Thursday, June 3, 2021

MAKEUP YOUR MIND (AND FACE)

Honestly, sometimes I forget about the fact that makeup is a part of my business. I essentially "retired" from event makeup after doing my cousin's wedding in 2019. I felt like I'd lost my passion for it, really. It's funny, because my love of makeup was what inspired me to go to esthetics school in the first place. But as I studied, my interests shifted toward skincare. It wasn't until a few months ago that I started to feel like I missed it. By then, I'd dismantled most of my professional kit and either gave away or tossed things. I'm working on rebuilding my kit, but it's not my highest priority right now. I do still offer one on one lessons where I can guide you on how to do your own makeup, but other than that, I'm hoping to have things in place for the holiday season!

While you have all heard me talk about the reasons I don't recommend drugstore skincare, I happen to love a ton of drugstore makeup. Don't get me wrong, I own several Urban Decay palettes and have tried every $30 mascara under the sun, but there are so many amazing things available right at your local CVS. Of course, this is based on my own experience (with my own face and the faces of those I've worked on over the years), but everyone is different. Many drugstores have great return policies, so if something doesn't work for you, you can easily get your money back. 

Let's start with the eyes. First, you'll need great brows (booking an appointment at Cherrie Darling Beauty will help you there 😁 ). Once they're shaped properly, you have options on how you want to fill them in. I've been absolutely loving the Maybelline Brow Fast Sculpt Gel for the past year or so, and it's less than $10 at the drugstore. Prior to using it, I was a diehard Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz fan...but that retails for $24. Why do I love the Maybelline product so much? First, it's a gel so it does hold the brow in place. It comes in several shades (I use the lightest) and you control the application. It can act similar to a pencil or a powder and fill in the sparse areas where skin is peeking through, but the reason I love it is that unlike pencil or powder, it also covers the actual brow hair as well! As I've aged, I've noticed that some of my brow hairs are turning white. This is completely normal, but I prefer to use the brow gel to cover those hairs. If you're not sold on that product, fear not! I also love NYX Cosmetics brow products. Their Eyebrow Cake Powder comes in a small palette that includes a spoolie brush and an angled application brush. They also have a Micro Brow Pencil that is similar to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, but for just $10. What will work best for YOU depends on preference. Try them all and return what you're not into!

Next, you'll want to apply your eyeshadow. You might need to use a primer (eyelids get oily and tend to cause creasing with eyeshadow). As far as shadows go, I'd start with Rimmel, NYX, and LA Girl Cosmetics-all super inexpensive. Brushes are important, so having a fluffier brush to blend and a firmer brush to apply is helpful. ELF makes some great ones. 

Eyeliner wise, I like the versatility of Maybelline's black gel liner. I use a liner brush to apply and it's really creamy and easy to use. You can always smudge it out into a smokey eye if you make a mistake! For liquid liner, I like NYX Epic Ink. If you're a regular pencil fan, LA Girl makes my favorite!

I've tried a million mascaras and I always always always go back to L'Oreal Voluminous. It gives length and volume, doesn't flake or smudge, and doesn't get clumpy unless you're putting too many coats. Give it a try!  

Pro Tip: I always apply eye makeup before face makeup because if there's any fallout from the shadows or I need to use makeup remover to tweak something, you're not starting everything all over!

Onto the face-I truly don't love wearing foundation, but if I had to choose a drugstore foundation, it would be L'Oreal True Match. If you don't need foundation but still want to even out skin tone, I suggest a BB cream instead. I love Maybelline's BB cream, though I do wish they had a lighter shade. Their lightest shade is still a smidge too dark for me, but if I blend it out well it works fine. Humans come in lots of different shades, so you may find yourself having to buy two so you can mix. 

My favorite concealer ever is also L'Oreal True Match. It doesn't apply too heavy but also covers well! If you need a corrector, Wet N Wild makes a good one. If my dark circles are looking crazy, I apply some corrector and then top with concealer. A little goes a long way here. Always remember to set your concealer with powder!

Pro Tip: Apply foundation first, and then concealer. Otherwise the concealer will just rub away the foundation!

My favorite powder EVER is Rimmel's Stay Matte. It's like $4 and it's fantastic. Gently press this into areas where your skin gets oilier and lightly dust on any other areas. I also quite like Rimmel's bronzer because it's like their regular powder formula, wears well, and is not sparkly. 

If you're into blush, NYX makes my favorite. If you like a bit of shimmer in your blush, Milani blush would be more your speed.

Wet N Wild makes great highlighters-use sparingly, those things are bright!

Not everyone is a lip product fan, but WHEW do I love lipstick so much. It's such a fun way to play with your look. Now that I'm nearing my mid 30s, lipliner is necessary. I like the formula from NYX or Rimmel, and I always blend the lipliner in toward the lips so that there's not a harsh line. My favorite drugstore formulas are from Flower Beauty and NYX Cosmetics. I've had my lipstick last all day using those formulas! If you love a matte lip, NYX is your best bet. If you're a gloss person, try NYX Butter gloss! There are lots of colors and it's a comfortable formula.

