The Art and Science of a Spray Tan

By Kim Taylor

I gave up UV tanning beds a long time ago. Even before I got older and started worrying about skin cancer. I always burned, and my skin was ALWAYS itchy and dry. The problem is that I am a true believer that people look healthier and are actually happier with a little color to their skin. And so my search for a healthy alternative began.

I have tried every type of self tanner you can imagine. I have tried cheap brands from Wal-Mart and not so cheap brands from makeup counters at department stores. I’ve even ordered “miracle” tanners from midnight infomercials. I’ve carefully followed the most ridiculous instructions you can imagine. I have stood in spray booths that turned me the color of Magda from Something about Mary and I have been airbrushed the most beautiful color of orange you can imagine- IF I WAS A PUMPKIN!

Even with my experience with sunless tanning, there was plenty to learn when I began shopping for a sunless system for my salon. Without getting too detailed and boring, I’d like to explain how a spray tan works, and why it is a great alternative to UV tanning.

The Art

The beauty of a spray tan is that the solution reacts with each individual’s skin, making each application unique. Solutions can be adjusted for desired darkness, but keep in mind that a healthy natural glow always looks best during every phase of the spray tan’s life.

Once the client is properly prepped, the artistry begins. The solution contains a cosmetic bronzer that can be seen immediately, but will wash off in the shower. This bronzer is used as a color guide for the technician to ensure even coverage. Because we come in all different beautiful shapes and sizes, there is quite a bit of thought and effort that goes into giving every client their best possible tan. Each certified technician has a foundation of training combined with their own experience, both spraying and being sprayed.

The Science

The active ingredient in self tanners is a food grade product called DHA. It is a simple carbohydrate that is derived from plants sources such as sugar beets and cane. There are no known toxins or allergens in DHA.

DHA reacts solely with the stratum corneum-the outermost layer of woven connective tissue. The stratum corneum houses the body’s acid mantle, or natural protective barrier. The acid mantle stores natural body oils and DHA reacts with the free aminos found within those oils. This reaction turns the acids a slightly rusty brown color that continues to darken over the next 16-18 hours.

The key to a good result is in the preparation and in the post care of the skin. Because the tan is developing on the outermost layer of skin, exfoliating the skin prior to application is crucial. The body naturally exfoliates that outermost layer every 4-6 days, so exfoliating before a tanning session will ensure that the newest skin possible is being sprayed for a long lasting, even result.

Spray tans are water resistant, but exposure to abrasive soaps and detergents are discouraged. It is also a good idea to avoid chlorine for at least 48 hours. Keeping the skin hydrated is a major factor in the longevity of a spray tan.

The Preferred Product

At Essence, we use Norvell sunless products for two reasons- training and results. Norvell Sunless Spray Systems provides the color of a natural suntan without harming delicate skin cells. For any occasion- or just because, Norvell Spray Tanning is the quick, safe way to go golden.

Lymphatic Massage

By Kim Taylor

We all know that taking care of ourselves is important. Eating healthy, exercising, and getting proper sleep are key to keeping your immune system strong. One of the most enjoyable measures that you can take to boost your immune system is to get a massage. While all massage can be beneficial, there is a specific type of massage that will help to insure that your lymphatic system is working properly.

The Lymphatic System

If you’ve been pretty healthy your whole life (how fortunate!), it is likely you have not had to stop and consider how complex the inner workings of our body are. Most of us don’t know that there is a complex system of vessels working diligently throughout our bodies. Vessels that remove bacteria, viruses, excess fluid and cell waste from around the cells all the while filtering and cleaning them.

Similar to a system of tree roots, the vessels start small and grow larger and larger so they can carry the fluids back to the blood stream. This structure is the cornerstone of our immune system, working constantly to keep our body in healthy working order. Along the way the vessels have checkpoints known as lymph nodes that are responsible for destroying viruses, bacteria and abnormal cells.

Lymphatic Massage

This specialized form of massage therapy can greatly improve the immune system’s ability to fight off illness. A gentler form of bodywork, lymphatic massage and lymphatic drainage can help remove toxins and waste that our bodies build up over time, resulting in a compromised immune system. Most of our lymph vessels are just below the skin; gentle stimulation of these vessels make the lymphatic system work more effectively. This helps the body rid itself of waste and toxins. BIG BONUS: a reduction in swelling, bloating, and puffiness!

