Escape to Thailand at Sheva Thai Spa Express

Sheva Thai Spa

I love foot massages! Working on my feet in retail and performing facials definitely takes a toll on my body. So I jumped at the opportunity to try out the services at the Sheva Thai Spa Express in New York City.

Sheva Thai Spa Express is a luxurious haven for the busy professional looking for a facial, manicure, pedicure, massage, even waxing, in the middle of midtown Manhattan. The menu reads like a typical salon/spa–facials, massage, foot treatments, mani/pedis, and waxing. Once you walk into the doors, the spa is anything but.

Sheva Thai Spa
Courtesy of Sheva Thai Spa

I indulged in Sheva’s Nam Foot Treatment, a 30-minute foot massage consisting of a Thai foot soak, massage and reflexology. Upon entering the changing area, I was transported back to my trip to Bangkok years ago!

Good times!
Good times!

Upon entrance, I removed my pants and shoes in their changing room, which is encased in glass. Thankfully there were curtains. I was handed flip-flops, an iPod, and an eye cover.

ShevaThaiSpa_changingroom
The changing room
My goodies!
My goodies!

The hostess carried my belongings to their closet and lead me to their pedicure chair for my treatment. My massage therapist brought over a combination of sea salts and essential oils and a water basin for the treatment.

ShevaThaiSpa_footsoak
Courtesy of Sheva Thai Spa

I dropped the iPod in the water by accident, which wasn’t the best way to start! It took a while to get present again, but once she got into the massage, I was in la la land!

ShevaThaiSpa_NamFootTreatment

The best part was the wooden massage stick, about 6 inches long, which is used to target each pressure point on the foot and relieve muscle tension. Using this tool also alleviates the thumbs for the therapist.

ShevaThaiSpa_massagestick
Courtesy of Sheva Thai Spa

The experience was euphoric–all 30 minutes of it! For $55, you can escape in a little Thai palace to alleviate the foot pains from walking the concrete jungle in NYC. For $147 per month, you can enjoy unlimited Nam foot treatments!

ShevaThaiSpa_footarea2
Courtesy of Sheva Thai Spa

For Spa Week, which is taking place April 11-17, Sheva Thai Spa will offer the following services for $50 each:

  • 60-Minute Sheva Facial with Organic Enzymes & Light Extractions
  • Unlimited Nam Manicures
  • 45-minute Signature Sheva Foot Treatment with Thai Foot Soak

For Sheva Spa’s full service menu, check out their website or call to book your appointment 646 846 8377. For more deals during Spa Week, log onto SpaWeek.com!

Disclaimer: The Nam Foot Treatment was complimentary for review purposes, courtesy of SpaWeek.com. All feedback and opinions are my own.

Spa Week 2016 is Here!

Spring has sprung–the flowers will be in bloom, the days are longer, and DISCOUNTED SPA TREATMENTS ARE HERE!

Spa Week 2016 will take place April 11-17, where spas nationwide will offer full-service, premium treatments for $50 only! Who doesn’t love treating themselves and spending some me-time? Especially on a discount?   

This season, the creators of Spa Week focused on delivering services that will help relieve physical stress from using technology on a daily basis. Whether it’s aching wrists from texting on the phone, to shoulder pain from a laptop–or for my case, back pain from doing so many facials!– there is a treatment for you.

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Haven Spa in New York City offers a unique Geek Massage (Reg. $100, Spa Week $50) that was created to address and relieve the ailments that are created from hours of computer usage. Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas nationwide are offering a De-Stress Body Treatment (Reg. $255, Spa Week $50) including exfoliation, an aromatherapeutic body wrap and a relaxing scalp massage to melt stress away and rebalance your spirit. Hundreds more spas and wellness centers around the country will be offering similar services to alleviate the winter blues and prepare you for the summer!

