Salons and Millennials: The Missing Ingredient – PART 1

Fifteen to twenty-five years ago, the buzz word in our industry was “Baby Boomers.” Marketing efforts emphasized how we needed to market our services to this segment of the population. I remember taking countless workshops on how to develop specific treatments and service menus to ensure that the Baby Boomer generation’s health and beauty needs were being properly addressed in our industry. Millennials who were born in the 1980’s have also been taught that our industry’s lead consumers are Baby Boomers. While Baby Boomers are still a huge part of the target market we serve in our salons, the new buzz word that has been…well, buzzing for a while, is “millennials”. But we have been so conditioned to target Baby Boomers, that millennials are still an untapped segment of the population by salons and spas, and marketing efforts to attract this generation have not been completely successful because we just don’t know how to address their needs.

Salons and spas need to understand the psycho-social attributes of millennials if they want to be successful at targeting this generation. Millennials, or Gen Yers, are simply different. Born approximately between 1980 and 2000, they can be characterized by very specific traits, which must be carefully considered when offering services, products and the space where they will experience these services and products.

Dubbed as Generation “Me”, millennials are highly confident and tolerant, while also demonstrating a strong sense of entitlement and narcissism. They feel special because their parents have instilled in them that they are vital to our world – that they were born for and with a purpose. They have been celebrated and praised; therefore, millennials expect to receive frequent positive feedback. They are assertive. They believe they are “right”. They crave attention.

Salon: Use words in your marketing campaigns that allude to being special and how they can conquer the world with great skin. Your customer service must be impeccable. 

However, millennials are also a highly protected generation, having been coined the “Peter Pan” Generation. They have grown up in a world where there have been increased safety measures (school lock downs, warning labels, safety laws). They don’t like to deal with unpleasantness because their parents have advocated on their behalf throughout their lives. This, along with financial uncertainty, has caused a tendency in millennials to delay certain rites of passage into adulthood like living with their parents for a longer period of time and delaying age of marriage and having children. Emerging adulthood has been established now at 25 years of age.


Salon: Emphasize on their need for safety by promoting your salon’s sanitary and safety procedures. Produce videos on your sanitation/sterilization processes or how main supplies are actually disposable rather than re-usable.  

Honesty gives us all a sense of protection. Millennials, in particular, highly value transparency – that is, open, genuine, truthful, authentic and honest relationships with everyone, be it their employers, their service providers, their family members, their peers and the products they buy.

Millennials have accumulated more debt (student loans) than any other generation prior, and experienced firsthand a global financial crisis and the highest unemployment rates in US history – second only to the Great Depression. And, considering that data from a 2014 study of US Millennials, which revealed that over 56% of that group considers themselves as part of the working class, and that only nearly 35% consider themselves in the middle class, transparency seems to be the most powerful motivating factor for millennials as consumers of goods and services – not money. Millennials are loyal to brands that they feel convey authenticity, trustworthiness and reliability and are willing to pay a premium for that trust, even if they can’t afford it.


Salon: Along with providing more affordable services, provide a service menu with very clear pricing parameters and add-on’s. Once in the room, don’t offer an add-on without providing the additional cost to the final bill ahead of time. No one likes it and millennials much less. Learn your ingredients well and make sure that when you say whether or not a product contains XYZ ingredient, that this is actually accurate for the entire line(s). Millennials will research everything you tell them and will question you. Besides, transparency transcends space and time.

Millennials feel the pressure to succeed at all costs. As children, they had tight schedules with structured activities (school, sports, arts, socials with friends). This generation has had more hours of homework and less free time than all previous generations. What Baby Boomers and Generation Xers once enjoyed – spontaneous play in the rain, makeshift hero capes with towels and houses on a tree with bed sheets – millennials have not experienced.  They are multitaskers and have a hard time handling free time. They can juggle many responsibilities at once, but they are also easily distracted with social media, not to mention texting. They take on a lot, and then expect others to be flexible with them when there is a scheduling conflict.

Salon: Flexibility is difficult to provide when we are in the business of scheduled services. However, providing other conveniences and trusted services and products to millennials will prove effective in having them develop brand loyalty toward your business.  Additionally, as professionals, we were trained to serve the Baby Boomer generation who didn’t even imagine what the internet could do. We need to serve millennials differently. Salon services need to be cut shorter and/or allow time for millennials to check their cellphones. Relaxation has another meaning to them. And if this idea makes you cringe, perhaps your marketing campaigns could address the effects of radiation and gravity on the skin.Read these article from Skin Inc: Tech neck, cellphones, and selfies.

Anal Bleaching and…Love?

