All posts by Kim Taylor

Fall Transitions- From Hot Weather to Hotter Style

By Kim Taylor

Farewell summer; autumn is waiting in the wings, and if history proves right, the need for change and reinvention is also on the horizon for many of us.

This is a perfect time of year to try something new and exciting with your look.

Warm, luscious hair color immediately comes to mind. Fall is a time to revel in warm, vibrant color. Some skin tones look great with fiery red hair, while others call for more subtle warmth. Even small adjustments can update your color for the new season. Something as simple as a few lowlights incorporated into a summer blonde can add the perfect amount of depth and warmth for the changing season. Warm tones are universally flattering when used appropriately. A great colorist will take the time to give you a complimentary color consultation. Never feel obligated to move forward if you are uncomfortable with their vision or lack confidence that they can pull it off.

A fresh spin on your hair style can be liberating. A few suggestions are to add or change up layers, cut slightly messy long bangs, and add lots of pieced out texture to create plenty of movement. Several variations of bobs and pixies are popular right now. Sometimes the simplicity of changing where you part your hair, or whether you wear it straight or wavy can provide the variety you seek. It is always a good idea to bring a picture of what you like- or several pictures and point out what it is about each one that appeals to you. This opens the lines of communication, providing a visual aid that your stylist can use to show you what will work best for your hair and why. If you are planning on a big change, please let the receptionist know when you book your appointment to be sure your stylist has plenty of time to make you happy.

Are you looking to make a BIG impression with a small commitment as you segue into fall?  Hair extensions can completely change your look! You can add fun pops of color without sacrificing the integrity of your own hair or add length and thickness to your existing hair without the painstakingly lengthy process of growing it out. Hair extensions come in many different types. We have found the most popular applications to be thermal bonded, tape in, and halo hair. A complimentary extension consultation will show you the difference between them and help you decide what is best for your lifestyle.

This is also a great time to accentuate your transformation by warming up your makeup palette. The purpose of makeup is to enhance natural beauty. Wearing the correct foundation for your skin type and tone is first and foremost. The right base should make your skin look flawless & fresh. Once you have the basics dialed in, have fun mixing up your color palette to compliment your current style. Again, small adjustments can make a big impression. Switching to a slightly darker lip color, adding a warm accent color to your eye shadow palette, even changing from black to brown mascara can be as much change as you need to look and feel amazing.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. We each have our own unique and beautiful features to consider when reinventing our style. I invite you to call Essence and schedule an appointment with our esthetician and makeup artist, Serissa as well as one of our seasoned hairstylists, Dang, Mackenzie, Kristen, or Emily to discuss the possibilities. Introductory bios for all of our staff can be found on our website: www.essencehairandbodyretreat.com. We look forward to caring for you soon!

The Skinny on Spray Tans

By Kim Taylor

 

I gave up UV tanning beds a long time ago, even before I started worrying about skin cancer. I always burned, and my skin was ALWAYS itchy and dry. I’ve tried every type of self-tanner you can imagine; 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 (sleeping naked on a beach towel with a fan blowing on me all night, for starters). I have stood in spray booths that turned me into a streaky mess and I have been airbrushed the most beautiful shades of orange imaginable.

Even with my personal sunless tanning experience, there was plenty to learn when I began researching a sunless system for Essence. Without getting too detailed and boring, I’d like to explain how a spray tan works, what to expect before, during, and after your appointment, and why it is a great alternative to UV tanning.

 

 Art

The beauty of a spray tan is that the product reacts in accordance with each client’s skin, making every application unique. Tanning solutions can be formulated 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 tanning 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.

Science

The active ingredient in self-tanners is a natural DHA which reacts with amino acids found in the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. Simply put, this reaction turns the acids a slightly rusty brown color that continues to darken over the next 16-18 hours.

Preferred Product

At Essence, we use Norvell sunless products for two reasons- training and results. All of our spray tan technicians have been trained and are certified by the company. Norvell tanning solutions are fast drying, non-sticky and streak-free. You may not realize how important these three things are until you try a product that doesn’t have them. Norvell Sunless provides the color of a natural suntan without harming delicate skin cells.

Preparation

Properly preparing your skin is key in achieving optimal results. The tan develops on the outermost layer of skin, so exfoliating, shaving, and waxing 24 hours prior to application is crucial. The body naturally exfoliates its outermost layer every 4-6 days, therefore exfoliating before a tanning session will ensure that the newest skin possible is being sprayed for a long lasting, even result. Scrubs used for pre-tan exfoliation must be oil free. However, loofahs and body scrubbing mitts are even better tools for the job.

