Difference Between Gel Polishes & Issues with Eyelash Extensions

Dear Laurel: I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about gel polish and that it lasts longer than regular nail polish, but I am not sure whether or not I want to try it for myself.  I am concerned that the gel will damage my natural nails. Is there one brand that is better than another?  What is the average cost?  
Laura ~ Bedford

Dear Laurel: Gel manicures are the latest rage in nail care and can keep your nails looking fabulously polished for two weeks. There are several gel polishes on the market with the most popular being Gelish by Harmony, Axxium by OPI and Shellac by Creative Nail. The main differences between the three major gel brands are; the color selections, how they are cured and how the gel is removed. The brand with the most selection of color is Gelish by Harmony with over 70 amazing colors to choose from. Axxium is second with approximately 50 and Shellac is third with approximately 24 shades of polish. Like all polish brands, there are some colors you will love and others you wouldn’t dare wear, so it’s important to seek out a nail salon that carries a wide selection of colors to choose from. There is typically no damage to your natural nails, because gel polish does not require any scuffing or filing of the nail bed. A dry manicure is usually performed to take care of unwanted cuticles and then the nails are simply cleaned and dried to prepare for the gel polish application. Most gels require use of a UV lamp to cure the polish to the natural nail. However, they should really be called UVA lamps, because they produce UVA light which is the safer form of UV light. A typical UVA bulb for nail lamps has a lower UVA intensity than sunlight, so exposure is minimal. In fact, you probably get more exposure driving your car on a sunny day than you would get by having your nail polish cured. Harmony’s Gelish polish is the only brand I know of that recommends curing under a LED light. An LED lamp uses less electricity and does not emit any UV radiation; therefore, many consider this a much safer and more desired choice.

The real concern with gel polishes seems to be how they are removed. Most gel polish brands require the nails to be filed and then soaked in acetone for a period of time in order to soften the gel for removal. The exposure to acetone is minimal, however, it is not necessary to soak the entire fingertip in order to remove the gel polish. Shellac actually designed specific “nail wraps” that hold a cotton ball soaked in acetone directly on the nail plate eliminating the need for soaking the entire fingertip. Harmony’s Gelish uses the same technique, yet uses cotton soaked in NON-acetone, as opposed to acetone, and a small piece of tin foil to hold it in place. Non-acetone is considered a healthier alternative to soaking in pure acetone and most gel brands can be removed using this method although most nail technicians tend to use acetone. High end salons may even offer to give you a hydrating paraffin treatment while you are waiting for your gel polish to soak off… this is truly a treat for your hands!

The cost for a gel manicure is different from one salon to the next, but typically runs anywhere from $25 to $45. This is a bit higher than a regular manicure, but when you consider the benefit of having fabulous looking nails for two weeks with only one manicure, it’s well worth it!

Dear Laurel:  I have lash extensions and I love them! However, my boss just told me that her professional makeup artist said that they are a very bad idea, because they can cause the hair to coil inside the eyelid and ingrown hairs can form. She also said that bacteria can get in and that the lashes are too heavy for the eye. I love them and not sure if I should quit getting them done because of this information. 
Jenn ~ via email

Dear Jenn: I have been performing eyelash extension services since they became popular a few years ago and I’ve never had anyone get an ingrown hair as a result of wearing them. However, your question did raise my eyebrow and I decided to put my investigative skills to the test and research this further. What I discovered is that although there are possible consequences to wearing eyelash extensions, if they are applied safely and correctly, the chances are slim that you would have an issue with them. The correct technique for applying lash extensions involves adhering one individual synthetic lash to one individual natural lash. This one to one lash application does not put too much excess weight on the natural lash. However, clusters of lashes (2 or 3 in a grouping) should never be bonded to one individual lash; they are too heavy for a natural lash and can cause your natural lash to fall out. This improper application can also enhance the chance for ingrown eyelashes (also known as Trichiasis) and in extreme cases, the natural lash may never grow back. Lash extensions should be applied at a distance approximately .5 to 1mm away from the root of the natural lash, never touching the eyelid, and only an FDA approved bonding agent should be used. This will help to reduce the risk of any contraindications as a result of the adhesive getting on the skin or, even worse, in the eye. There are some circumstances where an individual may not be a good candidate for lash extensions. If your lashes are too fine or thin, they may not be able to support the weight of individual synthetic lashes and the adhesive used to bond them. Those with oily eyelids may also want to consider an alternative, because the excess oil may cause the newly applied synthetic lashes to fall off quicker than normal. The application of strip lashes provides a great alternative for those who are not candidates for lash extensions. They are fairly easy to apply and can give a dramatic and glamorous look similar to eyelash extensions; however, they don’t look as natural and only last a few days.

