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An Intro To Facial Gua Sha

Gua sha (pronounced gwah-sha or gwah-sa) is a centuries old Chinese Medicine technique. Traditionally gua sha was performed on the body using whatever a person had on hand – whether that was a copper coin, a spoon, a buffalo horn, a hemp rope soaked in sesame oil or simply one’s hands. It is only more recently in the 21st century that the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques including gua sha have been used in the mainstream beauty industry, with the popularity of gua sha having especially soared in the last couple of years due to social media applications such as Instagram.

With this increase in popularity, it is all the more important to pay respect and acknowledge the history and culture that gua sha originates from. Far to often we see gua sha stones/services promoted and sold in such a way that does not honor nor even recognize its origins in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Much of the modern usage and techniques of using gua sha for the face stem directly from Traditional Chinese Medicine, as have the ideas of how outward bodily appearances and skin color changes are directly related to changes in a person’s health, blood, and qi (energy). Gua sha’s use in the esthetic industry has also been heavily influenced and revolutionized by Dr. Ping Zhang, a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, who is also cited as being the inventor of the original gua sha facial.

Gua sha works to release tense muscles and tissues and then nourish them by increasing circulation and bringing more blood to the area being treated. By relaxing the facial muscles and increasing circulation/bringing more blood to the tissues, we can not only help diminish fine lines and wrinkles, but we can also help to even skin tone, as well as temporarily lift, firm, and plump up the skin to create a healthy, “youthful” glow. Facial gua sha can also provide relief to those with chronic, stress induced TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder).

Check out our Gua Sha Facial and our Based Intuitive Facial that includes facial Gua Sha as well as our handmade gua sha stones!

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What Exactly Is Holistic Skincare?

A Post By Based Esthetician, Shauna

            When I think of taking a more holistic approach to skincare, I am reminded of a passage from a book I refer back to every so often, called Holistic Anatomy by Pip Waller: “In the morning, an alarm clock made in a factory across the sea wakes me. I get up and dress in clothes made somewhere else. I eat food grown by people of many countries—packed, transported, and sold to me. Before I even leave the house in the morning I have been touched by thousands of other lives. It is impossible for a human being to be separate. We are connected to each other and to all life, to the earth we live on, as intimately as our cells are part of us.”         

I love this passage because although we live our lives under this veil of “separateness”, our fates are all deeply intertwined with one another’s. We may be our own person, but we are people who are a part of our own small communities—whether that be with our family, friends, neighbors, book clubs, etc. These small communities come together to form an even larger community, such as a city. Multiple cities come together to form a state, and so on and so forth until our entire planet Earth is but one small speck in the greater universe.

When we take a look at our skin from a holistic skincare approach, the same type of thought process applies. Our skin is an organ of the integumentary system, and while this system has multiple functions that it alone carries out, it cannot perform said functions without all the other body systems performing their particular jobs. Each system is but one part of a greater operating whole, where no one system is more important than the other. Applying this to the idea of skincare, a blemish, for example, isn’t always just the result of a clogged follicle. Depending on where the blemish is located on your face, it can indicate something else going on internally. Looking at the bigger picture is a key aspect of holistic skincare.

Our skin acts as a communicator; often times the first sign of internal imbalance will show up on our faces. It is the job of a holistic esthetician, then, to investigate what your face is communicating and get to the root cause of whatever it is that’s showing up on your skin. Sometimes that may mean outsourcing to other professionals, such as our in house nutritionist or maybe an outside acupuncturist or other professional to address what’s going on internally. 

Holistic skincare isn’t about a quick fix. It’s not about simply slathering on a band aid over a problem in the form of a topical solution. It’s about digging deeper and discovering what’s really going on to create lasting results and lasting health. It’s about becoming your own investigator and recognizing patterns. It’s about not only becoming more aware of the skin you’re in, but being able to really love your skin – even if it has blemishes, or wrinkles, or hyperpigmentation; because these are simply messages from our bodies that there’s something else going on. While I am here to help guide you on your skins journey of healing in whatever way I can, ultimately, our health is in our own hands. And what an empowering idea that is.  

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My Eminence Organics Morning Skincare Routine

I usually come here to post recipes and nutrition tidbits, but today I am changing it up and talking to you guys about skincare and specifically, my favorite Eminence Organics products! While I am not a licensed esthetician and I rely on the ladies at the office for skincare and beauty advice, I have learned so much about Eminence over the last few months through wonderful trainings from the company and using these products daily. Having this knowledge about skincare products and ingredients has been really wonderful, and when working with certain clients, having this knowledge combined with the knowledge about nutrition has really helped address issues that are both above and below the surface so that they can look and feel their best!

