The Spa Blog

Aura-you feeling okay? Energy healing at the spa

Do you feel the change in seasons happening? If you feel unusually stressed out right now, you’re responding to a major energetic shift in the natural world. The transition to fall is a challenging one. Consider what fall meant to our ancestors: OMG, winter is coming! It’s gonna be cold and there won’t be any food! 

Energy work is an easy way to bring your body, mind and emotions back into harmony and to withstand the immune system insults that autumn sends our way. And Reiki is a form of energy work that just about anyone can experience and benefit from.

Reiki is a gentle treatment that helps to unblock energy flow. If you’re familiar with acupuncture, it’s easiest to understand Reiki as another way of moving chi, or vital energy–without needles. In fact, without any direct physical contact.  When receiving a treatment, clients often report warmth or tingling in areas of the body receiving Reiki. The most common response is one of deep, profound relaxation. Practitioners believe this facilitates the natural self-healing mechanisms of the mind and body.

Reiki is enjoyed while relaxing on a treatment table or chair. At Preston Wynne, you may even be able to enjoy Reiki as part of a massage or facial treatment, as some of our practitioners perform Reiki as well. We also have a wonderful Karuna Reiki Master, Joni Russell. Karuna is considered the highest form of Reiki energy healing.

If not having other spa treatments, loose, comfortable clothing can be worn for experiencing Reiki, making it convenient for people of all ages and physical ability. Reiki practitioners do not have to make physical contact and may instead hold their hands near the body. If you’ve never had a Reiki treatment it’s easy to observe a session and think, “that can’t possibly be doing anything!”

Indeed, Western science has yet to document the exact benefits of many energy healing systems–but the reason they’ve become so popular is that people feel extraordinarily good after receiving the work.  Testimonials abound for the health benefits of Reiki. My personal experience has been absolutely marvelous (I’m one of the fortunate individuals that can experience energy movement viscerally–it’s true when I have acupuncture as well.)

If Reiki still sounds too “woo woo”, a consultation with our Karuna Reiki Master Joni Russell quickly puts skeptics at ease. A former event planner (a stressful career if there ever was one) Joni is smart, articulate, and about as far from a New Age moonchild as you’re likely to find. But just as quickly you’ll realize that she has a lovely, clear and appealing energy that simply draws you in and creates an instant sense of comfort.

Accompanying Joni to a couple of recent events at which she provided ten minute Reiki sessions, I saw firsthand how different people responded to her work. People sat down in her chair with absolutely no knowledge of–or expectations about–Reiki, and stood up ten minutes later as enthusiastic converts.

As you may know, I seek out experts in the healing arts to join our amazing team here at Preston Wynne–though the best seem to find us! Joni was referred to us by a longtime client who has benefited from her work. Joni is a Master Teacher of both Traditional Usui and Karuna Reiki, receiving her training and certification at The International Center For Reiki Training, where she is a Professional Member. Joni has been practicing Reiki for over ten years and teaches classes and certifies students and practitioners at all levels. In her practice, she has worked with patients of chronic conditions, from fibromyalgia and HIV to cancer and infertility, treated survivors of abuse and loss, and believes Reiki is a tool to help relieve individuals of stress, life’s aches and pains, and to find support and serenity.

Karuna Reiki is an advanced healing system practiced by Reiki Masters certified in this system by The International Center for Reiki Training. With its roots in traditional Japanese and Tibetan Reiki, Karuna treatments are powerful in clearing energy blockages while still feeling gentle and energizing. A Karuna treatment is complementary to western medical care and can support clients in:

  • Easing Anxiety and Depression
  • Releasing Addictive Behavior
  • Easing insomnia
  • Chakra Balancing
  • Creation of Healthy Habits
  • Withstanding the stress of Chemotherapy
  • Grounding
  • Enhancing focus and concentration
  • Resistance to Healing

Full sessions with Joni Russell are $135, and “Lighten Up”, a gentle Reiki energy mini-session, can be enjoyed for $79.

Your first session includes a thorough consultation and lasts up to 90 minutes. Reiki treatments are available in a series of six as well. 

To schedule your treatment call 408 741 5525

Infrared sauna therapy: sweat well soon!

