Sinful Sunspots

California girls have always had a love-hate relationship with our precious sun, and it can be a burden non-Cali women don’t get. While New Yorkers can pull off a vampire costume as fashion, bikinis and aviators are our kind of our thing. And because we are so damn lucky, our skin sometimes pays the price. No matter how many floppy hats we buy or how much sunscreen we lather on, we will eventually see one of those sinful sunspots in our mirror staring back at us.

It is no surprise that lasers are also kind of our thing. Laser technology continues to be a leading method for diminishing the look of pre-mature aging and environmental damage. Visible, quick results in eliminating unsightly sunspots can be done with laser light treatments and these treatments are powerful alternatives to peels and microdermabrasion with no downtime. These simple procedures have minimal discomfort, are non-invasive and show visible results after one treatment.

Cindy Kokesch, PA at Ma Maison De Beaute in Beverly Hills favors the Cynosure machine for sunspots. She has ten years of experience with the procedure and recommends the treatment for most all clients with the exception of darker skin types. The reason for this is because the laser detects the contrast between the skin and the spot, so the closer the colors are together, the more difficult for the laser to detect. The machine works through wavelengths of laser light targeting melanin, creating a small lesion. The lesion then absorbs the heat from the laser turning it even darker. The area crusts up and falls off the skin, removing any appearance of said lesion. An added benefit is improved collagen production in the surrounding tissue, which can improve the texture of the skin.


Pain is prevented through a tissue cooling device which continuously blows cold air at the site of the laser pulse so that the client feels the cold instead of the heat. Basically, it feels like a rubber band popping on the skin and small areas can be treated in under one minute. Once the laser stops, there is no pain.

Post-treatment, it takes about 20 minutes to see the slightly darker spot on the treated area and can take up to a few weeks for the discoloration to slough off. Sunscreens must be worn and the treated area should always be protected and moisturized.

Staying out of the sun at least four weeks prior to your appointment is best and when you do have to be in the sun, an SPF of 30 or higher is recommended.

by Bylle Breaux



Size Matters.

When it comes to lash extensions, clients are not always warned about wearing something too big. Knowing what size is right for you is important to protect your investment and your flutter!

What is safe and reasonable for a clients’ personal lash line is something all lash artists would for everyone to understand. While many lash professionals make big promises about what kind of look they can provide, what is actually safe for you to wear long term may be different than what you want. After seven years of doing lash extensions in Beverly Hills, probably the most demanding city for pushing beauty boundaries, I have had to have many awkward moments with clients who expect way too much. The truth is, we can give you whatever you want a small handful of times, but we could risk losing you as a long term client because there is a serious risk of damaging your own natural lashes. When a client wants a specific look for filming a movie, and that look is beyond what would be healthy for her lashes long-term, we consider how long they will have to be worn and rather breaks in filming will occur where we can fill her with a better size.

For a classic set of lashes, if clients have 60 workable natural lashes, I can only apply 60 extensions. Within those 60 extensions, three sizes are used to achieve the fullest look possible. Newer lashes that have just grown in are worked on first and this is where the smallest sizes are used. These small lashes provide a strong foundation of support for lashes that will be longer, so that they can lean on one another when possible to prevent twisting. About 50% of the lash extensions will be made up of the smaller lashes for optimal support. Then, the medium sized lashes are filled in and will make up another 30-40% of the lash line. By this time, all of the inner lashes nearest to the tear ducts will be full. Finally the longest extensions are applied, which make up only 10-20% of the lash line. This is the part clients have a hard time grasping. “Why can’t we just make them all long?” many clients ask. Here’s why:


#1 Too many long lashes look thin and spidery

This is the part of lash extensions where individual artistry and personal taste comes in but for the most part, lashes should never be more than 50% of your own lash for reasons we will explain later, but if every lash is your longest size, the lash line looks unnatural and thinner. Our lashes have three different phases of growth so they are never all the same length at once. This variety of sizes in lash extensions adds texture and fullness.

