Why you should exfoliate:

Your Epidermis (the part of the skin you see) has 5 layers or stratum.



New skin cells are born deep down in your Epidermis at the Stratum Basale (or Germinativum)  As more new cells grow, the older cells are pushed up into the next stratum, Spinosum, thence to Granulosum and Lucidum and finally they end of at Stratum Corneum, the outermost layer that you see.

The trouble with the cells by the time they reach Stratum Corneum is that they are pretty much done for. Dead. Goners. As you can see in the diagram by the time the keratinocytes (skin cells) reach the Stratum Granulosum the nucleus and other cell organelles have broken down. One of things left is a protein called keratin, which is one of the structural components of the Stratum Lucidum, and the structures of hair, skin and nails.

Anyway if you want to read the technical aspects of keratinocytes you can have a look here at BC Open Text Books (Anatomy and Physiology)

The Stratum Corneum is the superficial layer exposed to the environment and it is a layer of dead cells that protect and “waterproof” your skin. Every 28 days all these cells are shed and replaced by new cells that push up from Granulosum.

However, not all the cells are shed efficiently in some cases and that is where Exfoliation comes in.

Cosmetic products, like serums and moisturizers do not usually penetrate as efficiently as they could if your skin is not exfoliated enough. In a young person with a fast cell turnover, 2-3 times a week is good, but in an older person, less frequent exfoliation is necessary as your cell turnover is not at such a high rate.

So if you are spending a bit of cash on a nice moisturizer, full of vitamins and peptides, remember to invest in a good exfoliator.

What makes a good exfoliator?

Stay tuned for the next post in the series.




Why Dip Acrylic nails are making a comeback.

Have you noticed the trend toward Dip Acrylics? Just like Gel Polish nails revolutionized the Gel nail industry, Dip Acrylics appear to be the next revolution.

Gel, Acrylic and Fiberglass are traditional methods of applying enhancements to the natural nail. The natural nail is reinforced OR the length of the nail increased with these methods, while the join and extension are also reinforced.  These products require  skilled and experience nail technicians to achieve optimum results in cost effective time.

The benefit of Gel Polish versus traditional gels is that it requires much less skill to apply. Many beauty therapists struggled with the difficulty of applying gel when they were not doing it all the time, like the nail technicians were. So products like Gelish, Orly FX and OPI gel polish, despite not lengthening the natural nail, have increased salon profits by reducing the need for specialist nail technician training and long nail appointment times.

One of the most difficult (for me) methods of extending and reinforcing nails is Acrylics. You have to dip your brush in acrylic monomer, and then into acrylic powder, creating a perfectly sized and textured (wetness) ball. It takes practice and requires a feel. Get it wrong and it dries before you can pat it into shape, or it’s too thick and requires seven years of filing, or it runs into the cuticle and dries there. All those outcomes are failures. But get it right and Acrylic creates the strongest, hardiest false nail you can find.

Nails Mag   explains how someone found an easier way:

“Three years after completing nail school in 1997, Denise Gottschalk discovered acrylic dip systems. The fast application and nearly next-to-no-learning curve inspired her to incorporate the technique into her menu, and she’s been offering the service ever since”

Gottschalk figured that she could paint resin (product you use to apply tips across all systems or  to apply fiber strips in fiberglass nails) on her clients nails, dip them straight into acrylic powder and get the perfect amount of acrylic on the nails in a much shorter time.

nails mag resin

Image: Nails Mag


dip acrylic nails mag

Image:  Nails Mag

Her method also reduced the amount of fumes in the salon, as the liquid monomer used in traditional acrylics is the main fume culprit. It also reduced allergic reactions as no primer or liquid monomer is required.  It also reduced the number of tools required to complete a set of nails.

nail in powder

As with nail extensions, some products suit clients and their lifestyle better than others, and I have a suspicion that Gel Polish is not hardy enough for all lifestyles. But for high client turnover salons to go back to difficult and time consuming nail systems is not the solution.  Busy salons who do not employ specialist or experienced nail technicians, will lose turnover due to longer appointments; and quality results will take time to achieve.

