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Kitty Care Kit: Brazilian Wax Aftercare Products You Need

Ladies and gentlemen—because it’s 2018 after all and ladies aren’t the only ones who are turning their genitals into smooth criminals—let’s talk about products made especially for our genitals post-waxing. The key to staying smooth weeks after your Brazilian wax can really be broken down in three easy steps: exfoliate, moisturize, and treat! But it’s not enough just to follow those steps, you’ve got to use the right products too. Read on to learn which products should be in your Kitty Care Kit/Penis Care Package.

Exfoliate

For exfoliation, you’ve got your standard loofah and for most people this is enough. But if you’re prone to ingrown hairs or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in your genital area after waxes, you may want to get a pair of exfoliating gloves or a fine pumice stone. With either product, use small, circular motions to exfoliate the area. For the ladies, I personally recommend the exfoliating gloves because you can get into the creases of your vagina with a bit more ease since you’re just using your fingers, essentially, for a gentle exfoliation. The pumice stone works great for the larger areas and inner thighs. Just make sure you aren’t using a coarse pumice stone like the one you might use if you were giving yourself a pedicure. That might hurt a bit.

You can also use a gentle body scrub (pro-tip: go for one that smells great and tastes better!) by massaging into the skin and rinsing throughly. Avoid scrubs with harsh chemicals enzymes as you wouldn’t want to accidentally get any of those ingredients inside your vagina. Trust me. It burns.

Why exfoliate? Exfoliation helps the hair to grow up and out of the skin instead of being trapped beneath, leading to ingrown hairs and bumps. Waxing in and of itself is a form of exfoliation so you’ll want to start your manual exfoliation at least 48-72 hours after a fresh Brazilian wax.

Moisturize

There are a lot of articles online that suggest using coconut oil to moisturize after a Brazilian wax. Please don’t do this. Coconut oil is comedogenic and will actually cause you to have ingrown hairs. Go for a soothing aloe or any non-comedogenic lotion to moisturize the area. If you want to go a completely clean or organic route, lavender and tea tree oils not only help to with inflammation but are antibacterial as well. Eucerin Dry Skin lotion, Aquaphor, and baby oil with aloe are moisturizers I recommend.

Treat

If your wax was a bit painful or if your skin becomes irritated immediately after a Brazilian wax, calming the inflammation is crucial. There are a few ways you can do this. Once you get home, you can apply a cold compress to the irritated area for 10 minutes followed by a topical antihistamine (think hydrocortisone). You could also apply aloe vera gel to the area (and most estheticians apply this immediately after a wax). Lastly, an azulene w/ chamomile oil blend will help to calm irritation as well.

If you’re experiencing breakouts, bumps, and ingrown hairs, there are several products you can try to get your skin back to feeling silky smooth. The first product is Tend Skin which is great for preventing ingrown hairs.  The second product I’d recommend is PFB Vanish + Chromabright. This product helps with both ingrown hairs and the hyperpigmentation that some get as a result. In addition to salicylic acid, this product contains glycolic acid, lactic acid, and camphor oil.

It’s also a good idea to keep some genital-safe antibacterial wipes handy for the first 48 hours immediately following a wax. Especially if the wax lifted your skin as you want to be sure you keep the area clean to prevent infection.

So, to summarize, your Kitty Care Kit/Penis Care Package should have:

  • A good exfoliator (exfoliating gloves, loofah, pumice stone)
  • A good moisturizer
  • A product to treat ingrown hairs/hyperpigmentation/inflammation; and,
  • Antibacterial wipes

Looking for a Brazilian wax service in the Bay Area? Come see me! Send a text to 650-332-4569 to schedule an appointment.

