CREATED IN PARTENRSHIP WITH SECRET SPA
Q. My new, fresh manicure has chipped. What’s the easiest way to seal it and prevent further peeling?
A. When nail polish flakes off from damage or wear and tear, file nails down to the level of the chip. Apply another layer of topcoat all over, and around the tip of the nail as this will seal the edges and prevent further chips. It also creates a smooth canvas if you choose to paint the chip with polish in a similar shade.
Q. What about gel nails, if they chip, is the process the same?
A. As a rule, when your gel nails start to peel, it’s likely to be because their time is up, and you need to get them removed professionally to avoid damaging the nail bed. However tempting, avoid picking the polish off yourself and call a professional. If they’ve started to grow out or are just peeling in a tiny corner, try dabbing some glitter polish at the base of each nail and blend upwards. This is an easy way to disguise any damage.
Q. Should I be taking care of my nails post gel manicure?
A. Yes! Apply cuticle oil to your nail beds every day (or as often as you can) and don’t file them unless necessary. Try to always wear gloves when cleaning, this will protect the nails from any harsh chemicals that can fade colour. Same goes for gardening, or any hobbies that are rough on your hands – just put a glove on it! As for holidays, the combination of chlorine and the sun can dull gel polish, so always make sure you wash hands after swimming and dry them fully before sitting on your sun-lounger.
Q. When does normal polish typically dry after a manicure?
A. It can take up to 12 hours to fully dry and ‘cure.’ So, in this time, don’t expose nails to heat or hot water and avoid hand sanitiser as it will completely dry nails out. Instead, dip them into cold water as this will help polish to harden faster. Try reapplying a layer of clear polish every few days to keep talons shiny.
Q. Should I be taking care of my nails pre-manicure?
A. It’s a good idea to keep them hydrated before, between and after manicures. We recommend having three sets of cuticle oil and hand cream: one by your bed, one by your desk and one in your handbag – it sounds excessive but that way you’ll never forget to apply.
Q. My nails are so brittle after my gels. What’s the best way to restore them back to health?
A. Always take a two week break after two back-to-back gel manicures to ensure your nails have had time to recover. Avoid any polish in this time period and apply moisturiser and cuticle oil regularly. If your nails are really weak, ask for IBX Strengthening Repair when you have your next treatment. It goes on as a base layer underneath your gels but strengthens and protects the top of your nails at the same time. It’s genius!
Q. Does freshly washed hair have a bearing on the results of a blow-dry?
A. It does indeed. We always recommend washing your hair right before a blow-dry. Any remaining product or naturally-occurring oils in the hair can affect the hold of a blow-dry, causing it to drop out too soon or not to be styled properly at all!
Q. How can I maintain the weight and volume in my hair after my blow-dry?
A. If you want your blow-dry to last, always let your stylist know, that way they can use enough product to prevent it from dropping. Invest in some dry shampoo too, a good blast throughout roots will keep your blow-out going for days.
Q. Is it true sleeping on a silk pillowcase helps prevent frizz, but also extends the life of a blow-dry?
A. For your hair (and skin) it really does pay to sleep on a silk pillowcase. The smooth surface helps to reduce friction on your strands, which often causes frizz and splits ends in the long-run. If you’ve not tried one, it might be time to invest.
Q. Do I really need to exfoliate before a spray tan?
A. A lot of people skip this step, but you really shouldn’t. Exfoliating removes layers of dead, dry skin and uneven bumps, it also rids any leftovers from your existing creams or body lotions, meaning your tan will have an even base.
Q. Can I use deodorant or shower gel on the day of my tan?
A. You can still use both, as well as perfume, just make sure they’re all washed off the skin on the day of your tan to prevent them from tainting your colour.
Q. How late can I leave exfoliating pre-tan?
A. Try and exfoliate 24 hours beforehand with a non-oil scrub paying special attention to extra dry areas, such as elbows, knees, heels and hands. You can then moisturise thoroughly for perfect skin prep – just make sure this is washed off and removed the day the tan takes place.
Q. What about shaving, can I do that before getting sprayed?
A. Similarly to exfoliation, try and do it at least 24 hours beforehand. This will just make sure your hair follicles are closed before your treatment, otherwise they remain open and tan can seep in making the colour appear uneven.
Q. How can I make sure my tan doesn’t fade too quick?
A. It sounds obvious, but make sure your spray tan is 100% dry before you get dressed or sweat. Not allowing it enough time to dry can result in streaks, smudges and it being wiped off before you have even managed to show off your golden glow. Similarly, though, don’t be tempted to wash it off prematurely. Most solutions take 8 hours to develop, so we always recommend booking an evening appointment and then sleeping in it. In a rush? Ask specifically for Fake Bake, Sienna X or Vita Liberata as they all have express formulas that develop in 1-3 hours.
