Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hell is (for) Children

We had our nephew and niece over for a visit last night. I think kids are fabulous. They are spectacular, but I am occasionally reminded there are a lot of things that we the childless take for granted. Minor joys, but joys none the less.

1. Eating. The kids ate half my dinner and all my breakfast. From 3 in the afternoon till noon the next day, they had a bag of grapes, 2 cups of broccoli, 1/2 a cookie sheet of cheese nachos, 100 cal pack of cheez-its, 2 slices of toast with jam, 1/2 a papaya, an omelet, 3 doughnuts, a cup of mixed fruit, 3 glasses of milk, 3 glasses of juice and an apple. On the upside, everything I put on my plate they ate. Children are instant portion control.

2. Sleeping. Kids don't sleep and really don't care if you sleep. These kids were no sleep, non-stop, no naps till 11:30. Up at 6 a.m. And not up at 6 a.m. like I am - half awake and groggy, stumbling and drowsy. But full force up. And forget going back to sleep. Quiet for kids is just under 6oo decibels.

3. Breathing. I found myself breathing shallow trying to avoid whatever germ it is that makes that boy's noise run non-freaking-stop. I don't consider myself a germ-a-phob, but if there will be a global pandemic it will be carried by the sticky, filthy hands of a 3 year old.

I'm not saying kids aren't full of limitless joy, but today, I will eat, sleep and breath what, when and how I want. Oh, and I'm gonna go pee right now, without being interrupted. Suck on that, moms.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wax Off

Not everyone can be lucky enough to know me. Though tales of the wonder and glory of my Brazilian waxes are told near and far, what good is that to you?

You are not alone. Many of my clients are students, who, much like baby birds, must leave the comfort of the nest and move on. However, they become frantic when faced with the task of finding a new esthetician. I cannot possibly know the best waxers in every city.  But hopefully with these helpful hints, you can find the waxer you’ve been dreaming of. 

  1. Ask friends and coworkers. If you see an eyebrow you like, ask where they got it done. When the girls at the water cooler start gabbing about their bikini wax, ask who they use. This assumes you know people in the new city, but if not, make friends. I believe in you. You are wonderful and likeable.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t talk to you.
  2. Consult on online source. While Anti-frump will meet most of your needs, we do not yet have a service index. Go on. Go to, we won’t be mad, I promise. But just looking at the rating is no good. Read the reviews. People love to be brutally honest on anonymous message boards.
  3. Call the salon or spa. After reading the reviews or talking to friends, call the place you are considering. Talk to the esthetician or set up a consultation. Think of it as a first date. So don’t go all the way yet. Get to know each other first.
  4. For Brazilian waxing, ask a few specifics.
    1. What kind of wax do you use? We like hard wax. It is gentle, clean, and most effective. Strip wax is great for fine hairs on the leg and arm, but it is icky and painful. It can kiss our ass, not wax it.
    2. Do you wax labia? We are all grow-ups here. We want a waxer who is not afraid to talk about, or wax, our lady bits. “Lady bits” and “Va-jay-jay” are acceptable..
    3. What kind of waxes do you offer? Brazilian can mean so many things. So can “landing strip”. Ask what areas are included in each service. Be clear about what you do and do not want waxed. Not everyone wants to look like a 12 year old. Some of us believe a little patch at the top is like showing I.D.  We are also thankful when it is a natural looking strip, not the angry Hitler moustache.
    4. How do you wax?  These will seem like simple questions, but they are very important, and should be answered quickly and easily by your esthetician. If the answer to any of these is no, run for the hills.

                                               i.      Do you use gloves? YES!!

                                             ii.     Do you tweeze stray hairs? Yes! You do not want to look like you have the mange.

                                            iii.     Do you use new sheets and towels for every client? YES, YES, YES!!

                                            iv.     Do you sanitize your tweezers after every client? Yes! 30 minutes in 90% alcohol is good, but autoclave is great too.

                                              v.     Do you use disposable waxing sticks? Seriously, YES!

                                            vi.     Are you licensed? YES! Every state has different requirements, but they are important. You can check with your state beauty board and find out if your girl (or guy) is the trained professional you are looking for. She should also have a license hung in her room or on her badge. Do not settle. Your nail tech should remove calluses, not hair.

We are picky about who waxes our lady bits, as we should be. Do not be afraid to shop around. Test by getting a bikini wax before going all out on the Brazilian. Or get an eyebrow first. Many times you just have to find someone you are comfortable with. That is okay. Be vigilant and do not settle for second best. You are worth it. Your lady bits are worth it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

In Your Face

Some people think facials are unnecessary and indulgent. These are not people we talk to. They are silly people who probably think going to a dentist is overrated. We are smarter than that.  We know that while we must take care of our skin at home, sometimes we need outside help. 

Facials do many things.  A facial can cleanse, exfoliate, repair, hydrate, calm, and teach you canasta. Just making sure you are paying attention. A trained esthetician will analyze your skin and discuss your habits at home. Together you will determine your goals for your skin. 

A standard facial can include any of the following:

1.     Cleansing. If this is not the first step, be concerned. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but your face has to be clean for step 2.