Anal bleaching and love: these are two terms that, together, most people would think are a joke. Well, it isn’t. If you are following my blog, you’d know by now that this is my niche service and I have been offering it for years. So, I have a clue or two as to the type of client that will call me requesting this service, and I can even tell you *when* they will call me to schedule an appointment.

The first thing that my non-industry (skincare/wellness) friends or acquaintances ask me when I tell them what I do is “why would anyone do that?”  I give them general answers, but the truth is that most people do it because of love.

We, as humans, have the innate NEED to love and be loved. Love looks differently to different people. The point is that we all seek out love. But what does anal bleaching have to do with love? Well, for most of us, love is expressed through our sexuality. Just like love looks differently to different people, so does sexuality. And when people have sex, there are certain body parts that are exposed in ways that can make a lot of people feel too exposed, vulnerable and self-conscious.

Most clients that come to me for Intimate Skin Bleaching (I prefer to use the term “Intimate Skin Bleaching” because it also includes the vaginal area and other areas the client might consider intimate or private) are women who have recently gotten divorced and are now back in the dating scene. Others have been single and celibate for years, and they’ve decided it’s time to become sexually active again. I’ve had clients who have met their new “lovers” in another country, and after a time having a long distance relationship, they’ve decided to get together and make the encounter “special” by making sure that their intimate parts look they way they think their partners will like. As you can see, these are all cases of people yearning to be accepted and loved.

Another characteristic of Intimate Skin Bleaching clients is the day when they call to schedule an appointment.  In my experience, most calls come in on a holiday; and it’s become sort of an inside joke between my boyfriend and I. Whenever my telephone rings on a holiday (and I don’t recognize the number), my boyfriend says “someone needs anal bleaching.”  And low and behold, he is correct. And let me clarify, although we make light of the situation, we have seriously discussed the possible reasons as to why this may be happening. And we have come up with the theory that perhaps people feel lonely on holidays, and that gives them time to ruminate and focus on what’s “wrong” with them, causing them to go beyond the physical and look further into their most intimate areas. This, dear reader, is not funny at all.

Low self-esteem is definitely the culprit of why people seek out Intimate Skin Bleaching services.  And while women (and some men) deal with self-esteem issues as they relate to their intimate body parts, there are, on the other side, a group of people who vilify those who offer such service or products.  I’ve been “attacked” by some of these people who tell me that I encourage low self-esteem.

I disagree. Firstly, I have come to understand the reasons why people seek me out – they want to be accepted and loved. I’ve learned this from my hundreds of conversations with clients about their lives and what they’re willing to share with me over the phone (voluntarily and without being prompted) as to why they “need” Intimate Skin Bleaching – the “acceptance and love” that we’ve been talking about.  Secondly, I have found out, through trial and error and research, those ingredients that are effective yet safe for the client’s health. Thirdly, because of my training as a Health Educator, I am able to provide proper counseling as to the risks of such treatment, including conversations about self-esteem. And lastly, I am empathetic and project, through my actions, that I do care about their physical as well as their emotional well-being, while also projecting a non-judgmental attitude. These last behaviors are what the client is also looking for as part of that “acceptance/love”: empathy, caring and non-judgment.

There are indeed unethical providers and product manufacturers out there. And yes, there are indeed commercials that perpetuate low self-esteem by exploiting the feelings of the characters through rejection simply because their skin is not “light enough”.  However, in a world full of people who are emotionally affected through these media images and messages, there are other qualified and properly-trained professionals who are able to provide Intimate Skin Bleaching services in a compassionate manner and discuss with clients the importance of self love.

By Valenti Organics won’t renew its USDA organic certification

Here, directly from the horse’s mouth: “the usda organic certification has no meaning for cosmetics”

Here is what they have to say:

By Valenti Organics won’t renew its USDA organic certification.



I thought this was a fascinating research. Exercising is good for heart, muscles and also for the skin!

Cosmetic Pre and Post OP Care

Cosmetic Pre and Post OP Care

If you’re considering cosmetic surgery, your skin MUST be prepared to receive such trauma.  Your skin is an organ, not just flesh that can be stretched without consequences.


If you are following me on Facebook, you probably noticed that during the month of April (Rosacea Awareness Month), I posted several articles about rosacea, its causes, remedies, things to avoid, lifestyle changes, what it is, etc.  From all the reading I have done, and all the discussions about this condition with colleagues, at trainings, forums, etc,, I haven’t heard once that PMS might trigger a rosacea breakout.  Not until a client recently told me that she ONLY gets rosacea flareups when she is PMSing.  And 2 other clients mentioned that they had no idea they had rosacea because they were of “mixed race” – they thought it couldn’t happen to them. The thought of being of “mixed race” never crossed my mind.  I thought anyone could develop the condition.