Q. Can I still use moisturiser after my tan?
A. Absolutely! Your tan will fade so much faster if your skin is dehydrated so make sure you keep up the body cream – just make sure it’s oil-free and wait until your tan is fully developed and washed off before you start slathering lots on.
Q. How long will my tan last for?
A. It should last up to 7 days, especially if you follow the tips above, but this is dependent on how often you shower, swim and look after your skin. Another good trick to remember for lasting results is to dab your skin dry after a shower instead of using a towel heavily. The latter will just rub off the top layers of your skin.
Q. Can I still shave after having the tan applied, or will this take it off?
A. Advice varies on this, but we recommend avoiding shaving or waxing for the entire duration of your spray tan to prevent it being stripped off. If you really must, just use a razor gently in light strokes.
Q. Is perfume allowed with freshly tanned skin?
A. You can use it, but with caution. The alcohol in the perfume will break down colour, so try spritzing lightly into your hair or onto clothing instead of directly onto your skin.
Q. I’ve just had a manicure, will they now be ruined during my tan?
A. No, we recommend having your nails done first as any products used during your manicure (acetone, cuticle remover, hand cream) can affect the development of spray tans. Just be sure to wash your hands and any leftover cuticle oil off first.
Q. I’m going on holiday – will my SPF take off my spray tan?
A. Not if you use an oil-free sun cream, we love and recommend trying Hawaiian Tropic’s Ultra Radiance Cream. Oil-based SPF will just break down colour so always check the label.
Q. How can I make my leg wax last between appointments?
A. The only way to get the most out of your waxing and see consistently smooth results is to think long-term. You must commit by planning regular waxing sessions and then you’ll soon watch the hair become sparser, with regrowth decreasing over time. Also make sure you’re not shaving in-between appointments, it may be tempting, but hair will grow back thicker and your progress will be ruined.
Q. What’s the one thing you wish everyone did or knew pre-wax?
A. Make sure there’s enough hair to wax! It sounds obvious, but you need to have at least quarter of an inch of hair, which for most women is 2/3 weeks growth time. Another tip is to exfoliate before your appointment (on the day if possible) as this will loosen up dead skin cells and lift any trapped hairs, so you’ll get an even, smooth result.
Q. I have sensitive skin, will the wax be safe to use?
A. Our therapists at Secret Spa use premium wax from brands such as Sienna X and Lycon, and often carry more than one type so they can use the most suitable for you. Just let us know and we will look after your needs.
Q. Does the pain get easier the more you wax? Or is that a myth?
A. This really does vary from person-to-person, but it is true that the more you wax, the thinner your hair becomes, making it much easier to pull.
Q. Does where you are in your cycle have a bearing on the pain during your wax?
A. It is true that around the time of your period, the body is more sensitive to pain. You’re at a higher tolerance around 3-4 days after your period has finished, so try and plan your wax around this time.
Q. I have a really low pain threshold. What’s the best way to minimise any pain from the wax?
A. All pain should subside very quickly after wax is removed, but if it doesn’t, invest in some Aloe Vera gel. Its natural soothing properties ease the skin like nothing else, taking away any redness and calming the whole area.
Q. How best can I look after my eyelash extensions post-treatment?
A. Avoid water for 24 hours after getting them applied, including any steam rooms or saunas. You must also avoid oil-based eye make-up remover or waterproof mascara as these can dissolve the adhesive used to glue the extensions to your lashes. Also, try not to touch them too often as the oils from your fingers can do the same damage.
Q. How long will my eyelash extensions last?
A. Lashes are on an 8-week cycle where they fall out and grow back again. When a natural lash sheds, the false lash attached to it will also fall out. All your lashes are at a different stage during the cycle though, so you can expect shedding at any time. If you’re noticing a real difference when a couple fall out, you can get individual infills to replace them. This is cheaper than reapplying a full set and means your lash line looks consistent.
Q. Can I wear mascara after having my extensions applied?
A. It’s better to steer clear of mascara completely with lash extensions as it’ll cause them to fall out prematurely. If you’re a mascara-lover, it’s best to opt for LVL instead where it can be worn 24-48 hours after.
Q. What is LVL treatment?
A. LVL stands for length, volume, lift, and the idea is simple: A therapist uses a setting serum to straighten your natural lashes at the root (making them look curled up), and then your lashes are tinted, creating the appearance of mascara. Think of it as a perm for lashes.
Q. Is LVL treatment painful?
A. Not at all. The upper eyelashes are carefully curled up, separated and held in place by a silicone curling shield which is stuck to your eyelid. You won’t feel any pain or discomfort throughout this process, nor in the lifting, tinting and moisturising of the lashes that follows.
Q. How long does the whole treatment take for LVL?
A. The entire process takes an hour, throughout which you’ll be lying on the treatment bed with your eyes closed. Try and relax and think of it as a time to unwind and relax. You may even fall asleep!