Instead, we welcome back Dip Acrylics.  Quick. Little skill required. Good results.

colour powder dip

(And the bonus is, that if you dip into colored powder you don’t need nail polish either. )




Uh oh. Waxing season is back. Here are ten reminders to keep you smooth.

Has spring sprung on your unwaxed legs?  Have they kept you sweating in your winter leggings or hiding in your wetsuit?


Here are a few reminders to make that imminent waxing appointment a success.



  1. Don’t be tempted to shave. Not now. Maybe you could have in mid July, but we need 5mm or a 2-3 weeks growth for this appointment to be a winner.
  2. If you’re waxing for an upcoming event, make sure you make your appointment at least 2 days in advance so your skin can settle.
  3. Don’t use Retin-A or products containing retinol at least 2 weeks before waxing. If you are on roaccutane, don’t wax at all.
  4. Don’t get  sunburned ever, but especially right before your wax appointment.
  5. Exfoliate and moisturize the day before.

Woman About to Receive a Waxing Treatment


  1. Don’t have hot showers, baths, saunas for 24 hours.
  2. Don’t wear tight clothing over the waxed area for 24 hours.
  3. Don’t use creams / lotions or deoderants on the waxed area for 24 hours.
  4. Don’t go straight to the sun lounger. Your waxed skin is susceptible to pigmentation.
  5. Keep the skin clean to avoid bacterial infection in the empty hair follicles.

We have white chocolate hot wax in stock here at Sunrise Studio for use on the bikini line, underarms and facial waxing. We have regular chocolate strip wax for the legs.


Look forward to seeing you (and the sun & spring blossoms) soon!



New Skincare Treatments

I’m fresh from a training session with Kalahari’s founder, Carina Franck AND all the products have arrived from Johannesburg! Scroll down to see all the delicious new treatments on the menu.





The Kalahari Honeybush Facial Treatment is a deeply nourishing treatment that includes natural plant extracts and rich botanical oils.  The treatment includes a relaxing facial massage that will hydrate and rejuvenate your skin leaving it soft and supple. This treatment is suitable for all skin and suitable as a maintenance treatment.


The Lipid Rich Skin Treatment is a botanical oil mask rich in essential fatty acids that hydrate even the most dry and dehydrated skin. With gentle movements the mask is massaged into the skin to leave it ultra-hydrated and deeply moisturised. Enriched with natural lipids from African Shea butter, Jojoba oil and Rosemary oil, all repairing the natural skin barrier, the Lipid Rich Skin Treatment brings life back to dry skin. Suitable for all skin conditions, excluding oily and acne-prone skin.


The Vita-gel skin treatment is a highly effective treatment gel that revitalises and rejuvenates the skin.  The effective combination of alpha hydroxy acids, peptides and moisture-binding ingredients will leave the skin visibly detexturised, revitalised and radiant. Suitable for all skin conditions.


The Phytic Clay Treatment Mask is a pro-active treatment that contains Mandelic, Glycolic acid and Phytic acid derived from Soybean extract.   The treatment mask effectively targets hyperpigmentation, de-ageing and rejuvenation of the skin leaving it visibly brightened and rejuvenated.   Not suitable for sensitive skin conditions


The Phyto Compound Treatment Mask Treatment is compounded especially for your specific skin needs from a selection of African Mud, Clays and Phyto-effective treatment-gels. These area-specific applications optimise treatment results and are suitable for all skin conditions.

Peel-away Treatment Mask   45 mins R350

The Peel-away Liquid is an ideal treatment enhancer for effective pore purifying and skin clarifying results. The liquid medium can be applied on its own or can be mixed with any of our clays or mud to create a suitable peel-off mask.


This is an ultra-firming, anti-ageing treatment rich in natural, organic Vitamin C and essential antioxidants.

Extracted directly from the African Baobab fruit, our Vitamin C boosts collagen and elastin regeneration, making your skin appear visibly firmed, brightened and tightened. Suitable for all skin conditions.


The PEC Treatment is a highly effective; deep cleanse exfoliation treatment with enzymes such as Pumpkin in combination with Glycolic acid.  The skin will appear visibly rejuvenated, clear and brightened.  The PEC Treatment is suitable for all skin conditions excluding sensitive skin.


