Category Archives: Spa Questions

What do white spots on my fingernails mean?

When you were younger, did your grandparents ever tell you that the little white spots in your fingernails were because you weren’t drinking enough milk? Or have you ever heard it was from a zinc deficiency? Both of these stories are myths.

White spots on fingernails - what they are, what they mean.Leukonychia spots (what we all know as “white spots”) are a whitish discoloration of the nails. These spots are usually caused by a minor injury to the nail matrix. White spots can appear frequently in the nails but do not indicate disease.

What most people don’t know is that these spots don’t show up right after an injury to the nail. It could take up to a few weeks before one of these spots appears. This gives us time to forget exactly what we might have done to injure our nail. It could be as simple as a soda can that was a little harder to open.

Avoiding these spots can be as easy as no longer biting your nails or using something else to open that box. So just take it easy and remember our nails aren’t made of metal.

How do you get rid of these white spots you ask? Just let them grow out. These little spots aren’t that big of a deal. There is no need to lose sleep over them. Most people experience these spots at least once in their lifetime. Don’t want to wait for your nails to grow out for these white spots to go away? Well come visit us at the Mini Spa, and treat yourself to a manicure to help hide those spots with one of our many beautiful colors!

Wondering if the spa or salon you want to visit is clean enough? Here’s what you should know….

Sometimes it’s hard to know when trying out a new salon or spa if they use proper sanitation techniques. It’s ok to ask! Never book an appointment at a place where you receive a huffy reply to your questions about cleanliness. Taking time to go over all of the steps we take to keep our guests and team members safe is expected here at the Mini Spa. Here are our top 3 tips for keeping it clean:

Sterilize vs. Sanitize. What’s the difference and how do I know if their tools are really clean? An autoclave is the only device that can sterilize tools, HOWEVER, not every place that has one uses it correctly. Tools must be clean and dry prior to being housed in the autoclave for up to an hour before being used on another client. But often dirty tools are thrown into the autoclave with the belief that the machine will do it all…Yuck! Beware of this shortfall and feel safe if the salon or spa washes their tools with anti-bacterial soap, allows them to dry and then sprays or soaks them in hospital grade disinfectant between uses.

Mini Spa uses Belava Foot Bath Liners Pedicure tubs: “To Whirlpool or not to Whirlpool?” that is the question. When spa pedicure tubs are properly cleaned and sanitized they are perfectly safe. This requires the tub to be drained, rinsed, re-filled and set for a 20 minute cleaning cycle with proper sanitizing solution in the water. If you’re not seeing this happen before your feet hit the water there is a good chance you’re soaking partially in water that was from the previous client. When there are pipes involved, simply rinsing out the tub is NOT enough because water in the pipes will be re-circulated back into your tub. A great alternative is the Belava pedicure system (used at the Mini Spa, of course) which gives each guest a brand new plastic tub liner. Your feet will never touch where someone else’s have been!

The quickest, most effective way to know at-a-glance if the salon or spa is a place you should trust is by making a trip to the ladies room. If it’s clean and well cared for, the rest of the spa will likely be as well. But if it’s even a little nasty we have just one thing to say: RUN!

Are Men’s Razors Better Than Women’s?

The debate if men’s razors are better then women’s is always swirling around the shaving universe. Recent studies show that at least 30% of women prefer to use a men’s razor over the women’s razor on a daily basis. Are they really different though? They both have the same amount of blades so they should work the same right? Wrong! Besides color, style, and price (women’s are always more expensive) there is a few differences that should be mentioned when you are choosing your next razor at the drug store.


Mens' RazorMen’s facial hair is thick and requires a more aggressive shave to provide the smooth and close shave that men want, because of this the razor is angled differently than women’s(which are more flat). Some women report that they get more nicks and cuts when using a men’s razor while some (including myself) say that they get a smoother shave with less irritation.


Most women’s razors are more rounded and made to fit the contours of the female body. The heads of the razor also pivot more than men’s so they can adjust to our body shapes. Makes sense to have a razor made specifically for  a woman’s body shape, since we shave well over 600 square inches of our body compared to guys that only shave about 38 sq. inches. Does it really make a difference though?


Through all my research I still can’t say if men’s razors are better, but I can say that most of the women I have asked choose to steal their male counterparts razors when he isn’t looking because, as I have discovered, get a much smoother shave than I ever did with my ladies razor. You can be the judge…. Do you like men’s or women’s razors better?

Teens and Skin Care

Damage to our skin takes years to show itself. We should learn from our past skincare mistakes and begin our tweens and teenagers as early as possible.

Educating but also keeping it simple will be the best approach to talking to your kids about their skin care needs.