If you've ever walked through the cosmetics section of your local drugstore, you know that I've barely touched on the options that are available to you. There are SO many! I'm well aware that what has worked in my experience may not work for you-but if you're looking for a place to start, I hope I've given you some worthy suggestions. As far as application goes, that's tough to do in a blog post. I'm hoping to make a series of videos sometime this year-filming equipment is definitely on my (never ending) list! Let me know if I've suggested something that you also love, or if you have any suggestions that I haven't listed that I can share with everyone. I'm always on the hunt to try something new!


love & lipstick,

Cherrie



Wednesday, March 3, 2021

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW



As y'all know, skincare is a huge part of my life. If I'm not working with clients in my skincare business, I'm either learning about skincare or using it myself (sometimes simultaneously!). The rest of my time is spent between cups of coffee and glasses of wine, but that's neither here nor there. Point is, skincare isn't merely a hobby for me.

I've tried many brands over the years, and if you're a person who has ever scrolled through Instagram or strolled through Sephora, you know that there's no shortage of them. I was introduced to Image Skincare while attending Atelier Esthetique Institute in NYC and was impressed with the size of the line. They offer a ton of options. I use several of their products in my regular routine and it's been a staple in my studio since my business began. But of course, no line is completely perfect. I started looking for another line to add, but it needed to check several boxes. I needed a professional, affordable line that offered more mask options and couldn't be too similar to Image so that I could ensure that there was enough variety. I discovered Skin Script, which is one of the most affordable, effective, education focused skincare brands I've ever heard of. There's a reason it's so popular with estheticians. For years, I used those two lines in the studio, but I still felt something was missing. Both Image and Skin Script are great, but in my opinion they don't offer enough products that are geared toward sensitive skin. In early 2020, I discovered Hale & Hush, which is a brand that focuses on sensitive skin, and I loved it so much I bought every product they offer. I was almost perfectly happy! Almost...

Options are important to me. I love to be able to help improve any skin issue that comes my way. And even though the three lines I'd been using were great, I still felt like I wanted more. Enter Circadia! Circadia is a well respected brand, and for good reason. Its founder, Dr. Peter Pugliese, "was the first physician of his caliber to dedicate decades of research to understanding the skin and its ability to deliver clinical and relevant information on product development." In short, he knew his stuff. Circadia's lab actually creates the formulations for many of skincare's top brands, including theirs of course. From their website:

    Circadia professional skincare is based on the skin and body’s natural Circadian rhythms. Chronobiology, the biology of time, is based on the principles of defending skin from damage during the day, and stimulating repair during sleep, and is at the core of our concept. Circadia has been a pioneer in bringing the concept of Circadian rhythms to the health and wellness industry.

Circadia’s formulations combine pure botanicals, stem cell technology, second generation vitamins, and innovative peptide development to achieve optimal skin health and beauty. The Circadia Collection offers unique treatment options such as chemical peel alternatives, innovative delivery systems and patented ingredient technology exclusive to Circadia resulted in documented performance. Our concept allows us to deliver science and nature in perfect rhythm.

Cool stuff, right? Okay, enough of that. Let's get to the good stuff-the standout products!

Micro Exfoliating Honey Cleanser: my god, this cleanser smells like heaven. I know that it says "exfoliating" and it is (due to the little beads of natural beeswax), but you can press the product together in your palms to reduce the beads and therefore the exfoliation. Or if you have super sensitive skin, you can alternate using this cleanser with another. Trust me, you're going to love this. It'll be in the treatment room very soon and I'll prove it to you!

Chrono Calm Serum: When I put this on my skin for the first time, I was shocked by how amazing it felt. It's not too thick or thin, and your skin immediately looks and feels better upon application. A gorgeous glow that also soothes irritated skin, plus reduces redness and dilated capillaries. Probably my favorite serum I've ever tried from any line, if I'm being honest (which I am, of course).

Light Day Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 37: I'm picky about sunscreens. The only one that I truly have loved before is Image Skincare's Prevention+, but I absolutely love Circadia's just as much. It has a lighter feeling on the skin than any SPF moisturizer that I've tried, and exclusive stabilizers that help to reduce the irritation that some sunscreens can cause. It's perfect for everyone, and if you've tried a ton of sunscreens and haven't been happy with any of them, I bet you'll end your search after taking this one for a spin. 

AquaPorin Hydrating Cream: This cream has a bunch of effective hydrating agents, which (obviously) boosts skin's moisture and helps prevent TEWL (transepidermal water loss). Basically, it's great for achieving and/or maintaining a healthy skin barrier and keeps your skin feeling hydrated and soft.

Bright White Serum: If you have pigmentation issues, this is your best bet. Pigmentation is not an issue that can be solved once a month in the treatment room. You absolutely have to have products in your skincare arsenal to combat it and you have to be religious about sunscreen application to make those products even worth buying. If you're serious about reducing pigmentation and willing to dedicate your life to SPF and hats in order to achieve those results, this is the serum for you.

Myo Cyte Plus Anti Wrinke Serum: This serum stimulates the regeneration of collagen and elastin, which are key to youthful looking skin. Now, I always like to include a little reminder that aging is a completely normal process and there is nothing wrong with it. However, I like to do my best to slow down that process and many other people feel the same way. If you're one of them, this serum is a great addition to your routine.

Vitamin C Reversal Serum: Even if you're just a skincare newbie, you've still likely heard about Vitamin C's importance to skin. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, helps boost collagen production, helps brighten, helps boost your SPF...it's kind of like skincare's little black dress. Every skincare line has a Vitamin C product, but not all are created equal. Some people react to Vitamin C because it can be strong, but this serum has been formulated to reduce the likelihood of that happening-yay! I'd bathe in this Vitamin C serum if I could.