Should YOU Get It?

Nearly anybody can receive this type of massage and benefit from it. If you’re sluggish, tired, or feel like your body is trying to fight against something, lymphatic massage could be a good option for you. It is great for those dealing with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, or injuries. Lymphatic drainage is also really great as a preventative treatment; regular lymphatic massage when you’re healthy greatly boosts your immune system. Imagine the possibility of having an uneventful cold and flu season. A combination of lymphatic massage, healthy eating and getting enough sleep could make this your reality this season!

Massage therapists that are properly trained in lymphatic drainage can identify the rhythm, direction and quality of the lymphatic flow and remap drainage pathways. Estheticians use a specific form of lymphatic massage to improve lymph flow throughout the face. When lymph is moving freely through the face, clearer, healthier skin is the result. The same is true for the body, when lymph is moving freely throughout the body the result is a stronger, healthier body.

Gigi Worley is a licensed massage therapist. She has practiced for over 10 years, doing well over 8,000 massages. Gigi is certified in lymphatic drainage massage, which is an advanced application that exceeds the scope of basic massage therapy. She offers several types of massage and customizes her services to meet the needs of her clients.

Happy Summer Toes

By Kim Taylor

There is nothing like a little sunshine and warmth to wake a little town like Evergreen up! Trails are full of hikers and bikers, ball fields are busy, parks are loaded with little ones running and jumping, swinging and sliding. The days are long, and not one second of sunshine is wasted. I love Evergreen year round, but spring and summer always remind me how blessed I am to live here.

This time of year, the yearning for short sleeves, bare legs, and sandals becomes overwhelming. If you are like me, you probably jumped the gun and pulled out your sandals and capris a month ago, happily freezing your toes off every morning in hopes of warm afternoons and mild evenings. If you are really like me, you have somehow justified sporting your winter toes with those sandals! Well, it’s time to come to Jesus baby- those toes need some TLC!

In a perfect world I would get a pedicure at least once a month and God bless those of you who make me look bad by finding time to take care of your feet year round- I am truly in awe. Unfortunately my slightly less than perfect, totally crazy world keeps me running constantly, and when my toes are out of sight I tend to put them out of my mind also. The fact that I own a salon with a full service nail studio makes this especially shameful, I know.

Now that I have confessed my toe sins, I want you to know that I have repented and committed myself to regular pedicures from this day on! AND, just like any truly repentant sinner I will try my hardest to bring as many other lost sheep AKA fellow toe sinners into the fold with me.

Essence has a beautiful nail studio, offering a full menu of hand and foot services to accommodate just about any need. We pride ourselves on cleanliness, disinfecting everything that is re-usable and disposing of what is not after each client. Our pedicure tubs are not plumbed, and there is a great reason for this. Pedicure tubs with jets and running water can be very hard to clean properly, making them a perfect environment for potential bacteria that can cause infection. We use a single use liner in our foot baths for each pedicure service eliminating this concern. Our tubs heat and vibrate, so they are very relaxing and enjoyable. Our pedicure chairs are also very comfortable and have a massage feature built into them with a remote control that is controlled by the client.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention our manicuring services. Our shellac manicure is very popular. A hybrid of traditional nail polish and gel nails, it lends strength to the natural nails, allowing them to grow while staying shiny and chip free for two weeks at a time. This is a great alternative for those of us who don’t do well with artificial nails. For those who prefer acrylic nails, we offer those too!

We have a fantastic manicurist, both talented and very experienced that would love to add you to her client list! And as a special incentive, she is offering a summer pedicure package- buy four pedicures and receivean express mani/pedi FREE! This offer ends August 15,, 2015 so call now to reserve your little slice of heaven on earth!

A Bit about Blonde

By Kim Taylor, owner and stylist at Essence

I believe I speak for just about everyone when I say that we are all ready to feel the warmth of the summer sun! Winter took her sweet time wrapping up and spring barely even popped in on us. Alas, we are headed for warmer days, and I am ecstatic!

Summer in Evergreen always delivers; long, warm, sun-filled days and comfortably cool star-filled nights. Who could ask for more?

