Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spa Girl—hard as Nails…

I have used nail polish since I was a young girl when my aunte would paint my fingers and toes.  Now I primarily have my toes done and several years ago decided to treat myself to a French manicure as I was concerned how yellow and dull they were becoming from the coloured polishes. I have never looked back. I did some research and found a few great recipes to help allievate this problem. Taking care of your nails and hands is a must as our hands tend to age more quickly, not surprisingly as they bare the harsh everyday wear and tear of soaps, detergents, cold, heat, water…and a thousand other risk factors.

Most experts will tell you that to keep fingernails and cuticles healthy eat a diet rich in vitamins, moisturize regularly, use a really good nail polish, and stay away from soaps, detergents and hot water as much as possible. Fingernails are made of keratin, the same protein as hair and grow roughly 1mm a week. It takes six months for a lost nail to regenerate and fingernails grow faster than toenails. It is also important to remember that the skin on our hands is thin, delicate and prone to being dry and is vulnerable to damage and injury and contains less collagen than the skin covering other parts of the body.

The wiseGeek says, “Keratin is an extremely strong protein which is a major component in skin, hair, nails, hooves, horns, and teeth. The amino acids which combine to form keratin have several unique properties, and depending on the levels of the various amino acids, keratin can be inflexible and hard, like hooves, or soft, as is the case with skin. Most of the keratin that people interact with is actually dead; hair, skin, and nails are all formed from dead cells which the body sheds as new cells push up from underneath. If the dead cells are kept in good condition, they will serve as an insulating layer to protect the delicate new keratin below them”.

Here are a few helpful tips:
  • To harden soft nails and make them more flexible, soak them in warm olive oil and one capsule of vitamin E for about 20 minutes, two or three times a week—especially in the winter. I recommend adding a nice dip in paraffin wax allowing the oils to soak into the hands.

  • To whiten stained and dull nails soak them in 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and 1 cup of warm water for 15 minutes or try mixing one tablespoon of lemon juice in a cup of water. Make sure to rinse with warm water, pat dry and apply moisturizer after your soak.

  • Don’t remove the cuticles as it makes the nail susceptible to infection, rather use a good cuticle oil and push back the cuticles with an orangewood stick. Ideally push back cuticles after you soak in the warm olive oil.

  • File your nails when you are wearing polish as this will help prevent splitting and breaking.

  • Wearing nail polish, even a colourless base coat is recommended if you have brittle nails.

Love your nails with an Almond-Jojoba nail and cuticle treatment from our friends at “Secrets of the Spas”. Recipe:

2 tablespoons almond oil, 2 tablespoons jojoba oil, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (or 3-4 vitamin E oil capsules, broken open)

Mix all the ingredients together. Soak nails in warm water for 10 minutes, pat dry, then massage mixture into hands and feet (if you like) concentrating on nails and cuticles. Wash off with warm water and pat dry, add moisturizer. Recipe makes about four hand treatments.

Enjoy Spa Girls!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spa Girl knows the perfect way to relax and it starts with an S!

I have been on the go for the past two weeks and I’m ready to hit the spa and remember just how good it feels to relax. Booked myself in and spent the afternoon having a massage and a Clayton Shagal facial. Can’t count how many times I fell asleep during the two and a half hour treatment, especially when that heavenly steam was rolling over my face, opening all my pores and preparing my face for what was to come. This particular facial takes one and a half hours and leaves your face wonderfully clean and feeling soft, silky and extremely moisturized. I highly recommend this product.

I have blogged about this product line previously, but it is worth repeating. Clayton Shagal is a privately owned skin care line launched in the early 1980’s created in Germany and manufactured in Quebec, Canada. It is 99% pure extracted collagen and since 2004 has been used not only in high-end spas but for medical use as well. It’s expensive, but well worth the investment.

There are many great benefits of collagen: it revitalizes and normalizes the production of collagen in the dermis; fortifies the skin's foundation and improves suppleness of the skin; accelerates healing of scars and burns; delays formation of wrinkles (and who doesn’t like that!); it is ideal for pre laser procedures to increase the skin's ability to retain moisture & promote skin resiliency; and accelerates skin recovery and improves skin density.