When applied properly, lash extensions are a fabulous way to enhance your eyes. If you are having your lashes applied by a trained professional and haven’t had any issues so far, then it’s highly unlikely that you will. If you love wearing them, relax and enjoy them and keep on batting your beautiful lashes!

Email Laurel your questions at: laurel@indulgencedayspa.com

Cure Waxing Redness & Same Day Facial and Waxing

Dear Laurel: I’ve been waxing my brows and lip for years and although I love the results, I don’t love the redness that comes with it. It goes away eventually, but sometimes I have plans afterwards and don’t want to show up with a red face. Is there anything I can do to help the redness go away quicker?
Anne ~ Lexington

Dear Anne: Many of us sensitive and faired skin gals are prone to redness and inflammation after waxing and I have yet to meet anyone that actually likes the post-wax red mustache and eyelid look. Fortunately, the effects don’t usually last too long and typically dissipate within 30 minutes to an hour. However, if you’re not going directly home to hide until the redness subsides, it can be a little embarrassing when questioned by co-workers or friends about the reasons for your new red look. There are several things you may want to try to help alleviate this minor consequence of waxing.

  1. A cool compress, ice pack or bag of frozen vegetables (peas work best) will help to reduce inflammation and subdue redness.
  2. Tea bags that have been brewed and then cooled will aid in calming the eyes and reduce puffiness.
  3. Applying an antiseptic lotion, aloe based gel or cooling lotion will also help to soothe your irritated skin.
  4. Try dabbing on some Witch Hazel. This natural astringent has healing properties that is shown to be effective in reducing redness.
  5. I have read that taking a couple of antacids like Tums or Rolaids before waxing is alleged to block histamines and reduce redness.
  6. If all else fails, cover it up! I would recommend using a mineral based makeup; it’s healthier for the skin and better than using thick foundation or concealer.

As you can see, there are many options to help rid your red. Try one of these remedies and see which one works best for you.

Dear Laurel:  I have my brows waxed regularly and would also like to get a facial. Is it safe to have both treatments done during the same visit? 
Sophia ~ Belmont

Dear Sophia: In most cases it is perfectly fine to have both your brows waxed and a facial performed within the same visit. However, I would recommend that the waxing be done first so that the moisturizing products used during the facial don’t prohibit a thorough removal of your unwanted hair. However, if your facial includes a chemical peel such as an Alpha Hydroxy (AHA) or Glycolic Acid, then you may want to have your waxing done on another day so that your skin is not overly exfoliated and thereby enhance the possibility of irritation and/or a harmful reaction.

Email Laurel your questions at: laurel@indulgencedayspa.com

How Often to Have a Facial & Gel 2 Week Manicures

Dear Laurel: I’ve never had a professional facial, but as I get older I feel as though I should start getting them to help stay ahead of the aging process and the changes that I’ve been noticing in my skin.  How often do you recommend getting facials? 
Lauren ~ Woburn

Dear Lauren: How often you have a facial really depends on the condition of your skin. If you have acne or a lot of clogging like blackheads, whiteheads or milia then a facial every 2 to 3 weeks is reasonable until your skin improves. However, if your skin is fairly normal, with only the occasional breakout, then a facial every 4 to 6 weeks is ideal. The reasoning behind having a facial on this schedule is that your skin takes approximately that long for it to regenerate new skin cells. Therefore, having a facial every 4 to 6 weeks will keep you on top of any problems that may arise as the new skin cells regenerate and your skin condition changes. I realize that this can become fairly expensive, but honestly, a good facial does not have to break the bank. If you are looking for a quick maintenance type treatment for your skin, and help in getting rid of annoying clogging, then see if your esthetician offers a refresher or express facial. A refresher facial is normally more reasonably priced and will provide you with a quick pick-me-up as well as help to restore your skin to its natural glow. If you feel that this is still too costly for you, consider having a facial when the seasons change, at the very least. Although your skin is remarkably resilient to change, drastic changes in environmental conditions often leave the skin lagging and require time for it to adjust to the new conditions. Keep in mind, changes in the environment may also require you to make adjustments to the homecare products you are using so that your skin is getting the maximum results from their use.

A good facial will not only cleanse, exfoliate, and hydrate your skin, but will also give you an opportunity to have your skin analyzed. I would also recommend that your facial include some sort of exfoliation, like an AHA (Alpha-Hydroxy Acid). This will help to smooth out your skin, even out skin tone and provide the best foundation for absorption of the nutrients that are in the products being used. Likewise, I also recommend that you find a spa/esthetician that you are comfortable with who keeps accurate records concerning the history of your skin, including the products you are using at home. There are definite advantages to establishing a good relationship with your skincare professional. He or she will become familiar with your skin and therefore able to make solid recommendations for treatment. They will also be able to offer you good advice for combating whatever issues or concerns you may be having with your skin, as well as recommend products that are best suited for your particular skin type or condition. This will aid in helping to keep your skin looking its very best throughout the year.

Dear Laurel:  I have weak and peeling nails and polish only seems to last a couple of days after a manicure.  I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about a manicure where the polish stays on for up to 2 weeks and wonder if it would work for me.  Would you please provide me some additional information about this new type of manicure?
Lydia ~ Winchester

Dear Lydia: Forget handbags or fancy jewelry, having beautiful nails can be the most flattering accessory you can buy. Yet, who likes to spend their hard earned dollars on a manicure that only lasts a few days? The introduction of new gel like polish is changing all of that! There are several gel-like polishes on the market, but the one I have found to be the least damaging to the natural nail and offering the best selection of color, is Harmony’s Gelish. Just like regular polish, Gelish is applied using a base coat, two coats of color and a top coat. Each layer is then cured under a LED light. The process is relatively quick, about the same amount of time as a regular manicure, but the results are very different. One of the best benefits of the Gelish manicure is that when you are done, you are dry! You don’t have to worry about reaching into your pocketbook for your keys and smudging your nails in the process. Another great benefit is that your polish remains chip-free and shiny for two weeks. That’s right… 2 WEEKS! Imagine having great looking nails throughout the holidays or during your vacation, without having to worry about touching up peeling, chipping or dulling polish.

The removal of Gelish polish is a bit more involved than removing traditional polish and takes approximately 15 minutes. Gelish polish should not be scraped or peeled off, as this can cause damage to your natural nail. The correct procedure for removal involves placing a cotton pad soaked in a non-acetone based remover on the surface of the nail. The cotton pad is then held in place with a small piece of foil while the remover works to soften the Gelish polish. This technique prevents having to expose the entire nail and fingertip to chemicals and keeps the remover where it is needed, on the nail.

The following is a quick reference to the pros and cons of the Gelish manicure, although I believe the pros far outweigh the cons.


  1. Gelish manicure is perfect for vacations and special events when you want your nails to look their very best for an extended period of time.
  2. No filing of the natural nail surface is required.
  3. Polish doesn’t dull and remains looking shiny and chip free to two weeks.
  4. When you are done you are dry, no more waiting around for the polish to set.


  1. The Gelish manicure is little more expensive than regular manicures, but then again, if you get weekly manicures you will actually save money by only having to have a manicure every other week.
  2. Gelish polish removal is more involved and difficult to do at home therefore requiring a visit to your nail technician.
  3. The process takes a bit longer then having a regular manicure, but if you include the dry time required with a regular manicure, then it’s about the same.

You will love the peace of mind of the Gelish manicure. There is no more having to worry about your nails looking chipped and ugly for the next couple of weeks. You will even notice your own natural nails gaining length and strength with the Gelish since peeling is basically eliminated. So treat yourself to a Gelish manicure and get the beautiful nails you’ve always dream of, your friends will be jealous of your Gelish.