What to Tip Your Esthetician

Let’s talk about tips. Tips have a somewhat complicated history here in America. And today, tipping is still controversial even in the beauty industry. Some people refuse to leave gratuity for beauty professionals while others will only tip $5 no matter what service they receive. Of course, there are people who follow the general suggested American tipping custom between 15%-20% of the service cost. Service industry workers, however, are encouraging their employers and their customers to tip between 18%-25% more recently due to rising costs in healthcare and other expenses that aren’t fully covered or offered as benefits as they would be in a non-service job. Some salons and spas include gratuity in the service price but most don’t. I recently visited On&On spa in Hanalei, Kauai (which I highly recommend!) and they have a “no tip culture”. To put things simply, there is no universal tipping system in place.

As an esthetician who has been blessed to serve an international clientele thanks to the melting pot of talent Silicon Valley has become, I get a lot of questions around tipping. Tipping is not that big of a deal outside of the U.S. and a lot of people just don’t know. The main question I get is “Should I leave a tip?” or “How much should I tip?”.  I’m going to answer both of those questions as best as I can keeping in mind that tipping is always a personal preference. There are some things to consider before taking my advice below as the final say on tipping. First, I live and work in California where the cost of living is exorbitant and my service prices may not reflect the service prices of an esthetician in your state. Secondly, I’m using data from all services offered from the past year (shout out to those Microsoft Excel classes in college), so you’ll see real numbers below. One interesting thing I found is that the quicker the service was, the smaller the tip amount ended up being. For example, for most services, it appears that I was tipped between 18%-20% on average, but for something like a brow wax the gratuity ended up being somewhere between 10%-12% of the service cost. Alternatively, Brazilian/bikini waxes (which also go by relatively quickly) averaged a tip between 20%-25%.

Should I even leave a tip for my esthetician?

Yes. Why? Because the pay structure for estheticians is usually not so amazing. Allow me to explain.

Most estheticians who work in a salon/spa setting are paid hourly and the hourly rate is usually at or hovering just above minimum wage. In California, the average hourly wage for estheticians is somewhere between $12-$15. However, in addition to an hourly wage, many estheticians are also paid a commission but the commission structure varies wildly. There are two main types of commission structures I see in the industry: service-based and performance-based. A service-based commission structure usually pays the esthetician a percentage of the service cost when they perform a service. A performance-based commission structure pays the esthetician based on the number of services they perform within a pay period. Usually, the performance-based structure is a mix between productivity (# of services performed) and the length of the service.

So here’s an example:

SERVICE-BASED: I work at a spa and get paid $14/hour + 30% commission on all services. Let’s say I work 30 hours per week, my average service price is $85, and I perform an average of 6 services per day. At the end of my two-week pay period, I should receive $840 in hourly wages + $1,530 in commission on services (commission pay out was $25.50 per service). My net pay will be $2,370 every two weeks. But, taxes. So the sad reality of take home pay is about $1,717.13 per pay period or $3,434.26 per month.

The average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in the Bay Area is $2,900. So in this example, without tips, the esthetician is barely getting by with $534.26 left over for food, utilities, bills, life.

PERFORMANCE-BASED: I work at a spa and get paid $14/hour on top of a service commission tier where I receive an additional $5 per service if I do 5 or less services in a pay period, $9 per service if I do 6-10 services in a pay period, $11 per service if I do 11-16 services in a pay period, and $22 per service if I do more than 17 services in a pay period. Let’s say I work 30 hours per week and perform an average of 15 services where 10 services are 1 hour and 5 are 30 minutes or less. Because the 30 minute or less services are counted as half a service, I will have a total of 12.5 services for the pay period. So my total commission is $137.50.

On my paycheck, I’ll receive $840 in hourly wages + $137.50 in commission to receive a gross pay of $977.50. But, again, taxes. So the take home pay is $784.16 per pay period or $1,568.32 per month. Whew, chile! Without tips, the esthetician is REALLY struggling.

As you can see, getting paid in the beauty industry can be pretty ugly. Many beauty professional actually rely on tips to make ends meet. The example of the service-based commission is usually offered to seasoned estheticians. Most estheticians just starting out will either receive payment similar to the performance-based structure or be offered a much lower commission on a service-based structure.

Tipping is crucial in this industry and if you like your service and your esthetician, I’d encourage you to tip. In general, estheticians should probably be paid a bit more hourly too but that’s another blog post for another time.

