Category Archives: E’s Tips and Tricks

Ob-sessed: Olaplex

I’m obsessed with my hair color this week. Ob-sessed. Why? My colorist, Tracy, used Olaplex in addition to her professionally concocted, genius hair color formula, then gave me a professional Olaplex treatment at the salon to top it off.

Behold: Olaplex

Behold: Olaplex

As someone with (mostly self-colored) self-proclaimed “fire hazard hair”, I’ve been waiting for the release of Olaplex ever since rumors of its existence were leaked.

Olaplex is a game-changer for anyone who lifts their hair color, but especially blondes and those who highlight/balayge. It’s not a conditioner or a protein treatment- it’s a “bond multiplier”. Tracy explained it to me with a helpful analogy: it’s like taking an old, dried up, crumbly rubber band and restoring it to a new, springy, strong (hydrated?) rubber band.

Why? Because when you color your hair, formula must break down the bonds that hold your natural color, usually resulting in some type of damage. Olaplex claims to permanently restore some of those bonds, and I’m drinking the kool-aid so far… I’ve not had this much lift and this much shine in as long as I can remember, and my hair feels great.
This is a game changer, people. Call your stylist asap, you’ll thank me later!

Until next time, stay fabulous my friends!


Check it out here:
http://www.olaplex.com/pages/consumer

If you’re in the Chicago (ish) area and want to give my colorist a try, find Tracy here: http://www.lineasalon.com

 And while you’re surfing the web, be sure check out this well-known stylist who is using it to create some crazy-artistic, amazing color.

Click for Guy Tang on Instagram Here

This is art! Check out Guy Tang from West Hollywood at the link

This is art! Check out Guy Tang from West Hollywood at the link above.

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E Experiments: BOTOX in the Bands, aka The Nefertiti Lift

It’s about time I share my experience with ‘Botox in the bands’, aka the Nefertiti lift. My boss, Board certified dermatologist Dr. Quenby Erickson performed the procedure for me, which I love, love, love.

Side note: this use of Botox Cosmetic Is considered off-label, like many of the ways offices use it these days. But not every office offers this treatment. From my perspective, it’s more of an advanced technique, (so do your homework on your provider before trying)

Here’s the scoop:

What is it?
The Nefertiti lift is a non-surgical technique used to make the Neck, chin and “Gobbler” area look smoother and younger by injecting Botox into the platysmal bands. As it turns out, these bands are partly responsible for the downward pull on the lower face (Either side of the chin) and the development of the dreaded ‘turkey neck’.

Ok... it could be worse.

Ok… it could always be worse.

The Treatment:
this simple procedure was done in less than maybe five minutes. It didn’t hurt, and after it was done I went on with my day, not giving it another thought. Dr. Erickson used 30 units of Botox to treat me, but everyone will be different. As the Botox kicked in during the next week /10 days, I started to notice that the treatment made a surprising difference to me.

My Results:
I originally tried this for experience/learning and preventative purposes, But as the effect set in, I noticed a really nice change that I’m really excited about! To me, it looks like there is less tendency for any ‘pulling down’ by the corners of my mouth and chin, in addition to improvement in my neck, “gobbler” area ((technical term?? Ha)). My jawline is more defined in an elegant, pretty way. I’m liking that!

My Favorite Part:
I love the jawline definition I have now, (even though I would not have necessarily listed that as an area for improvement on myself before). Keep in mind, everyone is different, so depending on how many units (I had 30, but I regularly see 50 plus in the office) and how much lift you need, results will always vary. BUT if you have an open mind and would be satisfied with a nice, subtle improvement, this is worth a go!!

Until next time, Stay fabulous, my friends!

You gotta help me, doc! ...BOTOX my bands!

You gotta help me, doc! …BOTOX my bands!


Nefertiti lift with BOTOX Cosmetic by Dr Quenby Erickson in Chicago

Am I looking any more like Nefertiti yet??

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How To: Vinegar Soaks for Post-Procedure Skin

I thought it might be helpful to post a ‘How-To’ guide for a Vinegar Soak, a gentle way to care for delicate Post-Laser skin. White Vinegar’s not-too-acidic acidity can gently cleanse the skin without causing irritation, and the cool, gentle solution is great for calming and cooling the skin when you just feel, well, Post-Procedure.