Do not wear body lotion, deodorant, perfume, or makeup during your appointment. These products create a barrier that the tanning solution may not fully penetrate which may lead to uneven results.

During

Your technician will help you get situated and answer any questions before excusing herself while you change. Most women tan nude. However, you should undress to your comfort level. If you choose to wear something during your tan it should be similar to or smaller than your swim suit as you will have tan lines. Men must wear underwear or swim bottoms.

You will be given sticky feet to protect the soles of your feet from being tanned as well as a clip and/or shower cap for your hair as necessary. Your technician will go through a preparation process to ensure the best results possible. This includes barrier cream and pH balancing spray and may vary client to client, visit to visit depending on your skin. You will be directed on how to position your body for optimal results and may use warm air from the tanning machine to dry your skin as she works, and again when she is finished spraying you.

After

Your new tan needs time and space to dry and process. Once you feel dry, change into loose clothing and sandals. Wait 12-24 hours before showering or participating in activities that cause perspiration. When it is time to shower, use warm water and mild soap. From this point forward, you’ll want to moisturize your skin liberally.

Spray tans are water resistant, but exposure to abrasive soap and products that contain alcohol is discouraged. It is also a good idea to avoid chlorine for at least 48 hours. Healthy hydrated skin does not self-exfoliate as quickly, thus keeping the skin moisturized is a major factor in the longevity of a spray tan.

Spray Tan v. Sun Tan

The sad truth is there is no such thing as a “safe suntan”, whether it’s from the actual sun or an indoor tanning bed. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified tanning beds as “’Group One’, which identifies the most harmful forms of radiation, those that are ‘carcinogenic [cancer-causing] to humans’”. At this time, spray tans are the safest alternative if you want to be “tan”.

Last but Not Least

There is no such thing as a “base tan” that will protect you from the sun. Some people may be more genetically fortunate than others in their skin’s ability to handle sun damage. However, just because your skin is not visibly burning does not mean that you are safe from the potentially harmful effects of the sun.

There is a common misconception that spray tans protect you from sunburn and UV damage. This is simply not true. To be clear, spray tans DO NOT contain sunscreen and cannot protect you from the sun; you should ALWAYS wear sunscreen outdoors.

In Conclusion

Done well, a spray tan is a very natural and believable. If you are attending an event, we recommend getting sprayed 24-72 hours beforehand. While many people like to get sprayed for special occasions and vacations, we have plenty of clients that come in regularly, year-round to maintain a natural, healthy glow. A single session is $33. If you plan to come in regularly, we offer a four-pack for only $112. Many clients come in for a single session and love it so much they end up purchasing a package.

At Essence, the intention in all that we do is to help you look and feel beautiful. If you have any further questions regarding spray tanning or any of the other great services we offer, please do not hesitate to contact our front desk to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our service professionals.

The Value of Massage

By Kim Taylor, Owner of Essence

Massage is often thought of as a special treat, something we reward ourselves with after a rough spell or when we are on vacation. Massage can feel luxurious, but most importantly, it offers a wide range of benefits such as boosting the immune system, weight loss, stress reduction, and so much more.

Essentially every illness a person can suffer is exacerbated by stress. Regular massage can play a significant role in reducing your stress level, which in turn leads to a stronger, healthier immune system. High blood pressure, diabetes, and migraine headaches have all been shown to react positively to the healing touch of massage.

How can something so simple do all that? One word; circulation. Massage in any form increases blood flow to the muscles. Muscles are made up of fibrils, threads if you will. Fibrils are bundled together by connective tissue. These bundles make up muscles. When a cell in the fibril becomes stressed, it is unable to exchange oxygen and nutrient rich blood the way it normally would. Soon there is a buildup of waste product that can’t get out of the cell. The stressed cell affects its neighbor and soon it is performing the same way.  This goes on until the whole muscle is affected resulting in the dreaded “sore spot”.

Massage increases the circulation of blood to the area.  This flushes out the built up cellular waste promoting healthy muscle tissues that are able to exchange oxygen and nutrient rich blood the way they are meant to.  By releasing the stress from the muscles, your body is able to perform in a more productive and healthy way. Stress hormones are reduced and the immune system can function more effectively. The result?  You feel better!

