Facial Fundamentals


People often ask me, “why should I get facials?” And every single, this question takes me by surprise. To me, it’s like asking, “why should I brush my teeth?” or “take a shower?” or “pay my taxes?” or “watch Game of Thrones?” It’s obvious, isn’t it? But if you’re not an esthetician, maybe it isn’t. I realized that, to a lot of people, facials are a luxury. An expense. A special occasion. So I decided to write this two-part blog to explain how facials are not an indulgence, but a necessity.

What is a facial? When questioned by her 5-year old daughter, one of my clients replied, “mommy is going to get her face washed.” This made me chuckle, and also admit that if you’ve never had a facial, you may not really know what they entail. All facials are unique, but there are some fundamental steps:

Cleansing. Yes, we wash your face. But usually with more excitement than you do. Especially after a long day of work, kids, and stress. This stimulating cleanse removes make up, pollution, and daily build-up while increasing blood flow to feed the skin.

Exfoliation. Next we apply either a scrub or an enzyme to help loosen dead skin cells and stimulate new cell production. Producing new cells helps heal almost any skin imperfection from acne to wrinkles to sun damage. Sometimes we use steam. Sometimes we don’t.

Extractions. To pick or not to pick, that is the question. Dermatologists everywhere have put the fear of God in us by preaching that picking leads to scarring. Well this is not entirely true. If you leave the pores clogged, then they can become distended and enlarged. Additionally, if a pimple lingers too long it’s going to pigment anyway since the body produces melanin as a response to inflammation. But there is a right way and a wrong way to pick, and estheticians know the right way. We also have a wonderful tool called High Frequency that helps sanitize the skin and reduce redness.

Masking. Applying a mask at this stage of the facial can really help address skin health. Your skin’s needs change all the time. Sometimes you’re broken out. Sometimes you’re dehydrated. Sometimes you’ve had too much sun. We pick just the right mask for your needs, and apply it when your skin is prepped for maximum absorption.

Massage. All facials address skin health, obviously. But to us, mental health is also a very important part of the facial experience. It’s your time to relax and recharge. So we incorporate a scalp, shoulder, and hand massage into every treatment. This also helps you forgive us for all of those extractions.

Infusion & Hydration. The skin is the body’s largest organ. And it needs nourishment. Facials incorporate vitamin-rich serums, ampoules, and moisturizers that feed the cells so that they can fight free radicals, combat the signs of aging, and repair environmental damage.

Education. Probably the most important part of every facial is ensuring that your home care matches your skin’s needs. Estheticians can only affect so much in the treatment room. What you do at home extends the facial service and continues to improve your skin’s health. Maybe your products are working fabulously, but maybe they’re not. Maybe your skin’s needs have changed. Facials give you a chance to ask questions and get advice.

Watch for Part II (coming soon) when I explain why you should get facials, when you need them, and how they help at every age.

The Power of Peptides


When it comes to anti-aging, a lot of ingredients come to mind. Retinols, Vitamin C, CoQ10, Glycolic Acid. But there’s another group of free-radical fighters that really packs a punch! These are, of course, Peptides.

What are they? Peptides are chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein in the skin. They send signals to our cells that tell them how to function. One important protein is collagen, which gives our skin its thickness and suppleness.

Why do I need them? When collagen breaks down in the skin (from age and environmental factors like the sun and stress), wrinkles form. Peptides applied topically to the skin send signals that trigger the formation of new collagen, which plumps the underlying tissues. Voila! Fewer wrinkles. Additionally, Peptides have been shown to reduce pigmentation by suppressing the creation of melanin. Bye bye brown spots!

Where can I get them? Once you start looking more closely at Peptides, it gets a little confusing. Matrixyl, Copper Peptides, Oligopeptides, Pentapeptides. Yikes! Ask your esthetician which products are best for you. And kick start it all with our Line-Refining Peptide Facial.


What is is and is it right for me?

Microdermabrasion is a wonderful way to treat skin conditions like acne, fine lines, dark spots, large pores, and scarring with almost zero downtime.

What is it? Microderm is a method of advanced exfoliation that uses crystals and high-pressure air to exfoliate dead skin off the surface of the face.

Why is it better than what I am doing now? Exfoliation is the key to correcting skin issues. And turning over your skin cells faster encourages new cells to grow faster and correct problems faster. Even if you are getting regular facials/peels and practicing good skin care at home, nothing exfoliates as efficiently and effectively as microderm. It will also help your at-home products penetrate better.

