SHE will notice the hairs you pulled out that were a touch too close to your shape. DON’T. TWEEZE. YOUR. BROWS.

2 – Don’t pick at your shellac. I know — once your nails start chipping, it’s so easy to get caught in the habit and just peel them all off… Don’t do it. You’ll damage your nails and peel off valuable layers of your nails, and will cause more damage than good. If you can’t handle it, and you have to get the chipped shellac off, here’s how without begging a nail salon to open their doors for you: grab some acetone, cotton balls, and foil. Soak the cotton in acetone, and wrap your nails with foil. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and use an orangewood stick to scrub it off. You probably don’t have an orangewood stick, but i wonder if a manicure kit might have a cuticle pusher that you could use… or a dollar store nail kit… Just make sure you rehydrate your nails with some cuticle oil and moisturizer.

3 – Don’t ignore your skincare. This is a great opportunity to use those sheet masks that you got as freebies in a box subscription, or your sephora purchase. Exfoliate, use that serum, mask, invest some time in your self care. Trust me, you’ll feel less grimy and gross if you have a clean face.

4 – Don’t laze around in your PJs. I don’t know about you, but if i have one lazy pyjama day, i’m ok. But when that turns into a lazy pyjama week… Ugh. After you do your morning skincare routine, throw some blush and highlight on. Heck, even some gloss. Put a pair of jeans and a sweater. Go through some of your regular routine moves, and it’ll help you knock that funk a little bit.

5 – Don’t pull your lash extensions out. In fact, keep your hands off your face. Not only will that help stop the spread of COVID-19, but also your lash tech will thank you when you eventually see her again. If you get antsy and pick at your lash extensions, you’ll pull out your natural lashes, and then you’ll have nothing to put mascara on when the extensions are all gone. Take this opportunity to use a lash growth serum, like Eyenvy (which we have at Bare Essentials, but jk — we’re closed) to help strengthen & lengthen your lashes. Make sure whatever serum you end up using is safe for use with extensions.

6 – Don’t stop drinking water. You go to work and have your routine, with your morning tea, followed by filling your mega jug with water to make sure you get your water intake for the day. Maintaining your hydration will help with your skin, hunger levels, energy levels… Plus, you’re home. Nobody cares how often you get up to go pee. Your boss isn’t tracking you.

7 – Don’t stop moving. It’s amazing how many people have started going outside, isn’t it? We’ve gone on some trail walks with the kids, and they’re actually buzzing! Don’t give in to the COVID-19 (get it? Freshman 15?), cause eventually you’ll need to put your regular clothes back on and get back into the office. Let’s make sure those pants still zip up. Social media is amazing, and there are tons of coaches, fitness accounts, etc that are posting free live workouts throughout the day to keep you moving! And even if you don’t want to do a legit workout, just get up and move around. It’s so easy to just become a blob and melt in with your couch cushions — and I know it’s what your cat says you should be doing, but even your cats will do a lap or two in high speed every so often.

8 – Don’t listen to your negative self-talk. It’s an easy thing for me to say, or write about; If you’re literally alone in your home, self-isolating, it’s so easy to get stuck in that lonely, depressed loop of self talk. Join some live chats on instagram. Facebook video chat with some friends. Call your parents. Read a book. Do a puzzle. Heck, if you’ve got nobody else, DM me on instagram. I’m here. We’ll get through this, i promise you!

Look, i’m no expert at this and i don’t have all the answers. Having to shut everything down last week was a very difficult call to make, and for a few days i was doing all of the above that i said you shouldn’t do. I’m an introverted extrovert … I enjoy being around people and just observe them, so being home and not seeing people is tough; Tougher still not being able to do what i love (brows, and serving clients)… and man, add kids into the mix. I know it was the right decision to make, in an effort to do my part to flatten the curve. The more we distance ourselves, the sooner we can all get back to some semblance of normalcy. And when we do, I’ll be here, waiting to see all of your hairy brows. DON’T. TWEEZE. YOUR. BROWS.

What are you doing during this self-isolation to help give your routine some iota of normal? Share your tips below, you just might help someone 🙂

Featured

Long Hair, Don’t Care!