TCA, Trichloroacetic acid, is a medium strength chemical coagulant that revitalises the skin by lifting dead surface cells and stimulates skin mitosis. TCA Treatments will effectively refine the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores and even out skin discoloration. The skin will appear visibly smoother, detexturised and radiant.

kalahari rolling sands

With my dry winter skin, my favorite is the Lipid Rich Skin Treatment,with Shea Butter. This facial is basically a massage from start to finish, combining lipid rich treatment products with massage butter.

Which one appeals to you the most?

Why you need to wear sunscreen in winter

If your enthusiasm for SPF has cooled off  with the autumn nights, think again.

There is a very good reason to keep wearing sunscreen year round and even when you are not at the beach.

Did you know that your skin is one of the organs that makes up your immune system? One of the most important functions of your skin is protection.

immunity organs

Some sun exposure is good for you (It helps you make Vitamin D, which supports your immunity, has antibacterial properties on acneic skin and new research  indicates the possibility that blue light in sunslight boosts the activity of T-cells, which are an important part of your immune response.)

However there are some scenarios where sun exposure can have a negative effect on the immune function of your skin.

In his book Skin Care Beyond the Basics (Third Edition 2007), Mark Rees PhD (Health Sciences) explains that ‘Exposure to sunlight “chases off” your protective macrophage “guard cells,” allowing substances and organisms to enter the skin, increasing the chance of infection.’

Think about people who get cold sores or fever blisters. When else do they get them?

Flare ups of Herpes Simplex often occur after sun exposure. This demonstrates the immune system’s reduced ability to deal with the virus during sun exposure.

The World Health Organization backs this theory up:

“UVB radiation appears to reduce the effectiveness of the immune system – in the case of cold sores it can no longer keep the virus Herpes simplex under control which results in re-activation of the infection.”

Does sunscreen make a difference supporting the immunity of the skin during sun exposure?

WHO quotes a study in the United States:

“Of 38 patients, who recurrently suffer from Herpes simplex infections, 27 developed cold sores after exposure to UV radiation. In contrast, after the application of protective sunscreen, none of the patients developed cold sores.”

So the answer to supporting your skin’s immune function when exposed to UV radiation is sunscreen.

It is very important to teach children to wear sunscreen daily, all year round. This will protect their little immune systems as well as protect their skin. They will still enjoy the benefits (eg. Vitamin D) from sunlight, but sunscreen will protect them from the negative effects.

Mark Rees adds that “we receive about 80% of the sun’s damage to the skin before the age of 18….most sun exposure is not from sunbathing but from day-to-day exposure.”

In South Africa we lead an outdoor lifestyle almost all year round.  Shielding our skin with sunscreen will prevent premature aging, skin cancers and help support the immune system. So sunscreens should be a habit for every season, as part of a healthy lifestyle. skin-immune-system-figure_1


Any sunscreen will do, but ideally, an they should have an SPF of between 15 and 50. If you want to understand SPF’s better read How high an SPF should you wear?

Sunscreens I love are:

Kalahari SPF 40 (Available at my studio)

Cetaphil Sunscreen by Galderma (Available at Dischem and Clicks)

Island Tribe Gel (For water sports. You can buy it at surf shops, like Xpression on the Beach and Lifestyle. It DOES NOT come off in your eyes and you NEVER get burned) . Island Tribe Cream is great if you on dry land.

I get dermatitis from some sunscreens and the above get my personal allergy all clear. I use Island Tribe on my children for water sports but I prefer a pump or spray bottle of sunscreen for easy daily mass applications.  I buy those at PicknPay or Dischem or Clicks.

ALL the brights and beautifuls with this enzyme peel

There is one facial in the Kalahari range that I’ve kind of been sneaking around, avoiding.

My facial nemesis is the Phyto Enzyme Compound treatment, also known as the PEC treatment or pumpkin enzyme exfoliation.