Mid-March when everything shut down seemingly overnight in Upstate, NY seems like a lifetime ago with everything that has been happening across our world, country and within everyone’s own lives. In this new reality of life here in New York, we are wearing masks and have been for months now! As a result, I have noticed some skin troubles that I hadn’t had before, despite not wearing the makeup I would have previously when half my face was not covered. I know from numerous conversations that I am far from alone. While we are not able to offer facial services yet, we are still selling our at home facial kits online and in person at our office and many products from both lines we use at the office, Eminence and Dermalogica, are available for purchase. I am going to share my own personal skincare routine that helps keep my skin hydrated, fresh and the breakouts under control.

My Eminence Morning Routine

Cleansers: Stone Crop Gel Wash – I find that the scent is so unique and it is loved by everyone! A small amount goes a long way. I love that when I use this product, my skin doesn’t feel stripped or dry yet it still feels clean!

Exfoliators: Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant, Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzfoliant – Powdered exfoliators are amazing and these seem to last forever! I use the Strawberry Rhubarb as more of an every day exfoliator whereas the Stone Crop is more aggressive and something I may use once a week or so.

Serums: Rosehip Triple C + E Firming Oil, Bamboo Firming Fluid + Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum* – When I was younger I would always use the bare minimum amount of moisturizer so that my skin didn’t feel like dried paper mâché on my face because I was scared the moisturizer would make me break out. In reality and hindsight, depriving my skin of the moisture it so desperately needed was what was making me break out! Side note: I wonder how much younger I would look now had I saturated my skin in all of the hydrating goodies that I do now when I was 16?! Haha. The Rosehip Triple C + E Firming Oil is amazing. A couple drops of this oil is enough to reap the benefits of this product and I also use it at night time. On the rare occasions I do wear makeup, I have even blended a drop or two of this oil into my foundation and it has created a dewey, dreamy finish.

I have found that the Bamboo Firming Fluid gives my skin some extra plumpness and the product is a natural retinol alternative. Since the mask wearing commenced, I have been using the Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum particularly on the lower portion of my face that is covered by my mask! I have found that this serum is super gentle, does not over dry, does not cause red spots or blotchiness but is still effective.

Eye Cream: Hibiscus Ultra Lift Eye Cream – I am not really sure what I attribute it to, but I am definitely someone who is prone to puffy under eyes. I have also never been much of an eye cream person because I never saw them make a difference, but I really think the unique applicator for this eye cream creates an instant difference. I will put this eye cream on and let it sink in for a few minutes while I brush my teeth or do something else and THEN I decide whether or not I need to use concealer and the vast majority of the time, I don’t!

Moisturizer: Clear Skin Probiotic Moisturizer* – I love the scent of this. I love how refreshing it feels on my skin. I love how this product makes my skin feel like it is helping keep breakouts under control but also still so moisturizing!

SPF: Lilikoi Light Defense Face Primer SPF 23 or Sun Defense Minerals SPF 30 (Neither are Pictured) – Full disclosure, I like the Lilikoi Light Defense Face Primer, but it is hit or miss amongst those who have tried it as to whether to not they like it. Because it is not an instant love like most Eminence products are, I do not stock this product but I use it at home! The biggest complaint about this product is that it creates a white cast on the skin. I personally do not find this to be the case! I am absolutely obsessed with the Sun Defense Minerals SPF 30. This product is amazing because it is a powder so it goes on easily and evenly, is great for all ages and you don’t have to worry about it leaking all over your stuff if you have it in a beach bag.

Toner: Stone Crop Hydrating Mist – This product smells great and has a range of uses. When I am actually wearing makeup, I spray my blending sponge with this to help blend better. I also use this when I am done with my makeup, spritzing a couple times to “set” my look. Whether I am going makeup free or have makeup on, I spray my face with this to refresh my face throughout the day.

My Eminence Nighttime Routine

For Nighttime: I use many of the same products BUT I really soak my skin in the Rosehip Triple C+E Firming Oil, I use the Snow Mushroom Moisture Cloud Eye Cream and I use the Bamboo Age Corrective Masque! The Snow Mushroom Moisture Cloud Eye Cream really The Bamboo Age Corrective Masque really makes my face feel hydrated and I feel like my skin plumps right up when I use this.

* denotes items I have been using to help combat mask/summer heat breakouts that were too drying for me to use daily during the winter months!