Many tweens or teens are embarrassed by their acne. Tween and teen acne is NORMAL! The influx of hormones and changes in the body creates more production of sebum, ie. oil. Some more than others. This evens out over time and can be helped with cleansing the face regularly.

Teen Skin Care

Most teens do not need harsh acne medications or topical ointments if they are cleansing their faces as needed, meaning morning and night. Harsh medications and ointments can over time damage the skin, cause kidney damage and can actually make the skin age faster. Most medications slow down or halt the production of sebum, we produce sebum to keep they skin hydrated and healthy and when you remove this from the skin, not only are you preventing acne but you’re dehydrating the skin which in turn can cause the skin to age faster.

Of course with any good skin care regimen sunscreen is always necessary, before leaving the house and during any prolonged exposure to the sun. Beginning early will protect your tween or teen from sun damage, age spots, premature wrinkles and especially skin cancer.

Getting your tween or teen on a simple yet regular regimen will be key for regulating acne and breakouts, it will also create a good foundation for future skin care maintenance.

Hair Removal – Which option is best?

Hair removal is something many of us struggle with. Many of us wonder which form is best. For those of us who are still consistently struggling to remove unwanted body hair, there are many removal options to choose from. It’s important to know the pros and cons and choose a method that will work best for you.

air removal at Mini Spa VTOption 1: Shaving

This popular method involves a razor removing hair at the skin’s surface.

Pros: Quick and inexpensive

Cons: Short lasting, razor burn, cuts and nicks, potential for ingrown hairs


Option 2: Depilatory Creams

Hair removal creams use chemicals to weaken hair, which can then be wiped away.

Pros: Can be done at home, longer lasting (removes hair slightly below surface of skin)

Cons: Chemicals can irritate skin, potential for ingrown hairs


Option 3: Waxing

Professional waxing involves applying warm wax to an area and removing in a direction

opposite of hair growth, pulling it out at the root.

Pros: Long lasting (approx. 3 weeks), doesn’t leave any trace of stubble

Cons: May be painful but becomes more tolerable over time, time-consuming, potential for

ingrown hairs


Option 4: Laser Hair Removal

Lasers zap hair shaft and therefore inhibit hair growth.

Pros: May permanently remove hair

Cons: May be painful, high cost


When choosing either waxing or Laser be sure to research experienced technicians in your area, who know what they are doing and can answer any and all concerns or questions you may have. Word of mouth is huge when it comes to finding a technician. Ask your friends for recommendations and referrals. For at home hair removal options be sure to find the products that are the best for your skin needs. Be sure to do a patch test on a small area before moving on to large body parts or more sensitive areas.

Why We Need To Exfoliate….

Exfoliation is removing the top layer of the skin – which is mostly made up of dead skin cells.  These layers of dead cells are a month old and are blocking essential oxygen to your skin. When skin cannot breathe, it looks dull and dry. Even more so in the winter.

Exfoliation is necessary for a few reasons: It helps prevent breakouts. Dead skin cells clog pores which can lead to acne and other skin conditions. It improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It can also assist in the reduction of hyperpigmentation such as brown spots or sun spots and Exfoliation also helps with dry skin.

Sugar Scrub for the Face by Debra (Flickr = debcll)There are two different kinds of exfoliation: Chemical and Mechanical. Chemical or “acid” exfoliation does the work for you. You apply it, leave it on the skin, and it works to dissolve the dry skin cells. These exfoliants include ingredients such as Glycolic Acid, AHAs and BHA, and enzymes such as Pumpkin, Papaya, and Pineapple. Mechanical exfoliation is the use of products such as a scrub, where you do the work. Both are beneficial.

The thing to keep in mind is that the goal of exfoliation is to leave your skin feeling softer and looking healthier — not red and irritated. If you over-exfoliate, you could end up doing more harm than good.

For some people, exfoliating scrubs might just be too harsh. If that seems to be the case for you, try using a chemical exfoliator. You’ll probably need to use it only once a week. Also, avoid using an exfoliating tool or cleanser near your eyes, as this skin is far too sensitive and doesn’t need exfoliation.

A good rule of thumb when exfoliating at home is not to do it every day! This is a sure fire way that you will not over do it and cause damage to your skin.

The goal to any skin care product is to improve the condition and the appearance of your skin. If you are ever confused or unsure ask a trained esthetician who can point you in the right direction based on your skin’s needs.

We happen to love the Ren Skincare line!  We suggest you look at the Ren Radiance collection – it offers multiple choices for uncovering youthful skin. Whether you want chemical exfoliation or mechanical, you’ll find a product that’s perfect for getting your glow on!

You don’t have to choose just one of us….