There are many different types of massage to choose from, and it is not always easy to know which type you need.  As a general rule, if you are getting a massage after sports or any other strenuous activity, you will benefit most from deep tissue and/or sports massage.  A well-trained massage therapist will communicate with you before, during (as necessary), and after your massage to make sure that you are receiving the best type of massage for your needs.  Some of the most requested types of massage are as follows:

Deep tissue-True deep tissue is the technique of penetrating the tissues as deeply as they will allow.  Although this requires a firm touch it should never go past that “hurts so good” feeling. This type of massage is effective for physical pain relief.

Sports– Involves active stretching of the muscles along with lengthening and flushing muscle groups.  Whether you are training for the Ironman or are a weekend warrior this type of massage can help to prevent injury and is a great addition to your training regimen.

Integrated – This is probably the most requested, most needed, and most effective type of massage you can get. After assessing your muscles and talking with you about what you are trying to accomplish through massage, your therapist will combine any or all of these techniques to customize a personal massage to meet your needs.

Lymphatic Drainage– Increases lymph flow which boosts immune function. This type of massage is very helpful to breast cancer survivors as well as those suffering from water retention issues such as swollen ankles or bloating.  Lymphatic drainage helps the body rid itself of extra fluids. This modality requires specific advanced training and is offered exclusively by Gigi Worley.

Craniosacral– A gentle touch is used to address the head, spinal column, and pelvic bones to improve functioning of the central nervous system. The goal is to release compression in those areas which alleviates stress and pain. This modality requires specific advanced training and is offered exclusively by Kevin Padgett.

Sometimes you really do just want to be pampered, and although you will still be receiving the health benefits of massage and body work, some of the more “indulgent” services that we offer include;

Swedish– Consists of long slow strokes.  The pressure is light and while very relaxing and calming to the mind and body, this type of massage is not overly effective for physical pain relief.

Sugar Body Scrub– Exfoliates and rejuvenates your skin while leaving it dewy soft.

Salt Glow Body Scrub– Draws out toxins while exfoliating, polishing, and nourishing your skin. While still enjoyable, this treatment is more aggressive than a sugar scrub.

Dry brushing –Involves gently brushing your skin with body brushes. It feels fabulous while boosting lymph flow.

All of our exfoliating body services are provided by Gigi Worley and are paired with your choice of a 30 or 60-minute body massage.

The healing hands at Essence belong to Gigi Worley and Kevin Padgett. Both are experienced, professional, and committed to providing the best treatment experience possible.

Gigi Worley has practiced massage for over ten years, doing well over 8,000 massages. Prior to working at Essence, she has worked in many arenas of massage including holistic health, chiropractic and private practice. This experience allows her to craft a personal massage that fits your special needs. Whether it is pain relief, relaxation, sports massage, or immune boosting through lymphatic drainage she will create a pleasant and healthful experience for you.

Kevin Padgett began practicing massage therapy in 2012. He appreciates that no two people are the same and customizes every massage to meet the specific needs of each client. He is passionate about his work and driven by a deep desire to help others feel better. He offers a fresh approach to healing through massage by continually learning and integrating new modalities and techniques into his treatments.

This world we live in doesn’t show any signs of slowing down; it is up to us to take the time and nurture ourselves physically and mentally. Whether you are in need of relaxation, preventative care, or therapeutic healing we are here and eager to help.

Getting What You Want

By Kim Taylor

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. We state what we want in a way that seems very clear to us, but we get something different than what we are absolutely sure we asked for. This happens all the time in our everyday lives; asking for no onions on your burger only to end up with double onions, requesting fifty single one-dollar bills at the bank and receiving one single fifty-dollar bill instead, texting your spouse to pick up the kids from soccer by 6:00 and getting a call at 6:15 from the coach asking where you are. All of these scenarios can be infuriating (some more than others), but none are uncommon.

As someone who seems to have an inordinate number of miscommunications in my everyday life, I could talk all day long on this subject, but I digress. Right now, I’d like to focus on communication in the salon and spa and how to increase your chances of getting what you ask for.

The Confession

I have had [and heard] countless conversations at the beginning of a hair appointment where a client states that they left their previous hairstylist (who they absolutely adored), because they felt that they could not get what they were asking for. It would be presumptuous of me to assume that none of my previous clients have ever had that same conversation with another stylist about me. In fact, I recently had a client “break up” with me for that very reason. I get it, I really do. After 23 years in this industry, several salon management courses, becoming a salon and spa owner, and trying so very hard to be introspective and honest about where success and failure happen in this industry, I still fall short at times. No one is perfect, but we try to be better Every. Single. Day.

