Monday, June 25, 2012

At Arms Length

When I went into the beauty biz about 9 years ago, I promised myself that I would never prey on people’s beauty insecurities to increase sales. When you come to me for a brow wax, I will never ask if you want to do your lip also (even if I think you might need it)! Shocking right? Now some folks might think it’s my job to point these things out to my clients, to that I say, do you point these things out to your friends? I am sure the answers to that will vary.

I leave it up to my clients to request services they think they need because we are our own harshest critics and I would not want to bring anything to light that the client hasn't all ready noticed. 

Over examination of ourselves is way too common. When I am done waxing someones brows I hand them a mirror to check out the finished product. 9 out of 10 times they take the mirror and hold it like two inches from their face inspecting each hair rather than taking in the brow shape, the whole face, & how the two should go together and complement each other. It is at this point that I tell client to hold the mirror back, at arms length. I say, “this is how most people see you & if they are any closer they already know and love you”! If I feel that the client isn’t buying my philosophy, I move in closer than arms length and start talking to them, that seems to bring the point home, its a little creepy. And even when we do come across that occasional ‘close talker’, we are just trying to get away from them, or we are drunk and having a hard time focusing our eyes anyway! And for the 1 client is 10 that takes in the bigger picture, you are my dream come true!

In all fairness I too have those days when I wonder why people pick me do their beauty treatments; admittedly I stand inches from the bathroom mirror until my back starts hurting, pulling at my skin which is perpetually caught between acne and aging. (I’m 40, come on already!!!) Then I remember the advice I give to clients, I back up from the mirror and smile! A smile is the best beauty accessory!

That's me, feeling good at about 10 arms length, smiling all the way!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Location, location, location...

William Dillard, founder of Dillard’s department stores, is credited with saying that the 3 most important things in business are ‘location, location, location’. Well Mr. Dillard didn’t have the Internet, so bah to his philosophy.

Well good for me because I have a great location on the waterfront of the North End of Boston!  Bad for me because I don’t have a sign out front to let folks know that I am in there. As many of you know who read this I am located inside another business. The sign out front on the large purplish awning reads “Jacquelyn’s Day Spa”. But what most passerbyers don’t know is that there are no less than 5 businesses inside. There is Jacquelyn herself, she is an esthetician also; Tina hair stylist extraordinaire has ‘Koukla Salon’; Robert stays very busy with ‘Boston Harbor Acupuncture’; and Susan with her gifted hands is the massage therapist (call her directly at 617-283-4765). Together we make quite a team!

So my little treatment room is one stop shopping, I even check you out in there. (Check you out as in cash you out, complete the sale, take payment, not size you up to see if you would be a good match for my single guy friends. But hey if you are interested I know a nice fellow or two)!

I take the time to explain all this because; well it’s worth explaining. Lots of first time clients walk in and are not quite sure they are in the right place. I don’t blame them; honestly I would be confused myself. Sometime I still am confused, I feel the need to report to my roommates my whereabouts. I am still getting used to being on my own, and not being an employee. But I think letting my peers know when I am stepping out for a break is just considerate and not insecure.

So instead of considering my business difficult to locate I like to think of it as more of a hidden gem that’s worth the effort to find.

107 Atlantic Ave. Boston, MA

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to get a facial

...or what to expect if you have never had one.

I know this might seem like common sense, you book an appointment, you show up, you lay there for about an hour, you pay & then you go home.

Well if you are new to facials, let’s say you have never had one…then this one is going out for all the skin care noobies!

Book Appointment-
  • Do not book a facial an hour before meeting your soon to be in-laws for the first time! Especially if you have never had one before. Please no red carpet events or photo ops for at least 24 hours after the facial.
  • Check out the list of available facials, and pick one that most closely addresses your skin care concern. Book it! On my online booking tool you can write me a little note, like, ‘first time’, ‘need help with break-outs’, or ‘Liz last time I ran into you, you had toilet paper stuck to you shoe, sorry I could not tell you then, but I was afraid you would ask me to help you get it off!’
Show up on time-
  • Actually a little early. Facials are a timed service, all my facials run for an hour. If you book a facial for noon and you walk in the door at noon, then I greet you, maybe you need water or the bathroom, then I explain how you are to get into the treatment bed. By the time you are ready for me to actually start the facial you could have lost anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes. So come in and do the bathroom, water, or “just let me finish this call, sorry”, before your start time.
  •  Once I get you installed on the treatment table it is all about you! In the first few minutes of the facials, I will ask at least a dozen questions about your skin. We will consult about the best way to proceed. Then I will be very quite, like magic hands in the dark, while I pamper your skin. Unless of course you are nervous or you would prefer more conversation or just want your skin care questions answered for the whole hour I will do that! Remember it’s all about you!
Basic steps-
  • Most facials will include:
    • Cleansing
    • Exfoliation
    •  Steaming (I do a little hand massage while you are under the steam, mmmm, nice)
    • Extraction, if you have clogged pores
    • Massage (type & where depends on skin concerns)
    •  Finishing treatment mask
    • Application of toner, eye cream & moisturizer, (which by the way along with cleansing should be your bare minimum morning and night at home routine).