Joyous Health

It is short in duration but deep in exfoliation. The active ingredient is a pumpkin enzyme that digests the protein of your skin’s dead surface cells. The removal of these cells increases skin renewal, improves cell turnover, smooths your skin’s texture and brightens dull skin.

Sounds wonderful, right? So why have I been avoiding it?

Well, our whole business model as beauty therapists is client-comfort led. We want you to feel like you are having a long, luxurious, relaxing treatment, but this treatment is short and sharp. It is an enzyme peel, and, I’m sure you know, a peel is not always super comfortable while its happening.

Many of you are also presenting with skin irritations, eczema, and sensitive skin, possibly due to  increasing environmental and stressful lifestyle factors, so we  have to be pretty courageous when choosing intensive, active treatments like the Phyto Enzyme Compound.

I decided, though, after looking at Kalahari’s incredible before and after photos, that it was time to stop avoiding this challenge. I decided it was probably also best that the crash test dummy for the Phyto Enzyme Compound treatment be me.  Fortunately, I meet the sensitive AND the ageing criteria.  Not only do I have a long history of eczema and dermatitis,  I also moved further north of forty last month, so am in dire need of rejuvenation and brightening.

There are a few permutations of the Phyto Enzyme Compound facial, but I tested the least mild version. I cleansed my skin with the gel cleanser and toned.  (There is no exfoliation or steam in the treatment, as that would be too aggressive.)

I then  brushed the Phyto Enzyme Compound directly onto my clean dry skin, including my face, neck and decollete. It is like a clear, sticky gel.

I looked at the clock after the application as there is a two minute time limit to prevent frosting.  By two minutes my face was very tingly and I was glad the time was up. I applied a layer of cleansing milk over the PEC and waited another three very tingly minutes. The next step was to remove both layers with gauze soaked in Rooibos tea, which was wonderfully soothing.

I then applied the Honeybush Souffle Mask to my clean skin for ten minutes,  and it felt like ice cream on a sore throat.

Again I removed it with gauze soaked in Rooibos tea. I finished with Hydralite Moisturiser and SPF 40.

I was expecting a red angry face, but I was delighted to find that my skin was calm and even in colour, the tingling was gone and the texture was unlike anything I have felt in a very long time. My chin area, which can be very temperamental, bumpy and congested, is smooth and without blotches. I felt like I was glowing and radiant.

emily and me

A few hours after a very tingly Phyto Enzyme Compound Treatment.

So I am going to stop avoiding this treatment now, in fact, I am bleak I was hesitant with it in the first place as the results are fantastic.  A follow up treatment can be done after 14 days and I intend to do that.

The facial is R295 and takes about half an hour. It is perfect for Prematurely Aging Skin, Dry and Mature Skin as well as Oily and Problematic Skin. It can be combined with the regular Kalahari Clays and Muds to add extra voomah to the facial. A neck and shoulder massage can also be added to up the luxury factor. We need a bit more time for that and the price with the add-ons is from R350 – R375.

This facial is tingly so I would still say that it is not suitable for very sensitive skin types. Due to the deep exfoliation it is also not suited to hyper pigmented skin types.

Going in to winter is a good time to perform deep exfoliation because the UV factor is not so high, and neither are the chances of you spending hours on the beach in the sun. Feel free to send me an email at melissa.beautytherapy@gmail.com for more information, if you have questions or for bookings.

Have a great Wednesday





The Sun’s Sneaky Danger Zone

How often are you in your car? A morning and afternoon commute to work? Or back and forth with children all afternoon? Does your job keep you on the road?

Have you noticed that some people have quite a bit more sun damage, or hyper-pigmentation marks, on the right side of the face?