The Truth

Being a provider of services is not always easy. The majority of professionals who choose to work in the salon and spa industry are people pleasers by nature. For most of us, there is an innate desire to boost confidence and make people feel great. When a client is in our care, our strongest desire is to provide exactly what they want and need. Incidentally, this is not always the same, which is one of the reasons it’s not always easy.

Being a client can be equally as difficult. I am not always a service provider; I too am a client from time to time. I love salon and spa services, yet even with my firsthand knowledge of what it is to be a service provider, I still find it challenging to convey my expectations at times.

The Question

We all agree that the end goal is to make each client happy, so how do we make the consultation process as foolproof as possible? How do we lay the proper groundwork for success?

The Answer

Good communication. This begins with a thorough consultation at the start of your appointment. Sometimes, when you are in search of a big change, or are not certain of what you want, a pre-appointment consultation is necessary. This is a 15-minute (give or take) appointment that helps us know how much time we need for the desired result and book accordingly. Having enough time to perform a service correctly is very important.

Professional Responsibility. It is the service providers responsibility to ask a series of questions in order to deliver the best result possible.

Some questions that might be asked include:

Hair

What do you like and/or dislike about your hair? How often do you shampoo, and what is your styling routine? What types of products and tools do you use for washing, conditioning, and styling? How much time are you able/willing to commit to styling? How often are you planning to come in for trims, color touch-ups, etc.? Do you have any known sensitivities?

Skincare

What are you hoping to accomplish in this appointment? What is your routine at home- how often to you cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, mask, etc. What are you currently using and are you happy with the results? How often are you able to come in for skincare treatments? Do you have any known sensitivities?

Waxing

Are you using any acne or anti-aging products? Have you have been sensitive to waxing services in the past, are you recovering from a recent sunburn or any type of skin resurfacing treatment?

For most clients, waxing is a great way to remove unwanted hair. However, these questions are very important as some skincare ingredients are contraindicated for waxing and could lead to burning or removing skin. Honesty is imperative, and your privacy is guaranteed.

All of these questions are deliberate. They are part of an investigation, so that your provider can make realistic suggestions of what might work well for you. For instance, if you are only willing/able to come in 2-3 times a year, there are many colors and techniques as well as precision-based haircuts that will not look great for that duration. The same holds true for skincare- big, lasting changes cannot be expected without regular, routine care both at home and in the spa.

Client Responsibility. It is the clients’ responsibility to be honest in their answers. Be as descriptive and clear as possible when explaining and describing your expectations. Pictures of styles and colors you like, as well as those you do not like are helpful- even if there is one element of a picture that you don’t like, it will help your stylist to understand you better. A great example of this is they way we see different types of blonde.  What do caramel highlights look like to you? How light would you like your blonde to be? Do you prefer a blended, natural highlight or a more dramatic placement of color? Also, bringing in some of the products you are currently using might be helpful- particularly for skincare services.

The Bottom Line

It is understandable to be disappointed when your stylist or esthetician tells you that what you want is unrealistic. It’s a bummer for us too. Remember, we want you to be satisfied. As professionals it is our responsibility to steer you in the direction we believe is going to yield the best result for you.

Ultimately, this is your world and we want to make you happy. If you have your heart set on having a certain service done a certain way, we will do our best to oblige. We do however have a responsibility and obligation to decline services that we deem unsafe based on professional knowledge, experience, and consultation.

At Essence, we pride ourselves on being thorough so you leave feeling great. Nothing is more gratifying to us than a satisfied client and we are committed to always doing our very best to make that happen.

Healthy Skin is Not Seasonal

by Kim Taylor

Just like that, 2017 is over. Welcome, 2018, I can hardly wait to see what you have in store! At home (my home), there is a frenzy of organizing and goal setting that keeps me busy. At work it’s business as usual, which is anything but “usual” for myself and the staff at Essence. Regardless of time of year, we always strive to make every client experience exceptional. We understand that time spent on oneself can be fleeting; our goal is to make sure the time you spend with us is worth every second you devote to self-care.

With that in mind, I’d like to talk about what makes visiting our skincare specialists worthwhile.

Results and Relaxation

Essence has two amazing estheticians on staff. Both are incredibly skilled and passionate about helping you achieve your best skin.  We offer a full menu of skincare services designed with that goal in mind.

While some people are blessed with beautiful skin that requires very little maintenance or intervention, most of us get by with a little help from our [skincare] friends.