Here I am after laser resurfacing. My skin is awesome now, but when I took this photo, I was in dire need of a vinegar soak and a weekend in the house! =)

Here I am the day after an aggressive dual (ablative/non-ablative) fractionated Halo laser resurfacing, SWOLLEN and looking TOASTY. My skin is awesome now, (in fact it’s amazing!) but when I took this photo I was in the mood for a vinegar soak and a night in! =)

Step 1: 

Measure out 1/3 cup of WHITE vinegar.

Step 1: Measure your white vinegar. I love to use my pyrex for this process.

Step 1: Measure your white vinegar. I love to use my pyrex for this process.

Step 2: Meanwhile, boil 4 cups water (to assure it’s clean)

How To: Vinegar Soak for Post Procedure Skin

Step 3: Combine and refrigerate until chilled.

How To: Vinegar Soak for Post Procedure Skin Tip: I love to use my pyrex measuring cups, especially for the last step. Once the solution is cooled, I will store it covered, pouring out small amounts for use when I need it. That way I never contaminate the batch.

Step 4: With clean hands, dip lint-free cotton pads or soft gauze into the solution and gently dab the skin. This feels great as a cool compress, too.

Once I cleanse the skin gently by dabbing, I’ll use new/fresh pads soaked in the solution to drape over the skin while I kick back for a while. It feels great to cool off and relax while you imagine how beautiful your skin is going to look. Ahhhhhh. 

Step 5: Apply your post-treatment skin care products as directed

Always follow the instructions given to you by your doctor’s office! And until next time, stay fabulous, my friends!

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Here’s a fun DIY project to make your products Travel Size

I’m traveling this week to the Sciton Laser User Summit, and then to see the fam for Thanksgiving, so I’ve got travel sizes on the brain. Here’s a neat DIY project (yes, you need a heat sealer, but I might be drinking the Kool-Aid on this one: I could be buying one soon!) to bring all of your great products with you!

This seems like a great way to travel with cleansers and SPF’s. I would still consider exposure to oxygen once the products come out of their original packaging, so be sure to use them up within a week for best results.

Thanks, Mighty Girl, for this great idea!
<a href="http://mightygirl.com/2014/02/03/make-travel-size-toiletries-with-a-heat-sealer/
DIYtraveltoiletries

Hair For You: Products for Hair that needs Help

My hair has suffered through a lot throughout the years… Health and nutrition issues,  stress, changing colors, bleaching, medications, breakage… The list goes on!

While I’m entirely more of a skin care expert than a hair expert, I do have some experience on the topic. This ranges from working as an shampoo girl, assistant and salon receptionist for many years to managing a larger corporate spa.  Add to that list the transforming, repairing, and disguising of issues with my own hair (years later ) with everything from cranial prosthesis to extensions, weaves and falls. (It doesn’t hurt to have fabulously talented and smarty-pants professional stylist friends to give advice, either!)

Anyway, here are just a few key things that I have found helpful over the years for  thinning and breaking hair. Because if you’ve ever gone through this, you know that you’re ALWAYS seeking new info, desperate to find something to helpful during a really tough time.

Best for Delicate Hair, Loss, and Breakage

E's new Mason Pearson Brush

This thing was SO pricey… Probably putting those Boars’ children (piglets??) through college!


  • A Boar Bristle Hair Brush

The theory here is that the boar bristles will help to distribute your own oils from your scalp to the ends, while simultaneously stimulating the scalp. Mine is new, so far it’s going pretty well! Caution: these guys are expensive. I found mine on Amazon, but these can be found at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom as well.

  • Aveda Invati Line

Consisting of an exfoliating shampoo, a light/medium consistency conditioner, and a daily scalp spray, this line is most helpful for prevention of breakage*. Aveda insists that the spray is necessary to do every day (“12 sprays a day keep the loss away”) But I must admit, I am not great at completing that stop as regularly as I should. Nonetheless, I still feel that this line has been helping considerably. * Side note: You may be thinking, “Great, but my issue is hair loss, not breakage”. I thought the same thing. But when you are suffering from hair loss, do not under estimate the importance of keeping the hair you have!  http://www.aveda.com/products/8655/Hair-Care/Hair-Concern/thinning-solutions/index.tmpl

