Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Christmas Chemical Adventure

Did you ever do something without really considering how things might play out?  I had one of those moments last week. I got a chemical peel. I got a chemical peel the week of CHRISTMAS. My class was certified in chemical peels the week before, and when Miss. Kellie asked for a volunteer for a demonstration on Tuesday evening, I jumped at the chance. I suppose the thought of getting a free $90 service did an override on my better judgment. But hey! Instead of sulking about how terrible my 2010 Christmas pictures would look for years to come, I decided to document my ignorance and share all the “flaky” details with you.  For those of you that have ever wondered what happens after a chemical peel, prepare to be enlightened - -with photographs no less. All these pics here where taken with the same camera, and no retouching.

The big question - Does it hurt? We’ve talked about this some in previous posts. Most of the time - yes. It depends upon how aggressive your peel is. Mine hurt, but it was completely tolerable - I never got above a 6-7 tingle factor. The chemical peel we used isn't considered an aggressive peel (like one done at a plastic surgeon or dermatologist's office). I had three layers done, which means that the chemical solution was applied three times before we called it quits (the max for this peel is 4 layers).  When we were done, my face was shining like a new penny - - literally. Everyone in class commented on how the light was reflecting off of my forehead. It was red, shiny, and tight - - like a sunburn. Here’s a pic of my face that evening after I got home.
Red faced and shining.

The next day my face was just as shiny. The skin was so tight that you couldn’t see even a faint wrinkle in my forehead. My pores were non-existent. It was like I had turned back time and was looking at 18 year old Rita again - - except for the redness and warmth of my skin. My face almost felt like it had a temperature. I needed absolutely no makeup on my face, nor did I want any. There was a slight sting when I touched it, so I only used a little eye makeup that day.

The next day was different. My face was still tight, but when I got out of the shower I noticed the tiniest flake of skin on my chin. I pointed it out to my dear husband and said, “I thought maybe I wouldn’t peel, but I've got a little flake here and there.” We prepared to start our drive home for Christmas, and decided to stop around lunchtime to grab a bite to eat. As I was eating my Arby’s market fresh sandwich, I felt a strange tightness in my face every time I took a bite. I glanced at my husband a couple of times and asked him if I was peeling and he replied, “It’s not that bad.”

Before we left Arby’s I decided to check it out myself. I walked into the bathroom and took a glance in the mirror. The tiny flake was gone, but the skin on both sides of my face around my mouth had separated and sheets of skin were dangling like Christmas tinsel. Not that bad? Not that bad?! How long had I sat there munching on my sandwich with skin hanging? I know the rules - - no picking at the skin after a chemical peel. I quickly took my hands and brushed away as much of the yucky skin as I could (with still being able to claim that I hadn't picked it), and I bolted from the bathroom straight out the door to the car. That’s where I paused to take these pictures of what was left.
Thursday around noon.

All I have to say about the next two days is…. thank God I have family that loves me through beauty school. Ha ha! I peeled Thursday and Friday. Thursday evening and Friday AM was the worst. By Saturday most of my peeling was over.
Thursday evening after sloughing away as much as I could.
Would I do it again? – absolutely. I plan to in about another six weeks. The peel I did was for fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and refining pores. My biggest success from this peel was seeing the four small spots of hyperpigmentation on my right cheek diminish. They'd been there for months. My classmates (who know my skin just as well as I do at this point) have all commented that the one peel improved them. I’d say with two more peels, they will probably be gone altogether.
5 days post chemical peel
So, while I don’t recommend a chemical peel over the Christmas holidays, I do think you’ll feel festive when it's all over (regardless of when you choose to get one). The best advice I can give you is to know what to expect and don't freak out over it! Inserting a little laughter into the situation only helps. Oh, and when your husband tells you it’s not that bad, you’ll probably want to check the mirror anyway.

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I was 16 years old and I needed a tan. All the cool kids were tanning. Their moms were even paying for it. My mom was the fuddy-duddy that stood her ground and refused to contribute to my premature aging and cell mutation.

My will was strong and I was determined to get my glow on. To my mother’s dismay, I found a tanning salon that agreed to hire me to clean their beds for 3 hours a week in exchange for 4 tanning sessions a week.  “Old people” told me that it was bad for my skin, but I knew they were just jealous. I was the invincible girl that soaked up every ounce of sunshine I could during my teens and early twenties. 

As Cher would say… if I could turn back time. 

Being in esthetics school has only brought me closer to the truth about my time in the sun. While it’s still a little bitter-sweet to give up, I can no longer deny my skin’s frailty to her glorious rays. So, I’ve made a list of a few things that I hate to admit about the sun. If you’re anything like me, you’ll hate reading these as well. If you’re not like me, well….. congratulations - you won’t have to work nearly as hard as I will to bargain with mother nature.   
5 Things I hate to admit about the sun:

1. A tan is a scar.  
Harsh… I know. I also hate to admit that beer-battered onion rings have 24 grams of fat per serving, but it doesn’t change the truth.

2. Fungus
Yes, there is a fungus among us. We all have a yeast present on our skin (malassezia furfur to be specific). Most people don’t have problems with it, but the yeast is sensitive to heat and humidity. Without “getting all clinical” - - I’ll give you the highlights. The fungus is called “tinea versicolor” and it shows itself as a blotchy rash. Most people dismiss it as their skin’s reaction to the sun, so it’s quite likely that you’ve seen someone hanging out at the beach with this fungi before. (Now you’ll be able to share your knowledge when you see it – “Dude, that’s a fungus”.) 
Exhibit A - Tinea versicolor

Exhibit B - More fungus...
 3. Hyperpigmentation
This is a fancy word for the brownish spots that are left behind from the sun, an old pimple you squeezed to hard, etc. Just like my teenage will for tanning, UV hyperpigmentation doesn’t give up easily. These spots look rather innocent, but if you’re wanting a smooth even skin tone, these guys have something else in mind. Even when people use chemical peels to help soften or blend hyperpigmentation, it can often get worse before it gets better.   
UV hyperpigmentation
 4. Extrinsic aging
So, intrinsic aging is the way that we naturally age – I guess you’d say it’s how God designed our aging process. Extrinsic aging accounts for our contributions to the aging process. It includes smoking, sun exposure, environmental factors, free radicals, etc. The good AND bad part? It’s estimated that about 80% of our aging is the result of extrinsic aging. You get to decide how much of this one plays out...  

5. Cancer
I listed this last, but it is certainly not the least important. Unfortunately, people typically pay more attention to the aesthetic negatives of the sun than than those that are more life threatening. More than 90% of skin cancers are associated with sun exposure.This is one I’ve dismissed over the years with my “it won’t happen to me” attitude.  
Malignant Melanoma
Until a year ago, I prided myself in being the chick that never had to wear sunscreen. Fast forward one year, I’m putting my face through a hole called a Wood’s Lamp, which ultimately reveals all the bad decisions I've made about my skin for the past 20 years. Needless to say, I’ve taken on a new philosophy about SPF.

Before I close, let me share this - - WE ALL NEED SOME SUNLIGHT – for Vitamin D production, to protect us from other diseases, heck…. sometimes we need it just to keep us from being depressed. So, don't be afraid of  your 15-20 minutes a day. Just be sure to reconsider any tendencies that seem similar to my teenage baby-oil sun-bathing habits. Your youth will thank you.    

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,


Thursday, December 16, 2010


This week I’ve been a little jealous.

I’ve felt like my sister must have felt as a child. Her asthma kept her inside while the other kids (myself included) got to go outside and play in the snow, and she was left to observe the fun from the living room window! 
While I don't have asthma, I’ve been pretty preoccupied with passing my chemical peel exam, and I’ve had to miss out on a couple fun Christmas activities. And since I’m whining anyway, I’d like to ask… has anyone ever heard of a test where you couldn’t miss ANY questions in order to pass? I hadn’t - - not until my chemical peel cert. exam.  It wouldn’t seem so bad, except for the fact that no test is complete without the notorious TRICK QUESTION.

Here is the trick question that irritated me more than a 45% lactic acid chemical peel -  

What is the recommended treatment frequency for sensitive skin clients?

Seems pretty straight forward, right?  I’m actually ok with this question. The answer is EVERY 4 WEEKS. I even confirmed it on page 63 of my skin biology and chemical peel textbook (don't worry... I’m allowed… it’s an open book exam). The problem enters when you read the options in the multiple choice responses.

     Here are my choices for answers:
A.   Every 2 weeks
B.   Every 3 weeks
C.   Once a month
D.  None of these

Don’t test writers realize how important the details are to us type A crazies? You can’t just substitute “once a month” for “every 4 weeks” - - at least not in an exam. I mean, technically, some months have five weeks in them, right? So while “once a month” seems reasonable, "none of these" seemed equally reasonable to me.  My world felt perilous with one question, and it was only question #4 on the exam.

I thought about pausing my test to contact the chemical peel company and let them know how they had failed on question #4.  Instead, a thought came to mind.

Remember the fail-proof rule of test taking from back when you were a kid? Everyone used those long skinny SCANTRON answer sheets (with the only compatible #2 pencil). The rumored rule was this – if you don’t know the answer, always select “C”. Apparently, us fifth graders were well studied in statistics and knew all about how "C" had been determined to be correct... most of the time.

Since I could no longer rely on my diligent studying to answer the trick question, I decided to go old-school and apply the only rule I knew from Childhood Test Taking 101. I sucked it up, and knowing that the answer could only be C or D, I selected C (and sulked about the question through the remainder of the test).

Turns out the rumored rule actually paid off. My answer “C” was correct, I got the necessary 100%, and received the certification in chemical peels. Who knows? Maybe next week I’ll discover that your eyeballs really do pop out of your head if you keep them open during a sneeze. For the sake of my beauty school career, let’s hope not.  

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

Friday, December 10, 2010


Hi all -
I thought you might enjoy some random photos from my studies at Nashvegas Beauty U. I couldn't quite work these into a blog, but didn't want them to go to waste! Enjoy!

Here's a pic of my beloved classmate and partner in beauty crime. I did full TAB LASH extensions for her. These lashes will last up to 5 or 6 days, depending upon how well they are cared for (being careful when washing your face, etc.). They are crazy comfortable - way different than a strip lash. We're super excited to learn how to do single lash extensions (one extension on each lash). BTW - I applied more for a more glamorous look, but you can go for a very natural look as well.

Bonnie before (with only her natural lashes)

Bonnie after (with a few rows of tab lash extensions)

I recently completed a group project with two of my classmates. We had to do a model of the hair follicle, with all skin layers.
Initially, it was pretty unrecognizable.

We were pretty impressed with ourselves and the final result!(Side note - this was the first time I had ever used a glue gun!)

Yes, this is just what it looks like. A leopard printed thumb nail. I've got a classmate that is a nail tech and I always ask for tips from her on doing my nails. Then I found these awesome nail paint pens that even amateurs like me can use and make designs on your nails. I wore leopard printed nails this week and got all kinds of compliments, so I thought I'd share info about the pens with you. You can find them at They have great tutorials that help you get the hang of it. If you're right handed, it will take a little getting used to when you switch hands, but other than that... it's so easy. (And no, I do not get paid to tell you about this stuff... but if anybody's offering, I'm listening! ha ha!)

Ok! That's all for now. Hope you enjoy the random pics! It looks like a worked these into a blog after all!