The first step to great skin is homecare, and we all do it to some extent. A basic routine includes cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen. Ideally, it also includes regular exfoliation and masking. When dealing with specific issues and as our skin matures we may need to add a few specialty products into our arsenal. The best way to develop an effective regimen at home is to come in for a complimentary skincare consultation. One of our estheticians will look closely at your skin, ask you several questions regarding your current skincare routine, and address concerns you may have. She will then make suggestions for developing a skincare plan that will include both homecare and in-spa treatment recommendations. Of course, there is no obligation to purchase anything or schedule services. Consultations are about education. Knowledge is power in every aspect of our lives and skincare is no exception.

There is no one-size fits all in skincare. However, there are many options for in-spa treatments that will supercharge your results at home. One of the most fabulous things I can share with you about the estheticians at Essence is that every treatment is carefully customized to fit the needs of each client. This ensures you always get the facial treatment your skin craves.

Sometimes a relaxing hydration facial is exactly what you need. Seemingly simple, this type of treatment can feel like a miracle in our dry climate. Other times, you may need a little more exfoliation in order for your skin to absorb all of the nutrients that are packed into your homecare products.

Over time our skin changes- and so do our skincare needs. This happens for many reasons such as environmental exposure, changes in nutrition, the aging process, trauma, the list goes on. There are times when your skin needs even more than what a signature or specialty facial can provide. That’s when a more powerful treatment should be incorporated into your skincare regimen.

Microdermabrasion is a physical exfoliating technique that helps to minimize fine lines, correct sun damage, and even out skin tone. Microderm sloughs off the dead and dull surface layers of the skin, stimulating an increase in collagen production.

Dermaplaning is a physical exfoliating technique that uses a small, sterile blade in gentle upward motions to remove dead skin cells, smooth fine lines, brighten skin, and remove vellus hair. This leaves the skin looking and feeling silky soft.

Peels are a chemical exfoliating and resurfacing treatment. Used to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck or hands, a chemical solution is applied to the skin causing it to exfoliate and eventually peel off. The new, regenerated skin is usually smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin.

Most of these treatments fall into the category of results oriented relaxation with the exception of some of our more powerful chemical peels (those can be a bit uncomfortable, but quite effective).

It’s important to find someone you trust to help you with your skin. In addition to being passionate, the estheticians at Essence are are trained and certified in the services they offer.

Lindsey Sloan has been a licensed esthetician for over 14 years. She is very passionate and is deeply committed to achieving the best results possible. Lindsey loves to learn and grow. She regularly attends advanced education classes and offers purposeful, effective treatments. Well-rounded and skillful, Lindsey offers a full menu of skincare services. Her specialties include anti -aging treatments, dermaplaning, and all types of waxing. She holds a degree in Psychology and enjoys assisting others in their journey to wellness and wholeness.

Serissa Asta received her training at the Aveda Academy in downtown Denver in 2006, and continued her education at the Denver School of Aesthetics receiving certification in chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Serissa is talented in the art of eyebrow shaping and is experienced in body waxing. She thrives in situations that enable her to use her vibrancy and creativity, especially in the realm of makeup application. A former freelance makeup artist for MAC, Serissa thoroughly enjoys walking alongside her clients in mutual pursuit of renewal and reinvention. She values the process of skin care and strives to meet the unique requests that each client brings to the table.

If healthy, beautiful skin is part of your plan for 2018, call today to schedule your complimentary skincare consultation at Essence. We look forward to caring for you.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

By Kim Taylor

It’s official. The holidays are coming and they are closing in fast! Some of you are already busy preparing, and some of you are about to become very busy, in a frantic sort of way. As much as I love the holidays, I never seem to pull it together early. I always tend to fall into the frantically busy category. When things are hectic it is easy to become irritated, making the celebration of the blessings in our lives seem a bit like a chore. As we struggle with shopping lists and party invites, compounded by December’s cold weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.

If you find yourself struggling in the final weeks before Christmas, perhaps you should stop by Essence and enjoy a complimentary cup of hot tea. We have some amazingly relaxing services available to help restore your sanity, along with plenty of great gift ideas and stocking stuffers to help with your holiday shopping.

Gift Ideas

Nothing beats the gift of beauty and relaxation and we have several options for you to choose from:

  • Signature Spa Four Pack- $277

Choose any combination of four signature facials and therapeutic massages.

  • Specialty Spa Four Pack- $317

Choose any combination of four specialty facials and deep tissue massages.

  • Classic Massage Package

Purchase 6 services and receive the 7th free of charge.