I could go on and on, but there are way too many products for me to discuss. Feel free to check out Circadia's website and see what they have to offer. There are also some great before and afters if you want to see the magic for yourself.

I will slowly be adding Circadia products into the treatment room and I can't wait for you to experience them. I've received amazing feedback about the cocoa enzyme and the marshmallow whip mask used in February's specials, so I have high hopes that you'll love the line as much as I do. I've personally tested several professional only products and am very much looking forward to getting them on your faces! In the meantime, if you have any questions about Circadia or want to add some of their products to your routine, please let me know. I'm happy to help! Ordering is super easy, and a little birdie has told me that anyone who gets an order drop shipped to them also receives a free at home facial kit...message me for details!

love & lipstick (& SPF always),

Cherrie

cherriedarlingbeauty.glossgenius.com

instagram.com/cherriedarlingbeauty

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

On my consultation form, I have a question that asks, "If you had a magic wand, what would your skin look like in one month?" Some people laugh when they see it, or give me a confused look, but it helps me to know what your skincare goals are. Understandably, I'm often asked questions like, "what can I do to erase these wrinkles," "how do I get rid of these sun spots," "how long will it take to cure my acne"...etc. I really do wish that I had a magic wand for these things, but alas, I do not (though I do consider my hands magic wands when I'm in the treatment room😁). Results take time! And they also take effort. I make it a point to be honest with clients about what they can expect from treatments, what home care products are necessary to bring results, and the timeline in which it will take to achieve those results. Truthfully, to achieve any kind of result, both client and esthetician need to be working together.

First, I want to start off by saying I understand that not everyone comes to get a facial because they're interested in solving a skincare problem. Some people just love to come in and relax, which is totally okay! It does limit what I'm able to do in a treatment, though. For instance, I couldn't do a chemical peel on a client who doesn't come regularly and has no home care regimen. Using super active products on the skin isn't a good idea if you don't have products at home. Maintaining the barrier is KEY to healthy skin. If you do have the recommended products at home, then we are able to do more effective treatments in the studio. Proper home care is the only way to combat skin issues. If you're coming in because you have a particular skin concern, there is absolutely no way to solve it if you're not willing to use home care. So while I'm happy to treat your skin even if it's just for a special occasion, just know that I can't erase pigmentation, reduce wrinkles, or cure acne in an hour. If I could, I'd be rich! 

When it comes to results from your skincare products, there are several factors to consider. Consistency, of course, but also how we go about choosing the products themselves. As you probably know due to my incessant raving about them, I carry several different lines in the studio to ensure that I can meet the needs of any client. I use Image Skincare, Skin Script, Hale & Hush, and most recently added Circadia to my skincare arsenal. All of these companies are well respected in the industry, and I chose to bring them in to my business for different reasons. Image is a huge line that caters to all different skin issues. Skin Script is extremely budget friendly and has great special enzymes. Hale & Hush is geared to the most sensitive of skins and perfect for dipping toes into the professional skincare waters while also being highly effective. And Circadia, my newest addition, has really innovative products that check a lot of boxes for me (my next blog post is going to introduce this brand to you-stay tuned!). There are a LOT of skincare brands out there, though. It's not uncommon for me to be asked about some of them. It's also not uncommon for clients to ask what cheaper alternatives there might be. I get it. Skincare can be expensive. But trust me when I say that the skincare lines that I use are actually considered affordable in the professional skincare world! I've taken many continuing education trainings with each brand, and of course use products from all of them in my own routine. I chose them because they're effective, they align with my business' and clients' goals, and their prices aren't so out of reach for the average person. Of course they cost more than the stuff at CVS (I have a blog about why pro skincare is better-check it out if you missed it). But if that stuff worked well, I'd be using it myself. I'd be using it on my clients. But I'm not! I use professional products from lines that put a lot of money into clinical trials, formulate products and delivery systems that make the ingredients more effective (just having an ingredient doesn't make a product good-again, see my blog!). I don't just buy new products and put them on your skin, either. I test products on myself (and my guinea pig...I mean...er, husband) and do extensive research on each line. It takes many hours of trainings to learn about a brand and what products they offer, and then I need to stay updated on them. This is part of the job, and I truly love it! I'm confident that I can help any client with any concern using the lines that I carry. What does this have to do with getting results? I know the lines that I carry and don't focus on learning about lines that I don't. So when I'm asked what I think of ____ line or product, or what a cheaper alternative is, I really can't say. I don't know anything about the formulations, because I've spent my time studying my current lines and watching them work their magic right before my eyes in the treatment room. It wouldn't make sense for me to give you suggestions about what results you can expect from a line that I know nothing about. So while I can't answer your questions about all of the skincare companies out there, if you have questions about the lines that I carry at CDB, I am more than happy to give you all of the information I have on them! If you have interest in other lines or products, that's cool too-I advise you to reach out to those brands so that they can help you with your needs.