Lauren in Sauna smallStress relief, pain relief, skin purification, detoxification and weight loss: at present, there’s only one way to achieve all this in one healing modality:  full-spectrum sauna therapy. It falls into the category of “feels good and is good for you,” that rarest of things.

Our private Duetto Sauna Suite features a beautiful Sunlighten sauna and its own tower shower with body sprays. The sauna seats two comfortably. (That is, you and someone you know!) We provide chilled towels and super-hydrating, blood-cleansing chlorophyl-infused water. We do strongly recommend power-hydrating in the two hours before your session, as well.

Because of its unique LED technology, the Sunlighten full spectrum sauna does not expose you to extreme heat, but warms you gently and raises your core temperature. This means it does not stress the skin, but gently detoxifies it along with the entire body.

We’ve added an open shower to the suite to make it easy to shower before and after, and to alternate between warm and cool, European-style, which alleviates stress and quiets the mind like little else. This is the perfect prelude to any spa treatment, but it truly is a treatment unto itself.

Beating the “stress hormone.” Scientific evidence shows that infrared sauna therapy helps the body maintain healthy levels of cortisol. While cortisol levels stay the same or rise slightly during a sauna therapy session, they drop immediately afterward. Sunlighten saunas have been clinically shown to reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure with regular use.

Clinically proven Detoxification. Researchers have long told us how the body sweats out toxic substances, including heavy metals. As long as you maintain proper hydration, the more you safely sweat, the more toxins you’ll expel from your body.

Sunlighten saunas are seven times more effective than a traditional sauna. These detox saunas use far infrared heat to generate sweats with a toxin ratio of nearly 20%. In traditional saunas, you might get a 3% ratio. Sunlighten utilizes a highly-efficient and proprietary infrared heating technology–the only technology proven to raise core body temperature by two to three degrees. Rather than simply heating the ambient air to draw out toxins, our sauna detox will heat your core to expel them. As a result, regular usage of a Sunlighten sauna detox will provide a truly deep, productive sweat where toxins reside, at the cellular level.

In a study performed by American researchers, the sweat of people using a conventional sauna was found to be 95 to 97% water while the sweat of those using an infrared sauna was 80 to 85% water.

The non-water portion mainly included cholesterol (fat), fat-soluble toxins, toxic heavy metals (such as mercury and aluminum), sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia, uric acid, pesticide residues, PCB’s, petroleum-based toxins, chloride and fluoride.

This unusually high concentration of heavy metals and other fat-soluble toxins was not found in the sweat from normal exercise, either. Your body begins to detoxify when a 10 micron far infrared therapy wave is applied to the body’s large water molecules and the water begins to vibrate. This vibration reduces the ion bonds of the atoms that are holding together the molecules of water. You will detoxify when the vibration continues, breakdown of the water molecules occurs and encapsulated gases and other toxic materials are released.

Pain Relief and Pain Management.  A recent Japanese study published in the journal, Internal Medicine, showed that chronic pain patients experienced a significant reduction in pain levels (nearly 70%) after the first session of infrared sauna therapy. Pain scores also decreased significantly and remained low throughout the observation period. Researchers concluded that infrared heat therapy is effective for chronic pain treatment.

A NASA study done by Dr. Whelan with near-infrared heat, determined that LED technology allows for deep penetration of tissue and increased cell growth from the inside. Sunlighten’s mPulse series–with its proprietary Solocarbon® CustomSpectrum™ heating technology–is the only sauna that offers LED-based near infrared heat at this proven level.

Finally, a 2003 study conducted by the Department of Dermatology and Institute of Medical Research showed that use of near-infrared heat therapy helped the production of white blood cells to alleviate inflammation and reduce swelling, two key factors in easing bodily pain. Again, only mPulse’s heating technology is scientifically proven to deliver these types and levels of therapeutic near-infrared wavelengths.

Skin Purification. A study published in The Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy showed significant improvements in skin appearance after just 12 weeks of sauna skin therapy using near-infrared technology. Participants experienced a reduction in wrinkles and crow’s feet, as well as improved overall skin tone, including softness, smoothness, elasticity, clarity and firmness. In addition, the detoxification that occurs with sauna therapy has demonstrated great results for problem skin and breakouts.

The only question that remains: when are you going to experience your first session?