How Much Should I Tip My Esthetician?

Okay, now we’re at the fun part! Below is an actual breakdown of the tips I received on services from the past year. The dollar amount range is the lowest tip I received and the highest tip I received. The percentage range represents the percent of service cost the tip amounts to.

FACIALS
50-minute or less: $20-$25 dollars (16%-20%) | my average tip on this service was $24
70-minute: $25-$30 (16.5%-20%) | my average tip on this service was $28
Chemical Peels/Microdermabrasion: $16-$20 (12%-14%) | my average tip on this service was $18.50

WAXING
Brows: $2-$7 (7%-23%) | my average tip on this service was $5
Lip/chin: $2-$5 (10%-23%) | my average tip on this service was $2
Bikini: $9-$15 (20%-33%) | my average tip on this service was $10
Brazilians: $10-$25 (15%-30%) | my average tip on this service was $20
Back: $10-$20 (15%-30%) | my average tip on this service was $20
Half Legs: $5-$12 (11%-25%) | my average tip on this service was $8
Full Legs: $10-$12 (12%-15%) | my average tip on this service was $10
Half Arms: $2-$10 (7%-30%) | my average tip on this service was $5
Full Arms: $5-$12 (10%-25%) | my average tip on this service was $10
Underarms: $2-$7 (7%-23%) | my average tip on this service was $5

On average, I was tipped between 18%-21% on services.

What’s The Best Way To Tip My Esthetician: Cash, Credit/Debit, or in-kind?

Great question! Cash is the best way to provide a tip not only to your esthetician but anyone working in a service industry. As illustrated in the examples above, the paychecks aren’t lavish. Paying your service provider in cash helps with the cashflow in-between pay periods and alleviates a bit of money-related stress. There’s a lot of money-related stress in this industry because you’re only guaranteed your hourly. Remember: your tips more often than not are what helps many beauty service providers make ends meet. If you don’t have cash on you, ask your esthetician for their Venmo/Square Cash/PayPal name and send it that way.

When you leave a tip on your credit/debit card, your esthetician has to wait to receive it on their paycheck. And that tip immediately gets taxed. Which means those little $2 and $5 tips I got were more like $1.25 and $3.50. So if you do end up tipping on your card, keep that in mind.

There are also many estheticians who accept “in-kind” gifts as a tip. This can be a gift card to Starbucks or tickets to a concert or, well, anything really. This isn’t something I see often but usually will receive some nice gift around the holidays or my birthday.

Well, that’s the skinny on tipping in the beauty industry. How much do you usually tip? Let me know in the comments below.

Self Care Sunday: A Cleaning Guide for Millennials

For me, a clear mind starts with a clean environment. I like to keep the spa in tip-top shape so that my clients can have a relaxed, stress-free experience. And they love it! My clients often remark about the cleanliness of the spa and, to my surprise, ask for tips on how to tidy up their homes. Specifically, they ask about how often they should be cleaning things like makeup brushes or pillow cases but I’ve also been asked about how often one should mop the floors or change their bedding or their oven??? I know, it’s a bit weird to ask your esthetician some of these questions but I totally understand since I, too, am a millennial and have never set foot in a home economics class in my life. So, I’ve decided to make this handy post to reference how often you should clean things.

How often should I clean my makeup brushes?

You should clean your makeup brushes after each use by using a makeup remover wipe and spraying the brushes with an antibacterial makeup brush cleaner. (The Sephora brand makeup brush cleaner is just fine for this and it’s $8.50!) If you’re a daily (or almost daily) makeup wearer, you’ll want to deep clean your makeup brushes once a week.

To deep clean your makeup brushes you’ll want to use a moisturizing dishwashing liquid soap (Dawn is my go-to here) and either a bit of olive oil or grapeseed oil. My method of measurement is two parts dishwashing liquid and one part oil. Swirl your brushes in the mixture and then gently run the bristles of the brush back and forth in the palm of your hand. Rinse under running water until clear. On a clean towel, lay your makeup brushes flat to dry and cover with a paper towel.

