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Posted by 06.15.14

A commitment to health and wellness has guided Terese Linke’s career path over the past 25 years. Currently, she is global education and spa training director for Amala, a natural skin care line used in spas and wellness centers across the nation. She works behind the scenes to make sure that the aestheticians that use and sell Amala completely understand the line and how to customize treatments for each individual client. Here Terese shares her natural skin care expertise with Beauty in the Bag and details the benefits of using only natural and organic products on your skin.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you become involved with green beauty products?

Having a very strong interest and enthusiasm for health—wellness, sustainability, beauty, and fitness have been my life’s passion and inspiration. My primary goal in life is to be conscience of life, meaning, and destiny with a self-felt calling to cause good growth in my life and the lives of others. This has inspired me to follow a career that includes education and training, manufacturing, and sales, specializing in international training of products and healing lifestyle treatments, over the past 25 years.

In April 2006, I co-founded WPR Source, a world-class health and wellness education business development company that specializes in luxury spa and boutique retail. Prior to this, I worked for 11 years in the private education sector and during this time I become an accredited fitness instructor in 1988 and an esthetician and massage therapist in 2000. I have spent over 15 years in sales management and international training for several authentic green companies including Amala and PRIMAVERA. I have a real passion and enthusiasm for the training and education of others, which together with my commitment to my primary goal, has been a major force in energizing and inspiring others whom I connect with both personally and professionally.

Many active anti-aging ingredients like retinol or growth factors are not included in natural skin care products. How can natural products turn back the hands of time?

Rooted in nature’s wisdom, natural and organic products and treatments nurture and feed the skin with powerful plant botanicals. In addition to correcting problems, the right natural skin care products have the ability to create a more healthy and youthful appearance as we age. We need to remember that our skin is our body’s largest organ; therefore, our skin eats too. I cannot stress enough how important it is to choose only certified natural, organic skin care products as opposed to commercial products that are made with cheap, synthetic inorganic ingredients, where some of these ingredients have been proven to be harmful to our overall health and the appearance and health of our skin. Natural products that use organic seed and plant oils actually penetrate deeply into the skin to improve the structure and hydration of the skin rather than just sit on top of its exterior. Natural plant ingredients also help the skin to become thicker and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They also help tighten and lift the skin, as well as improve discoloration and uneven skin tone that we all experience with aging.

Does Amala skincare have a hero product? Why is it so popular?

Our hero product is without a doubt Amala Rejuvenating Advanced Firming Complex. It  really stands out because it is our most results oriented, anti-aging product to date and the first Amala product with proven seven day clinical results. Since its launch in 2012, it has rapidly become Amala’s number one international best-selling product due to its amazing results. Our customers just can’t seem to get enough of it. I love the Rejuvenating Advanced Firming Complex not only for its fast and effective results, but also for its instant smoothing benefits and ultra-luxe texture. It’s very hydrating without being overly heavy.

Is the shelf life of natural beauty products shorter than traditional products?

Yes, it is. Certified natural and organic beauty products are made from ingredients from nature, therefore do not use any harmful chemicals, toxic preservatives, or cancer causing binders or fillers that you find in more traditional, conventional beauty products.

All Amala products are of 100% natural origin, free of petrochemicals, parabens, and synthetic or genetically modified ingredients. In the world of natural and organic skin care, Amala emphasizes quality over quantity in regards to a product’s lifespan. Synthetic products may offer an extended “shelf life” with chemically-based preservatives, but Amala’s all-natural preservation system allows the benefits of its living plant ingredients to remain fully intact and active. Natural botanicals, used in all Amala products, are the ideal preservatives. Amala’s cosmetic chemists are aligned with nature and use the intelligent properties of plants via extracts and essential oils to harness their innate    intelligent system of anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. By using the highest quality raw botanical materials that are grown in their idyllic setting, Amala capitalizes on nature’s “logic” to naturally fight bacteria and preserve its products.

What is your beauty philosophy? 

I feel that many women these days spend way too much time worrying about their bodies and a few lines and wrinkles here and there. Beauty is so much more than just skin deep. I believe real beauty is a result of happy, healthy living, and doing good for yourself and others. It is about self-esteem, self-confidence, and being comfortable in your own skin. It is about how we feel about ourselves and how we also teach our daughters to feel about themselves. I believe in aging gracefully. It is not about looking “young,” it is about looking healthy and being the best I can be. Beauty is reflected from the inside, out. I focus on noninvasive alternatives to surgery, like using pure, natural and organic skin care, a healthy balanced diet that is rich in organic, preferably locally grown fruits and vegetables, and throughout my entire life I have placed a very high importance on personal fitness. I embark in daily exercise consisting of combinations of cardio, yoga, and Pilates.

What’s next for Amala and natural beauty?

The natural beauty category is really moving towards high performance skin care that is results driven, with proven benefits comparable to those from traditional beauty products. We are seeing more and more demand for active anti-aging and skin brightening products that deliver visible results without potentially harmful chemical ingredients. Amala is continuing to push the boundaries of what natural ingredients can do, and you can expect to see more and more highly advanced skin care products from our line in the coming years!