Single sessions and series packages are available.


Mise en Face

putting on mascara“I don’t have time to do that kind of makeup. I only have five minutes in the morning to do my face.”

I used to hear this protest every time I did a makeup lesson. But half the time we spend on our “face” is spent hunting for the brush or the cosmetic we want to use. That’s because for a lot of women, the makeup bag is the preferred cosmetic storage unit. The only good thing about a makeup bag is that it is portable. There’s nothing else remotely good about them.

“Mise en place” is a French term that refers to the way that cooks set up their ingredients and equipment  at their station in order to work more quickly and efficiently. To do your makeup quickly and efficiently, you need to have “mise en face.”

One of the easiest ways to do this, if you’re a cosmetic bag lady, is to lay out (er, dump out) the contents of said black hole onto a washcloth on your counter. The washcloth provides a soft landing, keeps things from rolling around, and enables you to dump it all back again in one easy move.

And there it is…all your stuff, in one place, and every bit visible. No more rifling.

Great makeup doesn’t have to take forever to apply. These tips will get your face on fast.

Another great “mise en face” trick is to set up a custom palette with the colors you use most. At Preston Wynne, we have magnetic, refillable makeup palettes in various sizes but I use the biggest one, which is only about 4 x 6 inches and skinny as a smartphone. My Jane Iredale powder foundation,  9 pans of shadow–base, contour, accents–and my blush, are in one place. I am not unscrewing lids or opening teeny compacts with morning-impaired motor skills. One lid opens and it’s all there. The mirror is big and useful.

I also like to keep tall, skinny items like brushes and pencils in a small but heavy jar (a chunky votive candle holder works great because smaller pencils don’t disappear.) Brushes get mashed and trashed in a makeup bag. Neatniks, a brush jar can go into a cabinet. Bohemians, it can sit on the counter as testimony to your artistic flair.

That same precious five minutes in the morning can now be spent on makeup application–not makeup-searching. You’ll be amazed how great you can look in 300 seconds.


What your mother didn’t teach you about cleansing your skin.

One of the simplest rituals in our daily lives is also one that many of us get wrong. Yes, there’s a wrong way to wash your face. Here, then, the Six Dirty Sins.

Sin #1: Applying creamy or milky cleanser to wet skin.

Oil bonds with oil, and water with water. Massage the cleanser over the skin, allowing it to break down surface oils. Then add water. It will rinse much cleaner and leave very little residue.

Sin #2: Not leaving cleanser on your skin long enough.

In order for any cleanser to break down oils and makeup, massage it into your face for at least thirty seconds. If you’re using a good milky cleanser, (like our amazing new Moisture Cleanse with coconut milk) take a pump of the cleanser, massage it in, then add another pump and continue to massage. The second helping of cleanser helps to emulsify the first. Then add water.

beautyIf you left cleanser on your face all day, as you do moisturizer, you would probably end up with irritated skin. Cleanser is different from moisturizer; it has a pH that is higher than the skin’s. That’s just fine. Cleanser is designed to trigger a very mild reaction from your skin. This is also called a purge response and it helps to flush your pores of debris and activates blood circulation. This is the same thing that happens when you use a mask. When you whisk cleanser on and off your skin doesn’t get a chance to react to its chemistry.

Sin #3: Using water that’s too hot.

Hot water causes blood vessels to expand. Lots of hot water, day after day, causes blood vessels to expand a lot. As long as those vessels are elastic, they will contract again. But eventually, like old socks, they just stay expanded. Wondering why you have lots of little dilated capillaries? Heat and friction are the main culprits. Warm water gets the job done perfectly well. And a cool rinse is like dessert for those delicate little capillaries.

Sin #4: Using overly rough washcloth or exfoliation implements.

I think it’s the frustrated Puritan in us that makes us want to scrub our poor faces to bits. There are two exfoliation tools that I let touch my skin: my fingertips (which are remarkably effective exfoliators if you’re a little patient, and using a low-grit exfoliant like AcquaCures Fango) and my Clarisonic brush. A little gentle friction is fine. What makes the Clarisonic so wonderful is that it is giving you vibration, not just friction. This doesn’t overstimulate the skin–in fact, it stimulates it in a way that the skin really loves. Clarisonic users are fanatics for good reason.