Can I clean my beauty blender?

Yes and no. On the surface, you can clean your beauty blenders and remove them of dirt. But it’s more difficult to clean your beauty blenders to rid them of bacteria and fungus. Zapping your beauty blender in the microwave or throwing it in the wash (preferably in a cycle using hot water and bleach) works best for giving your beauty blender the ultimate cleanse. You can also place it in a UV sanitizer once you’ve zapped/washed it to be sure to rid of bacteria and fungus. And you’ll want to do this once per week. Unless you are a MUA looking to use the same beauty blender on multiple clients. Don’t. Use a disposable, please.

Do I need to clean my makeup bag?

Yes, it’s a good idea to wipe your bag and palettes down weekly. You can do so with an antibacterial wipe.

What about cleaning my makeup? How do I do it?

Clean your makeup by spraying your products with 100% isopropyl alcohol and then using a makeup remover wipe to clean. This is imperative for lipsticks, blushes, cream/powder foundations, mascara wands, and any palette makeup.

How often should I clean my phone?

Smartphones are super smart but they can still harbor a world of bacteria that can cause us to breakout. We should aim to clean our phones daily by using an antibacterial wipe made specifically for smart devices. These are easy to find on Amazon (search “wireless wipes” or “zagg wipes antibacterial screen wipes”). Wipe your phone down at the end of each day. And if you want to take things a step further, look for a UV sanitizing light for your device.

When should I change my sheets?

You should change your sheets weekly, according to the experts at the National Sleep Foundation. Why is this? Well, even if you’re wearing pajamas, you still leave skin cells, mites, dust particles, sweat, makeup, etc. while you’re sleeping. Those of us with back acne or keratosis pilaris may be more susceptible to breakouts as a result of this buildup in our sheets than others.

Okay, but what about cleaning my blankets and comforters?

This is where the experts and I don’t quite agree. The National Sleep Foundation recommends cleaning your blankets at least once per quarter (once every three months). I, on the other hand, say clean your blankets and comforters at least once per month. And know your fabrics. Not every blanket and comforter can go in the wash, some have to be taken to the dry cleaners.

…And what about pillows?

Well, your pillow cases will be covered with the whole changing of the sheets weekly thing I mentioned two questions ago. But your actual pillows should be cleaned about once every 6 months according to the National Sleep Foundation. I wash my pillows about once every three months. But this cleaning cycle is totally dependent on use and the pillow itself. Foam pillows can’t be cleaned so you can only replace with new ones. Down pillows should be dry cleaned only.

How often should I change my towels?

You should get a new drying towel (hair/body) after every three uses, a new hand towel every other day, and a new face cloth daily. If you just read that schedule and are feeling completely overwhelmed, changing them weekly is fine too.

When should I clean the bathroom?

Bathrooms should be cleaned twice a week. Just think about it, that’s where all the bacteria happens. And that’s part of the reason experts suggest changing the towels so frequently. You should clean your shower after each use. You should also wipe down the toilet seats, toilet handle, and your faucet nightly with antibacterial/antifungal wipes. The more people in your living space, the more often you should clean.

When should I clean the kitchen?

The kitchen can be cleaned weekly. During your weekly cleaning, you’ll want to sweep and mop the floors, wipe down everything with antibacterial/antifungal wipes (the refrigerator doors, the stove, the microwave, the kettle, everything!), wash the dishes, wash the sponges you use to wash the dishes, sanitize all countertops, etc.

It’s Always Sunny: Your Summer Sunscreen Guide

The number one skin care mistake we all make is our ability to “forget” to use sunscreen. I preach it a lot, so long time readers know this, but just in case you missed the message: you should always be wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 50. But you can’t just use any ol’ sunscreen—each skin type may react to ingredients in sunscreen differently. And it’s also important to pay close attention to the ingredient list in sunscreens. Believe it or not, sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as an over-the-counter drug so what is in them is quite important. Another misconception about sunscreen seems to be that some people need it more than others. That’s simply not true. Everyone needs sunscreen.

