Nykia Spradley

How-To: The Avocado Face Mask That Will Change Your Life

August 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm , by

How do we love thee, avocado? Let us count the ways… From guacamole to California Rolls, the super fruit sure knows how to please a palette. Turns out, avocado is amazing for your skin too. It’s packed with good-for-you fats, which makes one of mother nature’s best moisturizers. And it doesn’t stop there. Avocados also contain large amounts of a specific protein called sterolins that has been shown to help repair age spots, scars and sun damage, says Rebecca Scritchfield, RD, a Washington, DC nutritionist and fitness specialist. For us, we just love how dewy and fresh our face feels after applying an avocado mask. Give this simple recipe a go and let us know what you think.

What you need:
1/2 ripe avocado
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 egg white
What you do: 
-Mash the avocado with a fork.
-Use a whisk to blend in the rest of the ingredients.
-Apply the entire mixture onto freshly cleansed skin and let it set for 15-20 minutes.
-Gently wipe away the mask with a soft washcloth, and rinse your face with warm water.
-Pat dry and apply your favorite toner, serum, or moisturizer.

5 Myths (and Truths) About Lash Extensions

July 16, 2012 at 10:48 am , by

One experience with lash extensions and we were hooked. Of course there were skeptics who initially warned against them, but after almost a month of bombshell peepers, we seriously contemplated reducing our monthly grocery budget to make room for the new addiction. Then we came back down to earth and decided against it.

As with any beauty revolution there’s bound to be an abundance of myths, which is why we went to lash expert Courtney Akai to set the facts straight. Here’s the truth.

Myth: Lashes don’t hold up in the summer heat.
Courtney uses Novalash platinum blonde glue that holds up amazingly in the summer. Humidity, as well as water and oils from your sunscreen and the beach, actually enable lashes to hold up better. If someone comes in who is sensitive and needs to use another glue, Courtney suggests using oil-free products and more care. Either way, lashes are a great, easy way to look natural and glamorous in the summer heat, without mascara and makeup dripping down your face!

Myth: Lash Extensions damage your own eyelashes and cause them to fall out.
When someone inexperienced applies lashes, they often apply one synthetic lash to three to four natural lashes, causing clumps and the lash to break and fall out. Lashes naturally grow at their 30 to 60 day cycle and can fall out at this time. Lashes do not fall out from extensions, because if you’re separating each one-by-one, there is no way for this to happen.

Myth: It’s safe to apply lashes yourself.
Never. The process includes really strong glue that’s semi-permanent. Since application is done one lash at a time, you’d have to use tweezers, which is very difficult to do by yourself.

Myth: Lash Extensions aren’t safe because of the glue used.
Courtney Akai’s glue, approved by ophthalmologists, is made in the United States, verses many lash houses that use glues produced in China. Shipping glues across the world often lead to buildup of formaldehyde by the time they reach the salon. Since Courtney’s glue is made in the US, it’s fresh and safe. If you’re allergic to the glue, you’re still going to be allergic – this doesn’t mean the glue is harmful. Additionally, it’s safe for pregnant women, as there are no cancer-causing agents.

Summer Sandal S.O.S.

July 2, 2012 at 11:48 am , by

It’s officially sandal season, which means no more hiding. Yes, flats are still perfectly acceptable, but why not let your toes feel the warm air too? Even though cold weather wreaks havoc on our skin, summer slaps your feet with some harsh hits too. We’ve all had a cracked heel emergency at some point. Chicago-based dermatologist, Brooke Jackson, M.D. shared a few tips for getting your tootsies in tip-top shape.

Platform wedges don’t look so cute when you have dry, cracked heels. Use a pumice stone or gritty exfoliant once a week and apply a cream with AHA’s at night to keep them smooth. Jackson recommends CeraVe SA Renewing Lotion or Amlactin Plus.

Giving yourself a pedicure? Prevent ingrown toenails by cutting your nails straight across. Don’t try to cut or file the nail into the sides of your toe.

Apply sunscreen on the tops of your feet. “I see patients every summer who forget to put sunscreen on their feet and they get burned on the tops of their feet,” says Dr. Jackson. “Skin is skin and any skin which is exposed to the sun needs to be protected.”

Breaking in new sandals? Blisters and chafing are caused by rubbing and friction, so apply a product like Gold Bond Friction Defense to areas of the foot that feel friction before irritation as prevention. You can also use this on irritated and burning feet to treat and soothe skin.


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How To: Keep Your Nails Healthy This Summer

June 25, 2012 at 11:07 am , by


While nail care is an issue you get behind in fall and winter by slathering your talons with shea butter and jojoba oil, during the summer you’re probably more concerned with color (i.e. Monday = pink…Tuesday = banana yellow…Wednesday = lavender…). And if you’re like us, you just cross your fingers and hope that your excessive polish play doesn’t lead to more peeling and splitting of your nails.