  • Classic Facial Package

Purchase 6 services and receive the 7th free of charge.

  • Gift Cards

Available in any amount for every occasion.

In addition to our usual boutique items, beginning the Monday after Thanksgiving, we will have a great selection of stocking stuffers, candles, jewelry, cozy scarves, hats and mittens, great hand bags and wallets, gourmet tea and tea cups, and artwork; the list goes on and on. You simply must come in and see for yourself.

And one final gift suggestion….

To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.

— Oren Arnold

What a beautiful thought: the world we would live in if every person made an effort to fulfill this list at Christmas, and year-round. It is fun and easy to give gifts to those we love, but there is therapeutic value in blessing each other with intangible gifts from the heart.

Charity

Which brings me to charity. Sadly, need knows no season. A few years ago, I found an organization that I believe does the work of angels. Mountain Peace Shelter provides a safe haven for individuals in our mountain communities that are affected by domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other relationship violence. Each year, my neighbor, my mom, and I make Christmas stockings and sell them in the salon for a donation (they are really cute!). Every penny goes to MPS- we don’t even pay ourselves back for the fabric we use. This year, we are also collecting items from their “Top 10 Most Needed” list: Feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, Clorox wipes, laundry soap, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, trash bags, and coffee. So, whether you need a cute stocking or just feel compelled to drop off a supply or two from the most needed list it will be greatly appreciated.

As an added bonus, this year we are giving away a basket of salon goodies to one lucky kind-hearted person. Here’s how it works: Purchase a stocking and/or donate something from the “Top 10 Most Needed” list to have your name entered into the drawing. We will be collecting donations through December and will draw our winner on Saturday, December 30.

Gratitude

Being a small local business in a smallish community can be challenging at times. Essence has been so very blessed this year (and every year) with great staff and amazing clients. Thanks to all of you who walked through our doors and allowed us to care for you, it is truly our pleasure and we look forward to doing it for years to come!

We wish you a Merry Christmas and an extraordinarily Happy New Year!

Making Time to Relax and Unwind

By Kim Taylor, owner and stylist

I’ve been a busy bee my whole life. I always have something brewing and a list of what’s next. Between career, family, school activities, doctor’s appointments, etc. I am swamped. I love to be busy and I am happy in my life, but I AM TIRED. Sometimes I need a little time to myself to unwind and put things in perspective. Sometimes I just need to relax and rediscover my peace with the world. But it’s hard. I expect a lot out of myself and I hate to let anyone down. It’s an unrealistic expectation, but I try. Sound familiar? Of course, it does! We’ve evolved into a society where accomplishing more in less time with greater results has become the “norm”, and while each one of us is unique, we are all very similar in this particular way.

When I opened Essence in 2011, my goal was to take care of people in a way that would encourage and assist them in taking care of themselves. I believe that our most significant responsibility in life is to be good to each other. However, one can only carry that mantra so far if they are not also being good to themselves. It’s really hard to give our best to someone when we are running on empty.

I realize that this issue is complicated, finding time for one’s self is difficult and committing to it can feel more stressful than relaxing. I have learned over the years that no matter how busy I am or how guilty I allow myself to feel, I never regret taking time for myself once I do it. I return to my crazy existence ready and eager to continue giving my best to the world because I am cultivating the best in myself.

I know from experience that nights alone and weekends away are not always practical. Oftentimes an hour or two away from our hectic lives is all we need to feel rejuvenated. From the moment you step through our door, you are our priority. Our purpose is to give you the time, attention, and relaxation that you need and deserve.

We believe everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. One of the most basic ways that we do this is by offering beverages and small snacks. We always have refreshing iced tea and water as well as gourmet hot tea and coffee when you want something cozy and warm. We also offer Chex mix and pretzels in case you need a little snack to sustain you.

We pride ourselves on listening to your needs and do our very best to meet them. If you are cold, we can provide a warm neck wrap to take the chill off, or perhaps you would enjoy a nice warm paraffin hand treatment added to your service? We never require you to remove your shoes in the salon, but if your toes are cold and wet on a winter’s day, we’re happy to loan you a pair of cozy socks to warm your toes during your stay with us!

Our spa services have been carefully crafted to deliver relaxation and results simultaneously. The staff in our spa is well trained, experienced, and talented. Every service we offer is designed to be customized to your needs. If you have a special request, just ask your service provider and we will do our best to accommodate.

We have learned a lot over the past 6 years. Each day brings us a new opportunity to do a better job for our clients. As we grow, we are faced with new challenges. In an effort to address a few of the more pressing issues that have come to our attention, we have implemented policies within the salon and spa that help to ensure your quiet and peaceful enjoyment.

Fairly recently, we implemented a policy in which children under the age of 13 are welcome in the salon and spa by appointment only. Furthermore, we maintain an expectation of good behavior during their appointment. We ask that parents commit to and indulge in the rare treat of time to themselves by arranging for childcare during their appointments. This is all done with our best intention to preserve an enjoyable experience for all.

We try to be considerate of all of our clients by avoiding controversial and potentially upsetting topics of conversation. We appreciate that everyone is entitled to their beliefs and see value in sharing those beliefs in the right setting and under the right circumstances. However, we have seen how upsetting and emotional some topics can be and make an effort to chat about things that don’t ruffle feathers and interfere with one’s ability to relax and unwind.

We do our best to maintain a relaxing feel in our hair salon, but oftentimes it is very busy, and in turn it can be a bit noisy. We encourage all of our clients to schedule a relaxing spa service in addition to their hair appointments; a massage and/or facial does the trick nicely. We offer massage and facials in thirty, sixty, and ninety-minute increments so you can relax in spite of your busy schedule.

The bottom line is that we all need and deserve a break from time to time. We are happiest when we make ourselves a priority in our own busy lives. Perhaps the best part though, is that the people who matter so much to us benefit from the wonderful gifts of love, patience, and compassion that are unlocked when we are feeling refreshed and valuable.

Client Letter Regarding Kid Policy

Our goal at Essence is to provide an atmosphere where clients can relax, unwind, and rejuvenate. As we’ve grown, it has become necessary to address one issue in particular in an effort to preserve the quality of each client’s experience.

Fairly recently, we implemented a policy in which children under the age of 13 are welcome in the salon and spa by appointment only. While in the salon for appointments, we maintain an expectation of good behavior. This includes sitting still and speaking at a normal volume.

The nature of our business requires us to use tools that can be very dangerous to children: spinning chairs, hot curling irons, hair color chemicals, HOT wax, the list goes on. We ask that you monitor your children carefully while they are in the salon so that they do not accidentally get hurt.

We also ask that parents commit to indulging in the rare treat of time to themselves by arranging for childcare during their appointments. This is all done with our best intention to preserve an enjoyable experience for all.

Moving forward, clients that bring their child(ren) to the salon will be asked to reschedule their appointment for a time when they can arrange for childcare.

I understand that you have many salon and spa options and I truly appreciate that you have chosen Essence. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and sincerely hope that you will continue to choose Essence for your beauty and relaxation needs in the future.

Thank you,

Kim Taylor

Owner

Sunny Summer Skin

By Kim Taylor

Blue skies and warm breezes make summer a favorite time of year. Now that we are in full swing with the season, it is vital to remember the importance of a solid skincare routine for your face AND body. Every fall we notice an increase in scheduled skincare treatments; an effort to fix the damage done over the summer. What many don’t realize is there are ways of preventing and reversing damage to their skin, even in the summer. We start this process by incorporating three things into our routine; exfoliation, hydration, and sunscreen.

You’ve heard it said a million times- hydration, hydration, hydration. YES! Hydration is ultra-important, especially in our dry climate. Drinking tons of water is key, but hydration also happens from the outside. The challenge with hydrating topically is that as we age, our dead skin cells do not slough off as quickly as they should, creating a barrier against our skincare products. Additionally, our skin toughens over time to protect us from environmental exposure. This also makes it hard for moisturizers to penetrate deeply into the skin, affecting their ability to heal and hydrate.

This is where exfoliation becomes important. Regularly exfoliated skin is able to accept all of the essential vitamins, nutrients and moisture that our skincare products provide. There are different methods of exfoliation; some are more aggressive (and effective) than others. For the body, we offer sugar and salt scrubs as well as dry brushing. These exfoliating treatments are paired with massage to hydrate the skin and provide therapy for the muscles.

At Essence, there are two categories of facials: signature and specialty. All include the fundamentals: cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, and protect. EVERY facial we offer is customized based on a skin analysis before your treatment begins.

Signature facials are designed to maintain healthy, youthful skin. They are both relaxing and effective, including a mild exfoliation that is often in the form of a scrub or gentle mask.

Specialty facials are designed to treat a wide array of challenges such as acne, hyperpigmentation, and aging skin. The exfoliation techniques used in specialty facials include glycolic and salicylic toners, scrubs, gommage, and enzymatic masks.