Sin #5: Not cleansing twice a day.

Clients still ask me, “Do I have to wash my face at night?” Let’s see. You’ve got sunscreen, makeup, sweat, dirt and pollution stuck to you. Of course you have to wash your face at night, silly.

Does this mean you can take the morning off? I’m afraid not. When you’re sleeping, your skin is performing a self-cleansing ritual, pushing waste and debris out through the sweat glands and pores. I call it “taking out the trash.” There is a residue of waste left on your skin in the morning. So yes, you gotta wash twice a day. Make peace with this.

Sin #6: Not using toner after cleansing.

For the generation that grew up on alcohol-based, acetone-laced Clinique Clarifying Lotion, a mild toner is the skin care equivalent of kissing your sister. Why bother if it doesn’t burn or sting?

And while we’re at it, why use something that burns and stings?

You shouldn’t. Toner is not supposed to hurt. A properly formulated (that is, alcohol-free, hydrating) toner is the most under appreciated skin care product in the world. (Do you ever see full page ads in Allure for toners?)

Most people think we use toner simply to wipe up whatever was left behind by our cleanser, and that’s certainly a fine reason to use toner, if you happen to be practicing sins #1-2.

If that’s not it, why use toner? For the same reason you use a squeegee in your shower. The nasty stuff that dries on the glass is drying on your face, too. Mineral salts, chlorine, you name it–all forming a nice, drying crust on your skin, even as you trowel on the Extra-Super-Hydrating Moisturizer and wonder why you’re so darned flaky.

So that’s reason #1 for using a toner. The second, equally important reason is that pure, clean water is about 100 times more alkaline than the pH of your skin. So this means that water itself is drying. (I’ll wait for a moment while that sinks in.) The acid pH of your skin also protects it from bacteria and yeast. When you leave it alkaline, you leave it vulnerable to critters without conscience, who think nothing of leaving you with a big zit on your nose just in time for that job interview or romantic dinner.

To summarize my praise of the humble toner, it is the second step in cleansing and the first step in moisturizing your skin. It should be packed with moisture-attracting humectants, to hydrate your skin. If your skin is well hydrated, it doesn’t need as much moisturizer. And that’s generally a good thing–for your budget and your skin tone. Over-moisturized skin loses its tone.









A spa for couples

Valentine’s Day used to mean chocolates, roses, and dinner out. The Big Three are still the order of the day–but the setting is a little different.

Enjoy our private Duetto Sauna Therapy Suite with Shower

Enjoy our private Duetto Sauna Therapy Suite with Shower

Instead of dressing up, couples are undressing and trading in their stiff date-duds for soft white robes. At Preston Wynne, guys and gals can spa together in three “Duetto” suites: massage, pedicure and sauna. Though many spas separate the sexes, Preston Wynne is one of the few facilities where couples spa together.

Couples Massage is the most-requested Valentine’s Day spa date. The Stone Rose Massage combines warm rose oil and hot stones for a soothing and nurturing experience. Opt to soak together in the Balneotherapy tub prior to your massage, and choose your “bath cure” from an array of therapeutic blends. Or relax in the spa’s Full Spectrum Infrared Sauna, which provides pain relief and stress relief, not to mention an epic, detoxifying sweat. The Sauna Therapy Suite includes its own private shower, a little luxury that couples appreciate.

Try doing that in the middle of dinner out!

Follow that stress-melting sauna therapy session with “Chocolate and Roses,” the newest facial on the Preston Wynne Spa menu. No mere Valentine-themed service, this treatment employs a ridiculously delicious-smelling chocolate-and-fruit enzyme to exfoliate, and concludes with a soothing application of the spa’s new OrganiCures AcquaRose creme, which nourishes skin with organic rosewater, GLA-rich evening primrose oil and anti-oxidant packed rose hip seed oil.

The newly remodeled Duetto Pedicure Suite fulfills every woman’s fantasy: for her guy to get a pedicure. (Sandpaper soles and haphazardly-trimmed toenails just aren’t the aphrodesiac they used to be, fellas.) No roaring, vibrating, mechanical-bull pedicure “thrones” here, just two comfy recliners dim lighting, and skillful nail care specialists who graciously pretend that they can’t hear you snore.