Along with the extracted collagen Clayton Shagal products include elastin which improves moisturization and elasticity of the skin; penetrates deeply into the dermis and combines with collagen fibers to fortify the skin; improves skin tone, firms, and reduces sagging skin; and reduces redness and inflammation by normalizing the basic functions of the skin. Two great ingredients for a great looking face!

There are several Clayton Shagal products to select from; I opted for the gel lotion cleanser and bamboo and honey exfoliant which smells wonderful, a rich moisturizing mask and several active treatment products prior to a hynoderm cream which not only locks in moisture but protects your face from damaging ultra violet rays and environmental pollutants. One of my favorite aspects of a great facial is the process itself, the careful application of product, hot steam, and layers of hot facial towels applied several times during the hour and a half which help you relax and open up all your pores. My face will feel great for days!

In most cities there are training facilities, schools who teach the techniques of esthetics and massage. In many cases you can book yourself an appointment and pay a very reasonable fee for any number of spa services.

So take a page out of Spa Girls book, when you have over done it, take some time for yourself and head to the nearest spa and say facial please!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Spa Girl on microdemabrasion

Skin is the largest organ in the body. The body naturally exfoliates the top layer of dead skin every three to four months. Microdemabrasion is a skin resurfacing treatment that gently exfoliates the top layer of dead skin. It is a non-invasive, non-surgical cosmetic procedure which can be performed at home, in beauty salons, spas and medical or dermatological offices.

As you age the renewal process begins to slow down and your skin can become dull, not to mention the annual advancement of wrinkles. I use a home microdemabrasion treatment, exfoliating several times a month. Many of my friends use their home-based treatments several times a week. There are a number of home-based microdemabrasion treatments to select from; my preference is Susan Lucci's Youthful Essence microdemabrasion kit from specially designed to gently smooth away dead surface cells to reveal the silky soft skin beneath. I love the smell of this product and how it diminishes the fine lines and wrinkles on my face. Microdemabrasion can also refine enlarged pores and help to lessen age spots and since microdemabrasion only exfoliates the top layer of skin there are no risks. However if you have skin problems you should consult your health care practitioner before you try this treatment.

Regularly exfoliating your skin will improve texture and appearance, your face will be softer, smoother and younger looking and freckles, age spots and fine lines will diminish.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spa Girl’s suggestions for a great looking FACE

One of my favourite spa treatments is a facial which over the years has really kept my skin looking great. I also love that it is so relaxing. But having great looking skin requires care and attention on several fronts.

Good nutrition and exercise are the basic building blocks for a healthy body, including great looking skin. Drinking plenty of water is also an essential component. Add to that a wonderful spa treatment and there is nothing like a professional facial to deep cleanse your skin—I have one every four to six weeks as that is how long it take the skin to regenerate—and toss the soap. Ask your esthetician about a good home skin-care routine, and wear sunscreen everyday. Most good face creams now have sunscreen in them; remember that sun damage is the single most cause of premature aging of the skin.

A spa facial generally includes cleansing, steam, massage, masks, tonners and the application of protective creams. You will never look back after you have had someone massage your eyebrows and the edge of your chin! A good facial not only cleans the face, but exfoliates the surface of your skin removing all dead and dry tissue in order to nourishes and promote clean well-hydrated skin.

The esthetician will examine your skin with a bright light and magnifying lamp in order to determine the best course of action, she will look to see if your skin is normal, dry, oily, combination, sensitive or mature, the condition of your pores or any other skin conditions that might be present.

There are several facials to select from, so it’s a good idea to do a wee bit of research before you book your appointment, but most are a variation on the classic European facial. Look at the list your spa offers and ask which is best for you. For example I love to treat myself to an anti aging Clayton Shagal facial which leaves my skin silky smooth. One facial I have not tried is a photo facial, a treatment employing light which boost collagen and great for treating acne. Which ever facial treatment you select, I guarantee you will feel rejuvenated, revitalized and refreshed.