 

Best for Damaged and Dry hair


 

  • Phyto 7 and Phyto Revitalizing Serum

Phyto 7 is kinda like Moisturizer for your hair

Phyto 7 is kinda like Moisturizer for your hair

Found at Nordstrom, Sephora, and Ulta, these products are one of the reasons that I still HAVE hair over the years of bleach and abuse. My favorite by far is the Phyto 7 Day Cream. Not as heavy as an oil this can be used easily on dry hair without making it look heavy or greasy. I’ve also liked the treatment serum, packaged in ampules and used twice a week on the scalp.   http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/phyto-7-daily-hydrating-cream/2832082

 

  • Aveda’s Damage Remedy line

Here's me with Peg, the owner of the AVEDA store at San Tan Village that I frequent

Here’s me with Peg, the owner of the AVEDA store at San Tan Village that I frequent

These fantastic products are sort of expensive, but I worth every penny. Using proteins to repair damage, this line consists of a Reconstructive Shampoo and conditioner, a daily repair leave in conditioner, and an intensive treatment mask. I’ve been using this product family for a few years since they launched, and would highly recommend them. http://www.aveda.com/products/5232/Collections/Damage-RemedyTM/index.tmpl

 

 

 

I’ll post additional hair products soon… In the meantime, stay fabulous my friends!

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Treatments that are a Treat: Botox in the Bands, A.K.A. the ‘Nefertiti Lift’

Here is a post I wrote for the office on one of our more popular treatments =) If you haven’t tried it yet, get ready to be impressed!

chicagoderm

Nefertiti was arguably one of the most famous and beautiful women of the ancient world,  and perhaps one of the very first icons of beauty. One very notable feature is her elegant and long neck, which is complemented by a beautifully defined jawline.

Nefertiti demonstrates a beautiful neck and jawline Nefertiti demonstrates a beautiful neck and jawline

The WHAT: Enter the present-day Nefertiti Lift technique, a contemporary treatment focused on relaxing the depressor action of the platysmal bands (the pulling-down on the neck) and other muscles to re-contour the jawline without surgery.

Dr Quenby Erickson injected BOTOX Cosmetic into the platysmal bands to recontour the neck and jawline without surgery. Dr Quenby Erickson injected BOTOX Cosmetic into the platysmal bands to recontour the neck and jawline without surgery.

The WHY: In short, the platysma basically spreads from the chest up the neck, and to the jaw.  When we age, (and due to genetics) the platysma separates into ropey bands, which can pull downward, exaggerating the jowls and creating the ‘turkey neck’ or ‘gobbler’ effect.

The HOW: During the…

View original post 116 more words

Before and After: My Obagi Transformation

I think the Spring season gets a lot of credit for renewal and transformation, but Fall is really when I (and clients/patients alike) really get in the mood for change. The summer can be a time when we drop off of our strict regimens and become a bit lax… with schedules, eating, bedtime, skin care, and who-knows-what else.

In my opinion, there seems to be something about the changing colors, the crispy air, and the earlier nightfall that seems to make us all think: ‘OK, these summer freckles are bothering me. Time for a change’, or ‘Hey!! I’m suddenly interested in regimented self-care again’. I myself jumped back onto full time Obagi use a couple of weeks ago, and I thought I would share my slightly embarrassing before and after pictures from my first time using the Obagi Nu Derm system. (about 7 or 8 years ago)

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 11.48.57 AM

Yup. You are right to be impressed.

I had some issues, as you can see. It’s especially tough to have skin trouble when you are a professional aesthetician. After all, how are you supposed to recommend treatments and products for your practice’s patients when your own skin is terrible??

Notice the acne, the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (red spots left-over from acne), melasma (patchy-brown above my lip and on my forehead), freckles, and uneven tone.

I used the Nu Derm system with tretinoin .1% (hardcore!!) religiously for 18 weeks, followed by a maintenance regimen. What a life-changing transformation this was for me! I am so thankful for this line, and have many, many happy clients who would agree.

So if you are in the mood for change yourself, join me in fall transformation! Start using that night-time product instead of falling asleep on the couch at night, jump into that Zumba class, or finally organize your closet by color; whatever blows your hair back! :)

Check out Obagi Medical’s website here to learn more about nu derm, and until next time: Stay Fabulous My Friends!