This is often caused by incidental sun exposure in the car. Once you become aware of it, you start noticing how much UV you are exposed to while driving.


pic: Fox News

Here are three areas you should watch out for:

  1. Your Face. Particularly your right side, which is exposed to your window.  You may think that if you work in an office you don’t need to apply sunscreen, but the UV exposure  of a two way commute is not worth the omission.
  2. Your Decollete. In the afternoon the angle of the sun might miss your face, or the car visor might protect you, but your chest area will soak up the rays. This area is often neglected over time and any sun damage there exaggerates age. Bring your sunscreen application down your neck and onto the decollete. Include the side of your neck and do not apply perfume to this area. Perfume renders the skin photo-sensitive.If you apply it to areas exposed to sunlight, pigmentation often results.
  3. Your Hands. Memories of my Grandmother tell me she had beautiful, soft, unmarked hands.  She used to wash my hands for me and I still remember the feel of hers around mine. She lived into her nineties and was sun damage free. My Grandmother grew up in Yorkshire and, after moving to South Africa in her twenties, seldom went out in the sun. When she drove, she wore gloves. Perhaps that is a tradition we should re-instate? Your hands are up there on the steering wheel, exposed to the full, fierce wrath of the sun. Put sunscreen on them or, channel your inner Grace Kelly and grab a pair of vintage driving gloves.                                            driving-gloves-grace-kelly
  4. Your Children. They get nearly as much sun in the car as you do. Apply sunscreen to their faces and hands too.


    shannon baker photography

Sunscreen facts to remember:

  1. A higher factor doesn’t mean stronger protection, it means you can be exposed to the sun for longer. SPF is a function of time. 10 x SPF = time in minutes before you could burn.                                                                                                                                                              ancient desert secrets
  2. Super high factors contain more chemicals.sunscreen-kalahari  mongongo-spf-600x

The Kalahari Range has an SPF40 Sunscreen which contains  a mineral sunscreen for UVA and UVB protection (read about mineral vs chemical sunscreens here ) It  contains Kigelia Africana Extract for firming and toning and Marula Seed Oil which reduces trans-epidermal water loss and redness. Mongongo Extract has hydrating and regenerating properties and it provides the protective film for the skin when it is exposed to UV rays.  In the Kalahari, this oil is extracted from the fruit of the Manketti tree, and is used to reflect the sun from the skin, working as a natural reflector. (This is how more common mineral sunscreen ingredients like Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide work.)  The Kalahari sunscreen SPF40 (50ml) retails at R275 .  There is also a Mongongo Body SPF2o  (160ml) which retails for R290 

Skincare for Pigmentation – how do the products work?

I have worked with a number of products that improve pigmentation. Some use Tyrosinase inhibitors (the enzyme that produces melanin) some use alpha hydroxy acids, and others use Vitamin A.

Kalahari, the product I have chosen for Sunrise Beauty Studio, has a Skin Brightening gel that you can use under your moisturizer. Lets have a look at how this particular gel works.




  1. It contains Alpha Arbutin,  Carob Leaf Extract and Kigelia Africana
  2. Alpha Arbutin inhibits the production of melanin. Arbutin comes from the Bear Berry plant and has a skin lightening effect, and is safe to use at low concentrations, like the 3% found in Kalahari’s skin brightening gel.  Read this article  for more info on Arbutin and how it works.                                                                                                                     alpha-arbutin
  3. Carob Leaf Extract inhibits Tyrosinase activity,as shown in this study. Tyrosinase is the enzyme that produces melanin and causes hyperpigmentation in the skin.                carob-leaf
  4. Kigelia Africana is the sausage tree, and the extract of this plant has natural skin lightening properties.                                                                                                                              kigelia-sun-trees

The gel contains other active ingredients that

  • stimulate collagen and elastin production
  • are effective antioxidants
  • have firming effects

Use the gel under your moisturizer and top that with our SPF 40. There is no point fighting your pigmentation and then not protecting your skin from the sun.

Which of these gels would you like me to feature next?

  • Oily Skin Correction Gel
  • Revitalizing Booster Gel
  • Phyto Comfort Lotion 
  • Anti-Ageing Gel


Life after imported skin care ranges

I am not the best retail saleslady on earth. Ask *imported French skincare range* After fifteen years together, they broke up with me.

While I was always confident in the efficacy of the range, I was not always comfortable selling it due to the cost of the products.

Don’t get me wrong. I love *imported French skincare range* I knew the products inside out, the molecules, the nanospheres, the polysaccharide chains, even the effect of tyrosinase on melanocytes. But when I closed my PE salon and moved house six times in three years and my sales spiraled down, *imported French skincare range* broke up with me.