How will my skin look afterwards? You may look a little pink after your session, but will typically return to normal within an hour. More sensitive people get a little bumpiness and remain pink until the next day.

What is the prep/post care? You will need to refrain from sun exposure and using retinols, glycolics, or other anti-aging/acne treatments 1 week before and after treatment. For best results, we recommend multiple treatments spaced 7-10 days apart.

Why Ritual Day Spa? It’s all about the machine. Unlike other units that utilize large crystals and low pressure, our brand-new, state-of-the-art machine uses small crystals and high pressure. This allows for a faster, more comfortable experience with less “aftermath” like redness and irritation. We can get better results in just one pass; no need for cross-hatching that can irritate the skin. It also allows us to treat areas that other machines can’t like the upper lip and eyelids! Unlike other systems, ours also includes an oxygen infusion which calms the skin and restores lost vitamins and minerals.

What about the newer diamond tip technology? Don’t be fooled by the fact that something is “new.” Diamond tip systems don’t allow for as much control as crystal systems do. Most of the time you end up with too much or not enough abrasion. We chose a crystal-based machine to allow for the maximum versatility to treat all skin types safely and effectively.

How much does it cost? Check out our pricing here >>

‘Tis the Season of Dehydration


This time of year I hear the same complaint over and over, “my skin’s so dry!” Fine lines, flakiness, redness, roughness, itchiness, tightness, unusual breakouts…such are the woes of winter skin. But given the season, it’s possible that dehydration, not dryness, is the real culprit.

Dry or dehydrated–what’s the difference? Dry skin is defined as a lack of oil production. It is your genetic “skin type,” and probably something you’ve dealt with your whole life. It can definitely be made worse, or better, by your products, the season, and your lifestyle. Dehydration is defined as a lack of water or moisture in the skin. Even oily skin can experience dehydration. It is a “skin condition,” thus much easier to control.

What causes dehydration? Living in California, specifically during the winter, is especially hard on the skin due to the low humidity. And we all admit that when the temperature drops below 60 we start blasting our heaters, which evaporates water from the skin. Additionally, lifestyle changes such as holiday stress, hot showers, cold medications, my stand up paddle boards hobby, winter sports, and increased party-going make matters worse.

What can I do? The key to treating dehydrated skin lies in retaining moisture. You need to re-hydrate the cells, from the inside and from the outside, while preventing water evaporation. Use moisturizers and serums rich in hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalene, and plant lipds, and don’t forget to keep exfoliating or your products won’t penetrate. And drink plenty of water. Sleeping with a humidifier can also help tremendously.

Learn More >>

Aging & Antioxidants

What’s our beef with free radicals anyway?

You’ve probably been told that staving off the signs of aging requires using antioxidants to fight free radicals in our skin, or if you have pain in your body then use these to reduce pain. And you probably nodded agreeably even though you were thinking, “what the heck is this person talking about?” “What’s a free radical?” “What’s an antioxidant?” “And why do I need a $75 serum?” Well for all of us afraid to ask for fear of looking stupid, here you go….

What’s a free radical? Basically, free radicals are atoms that have lost an electron and have gone rogue. They live to become whole again. They need that electron back. So they go around and steal one from a happy, whole atom, hence turning that atom into a free radical, too. But alas, the stolen electron eventually gets rejected and the original thieving atom turns back into a free radical. And so the process continues exponentially.

What causes free radicals and why do I care? Smoking, drinking, sun damage, stress, pollution, and aging in general all cause electrons to die through oxidation. You can buy pulse glass products here at www.smokecartel.com and learn more about the latest trend on alternative smoking. Clearly, a lot of these factors can’t be prevented. Once an atom loses an electron and no longer functions properly, it can lead to tissue damage that appears in the physical form of wrinkles and sunspots. Who wants that? For smokers I recommend to try vaping, its healthier but you have to buy liquid and change tfv8 coils from time to time. You can also browse vaporizer products at migvapor.com for more info.

What’s an antioxidant? Antioxidants are electron-filled ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Retinol (Vitamin A), Peptides, and CoQ10 that are capable of counteracting the damage free radicals cause. They do this by donating compatible electrons to the defective atoms, allowing them to become whole and function like proper cells again. In addition to preventing future damage, antioxidants also help the body repair itself by encouraging cell and tissue growth. Sign me up, please!