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Sweatpants & Beauty | Ask a Beautician | July 2017

By Charlotte Smith

Last month’s Ask the Beautician article in honor of Beautician’s Day went over so well that we’ve decided to make it a regular feature! Here are your answers for this month. If you have a question for Charlotte, please comment below!

Permanent makeup tattoos. Innovative solution or terrible life choice that I will regret when I’m all wrinkly?

It depends on the route you take! The classical tattooed black comma-brows are definitely something I’d never do or recommend, along with tattooed lip liner or lipstick. They look scarily harsh and don’t age well. Microbladed eyebrows, however, are made to look like your brows but better. A licensed esthetician does it by scratching hair-like strokes and then depositing pigment. It takes a couple of sessions to see the full results, but the end product is absolutely worth it. They do need to be touched up every few years, so it’s also a great alternative for people who are waiting for their natural brow hair to grow back in. Additionally, tattooed eyeliner can look amazing when done correctly. Make sure you go with a thinner line in either off black or soft brown.

I got sunburned. Bad. Help?

Ooh, bless. If it’s your ordinary run-of-the-mill sunburn, I swear by aloe mixed with some lavender or peppermint oil and sleeping in a cotton shirt. If you resemble a cooked crawfish though, just follow these steps: wash, spritz, slather, pop, and soft.

Wash with a very mild, gentle cleanser that’s safe for any skin. A great, safe bet is using a baby-safe wash you can use all over, including scalp if needed, like this wash that has aloe and cucumber right in the mix to soothe. Just use your hands, no loofah or washcloth.

Spritz your skin with this homemade concoction that’ll speed up healing and take out the fiery burn.

In a 8 oz glass or metal spray bottle, combine:

  • 10 drops Lavender essential oil (I like using doTERRA essential oils, but use whatever your preferred brand is)
  • 10 drops Frankincense essential oil (while this oil is a fantastic addition to this recipe, it’s also the most expensive ingredient on this list and if need be can be eliminated)
  • 10 drops Melaleuca (Tea Tree) essential oil
  • 10 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure aloe vera gel (no added lidocaine or colorings, go for the stuff straight from the plant)
  • ½ cup strongly brewed green or Earl Grey tea (the tannins in the tea help soothe inflammation and naturally transition the burn to a tan)
  • Fill with your favorite alcohol-free witch hazel (I like using an even mix of Thayer’s Witch Hazel Cucumber and Toner and Rose Toner)

Give your concoction a good shake and spritz it on liberally. Keep it on ice or in the fridge to make it even better.

Slather on a hydrating, soothing moisturizer. Just like with the body wash, baby-approved is a good call with no fragrance or other irritating ingredients. Pop some aspirin or arnica tablets to help speed pain relief and healing, then get your softest clothes on – preferably 100% cotton so your skin can breathe. Continue to spritz and slather as often as needed!

What does a toner even do?

Toners are awesome! They help rebalance the pH of the skin after cleansing since the cleansing process throws our pH way out of whack. They also act as a layer of treatment, like a lighter weight serum. I’m actually making the transition to an anti-aging toner even though I’m only 26 so I can start being preventative without making my naturally oily skin upset. Skin that’s slightly damp with toner also helps spread the serums and moisturizers you follow with, as well as helps them absorb better. Some toners are spritz on while others are wiped on with a cotton round, so be sure to follow the directions on the bottle.

Why did Trump get elected?

I have not an earthly clue. If the president is stressing you out, I recommend sheet masks and Netflix. While it won’t take him out of office, it’ll definitely help calm your nerves, and stress is one of the quickest things to age your skin!

Nothing works on my dandruff. I’ve used Head and Shoulders, and I’ve used T-Sal and it’s all a joke. Question 1: Should I actually care? I don’t think I do. I just comb out the flakes before I meet cute boys. Question 2: Any idea what’s CAUSING it?

Caring about your dandruff is kinda like caring about acne: while you should definitely take care of it, you shouldn’t let it stress you out to the point that it keeps you from living life. As for what’s causing it, there are a number of factors at play. About half the population has dandruff, will have dandruff, or has had dandruff, and it’s easy to see why: it can be caused by dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis, not cleaning the scalp well enough, cleaning the scalp too much, psoriasis, eczema, scalp sensitivity, yeast-like fungus, and allergies – and that’s not an exhaustive list! If the typical dandruff remedies haven’t solved it, then a visit to a dermatologist might be in order to make sure you don’t have a serious skin condition. That ruled out, try washing your hair every other day instead of every day.

What is the best temperature to have your shower set at? It’s winter here now (Australiaaaaaa) and I love a good hot shower but my winter skin is dry and sensitive, and I’ve been told having the shower too hot is not good for my skin.