2.     Analysis.  Your facialist is looking for discoloration, sun damage, loss of elasticity, fine lines, moles, blackheads, and Jimmy Hoffa.

3.     Steam. After step 2, it is a free for all, but I like to steam. This allows the skin to relax and make exfoliation easier. Also you can pretend you are in Memphis in August. Close your eyes, and you’d swear you were there.

4.     Massage. Mmmmmmm. Nice. Sure it helps exfoliate, move lymph, and stimulate collagen production. But so what? Massage is awesome.

5.     Exfoliation. Some use a brush, some a scrub, some a peel. They all do the same thing in different ways. For reference, peels vary slightly. Glycolic is the most common peel. A 30-40% strength is plenty. It can be left on the skin for 2-5 minutes, sometimes with steam. Lactic acid is preferred for rosacea and sensitive skin. Light or no exfoliation is recommended for heavy acne and rosacea. See how smart I can be.

6.     Extractions. Holy Blackhead, Batman! This is not for the faint-hearted. Bite the bullet and do it. You will never know a joy greater than the catharsis of blackhead removal.

7.     Treatment. Here we do intense moisture, acne masks, peels, collagen, elastin, and DNA treatments, etc. Your esthetician may use freeze-dried masks or plant derived ampules. Thank her and tip well. Also do not be afraid of the electricity. Galvanic current is common. It is very low grade (1/1000 of an amp) and is helpful in deep penetration of product. Also if you have acne, ask about zapping. High frequency electrical current can zap problem areas before they become problems. Let us stop and give thanks for zapping.

8.     Moisture. Even if you are oily, you need moisture. This is for everyone, no exceptions.

Don’t you want a facial now? All the cool kids are doing it. Go get one ASAP. Unless you are getting married this week. There is always a chance of a breakout the day or two after a facial. I do not want an angry bride on my lawn, screaming that I ruined her wedding pics. The Hollywood secret is to get your facial the day of the event. The micro swelling caused by a facial gives you the glow we all aspire to. Also your makeup will wear better.

I recommend facials every one to four weeks if you have specific goals to meet. For maintenance, every one to four months should suffice. Either way, get a facial now. You deserve to be pampered. You deserve to have the healthiest skin possible. You deserve to have the most beautiful skin you can. Your face is the first thing people see (usually), treat it well. 

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hair's Looking at You, Kid

Salon Etiquette 101 or Avoiding The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

This may ruffle some feathers, but it is for your own good. This is really a primer course, but soon, my little chicks, you’ll be ready for advanced lessons. So take notes and be prepared to ask questions. Your beauty future depends on it.

  1. Show up. When you make an appointment, go to it. Seems simple, but often isn’t. If you cannot make it, call. ASAP. Our time is our money, please remember that. But don’t make up an elaborate story. Even if your aunt really did accidentally drop your appointment reminder card in the fish tank and a tetra ate it, we do not believe you or care.
  2. Show up on time. Again, simple enough. Fifteen minutes is not big to you, but it will put the rest of my day into chaos. Being chronically late, even if it is only 5 minutes, will make us dislike you. If you are excessively early however, you also cannot get mad if we are on time, not early. Our salon, our rules. Nanny nanny boo boo.
  3. Shut up and pay. Seems harsh to put it that way, I know. But look, if you walked into the salon and you knew the pricing to begin with, don’t whine to your stylist or esthetician about how expensive they are. Most likely they didn’t set the prices, and they cannot change them. If you are concerned about pricing, discuss it beforehand with the stylist, receptionist, esthetician, etc. No one will be upset if you want up front pricing. But once you agree, do not bitch about how much you are paying. This is not an auction, it is a salon. See rule 6.
  4. No kids. Unless they are getting a hair cut, leave them at home. Really. We don’t think they are cute or funny or smart or sassy or anything else. We think are going to fall or break something. We think they should shut up and sit down. We cannot think about you and your hair. When you bring a child to a salon, we rush your services so you will leave. It ain’t fair, but neither is life.
  5. No cell phones. Not in the lobby, as we shouldn’t have to wait for you to hang up to begin your appointment. Not while you get shampooed, as it is in the way. Not in the chair, as it is in the way and you should be talking to the stylist/esthetician. Not under the dryer, as you are loud, and no one cares that your best friend’s boyfriend is cheating on her with your sister’s boss. If you use a cell phone while you are getting a service from another human being, you are RUDE and we will say nasty things behind your back and to other clients. Sorry, but it is a salon and we are catty. If you need to make a call while you are waiting, step outside.
  6. Kiss our ass. Tip well. Be nice. If you are the first morning appointment, bring coffee. Compliment us. Tell us we are worth every penny. You will get better service. You will get better pricing. You will get better appointments. You will get better shampoo massage and facial massage. You will get a free pass on breaking one of the other rules time to time. Make us like you and we will make you prettier than all the other girls.

I know it seems harsh, but it is only because I care about you and I don’t want anyone to talk bad about you. And they will. A lot. Far worse than you ever dreamed. We are vile vile people when pushed. But we also talk about our favorite clients and how much we love them. We work them in for last minute appointments. We sneak in discounts. We pamper them. Be our favorite. Make it worth our time, and we will make it worth your time.