If that’s not enough chocolate for you, the spa’s Valentines Gift Card Special is a petite box of artisanal Saratoga Chocolates with a purchase of $150 or more. Saratoga Chocolates is considered one of the top chocolatiers in the Bay Area.

During Valentine’s Weekend, from Thursday the 13th through Sunday the 16th, the spa is serving special complimentary refreshments, including sweets, fruit and cheese, and bubbly. Space is very limited, so calling for reservations is best: 408 741 5525. The spa’s helpful concierges can be contacted via e mail too:

See the special Valentine’s Menu Here

Two Packages Couples Will Love

Your next event…at a spa?

You’re trying to create a memorable event. You’d like to do something special. You’d like to do something out of the ordinary.

You have a budget to meet.

toasting with wine glassesPreston Wynne has a new way to “party” at the spa, and there’s no robe required. You can invite up to 18 guests, and the cost per guest can be less than you’d spend on a dull-as-dirt standup cocktail party in a hotel. Yawwwn.

With 12 guests or more, you can even have exclusive use of the spa. Daytime and evening events are available. Buyouts range in price depending on the day of the week, and time of day.

If you’re in a celebratory mood, one of the best ways to start is with wine tasting at the Sent Sovi Wine Lounge.  This cozy, speakeasy-style wine hideaway is just steps from the spa. You can customize your menu with some of Sent Sovi’s famous appetizers, too. Chef Josiah Slone works with us personally to create fun and fabulous menus that are anything but ordinary. If, heaven forfend, you have to do some business too, the Wine Lounge can be configured for your meeting. But don’t be surprised if it ends with Chef Slone sabering a Champagne bottle.

Your guests can enjoy spa treatments that range from fifteen minute “cocktail length” treatments, including OrganiCuties mini facials and Mini-Massages, all the way to full-session treatments. It’s up to you. Our Reiki Master Joni Russell can even treat your guests to a taste of energy healing and get everyone’s chakras spinning in the right direction!

Maybe it’s all about Employee Wellness. We can treat your team to interactive, fun demonstrations on juicing and smoothie-making with our Certified Health Coaches and provide healthy nibbles. If you’re encouraging a “digital detox,” offer a meditation class at Hakone Gardens, one of the most breathtaking Asian gardens in the Western Hemisphere, and location for many scenes in the film, Memoirs of a Geisha. It’s located three minutes from Preston Wynne and a world away from Silicon Valley.

At the end, pamper your guests with gift bags that include samples of our amazing products, Saratoga Chocolates, and special private offers.

Spa parties can begin at just $89 per person–let us create a bespoke event your guests will be talking about for years.

For more details, contact Spa Manager Karen Smith at 408.74.15525 or e mail her at The Spa Life Stylist, Mariah Giunta, is our uber-creative Event Curator and will contact you to set a time to discuss your event idea. You can reach her personally at


Super-sensitive skin? It may be time to drop acid.

In the 30 years that I’ve been an esthetician, skin care products have changed dramatically. “Hope in a jar” has given way to the brave new world of cosmeceuticals, which deliver far more than hope. No ingredient family has produced more results than alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, beginning with the glycolic acid craze of the 1990’s. Now we have a stunning array of acids to choose from, from lactic acid to alpha lipoic acid to l ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)…and beyond.

Advanced products contain cocktails of different acids, each designed to produce a slightly different benefit for the skin. Acid, acid everywhere!

Here’s the problem. For some sensitive skins, (not everyone!) acids don’t always keep on delivering benefits. Signs that you’ve overdosed on acid include chronic redness, sensitivity, bumpiness, and flaking. Many clients find that if they develop acid sensitivity, any cosmeceutical acid produces this same reactivity. And I’m a card-carrying member of this disappointed club. (Is it possible that I pushed the envelope too hard with heavy-duty active ingredients? Of course! I’m an esthetician. We’re our own guinea pigs. If a 10% glycolic was good, a 15% was better! Bring it on!)

This is not to disparage the incredible cosmeceuticals out there, and we carry one of the best cosmeceutical collections ever created, from Cosmedix. For the right skin, they are the right choice and they are the fastest way to get results for brown spots, lines, etc. Their peels are mind-blowing. We love, love, love them.