Something obvious that I want to mention about getting results is that...uh...you have to use your products for them to work. I have had clients buy products to solve an issue, but then tell me that most of the time they don't remember to use them. I know that building a new habit can be a challenge, but you can't work out once a week and expect a six pack, just like you can't use a moisturizer three times a week and expect hydrated skin. If you find yourself falling into bed at the end of the day because you've worked all day or taken care of the kids since the crack of dawn, try this tip-wash your face/do your nighttime routine as soon as you get home (or as soon as your partner gets home and gives you a free moment). It takes 5 minutes of your time and your skin will thank you for it! I find that most people struggle with making the time for their nighttime routine, but that's not always the case. If you're someone who presses snooze 8 times and rushes out the door, I have an idea for you. In the morning, train yourself to wash your face before you even brush your teeth. Put your cleanser next to your toothbrush so that you remember! You really only need to do 2 steps in the morning-wash your face, and put on your SPF. If you aren't doing a morning routine, that means you aren't wearing sunscreen, and if you aren't wearing sunscreen...wait, my eye is twitching. Please, make sure you're wearing sunscreen. Make the time twice a day to use the products you've invested in. You cannot expect to see results from something you only remember to do a couple of times a week (trust me, if that worked, I'd have abs).

I know that not everyone gets facials or is into skincare. Or maybe you're great at doing your routine on your face, but not your body. If you're getting waxed, there are things you need to remember as well! It's necessary to exfoliate. It's necessary to apply lotion daily. It might even be necessary to use an ingrown hair serum. And of course, staying on the recommended waxing schedule is vital to staying within the proper hair growth cycle. After a wax, I suggest what kind of lotion or exfoliant might be best for that specific person, or how many times per week exfoliation is necessary for their skin. I have a blog post where I talk in depth about how to get the most out of your waxing experience, which is a great place for beginners or those who need a refresher to learn a thing or two. But you can't expect to be perfectly smooth or ingrown hair free if you aren't following my suggestions. Consistency helps, but even if you're coming in regularly but not doing anything else, you might not have the smooth skin that you desire. If I tell you that perhaps the product you're using in the shower is too harsh and might be the culprit, it's not because I want to ruin your day and make you run out to the store for something new. It's because I know that switching to something else will benefit you. And of course, as with anything, getting the best results can take time! It might even take a few tweaks. Sometimes we need less exfoliation, sometimes we need more...taking the time to figure out what your specific needs are will help you to get the best results possible. 

To sum things up, you can't get the results that you're capable of getting if you don't put the time and effort into it. With skin, there are so many factors. Consistency, time, cell turnover rates, hair growth cycles...there's a lot to consider. Great results are possible if you and your esthetician are working as a team-no magic wands necessary!

love & lipstick,

Cherrie

cherriedarlingbeauty.glossgenius.com

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

YOU'RE STRESSING ME OUT

Stress is one of those things that we all deal with, but because it's so commonplace I'm not sure that we really understand how it affects us. We can get so used to feeling a certain way that we don't realize that it's not normal. 2020 piled a collective stress on top of everything in our lives that already stresses us out, and for many people, it's been a challenge to manage. Almost 50% of people have trouble sleeping due to stress, and 77% of people experience stress that affects their physical health. Up to 80% of workplace related accidents are due to stress or stress related problems such as being tired or distracted. Around 33% of people report feeling extreme stress. EXTREME! Yikes! Not good. Money problems, family issues, trouble in relationships, problems at work...stress comes at us from all angles, so we have to do what we can to manage it. What works for one person might not work for another, so feel free to try a few things until you find your stress reduction sweet spot! And I promise, I won't suggest anything that isn't simple to implement.

Before we go into ways to help reduce stress, let's talk about what stress does to us. Stress can contribute to many health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, can cause hair loss or graying hair, increased sensitivity to pain, fertility issues, ringing in the ears, increased bloating and flatulence, increased urination or diarrhea, skin problems like acne, eczema or psoriasis, weakened immune system, insomnia, over or under eating, loss of sexual desire/inability to perform, headaches, low energy, muscle pain and/or tension, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, irritability, overwhelm, depression, anxiety...not to mention all of the issues some of these things can cause in our relationships. You get the jist. All of the bad stuff that life has to offer, stress can bring it out or exacerbate it. Some people are filled with so much stress and anxiety that they don't realize that it's not a normal way to feel. Honestly, I didn't realize that I had anxiety until I was in my late twenties, despite having what I now know are panic attacks (and many other symptoms) most of my life. I seriously thought it was just a part of my personality-it had never occurred to me that I should tell a doctor about it. I bet some of you can relate!

Skin wise...while stress doesn't exactly cause acne, the effects of stress can exacerbate it. Not sleeping well, drinking too much alcohol to cope with stress, and increased cortisol production that stimulates oil release from sebaceous glands are factors. Sleep deprivation also leads to signs of aging, such as loss of elasticity, fine lines, and wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, and puffy eyes. Stress also impairs your skin's barrier function, which can make it dry and itchy. Because stress weakens the immune system, it's common to see that show up on the skin. On top of all the "maskne," I can't even tell you how many examples of eczema or unexplained rashes I've seen over the past several months-the collective stress that 2020 brought upon us really did a number! I've been going through a ton of Hale & Hush's Hush Hydrate and Relief Bio Powder combo in the treatment room, lemme tell ya. Aside from suggesting proper home care, one of the first things I tell my clients who are experiencing major breakouts is that they should try adding meditation to their life. It doesn't have to be meditation, though! Try any of the stress reducing activities mentioned and see how your skin looks in a month or two. Fact is, stress affects the skin and we've got to do what we can to keep it in check. So many of the symptoms of stress are things we experience regularly, like headaches, low energy, breakouts, digestive issues, or trouble sleeping, and we simply consider them a regular part of life. But they don't have to be! There are things that we can do to lower our stress levels and improve our quality of life. 

