Spotlight on Isun Alive and Ageless Skincare


In my last blog post when I spotlighted LeMieux cosmetics, today I will talk about Isun the second line I carry here at Citrine Spa.  I want to start off by saying that each line I carry is so special to me as they are all hand picked for different reasons and I really wanted to be able to carry a variety of lines that are unique, high end, and offer different types of result driven treatments.  So lets start talking about Isun.  


I first learned about Isun when I started working as an esthetician in Marina Del Rey. My first day on the job Bunnie Gulick, the owner and brains behind Isun, came to the spa for a training.  I was already well-versed in “organic and natural products” but really had no idea how they were made or what went into bottling an organic product.  When I first looked at some of the products Bunnie had brought they read “wildcrafted.” I had no idea at the time as to what that was versus “organic or natural.”  So what is wildcrafted?   According to Isun: “Wildcrafted plants are harvested from their natural habitats where they grow freely and untouched by humankind.  They are ideally supported by compatible plants and eco-systems in soil that is teeming with abundant life and nutrients to enhance their growth.” This typically results in plants free of chemicals that are higher in nutrient values than cultivated organic and commercially farmed plants.  This changed everything.  Now knowing that some “natural and organic” plants could be commercially farmed or have chemicals on them to then later be purchased it really made me start reading labels a bit closer and learning the ways products were manufactured.


After meeting Bunnie and learning about her background and vision for Isun, I fell in love with the line. The integrity behind the products is truly impeccable.  All Isun products are based on plant ingredients: herbs, base oils, and essential oils.  They are all primarily wildcrafted, organic, or natural and contain no harmful chemicals. Some of the ingredients have been sourced from indigenous cultures where they are blessed in a sacred ceremony before arriving.  These indigenous people from around the world still honor the gifts of nature bestowed on them in a sacred way.  Isun uses a cold pressing technique to help maintain peak activity, high nutrient and energy values.  Plant electrons undamaged by heat or chemicals are more in harmony with our skin and bodies. Lastly, all Isun products are packaged in recyclable dark violet glass. The unique glass has been shown to better preserve natural products as well as extend shelf life and prevents penetration of radiation from airport x-ray machines.


In my opinion this line isn’t just a new “clean beauty” trending line of products, it’s a line that has been carefully constructed over the years and is truly mindful about each and every step of the process.  Each step being carefully constructed for us to be able to enjoy the natural healing properties of these plants and making sure where they come from is not harmed in doing so.  If you love clean beauty you will absolutely love this pioneer line that goes above and beyond to protect the earth, the people and the products.  I personally have never found another product line with the integrity this line has. 

Spotlight on Le Mieux Cosmetics

I get asked all of the time, “What products do you use and why?”  So today I am spotlighting Le Mieux Cosmetics.  I came across Le Mieux in Los Angeles after going to a high-end boutique skin care spa for a facial and they happened to sell it.  I was initially sold on the sleek upscale packaging and the fact that it was such an exclusive line (I couldn’t find it anywhere else).  Well fast-forward and that high-end boutique ended up being my place of work for many years so I really got to learn and love the line.  Le Mieux does not sell their products to retail stores and they are not a multi-level marketing company, they only allow licensed skincare professionals to carry there product, and only after you are trained on it.  You not only learn the basics of the skin care line but you learn the ingredients, the way they formulate and why, what works on what skin, what doesn’t work, how to use in the treatment room, and what works best as home care.  With so many product lines out there I think Le Mieux’s pure, effective ingredients and company integrity speaks for itself.  By only allowing licensed professionals to sell their product it keeps them separated from the rest.  People end up seeing the best results because those of us who spend our lives dedicated to skincare are the ones “prescribing” the at home treatment.  It keeps their product line high end, elite and in my opinion the best anti-aging line on the market.  I mean do you want your neighbor selling you a skin care line when they are a real estate agent or do you want a licensed skincare professional selling you a product that they have extensive knowledge and training on?  That’s a no brainer to me.


From Le Mieux:


“Le Mieux Cosmetics is an international company and professional skincare line founded in 2004 by an elite team of scientists, biologists, physicians, and chemists who are committed to creating pivotal breakthroughs in cosmetic technology to formulate the best anti-aging skincare solutions on the skincare market.”