But by age 50, I’d realized that my once-beloved acids and I would need to part ways. In doing so, I discovered something fascinating.

In our zeal to get the strongest, most intense active ingredients, cosmetic chemists have changed plant extracts’ natural balance. Nature has an

organicures product trio

amazing pharmacopia. But much like nutrients in food require an enzyme to ensure that your body can properly make use of the nutrition, for sensitive skins, extracting the highly active substances and using them “out of context” on the body just doesn’t work. It triggers an immune response instead. Your body says, “Whoa! Too much” and inflammation results. And we know that inflammation is the root of all aging evil.

But, my Sensitive Skin tribe, it’s possible to find the precursors to these active ingredients, in their whole-plant form, and still derive many of the benefits. I learned this by accident when I talked to Mariah Giunta of AcquaCures about a product I was using for hydration,Face and Body SeaPlant Elixir. If you’re a client of our spa, chances are this product is one of your faves. It enables the skin to bind more water and it’s fantastic for dehydrated skin, which is to say, everyone.

“Why do I have the feeling that this product is doing something…more?” I asked. “I feel like it’s doing what my glycolic used to do.”

“It is,” she said. “The laminaria seaweed extract actually contains naturally-occurring glycolic acid. We just don’t promote it for that.”

Bingo. The mission of the BotaniCures and OrganiCures products that AcquaCures creates is to deliver whole-plant benefits, which are naturally balanced. So instead of yelling “Hey! Glycolic Acid over here!” they’re quietly giving you a rich, concentrated extract of the plant, but in its natural form, which delivers the anti-aging benefits of glycolic acid, without freaking out your acid-sensitive face.

The same philosophy is at work in their serums, which I cocktail together depending on what my skin needs at the moment. My natural anti-aging arsenal now includes the Silk Serum as well as Rescue Tend.

Mariah collaborated with Preston Wynne to create the new OrganiCures Facial, which includes a non-acid coconut buffing enzyme peel that’s simply amazing, and a plant-derived hyaluronic acid masque for a massive dose of hydration. This facial is gives you that rare blend of sensory luxury (two words: coconut buffing!) and outstanding results. Skin feels velvety and simply amazing afterward.

My skin feels a lot better now that I’ve dropped acid. Yours may, too.


Want to find out if you should drop acid? Schedule a dermal analysis with one of our expert estheticians.

Call us at (408) 741-5525 to reserve your time.


The Bold Brow Trend: How to Rehab Skinny Brows

Bold brows have returned. Are yours MIA?

Successful eyebrow rehabilitation takes both artistry and some chemistry. First, chemistry: you can encourage hair to regrow with regular applications of RevitaBrow. (The folks who brought you the first eyelash rehab product have turned their talents to brows.) It works so well, you’ll need to be careful about exactly where you put it. You don’t want hairy temples.

Contrary to popular belief, when you’re letting brows grow back, you should shape them along the way. They don’t have to run riot first.

audrey hepburnAn expert shaping is key. Whether you prefer waxing, tweezing, or threading, a defined edge is an easy way to instantly make brows look fuller. This is because you can cheat a bit by incorporating the fine, less-pigmented hairs near the brows into your brow contour when you remove the super-fine hair around them. The first time our Beauty Bar brow stylist and makeup artist Kristine shaped mine this way I was pleasantly surprised at how much fuller they looked when a little color was applied.

Brow products are an exploding category. From powders to pencils to pigmented waxes and mascara-like formulas, there are myriad ways to color brows. But getting the right color is absolutely essential.

Blondes don’t have more fun when it comes to their eyebrows. One thing that most makeup companies have yet to understand is that there are a lot of greenish tones in blonde hair. Most blonde brow colors have a reddish base to them–Norma Jean-ish, but generally not flattering on mere mortals, unless you’re a redhead or strawberry blonde.

Don’t be afraid to ditch powder brow colors altogether and simply look for an eye shadow that is closer to your natural brow color. Your brows are usually close to the color of the roots of your hair–they don’t hang around long enough to get lightened by the sun. The newest look for blondes is a darker brow. This doesn’t mean you have to do a complete Debbie Harry. In fact, if you match your color but simply add more of it, you’ll have a darker brow that still looks natural and flattering.

