As the skin care profession has risen to new levels of professionalism and expertise, the responsibility for the individual professional to represent those levels has become increasingly necessary. On a daily basis we are seeing new products, equipment, technology, ingredients, and techniques. It can be a full time job simply keeping up with the wave – let alone actually being appropriately informed. Yet, it remains our job and responsibility to know what is happening in the industry. All of that being said, there is one particular area that acts as a knowledge base – a foundation per say – that never changes but constantly gets built upon. That area is ingredients.
As an educator, I preach to my students that there are two things that will always lead to treatment results: physiology and ingredients. If you understand the skin and you understand ingredients you will always know what products to choose and why to choose them.
We live in a consumer savvy time. Clients are bombarded with marketing campaigns that make promises and claims about products and ingredients with very little substantiation. Our job is to clear up the confusion and we can only do that by knowing the facts.
Know your ingredients. Know what they are and where they come from. Know how they work and why they work. Know the influence of formulation, such as the pH level, pK level, the type of base, the preservative, and additional actives. Knowing just one fact about an ingredient is simply not enough, since once it is mixed in a formulation, its original properties can change.
Have the knowledge and ability to help clients decipher between effective and not-effective, but be able to tell them how and why.
Michelle D'allaird Brenner
AIA President and Director of Education
I love the start of a new year as it is an inspiring time of endless opportunities and limitless goal setting. I truly hope each of you have set your sights on an outstanding accomplishment for 2019.
Our first New Year’s topic is all about the body, including hair removal services and body treatments. These are great topics to start the year off because, for many aestheticians, hair removal and body services are ancillary treatments in their businesses. The reality is, not only are they phenomenal revenue generators, but they play critical roles in the overall health and beauty of the entire body.
Hair removal has long been a staple of our profession for both men and women. The absence of facial and body hair is in demand by the masses. And, as popular as laser hair removal has become, both waxing and sugaring have certainly not fallen by the wayside, especially since regular hair removal services minimize regrowth, are incredibly affordable, and take very little time. When you add proper pre- and post-care, soft, smooth, hairless skin leaves a client feeling like a million bucks.
I find body treatments to be the biggest area of opportunity. It’s interesting that, often, when someone talks about the quality, youth, and beauty of their skin, they are referring to their face, when 90 percent of their skin covers the rest of their body! As we age, all of our skin ages and we rarely realize it until it is too late. The skin requires two essential elements: exfoliation and hydration. When the skin is exfoliated, it breathes and renews itself properly. When it is well hydrated, it functions at its optimal capacity. Skin that breathes, renews, and functions optimally is healthy and youthful.
Start the year off with a full-body approach to youth and beauty, with healthy skin from head to toe.
As we wrap up the end of the year, it is the ideal time to cover two great topics: exfoliation and New Year’s resolutions.
Yes, they may seem like an odd combination, but, in reality, they go pretty well together. Exfoliation rids the surface of the skin of buildup, debris, and accumulated toxins; New Year’s resolutions can do the same for one’s life!
Exfoliation is the ideal way to detoxify the skin. Ridding the surface of buildup and debris increases cell renewal and provides the skin with the ability to better absorb nutrient-rich and beneficial ingredients. With the endless amount of external stimuli that attack skin on a daily basis, professional exfoliation is a necessity for skin detoxification and renewal.
Various forms of exfoliation equipment have taken this to the next level. At the top of the list is microdermabrasion and dermaplaning, two methods that remove multiple layers of the stratum corneum, leaving the skin amazingly soft, smooth, resurfaced, and ideally prepared for quality active ingredients.
As the industry changes and new equipment and techniques are introduced, be sure to stay in the know on what works, how it works, why it works, and what your state regulations do and do not allow. Do your best to incorporate the newest trends into your menu of services and stay on the cutting-edge of delivering the best skin care results to your clients.
End the year by setting a plan for next year. Is there something you want to add to your treatment regime? Are there different results you would like to achieve? Write them down and set a plan. It is that time: out with the old and in with the new! Resolve to move into 2019 fresh, new, soft, smooth, and ready for the year ahead.
Ihave always found autumn to be a breath of fresh air. Here in the northeast, we have cooler days and breezy nights, a lower setting sun in the sky, falling leaves, and crisp air. It’s a time of rejuvenation and an opportunity to set your sights on the upcoming months.
First, fall is the ideal time for making connections and exploring new business ideas. This time of year is all about “back to school,” so take advantage of that yourself. Trade shows, webinars, and continuing education classes are in abundance.
The aesthetics profession is changing each and every day. We are constantly surrounded by new products, ingredients, and technology. To be a success you have to stay on the cutting edge. That doesn’t mean you have to do it all, but it surely means you need to be aware of it. Because, trust me, your customers will know!
