Karma Is A Bitch…Or Is It?

How many times have we all said or heard the phrase “karma is a bitch”? How many of us have stopped to think about what that actually means? The more you delve into the meaning, the more the phrase seems to evolve.

I think it’s safe to say most of us associate “karma is a bitch” as a phrase we use when we want to see the universe deliver revenge on someone who has wronged us. We look forward to karma in these instances and eagerly await its arrival hoping to have front row seats when karma finally delivers. Some of us even feel the need to assist karma. After all, what a better feeling than to be part of the revenge plan on someone who has hurt you or a loved one. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I was once one of these people. That is, until one day I read something that made me reconsider my stance on karma and revenge. It went something like this; if you try to intervene with karma, such as in the form of revenge, then karma will step back sensing you have done its job; therefore, karma will not step in. Reading that made me reevaluate my thoughts and reconsider my actions. Could it be, after all this time and in many situations, I was playing the role of karma?! My initial thought after reading this was karma can surely do a significantly better job at payback, so I should step back and watch to see how this plays out in future scenarios. To my surprise something else happened, as I started living my life and letting karma handle situations for me, I became happier. ¬†Not for the reason I originally thought (I assumed my happiness would come from relishing in watching karma be delivered). No, I actually started living happier because I was walking away from negative situations that would have previously consumed my thoughts. Instead of plotting and planning, I just let things go. Once I was able to release myself of such negative thoughts and emotions and just walk away, I noticed so much more of my mental space become available for a more positive outlook and productive mindset. Honestly, once this happened I didn’t even feel the need to be witness to what karma would do to those who I had previously felt deserved it. There were times I would even have friends come to me with information on what bad luck or karma a person who had wronged me was experiencing. Instead of joining in the conversation and enjoying the news of their karma (as I once would have), I chose not to hear it.¬† I realized it simply doesn’t matter in my life.

For years I thought I lived my life free from the wrath of karma. I would like to say I am a good person. I try to treat everyone with kindness and respect, so what would karma have to do with me? Then I realized, for as good of a person as I like to think I am, I also have my flaws. For years I worked in a highly dramatic and often times catty environment, and as much as I would like to think I was above much of the bad behavior, I would sometimes find myself sucked into the drama and negativity. That’s when I noticed for me, karma would tend to come in the same way I dished it out. You know those times when you judge someone and say “I would NEVER…”? For me saying “I would never” has been like an open invitation for karma to put me through a similar struggle so I can understand the point of view of the person I was so harshly judging. I’m sure most of you, if you really think about it, can come up with similar examples.

Today if I’m in a conversation that turns to gossip or goes in a negative direction about others, I am able to say “no thank you” to participating in that conversation. I will often say to the person trying to bring up gossip or negativity “you better be careful, karma is a bitch”.¬† This happened recently with a friend (who also believes in¬† karma) she had seen something on FB that she couldn’t resist making a snarky comment about. I said “uh oh, karma…”. She said, “I know, I just have to say this anyways”. She said, “The worst karma I will get for this is maybe a broken hair tie when I need one”. What do you think happened about 2 weeks later?! You guessed it! I got a text from her saying how miserable she was because it was hot, she was sweaty, and all of her hair was sticking to her! She didn’t even realize she had called her own karma until I reminded her of our conversation. As minor as this may seem to some, you have to understand her and I have spent an unusually large amount of time talking about karma and our spiritual growth. We both felt this was the only evidence we needed to prove we are on the right track in both of our spiritual journeys. If karma could speak, it certainly said 1000 words that day.

Something I have now come to realize is that the purpose of karma is not to hurt people or to “be a bitch”. Karma is more like a mother. Karma is there to teach us a lesson when we are misguided. When we say or do things that intentionally or unintentionally hurt others. It is karma that steps in to try to show us the error of our ways. It’s like if you misbehaved when you were young and your mom got the phone call before you even got home that day (if your mom was anything like my mom that is). Your mom would be there waiting for you, she would decide what punishment fit the crime. Mom’s don’t punish their children to be a bitch. Mom’s use punishment to deter their children from repeating a bad behavior. Not only is punishment a deterrent, but it hopefully comes with a lesson on WHY not to act a certain way again. What happens when you don’t learn your lesson the first time? Karma (just as your mother would) will try to get the point across again, the next time much louder and more clearer. I believe each time it will get progressively worse until you finally figure it out and learn the lesson you were meant to learn the first time. I can’t be sure, but I would guess that if you miss the message altogether and continue to think negatively and spread negativity, you will never truly find the happiness you were intended. I’m sure you have all been around those people. The ones who are so negative that when you leave their company you feel they have drained the energy from you. You realize nothing and no one will ever make them happy. They missed the messages along the way.

I believe these life lessons (karma) are part of our spiritual journey to prepare us for what’s next, whatever that may be. You may still hear me say “karma is a bitch” to get my point across, but I certainly do not believe that. I believe karma is a blessing if you choose to open up your mind and listen.

 

To Botox or Not To Botox

That is the question…

Let me start by saying Botox is a brand name. ¬†There are actually three different brands to choose from that are all¬†made from a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. The brands are Botox, ¬†Dysport, and Xeomin. It is my understanding each product is manufactured slightly differently which may be why some patients prefer one brand over another. The reason these products are used for anti-aging is their ability to paralyze certain muscles and nerves with the purpose of softening fine lines and wrinkles. Botox, the brand, has been around for many years. ¬†It was first approved for cosmetic use by the FDA in 2002. I would take a wild guess and say Dr.’s were using it for cosmetic purposes long before it was actually FDA approved. ¬†Meaning, this product has been on the market for over 15 years for cosmetic purposes, and to the best of my knowledge, does not have any major immediate or long term side effects. For a drug this seems to be a great track record!

When I was working in the industry, I would have a ton of women come in wanting to know what they could do to look younger.  Many times they would ask what I do to stay looking young. When I would bring up Botox,  there would often times be a stigma surrounding it.  Some of what I would hear would be:

I don’t want to be fake.

Answer: If your in the office asking what you can do to look better or slow down the aging process we’ve already established that you care about your looks. That does NOT make you fake. I’m not sure when, who, how, or why some people in our society view it as negative to want to look your best. Life is short people. I, for one, plan on doing what I can to¬†unapologetically look my best during the time I have on this Earth.

I don’t want my face not to be able to move.

Answer: Your provider will consult with you on what you want your end result to look like.  If you want a frozen face, your provider can make that happen. If you want a softer, more natural look,  your provider can make that happen as well. A good provider  offers a consultation and will only put the amount of units into the area discussed to get you the outcome you desire.

I’m not putting toxins into my body.

Answer: News flash, unfortunately we live in a world where we are constantly putting toxins into our bodies. Most of us whether we like it or not put toxins in or on our bodies every single day. It may be the food we eat, ¬†the medications we take,¬† the lotions or perfumes we wear, even the deodorant or sunscreen we use.¬† I am often times stunned at how little research people put into everyday products but automatically judge something like Botox because it has the word toxin in it’s ingredients list. Hey, at least they are being honest unlike MANY companies who use really long names on the label to make it sound fancy. Don’t be fooled, often times if you can’t pronounce it that means it’s just another chemical and potentially toxic!

Side note: If you are truly concerned about toxins there is a natural alternative for everything I mentioned above and more (excluding Botox of course). I made the switch about 7 years ago, and I have not had a natural alternative that has not worked for myself or my family. I am making the conscious choice of what toxins and chemicals I put into my body.

I don’t think it’s safe.

As I said previously, from my experience in the industry, I have seen little to no side effects from the use of these products. The side effects of dropping a brow or a droopy eye usually come from a practitioner who is not well trained on using the product. Do your own investigative research if you have doubts or have more questions on the product. More important, do your research on WHO you choose to do your injections.

I’m not filling my face like some of THOSE people on T.V.

Answer: Possibly the biggest misconception is that these products are fillers. Botox, ¬†Dysport, and Xeomin are NOT facial fillers. ¬†It will not make your cheeks bigger, ¬†your lips bigger, ¬†or anything else for that matter. It is paralyzing your muscle.¬† When you can’t use the muscle the wrinkles will soften or go away completely. That is all. ¬†Nothing more nothing less.

I don’t want everyone to notice.

Answer: Honestly, for the most part the only people who will notice you have had it done are others who have it themselves. Most other people are uneducated on the product and  have no clue what it actually does, what to look for, or how to spot people who have it.

My husband or boyfriend would never let me….

Answer: I’m sorry, maybe it’s time to shop for a new man.

In all seriousness, many women pay cash for their treatments so their husbands don’t find out.

Immediately following the treatment you may have what looks like small bee stings at the injection sites. ¬†Those usually resolve within 15 minutes post treatment. ¬†Occasionally small bruising may occur, but not often. ¬†If it does happen it is usually in only one or two of the injection site and it is so small you can either cover it with makeup or blame it on small bump of the head that was so minor you simply can’t remember it ūüėä

It’s too expensive.

Answer: I always try to put it in perspective like this; we spend money on cars, home interior decorating, clothes, shoes, bags, etc. These items are all only temporary in your life. Guess what is yours forever? That’s right, your skin! While some people are paying money for designer duds,¬† I will always be the one investing in my face and body. Yes, the results are temporary and you have to keep up with treatments, but overall it is not outrageously expensive. The good news is, if you can’t go in for a treatment right at the recommended 3 month mark that’s ok. Nothing dramatic happens. Just schedule your next appointment when you have the funds. Even if it’s a year later (which is not ideal) it’s better than nothing.

Treatment average $300 – $500

What does happen to my face if I stop getting treatments?

As I mentioned above, nothing at all happens if you decide to never get another treatment. In a way it’s like going to the gym vs not going to the gym. In this case, you are hoping for the results of not going to the gym. You want your muscles to lose strength so they cannot make expression marks a.k.a. wrinkles. If you quit treatments, those muscles will gain strength back and you will be back to where you started. If you continue with treatments for several years and then decide to discontinue, then your muscles with build strength back up and you will notice wrinkles slowly start to return or deepen. Although, in this case you will still be ahead of the game because you took those several years off from making the expressions that cause wrinkles and because your muscles will take a longer to build back up to full strength since they haven’t been used for awhile.

I am looking forward to the wrinkles I earn.

Well, ¬†I’m glad you can look into the future and see yourself totally happy with wrinkles. I, ¬†personally, ¬†cannot. With every year I age comes more signs of physically aging, and everytime something new arises it is unwanted and unwelcome. My guess is most of you feel the same. So, why would you think waking up to a wrinkle would be so satisfying? For me personally, ¬†my journey in life is more about what’s on the inside and spirituality. Maintaining my appearance is a way for me to continue to feel good about myself. Especially during the years where I am getting older and my body is very gradually slowing down not wanting to keep up with my mind. I like to think by maintaining my youthful appearance and beauty on the outside it will match my inside for years to come. ¬†I would also question you to ask yourself when your younger you knew what they were talking about at any given time?!

Or just a NO WAY.

Uuuggghhh…ladies and gentlemen. ¬†This is so frustrating to hear.

If you still have questions or concerns, let me tell you about my experience with both Botox and Dysport. ¬†I started getting Botox treatments about 10 years ago. I was working in a med spa where Botox was available to the employees. At 27, I thought I was too young for the treatments. I didn’t notice any fines lines or wrinkles. Then, (probably because I was paying closer attention) I started noticing the squint marks between my eyebrows were staying longer after I would step out of the sun. They would eventually go away, but not for an hour or two after; not like when I was young and I would walk in from a day of squinting and I didn’t have a fine line or wrinkle on me. That’s when I decided to reconsider. If there is one thing I know about the industry, it’s that prevention is much easier than trying to reverse the clock. So that’s when I decided to just go for it and get my first treatment. I will say even though I was around it all the time, I was still apprehensive about my treatment. After all, who likes the idea of being stuck with a needle in the face multiple times? I’m happy to report the needles used are very small and each injection site feels like a small pin prick. Treatments are quick and painless. My treatment results started kicking in after approximately a week (for some it can take up to two weeks). It felt a little odd at first, not being able to move some of the muscles in my face. The awkwardness passed within the first couple of days though, and now I’m used to it so it doesn’t feel like anything post treatment. The results were and continue to be amazing. Now at 38, I have no deep lines or wrinkles. The areas where I’m starting to see some fine lines forming are areas that cannot be treated with Botox. I switched several years ago from Botox to Dysport because I think treatments last a bit longer for me. I try to make it every 6 months for a treatment, although sometimes more time passes between my appointments, but ¬†I still have great results regardless ūüôā

Here is additional information I think is important or I have heard concerns about:

I have read that individuals can build up antibodies to either Botox or Dysport or both.

I do not know the actual data on it, but I have heard patients say they believe this has happened to them. The feedback I have heard is switching brands will do the trick to achieving desired results again.

I have heard some people will get headaches from one product or the other.

From the feedback I have heard, this was also easily resolved by switching brands.

What areas of the face can be treated?