Rosacea and PMSRosacea and PMS

So, I Googled it, and I found not even a handful of articles on the subject, and I would like to share what little information I found with you.

At first glance, it seems like this condition indeed has a genetic factor.  In a study performed in the USA, of those who said they had a relative with rosacea, most indicated it was an immediate family member: 30% mother, 35%  father, 28% sister and 24% brother. In some cases more than one family member was reported, and others stated that a grandparent had rosacea.

The survey also found that national ancestry also may be an indication of relative risk for rosacea. Rosacea has often been called the “Curse of the Celts,” because it is especially prevalent among the Irish.  However, those of German and English heritage seem to be highly prone to rosacea as well.

Other nationalities in which rosacea was present at a higher rate are Scandinavian, Scottish, French, Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, Hungarian and Czech.

So, being that my 2 “mixed” clients – as they call themselves – are descendants of one or 2 of the ethnicity or nationalities mentioned earlier, it makes sense that a darker complexion person would also suffer from rosacea.  As skincare professionals, we should never assume anything! And that’s that about rosacea and nationality 🙂

I’ve said many times before, most literature concentrates on the triggers that must be avoided if one suffers from this condition:

– spicy foods

– hot beverages

– stress

– hot baths

– strenuous exercise

– alcohol

– extreme hot or cold weather

– dehydration

– stimulants (coffee, cigarettes, sugar)

– sun exposure

– reactions to environmental factors

– menopause (minimal information)

But little is mentioned about the connection between rosacea and PMS or hormonal imbalance.

If you have a client who is experiencing an acne-like breakout on cheeks and nose around the time of their ovulation or when PMSing, and it goes away just as easily as it came, it might be rosacea.

The National Rosacea Society states that many women report more flushing episodes and an increased number of breakouts during menopause and during their menstrual period. Dr. Wilma Bergfeld, former president of the American Academy of Dermatology admits that “there is no research regarding hormones and their effect on rosacea. However, it has been widely observed that rosacea is often aggravated at menopause and sometimes during mid-cycle.” It has also been observed that rosacea is diagnosed 3 times as often in women, although it is more severe in men. The difference in the numbers of diagnosis could be that women worry more about their facial appearance than men and they seek treatment more often, while men’s severity of the condition might be due to the fact that they don’t seek medical treatment until it’s too late.

Menopausal women may develop rosacea due to hot flashes which, in turn, trigger flushing or redness. And interestingly enough, women who experience PMS – which causes emotional stress – can also develop stress-related rosacea. It seems to be that the stress-rosacea connection as it relates to PMS is a vicious cycle.

So, to tell you the truth, there wasn’t much out there related to rosacea and PMS, except from mere observation and number of diagnoses performed.  The only thing I can recommend is to avoid your triggers and take action to control your stress level.

There are other natural remedies that you can do to minimize or prevent rosacea breakouts in addition to everything we have talked about in earlier postings:

1) Botanical/herbal remedies such as Evening Primrose Oil, which is beneficial for many things such as PMS, menopausal symptoms and relieves pain and inflammation.

2) Acupuncture

3) Reflexology (which aids in balancing hormones)

4) GLA (gamma linoleic acid or omega-6 fat) is highly anti-inflammatory and works as well for rosacea as it does for eczema and other allergic skin reactions. It even relieves psoriasis and irritated, dry eyes. It’s excellent for PMS symptoms and hot flashes.

5) Yoga/meditation

6) Keep a diary of any flare ups so that you can identify what might be the trigger or cause.

If you are experiencing rosacea (sometimes mistaken for acne), it is VERY important that you get the correct diagnosis, the correct medications and the correct skin treatment for it.  Rhonda Allison (available through phone order, in person and soon through our website), offers several products to put this condition under control – guaranteed!

More about rosacea that you should be aware of…

Rosacea has 4 stages and you don’t want to go through all of them:

Pre-Rosacea – The main symptom is frequent flushing that can affect the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. The skin can become so sensitive that the person can feel a burning sensation when cosmetics or creams are applied. The face may become swollen. Triggers are a strong factor, so avoid or minimize triggers. Don’t let it progress to the second stage.

Vascular Rosacea – Small blood vessels on the nose and cheeks swell and become visible, showing through the skin as small red lines.  The skin will feel warm and look puffy. The skin may become even more sensitive and the rosacea can be accompanied by oily skin and dandruff. Flushing and redness become persistent and then permanent. Seek treatment!