Email Laurel your questions at: laurel@indulgencedayspa.com

Men’s Manicure & Pedicure

Dear Laurel: My boyfriend works in construction and has extremely rough hands and feet.  He could really use a manicure and pedicure, but he refuses to go to a spa and thinks that those types of places are only for women.  I’ve been trying to explain to him that he would really benefit from having a manicure and pedicure, but he just laughs at me and thinks I’m being ridiculous.  Please help!
Brenda ~ Woburn

Dear Brenda: There is nothing more irritating to your delicate skin then the feeling of sandpaper where your significant other’s hands and feet should be, however, getting your man to the spa will probably prove to be more painful. These days, most men are being exposed to the benefits of a spa experience by the women in their lives and they are usually hooked after their very first visit. Unfortunately, many of today’s manly men still believe that a visit to spa signifies that they are more of a “girly” man… they couldn’t be more wrong! Most spas now even offer services that cater especially to men; customized facials, sports massages, athletic pedicures and men’s manicures are just a few examples.

Despite what the majority of men admit, more and more of them are paying better attention to their grooming habits and making manicures and pedicures, as well as other treatments, a part of their personal maintenance routine. I’ve definitely seen an increase over the last couple of years in men visiting my spa and they include television sports anchors, police officers, construction workers, business executives and the like. Men are now making regular appointments to have therapeutic massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and some are even daring to have their brows waxed and shaped.

Manicures and pedicures go beyond “foo-foo” pampering and actually provide relief from things like painful hangnails, rough calluses and irritated dry skin, as well as relief from the constant complaints from their loved ones. If this isn’t reason enough for your man to take the plunge, I have come up with a list of other reasons to convince them to partake in this luxurious experience.

  • It Feels Good: Besides the obvious benefits of having cuticles and calluses catered to, manicures and pedicures come with a relaxing mini massage that makes them even more fabulous.
  • It Looks Good: Regular manicures and pedicures help to keep hands and feet looking clean and presentable, which is much more attractive than the rough and rugged look.
  • Stress Relief: Taking an hour or so off to help forget about the stresses of work is not only relaxing, it’s healthy!
  • It’s Sexy: Let’s face it, women love a man who takes care of himself. Don’t get me wrong, being obsessed with ones looks is not attractive, but taking pride in one’s appearance says he cares.

If you are a woman who is trying to get her man to the spa, don’t give up. You may even try offering to make an appointment together and make a date of it. If you are a man who has always thought that manicures and pedicures were for women only, think again. There are a lot of “manly men” out there who think that a trip to the spa is a manly enough.


Email Laurel your questions at: laurel@indulgencedayspa.com


Threading & Overtweezed Eyebrows

Dear Laurel: I’ve heard a lot of talk recently about eyebrow threading and would like to know more about it. Also, what is the advantage of threading verses having my brows waxed? 
Brenda ~ Woburn

Dear Brenda: Threading is actually an ancient form of hair removal believed to have originated in India, however, my research has revealed that this is somewhat disputed. Threading is an all natural hair removal technique that involves using a piece of twisted cotton thread. The twisted loops of the thread are rolled over the skin causing it to grab and remove unwanted hair. There are many wonderful benefits to threading. The precise removal of hairs, literally one row at a time, allows for a finer more polished brow line then if waxed. Waxing also removes the top layer of dry skin, which makes threading a great alternative for those with sensitive skin and especially beneficial to those not able to wax because they are taking Accutane or using Retin-A. Many that have tried threading report that it is less painful and the skin is less irritated than with waxing. Those who have in the past resorted to tweezing, find that threading is much faster, because many hairs are pulled simultaneously rather than one at a time. One drawback to threading is the discomfort felt during the procedure. Threading tears hairs from the skin, and although many report it to be less painful than waxing or tweezing, there is still some pain involved.

