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Flat Iron | Hair Straightener | ISA Professional

11 May '17

Pedicure & Pamper Your Feet

A Spa Day At Home 

Life can be hard on the feet. Walking the city streets daily as a pedestrian or working jobs that require us to stand all day can leave our feet feeling sore and rough. And those cute shoes or sexy heels can often make our tootsies hurt worse, even with gel inserts and an office job.

So what’s a body to do when the dogs are barking? (Everyone knows barking dogs are sore feet, right? Or is that just a Southern thing?) Well, that’s easy! Schedule a spa day for your feet, right in your own home! You don’t even really need much in the way of equipment, and it can do wonders for your mood - and your soles.  

Soak Your Feet 

Foot Bath | InterContinental HK | ISA Professional

To begin your self-care session, prepare a footbath. This can be as simple as getting a large bowl or pot, or getting out a deep plastic basin purchased just for your feet. You can get even fancier, if you like, and invest in a deluxe heated footbath that vibrates and makes bubbles. (If you have a fancy, dedicated footbath, just follow its directions on how to use it.)  

If you’re putting together a completely homemade footbath, add warm water perfect for soaking to your pot or bowl or basin. Just be careful of not burning yourself with the hot water!

Once you’ve added your water, you may choose to enhance it: add Epsom salts to soothe and soften hard-used feet. Or you could add a drop of essential oil - lavender, perhaps, to help with fatigue, or peppermint to improve circulation. Natural Living Ideas shares several foot soak recipes you might be interested in investigating and trying. (Remember: dilute essential oils, and make sure you’re using safe ingredients.)  

Before you settle in to enjoy your footbath, you may wish to pour yourself a glass or cup of something enjoyable! You could take the opportunity to use a face mask as well, or perhaps get out a book or put on a TV show. Whatever you do, sit back, relax, and let your feet soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

 Scrub Your Soles

Clean Soles | Wokandpix | ISA Professional

After you’ve had a nice, long soak, you should give your feet a good scrub. If you have a pumice stone, this is the time to use it: dip your pumice stone in warm water, and then gently rub it in circular motions on rough skin. You can do this for two or three minutes, rinsing both your foot and the stone occasionally. Be gentle with yourself - all you want to do is remove the dead skin cells. If your skin becomes irritated, you’re doing too much.  

Don’t have a pumice stone? You can still exfoliate! Just mix up a sugar or salt scrub (or purchase one already made). You can find hundreds of homemade scrub recipes on the Internet, but the basics often involve mixing 1 part oil (from coconut oil to grapeseed oil) to 2 parts sugar or salt. Then you gently rub this grainy mixture across the rough skin as with the pumice stone above.

Afterward, take your newly scrubbed feet and gently pat them dry with a towel.  

Restore Your Skin 

So you’ve soaked and scrubbed and now you’re ready for moisturizing! You want to do this as soon as you’ve finished exfoliation, in order to rehydrate your skin and lock in moisture. This is also the best time to trim your toenails, since they’ll also have softened up in the long soak. 

These are tons of products out there formulated especially for deep moisturizing your feet. Choose your favorite lotion or cream and go to town, rubbing it across the tops of your feet, all over your toes, and all across your soles. This step also serves double duty, providing the perfect set-up for you to give yourself an amazing foot massage.  

Rub some oil onto your toenails and into the cuticles as well - argan oil or Vitamin E oil can promote healthy nail growth. Argan oil is also brilliant for any cracks you might have on your feet from badly dried skin, and can nourish and heal the roughest spots. Just remember to wipe the bottom of your feet of excess oil and take caution on smooth walking surfaces as you wouldn't want to slip and fall. 

Have some Fun 

 

A post shared by Gelnailsat (@gelnailsat) on

 

You could call it quits at this point, and luxuriate in having clean, pampered dogs that are no longer barking. Or you could get creative and take it to the next level with some fun color! Yes, I’m talking about painting your toenails!  

Even if it’s not open-toed shoe or sandal weather yet, having cheerfully painted nails can boost your mood and your confidence - even if you’re the only one who knows about them. So break out those daring nail colors you’re never sure of pulling off when your feet are on display and give them a chance. Experiment with some nail art as well! It’ll be our little secret, if you want it to be.  

Now that you can pull off a great spa treatment for your feet at home, hit the comments and tell us what you’ll be drinking or reading as you relax with a nice footbath!  

