Even if you’ve spent a night or two in 24-hour spas and your Instagram handle is @i_care_for_haircare, you still don’t know beauty like a beauty professional. The pros have insider perspectives that customers, even enthused ones, can’t access. That’s why we asked three of them—a hairstylist, an aesthetician, and a nail artist—how they pamper their own hair, skin, and nails, respectively. Read on to learn their beauty secrets.
Heather Herring of Asanda Spa in New York City
Heather has been styling hair for more than a decade. As an Aveda Purefessional, she teaches her styling techniques at salons all over the country.
Her haircare regimen
Roughly every six weeks, Heather cuts her hair herself or gets a coworker to do it. She changes up her style a lot. “I think just in general, [stylists] love and promote change within ourselves,” Heather said. “[Then] clients all of a sudden want a change. … They’re inspired by their hairdresser.”
How she knows a good stylist
The number-one sign of quality? She knows them personally. “I would never get a haircut from someone I don’t know,” Heather said. However, if she had to, she’d search Yelp for superlatives like “best haircut,” then look for individual positive reviews from clients with her hair length and texture.
What she does at the salon
Her signature request is “don’t cut it too short,” because a “haircut is irreplaceable. If you get a bad haircut, you have to grow it out. If you get a bad color job, you can get it fixed.” She also asks stylists to embrace her natural texture when they style at the end, so she can see how the cut will fall in daily life. (At a new salon, look for “cool outfits” and “a young, hip vibe”—Heather views these features as signs she’s in the right place.)
Sarah Fitzpatrick of Soleil Medical Spa in Portland, OR
Sarah has been a licensed aesthetician since 2007.
Her skincare regimen
She gets Soleil’s medical-grade facial, with extractions and exfoliation, every six to eight weeks. “I like the extractions the most because they steam the skin. … It’s less harmful for the skin than just doing that at home,” Sarah said. Between facials, she uses eight skincare products daily, including toner and hyaluronic acid.
How she knows a good facial
It’s subjective. She recommends clients call ahead and make sure the spa offers extras for their particular skin needs. However, there are some things she across-the-board endorses: cleanliness, cozy blankets, and treatments to minimize redness after exfoliation and extraction. At Soleil, they combat redness with a collagen mask and an LED light.
What she does at the spa
Sarah relaxes and lets the spa Muzak carry her away to her happy place!
Ashley Crowe, aka AstroWifey, in Chicago
Ashley’s nail art has been exhibited in the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and featured in a number of magazines.
Her nail regimen
“As a nail tech I feel like I rarely get a chance to do my own nails or even get them done,” Ashley said. She’ll do something with them once a month or so, but when she goes to a new nail salon, she’s more likely to try a pedicure. “That’s more of a relaxation thing. There’s nothing really that specific sometimes, with a pedicure.”
How she knows a good nail salon
A wide selection of colors is a good sign, Ashley said, as are bottles that don’t look half-empty. The key mark of a good salon, though, is proper sanitation. Ashley watches to see if the staff will seat a client in a newly vacated pedicure station right after spraying it down. “You’re supposed to clean the seat and spray down the tub and seat and let that sit for 15 minutes,” she said. She also likes to check that tools, like nail clippers and nippers, are properly covered when the techs aren’t using them.
What she does at the nail salon
She requests a rounded shape for her nails—just a personal preference—and asks that “when my cuticles are pushed back, they just push them back, and only nip any sort of skin that’s left that’s dead cuticle.” Nail techs shouldn’t be clipping cuticles on every finger “unless you haven’t had a manicure in over a year and you’re really rough on your hands.”
Header images by Kelly MacDowell, Groupon
Check out some related reads on the Guide:
7 Questions You Wish You Could Ask Your Hairstylist
10 Questions You Wish You Could Ask Your Nail Artist