One of the few drawbacks to threading is its availability, however anyone who has visited the local mall lately may have noticed the threading kiosks within the hallways… not exactly where I would choose to have such a personal service performed. Fortunately, as threading as gained popularity, more and more salons and spas have begun offering this unique service. Locally, Indulgence Day Spa in Lexington center is now offering threading services and, as opposed to the mall, threading services are performed within private treatment rooms.

Overall, threading is a very convenient and natural way to remove facial hair. For those who already wax or tweeze, threading is often a less painful and irritating way to achieve the same or even better results than they had before.

Dear Laurel: When I was younger, I used to pluck my brows to the point that there were barely any hairs left.   Although, most of the hair has grown back, I fear that my daughter is doing the same thing to her brows.  Is it possible to overtweeze your brows to the point that they don’t ever grow back? 
Marianne ~ Lexington

Dear Marianne: Only in rare cases do overtweezed brows fail to grow back. But, when it does happen, it’s because the repetitive trauma produced by tweezing causes damage to the hair follicles. A damaged follicle can produce one of two reactions. Either the follicle will produce a hair that is coarse or unruly or, no hair will grow back at all. To avoid this problem, or having only barely-there-brows, throw away your daughters tweezers and take her to have her brows professionally waxed or threaded. Your favorite esthetician will make sure that the hairs that may not grow back are ones she didn’t want in the first place.

Email Laurel your questions at: laurel@indulgencedayspa.com

Bikini Wax Problems

Dear Laurel:  I am going on vacation in a few weeks and would like to get a bikini wax beforehand. I have had them done in the past and haven’t had a problem, but the last time I went, I noticed a couple of small bruises. Although they went away rather quickly, I’m concerned that it may happen again. Can you tell me what causes this and what I can do to prevent it from happening again? 
Lisa ~ Woburn

Dear Lisa: One of the most noticeable waxing side effects is some degree of redness or inflammation. This usually occurs right after waxing, especially for those with more sensitive skin, but usually subsides quickly throughout the day. Waxing entails not only pulling hair out of the follicle, but it also tugs at the skin, so some minor irritation is expected. Bruising after waxing is not completely unheard of, but can be painful and unsightly, especially if you are going to be in a bathing suit anytime soon.

There are many factors that may have caused your skin to react in this manner: certain medications, tensing or moving while being waxed, excessively coarse hair, extended time between waxing, and whether or not it’s that “time of the month”. All of these things can play a role in why you may have been bruised.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent excessive irritation or bruising from occurring:

  1. Be selective when choosing a spa or salon to perform your waxing services. There are super-cheap waxes to be had at neighborhood nail joints, but a bit pricier spa-type establishments often use better waxes.
  2. You may want to try taking a pain reliever 45 minutes to an hour prior to waxing to help alleviate some of the discomfort of waxing and remember… breath and relax. Tensing up in anticipation of the hair removal process can ultimately cause the process to be even more painful then you imagined in the first place.
  3. Waxing the week AFTER your monthly cycle will help you avoid the heightened sensitivity typical during that time period and before.
  4. Inform your waxing specialist of any medications you may be taking or using on your skin, especially acne or anti-aging products that contain ingredients that can cause the skin to be thinner and more vulnerable to irritation and bruising.
  5. Exfoliate the day before your scheduled wax in order to rid yourself of any dry surface skin. This will also help to free any hair trapped beneath the surface and the waxing to be more effective at removing all unwanted hair.
  6. Wax frequently and consistently throughout the year, including during the winter months. This will help to keep the hair follicle weak and the new hair growing back will be finer and easier to wax off during subsequent visits. Maintaining your bikini area will not only aid in making the whole process less painful, it will actually assist in preventing some hair from ever returning. How about that for an added bonus!

Though bikini waxes aren’t exactly pleasant, the pain is similar to that of pulling off a Band-Aid, these are some of the things you can do to make the experience a whole lot more pleasant or at least tolerable.