Also, as an esthetician myself, I must mention to PLEASE TIP YOUR ESTHETICIAN/MASSAGE THERAPIST/SERVICE PROVIDER! Tip according to the original price of the service–normally 15-20%. Many spas are participating in Spa Week to bring in customers, sometimes at the cost of the esthetician’s check. I love my job, and I put in 100%, no matter whether the client is paying full or 50% of my price. That’s why I can’t wait to have treat myself to these services myself!

Register on SpaWeek.com to gain access to all these deals and book online. Since this is only ONE WEEK, appointments will book up quickly at these locations.

Spa Week was created and founded by Cheryl Reid, who hails from successful careers within the luxury spa industry and publishing spheres. Joining Spa Week for the Spring 2016 Event, sponsors include Exclusive Destination Sponsor: Sandals; Exclusive Cosmetics Sponsor: Hynt Beauty; Exclusive Apparel Sponsor: Yummie by Heather Thomson; Exclusive Trade Association Partner: International Spa Association (ISPA). The event is co-sponsored by Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) and a portion of the proceeds from the Spring and Fall Events is donated to CancerAndCareers.org.

Product Review: Murad Rapid Lightening Regimen

Murray Environmental Shield Line

A few years back, I had horrible acne. With the help of a dermatologist, regular facials and using professional products, my skin healed but not completely.

I had post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation along my cheeks and it was difficult to clear it up. Amidst my love for Dermalogica, I couldn’t be a true skin expert if I didn’t try out other brands.

Here’s an example of my own scarring back in 2012:

Gen_Scarring2012 - 1  Gen_Scarring2012 - 2

Hyperpigmentation is the overproduction of melanin in random areas of the body, mostly on the face and other exposed areas of the body. The result is dark spots or age spots, scars or sun damage.

This is the #1 concern amongst my clients because it affects people of all ages and ethnicities. Examples include a teen with acne prone skin, a man who never puts on SPF, pregnant clients that contracted melasma (aka pregnancy mask), or an elderly woman. My treatment plan would includes a combination of chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and anti-aging facials. Additionally, consistent product usage is just as vital in healing this skin condition.

Introducing Dr. Murad’s Rapid Lightening Regimen, which treats the main causes of dark spots–sunlight, aging, hormonal imbalance, and scars/inflammation. In my case, it was scarring from my past breakouts. Infused with Vitamin C and other antioxidants, the Environmental Shield line reverses the signs of aging and hyperpigmentation.

Murray Environmental Shield Line

This three-step regimen includes the following:

  • Essential-C Cleanser
  • Rapid Age Spot & Pigment Lightening Serum
  • Intensive-C Radiance Peel
  • Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | PA+++

As an esthetician, I needed to inspect the ingredients. The primary ingredients were Vitamin C (hence the orange packaging), an antioxidant that shields the skin against free radicals in the environment.

The Rapid Age Spot & Pigment Lightening Serum contained 2% hydroquinone, a bleaching agent. I was concerned that it contained this ingredient because there is a lengthy history of its carcinogenic effects with prolonged use. However, using an over the counter percentage (0.5% to 2%) will effectively reduce the production of melanin (molecules that cause dark spots). It also contains Hexapeptide-2, a skin conditioning agent that compliments the hydroquinone.

The Intensive-C Radiance Peel contains glycolic acid, one of my favorite exfoliating ingredients! It is quite strong in turning over damaged cells, especially in a professional grade peel, which is why I’m not surprised it came as a 1-2x treatment product. Apply it as a mask and leave for 10 minutes. Upon application, I felt a tingling sensation which faded away, along with my spots!

The last product I tried and LOVED was the Essential-C Day Moisture. I have dry/dehydrated skin so applying SPF alone is not enough. Not only does it have SPF 30, but the Vitamin C gives added protection for elasticity and free radical damage. Because it’s very emollient, I don’t recommend it for oily or acne-prone skin.