Expand your circle of knowledge. Build your professional network by connecting with someone new. I have found over the years that some of the best information that I come across comes from the knowledge and experience of another professional. There is nothing better than learning from someone else’s mistakes! It’s a gift to know what not to do before you do it.
All of this is what AIA is all about – providing each and every one of you with a massive network of professionals in which to learn, grow, connect and succeed. AIA will give you a firm professional foundation in order to propel you into the future.
Take my word for it: success does not come easy and it does not come over night, but it surely does come when you make the most of the opportunities around you, like training, education, and professional relationships.
Ground yourself now and, tomorrow, the sky will be the limit!
Director of Education
I never knew exactly what I wanted do when I grew up. During my senior year of high school, my best friend and I decided that we were going to become hairdressers and open our own salon, so we convinced our parents to put us in beauty school. Three nights during the week and every Saturday for 10 months, we drove to downtown Albany, New York to go to beauty school. It all sounded great in theory – until I realized that, not only did I not like doing hair, but I also was not good at it. I completed the program, got my license, dabbled in the workplace, and, then, went to college to complete my bachelor’s and work on my master’s in psychology.
As an intern in a psychiatric facility, I quickly realized, once again, this profession was not my calling. I fell back on my cosmetology license and decided to open my own skin care and nail business.
That business molded a new being within me. I fell in love with learning. I studied every video and book about skin care that I could. I was determined to never be asked a question in my treatment room that I could not answer or at least find the answer to.
I was determined to help others accomplish goals, create futures, secure incomes, and become something. In January 2003, I opened the Aesthetic Science Institute, an aesthetics school in Latham, New York. I had no idea how to run a school – I just knew what I wanted to teach and how I wanted to teach it. My first class had six students and one teacher: me.
Fifteen years later, I have over 100 students per year, nine amazing instructors and staff, New York state-approved curricula, and a CIDESCO-certified institution. I am incredibly proud, but even more grateful.
I believe that the skin care profession is a pathway to unlimited potential and success. The opportunities are there for all of us; it is simply a matter of how many you want. Perhaps you do not know what you want from the industry, but I can assure you that if you know you want something and act upon that, then endless possibilities will be afforded to you.
I have learned and experienced so much over the years and I am excited to share it with you through these pages for the rest of the year. Happy reading!
Michelle D'allaird Brenner
AIA Vice President,
Director of Education
I was recently completing an application for an association in which I had been inducted. One of the last questions on the application asked me to list my favorite hobbies or the things that I like to do in my free time. I responded by listing that cooking, cleaning and taking my children to their extracurricular activities were among the top of my list. When it occurred to me that this was probably not the response they were looking for, I realized that it was all I could come up with. I would love to have hobbies that include taking long walks in the park, reading non-fiction novels, and enjoying a glass of wine in front of a crackling fire – but that is not even close to my reality.
How often have you been told to take a deep breath? You may have even muttered it to yourself once or twice. Generally, an individual can go months without food or several days without water, but only minutes without air. Basic survival aside, breathing has a variety of different effects on the human mind and body that are beneficial to your overall health and wellness.
Many cultures have long known that deep breathing is a natural and simple form of relaxing and cleansing the mind, body and soul. Touted by original yoga practitioners as the source of life, breathing has become an integral part of living a healthy lifestyle.
Posture plays an influential role in many ways. It is critical to maintaining your health and physical appearance, two factors that can have a dramatic effect on your life.
I typically start my weekends strolling through the farmers market first thing in the morning. One particular morning, as I wandered through the crowd, I remembered that my latest column needed to be completed over the weekend. Suddenly, it occurred to me that my entire study group and column content was currently walking all around me. A vast selection of ages, genders, genetics and postures were all within arm’s reach. Immediately inspired, I quickly found an empty bench and began to take notes.
How often do you find yourself thinking, “Where did the day go?” Since I find myself saying it on a regular basis, I decided to take a closer look at exactly what I did with my day; two businesses, traveling, writing articles and teaching classes, five kids, and one husband. Where does the time go, indeed! We always look at everything we are responsible for, but there is nothing worse than ending your day and feeling like you did not get anything accomplished.
Sleep deficiency can affect your mood, concentration, energy level, memory, coordination, depression and lack of sex drive. When you take each of these factors into consideration and the role that they play in your everyday lives, what is left? A good night’s sleep is necessary for getting the most out of each day, out of yourself, and out of your life. So, what defines a good night’s sleep?
A good night’s sleep involves natural cycles of activity in the brain that fluctuate between Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and non-REM (NREM) sleep.