#2 Too many long lashes twist and can damage your follicle

When a lash extension has no support from a shorter neighboring lash, it can twist and either break or pull out from the follicle altogether before it’s naturallshedding time. This can cause temporary damage to the follicle, making the time in which a new lash grows back much longer than normal.



#3 Too many long lashes will leave gaps in your lash line

When all of your lash extensions are the longest length, shedding one or two will be much more noticeable than if your lashes are various sizes. This means touch up appointments need to be booked closer together, making a bigger dent in your beauty budget and possibly leading you to blaming your technician for why your lashes don’t last as long as your friends.

Finally, let’s briefly discuss why your lash extensions should not be more than 50% longer than your natural lash. The main reason is that most clients wear extensions long term, or at least plan to and you won’t be able to if you wear lashes that are too heavy for your own natural lash. Even though the lashes shed and grow, wearing a lash too heavy could cause lashes to break and can cause a condition known as traction alopecia, a change in lash growth from consistent long term pressure on the natural lash. So basically, when a lash artist says “Yes” to that long lash size you are requesting when you both know it’s too long for you, she is saying “No” to the long term health of your lash while padding her pocket with your money on the short term. Is this the relationship you want with your beauty advisor? Especially the one working so closely to the window to your soul?

by Bylle Breaux / SweetPea Lashes Beverly Hills

The Majestic Microblader

Other than lash extensions, eyebrow maintenance has become the biggest deal to help cut down daily make-up time and micro-blading is the newest solution to thin, sparse eye brows. Yes, micro-blading is a tattoo but there is a difference between that ankle butterfly you got on your 18th birthday and the facial tattoo sweeping the beauty industry. With micro-blading, hair-like strokes are made with a handheld tool instead of a machine.   The strokes mimic the natural hairs in your own eyebrows. It can help fill in gaps, define or add drama to your natural eyebrows. Although the ink is still implanted under the skin, it’s not as deep as that ankle tattoo, making it more semi-permanent, but still saving you from the time it takes to draw your joker brows on in the morning.


For the most part, a topical numbing crème is used to help numb the area, but the pain is still relative to the person. The procedure takes approximately one to two hours as the strokes are done one by one. There is no down time but some patients may experience redness and itching the first week. Vaseline usually helps with that.


Sherri at Sherri Permanent Makeup in Koreatown is probably the best in Los Angeles when it comes to micro-blading. She is also half the price of people with a lot less experience than she has. As a lash technician, I have sent multiple clients to her over the past couple of years and have seen her work close up. So, last week, I had the service done myself. My left brow was thinner than my right and both had gaps that needed to be filled in. While I failed to take my “before” picture, my brows after the one hour service (including numbing) were remarkably perfect.

“I follow the natural lash line and try not to change that,” she says. “Otherwise it doesn’t blend with the natural hairs and you can tell it is a tattoo.” Though she does other permanent make-up in her studio as well, Sherri’s eyebrows are a must try if you have considered doing something professionally about your brow line. The initial cost includes a two-week check-in where she can add or adjust anything client’s aren’t stoked about.

Touch-ups are done every six months as the color fades, like any tattoo, depending on your skin type. Some clients can go much longer. Though the procedure, for me, was painful enough to make my eyes water, it was nothing that couldn’t be handled and since most of our hour was spent numbing, the actual pain was only about 15 minutes. I consider it well worth it since I have been able to throw out my brow pencils and even worked out the same day.


by Bylle Breaux



War with Cellulite?

While 90% of women over the age of 30 battle with cellulite, this magic little machine has made things much smoother for those of us who already practice a disciplined lifestyle with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Cellulite affects 90 percent of women and 10 percent of men at some point in their life. Something so common seems like it should be more acceptable but until that happens in a land and time far, far away, there is a little soldier to help us in our battle, know as the Venus Legacy®.

Decreased circulation happens as estrogen leaves us and as a result, women start to see cellulite anywhere from ages 25 to 35, especially in industrialized nations where we have much lower vitamin C and magnesium intakes. When the fat cells in those areas start to become larger, the bumpy appearance on the skin known as cellulite takes shape as it protrudes through the collagen, which we also produce less of as we age, making the fight even harder.