After using the product for approximately 30 days, I saw a difference! In addition to this line, I used a hydrating toner and exfoliated 2x during this cycle so I can truly feel the benefits of the line. Below is my latest photos of the results. Disclaimer: this is also the result of using other cosmeceutical brands over the course of 2 years, not Murad alone:

Gen_PostScarring - 1 Gen_PostScarring - 2Are you convinced yet? Give it a 30-day run with their Rapid Lightening 30-Day Kit for $39.99. Do not give it 1 week or 2 weeks! The skin needs to turn over at least 30-60 days in order to slough off the dull skin and reveal a brighter complexion.

Love,
Your Friendly Neighborhood Esthetician & 360 Beauty Maven

PS/Disclosure: I was provided the products by BeautyStat.com, but all opinions and experiences are MINE!

Beauty Chat: The Glamatory

Being a makeup artist or freelance artist takes hard work. It takes even more hard work to start a brick-and-mortar makeup boutique!

Let me introduce Mimi J, an Atlanta-based makeup artist who took that leap to start The Glamatory, a boutique offering makeup services and beauty brands that are hard to find at your local Ulta or Sephora shops. Located in Smyrna, just a few minutes away from downtown Atlanta, customers and artists alike can shop and learn the craft of makeup artistry.

In this video, Mimi shares how she started her career, the challenges in her business, and even added some beauty tips!

Stay tuned for more videos in 2016!

Happy New Year Mavens!!!

Is 2016 really here? I’m still in denial, which is why I’ve delayed the new year’s post. And I’ve been crazy busy so I haven’t posted in a while anyway!

What’s going on? Since my last post, I was promoted to Senior Esthetician at ULTA Beauty at the end of October!

gsantos-ultabeauty-skinbar

Although I was pushing for the position during the summer, I was exhausted from all the tracking and beating myself up for not meeting my weekly goals.

Lesson learned: Goals are achieved in the God’s time, not our own.

The holidays were awesome, even with the hectic-ness of retail! While many slowed down between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I was on full speed with clients.

At the end of December, I reflect on the last 12 months and game plan for the new year. Vision boards are all the rage now, but you have to be strategic. Writer Chris Guillebeau refers to this as the Annual Review. Companies do year-end reviews for employees, so why not do it for yourself?

Vision board for 2016 - on 16x24" size
Vision board for 2016 – on 16×24″ size

While reflecting on this list, don’t be in beat up mode. It’s so easy to get stuck in the hole instead of using it as motivation to make things different this year! In a nutshell, what didn’t work was getting healthy! We’ll save that for another entry :-).

This year my vision board was created digitally on Microsoft Word, to be printed on 16×20″ paper and displayed prominently on my wall. They’re traditionally made with magazines, but google works much faster!

Another tradition I’ve done is sending out Happy New Year cards to personal and business contacts. It’s easier to wish a happy new year than keeping track of what holiday they celebrate! This is the best way to keep yourself on top of mind, especially for career purposes.

What am I committed to creating in 2016?

One of the many presents to myself was a new DSLR (professional camera): the Canon Rebel T5i! This was an investment in my brand and will step up the quality of my YouTube videos. My goal this year is to create content worth watching on YouTube to inspire you in your beauty dreams.

Renewed friendships. Despite a busy job and other obligations, this shouldn’t take away from making a quick phone call or coffee date with a friend. Not for a work collaboration or job schmooze…but just because. People want to be appreciated for who they are, not what they can do for you.

With that said, I must start packing for my trip! I’ll be heading to Atlanta this week, so keep up with my adventures on the IG or Snapchat (beautymaven360)!

Achieve Peace at New York Ayurveda

Spa Week is almost here! From October 12-18, spas from all over the country will be offering $50 treatments, ranging from massages to microdermabrasions!

In honor of this occasion, I received a free treatment from New York Ayurveda, one of the participating spas that are offering several services at 50% off the original price. This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are mine!