Hair’s natural surface is smooth and shiny. Powdered pigment shouldn’t sit atop brow hairs (they’ll look like tiny powdered wigs) but be worked into the skin beneath the brow with subtle, hair-length strokes of a moist angle brush.

Mascara-style and waxy brow products are used to both color and control brow hairs. When you comb your brows, don’t force them into a stiff, vertical position. Be cautious when using the waxy products. Some don’t set completely and can easily be smeared. Mascara-type pigment application can help you recruit all those fine hairs along the edge and that will make your brows look authentically fuller.

Once powdered pigments have been applied, you can go back over the brows with a groomer (applied with a mascara-type wand) that restores shine and luster to the hairs.

Close up of a stunning green woman's eyesWhen applying color, it’s important to identify the true “top” contour of the brow and work your way down into the hairs beneath. Most people don’t realize that they have a higher natural arch, because they look at the area where most of the brow hair lies, rather than the actual point of origin of the brow hairs. This is the real edge of the arch. When you fill in the top contour of the brow you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the lift it gives to your entire face. Take a minute to look at the difference between the hair “source” and where most of the hair lies. There is a good sixteenth of an inch of difference in most cases, and on your face, that’s a big lift!

The recent vogue for hard angles in brows is fading with the new, bolder and more natural look. The “chevron” is giving way to a gentle curve–always more natural and more flattering.

As brows get thicker again, the arch is becoming less pronounced. Audrey Hepburn’s bold brow is this season’s inspiration. (Enormous doe eyes obviously help, too.) A straighter, tapered-but-not-arched look, very 90’s, is showing up again too.

For professional help, Kristine Von Tassel is at our Beauty Bar for same-day waxing and makeup styling. And don’t miss our current special offer…a brow wax, makeup lesson and $60 color cosmetics shopping spree for just $99 (a $214 value.) You can pre-purchase the certificate by the end of this week, and use it any time in the next six months.

Regardless of the shape your brows take, this fall is the season to re-invent your look with something bolder!

During the month of October, we’re offering RevitaBrow, Nouriche lash-building serum and a fabulous pre-mascara Lash Primer in a specially priced kit, the proceeds of which go to help in the fight against breast cancer. While we all enjoy the beauty benefits of products like these, for women recovering from hair loss during chemotherapy, they are a huge boost to self-esteem and self confidence. The company has also introduced a hair restoration serum, great for thinning hair and regrowing hair after chemo.





Retinol Rocks.

As anti-aging cosmeceuticals go, retinol reigns supreme. Even we super-sensitive types can use this miracle ingredient, with a bit of patience (and a tolerance for a fortnight of flaking.) While acid may not be for everyone, joining the (Vitamin) A team is virtually a universal skin “win”.

Cosmedix's latest anti-aging super-serum is Serum-16. This product flies off our shelves.

Cosmedix’s latest anti-aging super-serum is Serum-16. This product flies off our shelves.

Some fun retinol facts:

  • Retinoic acid works by affecting gene expression and causing enhanced collagen production–they actually work as a skin cancer preventative
  • Retinoic acid has been shown to prevent the rise of collagenase–the enzyme that breaks down collagen–after UV exposure. 
  • You can use retinols around the eyes
  • You’ll continue to get additional wrinkle-smoothing and spot-reducing benefits up to 12 months, after which the improvements taper off (unless you increase the concentration of retinoids you’re using.)
  • Be patient! It takes 6-12 weeks before you’ll see noticeable changes in the skin.
  • If your skin gets flaky and even a bit flushed…keep using it. It takes 2-3 weeks for skin to “accept” retinol
  • While it’s recommended that you use retinols at night because they break down in the sun, they don’t make your skin more sun-sensitive
  • Topical drugs containing retinoic acid include Retin-A, Altinac, Renova, Atralin, Avita, Refissa and Tretin-X. But your skin is happier doing the “conversion” of retinol to retinoic acid itself.

We especially love the retinol-rich products of Cosmedix, the advanced cosmeceutical range we chose for our spa. Over-the-counter mass marketed retinol products contain no more than 1% of this active ingredient. Cosmedix is known for a its proprietary treatment of ingredients, chiral correction, that causes even highly potent active ingredients to be readily accepted by the skin, with much less sensitivity.