The Skinny on Sunscreen

There are two types of sunscreens: chemical and physical. Technically, both sunscreens have chemicals in them but, in this case, a chemical sunscreen blocks UV rays via a chemical reaction on the skin while a physical sunscreen blocks UV rays via scattering and reflecting away from the skin. Chemical sunscreens have recently made big waves in the news as Hawaii became the first state to ban the sale of chemical sunscreens as the ingredients are harmful to marine life (don’t worry, these ingredients are perfectly fine for humans). It’s also important to note that no sunscreen blocks 100% of UVA/UVB rays. An SPF 50 blocks 98% of harmful UV rays.

Top Rated Sunscreens for Summer 2018

Consumer Reports recently released their annual Sunscreen Buying Guide. They tested over 73 sunscreens and 32% of them didn’t quite live up to their protection claims.  Here are the top 5 according to Consumer Reports:

  1. La Roche Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60 ($20)—With a perfect score of 100 for a second year in a row, this sunscreen once again is the darling of the Consumer Reports list.
  2. Equate Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 ($5)—Coming in with a score of 99, this easy drugstore find sunscreen is efficient for your skin health and your wallet.
  3. Bull Frog Quik Gel Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($9)—If you’re planning to be in a super hot climate, this gel-based sunscreen is a winner. Consumer reports gave it a score of 95.
  4. Coppertone Water Babies ($7)—Also with a score of 95, this tried and true favorite is perfect for those with sensitive skin types.
  5. Coppertone Ultra Guard 70 ($7)—If you are headed out to the beach or simply plan on relaxing by a pool, this should be your go-to. With a score of 94, this sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

The Truth About Beauty Sleep

Looking better just by sleeping may sound too good to be true, but there’s science to back up the idea that beauty sleep is more than just a myth.

What Happens to Your Skin When You Don’t Sleep Well

When you don’t get enough sleep, or the quality of your sleep suffers, so does your appearance. People who are sleep deprived look more tired, less healthy, and less attractive than those who sleep well. This is apparent in paler skin, droopier eyelids, and redder eyes.

A study from the University Hospitals Case Medical Center found that chronic poor sleep quality is associated with increased signs of intrinsic aging, diminished skin barrier function, and lower satisfaction with appearance. Women in the study who experienced poor sleep were less able to recover from exposure to ultraviolet light and were overall less happy about their appearance than women who slept well.

How Sleep Helps You Look Beautiful

Getting enough rest helps support a more healthy and beautiful look, particularly when you get enough deep sleep. During deep sleep, your body releases increased growth hormone, which helps repair and rebuild body tissues. It’s during this process that your skin regenerates and refreshes, and stimulates the formation of natural collagen.

During deep sleep, your body ramps up cell production and has a slower breakdown of proteins. During this process, your body works to repair the damage of UV rays, stress, and other things that can age your skin.

Preserving Beauty While Sleeping

Applying beauty products while sleeping gives you the best of both worlds. In recent years, many companies have been putting aloe microbeads into sheets and adding copper flecks to pillowcases. The science of cosmetic bedclothes is still new and unverified but certainly worth checking out – if you can afford it.

  • Aloe Vera Bedclothes. It’s proven that aloe vera is good for the skin. Why not add it to your sheets? Companies have been embedding aloe vera microcapsules into sheets. They don’t release until your weight presses on them. The light layer of aloe vera should give your skin a nice sheen as you slumber.

  • Cooling Pillows and Mattress Toppers. Sleeping is more comfortable at cooler temperatures. Keep your face and body sweat-free by using a cooling pillow and mattress topper.

  • Copper Inflected Pillowcases. Copper claims to reduce crows feet and wrinkles. It is also a natural antibiotic, which may help treat back and face acne. Scientists still haven’t agreed what copper inflected pillowcases can effectively do, but it does sound like a luxurious way to sleep!

*This post was authored byTuck Sleep, a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources.