3 counterintuitive skin care facts your esthetician wants you to know

Our estheticians want to shed light on a few common misconceptions about skincare.  It is easy to see why people get confused because these ideas are sometimes completely counterintuitive!

Myth: The best way to treat excessively oily skin is by drying it out.

Truth: While it seems like drying out oily skin is the best route, skipping moisturizer or using a harsh toner to try to dry skin can actually strip natural oils from the skin causing the skin to over-produce oil to protect itself.  The best option to hydrate oily skin is a serum or gel moisturizer.  These products will absorb quickly and skin won’t “panic” and produce even more oil.

Serums or gels, like the Rhonda Allison Blushed Wine Gel are great light moisturizers to hydrate oily skin.

Serums or gels, like the Rhonda Allison Blushed Wine Gel are great light moisturizers to hydrate oily skin.

Myth: Acids are harsh chemicals and aggressive on skin

Truth: The acids we use in skincare are naturally derived and vary in strength and benefit.  For example, Hyaluronic Acid, which may sound scary, is naturally occurring in the body in synovial (joint) fluid and in the eye.  This acid is used in products to plump and hydrate skin and some medical professionals recommend this for wound and burn healing.  Lactic acid is derived from milk and is beneficial for dry, mature skin and is often used to exfoliate without over-drying.  Some acids are more potent, but just because a product or ingredient is labeled an “acid” doesn’t mean it is scary.

Cassie getting a light facial peel using a variety of acids from our esthetician, Cammie.

Cassie getting a light facial peel using a variety of acids from our esthetician, Cammie.


Myth: If you have true acne, you need a good facial (or body) scrub to help unclog pores.

Truth: True acne occurs when excess skin cells, oil, and debris clog pores, potentially leading to infection.  Using a mechanical scrub over acneic skin may spread bacteria and increase inflammation, worsening the problem.  Depending on the severity of the acne, a chemical exfoliation (don’t let the word “chemical” scare you!) is best.  For example, glycolic or salicylic acids, applied topically as recommended by your esthetician or dermatologist, will help to break down skin cells and excess oil without spreading bacteria or increasing irritation.

Gritty scrubs like those pictured can spread bacteria and further inflame acneic skin.

Gritty scrubs like those pictured above can spread bacteria and further inflame acneic skin. It is best to stick with an acid based exfoliation instead of a manual exfoliation during a breakout.

If you have questions about your skin care or want to find out whether or not something you read online or heard from a friend is accurate, ask your esthetician!  To schedule a facial for an in-depth consultation and treatment, click here.

East Village Spa Proudly Using Rhonda Allison Skin Care!

We have slowly integrated Rhonda Allison skin care products into our facial services this summer, and we are ready to make a full switch in August.  The new clients and long-time facial clients who have tried these products with us love the line as much as we do, but we know many of our clients have questions, so we’d like to answer them here.

Q: Why switch now when you’ve used Derma E so long?

A:  Our clients and estheticians weren’t getting the desired results with Derma E and we wanted a line that offered faster, more dramatic improvements.  Derma E doesn’t offer professional strength products that we can use to add additional refining or potency our facials, but Rhonda Allison has a wide array of products our estheticians can use to customize and enhance their facials to strengthen and refine skin.

Q: How did you choose Rhonda Allison?

A: For months, Camille and Cassie have been consulting with other estheticians and spa owners, researching product lines and ingredients, and having discussions with skin care companies.  Rhonda Allison kept coming out on-top as far as reputation for results, ingredient integrity, and customer satisfaction.  Once we started trying their products and meeting with their educators, the choice was clear.  The clients (and spa employees) who have already made the change with us have affirmed this choice.

Q: Why is the change taking so long? 

A: The Rhonda Allison line is HUGE because it is very customizable.  Our estheticians have been doing training independently and with educators from Rhonda Allison.  The break-room looks like a college library!  Breaks have been spent reading ingredient books, studying products, and taking notes.  In August, Rhonda Allison educators are visiting the spa to provide hands on training in their more intensive products.  It has been really exciting, but time-consuming, to become experts.

Q: Will you continue to carry Derma E?  Will you be having a clearance sale?

A: No.  We will discontinue all of our Derma E products, but you can still purchase them online through the manufacturer and at health food stores.  We will be providing free facials and donating the rest of our Derma E inventory to the women residing at the Beacon of Life Shelter in Des Moines to help them with their unique skin care needs.

Q: What about your Farmhouse Fresh facial products?