To reduce stress, I'm going to start with the one thing we all know will help-exercise. Ugh, I know. But I don't mind exercising, really. The hard part is finding the time in my busy schedule to do it. I know that the majority of my clients are busy bees themselves, so I'm sure you can relate. But just 30 minutes 3-4 times a week can make a huge difference in reducing stress hormones in our bodies! You don't need a gym membership to do it, either. I have a subscription to yourdailywalk.com, which is a collection of workouts by Leslie Sansone, the Walk Away the Pounds creator. There's a different workout for each of the 30 days of the month, but you can also mix and match. This subscription is just $4.99 per month and the workouts are great and provide variety. Perfect for beginners or for advanced levels, each workout can be modified just for you, right in front of your TV. My husband and I do it together and we love the positive changes that we see from the workouts. A huge difference in mental health, I'm telling you. Yoga is exercise that is a great stress reducer as well, and there are many free videos on YouTube to follow (I love Yoga with Adriene!). Even just going outside for a walk counts. Or putting on a playlist and dancing around like a crazy person. Find something you like (or can at least tolerate) and get moving! 

Meditation is something that I used to do with ease, but the last year or so it has proved really challenging for me. Of course, that just means I need it more than ever. It's something that anyone can do from anywhere, and doesn't have to take up a lot of time. Even taking one minute meditation breaks several times a day has shown positive changes in stress reduction. YouTube is a great resource for this as well-there are SO many free videos that you can use. Meditations can be just relaxing music or sounds, or can be guided (which I think is most helpful for beginners). Box breathing is great for beginners (breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4, repeat). I think a 5 minute meditation is a great starting point, but you can honestly do it as long as you want. There is no need to sit cross legged on the floor and chant, either. You can do this on your couch if you want. To fit it into my schedule, I get to work about 5-10 minutes early and set a timer to focus on my breathing. Some people like to do it right when waking up, some right before bed...play around with your schedule to see what works best for you! There are so many studies that show that meditation helps reduce blood pressure, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, etc. Try a 30 day challenge and see how you feel.

Reducing caffeine intake is a suggested stress reduction idea, so let's all laugh at that and move on to the next one.

Journaling can be a huge help, I know this not just from the studies that prove it, but also because I've kept a journal since I was 8 years old. Seriously, I kind of hope that one day I build an empire or something, because I have a ton of material for whoever wants to write a biography on me (and I am married to a writer, so at least I know I'd be painted in a positive light...I hope). Writing things down is helpful for our brains to release things that are weighing on it, but it also can help us to see patterns in our behaviors. Realizing what our triggers are can help us to make different choices, or at least approach issues with a better perspective. Knowledge is power, y'all.

We have enough to do in a day, but I'm going to suggest that you add something else-pick a hobby! Distracting our brains with something creative can be a huge stress reducer. Hobbies don't have to be terribly time consuming or expensive. There are plenty of things that you can do from home that are low cost and take just a few minutes. Even if you're only setting a timer for 15 minute hobby breaks, you're helping your brain to reduce stress. There are tons of adult coloring books out there, which is one of my favorite ways to unwind. My husband loves word finds. Painting, drawing, knitting, weaving, settling in with a good book, growing herbs or keeping plants alive, board game nights, writing poems or short stories, creating collages, scrapbooking, candle making, learning a new language (there are lots of apps for this-try Duolingo!), take a free online course (google has lots of options depending on your interests!), rearrange your furniture/clean out your closets, create Cards for Hospitalized Kids (cardsforhospitalizedkids.com)...there are so many options. Pinterest is a great resource to search for things you're interested in. You might want to try out a few to see what your vibe is!  

Stop mindlessly scrolling. Set a timer when you feel like checking in with friends and family or what's going on in the world. We spend (ahem...waste) so much time on social media keeping up with people that we don't even know or like, and all of that eye rolling can equate to stress, even if it doesn't feel like it. I know that I can't be alone in getting stressed out from other people's posts sometimes. But we're in charge of how we spend our time, and we can control how much time we spend scrolling. 

Getting some sunshine is good for you. There are many studies that show how depression can worsen during darker months, so it can be especially important in the winter. Of course, regardless of season, you don't want to be outside without sunscreen. Protecting your skin is important, but feel free to smile up at the sun for a few minutes a day. Get outside for a walk, and then it's a double whammy on that stress reduction!

Alright...You didn't think I was going to write a blog post about stress reduction and not promote my business somehow, right? But it's true-facials help lower stress! Other than extractions, every part of a facial feels nice. What's better than a facial massage? Or an upper body massage while your mask is doing its magic? Massage increases endorphins (happy chemicals) in the brain and helps to decrease cortisol (stress chemicals). I offer several different facial treatment options that work for any budget or lifestyle, and each one will have you feeling better than you did before you arrived. The Willows, where my business is located, also offers several different massage options. Peek at the services that Lori offers and plan a relaxing day with us! You can't go wrong.

Remember that "stress free" is impossible to attain, so don't beat yourself up for not feeling like a zen master all of the time. Even if you're just spending a few minutes a day retraining your brain, you're doing something positive for your mind and body. Try just one or two of these suggestions for a month and see if you feel any different! I'd love to know how it goes. Perhaps we should do it together? Maybe a two week challenge? Hmmm...yes, I think so. Peep my social media for the details! 

love & lipstick (& serotonin),

Cherrie

cherriedarlingbeauty.glossgenius.com

instagram.com/cherriedarlingbeauty

facebook.com/cherriedarlingbeauty


Sources/further reading:

https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/stress/related/stress-statistics/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety#The-bottom-line

https://www.stress.org/9-weird-things-that-stress-can-do-to-your-body

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

IT'S ALL ABOUT ME

Hey there, hi there, ho there!