As many of you know, one of our favorite team members has been out on maternity leave. While we have all missed Krista’s company, it did create an opportunity to have some fun conversations with guests that usually have their services with her. Krista will be returning in February, and some of our clients have been asking the question, “Who am I supposed to see when she comes back”? The answer is whomever you want! We don’t take it personally when our guests have services with multiple providers. In fact, it’s an enormous compliment… We are all so great that it’s become hard to decide whom you’d like to see!

The Mini Spa TeamMore often than not, we women tend to be very loyal, staying with our favorite beauty technicians for years. At The Mini Spa VT, we recognize this and welcome you to request your favorite spa service provider, BUT, we also encourage you to try us all, GUILT FREE! We offer a high standard of service, and you will get a quality shellac, pedicure, facial, or massage, no matter who is doing that service for you.

If your schedule doesn’t match up with your favorite gal, or you heard one of us loves to go crazy with glitter and you want to give that a try, don’t be afraid to see someone else! Challenge your comfort zone, and see someone new each time you come in! Let us help you conquer your fear of being a  “cheater”.

New Year’s Eve Sparkle! Manicure and Makeup Tips

Christmas is over and there is less then a week left of 2013!  With New Year’s Eve just days away its time to think about how we will sparkle in the new year.  How about we start with nails and makeup?

Glitter Makeup and NailsWhat better way to ring in the new year then to let your outside shine as much as you do on the inside.  Glitter is hot hot hot for both makeup and nails in the new years celebration. Pinterest is flooded with all sorts of new years nails and they all contain sparkle!

The most recent favorite at the Mini Spa has been the ombre sparkle.  This specific sparkle is thicker at the tip of the nail and gets lighter as you go up.  You can do it with no base color underneath or add a hot color as the base, such as red or hot pink!  If you want to make colors really pop but don’t necessarily want any glitter, paint a white base coat then add your bright neon colors to make them really stand out!

Want some sparkle but not too much?  You can always go for our favorite the party nail, pop nail, or whatever you want to call it.  Choose one or two fingers on each hand to stand out, the most popular choice is the ring fingers though our clients have been branching out to do multiple fingers.

What about makeup you ask?  Well, lets just say the glitter doesn’t stop at your hands.  Glitter and colored eyeliners can add a pop to any makeup!  You can also add some sparkly lip gloss on top of your lipstick to add some shine while you are drinking your champagne at midnight!  Before applying any of your New Year’s Eve makeup make sure you add a primer to keep your makeup on for hours!!!

If you need some ideas or suggestions on how to do your nails and makeup make sure you give us a call to meet with our amazing makeup artist or talented nail professionals to get you ready for the new year countdown!

Do your nails need time to breathe? Fact or fiction?

We’re often asked if nails need to take a break from polish to breathe.  This question has two answers: It’s a good idea to take a polish break, but not because your nails need to breathe.  Nails get all the oxygen they need from the blood supply underneath the nail in the nail bed, not from the nail surface.

Do nails need to breatheHowever, the nail surface can get dehydrated or a bit discolored from extended nail polish wear. These symptoms appear as a yellowish tint or white flakiness.  Don’t be alarmed!  They are not indicative of anything unhealthy or sinister going on with your nails.

Taking a break from polish for a month or two will allow the nail’s surface to rehydrate and for staining to wear away.  Winter is a great time to do this, especially for us Vermont pedicure fans, since our feet are covered by warm boots for many weeks!

Getting pedicures is still recommended to keep the skin of the feet healthy and supple, and instead of color opt for Nail Envy by OPI (or a similar nail strengthener) which will deposit vitamins into your nails while still giving them a shiny, finished look.

Well cared for winter feet easily become sandal-ready when the weather cooperates!

Do I Really Need To Use Sunscreen In The Winter?

Way too often when I am consulting with a new client before a facial I learn that many do not use or think to apply sunscreen during the winter months.  This of course horrifies me and surprises many of my clients when I say even if its cold and cloudy Sunscreen and SPF is a MUST!

This is why:

Winter Sun - Use SunscreenSnow ups the sun’s power. It might be winter, but the sun reflects off the snow and bounces 80% of its rays back at you. The effect is similar to a typical day at the beach.

Even if there is no snow in some areas of the United States the amount of ultraviolet radiation (UV)  we get from the sun does not drop during the winter months.In some higher elevations such as your favorite mountain , the atmosphere is thinner. Without using proper coverage in these places a severe sunburn can occur and cause major damage to the skin.

Applying Sunscreen regularly will not only decrease the number of sunburns you get, it will also reduce skin cancer risks dramatically and help fight off premature aging.

And a side note, a moisturizer with SPF is good to start the day off with, but reapplying throughout the day is the only real way to protect your skin all day long!  Especially when you are enjoying those fun outdoor winter activities.