A: We will continue to carry the Farmhouse Fresh line as an alternative line.  We love their products for the Farmhouse Fresh Hydrating Back Facial and for the 30 minute Express Facial.  We’re creating a fun and whimsical package that includes the Farmhouse Fresh Back Facial AND a 30 minute Farmhouse Fresh mini facial with our new skincare menu.  These products are also ideal for people who are just looking for a fun facial without making a big change in their routine or skin (i.e. our out-of-town guests).

Q: When can I get a facial with Rhonda Allison Products?

A: Now!  Camille and Cassandra are fully trained, Hannah will be offering Rhonda Allison Facials starting later in July, and Cammie will be offering them in August.  Lydia will no longer be offering facial services as she prepares for her move to California this fall. She hasn’t trained on Rhonda Allison due to her moving plans, but she recommends any of our other excellent and experienced estheticians.

Q: I liked Derma E because it was natural.  Is Rhonda Allison Natural?

A: Yes.  Rhonda Allison is known as a leader in natural, scientific-based skincare.  Read more here.  The website is a wealth of info about ingredients.

Q: Will your facials change much other than the products?

A: You can still expect a super-relaxing experience.  You’ll notice more active ingredients (meaning you might feel them working…this is GOOD!)  Our facials are also getting longer due to the nature of the professional-use-only products used to refine and improve skin.  We’ll be incorporating more relaxation techniques into the treatments due to the longer time the products require to work.  Yay!  We will adjust prices September 1 as needed for the longer services and better quality ingredients, but we will honor all gift cards purchased prior to September 1 for the old price (so stock up on gift cards now!)

Q: What about peels?

A: We typically don’t suggest peels in the summer due to sun exposure post-peel.  We are taking a temporary hiatus from peels until our estheticians are trained in the more effective skin refining procedures from Rhonda Allison in August.  We’ll be ready to help transform your skin this fall!  Click here for the Rhonda Allison before and after photo gallery!  We won’t be offering all of the services in the photo gallery (due to licensing and regulation) but you can expect amazing results.

Book your facial now and request the Rhonda Allison line!

Are your products doing what you THINK they are?

We all want to get a great value, but I’m amazed by how many friends, family members, and clients are not getting the results they should from certain products or treatments, but are reluctant to change.  Here are a few I’ve caught recently.   I’ve really been re-thinking a few of my own product choices lately too.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Moisturizers with SPF

I read an article online recently quoting a dermatologist who recommends sunscreen only as opposed to facial moisturizers that include sunscreens.  It made really good sense, actually. I had always felt fine knowing that my beloved Derma E BB Creme has SPF 25.  BUT…the dermatologist argued that for sunscreens to work, they have to be applied liberally to the skin. I only dot the BB Creme where I need help evening my skin tone.   Many people who use moisturizers with SPF only dot them where needed and certainly don’t apply heavily under make-up.  This is fine for walking from Gong Fu to the spa, but not for prolonged sun exposure.  I need to invest in Derma E’s facial sun screen in addition!

Hand Cream for Nails and Cuticle Care

For dry skin on the hands, hand cream is a must, but most lotions are too heavy to do much to help dry cuticles and peeling nails because the molecules are too big to be effective.  A cuticle oil with smaller molecules is more appropriate as it will absorb quicker to moisturize dry cuticles can even penetrate through nail polish to hydrate nails underneath.  Clients who complain that their Shellac chips after a few days of wear but refuse to use an oil designed for cuticles that can penetrate through gel polishes because they believe their thick hand cream can do it all won’t get the results they want.  Fortunately, a mini bottle of Solar Oil is less than $3 and will help keep nails from peeling underneath Shellac and will work wonders on dry cuticles and overall nail appearance.  Partner the cuticle oil WITH your favorite hand cream for the rest of your skin, you’ll be looking like a hand model in no time.

Daily Exfoliation Cleansers:

You only need to exfoliate 1-2x/week with a good exfoliation product like Derma E’s Microdermabrasion Scrub.  Daily cleansers with plastic beads are not doing enough to exfoliate, some drug store scrubs that are promoted for daily use are far too harsh due to the jagged edges of the abrasive ingredient.  Even a good quality exfoliation product should not be used more than twice weekly.

Callus removing tools

Many people mistakenly believe that metal blades to shave or scrape calluses are the most effective way to remove them, but in reality, these harsh tools actually can damage skin leading to scarring and harder calluses as the skin works to repair itself.  In many states, including Iowa, Credo Blades (metal callus razors) are  illegal in nail salons so if you see one, RUN!

If you have hard calluses that are bothering you, the safest way to soften them is to use a gentle foot file like the ones we give you during your pedicures at the spa regularly in the shower, but not TOO aggressively.  Products like Farmhouse Fresh Honey Heel Glaze can also gently soften calluses.  Our calluses do serve a purpose in protecting our feet, especially for runners, walkers, and people who like to wear sandals or walk barefoot, so it is important to leave some callus!

Epsom Salt Baths:

We are total advocates for baths with Kneipp aromatherapy salts or Epsom Salts (even the drugstore epsom salts!) but you can get too much of a good thing.  Some people mistakenly believe that salt baths soften the skin, but in truth, they can be quite drying, especially when combined with the hot water.  If you take baths regularly, either add a softening agent to the bath in addition to your salt like a light bath oil (almond or jojoba) or the Kneipp Skin Soft Almond Bath, or be sure to rinse the salts off briefly after a soak and apply a good moisturizer.

Top 5 products your skin needs this winter

It happens to all of us…you finally settle on a great skin care regimen and your skin feels awesome.  Then the dry winter air strikes and it seems like your products are no longer working like they should.  To get the best skin care results in the winter months, Camille Arbegast, our managing esthetician, shared 5 tips:

1. Switch up your cleanser.  A gel based or acne cleanser may have been what you needed during the humid summer months, especially if your summer activities lead to dirt and debris on your face.  In the winter when skin is more irritated, a switch to a soothing cream or hydrating cleanser may be the ticket to calm down skin that feels itchy and tight.

2. Use a microdermabrasion scrub.  This scrub can be more abrasive if used dry, or gentler if used in the shower or by adding water.  It is ideal to slough off dead skin so you are better able to absorb moisturizers, serums, or masks.  Do not over-do it though!  Once to twice a week is all you need to exfoliate!

Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub East Village Spa3. Try a hydrating mask designed to nourish and replenish skin.  This is a great switch for a hydrating boost, especially if you have regularly been using a drying mask like a clay mask.  Derma E’s Hydrating Mask with Hyaluronic Acid can work as a face or hand mask.  And Farmhouse Fresh’s Honey Heel Glaze is like a miracle mask to soften and hydrate dry feet and hands.

Farmhouse Fresh Honey Heel Glaze hand and foot mask4. Use a proper moisturizer designed for the face.  Hydrating day and night creams are great for daily moisturizing.  Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid which draws moisture to the skin like a magnet.  Avoid creams with pore-clogging petroleum derived ingredients like mineral oil or paraffin.

5. Don’t forget your cuticle oil!  Dry cuticles are not only unsightly, but tears around the nails can lead to pain and even infection.  Use cuticle oil morning and night to keep your nails and the skin around them healthy.  And don’t forget gloves to help protect skin from dry, windy winter weather.  Cuticle oil and protecting nails with gloves will also go a long way to preserve a CND Shellac manicure so you can get a full two weeks wear!  Dry, brittle nails and cuticles make it easier for the polish to chip.

Our favorite cuticle oil: CND Solar Oil

Our favorite cuticle oil: CND Solar Oil

Poison ivy? Please reschedule your spa visit.

“Leaves of Three, Let them Be!”

As a massage therapist and spa owner, I have to tell you that one of my biggest fears is contagious skin conditions, which is why we take extra precautions.  Something that drives us nuts is when a client comes in trying to hide poison ivy or casually doesn’t mention it until we undrape the affected area hoping if we don’t notice their rash, they can still get their service.  I can personally recall at least two clients who have tried to downplay their poison ivy, one stating “Oh, you can go ahead and massage right over it, I think the lotion will feel good.”  No, thank you!

Fortunately, we can quickly spot a rash and end treatment.  What is scary though, is that in many cases, a rash won’t appear for up to 72 hours after exposure to poison ivy, which means that a person may still have contagious oil from the plant on their skin, but it might not be visible to them or others. 

If you get a massage, facial, or nail service and have oil from a poison ivy plant on your skin, we could not only be spreading the oil to our own skin and onto a larger area of your skin, but even after washing with regular soap and water, we could still  potentially spread that oil to other guests as poison ivy requires the use of a special soap to remove the oil.

If you suspect that you have come into contact with poison ivy, even if you don’t yet have a visible rash, we ask that you play it safe and reschedule your appointment.  As long as you give us at least some notice so we can try to fill your appointment time we’ll happily waive the no-show fee in appreciation of you helping us to keep you, your therapist, and other spa guests safe!