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08 Aug '16

How to Choose The Best Shampoo And Wash Your Hair Healthy

Choosing The Right Shampoo for Healthier Hair

Woman Choosing Her Shampoo and Conditioner- ISA Professional

While it may seem like a simple topic to talk about, there are many that do not consider the ingredients or consistency when choosing their shampoo or conditioner. Maybe you think that all shampoos and conditioners provide the same results, but that is not true. All of us should be better researched on what makes a high quality shampoo or conditioner and even though it sounds a bit overwhelming, believe me, it's worth knowing about. In addition to knowing what to look out for in your washing products, there are also ways of improving your washing techniques. From cutting down on product use (which also helps you save money and is great for the environment), to knowing where and when to apply the product on your hair, you will find everything you need to know in this article. Now, let's speed up our hair washing routine while protecting our health and achieving shiny, gorgeous hair together!

How To Choose A High Quality Shampoo 

     To do this correctly, you should start by looking for products with natural ingredients and higher degree of viscosity. The viscosity of a liquid is the consistency. The thinner it is, the faster it flows out of the bottle. The slower it flows out of the bottle, the higher the viscosity. Lower viscosity products have a higher water content by volume; higher viscosity products tend to have more of the active ingredients you need for cleansing your hair successfully.

Open Shampoo Bottle- ISA Professional

Natural Ingredients? 3 To Avoid In Shampoos

     The word "natural" is broad and can be easily misunderstood when it comes to personal care products for your hair. Many companies use this kind of buzzword to give you a false sense of security. There seems to be an ever growing need for products with words like natural, organic and chemical free. Although it may sound difficult to know which products are actually natural, there are certain ingredients you should avoid altogether; below are the usual suspects that you should stay away from:

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS)

     Chief among these is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS), a surfectant that is used in many cleaning products, from shampoo to soap to dish soap. It is a skin irritant and may be contaminated with potentially toxic manufacturing impurities such as 1,4-dioxane.

Fragrance/Parfum

     The name of this one sounds innocent enough, fragrance sounds like it should just be something that smells nice. Beware, fragrance is a catch all term that can encompass a large range of chemicals. There can be a undisclosed mixture of scent chemicals and fragrance dispersing ingredients such as diethyl phthalate. These can cause lung and skin irritation, as well as potentially damage the reproductive system.

Triclosan

      This is an antibacterial and preservative which can persist in the environment and may be associated with endocrine (hormonal) toxicity.


     A trick to telling shampoo and hair wash quality is by the size of the nozzle. Most shampoo comes in a flip top bottle with a nozzle built in. The larger nozzles tend to come on products with less active ingredients. The larger nozzle makes you more likely to squeeze out more shampoo. I'm sure you've experienced this, and once it's already in your palm you feel like it would be unhygienic to return it to the bottle and a waste to throw it down the drain, so you put it in your hair and end up using too much shampoo. This is not only a waste of money but also of time because it will take you longer to wash the shampoo residue out of your hair. Additionally, because you used too much shampoo and over cleansed the scalp, you will then need to overuse conditioner in order to replenish the lost moisture, leading to more wasted money and over use of product.

Best Method for Washing

Woman Shampooing Her Hair- ISA Professional

      Once you have chosen a good shampoo or hair wash, the method to washing your hair is simple.


     First, thoroughly wet your hair with warm water. Second, dampen your hands. Third, squeeze the shampoo or hair wash onto the palm of one hand. A dime sized portion should be sufficient for short hair, a quarter sized portion for medium/shoulder length hair, two quarter sized portions for longer hair. Before you apply the shampoo or hair wash, first rub the palms of your hands together to create a lather from the shampoo and the water already on your hands. Then, apply to your hair starting at the top of your head. Then insert your fingers until the tips of your fingers touch your scalp and massage the shampoo or hair wash outwards toward your forehead. Then place your fingers back on top of your head with the tips touching your scalp and massage the shampoo back towards the nape of your neck and tips of your hair. This way, the shampoo or hair wash will stay in contact with each part of your hair for the optimal amount of time: longest on the parts of the head that produce the oils, and shortest on the tips of the hair which are the driest and most easily damaged.

     After you have washed your hair, and given yourself a relaxing head massage in the process, rinse your hair. As a general rule of thumb, you should rinse you hair for three to five times as long as it took you to wash it. You should count this time from when the shampoo or hair wash first touched your hair to when you began to rinse it. If it took you 2 minutes to wash, then it should take you 6 to 10 minutes to rinse it all out. Stand directly under the stream of water and occasionally sweep your hair with your hand, but do not brush when wet as brushing wet hair can damage it.