Located in New York City’s Union Square, New York Ayurveda is one of the few Ayurvedic centers on the East Coast, offering a wide range of services to achieve a well-rounded optimal health from inside and out. This is also the only Ayurvedic center offering services for Spa Week.

I chose the Ayurveda Sampling Treatment, which included an hour-long body exfoliation, massage, reflexology, and a choice between a facial or Shirodhara (warm oil poured down the forehead). The regular price is $190, but this is one of their $50 services. After going through a hectic few weeks, it was about time to relax!

Image courtesy of  aumhomeshala.org
Image courtesy of aumhomeshala.org

According to LifeScience.com, Ayurveda is an ancient health care tradition that has been practiced in India for at least 5,000 years. The word comes from the Sanskrit terms ayur (life) and veda (knowledge).

New York Ayurveda is encased in an office building, but when you enter, the welcome area is cozy with two love seats. It is also encouraged to remove your shoes as you enter the sacred space.

NY-Ayurveda-entrance

I filled out a consultation form along with a list of traits that identify me as one of the doshas, or body types, which are Pitta, Kapha, or Vata. I was diagnosed  as mentally Pitta and Kapha physically.

Although the waiting area felt cozy, I didn’t have the same feeling in the treatment room. Part of it was probably due to the lighting from the windows, and the weather was pretty crappy that day. And the AC noise overtook the background music.

Priya, my massage therapist, performed the body exfoliation, or gharshana, using a glove. I could’ve done without it, but was necessary for the oils to penetrate.

The abhyanga massage started from my back and spread from my arms down to my legs. Priya used plenty of oil, which mostly consisted of sesame. I couldn’t believe how ticklish I was! She advised, “Relax and leave your body.”

The treatment continued with a foot & hand reflexology, along with a scalp and face massage. Then my favorite part began!

Instead of the cleansing facial, I chose the Shirodhara. Warm oil is poured down the center of the forehead, or third eye, and falls down the middle of the scalp. It relieves tension and stress, along with promoting peace and concentration.

shirodhara
Image courtesy of eliteayurveda.com

The oil was poured down for 10 minutes, then I sat with it for another few minutes. At first I was ticklish and tense, but I needed to breathe slower and concentrate even more on leaving my body!

At the end, I felt really good! The Shirodhara treatment was the icing on the cake. The only downside is that my hair was soaking in oil; you could fry chicken on it! But I could still feel the heat around my scalp.

Photo Sep 30, 7 30 17 PM

Verdict: B+
My practitioners, Nisha & Priya, were very accommodating, but the treatment area felt cold and the AC noise didn’t contribute to the ambiance either. If you want to experience all the Ayurvedic treatments, this is definitely the right place!

To book your treatment, go online to SpaWeek.com or NewYorkAyurveda.com!

Beauty Chat with Monthly Express

Imagine coming home after a long day of work to a large package filled with curated fragrances, spa goodies, and luxurious skincare products?

I don’t know about you, but I’d be a little kid during Christmas! And ready to use them instantly!

MonthlyExpress.com is a subscription box service, specializing in bringing rare beauty brands from around the world. For $129/month, customers receive full-sized products to help them have some ME time (get it?). While Birchbox only sends samples. MySubscriptionAddiction.com posted a great review of their box.

Founders Tara and Travis Loring jumped into business together a few short years ago, and even quit their jobs to pursue it full-time, Not to mention they’re running it as a married couple! Sometimes it’s not good to mix business and personal affairs, but this pair has been pretty successful. ME has been featured on EOnline.com and Fox News, and carry a slew of indie products like Naturopathica and Karen Herzog.

In this interview, Tara and Travis share the beginnings of their company and impart advice to those who want to take that leap into entrepreneurship full-time.

Grab your ME time and subscribe online!

Upcoming Fall Beauty Events

Can you believe it’s 94 days until Christmas?! We are approaching the 4th quarter of 2015…what have you done for yourself lately?