If you're reading this, it's safe to assume that you're acquainted with me on some level. Perhaps you come in for your favorite services, or perhaps you just follow me on social media. Either way, you've likely been introduced to me in some capacity. I try to regularly re-introduce myself on my social media platforms because new people follow me every day (insert creepy *joiiiiiin ussss...jooooooin us!* chant here). However, I realized that I haven't really done so on this platform. Plus, not everyone is constantly scrolling through social media like I am (okay probably many of you are), so I thought it was time that I talked about one of my favorite subjects-ME! (Kidding! Mostly).

My name is Cherrie, pronounced like 'Sherry,' just more inconveniently spelled. No vacation keepsake keychains for this girl, lemme tell ya. I'm 34, but I feel like I'm 19 most of the time (my lower back and collagen production do not agree). I have been a licensed esthetician since 2016, and I technically (aka legally) started my business in 2018. But let's rewind a little, shall we?

I've been obsessed with anything beauty related for as long as I can remember. My grandmother always had fun nail polish and lipsticks on her easily accessed bathroom shelf, and I helped myself to many swipes of both as a child. My mother didn't often wear makeup other than brow pencil and mascara, but she had a few extras on hand that conveniently sat right on the bathroom counter. If only I could go back to 11 year old Cherrie and explain that the white eyeliner was unused for a reason. But alas, I would smear it in jagged motions across my lashline, put on half a tube of shimmery pink lip gloss, and go on about my day as if I were the 6th Spice Girl. This wasn't a daily thing, but as I got a little older, I indeed started wearing makeup regularly. Gone were the white eyeliner and shimmery gloss, and in its place was dark brown eyeshadow up to my browbone, eyes rimmed with thick black liner, foundation 5 shades too dark, and brown lipliner with corpse-nude lipstick in the center. Why yes, I'm still cringing at my 8th grade class photo. Isn't everybody? We'll skip over the glittery green cream shadow days and head straight to my early 20s, thank you very much!

Because I was free to be creative with makeup for so many years (thanks, Mom!), I did eventually become fairly good at it. I would always be asked to do my friends' makeup on nights we'd be getting ready to go out (which seems like centuries ago, to be honest). Then, I started getting asked to do people's makeup for events that they were going to. Eventually, I started to build a rudimentary makeup kit and took freelance gigs-aka friends of friends were asking for recommendations and I was willing to do it for less than professional makeup artists were. I did the makeup for several weddings, and then began assisting other artists at events and weddings too. Now, I didn't make a career out of this. It was simply something I liked to do. I actually studied to be an elementary school teacher (and all you parents out there should be thrilled that I didn't end up going through with it, yikes). I did think about taking makeup artistry courses, but it seemed like an unnecessary expense for something that I had no real ambition to make a career out of. I had started seeing an esthetician in my early mid-twenties (hi, Adrienne!), and from time to time she would comment that the beauty industry might be up my alley. I didn't think I had what it took, to be honest. So I continued nannying and putting off thoughts of a career, but I did put myself on a few mailing lists of beauty schools in New York (CT did not have a licensing program at the time) just in case. Good thing, too, because I went through a breakup, and like most young women who have a flair for the dramatics, I decided to do something rash. I lost some weight in a weight loss competition, used my $950 winnings to head to New York and sign myself up for an esthetics course at Atelier Esthetique Institute of Esthetics. I had only been to NYC a handful of times in my life before that, and didn't know my way around AT ALL, so this was a big step for me. That relationship was good for something, I guess.

I worked my butt off in school. I didn't just want to be the best-I gave myself no other option. I didn't get less than an A on any test or assignment. I took it very seriously and studied almost every minute that I wasn't working my 10 hour a day job. I woke up at 5:00 every Saturday and Sunday for almost a year and drove to South Norwalk train station, where I took the 6:33 train into NYC. I didn't know how to navigate the Subway and couldn't afford cabs because I was paying $800/month out of pocket just for my tuition, so I walked to and from Grand Central Station to 14th & 7th every school day. Am I telling you this to impress you with my dedication? Yes, yes I am. I want you to know how dedicated I was to what I was doing, because it's what got me where I am right now-a business owner! But before I got to where I am right now, I followed a different dream. Being in NYC for school made me fall in love with it, and I thought there was no better place to start a career in the beauty industry. I took a leap of faith and moved to Brooklyn to embark on my journey into my new career. 

After living in NYC for about six months and feeling like I'd mastered the waxing aspect of esthetics, I began applying for jobs in skincare. I had my first interview and scheduled a second, where I'd be doing a facial demo...but before that could happen, I got a text from my own esthetician. Adrienne had been sharing her Ridgefield space with someone, and that person was not going to resign their lease. Would I know anyone who might be interested? Why yes, indeed I might...When she told me the price, I couldn't believe it. I knew that it was an opportunity that I had to consider. It was hard, though. It was the end of summer in New York, and I was having the time of my life. I had favorite places. I had friends. I had opportunities...but if I had moved to NYC to get experience as a stepping stone to being a business owner, why let a chance to do it sooner slip away? I hadn't been there as long as I'd wanted to be, and I'm not sure I would have ever come back without the opportunity, but I took another leap of faith. They kept working out, so why not? As it happens, I'm still mid-air. 