     Bonus points for doing a finishing cold rinse!

     If you can stand the temperature change, the best final rinse for freshly washed hair is to rinse it thoroughly in water that is as cold as your tap can give you. When I'm camping, the water comes from the well and it is really cold but I smile while trying to not grit my teeth and I tough it out because it leaves my hair so smooth and shiny! The reason this works is because the warm water of the shower opens up the cuticles on the surface of your hair, which under magnification look almost like fish scales. Tricks such as rinsing off in cold water, or flat ironing with a hair straightener in the direction that the cuticles face, smooth them out and seal the cuticles so that you get healthier, stronger hair, and brilliant shine.

     If you used a quality one step hair wash then congratulations and skip to the end on how to dry your hair! If you have a two step shampoo and conditioner combo, then it is now time to apply the conditioner. Conditioner is designed to replenish to hair some of the moisture lost while shampooing and cleansing it. Conditioner can also have ingredients that will smooth, soften and make hair more manageable.

Blonde Woman With Shiny, Healthy Hair- ISA Professional

3 Top Ingredients To Avoid In Conditioners

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

     PEG is a small organic alcohol that is commonly used as a conditioning agent. It's a skin irritant and can cause allergic contact dermatitis (rash) as well as contact urticaria (hives).

Dimethicone

     Dimethicone is a silicone based polymer which is used as a conditioning agent and lubricant. It makes the hair seem slicker when used in conditioner. It is classified as expected to be toxic or harmful and is an environmental toxin and can bio-accumulate in your body.

Phenoxyethanol

     Phenoxyethanol is a preservative and fragrance used in skin and hair products. It is highly irritant to skin, eyes, and lungs. Further, it can cause organ system toxicity.

The Truth About Conditioner

     The important thing to remember about conditioner is that most conditioner is designed predominantly for hair, so that's where you should put it. You do not need to apply it in the massaging technique to your scalp. If you have ever used argan oil on your hair you will know what I mean. Over the course of several hours, some of the oil is drawn up naturally up the hair shaft and into your roots. If you have a greasy scalp or hair that becomes naturally oily soon after washing, then apply conditioner only to the bottom 1/2 of your hair. For everyone else, applying conditioner to the bottom 3/4 of your hair is best and capillary action will take care of the rest.

     When applying conditioner, begin at the tips of your hair. Use the same amounts for conditioner as for shampoo given above. Rub the conditioner between your damp hands, then begin by rubbing the tips of your hair if you have short hair, or close your hands around the tips of your hair if you have long hair. Work your hands up toward the roots but do not apply conditioner directly on the roots.

     Because of the way that the moisturizers in conditioner work, you do not have to rinse for as long. A good rule of thumb is to rinse for the same amount of time as how long the conditioner was on. So if it took you two minutes to condition, then rinse for 2 minutes.

     Again, bonus for doing a finishing cold water rinse!

Drying Your Hair

Woman With Long, Straight, Healthy Hair- ISA Professional

     There is a myth that drying your hair naturally, without the use of a hair dryer is the best way to attain healthy hair. This is true, but with some caveats. If you live in a hot, dry, low humidity environment, with lots of sunshine and a steady breeze, and you can spend half an hour in said breeze after you wash your hair each time, gently brushing it, then yes drying your hair naturally is a great choice.

     However, if you live in the world that most of us live in, with time pressures and high humidity summer, then using a hair dryer is best. What you want is to dry your hair the fastest way possible, while using the lowest temperature that is not room temperature. On most hair dryers, this equals the low (but not cold) heat setting and the high speed setting.

     And voila! I hope you've enjoyed reading these tips on how to pick a high quality shampoo and conditioner, then using them to attain your best hair ever! Did you learn anything new? Do you have any tips or ideas to add? Tell us in the comments below.

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19 Jul '16

Adding These Daily Habits Can Help You Feel and Look Great

4 Tips For a Healthier, More Beautiful You

Girl Appreciating a Sunflower- ISA Professional

We've all gone through that moment of realizing that our lives could use some improving; whether it's working harder for a promotion, learning a new language, or signing up for that yoga class you've always wanted to try out. No matter what your goal was, it can be hard to achieve, or even worse, keep up with. While your hectic work or life schedule may make it seem like these goals are impossible, it doesn't have to be so daunting. It all starts with a few steps and luckily for us, those small changes can lead to a healthier you, with permanent life changes. You don't have to do all of these changes at once; try one or two to begin with and take it from there. The trick to keeping them up is thinking of the big picture; one positive life change will lead to more positive changes because you know that you are in control of your life and your choices. We all need some “me” time, make it a priority to give yourself some; after all, you can't take care of others or your job if you don't take care of yourself first!