“The company has garnered the reputation of “The Serum Authority” for its diverse selection of scientifically advanced serums with triple-tiered delivery systems, timed-release technology, and concentrated ingredients from premium sources, all custom-engineered to effectively treat a myriad of skincare concerns. Le Mieux is the first company to integrate Epidermal Growth Factor into its products to mimic human growth factors and enhance regeneration of the skin.”

“Le Mieux is passionate about education and provides specialized training that inspires skincare professionals to hone their skills and techniques, broaden the scope of their ingredient knowledge, encourage external and internal wellbeing, and foster best practices for growing a successful skincare business.”



Eyelash Extensions.  All the info you need to be informed.

Eyelash extensions seem to be hotter than ever. Eyelash extensions should be fun, not over priced, and most importantly, not harmful to your natural lashes.  So how does one decipher where to go since the market in inundated with lash bars?  My personal opinion will be laid out below.  I learned the application in 2008 and it wasn’t until 2014 that I felt like I had mastered the technique.  It took a lot of trial and error to be able to: 1) know what your client wants and to provide; 2) know the product inside and out; 3) be able to see the signs of irritation and reactions; 4) be able to tell your client when they need to take a break; and 5) know when to tell your client what they want is too long or too thick.  There are many factors that play into the application of lashes: width, length, and curl.  For classic lashes there are typically three different width sizes, 10 different lengths and multiple curl shapes. So how does your lash stylist pick?  Well after a lot of questions asked to the client I typically listen to what they want and then take that information and look at their natural lashes to see what they can hold.  If a woman with super fine and short lashes tells me she wants a super thick, long lash, I sadly will have to tell her I can’t.  That doesn’t mean I can’t do her lashes. It means her expectations need to be revised.  The most important thing is to keep the integrity of your natural lash intact.  That is where you weed out the bad stylists from the good.  You don’t want to go somewhere where they will put anything on you just to please you.  You want someone that will tell you and educate you on what you can hold.  So for the woman who wants super long and thick lashes I would tell her you can have either length or fullness but not both, so what is more important to you?  And then from there I would try and customize as best as possible but in a way to keep her natural lashes in the best shape. 


The second thing you need to look out for is time and technique.  Typically a full set takes 2 to 2 ½ hours.  Why?  Well we are taking one synthetic lash and applying it to one natural lash one by one so if done correctly that takes time!  Also and probably most importantly, your lash stylist needs to separate and spend time doing so.  In my full sets, an hour in to lashing, I stop, dry, and separate.  That means I make sure that there isn’t a hair attached to an extension that shouldn’t be.  Sometimes if you are working fast, you get two natural lashes stuck to one synthetic. That is not good.  Why? Well when your natural lashes grow if there are two lashes stuck to one synthetic, the one natural lash that shouldn’t be there will get pulled out by the root and that is when you get damage.  So your lash stylist at some time during the appointment should be separating if not at least once, but twice. If someone tells you a full set take an hour I would start asking a ton of questions just to make sure they are doing things properly.  I know 2½ hours seems long, but believe me its worth it in the long run!


Third point: client education.  So I get asked all the time, “Are they going to ruin my natural lashes?” “Are my natural lashes going to fall out?”  Well, first no, they will not ruin your natural lashes if they are applied properly as discussed above. Second, your natural lashes fall out on a daily basis.  Most people don’t realize that.  But just like the hair on your head your lashes do fall out.  Typically you will lose 3 natural lashes per day, 21 in a week, 42 in two weeks, and 63 in three weeks.  That’s a lot!  So no, eyelash extensions do not make your natural lashes fall out; it’s just the opposite. The synthetic lash falls off with your natural lash when that natural lash is ready to fall off.  Crazy, right!  So like I said earlier the only time your natural lashes will get ruined is when you wear lashes that are too long or thick for your natural lash to hold.


Enjoy the lashes; they are fun and supposed to make your life easier and for you to feel pretty all the time.  Do your research, ask questions, listen to your stylist when they tell you how to care for them and when best to come in for a fill.  If you are spending the time and effort in getting them, then care for them properly.  The information I have provided has come from years of experience.  Please keep in mind these are my personal opinions and could differ from others.  Have fun and Happy lashing!

Who is Mary Alice and what is Citrine Skin and Lash Spa?