Inflammatory Rosacea – In addition to the redness, small, red bumps or bumps containing pus may appear and persist.  Nodules in the skin become painful and can spread across the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. In severe and rare cases, the oil glands or sebaceous glands in the nose, and sometimes the cheeks, become enlarged resulting in a build up of tissue on and around the nose and over a period of years the nose becomes red, enlarged and bulbous (seen mostly in men). At this stage, medications are very important and definitely use an anti-inflammatory.  Washing your face with soap and water is detrimental for your skin.  Consult your local aesthetician!

Ocular Rosacea –Is a serious condition that needs to be brought quickly under control as in severe cases, it could lead to the loss of vision. The symptoms are irritation in the eyes, light sensitivity, a decrease in visual ability and an obvious inflammation of the lids or conjunctivitis. At this stage, the person would need to see an ophthalmologist immediately.  The main problem with ocular rosacea is the possibility of a secondary infection.  A dry environment plus ocular rosacea provides a good breeding ground for bacteria including staphylococci.

At Bella Dermis Skin Care, we offer 3 protocols for the treatment of rosacea:

– Fruity-“A” Naturally Soothing Facial – $85

– Rosacea Peel – $90

– The 90-day Rosacea Challenge: 3 corrective facials, 3 peel treatments, 3 post-peel treatments and at home pre and post care products within a 3-months period – call for more information.

What’s Sleep Got To Do With It?


What’s Sleep Got To Do With It? Actually, everything!

Let’s start with learning what exactly the word, or activity of sleeping, means.  Wikipedia describes sleep as “a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli… Sleep is a heightened anabolic state, accentuating the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems.”

This definition provides a very powerful explanation of why sleep is so important.  During an anabolic state, tissues found within the human body obtain energy for growth and maintenance.  It means that our bodies NEED sleep to repair itself.

So what’s sleep got to do with it? It’s got to do with everything!

Sleep and stress


When sleeping, your stress hormone levels return to normal. Stress hormones are only meant to be present for short periods of time.  Not bringing these levels back to normal for long periods of time leads to sickness, disease and weight gain.

Stress is probably the number one cause for sleep deprivation.  The National Institute of Occupational Hazard and Health has found that “80% of workers feel stress on the job and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress.

What are some things that cause stress and sleep deprivation? Since we spend most of our waking hours at work, most stress is work-related.

– Overthinking (relationships and work, co-worker issues, troubleshooting problems, etc)

– Caffeine (coffee breaks)

– Overscheduling (demanding boss, heavy workload)

– Anxiety (over losing job, pay)

– Physical conditions at work (commuting, uncomfortable working set up, hazardous environment)

However, family, relationships, home/household, vehicle, bills, accidents, illness, care-taking – sometimes a few or all of them combined – can cause serious chronic stress.

Sleep and health


Chronic stress leads to excessive amounts of cortisol hormone, which can disrupt sleeping patterns.

Some hormonal changes needed for healthy development occur when we sleep.  This is the reason it is so important that children sleep the correct amount of hours.  This is also the reason why teens “like” to sleep so much! They are using a lot of energy going through changes and they need the sleep to recover and keep growing.  Children and teens who don’t get adequate sleep tend to have serious health problems as adults.

What is adequate sleep time? The following chart offers a guide established by the National Sleep Foundation:


Sleep is cumulative; if you lose sleep one day, you feel it the next. If you miss adequate sleep several days in a row, you build up a ‘sleep deficit’, which impairs:

  • Judgment
  • Vision
  • Information processing
  • Performance
  • Motivation
  • Vigilance
  • Patience
  • See chart below for more effects:


Fatigued people also experience more moodiness, aggressive behaviors, burnout and more stress.

Sleep and beauty


Not getting enough sleep detracts from skin health and your health in general:

(The following excerpt was copied from and medically reviewed by Niya Jones, MD, MPH published in Everyday Health)

  1. It worsens existing skin conditions. Increased inflammatory response shows up as increased acne and rosacea breakouts, increased skin sensitivity, increased allergic contact dermatitis reactions, and increased irritant dermatitis — and more severe conditions mean more treatment and skin care.
  2. It detracts from your skin’s natural beauty. Increased inflammatory cells in the body lead to an increase in the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, the molecules that give the skin its glow, bounce, and translucency.
  3. it makes immune-related skin problems worse. Increased inflammation in the body throws off the body’s ability to regulate the immune system, which leads not only to getting sick more often, but also to flares of immune-related skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema. Psoriasis is not just a skin disease; it’s also an indicator of body inflammation. Many people with severe psoriasis actually have an increased risk for heart attacks, which is even more reason to keep stress low and get good quality sleep.
  4. It results in less beauty. While you’re sleeping, the body’s hydration re-balances. Skin is able to recover moisture, while excess water in general in the body is processed for removal. Not getting enough sleep results in poor water balance, leading to puffy bags under your eyes and under-eye circles, as well as dryness and more visible wrinkles.
  5. It accelerates the aging process. During deep sleep, the rise in growth hormones allows damaged cells to become repaired. Without the deeper phases of sleep, this won’t occur, allowing daily small breakdowns to accumulate instead of being reversed overnight. This results in more noticeable signs of aging.
  6. it contributes to weight gain. Sleep also helps with weight management, which is good for your skin. Sleep makes you feel less hungry.  Recent studies have linked sleep deprivation to excess snacking and calorie consumption.