For a really good article on avoiding and treating poison ivy, click here.  We hope you all have lots of fun outdoors this season and don’t stumble into anything scary or itchy during your gardening, camping, or other outdoor adventures!

Copyright © East Village Spa 2014 All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced without East Village Spa’s express consent. Our photography may not be used in any manner without our express written consent. Backlinks and sharing with the buttons at the bottom of the page are allowed.

What you really want to know about Brazilian waxing…

SPRING BREAK…Woo Hoo!  This is the first week in a long time we’re having more than one day of sunshine in a row, the ground is more grass (mud) than snow, and people are getting ready to show some skin at the beach (and presumably not the beaches of Gray’s Lake.)

Every year our spring break appointments book solid with body waxing.  Many guests are new to waxing so I thought this would be the perfect time to answer some questions we know everyone wants to ask but might be afraid to!

A leg wax (sorry, no photos of a bikini wax!)

Q: Okay, do many people ACTUALLY wax everything?
A: We do far more Brazilian waxes (the whole bikini area, even “between the cheeks”) than just bikini (outside the swimsuit only) and betweenie (custom bikini) combined.  So yes.  Also, this week alone, we had 27 bikini and Brazilian waxes on our schedule!

Q: What is my esthetician thinking during my wax?
A: Probably that she’s jealous of you if you’re going on vacation somewhere fun in the next week!  Seriously though, a wax gives our estheticians a chance to chat and joke around with clients instead of working silently like they do during facials.  They are all really social people and love getting to know their wax clients.  They have been at this for YEARS and wax women of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  They have seen LOTS more lady bits than you have (unless you are an esthetician or a doctor) and I assure you, whatever yours look like will look normal to them.  They know that you are coming in for a wax BECAUSE you have hair you want to remove, they aren’t judging you for having hair in your bikini area!

Q: What does my esthetician wish their clients knew:

A: They want clients to know the benefit of choosing a safe salon for their waxing and they wish you knew what they knew about how some other places skimp on sanitation.  Products are expensive so many salons/spas try to reduce waste by “double dipping” or re-using the wooden applicator by re-dipping it into the wax after applying wax to your skin.  This is gross.  No matter what a wax claims, it isn’t hot enough to kill bacteria (it would burn you!), rather it is warm enough to harbor bacteria!  You don’t want the same wax that touched another client’s nether regions to be used on your upper lip, do you? 

Also…we wear gloves as much for your protection as for ours.  If you go to an esthetician that isn’t wearing gloves during a Brazilian wax (or any wax!) get out! It would weird you if your gynecologist didn’t wear gloves, right? One of our employees worked for another spa that told her if she wanted gloves for waxing, she had to buy them. WHAT?!?

Lastly, we know that tending to personal hygiene before a service is not only courteous to your esthetician, but important to reduce your risk of infected in-grown hairs.  Those people who bike to their brazilian wax appointments on a hot day or come straight from the gym run a much higher risk of irritation or infection from the bacteria introduced to newly waxed skin.  We offer cleansing wipes to use prior to your service and we require you to cleanse the area to be waxed, but if you’re going to put on gym clothes again afterward, it is really a moot point.  Please shower between your workout and your wax and everyone will be happier!

Q: Do I really need to grow my hair out to get a wax?
A: Yup.  If hair isn’t AT LEAST 1/4 inch long, it won’t catch in the wax and you’ll be disappointed with the results.  If hair is too short, we’ll ask you to reschedule.  Please do not shave the day or week before your wax (you’d be surprised how often this happens!)

Q: Honestly…will this hurt?
A: Honestly…yes.  We are pulling out hair from the roots.  We do use “hard” or “Stripless” wax which is far more gentle on sensitive areas.  Unlike the wax you usually see that requires a white strip of fabric on the top to adhere to the wax (ideal for large areas like back or leg waxing), hard wax hardens around the hair but not the skin so doesn’t require strip to remove it.  It is the industry standard for safe hair removal in Brazilian waxing.  We also offer a “no scream cream” that you can purchase and apply 40 minutes prior to your wax to reduce 50-80% of the sting.  We have also found that women who are about to menstruate or who are pregnant tend to be more sensitive.  Lastly, we do not recommend taking pain killers or alcohol prior, especially those that can increase a risk of bruising.  We need to know if the wax is too hot or too uncomfortable.  Regular waxing clients report that it gets much easier with each wax.

Q: Do you judge people who just prefer to keep the hair they were born with?