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Posted by 06.01.14

Founded in France in 1957 by a dermatologist and aesthetician, the professionally distributed G.M. Collin Skin Care is now based in Montreal. As the national director of education for the brand, Karen Asquith provides skincare training programs and guidance for an international staff of 140. She is a sought after speaker at skin care industry forums because G.M. Collin has a long history of being on the cutting edge of new ingredients beginning with collagen over 50 years ago to the latest in plant stem cell technology. You can also find her as a guest contributor to Web M.D.

Karen puts her technical knowledge to practice too. Since 200, she has been the lead aesthetician at the pre-Oscar suite, giving G.M. Collin skin care treatments to celebrities. In 2011, she added the Golden Globes to her itinerary.

Please tell us a bit about your background. How did you find your way to the field of aesthetics?

I always had an interest in aesthetics; however. my journey into this field began in part time college courses in cosmetology as I was enrolled in a full-time program in engineering technology. Upon completion of my engineering program, I realized that my interest in skin care was my true passion and at that point I enrolled in an aesthetic program realizing that this was the career path I truly wanted to follow.

What professional treatments really turn back the hands of time?

There are many professional treatments that will assist in both preventative and corrective actions on the skin. Presently the most popular that have proven scientific data to back them up are treatments that include peptides, growth factors, stem cells, retinol, and chemical peels.

What is your recommendation for treating acne?

Acne can be addressed with multiple ingredients. Probiotics, anti-microbial peptides, and salicylic acid are all ingredients that work well to minimize acne. Oxygen complex has proven to minimize the p. acnes bacteria, as this bacteria is anerobic, therefore, is unable to sustain itself in the presence of oxygen.

Do you believe in using active ingredients like retinol or glycolic acid?

Both of these ingredients have scientific data to prove their effectiveness for anti-aging treatments. Although they should not be used simultaneously, as this could cause over-stimulation to the skin, they should be incorporated in an anti-aging skin care regimen.

Are there any new anti-aging technologies that you find really exciting?

Growth factors are relatively new in skin care and when they are used in combination with other anti-aging actives they provide exceptional results in minimizing lines and wrinkles on the skin. Adipofillin™ is an active ingredient that won a gold award in 2012. It mimics lipo-filling results without injections to provide a more youthful looking skin. Tetrapeptide 26 boosts the expression of “clock genes,” which help to synchronize the cellular processes to protect the skin in the day and repair the skin at night.

If you could create any skin care product what would it be? Let your imagination soar.

This is a very complex question and truthfully there is really not one product that I could imagine that would be effective for everyone. As there are various skin types and even more skin conditions they all require different treatments to be properly addressed. I truly believe that within our G.M.Collin skin care collection we have products to assist with all skin types and conditions that provide the desired results. Also the skin undergoes changes at different ages, therefore what is require at age 30 is different than age 50. The key is to find a product line that has formulations to address the physiological changes for all ages which G.M.Collin has.

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Posted by 07.21.13

Diana Seo’s business trajectory is truly inspiring. In four short years, she has gone from giving individualized facials in the rooms of guests staying at the The Soho Grand Hotel in New York City, to running two B-Spa Bars in boutique hotels, and a spa/salon in Westchester county. A biophysics graduate that gravitated toward combining Eastern and Western treatment philosophies, Diana initially started to develop facials to treat her own acne. Her journey started as a medical consultant for plastic surgeon Charles Thorne, MD, to researching ingredients to detox the body, to earning certification from Atelier Esthétique, which allows her to practice in 39 countries.

Facials from the B-Spa team are totally customized for each client and include hand-mixed treatments based on unusual ingredients like chocolate and tamarind. Plus, Diana has just launched the Stem Cell Facial, which use a reverse polarity device from Italy that enhances the skin’s ability to absorb collagen.

Read on for more of her story:

Why did you set out to “set a new standard in medical day spas?” What motivated you?

Medi spas in the US target clients’ conditions—they are not preventative, they seek to “cure” in a way I believe is too harsh. My experience, working with dermatologists and plastic surgeons, led me to seek out new ways to customize skincare. For example, as I am doing with the stem cell facials I offer at B-Spa, these treatments with surgical grade bovine collagen spur rejuvenation of over dry or aging skin in a healthy, non invasive new way. These facials are breakthrough in that for the first time they allow the infusion of macromolecules of collagen into the skin’s water channels through the newest generation of electro-pulse therapy. B-Spa is one of the only spas in the US to offer this treatment. Men and women are loving it! The skin takes on a super healthy glow, fine lines and wrinkles are diminished, and the skin seems plumper, more youthful.  Some of my clients like to do this treatment instead of injectables; they swear by its effects and depend on it as a rejuvenating pick-me-up every week or two.  This treatment is a perfect example of my medi-spa approach—offering a non-invasive medical treatment that is healthy, therapeutic, and just gives people a wonderfully serene sense of—to quote what B Spa is all about—“beauty and balance.”