The lightheartedness of summer takes its effect in many ways. In the salon, requests for lighter hair increase drastically when the weather shifts; making this a perfect time to address some of the questions we hear most frequently when discussing going blonde.

Olaplex

One of the most important things I want to address is compromised hair. This is hair that has been over processed; whether it is controlled over processing to get to the desired lightness or hair that has been taken from dark to light and back again several times. Neither scenario is unusual; people want what they want and change their minds regularly. As stylists, we adapt and do our best to meet the challenge. In walks Olaplex, a product that every type of color client can benefit from, but particularly blondes. Hair bonds are broken during thermal, mechanical and chemical services. The more chemically processed hair becomes, the more susceptible it is to every other type of damage. Olaplex is a product that is added to bleach or color when mixing. It reconnects broken disulfide sulfur bonds in the hair during processing. This is an amazing product that has allowed stylists to push further in terms of lightening the hair, but it has also provided us with a powerful tool for color correction and rebuilding hair that is in the most desperate condition.

In twenty years of hair styling, I have never seen a reparative product of this caliber. It can also be used in the salon as a restructuring treatment as well as a take home product that helps to ensure the longevity of the service between appointments. If you want to know more about Olaplex ask your stylist, it is worth its weight in gold.

Color vs. Bleach

This is a debate I hear a lot in the salon. Clients are concerned that their hair will be more damaged by bleach than by high lift color. First things first- lighter blondes (think Taylor Swift, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Jennifer Aniston) could not be achieved without bleach. Most likely they have a combination of bleach, high lift color, and darker blonde in their hair.

The fundamental difference between bleach and color is that bleach lifts pigment (natural AND artificial hair color) out of the hair but it does not add anything back in. Color is designed to lift natural pigment (color cannot break through artificial color) from the hair while simultaneously depositing artificial color into the hair. A common misconception is that high lift color isn’t as powerful as bleach and therefore must not be as damaging as bleach. The simple truth is that bleach’s strength is determined by the volume of developer used, while high lift blonde colors can only lift as much as they do because they are loaded with extra ammonia and a higher volume of peroxide. This is not to say that high lift blondes are worse than bleach. They are different animals, but they are comparable in terms of chemical and strength. The bottom line here is that your stylist’s intention is to please you. A good stylist will choose the least damaging path to the desired result.

To Tone or Not to Tone

A toner’s job is to add tonal value to bleached hair (highlights or full head). Remember, bleach lifts color out of the hair, without adding anything back in. A toner can take a bleached blonde from raw to refined in twenty minutes or less. Not all bleach blondes require a toner; often times bleached hair looks beautiful in its raw form. This is highly dependent on where the bleaching process starts, for example how dark the beginning color is, how damaged the hair is, etc.

There are also shampoos and conditioners on the market designed to be used as weekly toners at home. They are usually purple or blue and are great for blondes who tend to evolve to more brassy/ golden tones between appointments. This happens a lot to swimmers and people who have well water. At Essence, we use and recommend a really nice purple shampoo called “Violights” by Framesi.

Base Bump

Base bumping is a quick color process that lightens the base color around the hairline and in the crown area just enough to subdue the harsh difference between the natural hair color and the lightness of the highlights. It is great for clients who like their hair to be very blonde and heavily highlighted but do not want to take the next step into being a solid blonde. It takes the edge off of their base color which gives an overall softer, lighter appearance.

Base bumping can be done on the same day as a highlight service, right after the highlights are rinsed. Base bumps can also be done in between highlight appointments to keep color looking fresh.

Maintain and Protect

Finally, blonde hair requires maintenance and upkeep. Most blondes need to be maintained every 5-8 weeks depending on how light the hair is and how fast it grows. In addition to regular salon visits, blonde hair needs to be cared for at home. Gentle shampoos, hydrating conditioners, and repairing masks are a good place to start. Additionally, thermal protectants, argan or bassu oil, and protein spray will go a long way in protecting the integrity of the hair between appointments. There is no shortage of products on the market that claim to protect and feed the hair. We are a bit picky and recommend a selection of tried and true products by Olaplex, Surface, Moroccan oil, and Kevin Murphy. At Essence consultations are always complimentary, and our staff is happy to help you decide which product is right for your hair.