Email Laurel your questions at: laurel@indulgencedayspa.com

Bad Massage & Makeup Sponges and Brushes

Dear Laurel: I recently had a massage that was so painful, I almost couldn’t stand it. I asked the therapist to ease up on the pressure a bit, but by third time I asked, I just felt like a wimp. The next day I was so sore and tired and I just didn’t feel like myself. Is it me or did I just have a bad massage?
Joe ~ Winchester

Dear Joe: Many things can make someone feel as though they had a bad massage; a chatty therapist, an uncomfortable environment, music that is not relaxing, or an inexperienced therapist that just doesn’t seem as though he/she knows what they are doing. All of these things, and more, can make you feel that you just wasted your time and money on a bad massage. A good therapist will discuss the massage with you prior to your appointment and make sure that you are comfortable in the room. He/she should also listen to you and adjust the massage accordingly if you are experience discomfort… a massage shouldn’t be torture! Feeling tired or sick after a massage is not uncommon. In fact, many people feel a little “off” after a massage, because a massage increases circulation and stimulates the muscles, tissues, and organs. It is widely understood that eating a light meal and drinking plenty of water after a massage aids in re-hydrating the body and will help to alleviate this feeling. The key to an enjoyable massage is COMMUNICATION, and you should feel comfortable voicing your concerns and requests to the therapist. A well-trained Massage Therapist is going to be aware of themselves as well as you during your entire session. You should always feel like you’re being catered to and that your needs are being met. If not, then it’s time to find someone that is a better fit for you.

Dear Laurel: Is it a good idea to use the brushes and sponges that come with the makeup I purchase, or is it better to buy separate brushes?
Loretta ~ Lexington

Dear Loretta: While having your own set of brushes and tools is ideal for creating a flawless professional look, the little tools that come with your makeup aren’t completely worthless. Although, these tiny sponges and brushes don’t apply your makeup with the proficiency of the bigger and better tools, they do serve a purpose. I highly recommend that whatever tools you use, you wash and cleanse them regularly to keep harmful bacteria from settling in. For natural hair brushes, you can even use shampoo and a little conditioner to do the job. Smaller tools are compact and will fit in that little pocketbook you picked out to match that perfect outfit. In a pinch, you can even use a q-tip to do the job. So keep your brushes and tools clean and save these smaller sponges and brushes for those special occasions.

Email Laurel your questions at: laurel@indulgencedayspa.com

Expired Cosmetics & Pimples vs. Acne

Dear Laurel: I have an entire bag of cosmetics that I bought throughout the years, yet I only use some of it occasionally. I am concerned that after a certain time frame they may go bad and actually cause skin problems. How can I tell if my makeup has gone bad or expired?
June ~ Winchester

Dear June: Cosmetic companies are not required by law to list expirations dates, although some choose to list the manufacture or expiration date on the outer packaging. This is great help, but unfortunately most of us throw the packaging away when we begin using the product. It is important to get rid of cosmetics every so often to ensure that you’re getting the maximum benefits and to avoid things like infections. It is best to keep in mind the following basic guidelines for the life expectancy of your cosmetics. Liquid or Cream Foundation: 3 to 6 months, however bottled foundation with a wide mouth can expose the product to more air and should be tossed sooner. Pressed Powders, such as Eye-Shadows and Blush: 6 to 12 months. Lip Gloss and Lipstick: 2 to 3 years. Eye and Lip Pencils: 1 year, however, sharpen pencils frequently to prevent bacteria from being transferred to your face. Mascara lasts the shortest amount of time, 3 months, and is the likeliest to cause infections such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) and breakouts. From the moment you open it, the effectiveness of the product decreases and bacteria grows, but keeping your products stored properly will help to extend their life. Treat your cosmetics with care and store them in a dry, cool place. An obvious sign that your cosmetics may be bad is if you notice any changes in texture, smell or color. Makeup preservatives help to kill most common-use bacteria, but as soon as you open your new products they are exposed to airborne bacteria, so keep makeup containers tightly closed when not in use. Bacteria is also added by touching the product with your hands or unclean brushes and applicators, so wash your face and hands before applying makeup. Instead of touching your makeup directly by placing your fingers in the product, pour a little into your palm or scoop a little out with a disposable spoon or applicator. You should also never share your makeup with others. At some point, aging cosmetics lose their effectiveness to fight bacteria no matter how careful you are, but practicing good common sense and basic hygiene will help to avoid infections and unwanted skin irritation.