I remember it like it was yesterday. When Pete and I first got married, he had a client who co-owned a hair salon in Yorkville, Toronto. It was posh, everyone in there was dripping with money, and gorgeous head-to-toe. When Peter told me that his client was going to do my hair, I was excited, of course — but i had no idea what i was walking in to. I walked in, and felt every wrinkle, every mark, every bit of dirt on my clothes from wearing it that day. My outfit felt old and frumpy, my makeup felt sub par, my jacket and purse were so ordinary. They didn’t treat me any differently for a second, and my experience there was always DIVINE. I had my hair cut, coloured, styled, and when i walked out that door — i literally was turning heads. LITERALLY.

One time, there was a client in a chair nearby and i did a double take. She had this long, blonde, lush hair that was just so perfect and voluminous. I think ever since then i’ve had that image in my head as something i’ve wanted for myself. That was a solid 10 years ago, maybe more. I’ve been on the quest for perfect blonde hair ever since. If you’ve never met me, or seen my roots (ha!)… im a solid dark brown. My hair can pull brassy, warm because my dad’s a ginger (I KNOW!). Blonding my hair is a challenge, but to add to the situation, my hair is thin. Fine. i make the tiniest ponytails. Solution? Find a blonding guru and extensions.

I’ve had three different kinds of extensions, and i’m by no means a hair pro, but here’s my experience with them:

  • Tape Ins: My first go was tape ins. Pros: Easy, customizable to an extent, reusable. I’d go in every so often to have my tapes moved up, and reuse the same hair for a year. Cons: my roots were brown, my extensions were blonde. when we tried to root the tapes dark to help them blend in better, the hair under the tape was still blonde so although the hair was rooted, you could still catch blonde strips at my roots. Also i had a really hard time putting my hair in a ponytail without the tapes showing. For someone who works on clients’ faces and bodies, i need my hair tied back quite often. And these suckers would slip out once in a while leaving you with an inch gap in the length of your hair if it slipped out of a strategically important spot on your head.
  • Fusions: Second round, also with a different stylist, i went with fusions! Pros: smaller adhesion points, instead of a tape an inch wide, so easier to hide. These were less likely to fall out, but even if they did — its such a small bundle, that nobody would notice. Much easier to hide these into a ponytail, and they move better with your scalp so a lot more natural than the tapes. Cons: Pricier than tapes, for me anyways. My tapes were with a new stylist so i got a steal of a deal, but in the end as we all know… you get what you pay for. I had the same issue with these as the tapes at the adhesive — my dark rooted extensions had a chunk of blonde hair under the glue. I’m not sure if my stylist couldn’t get the fusion wefts pre-rooted, or if they just don’t exist, but occasionally you could see the original blonde bits if my hair moved the right way, or if i didn’t position my hair properly in a ponytail. Lastly, and this is kind of my doing, but towards the end when my extensions were growing out, my roots’ wavy texture needed to be flat-ironed. Guess what happens when you flat-iron glue? You get a big, matted mess.
  • Sew-in Beaded Wefts: Third round, and my current set of extensions, are my beaded wefts. Sew in wefts? Whatever they are, its what i’ve got. So they place a row of beads in your hair and sew the wefts into the beads. As your hair grows, the beads move down the bunch of hair they’re attached to, and the weft travels with the beads. Pros: completely customizable, right up to the roots. No adhesive, no unsightly misplaced blonde chunks that are impossible to hide. No glue or adhesive, so much less mess and no risk of melting your extensions into a matted mess. Also at my maintenance appointments, my stylist removes hair that is still cinched in the beads but not attached to my scalp (natural shedding). Cons: Most expensive of them all. As always, you pay for quality — but i’m referring to monthly maintenance appointments. You’ll need the extensions moved up every 5 weeks or so, otherwise the maintenance gets more complicated, more dead hair to remove, potentially matting… These monthly appointments cost money. Also you can’t let your hair air dry, because the moisture can cause mould to form and your scalp gets stinky.

Ten years after that experience in the Yorkville hair salon, I finally achieved #hairgoal status. I LOVE my extensions, and I LOVE the blonde that i’ve worked so hard to achieve and maintain. So obviously, i haven’t tried everything out there — i know there are other types of extensions, but this is just a recap of my experience with extensions. The biggest lesson i learned through this three year ordeal is, you get what you pay for. And that’s true for more than just hair 😉

Ok: your turn!! Have you had extensions? What’s your favourite style?

Featured

Before you inject… Read. This. Post.

So, it’s no secret that i’ve had injections (both botox and filler), and i get a lot of questions about it from my clients. I thought interviewing Anndrea from Waterloo Medical Cosmetic would be a great opportunity to get information from the proverbial horse’s mouth! A little bit about Anndrea:

My name is Anndrea and I am a Registered Practical Nurse with a background in surgical nursing. My passion for nursing started in the hospital on the inpatient surgical floor. It was there that I gained my medical experience and knowledge. Even though I loved hospital nursing, I always had a passion and curiosity for the field of aesthetics. When I discovered I could combine my love of medicine with aesthetics, it was a no brainer. That is when I decided to further my education by obtaining both my basic and advanced medical cosmetic injectable certifications. These courses served to inspire me to want to learn more, which lead me down the path of continued education. I take a great deal of pride in helping to rejuvenate, and enhance the natural beauty of all my clients! Cheesy as it sounds, I feel such excitement and joy when I see the smiles on their faces and the new sense of confidence it brings them. I truly love what I do!

Toxin vs filler – everyone calls injections botox. Can you clarify the difference? Can you also comment on the different brands? Is there a level of quality between brands that people should be aware of? Botox and dermal filler injections have completely different cosmetic uses. Botox is an excellent product used to prevent lines and wrinkles created by dynamic movement. Dermal fillers are used to create volume, correction, contouring, and enhancement of facial structures such as cheeks, lips, and under eye.

Botox is injected into muscles in the upper portion of the face to prevent lines during dynamic expression. For example, when a person lifts their eyebrows, lines form across the forehead from the muscular contraction. However, when a client is treated with Botox or any other type of Neuromodulator such as Dysport, Xeomin, or Jeuveau, it prevents dynamic lines from forming by preventing the muscles from contracting hard enough to create lines. Results can be very soft and natural, contrary to what the media has portrayed over the years showing fake and overdone stars. Many people are shocked when I tell them I have used Dysport treatments. I have a very natural and refreshed look. At Waterloo Medical Cosmetics, we prefer to use Dysport. It has been clinically proven to take effect quicker than Botox, and we find the effects last longer.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) Dermal fillers are clear gels that are used to temporarily increase volume. They are not permanent fillers. They can be used to replenish volume loss related to aging, correct undereye hollows, define and contour facial features, and to increase volume to achieve fullness in areas such as lips and cheeks. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the skin that provides hydration and fullness. Many people use a combination of toxin and filler treatments to achieve their ultimate look. The combination can create a natural refreshed and rejuvenated appearance. At Waterloo Medical Cosmetics, are goal is to develop a personalized treatment plan for every patient that helps them achieve a very natural appearance. The current trend is enhancing natural beauty.

Not all cosmetic companies are created equal. It is best practice for quality control and safety to only use products that are Health Canada/FDA approved. This means researching to see if the clinic you are using carries reputable brands. These are a few of the more popular reputable companies: Galderma, Allergan, Clarion, Merz, and Prollenium. The product line a clinic chooses is solely the preference of the injector. It is common for injectors to use a combination of products made by different companies. I prefer Galderma products, however I also love products made by Clarion and Allergan. Each product has slightly different properties that can achieve a specific look.  

Is there such a thing as too young for injections? Anti-aging skin care can be used earlier on as a preventative, is it the same deal with botox? The youngest an individual can seek cosmetic treatments at Waterloo Medical Cosmetics is 18 years of age. I would argue that it is a bit young to explore cosmetic injectables. However, I am the nurse performing the treatment. I decide who and how I treat a patient based on my knowledge, skill and judgement. If I feel that a treatment is not in the best interest of my client, I will not perform that treatment regardless of age. That is the duty of a responsible and ethical injector.

Neuromodulators such as Botox and Dysport are excellent anti-aging treatments. The treatments work best as a preventative, however can still provide amazing results even if lines have set in. Honestly, the result you will get from one Dysport treatment will far exceed the results from even the highest-grade topical creams and serums on the market. Full results are achieved in two weeks verses months with creams and serums. I would say the biggest allure to these treatments are the quick and effective results for a reasonable expense.

How often should someone expect to have filler done in lips? Cheeks? How quickly does the product dissolve? The rate at which dermal filler dissolves depends on the individual’s metabolism and the unique way their body breaks down the product. More active clients will usually metabolize filler and Botox quicker in comparison to inactive clients. Here’s an approximate timeline: filler used in the cheek, jawline, chin, and under eye tend to last between 18 months to 2 years. Lip filler or filler placed near the perioral area, will last between 6 months to a year. This is because the muscles around the mouth are continuously working, causing the filler to break down quicker.

If someone were to have gone to a nurse injector and absolutely hated what they had done, can it be reversed? Hyaluronic acid (HA) dermal filler can be dissolved. A drug by the name of Hyaluronidase is used to dissolve HA filler. The injector can either use a small amount to correct an issue or use a large amount to fully remove all the filler.

Unlike HA dermal fillers, neuromodulators such as Botox cannot be reversed. That is why I err of the side of caution when I treat a client for the first time. My philosophy is: “I can always add Botox, but I can’t take it out”. I use the first treatment period (two weeks) to determine my clients “master face”. The “master face” is the exact amount of product needed during each treatment to achieve the perfect look. However, if a client experiences a negative outcome, they must wait until the Botox has run its course.

What’s your favourite filler to work with and why? I love working with Restylane by Galderma. Restylane fillers are easy to work with and are very smooth, which reduces the chance of lumps and bumps. In my opinion, they give a beautiful natural result. I really love the quality and versatility of their products

Can you fix wrinkles once they’re deep? Or is there a point of no return? There is definitely a point of no return. During the initial consultation, I assess the client to determine if my services can benefit them or not. Sometimes there is no getting around the fact that surgery is the best or only option to achieve the results the client is expecting. The factors I take into consideration when I am performing my assessment are: skin health and quality, age, extent of volume depletion, depth of lines, strength of muscles, and underlying health issues. It is possible to see improvement in deep lines and wrinkles. However, the client has to have realistic expectations. At Waterloo Medical Cosmetic we paint a realistic picture of what our treatments can provide for our clients. We design a treatment plan together that will address their concerns, as well as answer any questions they may have to ensure that both the injector and client are on the same page.

The question that everyone asks: does it hurt? Some people say they don’t feel it at all, whereas some clients curse during the treatments. It is a very individual experience, and people have different pain thresholds. However, the popular consensus is that Botox treatments do not rank high on the pain scale.

Dermal filler injections are more uncomfortable in comparison to Botox. The pain scale varies depending on the area you are treating. I have had clients fall asleep during filler treatments. Personally, I believe the most uncomfortable injection area is the perioral i.e. lips. If you have ever accidentally bit or hit your lip, you know how much that can sting. Overall, based on my personal experience, the discomfort is worth the results.

Ok — so this was definitely a long post, but i hope you guys got some good nuggets out of it! IG Live coming up with Anndrea next Sunday!!! Drop your burning questions in the comments below, or join us on IG at 9:30pm EST Sunday, March 15, 2020. Can’t wait to see you all there!!


Featured

Sanitation First!

So this isn’t necessarily a glamorous topic, or beautiful by any means — unless you’re a PMU artist (PMU = permanent makeup artist). Sanitation, sterilization, and safety are pretty important things to be in the know about, whether you’re an artist or a client. Tattooing will expose both the artist and the client to bloodborne pathogens, and can definitely spread infections and disease. YIKES!

As a client, it’s easy to have blind trust and faith that the artist you’ve chosen is trained and knowledgeable on how to keep their station clean, and free from bloodborne pathogens. I know, that’s the second time i’ve used that term. In case you don’t quite get what that means, here’s a definition: Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Sounds scary? It should.

As an artist, it’s also easy to have blind trust and faith in your trainer and assume everything they’re doing is on the up-and-up. It’s your responsibility to make sure you’re properly trained and certified on bloodborne pathogens, and have the appropriate tools and safety measures to protect both you and your client. Here are a few things to make sure you should keep on hand:

  • Pigment cups and rings – all pigments and numbing agents should be dispensed into a pigment cup or ring to avoid cross contamination. Artists, if your pigment cups come in a bulk package and aren’t individually wrapped, you should soak them in 70% isopropyl alcohol to make sure they’re sterile.
  • Barrier film – if you’ve got something that isn’t single use, like your pigment cup holder, or your microtonic dispenser, wrap it in barrier film so that you can touch it freely during the procedure. after you’re done, unwrap and disinfect.
  • Disposable needles/microblades – your tattoo machine cartridges and microblades should be single use and disposable. Unless you’ve got an autoclave, you need to toss it in a sharps container once you’re done because you can’t sterilize them otherwise.
  • Clip cord sleeves and machine bags – your tattoo cartridge may be disposable, but your machine isn’t! And again, unless you have an autoclave and know how to take your machine apart and reassemble it — your best bet is to barrier it with a clip cord sleeve and a machine bag.
  • Dental bibs – you can use these as a waterproof barrier for your tray and your procedure bed. I personally use puppy pee pads to line my procedure bed, and i take a kitchen garbage bag and feed the tray of my tray table into it. when i’m done, i put all of my disposable garbage on my tabletop, bag it up, and it’s all in one place ready to be tossed. A quick lysol wipe of my tabletop, and i’m set for my next client.
  • Sterilizing tray and CS20 – for things that need to be sterilized like tweezers and scissors. CS20 is a high level disinfectant/sterilant that can be used to clean off your tools that you’re not going to toss. Make sure you’ve got a sink nearby to wash your tools with soap and warm water, and that you’re changing out your CS20 every 2 weeks.
  • Sharps container – You should dispose any sharps (microblades, shaders, cartridges) in a sharps. Make sure the one you’re getting is tall/long enough to find a pre-assembled microblade. When it’s full, take it to the pharmacy where they can dispose of it properly. Chances are they won’t have the same size container to exchange it with for you (they’re usually getting sharps from people using it for medical reasons so their syringes/sharps are smaller and fit into a standard sharps). I get my larger sharps containers from U-Line, and have it mounted on my wall. When i’ve gone thru all of my empty sharps, i just order more and chalk it up to operation costs.

Also remember that anything you put on your tray table that isn’t being sterilized at the end of your procedure should be thrown out. This includes qtips, extra cotton pads, unused alcohol swabs, or even that shading tool you thought might use but didn’t end up needing. THROW. IT. OUT. And when you’re cleaning up after your client has left, put gloves on as you tear down your tray table setup. Any time you’re touching something that’s been in contact with pigments, or bodily fluids — glove up. Any time your tools may touch something that can come in contact with bodily fluids and it’s not disposable or sterilzable, barrier it. When in doubt, err on the side of caution! It’s yours and your client’s safety we’re talking about here!

Remember, every municipality/province has their own health department. Make sure you check in with them to be safe, because they’ll have an eye for something that you will have missed. At my first training, they were just plopping on a dab of numbing gel from the bottle right onto the client’s skin sometimes — cross contamination. Pigment cups weren’t in individual sterile packs, but they also weren’t sterilized from the manufacturer. So many little things that I didn’t have the eye for! You don’t know what you don’t know.

Featured

Microblading vs. Ombré. Huh?

There are a million different terms floating around out there describing all of the different techniques an artist can choose to tattoo your brows. Microblading, nano blading, feathering, ombré, powder brows, stardust… you name it. Often clients will ask for microblading not even realizing the options out there! So — if you have questions about what the heck all those words mean, READ ON!!

First things first, all of the above are considered a tattoo. No matter what technique is used, the pigment will almost always stay in your skin in some capacity. It’s called a semi-permanent tattoo, but only because unlike body art, your brow tattoo needs to get touched up once a year or so. They will almost NEVER fade away entirely, and you’ll always have some pigment left behind.

Now that that’s out of the way, there are two different categories for brow tattoos — Manual and machine techniques. Here’s a breakdown of what these categories include:

Manual techniques: include Microblading Hairstrokes are drawn onto the skin using a tool called a microblade (shock!). The microblade is dipped into a tiny amount of pigment, and a hairstroke pattern is drawn onto the skin to create the illusion of hairs. this is the most natural looking brow tattoo, but is really only idea for clients with normal to dry skin. Oily skin types don’t fare well with microblading and will almost always do better with a machine technique, or powder brows. You can also have some shading done manually by stippling pigment into the skin. I really only use this technique personally when i’m looking for a small amount of shading to add density in areas of the brow that need a little oomph.

Machine techniques: This one is confusing to explain because it has so many different names! Powder, Ombre, Stardust, Infnity, bla bla bla. The tattoo needle moves in an up-and-down motion at high speed. By running the tattoo needle over the skin (with pigment in the cartridge, of course), pixels of pigment are deposited in the skin. How this pigment looks depends on the motion of the tattoo machine. Some people like a more crisp and defined edge, some want it to look soft and powdery and less obvious. Discuss what you want with your artist (me, ideally — hah) and see which looks best for your face. You can also have hairstrokes done by machine, but i personally haven’t perfected it yet so it’s not something i offer just yet.

Consultations are not a bad idea if you’re unsure about what you want, because often times clients say they want their brows microbladed but they mean ombre. Or they’re super oily, but they’re afraid of machined brows. If you’re picking the right artist, anything they do on your face will look beautiful and as if it belongs on your face.

What do you think? What technique do you think you’d prefer, and why?

Featured

Love the skin you’re in!

You only get one. Your skin, as much as we all know it’s an organ, we often tend to overlook it. Either that or you care so much about your skin that you’ll try any flashy bottle or tube that promises baby smooth wonderful goodness. Right? Like, how the heck do you know what to pick? How do you know what you’re trying to combat? Which acid is good for what, and why are we using ACID on our FACES? I’ve connected with my good friend, Desiree, who lives and breathes skin care. She lets me do whatever new skin treatment on her face and i love it! Here are some questions i came up with to ask her, read everything!

What is the one thing you recommend everyone have in their skincare regimen?  It’s really hard to chose just ONE thing that someone needs in their routine, a proper exfoliant is your best bet to getting clean pores, decongested glowing skin and to help the rest of your skincare products work best .

What are the different acids you find in skin care and what are they for? 
The most common way you’ll see exfoliants describes is AHA or BHA. AHA stands for Alpha Hydroxy Acid, these include Glycolics, Lactics, Citric, Malic, Mandelic and Tartaric. These acids increase cell turnover by dissolving the surface layers of dead skin. BHA stands for Beta Hydroxy acid which in the cosmetic world is Salicylic Acid this is used to combat inflammation and oil buildup in the pores of those who are acne prone or have congested skin. 

How often should someone get an actual facial? In a perfect world, I’d recommend going for a facial once a month but more realistically for most people at least every 3 months and doing your own mini facials at home on the regular for maintenance.

Do you ever use sheet masks? If yes, What’s your favourite? I love a good sheet mask! Especially when my skin is super stressed out and dehydrated. I have a few I turn to in my times of need but my number one pick is the intense care snail gold 24k hydrogel mask from Tony Moly. I’m not going to lie it feels kind of gross sliding onto your skin but after 20 minutes in that bad boy your skin is soft, dewy and glowing.  

TIP: never wear a sheet mask for longer than 15-20 minutes depending on the delivery system (cloth or cellulose) once the mask starts to dry onto the skin you actually start to reverse all the great benefits you were trying to get form the mask in the first place because it starts to suck all the moisture it just put into your face right back out as it dries on top.

if I didn’t have the budget for an extensive skincare regimen, what is one super economical product you’d recommend, and one splurge you’d strongly advise to use? This again is a tough question because your face is the only one you have so I highly recommend making the investment in taking care of it. That being said, if I had to chose, I’d say skip the high price tag on a cleanser. This of course doesn’t mean subbing in a bar of soap or just using a facial or baby wipe and calling it a day it just means looking for the active ingredients you like at a more friendly price point.  My splurge will always be hands down the Dr. Dennis Gross Peel pads. Those little suckers pack a ton of power into a little wipe that will totally transform anyones skin. Plus the come in 3 strengths so anyone can use them from the most sensitive to a seasoned skincare junkie. 

At what age should women start using anti-aging products?  You are never too young to start. Your very first line of defence against aging is SPF which every one young and old regardless of skin tone type or texture should be using every single day! In terms of more aggressive anti-aging products, everyone over the age of 25 should be using a vitamin C serum in the daytime to keep their skin tone even and protected against free radical damage/pollution, and a retinol serum at night to keep the cells turning over at an optimal rate. This keeps the pores free of dead skin buildup and prevents lines and wrinkles. It’s much easier to prevent the signs of aging than it is to reverse them. 

Favourite procedure you like having done for your skin? My personal favourite is a lite microneedling followed my a BB Glow treatment. The microneedling helps keep my skin plump and free of fine lines and scarring texture from past acne, while the BB Glow keeps me even and cuts my makeup routine down to almost nothing because my complexion has already been perfected.  

I have a crazy idea — i want to do a joint instagram LIVE with Desiree where she can answer all of your skincare questions. What do you think? Would you watch? Comment below with your skincare questions!

Featured

The Big L – Lamination

Brow lamination! It’s all the craze now! You’ve probably seen it, just haven’t known what you’re looking at, or what it does. Or you’ve noticed that the latest brow trend is all about the FLUFF. Fluffy brows!! Make those brow hairs stand up and give you VOLUME.

Do you find yourself using brow gel to keep those unruly brows in place? Would brushing them just so reverse years of overtweezing by filling in some gaps? Or do you like that fluffy look but your brows are just so darn stubborn that they only point downwards and not even contact cement will hold them in place? You. This is for YOU.

Ok, so real talk. Basically brow lamination is like a perm. The solution breaks down the structure of the hair and rejigs it so that you can style it any way you want. You’ll see pics of brows that look like they’re being electrocuted, and wonder who the heck thought that looked good. I know — me too. Me too, girl. There’s a reason for this: If you perm them upright and crazy, it’ll allow you to get a tame, stylized, fluffy look when you style them and brush them upwards in the morning. I used to look at before & afters and wondered what possessed the artist to do that to a person’s brows, and after doing a few laminations myself… I GET IT! if you don’t brush them that way, you get a *merp* brow lamination. trust me, i’ve tried.

If you want some added oomph, you can also add a tint to the procedure and make your eyes stand out even more. You can also combine this with microbladed/tattooed brows!! If you didn’t want permanently fluffy brows when you had them tattooed, you can have them with a brow lamination. The thing i love about all of these new trends is they’re super easy to maintain, and we’re just building on what you’ve got naturally. It’s a quick 20 minute procedure, it last 6-8 weeks, and anyone can do it.

Cara Delevigne — eat your heart out, baby.

Featured

Oh, hello!

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

Have you ever set a goal for yourself, and tried really hard not to tell yourself you can’t do it? The mind is a powerful thing, and you can’t let your negative thoughts taint your potential.

My name is Laurie, and I set a goal for myself for 2019. In October 2018, I started my IG account focusing just on my cosmetic tattooing procedures. I told myself 5000 followers by the end of 2019. I had to rethink everything i knew about social media, and what I thought of how things worked. I had to read articles, talk to pros, ask questions. experiment… I had to EVOLVE.

If you don’t know who I am, here’s a quick overview: I’m the owner of Bare Essentials, and I started my business 10 years ago in 2009 out of my apartment in Uptown Waterloo. I started out just waxing, and little by little expanded my service repertoire to include threading, laser, electrolysis, microdermabrasion, and eventually cosmetic tattooing. Little known fact: I’m a university graduate, and have my degree in Design from York University. I was a pretty good artist — studied charcoal, watercolour, acrylic, oil… not too shabby! I started my business as a side hustle to make money while my main hustle (my freelance design business) was growing. One grew faster than the other, and the rest is history. I’ve been using my fine arts skills to put my mark on peoples’ faces since 2016, and I FREAKING love what I do.

When I came home from my first microblading course, I was so fired up to learn more. I started looking at facebook for groups, instagram for accounts to follow, suppliers to find the best rates for all of the things I’d need for my services… Peter, my hubby, says — you just took a course, why would you need another course? [Insert hysterical laughter here — cause you know what happens next, right?]

Since that first course, I think i’ve spent as much if not more on my PMU (permanent makeup) education than my UNIVERSITY degree. I just couldn’t get enough. I was thirsty for more knowledge. I also realized soon after my first few clients that I had a crap-ton more to learn. Like, unbelievable how much more I needed to know. The beauty industry is CRAZY, and there is always something new to learn about! It’s hard to keep tabs on all the new trends, or make sense of them and determine if it’s something you want to try…So I started this blog, not just to add to my never-ending list of things that require my attention, but to connect with YOU and talk about all things beauty! Beauty trends, fashion tips, boss life, mom life, or just life in general. Also, somehow (and I’m not sure why), apparently I’m interesting and people want to hear what I have to say!

If you’ve stuck with me this far, I’d love to hear your voice! Comment below, and let me know how long you’ve been with me — how do i know you? Have we met? How long have you been a part of my circle? And don’t just read this and not comment. Let’s engage in conversation!

xo – laurie