I have not been in the industry now for a couple of years, so I’m not completely sure which areas of the face have FDA approval, but I do know from my time in the industry practitioners were using cosmetic Botox for the horizontal lines on the forehead, vertical lines between the eyebrows, crows feet, the upper lip, and the jaw line (to help tighten sagging jowls), bunny nose wrinkles (maybe one of the only cons I’ve noticed from getting treatments is my smile lines went to my nose, easily fixed with a just few extra units).¬† I have not personally had all of these areas treated yet, but that’s not to say I won’t as needed.

I have, for the most part, left Xeomin out of my blog. That is because I do not have much experience with Xeomin. I had one treatment with Xeomin, and I honestly couldn’t say how I felt either way.

I hope this helps with your decision. Many patients don’t come in with even a basic knowledge of treatments. I understand throwing out technical terminology and information can often times get lost in translation. If you are one of those patients who has left a consultation with your head spinning don’t feel bad. I wrote this blog in hopes of giving you a better understanding of the products and treatment. It is always best to find an office with a good reputation, as well as, an office you can connect with for your treatments. The skill level of your treatment provider is crucial. Provider/client communication is key. Other than that, my advice is,¬† if you’ve ever considered it go for it. After all, it’s the only skin your in!

IMG_20170612_085529_220

A picture of me needing Dysport,  today on my 39th birthday!

 

 

 

 

Dunking My Full Face Makeup in Cold Water

I recently saw an Instagram post about Jamsu, a Korean beauty trend for submerging your face in cold water once¬†full face makeup with setting powder (some people even use baby powder) has been applied. The idea itself seemed like a fun and interesting idea worth trying. ¬†After all, ¬†who doesn’t love a quick, cheap beauty hack! I read a little bit more about it and watched a Youtube video to make sure I did it correctly. ¬†I will say, the video I watched was about how it visibly shrinks pores. Here is where I became skeptical. I know from my years in skincare that pores do not shrink, nor do they open and close. ¬†Pores are not vascular and they are not a muscle, ¬†so they do not function in such a way. ¬†Extractions or pimple popping is easier after a hot shower or steam because the dead skin cells and oil become softened (kinda like the difference between a fresh veggie and a steamed veggie). It is much easier to extract at this point. Once the skin cools the blackhead hardens back up making it more difficult to extract from a pore.

As far as pore shrinking procedures, serums, etc. I’m sorry to say in my experience they simply do not work. ¬†The best measure to prevent your pores from enlarging is to exfoliate and keep pores unclogged. No aggressive treatments or picking or you can potentially make them larger. ¬†Pores are a part of your skin so they can become stretched out or enlarged. Many pore related products are simply exfoliating, ¬†it may appear they shrink when in all actuality, they are just going back to normal size pre clog. Healthy elastin is what helps it to bounce back. You will notice most products and services advertise being able to “reduce the appearance” of pore size. They don’t actually state they can reduce the size of a pore. As always, ¬†tricky marketing at work.

With the pore shrinking statement,  I thought it best to take a couple days trying Jamsu.

Day 1

I completed my makeup and applied setting powder. I even did my eyeshadow and applied setting powder on top of it. ¬†I got my bowl of cold water ready and I dunked! It was a different experience that’s for sure. When I emerged and blotted the water from my face, ¬†I noticed the face makeup looked a cakey and had also turned ghostly white. ¬†I did a quick dust of my normal powder over the top to bring back some color and it looked fine, ¬†still looking a bit cakey. ¬†After about 10 minutes or so, ¬†I looked in the mirror again. My skin appeared less heavy at this point and it had an overall much smoother finish than normal. ¬†Yes, ¬†my pores did look smaller! I wore it throughout the day and it wore as if I had used my airbrush makeup. Smooth, silky, ¬†and I never felt oily. It did seem to settle into my fines lines a bit, ¬†but that is expected with every makeup when I wear so much. ¬†That night, ¬†I did need to wash my face three times vs the normal two wash routine. I did not have any breakouts though which I had almost expected by the next morning. So far so good, ¬†now I had to get to the bottom of this pore shrinking business.

Day 2

I wondered if dunking my face before I applied makeup would do the trick. I have read about another trend of waking up and immediately dunking your face in ice water to reduce puffiness, ¬†fines lines, ¬†etc. ¬†I thought if this had something to do with the smoothness of my skin throughout the day I would give it a try. ¬†After all, dunking your face in a bowl of water when you are completely ready can be a little messy and it does get the edges of your hairline a bit wet which is a slight disadvantage to Jamsu. ¬†So I tried the ice water pre makeup application to see what results it would achieve. ¬†Honestly, I didn’t notice any difference. Not even with the reduction of swelling or puffiness associated with morning. My makeup wore the exact same as every other day. So to my disappointment, cold water was not a magical cure for all things wrong with my skin.

Day 3

By this point, I am really curious as to what the cold water is actually doing. I decide to take a close up picture of my face before makeup; after makeup but before cold water; and after cold water. ¬†Here is what I noticed in the pictures. ¬†My pore size did stay the same in all the photos, but my makeup looked smoother and more polished after dunking my face in cold water. Once again, ¬†it immediately looked very cakey, ¬†and I once again had to apply a quick dust of my regular powder over top because the color was a bit pale again. ¬†On this day, ¬†I was much more active throughout the day to see how my makeup would wear. I was not disappointed. ¬†In fact, ¬†I gardened for an entire afternoon in 90 degree temps and my makeup did not melt off ¬†like it normally would. ¬†I didn’t even feel sticky or sweaty where I would usually need to be wiping my t zone of oil every 15 mins. The powder seemed to be keeping up with the absorption. Another positive was when my husband was leaving and went in for a kiss, he walked away not wearing my powder for once. He is a darker skin tone than me, so normally as soon as we kiss I’m wiping away my pale powder from his nose. This was a bonus I hadn’t thought of! At the end of the night I once again felt the need to do a 3x cleanse. ¬†I did notice a few very tiny white heads pop up on this day. I treated them and they were gone by the next morning.

I did do a little at home experiment by putting my setting powder directly into cold water and watched what it did. The particles did seem to pull toward each other and form a barrier. It turned to an iridescent layer floating on top of the water. ¬†I’m no scientist, so that’s as far as I go. ¬†My guess is that the powder bonds together which gives the smooth finish. The molecules in the powder may also change allowing it to absorb more oils and sweat. I suppose this is similar to setting sprays. The difference is with a spray you are only bonding a limited amount of powder, where Jamsu is more like dousing your face in a bowl of setting spray. ¬†I suppose if you wanted you could add some popular ingredients found it setting sprays or even a few drops of essential oil to your bowl of water. ¬†Although, ¬†in my opinion, it would be a waste. ¬†Honestly once the water hit the makeup, ¬†it seemed as though nothing could penetrate through to my skin, so I don’t necessarily see any added benefit.

My final thoughts; ¬†this is definitely a beauty hack I would recommend. I will most likely use it again on special occasions. It would not be an everyday trick for me because I do not normally wear setting powder on a daily basis, ¬†so it was a bit heavier than my usual day to day wear. ¬†Also, it seemed to be more work removing it at the end of the night. Even after 3 washes, ¬†I had a small amount of makeup show up on my cotton pad from my toner. I’m also a bit of a conservationist when it comes to not wanting to be wasteful with water, so it would be really hard for me to justify a clean bowl of water just for my makeup everydayūüíßYou know what they say “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”. Ew, ¬†I know ¬Į\_(„ÉĄ)_/¬Į

I caution those with sensitive skin or Rosacea to avoid making the water too cold. ¬†This could potentially break capillaries causing worsening Rosacea symptoms. ¬†Broken capillaries can only be corrected with laser treamtents. ūüíį

Top before

Collage 2017-06-03 16_52_06

Bottom after

Haircare for My Mixed Daughter

IMG_20170601_120938I have a lot of mom’s with mixed children ask how I take care of my youngest daughter’s hair. Let me start by saying, not all mixed kids hair is the same. Learning how to care for my daughter’s hair has been somewhat of a challenge. It is very soft and fine like mine (easy to tangle), however my hair tends to be very oily and hers is extremely dry. The first few years, I spent a lot of money ūüíį on hair care products that didn’t work. Now I think we have it down to a science as you can see with her hair past her butt! I do not wash her hair everyday. ¬†I do have her rinse it thoroughly every other day. We only wash her hair once a week or sometimes less (of course this also depends on her activities for the week). For her normal washing routine, we use Redken All Soft shampoo. Believe it or not, we also use Dawn dish detergent once a month to once every two months to wash away buildup. This brings back the natural shine and curl pattern of her hair. ¬†It is a bit drying, so if you decide to try this method, please keep that in mind. Conditioning is a very important part of our routine and will be for most mixed kids. We have to condition daily to keep her hair happy and healthy. We use Redken All Soft heavy cream for conditioner every other day when she does a rinse and with every wash. We do not rinse the conditioner completely out of her hair. When she gets out of the shower we add more conditioner by spraying with Redken All Soft softening cream spray and brushing through to detangle. ¬†I put her hair in a very quick and simple braid to sleep in every night (her hair is too fine to hold a braid through the next day). Every morning, I take the braid out, mist her hair with water, add a couple more sprays of conditioning spray, and brush through. The final step is 1-2 pumps of Aquage silkening oil treatment daily for shine. Put in a nice braid for the day and on our way!

It may sound like a lot of work, ¬†but honestly we have a very quick routine. Finding the right products makes taking care of your children’s hair much easier. ¬†Even with the right products, braids are important for keeping tangles away.

IMG_20170601_121309

The good news is the All Soft products work well for all of the hair types and textures in our household. The rest of us use the products much more moderately.

#redken #allsoftproducts #aquage #longhairdontcare #mixedkids #braids #nomoretangles #haircare #haircareroutine

Live, Learn, Grow

Removing toxic people from your life does not always mean the people themselves are toxic. Sometimes good people can be toxic to you. Often times, we hang onto relationships that we have outgrown. We find ourselves forcing relationships that we should have walked away from long ago. You might find yourself hanging on because it’s a relative or maybe it’s someone you have been friends with for a long time. You feel obligated to these types of relationships, however, these relationships can prove to cause unnecessary pain and heartache when you find yourself trying to hold on. What was once a healthy relationship has now turned toxic. Never be afraid to walk away to find peace in your life.

Other times, we unknowingly become the toxic person. We believe we know a person sometimes better than they know themselves. We limit them by placing them into a box and labeling it as who they once were. We refuse to see the changes and progress they have made or are trying to make. This can ultimately hinder their growth and success. For whatever reason, we choose remind them of their failures and flaws taking away the self esteem and drive needed for them to move forward. Instead, we should learn to uplift people in their journey and watch them blossom into the person they are meant to become. If you are unable to be a positive influence in someone’s life then it is time to step aside. Having a negative impact on others will also prevent your own growth and happiness.

The definition of life is growth. Life experience, both positive and negative, transforms us all. Live, learn, grow.

 

My First Microblading Appointment

Collage 2017-05-19 16_09_49Like many of you, I grew up in the 80’s/90’s. ¬†This meant big hair and thin eyebrows. I had plenty of big hair days, but I was able to escape my teen years with untouched eyebrows. ¬†That was, until my early twenties. I found a new love of the beauty world. One of my first trips to the salon was to get my hair bleached and my eyebrows waxed. ¬†I was really excited to get a new look. The problem was, I didn’t really pay much attention to the trends, so even though thin brows were in, I didn’t know realize what was in store when I went for my appointment. I had, at most, only tweezed a few eyebrows up to this point. Excited, I sat down in the salon chair. It wasn’t until the first pull of the wax that I had a strong feeling I should have consulted with the cosmetologist before getting my wax, but it was too late. I felt the skin on my upper lid suddenly exposed to air. I sat in the chair until she was finished. When I looked in the mirror I wanted to cry. ¬†I was left with an extremely thin line of brow. ¬†I have naturally light eyebrows, so for me this was devastating. ¬†I looked browless. ¬†I got myself through the moment telling myself they would grow back! After several weeks of waiting, this was the moment I realized eyebrows don’t always grow back in ūüėĪ

Fast forward nearly 20 years, thick amazing eyebrows are all the rage. ¬†I take 5-10 minutes a day trying to fill in my brows. ¬†A daunting task, ¬†but one that has to be done. Over the years, my eyebrows have not only stayed thin, but the eyebrow tails or ends of my brows have seemed to start thinning out even more! Now what?! It feels as though, I will, at some point need to draw on my eyebrows everyday. Ugh! Then, this new amazing trend called microblading appears on the scene.¬† As I understand it, microblading is a semi permanent procedure where pigment is used to apply hair strokes for a temporary (1-5 years) natural looking beautiful brow. Of course, ¬†having been in the beauty industry for quit awhile, ¬†I know better than to be one of the first to try a trend that could alter your appearance and be on your face for a really long time! After patiently waiting, not only has the trend stuck around, but it has¬† also started to gain some major momentum. I decided it was time to do my research.¬† I’m not going to lie, ¬†I was nervous. ¬†I had spent almost 2 years doing laser tattoo removal. You can imagine what tattoo nightmares I’ve seen.ūüė® I know the importance of not only doing research on the treatment itself, but also finding someone who is well respected in the industry with an excellent reputation for microblading. I was lucky enough to find someone within an hour drive who not only does microblading, but is also a trainer on the technique. Tip: having a little insight on the beauty industry, I know one thing, people who train are always looking for models to train on. I decided to send a message to the training facility to see if the trainer needed models. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to be a model for her upcoming class. I did receive a discount for being a model, but that comes with laying down being observed by a class of students. It also means the treatment takes a little extra time since the instructor is training and answering questions. Being a model for procedures is not for everyone.

My appointment: I was advised not to use heavy cream or take any pain killers or vitamins on the day of my appointment. Both pain killers and vitamins (especially fish oil) can cause more bleeding. I arrived and signed the usual liability waivers, as well as, a waiver stating they could use my image to use for social media, etc. Then I was led to an esthetic bed at the front of the classroom. The students all gathered around as my microblading technician went to work. My eyes were closed, but I felt she had some sort of tool. She was explaining to the class how to use it to line up the brow head, brow bone, brow arch, and brow tail. She was using a marking pencil as a guide for later use. Once she was done with the first brow, she moved onto the second. She explained how to move the tool from one brow to the other to ensure even brows. Once she marked up both brows, she had me sit up and look at her outline for approval. She also had the class look to make sure they were able to see if they noticed anything that needed altered before she got to work. Because no one has perfectly symmetrical brows, there was a small alteration needed at the tail of one brow. She also explained to the class how important it is to have the client sit up because many people’s face and brow shape change from the lying down to sitting up position. Once everyone, including myself approved the small adjustment I laid back down for the treatment to begin. Prior to the treatment she discussed mixing the proper color (pigment) for each client. She asked me a few questions (I can’t remember the questions) to help determine what color pigment she was going to use. Once discussing with the class, she decided on mixing two pigments together to get the right color match for me.

The procedure: I was advised that the treatment itself may cause discomfort and people’s pain tolerance is different so the level of discomfort varies from person to person.¬† I was also advised that my eyes may water during the procedure and that there may be some bleeding during the treatment. I was able to get a peak at the hand tool she was going to use for the treatment. It looked like a tiny scalpel attached to a small hand tool. I thought I knew what the treatment was going to feel like. I was wrong, it felt nothing like I expected. It felt almost like a dull tugging and scraping. I would say it almost felt like a dull serrated knife tearing at the skin vs a blade or scalpel. I could even hear the scraping noise of each stroke. My eyes almost immediately started tearing up. I wouldn’t say it hurt, but it was certainly uncomfortable. The sound bothered me almost as equally as the feeling, but I am also very sensitive to sound (I am one of those people who gets annoyed easily by the sound of someone else’s chewing). The scraping noise and tugging sensation only lasted about 15 minutes or so. It is my understanding, this initial pass was just to break the skin. Once she completed this first pass, she went back to the brow she started with and began adding the pigment. By this point my brow was mostly numb, so I only felt the tugging and slight stinging of the treatment. My eyes continued to water even though it was much more bearable at this point in the treatment.¬† She did a good job finishing up making sure they were even. When she was finished, she once again had me sit up to make sure my brows were even on both sides. Even though my brows were even, she explained to the class that there is a difference between making the shape even and matching each side perfectly. Perfectly matching the each stroke will make the eyebrows look fake and unnatural.¬† I think I had her add one more hair stroke on one of my brows that was bothering me, but other than that they looked amazing! She had me lay back down, she applied a layer of pigment and had me sit for another 5 minutes with the color on. This might have been the most uncomfortable. It really stung for the first minute or so as I laid trying to fan my eyes. The tears were rolling down my face at this point. The stinging slowly started to subside and then she wiped the color away with cool water. ūüĆä Ahhhh! The coolness felt amazing! Once the procedure was finished she applied a thin layer of Aquaphor, gave me my after care instructions and I was on my way. There was no downtime after the procedure. My eyebrows were a little red for about 20 minutes after I left the appointment, but nothing that would have kept me from going in public. The appointment took less than two hours when it was all said and done. I was given instructions to wait 1-3 months and call back for a follow up if I notice any fading (some fading is expected), or if I would like any adjustments to the color, shape, size, etc.

My review: I am absolutely obsessed with my new brows! I would highly recommend microblading to anyone and everyone who is struggling with brow issues. It has eliminated one step for me in the getting ready process every the morning. Microblading has also given me a confidence boost! There is nothing I don’t love about my new look! Maintenance is required and varies from person to person.

Tip:¬† During the treatment, I was privy to some of what can go wrong in a treatment including pigment bleeding instead of staying within the hair stroke making it look like a muddy mess; or even the possibility of scarring if the proper pressure and technique is not used during the treatment. These are only a couple things I remember hearing and I don’t know enough to go into full detail, but I have seen the damage of a person not properly trained in the beauty industry can do. As always, when considering a cosmetic procedure, do your homework on the person you choose to be your treatment provider. I cannot express enough when I talk about these treatments the importance of this step. Saving money should never be a part of your decision making process.

Danijela Milovanovic at Esthetic World Beauty was my treatment provider. She has great educational videos on Youtube if you are interested in learning more about the procedure.

Collage 2017-05-19 15_33_30

How I filled in my brows before vs no eyebrow makeup after!

Buyer Beware_Non-Invasive Procedures

FB_IMG_1492542457588The non invasive world is a wonderful world to explore for anti-aging as long as you’re getting these treatments by someone you can trust.

Over the years, I’ve had many people look to me for advice on where to begin when it comes to selecting which non-invasive beauty procedure would work best for them. ¬†Although I do have a lot of great recommendations for services, my very first piece of advice is to always look for a good practitioner. I have seen far too many patients shopping around for the best deal, the trendiest device, the most recent treatment their friend had, or something they saw on “Dr. Oz”. ¬†This is NOT how to shop. The right way to shop is to do your research on the establishment and treatments they offer; and most importantly do your homework on the person who will be performing your treatments. You see, many people falsely assume a physician, just because they are a physician, is as equally equipped as any other physician to do any and all non-invasive beauty procedures. Many people also assume that if a person is operating in a physicians office they are qualified to be performing these treatments.¬† Simply NOT the case.

My advice is to choose a person/office who has been doing cosmetics for a long time. Most important look for someone who continues to take advanced training on products, services, and techniques because, although the injectables and devices in this industry are labeled non-invasive, that does NOT mean they are without risk. ¬†I have seen my share of irreparable damage from some of the procedures and injectables that went awry. ¬†Just watch the show “Botched” if you need a further explanation.

If you are heading to an office that does not specialize in these cosmetic treatments, please keep in mind the physician does not always operate the lasers in the office frequently. He/she may not do the majority of injectable treatments either (their time is often better spent doing other appointments), this means whoever is designated to do these treatments most likely has more experience and knowledge which will in turn give you a better result.  Example: I worked in an office where the physician did not even know how to turn on the laser, let alone run it. That meant when a patient insisted on having the Dr. do her procedure, I had to set up the room; turn on the machine; set the laser settings; prep the patient; and stand by monitoring the physician during the procedure. Thankfully the patient had on goggles and the machine idle is loud, so I was able to mouth the instructions to the Dr during the entire procedure.  Unfortunately, in this case, the patient did not get the best results because the we chose to use conservative and cautious settings. On the plus side, there were no injuries to this patient. Believe me, some physicians do not take that kind of care and precaution which can easily leads to burns, downtime, and potential scarring.

Again, if you are in an office that does not specialize in cosmetic treatments, you may be scheduled with an injector nurse. The injector nurse is often times more qualified to do your treatments than the physician within the office. To reiterate, many physicians spend their time on other appointments and procedures throughout the day that bring in more money. Injector nurses are most likely doing cosmetic and injectable appointments all day. No need to push to have an appointment with a physician who is not well trained and find yourself with uneven lips or a droopy eyelid.

Lastly,  know that many physicians operate these cosmetic establishments as a business. That means the sole purpose of the business is making money! Of course everyone wants to make money, but when shopping around for these types of services look for an office that is passionate about the industry. Someone who just is in it for the money does not offer their staff the continued education needed to operate these treatments safely. Instead, find someone who is honest and compassionate.  You will know when you find the right office when the person scheduled to do your treatments listens to your concerns and knows your expectations. Your treatment provider should always give you an honest consultation on what to expect from the treatment,  downtime,  and a realistic expectation of your results.  Go into the consultation and treatment with realistic expectations. These are non-invasive treatments; providers cannot perform miracles; and almost everything in beauty has some amount of pain or discomfort that goes along with it. If the person you are working with does not list any of these facts to you; it is probably best to walk out and continue shopping.

***Saving money on the front end of these treatments can cost a lot more time and money in the end if something goes wrong. This is your face and your body! If you can spend the money on clothes, jewelry, or a car; you should be able to spend the money on something that could cause permanent scars to your face or body!