Our latest fave, Serum Sixteen, contains 16% LG-Retinex—a proprietary GAG-enhanced encapsulation of retinol andretinaldehyde. It’s the closest thing to prescription-strength age defiance without a prescription. In a six-week clinical study, this formula visibly reduced the appearance of sun damage, age spots and deep lines, including crow’s feet.

If you’re thinking about amping up your anti-aging program, and are considering adding (or boosting) retinols, one of our estheticians will be happy to consult with you. Just say when. 408.741.5525, or

Safe and Sane Holiday Makeup!

You found the perfect dress. You’ve booked your blowout. Now to come up with a makeup look!

First things first: winter dryness and flakiness are accentuated by holiday makeup. If you don’t have time to get to the spa for a facial, give yourself the next best thing: a quick at-home treatment.

World’s fastest facial: Cleanse your face, and apply a layer of Nutrizyme by AcquaCures, which contains  natural papaya and pineapple enzymes–they digest dead skin. After about five minutes, give those enzymes a buzz with your Clarisonic Brush, rinse with warm water, then apply AcquaCures Smooth Masque. Rinse with tepid water and then…the coldest water you can stand…wipe thoroughly and firmly with cotton and toner, which will finish exfoliating your skin. Make sure to get the inner corners of the eyes, which can be flaky in the winter and rarely get exfoliation.

Finish with your favorite moisturizer and eye creme. You’ll be glowing. Apply a tiny bit of makeup primer and away you go!

1. Gleam, don’t glitter. No chunky sparkles, or you’ll look like your seven year old niece. Try our new Illuminator on your cheekbones–subtle sheen opens your eyes and lifts your face.

2. Pile on the lashes. Worried you’ll look like a drag queen? Seek professional help! It’s fast and easy for an expert to get your lashes looking lavish and lovely. Ask for Lavish Lashes at Preston Wynne.

3. “Bedroom” beigey-pink lips are great with smoky eyes. We have some great new “nude-but-not” lip colors and glosses. Getting the color temperature right is important. If you have warm coloring, you’ll need something a little peachier. If you’re a cool girl, be careful of nudes that are too gold. Soft pinks look fresh again.

Craving something spicier? Line your lips with a neutral tone like Natural pencil to reshape lip contour and keep color from feathering, then brush on something sumptuous, like a wine or rich red, or even a deep blue-pink. No hard edges, though! Blot, apply another layer. The slight overlap of the layers will keep the edge from feeling too perfect.

Always start with lips! They can throw off your entire makeup if you apply them last, but putting them on first will dramatically speed up your makeup choices.

Yes, your nails are allowed to match your lipstick, but it’s more fun to do the opposite: red lips with pale gold nails, or beige lips with deep brown-red or mahogany nails.

4. Get your smoky eye look going with our fabulous Creme Liner. You can line with it like a liquid, or smudge it like a pencil, contour with it like a creme shadow. And we’ve got rich, lustrous creme shadows that you can sweep over your lids for a simple but sophisticated look.

If you choose go smoky, please remember to clean up under the eyes with a bit of makeup remover on a Q-tip after you finish your shadow. Then put on your concealer. Smoky eyes accompanied by smoky dark circles is not a good look.

jane iredale snappy brush

These three little brushes link together magnetically. A must for any makeup bag.

5. Warm up your winter complexion with a little bronzer…just a little. It’s not July. And don’t skimp on blush. (Unless you flush when you have a cocktail. Then dial down your cheek color and add a little extra foundation in the center of the face to mute the Red-Wine-Rudolph effect.)

6. Try a gleaming highlight in a soft color around the inner corner of the eye, and under the inside lower lashes. It’s a great way to open your eyes. A pale blue, green, violet or yellow pearl will add drama without darkness. Hint: apply your undereye concealer first, then do this final sweep of color.

7. Dramatic eyes are all about timely touchups!  Jane Iredale has brought out a genius three-in-one “Snappy” brush that is actually three brushes coupled together magnetically. A super-slim angle brush that makes liquid or creme eye-lining effortless, a tapered crease brush, and a compact little brush for smudging pencil.


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