Since we’re prone to paint our nails every hour (no, really.) during the summer (NAIL POLISH 4EVA!), we were stoked to stumble upon Dermelect Cosmeceuticals Anti-Aging Nail Lacquers. Not only are the summer shades creamy perfection, but they’re also infused with a protein peptide that strengthens flimsy nails. #winwin

Keratin Upkeep: Maintaining Fresh Salon Smoothness

June 18, 2012 at 1:06 pm , by

On gross days like today we all could use a little help with our hair. Smooth, frizz-free, and without flatness may sound impossible, but it’s not–if it’s done right.
With all of the hype about Keratin treatments (the good kind, not the ones that are dangerous to your health), Rodrigo Padilla of Sally Hershberger Downtown shared his advice for maintaining smoothness, without going limp.
The biggest concern Rodrigo sees is that almost every woman who comes for a Keratin Treatment is worried they’re going to have flat, boring hair for the next three days during which you can’t wash your hair.
The amount of product applied into the hair: Keratin is very concentrated, so you don’t have to use much to get great results.The way your stylists blow drys your hair and flatirons:
I personally apply solution and blowout, giving the hair as much body possible, so when the flatiron is used, it will not be pin straight.
Flatironing is key, since you can iron the roots with body, so the hair is not stuck to the scalp. I flatiron completely around the head, leaving the top for last. When ironing the hair, I start from the back of the top, move straight up, making the hair full and moving it to the front.
When finished with the front, I set it with a smaller brush, so you look like you just went in for a beautiful blow dry – not a boring, flat Keratin Treatment. You should always leave the salon looking and feeling beautiful!

How To: Create a Fishtail Braid (Without Actually Creating a Fishtail Braid)

June 4, 2012 at 3:57 pm , by


The unofficial start of summer was Memorial Day (yay!), and with that comes a season full of ponytails and plaits–anything to keep cool. But if you’re like us, the basic pony and regular braid can get boring after, ohhhhhhh, the 27th straight day of wearing them. Enter this fancy fishtail number. It’s cute, right? We thought that since we have two left uncoordinated thumbs that we’d never-in-this-lifetime be able to pull this style off. As it turns out it isn’t a REAL fishtail braid. In fact, it isn’t a braid at all.

According to Nick Penna Jr., owner and stylist at SalonCapri in Boston, the natural, carefree, and minimalist ‘do looks WAY more difficult than it actually is. Here’s how to fake a fishtail…

STEP 1: Begin with unwashed, un-brushed hair, and use the end of a rattail comb to create a part down the middle of your head.

STEP 2: Separate hair into two sections and begin twisting the ends toward the center of your head.

STEP 3: Secure the end of the twists together with a clear elastic.

STEP 4: Use a few bobby pins to “seal” the twists together. Insert one vertically at the top of the twists and one in the middle.

How-To: The Half-Updo That Everyone Will Be Wearing This Spring

May 14, 2012 at 10:48 am , by


When Nicholas Penna Jr., owner of SalonCapri in the Boston-area, sent us the photo of this fancy-schmancy updo we flipped over his handy work, and then preceded to find out when he would be in our neck of the woods next so that he could give us the ‘do. Turns out, according to Penna, the style (he calls it “The Crown”) is simple enough for  any updo novice (US!) to do on themselves. Here’s how he told us to get the look…

STEP 1 If your hair is naturally straight, follow STEP 2 and STEP 3 below to curl the hair. If your hair already has a curl to it, skip to STEP 4.

STEP 2 Separate hair into top and bottom sections. Clip the top section up, leaving the bottom section to hang.

STEP 3 Using a 1 1/2 inch curling iron, curl all of the hair that is down. Alternate the curling direction between counterclockwise and clockwise. Repeat this step with the top section of hair.  Separate curls with your fingers to achieve a piece-y look.

STEP 4 Take a 1/2 inch to 2 inch piece of hair slightly above one ear and pull it across the head to the other side and let the section drape slightly so there will be enough room to pull hair pieces around it. Combine the draped section with a small piece of hair right behind the other ear and pin the joined hair pieces with a bobby pin.

STEP 5 Starting at the side of the head where the first hair section was taken from, select another piece of your hair from under the draped section. Lift it upwards, over, and then under the draped section, leaving it to fall underneath.

STEP 6 Next, grab another piece of hair from under the draped section a 1/2 inch to an inch over and follow the same step. Continue across the head by choosing random pieces and pulling them over and under the draped section until you reach the other side of the head.

STEP 7 For the last pinned piece, lift it over and under but let it wrap over the first bobby pin used to secure the draped hair section (to make the bobby pin less visible). Take a second bobby pin and secure the final wrapped piece where the draped section was first secured above one ear.

STEP 8  Finish with a light spray of medium hold hairspray, like Shu Uemura Sheer Lacquer.