There are hundreds of variables on how your personalized facial will actually proceed. Even my clients who come in once a month religiously will experience new products or different massage techniques, it all depends on your skin at the time of the facial.

Where all the magic happens!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Follow the leader!

When I tell you I opened my own business that is a true statement. But there is a caveat to that, I rent a studio (a room) along side four other service providers. One of which is Tina Mallios, who I have worked along side of for eight years at our previous place of employment. Tina launched out to do her own thing a couple of months before me, and if it wasn’t for her bravery, determination and inspiration I don’t know if I would have had the guts to do it myself. 

Not too long ago Tina’s mother and sister came to see her. Her mother asked “how long have you been working together now?”, I answered “8 years at the least”, her sister smiled and said “you getting along”? Implying that Tina and I work closer than we had previously in more ways than one, and basically asking ‘are we ready to kill each other because we are too damn close?’. Tina and I looked at each other and knew that we felt the same, which is to say we get along even better than before!!!!! Lots less drama, just her and me! Tina and I are not exactly cut from the same cloth but we have the same logic process & ethics (especially when it comes to work) and a similar sense of humor, although mine tends to lean somewhat in the direction of awkward teen geek genre. 

So it is without hesitation we refer clients to each other because we are confident in each other’s work ethic and ability to accommodate even the most demanding clients. I suppose I should mention Tina is a stylist, she does awesome hair and named her studio ‘Koukla’, which means doll in Greek (pretty sure of that). Check out her site

Quality of life in the work place has gone up greatly for us. Mornings usually begin with the decision of who will run to Starbucks to pick up the venti triple shot vanilla lattes; come on is there a better way to start your day?

Tina & Me in 2007 (?)
Yes we were having that much fun! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012


I love shaping brows, of all the services I perform this one is the most artistic. But new clients who show up for a brow wax and have no input on what they would like vex me. Could it be that everyone is so completely satisfied with the shape of their brows that “just clean ‘em up” is all I need to know, no this can’t be right.  

So I coax info out of my clients, with questions such as;
  • Are you happy with your brows?
  • When was the last time you had them professionally done?
  • Do you tweeze at home in between waxings to keep them up?
Answers to these questions give me a great starting point at what we can accomplish with your brows.

What clients need to know is brows are not identical twins on the majority of people, on some they are more like distant cousins, barely resembling each other. My job is to create symmetry in the brows that will most flatter your face. What parts of the face do I consider when shaping the brow, the overall shape of the face and the size of each feature; eyes, nose, and lips and their proportion to each other.

For example if you have a long oval shaped face and your brows are really short this is going to make you face look even longer and narrower. So I would suggest the span of the brow is increased, that is where the brow starts to where the brow ends needs to be longer. Now please don’t get me wrong, to each his own. If you have very specific instructions on what you want that is exactly what I will do. If you firmly say, “Wax the left one off and leave the right one alone”! That is exactly what I will do, just as soon as the wave of nausea has left me.

Nice Brow

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Brazilian

Some consider it a necessary evil; others just consider it evil, either way I find that it is the one service I perform that has the most questions surrounding it. The most common questions are:

  • Will it hurt? Depends on your pain threshold.
  • How long will it last? Depends on how fast your hair grows.
  • How much & how long will the redness last? Depends your skin type. 
  • How long does it take? How much hair do you have? Usually about 20 minutes.
Are you noticing a common thread here, it's not about a magic wax, the  answers to all of your questions really depend on the physiology of you skin. 

For first-timers it is never as bad as you have imagined it, actually it over pretty darn quick. I think my long time clients would agree that the worst part is just being naked under bright lights (think alien abduction)!  That’s why I do my own Brazilian by candle light, so much more flattering that soft glow and flicker… joking!  But I do wax myself under the same harsh fluorescent light that I wax my clients, and I have been contacted by the ‘International Contortionist Society of the Freakishly Flexible & Utterly Determined.” 

For my long-time clients that worst part might be that you are my captive audience! I will talk to you, I will remember where you work, why you broke up with you last boyfriend and have no problems telling you I think dating his new roommate is a bad idea. Have pity on me people if I wasn’t for my clients I would be basically working alone, plus a little conversation is a welcome distraction, so my clients tell me, from that task at hand.

For both first-timers and long-timers, the big question is: ‘what can I do to make it less painful?’  Some of my clients take an ibuprofen or two about 20 minutes before coming in. Others use a topical numbing cream & a post wax calming lotion, (I sell both, how convenient, lol). Others use nothing.

Left to right:
'Get the bump outta here', ingrown hair treatment
'No trauma momma', after wax calming lotion
'No scream cream', numbing cream

Please don't hesitate to post comments and ask some questions I am sure I didn't come close to answering all of them here.