Natural Foods Merchandiser

Treat yourself, customers to holistic facial

Ask the Aesthetician

January arrives bringing a well-earned reprieve from the holiday madness. We can feel a new rhythm beginning and, with it, a desire to start fresh, pamper and take care.

Just as I run to my personal aesthetician seeking immediate relaxation and balance, many of my clients run to me in desperation after the holidays for the very same fix. A holistic facial treatment is a wonderful way to relax, breathe and allow nurturing hands to heal our ills. Of course, additional benefits like clean and glowing skin are also part of the process. To accomplish this, I use a special cleansing technique.

The cleansing process begins with a steamy lavender aromatherapy compress to warm the skin and relax the pores. This is essential for loosening dead skin cells and any hardened oils on the surface of the skin. Lavender, with its natural soothing and antimicrobial properties, is a universal healer for the skin.

After a few minutes of compressing and warming the skin, I apply a gentle cleanser made from finely ground, biodynamically grown sweet almonds and healing plant extracts. The method of application is as important as the product itself. To properly cleanse the skin, I apply the almond cleanser in gentle, rhythmic rolling and pressing movements, working from the top of the face down to the décolleté and from the inside of the face outward. I always use a gentle, conscious touch and never scrub the skin. After about one to three minutes, I remove the cleanser with the warm compress. The result is very clean skin that is not totally stripped of its vital protective oils, which are necessary for maintaining the moisture and balance of the skin.

Using the almond cleanser in this way also creates a gentle suction that exfoliates dead skin cells and the debris at the surface of the pores that can make them appear larger and clogged. Additionally, the light rolling and pressing motion provides a gentle lymphatic stimulation that encourages cleansing from the inside.

The lymphatic system plays an important role in maintaining health and well being—it is the body's cellular waste-disposal system. Healthy lymph circulation ensures that the fluid that bathes cells remains clean and pure, encouraging optimum health. Stimulating lymph flow is a key focus in my facial treatments, beginning with the cleansing technique described above.

Maintaining long-term health for skin involves using appropriate home care.

Maintaining long-term health for skin involves using appropriate home care. Your customers can use an almond cleanser with the lavender compress at home every day and receive the benefit of a professional cleansing treatment. I have seen many skin conditions—from acne-prone to dull, lifeless skin—improve dramatically with this method of cleansing.

This routine is based on Dr. Hauschka's skin care theories, and the company makes a kit that simplifies the home cleansing protocol for my clients.

With a new year ahead, it is a good time to set in motion a plan for customers' self-care for looking and, most importantly, feeling their best. A monthly holistic treatment and a daily skin care program are simple routines that can offer significant rewards. Regular holistic facial treatments are designed to provide the client with relaxation and an improved complexion. A good home care routine will do likewise.

Robin Carter became interested in holistic health care while working for a small natural foods store in the late 1980s. She now works as a Dr. Hauschka-certified aesthetician and manager of an education program for skin care professionals.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 1/p. 54

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