Who is Mary Alice?  Well besides the owner of Citrine Skin and Lash Spa, I’ve been trying to figure that question out for the last 33 years.  Hi! I am Mary Alice.  I grew up in Winston-Salem, NC.  I was always a creative soul with wanderlust for life.  I was a good kid who made good grades and followed the rules until my high school years.  Those years, although funny now, were difficult.  I wanted to beat to my own drum and live on the edge and not follow the rules anymore. After attending multiple high schools I finally had my high school diploma in hand.  My parents always told me, “that is your ticket out,” so I took that literally.  About 5 months after graduating, I had big dreams to get out of Winston-Salem and out of North Carolina.  But this big question kept popping up, “what are you going to do?”  I had to contribute to society in some way and at that point college just didn’t seem like the right path for me. After some soul searching of my talents and interests one day, it came to me; I am going to be a makeup artist for film and television in Los Angeles, CA!  I was so excited. This was finally it. I was going to move far away and become super successful and never come back...I guess that 19-year-old had a plan, but life tends to have bigger plans for you. 


March of 2004. My dad and I packed my car and drove to Los Angeles.  I had decided to attend Joe Blasco Makeup School.  Once in LA, as I started unpacking my stuff in my new apartment it hit me... I don’t know one person out here.  I hadn’t thought that far. I had only envisioned how far I was from what was familiar but forgot that unfamiliar comes with a lot of unknown.  Good thing school started a couple weeks after moving.  As the days and weeks went on I started to submerge myself into the culture of Los Angeles.  Once done with makeup school I worked freelance as a makeup artist.  I started meeting people who I had never imagined meeting and got introduced to an all-new lifestyle of clean eating, Vedic Meditation, Astrology and yoga.  After about 5 years of giving freelance a try I realized I needed something a bit more steady, so I bartended at an Irish Gastro Pub in Santa Monica at nights and still freelanced when I could. My newfound love for clean living opened up all types of new ideas for me.  Then one day I realized the makeup and skin products I had been putting on people was far from organic and I was horrified.  I had to learn more about skin and this time I didn’t want to mask peoples’ flaws with makeup. I wanted to heal the problem.  I attended Santa Monica College to become an esthetician.  Once done with school I realized that my time at the bar was over; I had to fully immerse myself into what I felt was my passion, skin care.  I wanted to find a spa that resonated with me, with the same beliefs, somewhere that I felt I could grow and become that esthetician I knew I wanted to be.  I took some part time jobs at a couple spas in Santa Monica.  It was good experience but neither felt right.  I had recently moved to Marina Del Rey, CA and one day I passed this cute beach house that read Saving Faces Skin Care and I just knew I needed to go check it out.  I went as a client and got a treatment...I fell in love.  The two owners had over 15 years of not just skin care experience but they were also into holistic health and healing.  I had to work here, and I did.  That was where I really got engrossed into learning more about skin, holistic health and finding myself through my work.  My time there helped completely transform the way I looked at skin health, products, and overall well-being.  I eventually built a solid clientele and was really where I wanted to be in my career.


Fast forward a couple years and I end up running into an old friend who had been a regular at the bar I worked at.  Next thing you know we to go to dinner and that was it. A year and a half later we got married.  Work and home life were finally in harmony!  Then as life would have it things changed. Heart broken, we had to leave LA. We moved to Phoenix and I started working at a place that solely specialized in semi-permanent eyelash extensions.  It was fun and new and I enjoyed being a lash tech but I was still looking for another “Saving Faces.”  That apparently just wasn’t meant to be in AZ for me.  So I continued to work perfecting my lash skills to become a master lash stylist for Lash Out Studios.  Still missing California and not loving the desert, my husband and I knew we needed to move again. We had heard wonderful things about Raleigh so we came to visit and moved there 6 months later.  Here I was 14 years later and I couldn’t believe I was back in NC…the place I had vowed to never go back to!  During the first couple of weeks in Raleigh I found myself daydreaming of California and how our life used to be.  Then one day I woke up and thought instead of daydreaming of what was, why not bring my experience, products and all the things I loved in CA to the Raleigh area?  This was the beginning of Citrine Skin and Lash Spa.  Citrine is my tiny spa with a west coast vibe, holistic soul, results driven treatments, and products unique to the Raleigh area.  I want everyone to experience treatments that are good for the skin and the soul. To help people find their best skin health through healing treatments and product education.  To have Citrine be a place to relax, renew and cultivate lasting relationships.