I moved back to CT in September, and I can tell you that moving in with your parents while you're in your 30s is not ideal...especially when you have to share a room with your sister. I had no savings. No car. No supplies at all. I took out credit cards with an already crappy score and started small. I didn't even have the money to get an LLC at first. I took family and friends and then friends of friends. I was still taking the train to my wax specialist job in NYC 4 days a week, where the commute was almost 3 hours each way. I did this until March, when I absolutely could not take the commute any longer. I got a car, got a job as a nanny, and changed my schedule again. A couple of evenings a week, half day Saturday, and Sundays. Between nannying and my business, I worked 7 days a week. I officially formed my LLC in November of 2018, struggled my way through 2019 while still working myself to the bone, and had very high hopes for 2020. We all know how that went! I briefly gave up, to be honest, and decided that when my lease was up at the Ridgefield location, I'd be closing my doors and maybe trying again in a few years. The defeat didn't last long, though. It was only about a week or so of despair until my friend Bethany told me that her friend was looking for someone to rent out a room in her wellness studio right in downtown Bethel. Downtown Bethel! Where I live! My dream location! Who was I to give up when opportunity still felt like knocking? Pandemic be damned, I met with Lori and leapt again. I was only allowed to do waxing from July-October, but I made it work (despite my nanny job ending six months before I was prepared for it to. Goodbye, safety net!). Facials resumed, and I was thrilled. Then, in October, a fire broke out in our business' building. My freshly painted space was ruined, along with a couple of furniture items/products/supplies. Honestly, I felt ruined too. I couldn't believe that after all of what had already happened in 2020, I had to deal with a fire. Luckily, it was only a couple of weeks before Lori found a temporary location and we were back up and running, but it was so much to deal with. Again, am I telling you this to impress you with my determination? Again, yes. But now let's get to the point.

When I had the chance to move back to CT to start my very own business, I could have designed it any way I wanted. I could have chosen to stick with just waxing. I could have chosen to be a facialist and focus only on skin. I could have went the makeup route. I was in control of creating whatever kind of services I wanted, and could price them any way that I wanted. I realized that I didn't want to focus on just one aspect of the beauty industry-I loved waxing, skin, and makeup. So I decided that I would offer all three. Working as a wax specialist at EWC, I learned a lot about the business. More specifically, I learned a lot about what sucks about the business. Visiting spas around NYC and in my hometown taught me about what I wanted and didn't want as well. I decided that I wanted to design a beauty studio that catered to people like me and my friends-average people who want a comfortable experience without having to spend an arm and a leg. I'm not really a "spa" girl. I hate the all white, cold, exclusivity vibe. When I think of places like that, I think of being at a fancy dinner with well dressed strangers while I'm stuck in the corner wearing sweats and confused which fork to use for what course. I don't feel like I belong. It doesn't feel like something I could make a regular part of my life. Plus, the prices can be bonkers-a lot of the spas that I researched charged almost $100 for a 30 minute facial. Yeah...no. I was determined to create the opposite environment because I knew that I wasn't alone in thinking those things. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that there's anything wrong with these types of places, the practitioners that pour their heart into it, or the people that love going to them. I don't think there's anything wrong with a business charging whatever they want for their services. But unless a person has a lot of room in their budget, it's not something they can do on a monthly basis. As a matter of fact, most of my friends had either never had a facial before or only booked one for a special occasion. I thought...why do beauty services feel so exclusive and expensive? What about regular people? Despite other professionals in my entrepreneur group trying to dissuade me from designing an affordable beauty business, I was determined to prove that there was a desire for it. And though I'm still in the "start up" phase of my business (aka the struggle phase), the fact that I'm still kickin' means that I was right. 

I work very hard to keep my prices low. I don't do so because I don't value my work, I do so because I think that there's an entire group that is being overlooked when it comes to the beauty industry. But I see you, because I am you. We ALL deserve to look and feel our very best. I might not have fancy sheets or machines, but it's because I'm dedicated to bringing you an amazing experience that doesn't cost you a car payment's worth of cash-and as you've read, when I'm dedicated, I make it happen. I don't know what the future of my business holds, but I can promise that I will remain rooted in my mission to make beauty services affordable and accessible for all. You won't be seeing a chandelier anytime soon, but you'll definitely be glowing like one. 

love & lipstick,
Cherrie  

Thursday, January 7, 2021

ORDER IN THE...BATHROOM

As an esthetician, I'm always getting asked skincare related questions. When working one on one, I can give specific answers and suggestions, but it's much more difficult to do that in blog posts or on social media. There are so many different factors when it comes to what's best for an individual person. However, there are some pieces of advice that are generally good for everyone to follow. Proper product order is definitely one of them, so let's start off the new year doing things correctly, eh?  

THE PROPER ORDER TO APPLY PRODUCTS: 
  
Step 1: Wash your hands. Don't skip this step. If your hands aren't clean, your expensive cleanser is    going to remove the dirt and oil from your hands before it can even get to the skin on your face.    Trust me on this, it makes a difference. 

Step 2: Remove makeup (if applicable). I like simple ol' Garnier Micellar Water. There's no need to buy an expensive makeup remover. Soak a cotton pad and gently press onto the eyes to remove eye makeup. You may need a fresh cotton pad for each eye if you're heavy handed on the liquid liner like me. I take a third cotton pad and swipe my skin if I'm wearing makeup on my face, too. 