3-5-10 Minute Makeup Routine

By Kandyce Braband, Esthetician

When it comes to makeup, the best approach is a no fuss routine for every day, coupled with a “bag of tricks (and techniques)” for special occasions. In general, women like to look fresh and natural; not overdone. This is the general consensus among our everyday beauties as well as our brides. Of course there are times when we are compelled to further enhance our natural appearance. Most days though, simplicity speaks. Here are a few tips to get you out the door with the simplest of efforts.

FOUNDATION

Choosing the right foundation is paramount; it will make or break your entire makeup application. Knowing your skin type is an important first challenge. Picking the wrong foundation for your skin type may cause your face to feel too dry or oily, resulting in blemishes or a “caked on” texture that looks anything but fresh and flawless.

Most foundations list what type of coverage they are designed to provide. Liquids are the most commonly found and used. They are formulated to work well on combination, balanced, and dry skin. Also popular are powder formulas which are best suited for those with balanced, combination, or oily skin. Cream is another option for dry skin, offering a smooth and velvety full coverage.

The next challenge is color matching a foundation to your skin. The easiest way to do this is to enlist the help of a makeup artist. Identifying one’s skin level and tone, and translating that information into a great foundation match takes training and practice. In most cases, even diligent sunscreen wearers need to be re-matched seasonally. Switching foundation brands or formulas also merits re-matching. The goal: foundation that blends seamlessly into your skin with minimal effort. At Essence, color matching is ALWAYS complimentary.

3 MINUTE MAKEUP

This is your bare-bones, “I needed to leave 5 minutes ago” routine. Quick, simple, fresh.

BASE – First, use a primer; if you have any skin texture issues or large pores this is very important. Apply with a brush or clean fingers. Next, apply foundation or tinted SPF all over with a foundation brush, blending well at the hair and jawline. Note: Tinted SPF, BB, and CC creams offer very similar coverage.

LASHES – Mascara is the easiest way to “wake up” your eyes. Use a lash curler and give lashes 2-3 pumps per eye, followed by mascara. It’s worth noting that lengthening mascara will always be less clumpy than volumizing mascara. If you don’t care for mascara, consider lash tinting or lash extensions (Essence offers both) and you’ll go from 3 to 2 minute makeup! Tip: Replace mascara every 3 months and always twirl the wand in the tube (pumping dries it out faster).

Finish this easy look with a light, translucent powder and you’re ready to go!

5 MINUTE MAKEUP

For days when you are not in a time crunch yet opt for simple and fresh.

BASE- see above.

CONCEALER -Using concealer under the eyes and over any blemishes will pull your look together even more by creating a more finished appearance. Using concealer after you’ve applied foundation will help you not to use too much. A good camouflage brush will also help your application.

BRONZER/BLUSH -Choose one or the other or both! Bronzer is great for contouring with a powder or fan brush – use sparingly on the temples, hollows of the cheeks, and jawline to create a more slender face. Blush should be applied from the ear toward the nose to accent the cheeks.

LASHES- see above.

Finish with a light, translucent powder and once again you’re ready to go!

10 MINUTE MAKEUP

For days when you have a little bit of time to spare and want to get a little “dolled up”.

BASE/ CONCEALER/ BRONZER/ BLUSH- see above.

EYESHADOW – Apply a basic neutral color over the entire lid, adding a lighter color onto the brow bone to brighten the eyes. There are many different things you can do with eyeshadow to enhance your eyes and overall look. Tip: Try an eyeshadow crayon! They are fast and easy- just make sure you find one that’s long-wearing.

EYELINER – The easiest type of eyeliner to apply is a creamy style liner. These can easily be smudged along the lash line, creating a natural look. If your favorite eyeliner doesn’t have a smudge brush on it, buy one! Tip: An imperfect eyeliner application can be salvaged with a smudge brush.

MASCARA- see above.

LIPSTICK/GLOSS – Complete your look with a swipe of your favorite lipstick. Right now matte, colorful, and long-wearing lipsticks are in – think bold reds, plums, and bright pinks! If bright is not your style, neutrals and glosses are a great classic choice. Most importantly, choose something that you feel confident in- you are beautiful!

Always finish with a light translucent powder and you’re ready to go!