First, check your shower for spiders, because ‘Straya has some crazy insects down there. A general rule of thumb for shower temps is that there shouldn’t be much steam. If you’d be comfortable bathing a toddler in that temperature, then you’re set. End your shower with a blast of cool water to help seal in the cuticle of the hair!

 

What’s the worst skin care routine you’ve come across?

That’s a three-way tie. One client used absolutely nothing, not even water (and no, I have no idea how that happens). When I was done with her facial, her skin had completely changed color because of how much dirt and dead skin was on the surface. One client used Irish Spring bar soap, rubbing alcohol, and Vaseline. Irish Spring is too intense of a cleanser for the face, rubbing alcohol is completely drying to the skin, and Vaseline pretty much keeps the skin from breathing. It’s useful in serious medical cases where the skin is harmed, or after a chemical peel or skin graft, but it should in no way be used as a daily moisturizer. The last swore by using a Brillo pad and cold cream. I actually couldn’t do a treatment on her and had to send her to a dermatologist since she had abraded away all her epidermis. She called me later to thank me, and that when her skin heals next year, she’d like to see me for a facial.

Why are we told to change our makeup and skincare regimen at the age of 50 when everything seems to be working ok? Is it just marketing or is it a real need?

It is ABSOLUTELY a real need. Just because everything seems to be working okay doesn’t mean it is, especially if you’ve been blessed with good genes. Major changes happen at the cellular level with every life milestone, and 50 is one of the biggest. Your ability to retain and build collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid is seriously depleted, your skin gets thinner at a cellular level, and your cells are no longer functioning in their prime. While you may look stellar for your age, you still need to adjust your skin care. Talk to your esthetician to find a protocol suited for you.

How do I get rid of wrinkles?

You don’t. That’s kind of like saying “how do I lasso the moon?” Or “how do I train my cat to perform brain surgery?” It’s impossible to get rid of wrinkles. They’re an inherent part of aging. What we *can* do, though, is help minimize them through proper skincare that’s full of vitamins, peptides, and hydrators to help build your skin back up. As you age, enzymes start to break down the skin. There’s nothing that can really be done about it, and they’re there for good reason: they help prevent keloids, skin growths, and too much skin building up. These enzymes work twofold by breaking down the collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid that you have *as well as* keeping you from making more. Vitamins, peptides, and certain hydrators can help minimize these enzymes so your skin can heal itself.

 

Eyelash tinting? Yay, nay?

I love lash tinting, but it can be risky. Make sure that the salon you’re visiting has insurance that covers lash tinting, and don’t be afraid to call both the salon and your state board and ask, just in case.

What’s your #1 beautician pet peeve?

Clients who want me to fix all their skin woes and aren’t willing to even cleanse & moisturize at home. My work will only get you so far!

 

If you knew and could speak the language of whales, what is the first thing you would ask them?

I’d ask what they do for fun when they get bored.

I have very dry skin. What would be a good skin routine? (I know it’s vague, but I don’t know a lot about skin care!)

Cleanse, tone, moisturize! This is the basic formula for everyone. Creamier cleansers are going to be a better solution for you, followed by a hydrating toner, and then a moisturizer that’ll penetrate the deeper levels of skin. For a more detailed answer than that, you’ll really need to schedule a consultation with an esthetician (they’re normally free) so they can talk to you about allergies, skin history, and budget.

I have bumps on the backs of my arms. HELP!

Good ol’ KP! Keratosis pilaris, commonly known as “chicken skin”, is a condition that resembles acne and is typically found on the arms and legs. The little sandpaper-like dots are caused by an overproduction of keratin, which get trapped in hair follicles and causes small, raised bumps. Treating this is a two fold method of scrubbing and hydrating. A scrub with both mechanical and chemical exfoliants is going to be best and helping to eliminate that hardened keratin, and following up with a soothing hydrator that also has some chemical Exfoliant will help keep the skin calm and clear. I highly recommend Dermadoctor’s KP Duty weekly exfoliant and daily moisturizer to give KP a one-two punch. They’re both concentrated and effective, so a little bit will go a long way.

What is eyebrow threading? How is different from waxing?

Eyebrow threading is an ancient form of hair removal that uses twisted threads to pluck hairs quickly. Modern epilators are actually inspired by threading! It’s a great option for people who are contraindicated to waxing, especially those using prescription skin products or who have chronically sensitive skin. Personally, I prefer waxing. Threading hurts much more!

How do you handle enlarged pores?

