When I first moved to Chico, almost 15 years ago, my fiance, Scott, was the only person I knew in town. Making authentic connections, with women, became essential for me in a new place. Feeling a bit overwhelmed with a new life, new marriage, new career, new step-family and a house under construction, I decided it was time for some self-care. I booked my bedraggled self one hour at Refresh Skin Spa with Jamie, the warm, miracle-worker esthetician. We were both relatively new to town and our connection was immediate. We shared many soulful conversations in her peaceful, zen-like studio over the years. As happens all too often, with the business of life, a couple of moves, misplaced phone numbers, we lost touch. I thought Jamie had moved out of the area, but, thanks to Facebook, we recently reconnected. As usual, her first words after several years were, “Hello Beautiful”. Jamie just has a way of making you feel your absolute best–it’s her gift. I recently interviewed Jamie on some of her favorite self-care tips.
Self-care tips from Refresh Skin Spa
What motivated you to start your own spa business?
When we moved to Chico, 16 years ago, there weren’t as many spas as there are now. I worked in an absolutely lovely spa in Fair Oaks (St. James Studio) with some equally lovely ladies, so I had some experience in a spa atmosphere. I tried to find work in Chico, but I found the job environment here a little difficult. So, in true “Little Red Hen” style, I did it myself! It was difficult, at first, trying to build a clientele in a town where I didn’t know a single person (plus, my “advertising budget” was non-existent). But I believed if I worked hard and provided a great service, my new-found clients would send me their friends.
What has been the greatest joy and what has been the biggest challenge?
I think I am most proud of truly building my business from scratch. No advertising, just word of mouth. I am also very proud of my little family and their patience, and the time and energy they have put into the business (they don’t seem to mind when I practice new techniques on them, either)! I think my biggest challenge (or lesson, maybe) was expanding and hiring other spa professionals. I did not care for being a “Big Spa” in Chico. I learned quickly that managing different personalities was very difficult for me. I am glad I tried, but I am even more glad that Refresh is just me. Bigger is not necessarily better!
What kind of treatments do you perform in your spa?
I offer results-oriented European facials (in my world, a results-oriented facial is usually very clinical, without a lot of niceties, and European facials are all “fluff”). I believe in a facial being a treatment and a treat at the same time. Balance, baby! I also offer facial hair removal with wax. I enjoy creating a beautiful, perfectly shaped brow and helping clients grow back an over-tweezed brow (we’ve all done it…). A client favorite is the microdermabrasion/microcurrent facial that exfoliates with a diamond-tipped wand and restores the more youthful contours of the face.
What are your current ‘must have’ products for creating a healthy glow?
My personal skin care routine changes with the seasons. Currently, I cleanse with a creamy, non-foaming cleanser and my Clarisonic cleansing brush (more on that…..), a gentle exfoliating powder, spritz with a hydrating toner, and layer a brightening serum, moisturizer, eye serum, and SPF 50, daily. At night, I apply a lightweight facial oil that stimulates cellular repair and a maximum-intensity regenerating cream after my cleansing routine. I also use a super-hydrating multivitamin masque at least once a week.
What is your personal skin care routine?
My hands-down-must-have product is a Clarisonic cleansing brush. Everyone should have one! My husband has one and so do my kids! They really help my already fantastic cleanser do an even better job! I also LOVE my rice bran enzyme exfoliating powder that I use daily. My secret weapon: My Dermalogica primer with sun protection, mineral tint, antioxidants and a pearl powder that gives my skin a little glow :). I cannot keep it on the shelves! Dermalogica and Clarisonic Mia 1 Skin Cleansing System, White.
Jamie, the treatment you performed for me was luxurious, nourishing and my skin felt amazing afterward. Tell me about the treatment I received.
You received a 90-minute Radiance facial. Each facial I offer is unique to you and your skin’s needs. Your skin (at the time) was a little dehydrated and needed a little “pick-me-up”. I used a rich cleansing oil and my favorite creamy, non-foaming cleanser to cleanse your skin, applied my favorite exfoliating Lactic acid and enzyme “cocktail”. You didn’t have much congestion (clogged pores), so I did not need to perform many extractions. I was able to really focus on your scalp, facial, neck, shoulders, and foot-reflexology massage. I used a mixture of a vitamin-rich, soothing and hydrating masque to leave your skin fresh and radiant. :)
Your secret to beautiful, ageless skin?
Love, laughter, family, not taking yourself too seriously! Stop and smell the flowers!
There is also sunscreen, it is one of the best things you can do to protect your skin. The formulations that are available now are so much better than when we were kids. Not heavy or chalky, just lovely skin loving ingredients. You just need to find the right formulation that works best on your skin (that is where your aesthetician comes in).
You are passionate about local charities for a deeply personal reason can you tell us more?
My favorite local charity is Wings of Eagles, the Joseph Alvarez Foundation for Seriously Ill Children (that is the full name). I never knew this foundation existed until my daughter, Lillian, was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. Georgia, the founder and Joseph’s mother, and Terri Thunborg (she is Georgia’s right-hand) just took us under their “wings” and helped with non-medical expenses for the 2 years Lillian was in treatment. An absolutely amazing group of people that were and still are incredibly generous to Butte and Tehama county families in need.
At Christmas, I offer 20% off my 90-minute Radiance facial to clients that donate a new, unwrapped toy. I then split the goodies between Wings of Eagles and UC Davis Children’s Hospital (Santa is a HUGE deal in the hospital! Did you know he arrives in a helicopter?) as a donation from my clients. I cannot get over their generosity! It was a “Loaves and Fishes” moment, as we loaded our car to deliver to Sacramento, and Terri’s car for the annual “Wings” Christmas party. Amazing!
“An unforgettable experience designed to cater to your inner and outer wellness. Relax your body, revitalize your mind and renew your spirit. Refresh…a restorative experience unlike any other!” – Jamie
I am inspired by Jamie, and her story of a becoming a self-made business woman, on a mission to care for and nurture others. I’m happy to report that Lillian, her delightful daughter, diagnosed with leukemia 6 years ago, is happy and healthy now. These two are a dynamic duo and their enjoyment of each other is a joy to watch. As I was working on this post I spotted my thank you note to Jamie on the Refresh Facebook page. The sentiment says it all….Thank you my friend! xx
Scott and I will be flying to sunny San Diego for a professional conference this week. I’ll be back next week with a few thoughts and inspirations to share from our extremely successful #STYLEfocus Lifestyle LinkUp. Huge thanks for joining us-linking up, #stylefocus on Instagram, viewing the collection, and all the wonderful comments. Jennifer and I are excited about the positive response and the level of creativity in your lifestyle posts. Here’s to our fabulous Lifestyle Blogger Collection….
and here’s to next time!
My luxurious spa treatment was a surprise gift from Refresh Skin Spa.
All opinions expressed are my own, as always.