A: Heck no!  It is all personal preference and everything is awesome.  Please don’t feel like you need to wax because someone else is pressuring you to, it is a personal decision and you should choose to get a wax because YOU want to, not because someone says you need to.  Our estheticians don’t want you to feel like they think you should wax, but they want to be available for people who choose to remove hair safely.

One of our 3 wax rooms

If you have any questions we didn’t answer, be sure to check our Waxing FAQs on the website!

Copyright © East Village Spa 2014 All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced without East Village Spa’s express consent. Our photography may not be used in any manner without our express written consent. Backlinks and sharing with the buttons at the bottom of the page are allowed.

Skin care advice our younger (age 10-17) guests

Today we were visited by the 5th grade girls group from the Young Women’s Resource Center.  Our desk manager, Brittany, is a mentor for this weekly group and we decided that who better to teach the girls about basic skin care (and spa careers!) than Brittany’s co-workers!

While preparing for our visitors, Lydia and Cassandra spent awhile researching and sharing with me good advice for anyone, but ESPECIALLY girls who are just starting to develop changes in their skin.  Please pass along their great questions and our estheticians’ answers to any young people (and their parents) that you know who are needing skin care advice!

Q: What’s a pimple? 

A: A pimple is a clogged pore.  A pimple becomes a whitehead when it worsens and the oil can’t get to the surface.  You’ll see a white dot at the tip which means it is ready to be extracted (by a professional!)  A blackhead is a pore clogged by bacteria that turns dark when exposed to air.  Contrary to common belief, it is not caused by “dirt.”

Q: Do I have to wash my face EVERY day?
A: We recommend washing your face morning and night.  At night, you’re sleeping for 7-8 hours (or more!) and that gives plenty of time for any bacteria and oil left on your face time to clog your pores.  It is also important to wash your face or at least to use a cleansing wipe after gym class or sports practice.

Q: How does bacteria get on your face?
A: Think of all the things we touch every day, then we touch our face!  Our phones have more bacteria than most toilet seats (really! ICK!) and our pillow cases also harbor lots of oil from our hair and bacteria.  Regularly washing your hands, wiping off your phone, and changing your pillow case is a great way to help reduce bacteria on your skin.  Also try not to touch your face.

Q: What else causes me to get pimples?
A: Genetics, hormonal changes, some medications, bacteria, and the use of cheaper/greasy make-up that can clog pores are common causes of pimples.

Q: Should I pop a pimple?
A: NO!  If you are getting lots of pimples, you’ll want to see a dermatologist (skin care doctor) or an esthetician (a person with education and a license educate you about skin care and provide facials).  If you get an occasional pimple, you might be able to treat it with a clay type mask and/or a bit of a clearing spot treatment.  If you pick at your pimples, you run the risk of getting a scar or introducing an infection once bacteria gets into the sore you leave behind.

Scenes from our YWRC group visit

If you would like to help a young person (ages 10-17) learn more about skin care, we recommend booking the Express Facial (30 minutes, $40) or the Wellness Facial (50 minutes, $65).  Our younger visitors love our licensed estheticians and really listen to their great advice!  We also have Derma E samples on hand, feel free to stop in and ask for some to take home for your younger family members to test out.

Copyright © East Village Spa 2014 All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced without East Village Spa’s express consent. Our photography may not be used in any manner without our express written consent. Backlinks and sharing with the buttons at the bottom of the page are allowed.

A one-two punch for breakouts

I’ve been experiencing some pretty painful occasional breakouts and today I overheard Lydia discussing a similar issue with a client.  She recommended that the client use the Derma E Exfoliating Mask to draw out oil and purge impurities that are clogging pores so that they can be treated on the surface of the skin with extractions or the Derma E Very Clear Spot Treatment, a great topical treatment for occasional break-outs with tea tree oil to calm redness and inflammation.

The mask is great for a full face treatment once a week (I recommend masking while you soak in a hot tub so the steam can help open your pores!) or can be used to just spot treat areas of break out so you don’t dry out areas of your face without clogged pores or excess oil.

If you have questions or are also dealing with breakouts from hormonal changes, weather changes, sports, or just generally have breakout-prone skin, give us a call and chat with one of our estheticians or better yet, book a Wellness Facial for guidance plus professional deep pore extractions.

Copyright © East Village Spa 2014 All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced without East Village Spa’s express consent. Our photography may not be used in any manner without our express written consent. Backlinks and sharing with the buttons at the bottom of the page are allowed.