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Fun Find: Every Drop Beauty Spatula

Have you ever resented the fact that you can’t reach the bottom of the bottle to get the last drop of really-great-and/or-expensive-fill-in-the-blank product to get the last bit? I have heard anecdotes over the years of women prying open a container of TNS Recovery Complex (and many others) with a pair of pliers. This is probably hazardous… (at the very least you at risk breaking a nail) and is likely not the experience you desire when using a fabulous, cosmetically elegant, and likely expensive-as-heck product.

Don’t be angry at the bottle. It IS just a bottle, after all.  Just get this “Every Drop” Beauty Spatula!

 Don't get angry, get Spatula!

Don’t get angry, get Spatula!

I came across this miniature silicone spatula with when I opened my new ‘the Container Store’ Stocking-Stuffer catalog that came in the mail today. Genius!

The unique shape is designed to reach under the lip of a jar to get every last drop.  It’s washable (reusable) and has a long handle to reach into really skinny/tall bottles or jars. The cherry on top: It’s only $4.99, and is made in the USA. And really, what else do you possibly want from a spatula?!

Happy Shopping! Stay Fabulous, My Friends!

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Va, Va VOLUMA

So excited! …Where do I start??

Ok, I’ll start here: Yesterday, Allergan (makers of BOTOX Cosmetic) announced that they have FDA approval for the first filler specifically formulated for the cheeks. Our new friend’s name is  JUVÉDERM® VOLUMA™. This new glorious Hyaluronic Acid (HA) filler is made with Allergan’s proprietary VYCROSS(TM) technology. VYCROSS (TM) is a manufacturing method **cross-linking** that makes this HA super-duper smooth and long-lasting.

Another cool fact: Voluma is like the can’t-stop, won’t-stop, marathon-runner of HA fillers: it can last for 2 years with optimal treatment… which is much longer than others.

By the way, did you know that HA is a sugar that naturally occurs in the skin? SWEET!

ImageHere’s a link to Allergan’s Voluma Page, and here’s one to the Press Release.

You can also click here to see one of my posts about volume restoration in the aging face. 

Va, Va, Voluma! Ow, owwww!

Va, Va, Voluma!
Ow, owwww!

Oh, and this filler product comes with pre-mixed with Lidocaine (numbing agent). ……….OR without, if you are crazy like that. (kidding… totally kidding!)

Remember to always talk to your doctor about your candidacy for treatments and give your doc the most updated health history info every time you see them.

Until next time, stay fabulous my friends!

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BOTOX for Babies- Part 5: Request the red carpet treatment

Have you been nervous to try an injectable because of bruising or discomfort? Read on…

There is a TOTAL laundry list of ways to avoid little bruises or lessen the slight (and temporary) discomfort from an injectable cosmetic treatment, but here is one of my tips based on my experiences in the office:

Ask for the VIP (filler) treatment:

Ever thought you could get Juvederm, Restylane, or other soft-tissue filler without the scary needle? Well you can, if your doctor uses blunt-tipped cannulas. Blunt-tipped cannulas are like the more innocent, duller cousin of the dreaded sharp needle. They aren’t sharp, so they won’t poke around and upset the tissue.  Check out my other post on Dermasculpt Cannulas here, a brand of a blunt-tipped cannula. 

If your doc uses them, ask if you’re a good candidate- you’ll be glad you did! They allow for less trauma to the area, so that means a more comfortable, smoother treatment with less chance of bruising. This is great for areas like the lips, the naso-labial folds, and the cheeks!

Here is a great video illustrating the difference between the cannula and a needle, they show a close up so it’s really easy to see (Don’t worry if you’re a wimp, they don’t inject anybody in the video- it’s just a neat comparison!)

http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/766021 (warning: you have to create a free account to view it)

it JUST doesn't have to be this way!

it JUST doesn’t have to be this way!

Your doc will likely have specific instructions for you, including post-care. Please note: this post is simply meant to be fun and informative, *not the authority on your health* so please always follow your doctor’s instructions… and NOT what you read on the internet. (yes, this blog included!)

Keep in mind that there are always risks to every procedure, so chat it up with your physician to make sure these procedures are appropriate for you… Until Next time: Stay safe, and fabulous!