Gettin' Beauty Schooled,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


It was my first week providing services to the public at Nashvegas Beauty U. My husband graciously offered to come to NBU and allow me to do a “back wax” (and by graciously offered, I mean succumbed to my begging). My husband isn’t hairy by any means, but I really wanted to practice waxing on a larger surface. I’d waxed my fair share of brows and lips during theory - - and I was ready for a new challenge.  
The sexy, selfless husband.
He arrived right on time at 7:30 PM.  I had him complete our waxing consultation form and showed him to the dressing room. We made our way to the waxing room where he found himself laying face down on a waxing bed, with a bare back.
I gave him a quick run-down of what to expect - - warm wax, me laying down the strip, rubbing it, a quick pull, and a slight “sting", which would be soothed by me quickly returning my hand to his skin after pulling away the strip. He seemed fairly comfortable and happy to contribute to my learning experience.  We exchanged a few jokes and then it was all business for me.
I began the waxing process and took great care in making sure he was comfortable. Each step was completed with sensitivity to his “first time waxer” status. In particular, I paid special attention to quickly placing my hand on the freshly waxed skin to help calm it after each strip. Before we knew it, about 10 minutes had passed, and I completed about 1/3 of his back. It was bright red.
Miss Paula (one of the teachers) came in to check on my progress. She was very complimentary of the work I had done, but I expressed concerns about how long the waxing process was taking. Like any good teacher, Miss Paula asked me about my technique, and then she offered a few suggestions, then she asked if she might demonstrate a technique the industry calls “speed waxing”.  I was excited to see speed waxing in person, so I nodded my head yes.
The only problem? Despite the fact that the name “speed waxing” reveals the overall concept behind the technique, I really hadn’t mentally prepared my husband for speed waxing. Simply put, speed waxing is when you lay all your wax down at one time, and then you go back and quickly remove it all with the same strip, or very few strips. It’s ridiculously fast, but not for the faint at heart (and certainly not for an uninformed husband who usually asks for “a break” when I tweeze a couple of his stray brow hairs).
Miss Paula picked up a spatula and smoothed the warm wax across the remaining portion of his back. She quickly grabbed a strip and began a movement that made even me a little teary-eyed. She was so swift – she would lay the strip flat, press it down with one sleek movement, and pull it off with a snap of her wrist. My husband, unable to express what he was truly feeling in front of a stranger, began a nervous hysterical laughter.  Miss Paula did about six pulls in a row before sticking her hand out to me for a second strip. It was like we had teleported into a surgical suite and I was her tech. What she needed now was one thing - - a final wax strip, STAT.
I stood with my mouth gaping open.  I quickly grabbed another strip, placed it in her hand and she completed her speed wax – our patient was done.  The entire process took less than two minutes. My husband was still intermittently laughing the crazy laugh. I could only assume he truly was hysterical by this point.
Miss Paula returned to the other students and I cleaned the excess wax from my husband’s back. When he sat up on the wax bed we just stared at each other. I broke the silence. “Was it bad? Are you ok?”
With glossy eyes he looked back and me and said, “Um… yeah.... it’s cool.... am I bleeding?”  We both belly-laughed.
We LOVE to tell this story and laugh about it now.  I recently asked him if the payoff of a hair free back was worth the pain. Surprisingly, he said YES - - he’d totally do it again – speed waxing and all. He’s such a hairless back show off.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Middle Tennessee Fashion Week Model Casting Call (oh yeah... and a photo of me with NO makeup!)

This is my face.
(Please enjoy this totally makeup free peek. They do not come around often - for good reason!)
This is my face after hearing about Middle Tennessee Fashion Week.
In case my expression doesn't speak for itself -this would be "Oh yeah..."
Any questions?

I’m super excited to be a makeup artist at Middle Tennessee Fashion Week (MTFW) this coming April. Here’s a little detail, and if you know any models that are interested in strutting their stuff, please pass it on!

MTFW provides a creative platform for upcoming designers, make-up artists/stylists and models to showcase their talents. MTFW will spotlight the influence of world cultures on American fashion, prove fashion can be done with ecology and fair trade in mind, present an exclusive men’s fashion show, and complete the week with a mesmerizing International Couture Collection.

The events will launch April 12-16, 2011. The excitement will kick off with a press conference on the evening of the 12th, and the event will be produced by Sharon Cumberbatch, former Ford Model NYC.

Model Casting Call Details:

MTFW is looking for models of all ethnicities.
When: On December 11th at 11AM - MTFW will be casting models for April’s show.
Where: Paul Mitchell The School Murfreesboro, TN
What to Bring:  Your best walk. (Wear all black and bring a pair of heels no shorter than 3 inches)
                        A completed application (see the website below for application)
Two recent pictures, preferably with no makeup – a professional photograph is not required for consideration

For additional information about MTFW, you can visit the website at I'll update you when I have more info!

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,