Summer Hair Repair

By Kim Taylor, Owner and Stylist at Essence

You’re swimming, you’re hiking, you’re camping; you’re enjoying every minute of your summer. Awesome! Unfortunately your hair is paying the price. Whether the culprit was chlorine, exposure to the elements, sitting by a nice fire roasting marshmallows, or a host of other summer activities chances are it’s time for a tune up. Follow this three step process to give your summer hair a good dose of TLC.

  1. Chelate– every now and then it is really good for your hair to be deep cleansed. Treating the hair with a mild but effective chelating shampoo removes minerals that build up on the hair from swimming pools, well water, or old pipes, as well as buildup from styling products. We use and recommend two really great chelating shampoos: Maxi Wash by Kevin Murphy and Purify by Surface. Both are effective as a deep treatment yet gentle enough to use weekly for maintenance.
  2. Condition- If you use a blow drier or any other heated styling tool it is a good idea to deep condition your hair regularly (every other week)- but it is super important to deep condition at the end of a season full of outdoor exposure to the elements. There are many types of conditioning treatments available; some concentrate on adding moisture back into the hair while others beef up and repair protein that may be damaged or lacking in the hair. Both are beneficial and your stylist can assess your hair and tell you what you need. At Essence we use and recommend Protein and hydrating treatments by Surface, Moroccan Oil, and Kevin Murphy. Any of our stylists are happy to help you choose the one that will work best for you.
  3. Maintain- Once you’ve addressed the issues brought on by summer, maintaining your shiny, healthy locks will be much easier. Think thermal protectant, argan or bassu oil, and protein spray. There’s no shortage of products on the market that claim to protect and feed the hair. We are a bit picky and recommend a few tried and true products from Surface, Moroccan oil, and Kevin Murphy. Again, our stylists are happy to help you choose the right product for your hair.

These three steps can be accomplished at home or in the salon. I don’t know many people who would object to having their hair washed by someone else, so why not make an appointment for a deep cleansing and conditioning at Essence? The cost is $50 (a bit higher for excessively long hair) for a Max Repair Treatment by Surface. The treatment includes a deep cleanse, followed by a cocktail of protein, oil, and a deep penetrating mask that infuses nutrients and moisture back into the hair. This treatment is finalized with a blow dry style. Add a haircut for just $20 more!

In addition to deep conditioners and protein treatments, your hair could use some simple, common sense daily care. The most basic thing you can do is brush gentlyand use the right brush for the job. A great brush to use right out of the shower on wet hair is the “Wet Brush” or the “Feel Good Brush” by Spornette. These brushes are paddle style brushes with a padded base and soft to medium bristles. This type of brush feels great and helps to prevent breakage while detangling. While these brushes are fine for use on dry hair also, a great brush to use nightly on dry hair is a boar bristle brush. Boar Bristles help to distribute the natural oils from your scalp to the mid shaft and ends of your hair. As much as we all hate it when our scalp looks “greasy”, natural oils are great for our hair when it has a chance to absorb them. Brush with boar bristle brush at night to increase shine and elasticity and then sleep on it overnight before washing. We like the “Shine Brush” by Spornette.

When you are styling, start your “rough” blow dry with your fingers or a vent brush (a brush designed to let air to flow through the brush). This allows you to control the direction of the hair while getting maximum airflow. Once the bulk of moisture is out of the hair, you can switch to a round brush. When picking a round brush, look for a quality brush that has a nice solid construction; hair can easily get caught up in cracks and crevices causing breakage. The heat should be held in the ring (body) of the brush while the bristles should be heat resistant. Ceramic brush heads heat evenly, protecting your hair from hot spots that can cause singeing and fraying.

If you are like me and find it difficult to use a round brush on your own hair, you can dry your hair completely and go straight to using heated styling tools. Use a thermal protecting spray and remember that ceramic and titanium plates and barrels are the safest way to deliver heat to the hair. We use and recommend Moroccan Oil Thermal Protectant and Kevin Murphy Damage Control. Spoiler Alert! Keep an eye out because this fall we will be bringing in some really great styling irons, and blow driers!

As a final note, I encourage you to ask your stylist to take a good hard look at your hair and your lifestyle and help you develop a styling program that works for you specifically. The right products and tools can make all the difference in the quality of your hair year round.

 Request a Hair Artistry Appointment Today!