Beyond facials, our estheticians offer many types of treatments for the face, neck and chest. During your skin analysis, your esthetician may recommend a treatment that is deeper and more effective than a signature or specialty facial. This is based on what your skin analysis indicates that your skin will yield the highest benefit from. Two Client favorites are dermaplaning and microdermabrasion; for their effectiveness and for the way they make your skin feel soft and smooth. We also offer chemical peels, which have a wide range of strength and effectiveness. Peels can be given as a single treatment, but they are most effective when done in a series of four to six treatments. Many times, these “super treatments” take the same amount of time as a facial or can be added to your appointment that day, making it easy for you to modify your service if you choose.

Regardless of what you do each day, sunscreen should be a part of your routine. Use SPF 30 if you are driving to work & back with less than 3 hours of total sun exposure. For prolonged exposure, SPF 50 is more appropriate and will protect you for a longer period of time. Look for cream based physical sunscreens that list Zinc Oxide as the main active ingredient- it is the safest and most stable. Don’t forget to reapply regularly while outdoors- sun damage is a key factor in our skin’s aging process, making sunscreen an imperative defense.

At Essence, we believe that a strong homecare regimen combined with regular professional intervention is essential. Consultations are always complimentary; we look forward to helping you find the best combination of home and professional treatment for your skin!

Finally, do you have an upcoming vacation, wedding, or just plain desire to always look your very best? Essence offers full face and body waxing (brows, bikini, arms, legs, etc.) as well as spray tanning, a healthy and quick alternative to tanning beds.

Blonde Ambition

By Kim Taylor

I believe I speak for just about everyone when I say that we are all ready to feel the warmth of the summer sun! Even a mild winter like this one wears out its welcome eventually.

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 as 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 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; we want what we want and change our minds regularly. As stylists, we adapt and do our best to meet the challenge.

One of the most powerful tools we have for these occasions is Olaplex. This additive is a product that every type of color client but particularly blondes can benefit from.

Hair bonds are broken during thermal, mechanical and chemical services. This is a fact. The more chemically processed the hair becomes, the more susceptible it becomes to every other type of damage. Olaplex is added to bleach or color when mixing and works by finding single sulfur hydrogen bonds and cross linking them back together to form disulfide bonds. This amazing product 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-two years of hair styling I have never seen a repairing product of this caliber. Olaplex can also be used in the salon as a restructuring treatment and has a take home product that helps 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 Katy Perry, Michelle Williams, and Jennifer Lawrence) could not be achieved without bleach. Most likely they have a combination of bleach, high lift color, and darker blonde in their hair to create the lightness and dimension that we are all so drawn to.

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 in a consistent manner) 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 mixed with 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 two to twenty minutes. Toners wash out over time so depending on how often you shampoo your hair, you may be a candidate for toning in between highlight appointments.

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 toning shampoos and conditioners on the market designed to be used as needed at home. They are usually purple and are great for blondes who evolve to more brassy/ golden tones between appointments. This happens a lot to swimmers, people with well water, and those who spend a lot of time outdoors. At Essence, our favorite is Surface Pure Blonde Violet Shampoo and Conditioner.

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 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 is done at the shampoo bowl, right after the highlights are rinsed. Base bumps can also be done in between highlight appointments to keep color looking fresh.

Good Color Takes Time

While many color services take about 2 hours, drastic changes cannot always happen that quickly. Sometimes, (and especially with blondes) it takes a much longer appointment, or several appointments to achieve the desired result.

If you have dark hair naturally, or if you have colored your hair dark and want to be light, you may be looking at several appointments to get your hair to its optimal color.

It should also be noted that blondes require regular salon appointments every 4-7 weeks to keep them looking their very best. You may not need “the works” every time, but rest assured, your blonde will need a little something to keep it fresh, on tone, vibrant, and looking healthy.

Protect Your Investment

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 your hair between appointments. There is no shortage of products on the market that claim to protect and feed the hair. We recommend a selection of tried and true products that we carry in the salon: Olaplex, Surface, Moroccan oil, and Kevin Murphy to name a few.

Pricing

When it comes to pricing color services, a consultation is necessary. Our basic color services start at $80. Dimensional techniques such as highlights and balayage increases in price according to technique and time required as well as how much product is used. At Essence, consultations are always complimentary and never obligatory. Our staff is happy to hear your vision, make recommendations, address concerns, and quote you a price based on a recommended path of action. We love what we do and look forward to making you beautiful!