Have you taken that class to further your skills? Attended a networking event? Initiated some meetings or started that project you declared would happen in January 2015?

I’ve compiled a list of various beauty-related events scheduled for the rest of the year that will support your career and business aspirations. It will certainly be worth the time and/or money investment, should you be committed to your goals!

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The Artist Summit, The Powder Group
October 4-7, 2015 | Provincetown, MA
Business executives from across the makeup industry, brand owners, and world-renowned artists will come together for three days of insightful and inspiring discussion about artistry, career and beauty. Also, my BFF Stephanie Flor will be one of the guest speakers at the event!

Speed Networking: Make the Connection, Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW)
October 6, 2015 | New York, NY
I love speed networking! It eliminated the awkward ice breaker and made the process of networking fun. You never know if you have a mutual contact, have the same hobbies, and career aspirations!

Crystal Wright’s 4-Day Portfolio Building & Marketing Workshop
October 17-20 | Stamford, CT
Crystal Wright wrote the bible on how to make it as a celebrity artist, aptly titled The Hair, Makeup and Fashion Styling Career Guide. She brings the book to life with this intense 4-day workshop. I’ve sat in it myself and you will not walk out the same!

ISPA Conference & Expo
October 19-21, 2015 | Las Vegas, NV
This is one of the many beauty trade shows, and one of the few geared towards the spa industry. This event is definitely on my must-attend list! And having it at the Mandalay Bay Hotel isn’t too bad either!

International Congress of Esthetics & Spa
October 25 & 26, 2015 | Philadelphia, PA
This is another spa trade show. It is chock full of break out sessions, vendor demonstrations, and tons of deals for products and equipment. Not to mention, loads of networking opportunities!

The Makeup Show: Chicago
November 7-8, 2015 | Chicago, IL (duh)
The iconic trade show for makeup pros only is celebrating its 5 years in the Windy City. Artists will shop tons of brands at deep discounts while tapping into education forums, with speakers such as David Klasfeld, founder of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC).

International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference
November 15-16 | Orlando, FL
Another awesome spa trade show! It’s smaller than the New York expo, but definitely worth attending for the product deals and educational sessions.

Beauty Chat: Dalal Moussa of Obliphica Professional

As CEO of the Obliphica Professional haircare line, Dalal Moussa is passionate about bringing quality products to women.

Obliphica-DalalMoussa

In the few minutes we spoke, we instantly connected through our hair journeys (aka bleach nightmares). She schooled me on the magic of seaberry, which is the main ingredient of the line, and shared the ups and downs of running her line. After getting a press sample of their Seaberry Hair Serum, I was sold!

Obliphica-SeaberrySerum

“Obliphica,” is the Russian word for seaberry, which has 5x more Vitamin C than an orange, and 3x more Vitamin C than carrots. Their products also contain Omega 3, 6, 7, and 9 fatty acids–all essential in hydrating the scalp.

Obliphica-Seaberry-fruit

With no hairdressing experience, Dalal purchased the product line after being frustrated with throwing away products that didn’t work on her damaged hair. She revamped the marketing through its luxury packaging and simple color scheme (orange is for fine/medium hair, purple for coarse hair), and now the brand is sold at Ulta and had partnered with Birchbox.

“I tried Obliphica and I could feel the difference the first time. My hair went and exhaled. It was a relaxed feeling in the shower. And I could actually run the round brush through it!” She even had me run my hand through her scalp!

Here are some more snippets during our interview…

Why did you buy the line? Because I think women today have a lot of choices. They have a lot thrown at them. We’re in control and we know what we want. We all want results. I’m just a person that threw out a lot of product because it didn’t work.

 

The reason why I did this is because I know for a fact that our formulas are so efficacious and of such high quality that you’re going to get your money’s worth for sure. You’re going to be happy. 99% of the responses are “oh my God, I love the product.” We were partners with Birchbox, CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women).