Drink Lemon Water

Woman Drinking Lemon Water- ISA Professional

Let's be honest here, what do you usually go for first thing in the morning? Chances are, it's coffee. Although coffee it does have its own health benefits, there's another beverage that is extremely beneficial to our health that is often ignored: lemon water. Lemons are extremely beneficial to our bodies; they're high in Vitamin C, help aid our digestion, have various electrolytes (like potassium and magnesium) for hydration and contains antioxidants that help strengthen our immune system.

In fact, drinking a whole lemon in water (I usually cut a lemon in half and drink two glasses) can help lower blood pressure and even cleanse your arteries! Some people swear by drinking warm or hot water with their lemon, but if it's too hot where you life, room temp works too. Drinking it first thing in the morning will give you energy and even helps fight off cravings later on in the day.

Apply Serum and SPF Before Going Out

Woman Applying Sunscreen- ISA Professional

You're probably sick of hearing about the importance on applying SPF and serums but they're talked about often for a reason, it's just for our own good! SPF helps protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays, which can be extremely harmful for our skin and can lead to skin cancer. Serums help fight signs of aging and have a lightweight consistency, making them the perfect pairing to SPF.

Apply your serum first since it dries quickly, then apply your SPF. I'm in awe of ISA Professional's XANADU 24k Serum; it has Vitamin C, so while the lemon water helps you on the inside, this amazing serum gives your skin the same treatment on the outside. Another good tip is to stick to SPF made specifically for the face since these aren't as heavy or chalky. I like to use Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, it isn't greasy and works great under makeup. This combination of skin products will make your skin stay healthy and beautiful. Believe me, your skin will thank you for this small lifestyle change!

Meditate For A Healthier Body and Brain

Woman and Girl Meditating

I know what you're thinking; you sometimes don't even have time to wash your hair, much less meditate daily, but even a little goes a long way. You don't have to join a yoga class if you don't want but you should start taking at least 15 minutes out of your day to get away from computers and cell phones and just breathe.

You can accomplish this by just sitting in a quiet room and concentrating on your breathing or by going out for a calming walk with your dog. If you're interested in a yoga class but don't think you have time or money for it, buy a yoga mat and separate some time a couple of times during the week to practice at home. There are plenty of videos out there to help you out and if you think inviting a friend to do it with you will help keep you motivated, do it!

The benefits of meditation are plenty: it decreases anxiety, depression, stress, inflammation and pain. It also makes you more focused, reduces loneliness, boosts your immune system and increases positive emotions! The benefits of mediation are well worth separating some time out from your schedule, and is a lifestyle change that will make you feel optimistic and amazing.

Exercise For A Few Minutes Every Day

Woman Working Out- ISA Professional

If there's one lifestyle change that every expert recommends for a long and healthy life, it's exercise. Now if you're cringing just thinking about exercising, you're not alone. For some reason, some think that you're either a couch potato or a hardcore athlete that monitors everything that you eat and every calorie you burn. It doesn't have to be that way, you don't have to identify with only the one or the other.

Like many things in life, it's all about balance and if you don't see yourself becoming a workout fanatic, you should still dedicate some time during the week to exercise if you want to avoid sickness and obesity. It is suggested that you do at least 150 minutes a week for there to be any health benefits and you can choose how you want to divide them according to your schedule. I like to stick to 30 minute workouts, 5 days a week; this way I can enjoy my weekend without thinking about exercising. If that still seems like too much for you, try 15 minutes every day instead. Just remember, if you're new to exercising, make sure you start small; trying a hard work out straight off the bat is a bad idea for your heart and body. Also, make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any workout regimen if you have a heart or health condition; this ensures that your workout is right for your body.

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09 Jun '16

Choosing The Right Foundation For Your Skin Doesn't Have To Be Intimidating

The Right Foundation for Your Skin Type

 

For those who are new to wearing foundation, going to the store to find the right fit for you may seem daunting. But it doesn't have to be! Researching the facts before going to the store is the best way to prepare yourself and be certain that you know how to pick the right foundation for your skin type.

 

Even if you don't have skin issues to hide, the right foundation will make you look more polished and airbrushed, and honestly, who doesn't want that? Whether it's for daily use or special occasions, a great foundation will make you feel beautiful and will last all day.