How does your background in science make you a better beauty expert?

I am trained in science—biophysics. I know anatomy. I am well schooled in physiology. The way I can analyze and help improve skin is similar to the way I was trained in the lab. There are many, many ingredients people are unaware of so my background in biophysics and chemistry allows me to scrutinize key ingredients—and then some! As a researcher and a scientist, my background helps me investigate the best way to help a client’s skin. There is a rigor to my esthetics practice—a formal procedure as there is in medicine and science.

You are influenced by Eastern and Western philosophies. When did that start? Does one prevail?

This balancing of East and West has been part of my life since childhood. I am Korean American. I grew up here in the US and I went to school for pre-med but the Western influence I was exposed to in medicine aimed to “cut”—not to prevent. So I sought a balance to learn about prevention versus potentially more invasive ways to “cure.” I studied Chinese herbal medicine and learned how it could prevent future abnormalities. Yet, I also learned that homeopathic treatments could only do so much. I do place a high value on the benefits of Western medicine. And I see that the discovery of new technology allows for better ways to treat the human body. But given the Western go go go mentality, there is a need to offset this with Eastern medicine—neither one is complete without the other.

Have you always had a holistic approach to life? Or was there a turning point?

When I was in my 20s, I was a partier. I did not watch what I ate, I had little sleep (why did I need it? I thought then), I enjoyed a few drinks when I was out…you could say I had a carefree youth. But seven years ago health became priority #1 for me. My beloved grandfather became ill with cancer and I too had a cancer scare. While I took it upon myself to do all I could to help him recover, I also faced a life-changing situation. I made a career change after my doctors surgically removed a big lymph node. I thought that I had non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I was working with a plastic surgeon but I knew I had to do something different. Initially I wanted to open a tea bar, I wanted to detox the body based on what tea could do for health and healing. I started researching ingredients for skin and body. As this research progressed, I realized I wanted to be certified for esthetics, for a non-invasive way to help restore beauty and balance to people’s lives. So I earned my certification from Atelier Esthétique. This professional certification is most prestigious, it allows me to practice in 39 countries around the world. But overall, seven years ago I began to take the steps I needed to fully balance my life…and share this approach to health and spiritual, organic wellness with those I touch—through work, friendship and family.

You have just introduced the first B-Spa branded productsthe mists inspired by Ayurvedic teachingswhat is the importance of Ayurvedic medicine to you?

Ayurveda means Science of Life in Sanskrit, so this scientific, yet holistic way of healing is incredibly rewarding to me. Ayurvedic medicine is about balancing mind, body and spirit, which is a perfect fit with my life philosophy to naturally embrace mind, body, emotions, and consciousness. My mantra for B-Spa is: “nourish your mind & body with balance & beauty.” But I realized I was not nourishing myself. I was always in a rush, never thinking I needed time for myself. Once I recognized that I was not listening to my own mantra and sensed my stress level becoming out of proportion to my life, I decided to create these holistic mists—and they are incredibly helpful every day. Worry Free helps me not to get stressed out. When I need a refreshing pick me up, I reach for Immunity. I love the soothing nature of Vata when I need to center myself and be calm. So I use all three! And now, I never forget that I need to take a moment to nourish my spirit—and I hope that centered feeling stays with everyone who uses our B-Spa Mists. Each one is unique and features the purest essential oils:

Soothing Vata – Rose geranium, sweet orange, basil, fennel and marjoram bring the revitalizing ability to detach and focus as clear thinking takes over from stressful anxieties.

Immunity - Eucalyptus, lavender, pine, peppermint, spearmint, clove, and cinnamon bark encourage you to enjoy the moment as this forest mist surrounds to allow you to feel immune from the intrusive pressures of the day.

Worry Free  – Jasmine, clary sage, lemon, rose, and patchouli encourage you to de-stress and create a personal oasis of calm, becoming worry free as you detach from anxiety and find a way to prioritize simply and naturally

These are a natural enhancement for anyone who seeks to function in a state of calm and alertness. I believe B-Spa Mists bring positive energy to every aspect of a healthy balanced lifestyle. Of course, I would love to introduce a complete skincare collection based on Ayurvedic medicine but that day has not come yet…soon I hope. More and more Ayurvedic healing is influencing my life and at B-Spa Bar I am seeking new, healthful, healing ways to integrate it into the spa experience.

What is your personal beauty ritual?

First of all, I love Priori products. They are my personal favorites. However, ritual-wise, I cleanse only at night to preserve the skin’s natural oils. But at night I do make sure to follow consistently (this is important, to be consistent) a three-step regimen.  After I cleanse, I use a light enzyme serum, then a rich, intensive night moisturizer to help my skin rejuvenate overnight. But it is a critical step to gently mist with B Mist Worry Free; this eases my mind and helps me sleep. In the morning, I wash my face with water and use a light serum and day moisturizer under makeup. Priori is a Coffeeberry mineral skincare line, which I love. I use their natural SPF everyday as it creates a protective barrier between my skin and the environment—a beautiful balancing step that’s integral to my every day ritual.

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