Radio Frequency machines have been safely used for decades in medical spas for the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles but the Venus Legacy® takes this concept to a new level on the war with cellulite. Because our bodies produce less collagen as we age and we start to store more fat, it shows up in unsightly forms. The machine uses heat to help break down fat cells, boost collagen and tighten skin.


Diana Podeanu, owner of Ma Maison de Beaute in West Hollywood, has been working with the machine for a few years. Last year, she was featured in the Academy Award edition of Vanity Fair magazine for the skin tightening results the machine provides on the face and neck, but there is another great reason to be in love with the Venus Legacy®. It is a superhero against that villain known as cellulite! She says the difference in Venus Legacy® and other cellulite treatment machines is the Varipulse™ technology. “It is a pulsating suction feature that can be adjusted by the technician and works to pull the skin upward, allowing for the radio frequency to move deeper. It stimulates the bodies own healing response when there is a thermal reaction in the tissue,” she says. According to her and Jessi Collins, another Venus Legacy® technician at Ma Maison, the result is increased collagen and tighter, firmer skin. It also helps stimulate ongoing, healthy circulation and new elastin fibers are also formed, which helps with the look of the aging skin.

The Venus Legacy® can be used on anyone who wants to get offensive ground on their battle with cellulite, and it can be used on all colors of skin since there are no lasers involved. Most patients take 6-8 treatments but this depends on the area being treated and how long the cellulite has been in that place. The treatment can be comfortable to mildly painful for some, but it takes under an hour with no down time. For those who already work hard to care for their bodies, meaning they exercise and try to limit cellulite-inducing foods, the treatment works wonders. The difference from week to week is noticeable and the youthfulness of the skin is noticeable after only a few treatments. Clients should drink plenty of water every day after the treatment and between weekly sessions to maximize the effect.


by Bylle Breaux




Down to Dermaplane?

This is the excerpt for your very first post.

Anyone interested in self-care, anti-aging and dewy skin will eventually come across Dermaplaning, the procedure that Los Angelenos swear by.

Dermaplaning is a procedure that uses a fine surgical blade (scalpel) to exfoliate the top layer (epidermis) and rid the skin of peach fuzz. But, how is it different than just shaving your face? According to skin professionals in Los Angeles, there is a big difference. Shaving your face with a store bought razor will only cause the hairs to grow back stubbly, especially if the hair is already dark or course. With dermaplaning, the skin is prepped and the hairs are softened. Because a surgical scalpel is used, the blade is much finer and it is used at a 45-degree angle, leaving the hairs with a softer edge when they grow back.


Dermaplaning is best for clients who with unwanted facial hair and whom are interested in fierce anti-aging benefits. Women over 40 have collagen depletion of up to 20% that naturally occurs with hormonal aging. 80% of that loss happens in the dermis (top layer) of the skin, so a procedure that stimulates collagen production on a regular basis can have gorgeous results. Women under 40 may find the treatment too much for them and can have a negative reaction because they still have a high level of collagen production.

Because dermaplaning is considered an invasive procedure in California, it needs to be done in a medical spa or physician’s office for the practitioner to be properly licensed and for you to be protected. At Ma Maison de Beaute, a medical spa in Los Angeles operating under the direction of Dr. David Rosenberg, clients can be treated with a custom facial, which includes dermaplaning. The skin is cleansed, exfoliated and massaged under steam for 20 minutes, and then extractions are done as needed. After the dermaplaning, a peel of lactic acid and green tea is applied for 3 minutes, stimulating the production of collagen and elastin. Following this is a hydrating, nourishing mask applied for 15 minutes. Customized serums are then massaged into the skin according to the client’s needs and the face is hydrated and moisturized. Practitioners have recommended four to six weeks between treatments for best results.


Personally, I’ve been getting this treatment done at Ma Maison for over six months and I couldn’t be more pleased with how great my skin looks and feels. To book an appointment, call 310-385-0643.

by Bylle Breaux