Step 3: Cleanse. Do you need to double cleanse? If you've already removed your makeup, no. If you have super sensitive skin, no. If you have makeup on your skin, OR if you're about to do a weekly treatment, go for it. I always remove makeup with the cotton pad and I have sensitive skin, so one cleanse is fine. We want to protect our skin's barrier the best we can! On the nights where I'm giving myself a treatment, I double cleanse. Either way, take your time cleansing your skin. In order for the rest of your routine to work its best, you need to do this step properly. No hot water, no cold water-lukewarm water is best. Gently massage the cleanser into the skin and move in small circles, making sure to get all of the crevices and near the hairline as well. A cleanse should take a good minute-minute and a half. It sounds long, but trust me. Also, you should be taking every skincare product that you use down your neck and chest, and cleanser is no exception. A clean canvas is key!

Step 4: After gently drying your skin with a fresh towel, it's time to apply your serum. Serums are very concentrated, and are designed to pack a punch. There is no need to apply too much of it. The skin can only absorb so much, and over application does not increase the benefits of a product, it just wastes it! If the serum comes in a dropper, don't touch the dropper directly to your face or fingers. Put a pea sized amount onto the tips of your fingers, then press your fingers together and press serum into the skin. If you're using more than one serum, I suggest applying the serum with the most active ingredients first and then follow with the others. *NOTE* I know many estheticians who recommend putting eye cream on before serum. Personally, I don't think it matters much...but I would rather the serum cover more of my skin, and it can't do that if the eye cream is applied first. It's up to you!

Step 5: Apply eye cream. This may be controversial, but it really doesn't matter which finger you apply the eye cream with-it's not like you're going to be using a piece of sandpaper, so using your pointer finger instead of your ring finger isn't going to change the pressure much. As long as you're doing it super gently and patting instead of rubbing, you're good. If it makes you feel better to have some guidance, most people use their ring finger or their pinky finger to apply eye cream. You're going to be applying the eye cream (about the amount of a grain of rice) on a fingertip, dabbing the opposing fingertip into that, then dotting the cream around the orbital bone. You never want to put the product right up to the lash line, because products can migrate and you don't want active ingredients getting into your eyes-ouch! I always bring the eye cream out toward my temples and tap whatever remains on my fingers to the brow bone. Pro tip-put a dab of eye cream and tap it around the lip line. Double duty, baby!

Step 6: Apply moisturizer/SPF/night cream, depending on whether this is a morning or evening routine. If it's the morning, that means you'll be applying sunscreen (right? riiiiiight????). Now, many skincare pros say that whether your sunscreen is a chemical sunscreen or a physical sunscreen will determine if you should use moisturizer before or after. This sounds confusing, I know. The best way you can know for sure is to use a sunscreen/moisturizer combo. My favorite is from Image Skincare. Their holy grail Prevention+ Hydrating SPF Moisturizer was reformulated a little over a year ago, and that formula was HORRIBLE. Professionals complained, clients complained, and Image listened. They stopped production on the Hydrating SPF Moisturizer in the fall and the improved version is coming out in April, yay! They do have a Matte SPF Moisturizer and several others as well, but boy am I excited for the return of the Hydrating. ANYWAY, I digress. generally, SPF should be your last step, but if the product you're using states otherwise, follow their directions. If you are confused about what to do with your SPF, shoot me a message! And when applying, don't forget your neck, chest, ears, and lips! 

If it's the evening, you will be applying your night cream following eye cream application. You do NOT need a ton of this! A dime sized amount should cover your face, neck, and chest. Remember, the skin can only absorb so much. Putting more and more product is the same thing as throwing away your hard earned money. Less is more! Pro tip-dab your night cream onto the backs of your hands. The hands show signs of aging early!

Ta-da! You're done with the basics! But what if you're doing an at home treatment? Fear not, friend. I've got you. If you're doing the full she-bang, it would go as follows: cleanse, exfoliate, remove exfoliant, apply mask, remove mask, apply serums, eye cream, and moisturizer. Wondering where toner comes in on this list? Most people pop on some toner after cleansing the skin. If you're doing a treatment, I would do it after removing the mask. Oils can get tricky, because so many of them are not appropriate for the skin on your face. If you're using a facial oil, I recommend using it in the evening as the last step to seal in the applied products. And I don't care what J.Lo lies about. Olive oil is not her beauty secret and it shouldn't be yours. Leave it in the kitchen. I suggest grapeseed, jojoba, or avocado oil instead. 

Skincare doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) complicated. You don't need a 10 step routine. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on the right regimen for your skin. A basic skincare starter kit would be a cleanser, a moisturizer/SPF combo, and a night cream. Once you've gotten into a routine, you can start adding serums for specific concerns and/or find the right exfoliant and masks for your at home maintenance. Regular treatments are vital, too. When the same person is seeing your skin every month, they are able to see the changes in your skin and can help guide you toward changes you may need to make. Working with someone who listens to your needs and knows your lifestyle is the best way to ensure an effective regimen. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Like I said, I can't give specific advice online because skin and lifestyles are so unique, but I hope you learned a thing or two. If you need to tweak your regimen or have questions about designing one that's right for you, book an appointment for a facial treatment at my studio OR book a Virtual Facial Treatment-coming soon to Cherrie Darling Beauty!

love & lipstick,

Cherrie