Exfoliation and collagen stimulation! Products with vitamin A and vitamin C are amazing for helping to rebuild that skin to help it re-tighten, and a gentle daily grade exfoliant paired with professional facials are a huge help.

I’m all about the hairy eyebrows!

Fellow Brooke Shields Brow girls, unite! I recommend seeing someone at a brow bar to get your thick brows properly shaped for your face. Have them show you the shape FIRST so you can see if you like it. Keep those brows bold and healthy with a nutrient-filled brow serum. If you want to keep them tamed, a tinted brow gel works awesome (clear ones can flake and look crunchy).

Chest acne. I get large, painful whiteheads that look almost like cystic acne. Halp.

My chest hurts just answering this question! Everything you use on your face, bring down to your chest. I also recommend spot treating with some blemish dots, like these from Skyn Iceland, that’ll give concentrated doses of blemish treatment to clear the acne without drying out the surrounding tissue. Do a clay mask a couple of times a week as well!

What kinds of things should you fill your esthetician in about? Should you say if you are taking certain meds, taking any prescriptions for your skin, pregnant? If yes to any of those, why? Anything else you should disclose?

Any skin therapist who’s the least bit responsible will definitely ask those questions, along with several others, on the intake form. We ask for medical questions like that because you’d be surprised what all can affect the skin! Certain medications and health conditions can directly or indirectly affect skin’s metabolism, the ability to retain hydration, and sensitivity levels. Hormones during pregnancy throw the skin for a loop and can contraindicate you to certain ingredients or treatments.

How do you get rid of those weird tiny whiteheads that sometimes appear under your eyes or eyebrows? They’re not styes, just whiteheads where the skin is very sensitive and very thin.

Those, dear one, are milia! Milia often resemble acne. They’re similar to whiteheads in that there’s debris caught in the pore and sealed off, but unlike acne, there are no bacteria, just dead skin. It’s basically an exfoliation fluke that happens with the skin. Some people have this every so often, and others have it chronically. Your best bet? Hydration and exfoliation based professional treatments, like hydro facials and microdermabrasion.

What’s the best way to go about finding the proper shades for contour and highlighting on my face? I can’t drop $50 on several different shades to figure it out.

I like contour kits for this exact reason! They usually have a few contour and highlighting shades so you can find your best match. Whatever you don’t use for contour and highlighting can be eyeshadows. If you’re still unsure, go to a makeup store and ask for some help in picking a shade that’s good for you and your budget.

My hair stylist told me that the best thing to take chlorine out of hair is baking soda, because it breaks the chemical bond. (Many years too late for this critical information, after I spent 10 years buying Ultra Swim)  Anywho, I’m wondering if baking soda will also break the chemical bond between my hair and my color.  Not that I color my hair. Of course not.  But if I did, I would maybe worry about fading my color.

ACK!!! While I’m not a cosmetologist, I highly suggest backing down from the baking soda. It’s way too aggressive on the scalp! It’s okay as an *occasional* treatment, but not often. You can pretty safely bet that if it’s breaking the chemical bonds of chlorine, it’s breaking the chemical bonds in your color as well. This shampoo is hands down the best at protecting your color, dissolving the chlorine, and softening the hair. If you color your hair blonde, this can discolor it some, so follow it up with a pigment depositing conditioner.

Charlotte Smith is an esthetician licensed in Tennessee and Georgia. She’s married to a lumberjack version of Deadpool, is obsessed with huskies, is straight up in quarter-life crisis mode, and loves pretty much anything that could be considered creepy.

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4 Comments on Sweatpants & Beauty | Ask a Beautician | July 2017

  1. Charlotte W F Smith // July 29, 2017 at 12:36 pm // Reply

    Hey there! I recommend using a powder brow filler and an angled brush to make soft strokes, paired with a thin pencil for, again, hair-like strokes. Paired together, it looks really natural.

  2. Thanks! I’ll give it a go.

  3. HI!! I learned so much today!
    Two things – one, for dandruffy/flaky scalp, I’ve had good success using a conditioner with tea tree oil once or twice a week. (I don’t use it more often because I color my hair.)

    And I have a question – can KP cause leg hair to grow in under the skin in addition to the chicken-skin-effect?

  4. Charlotte W F Smith // August 2, 2017 at 9:40 am // Reply

    I’m so glad that you learned a lot, Sheina! ❤️ Ooh, tea tree conditioner is indeed a great help. Using it as a treatment conditioner like you do is perfect to keep it from disrupting color.

    And yes, KP can indeed cause leg hair to grow under the skin. Think of it this way: you’ve sealed off the follicle with keratin when there’s still hair growing. If it can’t get through the follicle, then it’ll grow wherever it can, which normally means under the skin.

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