Q. Can you get lashes wet after LVL?
A. You should avoid getting lashes wet for 24 hours after the treatments. As well, avoid steaming your face or using saunas or hot water for a couple of days after LVL, it just helps them to settle fully.
Q. Is LVL damaging to lashes at all?
A. No, all lash technicians are trained to the highest standard and the LVL products by Nouveau Lashes go through rigorous testing to ensure that they’re kind to your lashes.
Q. Should you avoid eating before you have a massage?
A. We would advise you didn’t eat for an hour before your massage. Firstly, it’s uncomfortable for you to lie on a full stomach, and secondly it is recommended that your body isn’t digesting anything in order to reap the full benefits from the massage.
Q. Will I get more from my massage if I don’t wear a bra or underwear?
A. It’s important that you undress to a level you’re comfortable with, otherwise you won’t feel fully relaxed which defeats the whole object of the treatment. That said, underwear can get in the way of certain long strokes and restrict access to pressure points. Your masseuse will only uncover the parts of the body that they’re massaging and will protect your modesty when turning over, try not to worry.
Q. I always seem to get headaches after my massage, is this normal?
A. This is completely normal and shows we’ve done our jobs! When your muscles are worked out during a massage, they can become dehydrated and metabolic waste is also released. These factors contribute to headaches, but you can combat it easily by drinking lots of water to rehydrate and flush out all the toxins.
Q. Is there a way of extending the benefits of my massage?
A. After a massage avoid any caffeine as it can make the muscles tense back up. Try to think about your posture too and make sure your sitting position isn’t slouched so you don’t undo the good work. You can also try a warm bath and a few stretches to reap some of the massage benefits at home as both options increase circulation and flexibility.
Q. What are the main ways to get the most out of your massage and properly zone out? Especially when it’s at home?
A. If you’re able, try having a warm bath beforehand with some essential oils as this can help relax your mind and body. Being in a calm, dark and relaxing room with no noise and soft, subtle music will also help. It goes without saying but make sure your phone isn’t nearby and that you won’t be disturbed by anyone else in your house.
Q. Can I shower after a massage or will this reverse the results?
A. Showers are known to be invigorating and stimulate the muscles, so if you wish to remain calm and relaxed, try and avoid the shower until the next day. It’s also better to let the oils have time to sink into the skin properly.
Q. Is one massage enough? Or do you need to keep up regular appointments to maintain the benefits?
A. This is dependant on whether you’re booking a massage to relax or to tackle a certain issue, such as muscle damage from sports. Either way, your therapist will be able to advise you on how often you should be booking in.
Q. Is there a big difference between a massage for relaxation and one for sports?
A. Definitely! A relaxation massage is to help you unwind and it generally involves Swedish massage techniques which are a bit gentler. A sports massage however is usually booked to tackle a specific injury and involves deep tissue techniques. The latter can be quite firm and not always for the faint hearted.
Q. Is there such thing as too much pressure during a massage? Or should I just take as much as I can stand?
A. Everyone has different tolerance levels but it is vital you speak up and let your therapist know if the pressure is too much. If it is hurting, your muscles will be tensing up as a reaction instead of relaxing, so it won’t have the desired effect.
Q. I really want a massage in peace and quiet, but my therapist is quite chatty. How can I let them know politely?
A. With total frankness. Just let them know that you are hoping to really switch off and ask if they would mind talking to be kept at a minimum. Don’t worry, this is more common for therapists than you think. They’ll ask about the pressure a couple of times and then leave you to drift off.
Q. I love a good facial but they always make me break out. Why does this happen?
A. A facial opens all your pores and gives skin a deep clean, so some people do find that they break out afterwards. It’s due to the dirt being removed and the skin being completely cleansed, but usually any spots clear up within a few days, just let the skin settle.
Q. Should I be getting a facial regularly?
A. In our opinion, regular facials should be thought of as an essential part of your ongoing skincare regime. If you have the time and can, we advise booking one in every four weeks as this is when the skin naturally renews.
Q. I want to keep up the glowing, radiant results from my facial. Are there any tricks for keeping it fresh a few days after my treatment?
A. It sounds simple, but avoid late nights and drinking too much alcohol, the latter just causes puffiness and dehydration. Another trick is to give yourself mini facials with either a jade roller or simply using your fingers to apply pressure. This will help you maintain the benefits, boost circulation and flush away toxins, even if it’s only five minutes at a time.
Secret Spa are offering SL readers £10 off their first treatment. First-time booker? Simply enter the code SHEERLUXE at checkout to claim your discount. Enjoy!
The Extra Info…
Once you’ve booked in, all you need to do is sit back and relax until your therapist arrives – in some cases, they may need access to running water or an electricity socket, but Secret Spa will let you know beforehand if that’s the case.
Their beauty therapists currently serve all areas in London and are sometimes able to accommodate requests in the Home Counties too – for weddings or other bespoke events, they’ll travel even further afield too.