Why Going for Just the Acne Products Blows

We see it all the time, clients coming in certain that the only product for them is acne specific product lines. There are so many acne or break out treating products, millions are spent yearly on over the counter and prescription acne treating products, that’s not including specific in spa or clinic treatments. When after a treatment a client with break out activity is *only* recommended the line’s acne products it can read as lazy, except in severe cases.

The fact of the matter is most acne we see in the spa shows triggers that are different from sticky skin cells, things like severe dehydration, rosacea, a detrimental product or stress. You also don’t want to see a client using strictly acne treated products for life, if a client is seeing zero improvement with regular treatments and as home product use, then that is when a dermatologist is more appropriate. There are a lot of clients who exacerbate their acne symptoms by not realising they’ve grown out of their crazy hormone teenage skin, and are now further dehydrating their skin and inviting a different type of break out that’s just as annoying.

When planning recommendations for a client who’s dealing with break out activity you want to consider which steps you think they’ll do most consistently, their skin type and their skin conditions. You can always “treat” conditions, but you need to work with their skin type. If you only layer mattifying, low oil or oil free, exfoliating products on a dry thin acneic skin you’re not going to see the same results as mixing in a soothing moisturiser, or nourishing mask. Mixing in products that concentrate on issues like dehydration, hyper pigmentation or reddness are a great way to show your client there’s a world of products for them that aren’t full of salicylic acid, sulphur and tea tree oil, but still help shut down cycles in their skin that could be making their acne feel or act worse than it has to.


Some acne treating, and not so acne treating products, I’ve grown to adore over the years are the following:

Eminence’s Stimulating Masks



Why are these jars of self proclaimed organic face fire so amazing? Circulation! I’ve had both Eminence’s Hungarian Herbal Mud and Lime Stimulating Mask kill terrifying large bumps under the skin and speed up the healing of zits by 2 days! Both have different active ingredients to make the spice happen, so once you grow used to one, you can switch to the other to keep your skin in shape. The flushing exercise also helps strengthen capillary walls, making it more difficult for your skin to turn red.


Earth’s Care Acne Spot Treatment


It stinks like farts, but if you’re not allergic to sulphur it really sucks the density out of a zit, while the colloidal oatmeal will calm redness and irritation. Both active ingredients boost healing powers and can help with eczema or psoriasis.


Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum




For the price this is one of the most satisfying serums. It speeds up healing, strengthens the skin and really boosts the skin’s texture. I wouldn’t use it daily, as it can be a touch dehydrating, but with sunscreen it can slow down post zit hyper pigmentation beautifully. I can’t pretend it’s the most stable Vitamin C to ever exist, but I see results till the very end of the bottle and that’s not something to sneeze at for it’s pricepoint.


Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser



Dermalogica isn’t consistently my favourite line, for cleansers especially, but the Ultra Calming Cleanser is amazing. It does a decent job removing makeup given it’s low oil content, it’s a great gel formula is lovely and it smells a bit like crackers! It’s a safe recommendation for all skin types and is never over stripping or leaves a film. I would even recommend to shave with!



So next time you find yourself deciding you only need acne treating products, keep in mind strengthening your skin and supporting it’s systems is also important to get you through a tedious phase.




Beard Care: Comb or Brush?


At Saul’s Beauty Shop we get asked about beard care tools quite a bit, the most popular being brush or comb? In our Signature Beard Conditioning Service we use a combination of the two, each will, in the end, de-tangle hairs and distribute product, but there is a difference in finish.


Combs are great for a beard you don’t feel you’re fighting too much in terms of shape and curliness. You can also wash them easily (with dish soap and brush gets the job done!) and are great if you want a perfect part in your ‘stache. A big benefit is that they’re generally safe to use with wet hair, so if you apply your beard oil in a towel dried beard, you can comfortably continue to distribute the product throughout your beard while combing out tangles. The larger the space between the teeth of the comb the more easily it’ll pick through stubborn hair without cause stress points within the shaft.




Brushes have a time and a place, most importantly on not wet beards. Hair retains moisture, and can become more bendy and easier to break with a brush. We prefer seeing all boars hair brushes on dry hair. Brushes are, in my experience, better at distributing naturally occurring oils down the shaft of the hair. I’ve also seen naturally occurring hard bends/curls get softened, the hairs feel and appear more pillowy / less wiry and beards show a nice, not too much, natural sheen or shine while sitting. Within our beard conditioning treatment we’ll use a brush to also dislodge dead skin buildup at the base of the hair, and to break up teeth marks from combing post product.

The most annoying aspect of brushes in beards is a) they can get dirty very quickly b) how rarely a beard brush is *really* 100% boars hair. Look very critically at your brush, you want to make sure you’re not seeing a blend of nylon, plastic, bits to support the boars hair while paying the big bucks. Getting a custom branded brush isn’t difficult, but they are usually a mass produced product from non – North American countries that you find a the source for on sites like AliBaba . This is why you can get see some amazing quality drops in custom made beard products.


So the short answer is we like a combo of both tools, but for different times and finishes. The long answer is it depends how long your beard is, how high maintenance you are and what finish you’re looking for. If you just want to get knots out, for a large tooth both, if you want a softened pillow beard, you want a brush.