I thought my skin would never be the same. I gave up offering skincare on my treatment menu. How could I live, or move on, without *them*?

Maybe you have felt like that too? Maybe you have felt the cost of *imported skin care ranges* stretching out of your reach, but you are afraid that it will mark the beginning of the end of your complexion?

I stumbled across Kalahari Lifestyle while searching the internet for a local, good quality, effective brand.  Then I found them IRL at the Professional Beauty Expo.

ancient desert secrets

The range is made of concentrated plant extracts, phyto compounds and plant oils sourced from indigenous African Plants. Kalahari is an environmentally conscious brand and uses only reputable phytotrade organizations and sustainable resources.


Rosehip Fruit Oil

Plus it’s an affordable brand, in nice, yet minimal packaging, rep’ed by friendly, knowledgeable staff and has a cool, earthy vibe.

I loved the facials and the products right away,  but deep down I was skeptical that my skin could ever be as good as it was with *imported French skincare range*

I used up bits and bobs, left overs of *imported French skincare range*, samples and trials from various suppliers, all the while bewailing my now dull, aging skin, with it’s new blotches of pigmentation, the side effects of my obsession with stand up paddle boarding.

When I finally plucked two products off my Kalahari retail shelf, the top of the range Phyto Rich Moisturizer (R304)  for Dry/Mature Skin and and the Phyto DD cream (a tinted moisturizer which retails at R123), I hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst.


At first I saw no improvement. My dreams of being dewy again, as I was on  *imported French skincare range*, seemed distant. But halfway into the Phyto Rich Moisturizer, and after a Phyto Compound facial, things started to change. I started to see and feel a difference. My dewy complexion returned (the opposite of parched and dehydrated), my pigmentation reduced, I noticed a radiant glow and a lovely smooth texture.


I can’t believe it. Because I am a good few years north of forty, it’s hard to keep the effects of aging at bay, so I am thrilled with this result. My skin is as good, if not BETTER than it was on *imported French skincare range*  I can’t wait to add serums and gels to my routine to see even more of a difference. And I am delighted that the products do not require a small mortgage to purchase.

I now feel 100% confident to recommend them to my clients because they work, and I feel comfortable to recommend them to my clients because they don’t cost the earth.

Kalahari Lifestyle includes:

Natural Products

Not tested on Animals 

Recyclable Packaging

Contains NO – parabens, sulphates, isoporpylene glycol, formaldehyde and mineral oil

Organically sourced Khoi San Rooibos Tea


Five Manicure Must-Haves #5

Hand Cream 

Your hands are exposed to the elements more than your face and they suffer in our Southern Hemisphere climate all year round.

In summer they feel the effects of UV radiation while we go about our day to day activities, particularly when we are driving. They are up there near the windshield, getting all the rays for hours a day at times.


Here are five of the best:

  1. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream – available at Red Square for R325 right now. Yikes. I know.You need a second mortgage for that. It’s actually meant to be for your face, but if your hands are in dire need, it will work wonders, plus it has an SPF 15 which our Southern Hemisphere hands need. Desperately.
  2. Nivea Q -10 Anti-Aging Hand Cream – you can pick it up at Woollies or Clicks for R35.99  It also has UVA and UVB filters. It does the job, suits the budget and fits in the handbag.
  3. Norwegian Formula Hand Cream from Neutrogena is perfect for dry, winter hands. There are three versions: the fast absorbing formula;  the fragrance free, which is great for people with eczema; and the anti-aging version, which is great for, you know, us and Peter Pan and all the others who don’t really want to age.
  4. Kalahari’s Healing Hands priced at R263 seems like a luxury buy, but it is a treatment product designed to bring neglected hands back to good health. It restores natural moisture to sun-damaged skin, using hematite stone extract. Hematite stimulates collagen synthesis and is used as an anti-wrinkle treatment.
  5. The Body Shop Hand Creams are highly rated by Marie Claire UK and are a budget beating R55. The Satsuma one looks delicious for winter, but it does not have an SPF so you need to layer one over the top.