Dear Laurel: I have been noticing an increased frequency of pimples on my face and concerned I may be developing adult acne. How do I know if these pimples are actually the beginning of adult acne?
Kelly ~ Lexington

Dear Kelly: I used to believe that acne and pimples were the same thing and I know many others have the same thinking too. Unlike pimples, acne doesn’t develop overnight. Acne usually develops over a long period of time and takes place deep within your pores, whereas pimples usually form sporadically on the surface of the skin and disappear relatively quickly with good skin care practices. Even if you keep your face clean all the time, as we age and hormone levels change, you can still develop acne. Acne develops when dead cells and too much oil remain within the pore, they create an environment where oxygen can’t get in causing bacteria to grow and populate. The bacteria will digest the oil trapped inside, producing a fatty acid waste. This fatty acid waste irritates the pore lining, causing redness and inflammation. Now that you understand how acne develops, it’ll be easier for you to identify the differences and what treatment to take. If no matter what you do, your skin does not improve, I suggest you seek the help of a professional esthetician. She can provide some good advice and make skincare recommendations to help you combat your problem skin. If all else fails, seek the advice of a dermatologist.

Email Laurel your questions at: laurel@indulgencedayspa.com

Men: Shave vs Wax & Foot Calluses

Dear Laurel: My husband’s facial hair grows so quickly that he could shave twice a day, morning and night. Would he benefit from waxing his face instead shaving so he doesn’t have to do it so often? 
Tina ~ Woburn

Dear Tina: Men can definitely benefit from waxing, but I never recommend they wax their facial hair… OUCH! First, the hair on a man’s face is usually coarse and thicker than body hair. This makes it more difficult to remove, not to mention extremely painful. Second, the skin on the face is sensitive and waxing that area can have disastrous results including reactions like bleeding, irritation and breakouts. There are many other areas that men can benefit from waxing, like eyebrows, chest, legs, back and feet. Most parts of the body can be waxed, but areas they should never wax include the face, genitals and inside the ears or nose. Waxing should also not be done on areas of skin affected by warts, pimples, moles, rashes or on skin that is irritated, chapped or suffering from sunburn. Regular waxing will leave the area hair free for 3 to 8 weeks, even longer for some. Over time, the density and thickness of hair being waxed will start to decrease. This is of particular significance for men interested in back waxing as hair in the area can become noticeably sparse. Waxing is a great alternative to shaving and results in far less irritation with significantly longer periods of being hair-free. An added bonus to waxing is that there is no rough stubble when new hair begins to grow back. So although waxing the face is not recommended, your man (and you) may benefit from other areas of the body being waxed, resulting in a more attractive appearance and smooth feel.

Dear Laurel: I have always been one to take good care of myself and take great pride in trying to look my best. I often have facials, massages, manicures and pedicures. I also use good quality skin care products and follow a regimented home care routine. Despite all my efforts, I can’t seem to rid myself of the ugly calluses on my feet. Can you tell me what causes them and what I can do to get rid of them?
Justine ~ Lexington

Dear Justine: There is nothing more unsightly than putting on a pair of your favorite summer sandals only to look down and see ugly, dry and cracked feet. Your feet have a very important job; they provide the mode of transportation that takes you everywhere you want to go. The pressure from simply standing, walking, running and other athletic activities can lead to thickened skin, especially once you reach the age of 30 or so. You will probably find that as you age, your feet are just not as smooth and soft as they used to be, but fear not, there is no need to succumb to unsightly feet. Calluses are mainly caused by repeated friction and form on the areas on the feet that bear the most pressure. They form to protect the skin and structures beneath it from injury or damage and can develop on any part of the body. On the feet, calluses usually develop along the heel, the underside of the big toe and on the ball of the foot. People who seldom where shoes, often develop a thick layer of calluses on the bottom of their feet due to repetitive friction from the rough walking surface. If you’re one that wears something on your feet most of the time, calluses may form from ill fitting shoes, especially the fashionable heels we women love to wear. We tend to have the “who cares if they’re uncomfortable, as long as they look fabulous” kind of attitude. However, your calluses will not be feeling the love from your pointy toed and high heeled shoes. You’ll most likely be paying for it later with achy, sore, blistery feet. Although calluses are seldom painful, they are painful to look at and no one wants to feel as though their feet are like sandpaper. If your calluses are painful from extensive cracking or are oozing, you’re likely to have an infection and a visit to the doctor is a must. If you are a runner, you might try wearing sneakers with extra width and depth and a good cushion sole. Placing orthotics in shoes to equalize pressure is also a good option. Keeping on top of your calluses is a daunting task. Because calluses form seemingly overnight, and the thickness of the calluses causes pressure and sometimes pain, reducing the overgrown tissue is your only relief. Soak your feet in warm water and file down the calluses with a pumice stone or foot file to smooth down the thick tissue. Be careful not to over-file your feet as this may lead to cuts and abrasions and can be very painful. A trip to the spa may be just what you need and deserve! Treat your feet to a professional pedicure, it’s just the excuse you need to take an hour off for yourself and let someone else tend to and pamper your feet.