Winter Time On Your Skin

Can you feel it? Of course you can! This weather is blustery, cold and harsh for your skin. Now is when we expect walk in customers for their poor frazzled skin, and new clients booking themselves Custom Skincare Treatments! Somethings you can do in the mean time to help deal with angry skin are:
1) Mask Up – masks are great supplementary sources of nourishment for skin, like taking extra vitamins when you’re feeling under the weather. It can be hard to find time to add masks to your life, check out our Masking Blog for suggestions. Even using honey as a mask can help boost your skins well being!
2) Add A Serum – a lot of customers tell us their moisturiser isn’t enough, sometimes the game changer is adding a humectant filled serum. While moisturisers tend to have more yummy fats and protective ingredients, serums are meant be super absorbed by your skin, delivering active ingredients deeper into your epidermis. Serum is also one of the fastest ways to deal with dehydration, which we all know is a real bugger to deal with.
3) Add A Face Oil – if you’re still trying to finish off your warm weather / lighter moisturiser, then adding a face oil can help bulk up your product giving your skin a richer experience
4) Don’t Skip All Exfoliating (in some cases) – it’s easy to feel less oily and smoggy in the cold weather, leading to less exfoliating for the cold months. Build up of dead skin cells can interrupt the absorption of your wonderful products and lead to excessive congestion. Please keep in mind it’s important you’re not exfoliating chapped vulnerable skin, or using an too aggressive product to remove dead skin cells.
5) Change Up Your Cleanser – while you might love your gel cleanser in the summer, switching to a creamy or milky gel cleanser in the winter will make sure you’re not removing naturally occurring oils when you need it most. This is also a great season to add an oil cleanser step for removing makeup. We cannot stress enough how detrimental aggressive make up removing wipes can be in this weather.
6) Don’t Have the Hottest Showers Ever – Even just switching to the hottest bath ever will be better for the skin on your face, that being said, we don’t expect anyone to give up a life luxury just for their skin. We have to list this as professionals though
7) Don’t Skip Sunscreen – you are still being exposed to UV rays, sometimes twice over from reflecting off snow. You want to be keeping your skin as strong as possible, unnecessary exposure to UV rays will have to opposite effect. This also means that a Vitamin D oral supplement is a strongly preferred source than a tanning bed.
A facial can be a huge difference in times like these, especially before replacing a product like serum or moisturiser. If in a bind and you do find yourself with sore chapped skin, products like zinc based diaper rash cream or a honey mask can be a great healer!




Starting working in spas at a young age helped make it clear just how much body shame, leading to even body guilt, exists. I think everyone expects a bit of, “my third poutine this week is.. not something to be proud of” but I’ve had amazingly successful and impressive clients apologize for growing body hair, breaking out, wearing makeup or not having their nails done. While estheticians tend to get into the trade because they enjoy grooming rituals, the idea of a client feeling ashamed of their body is opposite of the goal. We also are usually running around with hairy body parts, hidden zits and potentially excessively picked at skin.


Saul’s was created to help break down some of the forced spa image and offer a more chill vibe, or to steal from my Dirt Road Studios, in the case of some services, “a comfortable place to be uncomfortable”. So this week we started a new campaign with the hashtag #noapologiesSpa , because you don’t have to look perfect, be hairless or even really give a fuck about that stuff to be welcome here. If you just want happy skin and a shoulder massage, you can outsource your skincare concerns and problem solving to us. If you don’t care about hairy legs, but prefer a smooth bikini line you’re a) not the first b) doing you. It’s not our job to judge whether you look good enough to our or society’s standards, it’s our job to help you feel better about yourself and outline a nice, healthy, path to get you any skincare goals you might want to achieve.


Nobody wants to be naked in an environment where they feel judged or small, and from an estheticians’ perspective, nobody really wants to work in that environment either.

The Start


Opening a new business by 25 years old was not a goal I spent my life working towards, or for the longest time I thought I particularly wanted. I think most young adults would look at that amount of responsibility and shudder at the thought. I figured I’d be one of those stress free adults, just working, saving and travelling. I can even remember a client at my first spa job who described her lifestyle that way, working her ass off for 6-8 months, saving up a storm and then taking off for months at a time on an adventure.

I started working towards my career at a very young age, completing my Nail Tech Certificate at George Brown doing night school courses while I was in high school. I decided to skip the whole unnecessary (for me) sociology degree and go straight into a full Esthetics and Make Up certificate from George Brown so I could get to the life I thought I wanted fastest. Once I started working it took a few years to hit my first real grind of a job. I had been given space, independence and respect to de-green as an esthetician and find my own style in smaller independent spas, but I wanted to grow and have more estheticians around to learn from. My jobs after were far larger teams and a very different pace, they also really played up being part of the team, which includes not taking sick days, stronger sales and rushing through treatments. You would cover for coworkers constantly as an ongoing “Us vs. Them” (them being the bosses) work style, because so many times you or a coworker would be put in a terrible position of a poorly booked service, and you knew how draining that is for the esthetician too. I started seeing my trade getting turned into factory work with little regard for the bodies of the esthetician, and even smaller concern for the respect of the relationship between an esthetician and their client.

After a rather difficult burn out gig (“your end of the day is when there are no more bookings!”) I took off travelling for a few months and upon returning realised there’s a better way to work towards my (more grown up adjusted) life goals, and it meant taking an actual risk. I had worked with so many amazing, kind and hardworking estheticians, and I thought there was a real market for a place that was a less bullshitty, sales heavy and uncomfortable to spa it up. After saving up, writing a business plan, finding an amazing space and an insane amount of support from my parents Saul’s Beauty Shop was born. BlogTO had dubbed it “Where to get spa treatments in Toronto if you hate spas” , I thought it more as a spa estheticians could actually like.