Just as a side note, this is the reason why night serums/creams and skin treatments are so important.  Because the skin (and our whole body) is in its repairing state, these products are specifically developed to work with certain cellular functions of the epidermis.

What can you do to get a restful night’s sleep?


– Exercise –  burn off the energy that is keeping you awake

– Set the mood – Dim the lights, breathe calming essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, rosemary, sandalwood, bergamot or citrus

– Get into a routine – train your body to shut down at a certain time.  Make sure that you stop doing mentally demanding work several hours before coming to bed – give your brain time to calm down before you try to sleep.

– Try herbs or natural supplements – Valerian root is known to help with insomnia and nervousness. GABA, melatonin and magnesium are also known to decrease anxiety and cause sleepiness. Check with your doctor first!

– Restorative yoga, meditation and thought management help with nervousness, anxiety and calms the mind

– Read – a book non-related to work or issues at hand. Read in bed so that when you get sleepy, you can just put the book aside and go to sleep. Try reading a calming, undemanding book for a few minutes, again to relax your body, tire your eyes and help you forget about the things that are worrying you.

– Write persistent thoughts and worries down in a notebook and then put them out of your mind. Review the notebook in the morning and take action if appropriate.

– Don’t eat a big meal too late in the day – you may get indigestion or heartburn and disturb your sleep.

– Drink plenty of water throughout the day, but not late at night – otherwise you will be going to the bathroom several times during the night and interrupt your sleep.

– Sleep under a warm blanket in a cool, dark, quiet room – nothing like feeling cozy under a blanket.  Make sure that your mattress is comfortable and sheets are clean and soft. Use breathable cotton sheets and wash them regularly, so they don’t collect dust mites and bacteria. Use laundry detergents that don’t have strong fragrances, which can be irritating to skin.

– If your skin tends to get dry and itchy at night, keep a really good moisturizer on your nightstand and lather your body with it before going to sleep.

– Keep electronics out of the bedroom – it has been know that electronic equipment in the bedroom affects sleeping pattern.  Teens should not have a computer in their bedrooms!

– Cut back on caffeine and alcohol – Some people find that they sleep badly if they drink coffee or cola after 4pm. Others find that if they drink alcohol to excess, they wake up in the middle of the night and cannot get back to sleep; not to mention feeling horribly sick in the morning.

– Seek professional help – if all else fails, it’s time to make a visit to a doctor or mental health professional.

Sleeping positions


Sleeping positions have also been found to affect your sleep.  The most common sleeping position is on the side.  According to a nationwide survey of more than 2,000 people performed for mattress maker Tempur-Pedic, 57% of us at least start the night on the side position. That’s followed by the back—17% and the stomach – 11%.

Each sleep position has benefits and disadvantages, although sleeping on the stomach generally isn’t recommended because it can constrain the neck. Lying flat on your back may be good for the lower back but can exacerbate digestive and breathing problems—and snoring.

Always sleeping in the same position can cause problems. Consistently compressing the body on one side or stretching another side over time can create an imbalance and result in soreness or pain in that area or exacerbate an existing condition.

If you suffer from any of these conditions, the following is recommended:

– Obstructive sleep apnea/snoring – Stay off your back (get a sleep test and get it treated.  You may need a C-Pap and your life, like mine, will change!

– Acid Reflux – Sleeping on your side can help this condition

– Back pain – The rule of thumb for many back problems is that sleeping on the back is the most comfortable.

– Shoulder pain – Avoid sleeping on the side with the painful shoulder. Sleep on your back with a small pillow to support the bad shoulder. Or, if you sleep on the other side, hug a pillow.

– Neck pain – Avoid sleeping on your stomach.  Turning the neck to the side compresses the joints. Sleep on your side or back.

– Hip pain – Use a pillow between your legs or on your back.

During Stress Awareness Month (April), make a drastic change in your life.  Make changes that will relief stress, get a better night’s sleep today and everyday of your life, and be younger and healthier.  See chart below for effects of sleep deprivation and don’t let it happen to you!