Can’t get to the spa this week, here is a home facial which includes everyone’s favourite sweetener—honey. Honey is a natural humectant which has the ability to attract and retain moisture. It is also has natural antioxidant properties which play an important role in protecting the skin from VU rays and aiding in skin rejuvenation. The skin’s ability to stay hydrated is an important factor in its ability to maintain softness, suppleness and elasticity.

Mix together 1 tablespoon honey, 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon glycerine (available in most drug stores) and enough flour to form a paste. Wash face then smooth mixture over face and throat. Leave on 10 minutes, then wash off with warm water and pat dry. Finish off with your favourite face cream.

All-natural honey has been used as a beauty product since the days of Cleopatra—and what’s good for Cleo is surely good for Spa Girls.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Spa Girl asks...Why Choose a Green Spa?

There are so many choices when selecting a spa and it can be confusing, so it is important to check them out prior to booking an appointment. The spa you select must feel “right” for you; it must feel comfortable, is clean and follows good hygiene practices, offers a good variety of treatments at fair prices and uses products that are highly regarded. It is also important to ask what training the therapists have and how long they have been practicing. In making your selection you might also want to consider those spas that are “green”, here are some of the reasons…

Green spas are naturally healthy - By eliminating toxins in their skin care products and in their spa’s environment, green spas provide a healthier experience.

Green spas are more relaxing - By putting aside the stressors of modern life – including noise, pollution, toxins and waste – green spas are able to offer a more balanced and relaxing experience.

Green spa treatments are more effective - Synthetically derived skincare products may produce quick results, but they might also cause damage. Natural treatments are gentler and help ensure long-term health and beauty.

Green spas put the body in harmony with nature - Green spas are attuned to the rhythms of nature as well as the rhythms of the human body. When nature and body are in harmony humans feel healthier, stronger and more attractive.

Green spas are good business - Although up-front costs for some greening programs may be high, they usually pay for themselves and start to provide savings within one to two years. For example: investing in low-flow shower heads and toilets will cost up front, but the savings in water use will continue well into the future.

Green spas are naturally healthy - By eliminating toxins in their skin care products and in their spa’s environment, green spas provide a healthier experience.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Spa Girl says make looking after yourself as routine as brushing your teeth!

I wish everyone a joyful New Year, one that is filled with happiness and goodwill with time set aside to relax, rejuvenate and restore.

Make a promise yourself—before you get to busy to think—to go to the spa and pamper yourself every few months, look into some aromatherapy treats to pour into your bath and make sure to look after your feet over the next few months as they carry us through the winter.

I just placed my on-line order for 20 pounds of Dead Sea Salts. I make several lovely blends of bath salts (baking soda, clay, Dead Sea salt, Epson salt plus essential oils) which I pour into all my baths. I also make little give away batches for friends who love the bath as much as I do. Making your own combinations of bath salts is not only easy but economical.

Do your research to ensure the salts your are buying are from the Dead Sea in Israel as the salt concentration is 10 times higher than ocean water, and it's high in minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium chlorides and high concentration of bromides. These remarkable salts enhance the skin’s ability to retain moisture and salt baths draw toxins out of the body and help to relieve skin ailments such as Psoriasis, Eczema and Acne. 

Basic Salt Soak
2 cup Dead Sea salts
4 cups baking soda
2 cup Epsom salts
2 to 4 tablespoons glycerin per bath
Combine the sea salts, baking soda, and Epsom salts and stir to blend. Pour 1 cup into the bath while the tub is filling and store the remaining in a glass jar. Add a capful of glycerin to keep your skin from drying out and essential oils of choice. There are also a number of great clay products you can add to this mixture.

The history of salt is fascinating, click the link below to read all about it.
“Since its discovery, several thousand years ago, salt has profoundly affected human life, not only with respect to the feeding habits or the ancient food preserving home industry, but also in the human, economic, mythological and religious spheres. Last but not least, on beliefs, habits and superstitions. Salt was a greatly appreciated exchange commodity, so much so that the so-called "salt routes" were born, through which merchants transported and sold it in countries where it was not produced”.