 

Always moisturize and use a Makeup Primer

 

A good tip to follow is to always moisturize and apply a makeup primer before applying your foundation; this will ensure your skin is hydrated and will make foundation application much easier. A great makeup primer and moisturizer will also help you use less foundation, helping you save money in the long run. I highly recommend ISA Professional's XANADU 24K Gold Foundation Primer, it gives me a beautiful glow and leaves my skin smooth, making foundation application fool-proof. It also holds my foundation in all day long, no more touch ups needed during the day! It's definitely the HG of makeup primers; it aids your makeup routine, while simultaneously making your skin healthier and smoother. After you apply your primer, it's time for your foundation; just follow these tips to look flawless!

Choose Formula According To Your Skin Type

Foundation Shades ISA Professional

 

Everyone's skin has specific needs and recognizing your skin type will make your skin care and makeup routine SO much easier. Whether you have dry, sensitive, oily or combination skin, don't worry; there's a perfect foundation out there for you. Dry skin needs a boost of hydration, so liquid foundations are best, especially if they provide a dewy finish. Sensitive skin types should stay away from fragrances, making mineral makeup ideal for avoiding any irritation. Oily skin types are usually acne prone, so they should stick with an oil free foundation to avoid breakouts and shine. Combination skin types should use a water based and oil free foundation for best results.

 

Choose Shade According To Your Jawline (NOT Your Hand!)

 

Girl Pointing at Jaw ISA Professional

 

The best way to find the right foundation is to try it in the store before buying it. If there is one makeup item you shouldn't buy without seeing and trying first, it's foundation. First and most important, DO NOT test the foundation on your hand; instead, test it on your jawline to find the shade closest to your skin color. Your perfect shade should be almost invisible on your skin (a hard feat, but trust me, you will find it!). Another option would be to ask a beauty representative in the store to help you find your shade; just make sure you look at yourself in different lightning, including daylight, before purchasing!

 

Get To Know Your Foundation Tools And Use The One That Suits Your Needs

 

Makeup Brush Collection ISA Professional

 

There are several makeup tools that can be used to apply your foundation, it's just a matter of finding one that suits your personal needs. First, there's the ever popular makeup sponge, used mainly to get a streak free look by lightly moistening it, before patting your foundation down smoothly. Another makeup tool that's popular with liquid foundation users is the classic foundation brush. This brush is usually slightly tapered and is used in downwards strokes to get even foundation coverage. Lastly, you can also use the tips of your fingers to apply foundation, the warmth from your fingers helps you apply your product evenly. This technique is best used for BB creams or tinted moisturizers, since these low coverage foundations are lightweight and are easily blended into the skin.

 

Always Look For Foundation With SPF

 

Face in The Sun ISA Professional

 

One of the main things you should look for in a foundation is SPF protection. Lucky for us, there's a wide range of SPF loaded foundation options out there, just do your research before buying. Remember, the higher the sun protection, the better for your skin! Makeup should help protect your skin as well as enhance your features, so go out there and find the foundation that makes you and your skin feel best!

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11 Mar '16

Truly Amazing Makeup by Silvia Quiros

Makeup by Silvia Quiros

Some makeup artist stand out from the pack. Silvia Quiros is one of these artists, her skill make even the most simple look take on a whole new life. Check out some of our favorite all time looks by Silvia.

 

A photo posted by Silvia Quirós (@silviaquiros) on

 

Silvia says this is a great date night look and we totally agree. We admit we are a bit jealous of what healthy skin she has. It's gorgeous!

 

A photo posted by Silvia Quirós (@silviaquiros) on

 

This look is perfect for a weekend out, just dramatic enough to call attention but not weigh you down. With makeup like this you'll definitely turn some heads.

 

A photo posted by Silvia Quirós (@silviaquiros) on

 

This look is definitely an attention grabber, full of drama and style. The predominant bronze tint makes this unique and presents a very strong and confident style. Combining this with simple and worry free nails is essential.

 

A photo posted by Silvia Quirós (@silviaquiros) on

 

Silvia calls this look the Gothic Rainbow and it truly describes this look perfectly. This look is all about attitude and confidence, which you will definitely need in order to pull it off!

 

A photo posted by Silvia Quirós (@silviaquiros) on

 

This last looks further shows off the artist's talent. Even though it's very simple, it is perfectly balanced. Perfect for that extra touch of color during the day, this could be a great choice for the office. Don't forget to check back periodically as we share our latest makeup crushes!




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