When I have a training class or seminar on skin conditions, I often start by asking how many people have a stress-free life. I rarely get a hand raised. If I do get one, they quickly retreat with a silly statement like “just kidding.” Unfortunately, not many of us can raise our hand for that one. On a Sunday morning, I sat down to write this article thinking that I would be able to put it together in no time since there was clearly so much to write about. Ironically, once I was ready to start writing, my fingers were at an absolute stand still on the keyboard.
This month I want to talk about balance. I did say balance, and I did not mean standing on one foot with your other leg out in front of you. I mean balance in your life. When I accepted the opportunity to write this monthly column on health and wellness and its direct impact on you, the aesthetician, it prompted me to do a bit of soul searching and reflection. Specifically, on how much I practice what I preach, concerning what I believe is so absolutely critical not only to our success, but to our lives.
No matter how long ago it was, we all remember sitting through anatomy and physiology in aesthetics school. Literally memorizing the muscles, bones, arteries and veins in a desperate attempt to pass the test, and hopefully retain enough memorization to make it through the state boards. Now skin physiology was another thing – that just made sense – and knowing why we needed to know it made sense... But the other stuff just seemed a bit mind boggling! Well, if only we knew then what we know now, we just might have paid better attention! Every aspect of the aesthetics curriculum has come full circle, and what may not have seemed important 15 years ago is at the forefront of what we need to know now – and the anatomy of the face is one of them.
How often have you heard somebody say to stop and smell the roses? Well, how often have you actually done it? And I do not mean the roses on your desk from Valentine's Day or your birthday; but the fragrant, soft petaled beauties growing in your garden (or even someone else's)!
It is not very often that we think about how we need to spend time outside and experience nature ...more than we experience our treatment room or office. Let me give you a few examples; perhaps you can relate. Think of what it feels like that first warm, spring day; are they not the most amazing senses?
This month I want to talk about exercise and you. Yes, I mean you – the professional aesthetician. Now, I do not want to preach, but I am going to and I have to tell you how critical exercise is to you and your life. Any time I broach this topic, the non-exercisers immediately come out with “I do not have time,” “It does not fit in my schedule,” or “I just cannot get myself motivated enough.” I have been there; we all have. Unfortunately exercise is critical to you, to everything you do and to everything about you.
The inner-outer body connection is well documented and has been for years. The physical, emotional and psychological condition of the human body has the ability to influence not only the inner functioning of the body, but its outer appearance as well. Nutrients, eating habits and food categories all have an influence on the condition of the skin; and as an aesthetician it is critical that you look and feel your best. You are your best advertising!
All the expensive skin care products in the world will not help without a well-balanced, healthy nutritional diet.
As professional aestheticians, we're caregivers, "people" people, nurturers, and emotional laundry bins. We give all of ourselves to our work, our clients, our family, and our friends… often to find that there is simply not a whole lot left for ourselves. So this month's article is just for you, and only you; this month, it's all about you.
Perhaps you can relate… this year is a "significant" birthday for me… yeah, I'm not going to say it, but one that I truly thought would never happen. I have watched my babies grow from completely dependent tiny little beings, to five-foot eleven, 150 pound high schoolers' (ugh).
What I truly love about the skin care profession is not necessarily the “how” of treatments, products, and results; but the “why”. This is probably why I am so passionate about teaching. It is not enough in our business to simply be able to make recommendations and deliver visible results to our client’s skin, if we do not know precisely why we are capable of achieving such results.
As consumers place increasingly more confidence in our hands regarding meeting their skin needs and concerns, our professional responsibility to meet those needs has grown, requiring aestheticians to have a deep understanding of how those concerns even came to be. That being said, one of the most influential contributing factors to the condition of the skin, at many different ages, is fluctuations in hormones.
As professional aestheticians, we’re caregivers, “people” people, nurturers, and emotional laundry bins. We give all of ourselves to our work, our clients, our family, and our friends… often to find that there is simply not a whole lot left for ourselves. So this month’s article is just for you, and only you; this month, it’s all about you.
Perhaps you can relate… this year is a “significant” birthday for me… yeah, I’m not going to say it, but one that I truly thought would never happen. I have watched my babies grow from completely dependent tiny little beings, to five-foot eleven, 150 pound high schoolers’ (ugh).
Not a single one of the Webster’s definitions seems all that flattering, especially when relating to my skin, and most certainly not when relating to the skin on my face! However, it is what it is, and mature is mature, whatever that means!
OK, let’s get serious and talk about “mature” skin. For the purpose of this article, I am going to refer to relating to, or being an older adult, as mature. Of course we can now ponder over exactly what does “older adult” mean. For simplicities sake, our clients easily classify themselves as “older,” and are generally quite quick to refer to their own skin as “mature.”