How long did it take for you to go from concept to market? Two years. I didn’t organically grow the brand; I purchased it. So I made it into a brand from the product line. I put a lot behind it.

Did you have any ideas that didn’t work? You have your vision on how it should be. Everybody’s got a vision, but the vision’s gotta align with yours. Passion will drive you to places and will give you energy you never thought you had.

There’s something about keeping your word as well. When you give your word and if you keep your word, it’s a damn good job.

What was a significant challenge you had? Everything was a challenge! It was a lot to learn. All of a sudden you become very responsible for people. You have to say the right things on the packaging; say what’s true. You have to be responsible. You can’t make false claims.

Be responsible and give people good product and don’t change the quality. I don’t have to make my numbers. I didn’t do it for the numbers, I did it because it’s good quality so I want to stay in line with that. People will ask, what are your sales goals? Users! 50 million users.

How did the partnership with Ulta come about? I met them at a trade show. Sampling is very important. But if you’re going to spend the money on sampling you better wholeheartedly believe in the product because the product has to work immediately. You can’t sample something and have it work in 21 days.

Obliphica-SpotlightDayWhen I first bought the brand, having someone believe in you is everything. So having people have faith in you is certainly an inspiring moment. It carries you through. It doesn’t matter how big you get, you never forget the people that got you there.

One piece of advice for beautypreneurs: You don’t know everything. You don’t know everything there is to know. Like I said, passion and faith in yourself that you’re doing the right thing. But you have to do it for a good reason. I did it because I wanted to bring good products to the market. I really think it’s important for me to give my word to you, especially if you’re going to be out there selling it.

Shop Obliphica Professional on ULTA Beauty. For salon orders, contact their US distributor, CosmoProf.

Beauty Maven Book Club: Be a Sales Superstar

Leaders are readers! Every month I highlight a book that has been inspirational to my business and overall creativity.

One of the many lessons I learned in my Amway business was the importance of continuous learning, whether it’s through attending empowering events, reading self-improvement books, or listening to inspirational audio. No one can be successful on their own knowledge.

Over the summer, I was struggling with my sales and needed some inspiration in my business. That was a sign that I needed to get off my lazy butt and pick up a book!

Brian Tracy is an international expert on self-development, since he’s written so many books on leadership, and speaks internationally.BookClub_BrianTracy

Be a Sales Superstar: 21 Great Ways to Sell More, Faster, Easier in Tough Markets is a short and sweet book about improving how you think, organize yourself, and work with customers to increase your revenues.

You’re probably thinking, I don’t want to be a sales-y person! I just want to focus on (my artistry, career, product line, being a hermit). Here’s the cold, hard truth:

We’re all selling something, whether we know it or not!

If you want to make money in the beauty industry, you need a service or product line to sell! When you’re in a job interview, you’re selling yourself to a prospective dream employer. As a hairstylist, your income is determined by how many cuts & color services you sell.

The 21 chapters in this book covers topics such as changing your mentality & attitude towards selling, preparing for each client, and goal-setting. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • “The biggest mistake you can ever make is to think that you work for anyone else but yourself. We are all self-employed.” The reality is that we are responsible for our own results. It doesn’t have to be bad though! By taking ownership over our careers or businesses, our confidence shoots up!
  • “Top salespeople see themselves as consultants rather than salespeople.” Why are counter people referred to as beauty advisors? People judge you according to how you see yourself. Brian even insisted on being straightforward and tell them you’re not trying to sell them on anything, but position yourself as a resource and see if you can help them.
  • “The core principle of time management is the ability to do first things first.” Honestly, it is not easy keeping up this blog! Between my full-time job, building my business, attending events, and spending time with my friends and family, it’s so easy to let this go. Is what you’re doing contributing to your business or goals? If not, stop doing it!

That’s all I can give you! By reading this over the summer, it definitely contributed to my high numbers in August, which is usually a slow season for services. Now it’s your turn to empower your mind and buy this book!