Email Laurel your questions at: laurel@indulgencedayspa.com

Thin/Peeling Nails & Brow Waxing

Dear Laurel: My fingernails are very thin and peel and easily. Is there anything I can do to help strengthen them? 
Bonnie ~ Lexington

Dear Bonnie: Having thin fingernails is a problem that many people are cursed with. It can be annoying and even quite painful when the nail cracks and breaks below the free edge. This can be especially irritating when you work a lot with your hands. It can also be an embarrassment when your job involves using and showing off your hands to others. Good news, there are things you can do to help to strengthen and condition your nails to a healthier, more attractive condition. However, anything worth doing is worth doing well, so be patient and consistent if you want to see lasting results. Here are some helpful tips:

  1. Eat healthier! Since your nails primarily consist of protein, include protein in your diet. Also, take a multi-vitamin daily to assist in supplementing your diet. Vitamins will also help make your hair healthier too. An extra bonus!
  2. Wear gloves whenever you do housework or anything that causes your nails to come into contact with chemicals. Exposing your nails to harsh liquids can further weaken already soft nails.
  3. Use a gentle buffer instead of a nail file to maintain the shape of your nails. Some files tend to be too rough and act as a saw, leaving the edge of the nail rough and ripe for catching on clothing.
  4. Apply a thin coat of nail hardener every other day to give extra strength to the nail surface. A good time to apply this is at night before going to bed and usually only takes a few minutes to dry. Remove the hardener every 7 days and start the application process over again; 2 coats followed by an additional coat of hardener every other day.
  5. Keep thin nails trimmed short and close to the natural nail line while you are trying to strengthen them. Your nails only grow approximately an 1/8 of an inch a month, so be patient while the new strengthened nail grows out.
  6. Drink plenty of water. Sufficient water intake is important to keep the rest of your body healthy and helps to provide moisture to your nails.
  7. If all else fails, you can always have an acrylic or gel overlay applied over your natural nails. This will add extra strength and aid in preventing them from breaking. Follow these helpful tips consistently and you should see positive results. If you feel as though your nails are still not improving, seek the advice of a physician, as there may be a more serious health issue present.

Dear Laurel: I have very thick eyebrows and have been getting them waxed regularly for most of my adult life. I recently heard from a friend, that I should only be waxing the middle and underneath the brows, but never the top of the brows. I have always had the tops done and was wondering if there was a specific reason why this area should not be waxed.
Sheila ~ Woburn

Dear Sheila: A professionally waxed and shaped brow can make all the difference in your appearance. A well coiffed brow can enhance your natural arch and frame the face, bringing attention to the eyes. It’s almost like getting a mini facelift! The question of whether to or not to have the tops of your brows waxed is purely a matter of preference. Some claim that waxing the top of the brow may cause the hair to grow back in an unusual pattern or even thicker, but in my experience I have not found this to be true. Those with thicker, unruly brows tend to prefer to have them looking clean rather than leaving the top of the brow looking unkempt and scruffy, especially when under the brow looks so clean. Whatever you choose, it is my advice to have your brows professionally shaped by a trained professional who specializes in hair removal.

Email Laurel your questions at: laurel@indulgencedayspa.com