Where: Malta Work: L-Imsida Apartment: San Gwann Duration: 4 weeks, 12th March to 9th April Profession: Beautician Erasmus funding: approx 1100euros, later upped with extra 100euros Housing: 600 euros Flights: 210 euros
Week three was my first full week of work from Tuesday to Saturday. I worked seven to eight hours a day as usual, and it went by surprisingly fast.
Tuesday 26th March
Tuesday was a fairly quiet day for me, as I didn’t have any of my own clients. But I did get a set of OPI polishes, which I practiced with. I also priced some products (Dermalogica and GUAM). Scariest part of the day was the BOMB outside the salon! Well not right outside, but on the opposite street was a bomb doubt. The police has evacuated and clsoed down the street. It turned out to be a real bomb, but glady they found it. Apparently here it is not a big deal, but for a while I was super scared.
Wednesday 27th March
I did a mini manicure for Graziella, waxed Jess’s arms, and did a hand massage for a client. Most of my treatments have been little extras like this to Graziellas clients. But I really don’t mind, I actually like it. It was a really busy day for Graziella, so I ended up handling a lot of appointments, cancellations etc. At the end of the day she thanked me for my hard work!
Thursday 28th March
On Thursday I got to do a deluxe pedi (scrub and massage included) for the loveliest british lady. I also did a little hand treatment for Graziellas client (including hot towels, a massage and cuticle treatment). After that I got to watch and help with the paraffin treatments for the clients hands. We also updated Beauty Rituals facebook page a little.
Friday 29th March
Friday went a little differently from what we had planned, since we had a SIX HOUR cancellation. One client had booked a time for mani, pedi, body massage and a facial. And didn’t come. But because of all the extra time, I did a pedicure for Graziella, and she did a reflexology session for me (more about this on another post)
Saturday 30th March
Saturday was a short day and I wasn’t feelin well, so I mostly spent time checking the appointments, and making facebook posts. I did do a half leg wax for a nice french girl who we managed to get in even thought she didn’t have an appointment.
Alternative health care: Beginners guide to reflexology
When I first came to Malta, I had done research on Beauty Rituals and the treatments offered. One of them was reflexology. I did not know what it was. Some kind of massage maybe? Boy was I wrong.
”Reflexology, also known as zone therapy, is an alternative medicine involving application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques without the use of oil or lotion”
It is believed that the whole body is reflected on ones feet through spesific zones. At first it might seem a bit complicated. But you basically just look at the feet, as if they were ones whole body. Head being in the big toes, spine in the middle, and hands on the outer edges etc.
Reflexology is a treatment where through a system of zones and pressure areas, you treat a clients whole body – physical and mental – by their feet. (Can also be performed through hand and ears, but feet are most commonly used). It is concidered pseudo-medicine, as in it has no scientific proof that it helps any medical condition. However here in Malta it is very popular, and even practiced by licensed doctors in the hospital.
With just one treatment the effects are mostly relaxation. But with several treatments, and a spesific area to be treated, you can focus on a spesific problem for example digestion issues or neck pain.
Graziella did a basic reflexology session for me on Friday 29th of March. It lasted for one hour and included cleaning the feet with warm towels, gentle opening massage with joint movements and feeling the pressure points, and the treatment itself.
For me it was ofcourse a learning experience as well, so we talked during the treatment, and Graziella explained what areas she was working on at the time. It was crazy by how just the reflective points on the feet she could feel the problem going on in my body (which by the way she did not know about beforehand).
For example I’ve had respiratory issues for awhile and even got tested for asthma. I’ve had lower back pains for the most part of my life, and recently also very bad neck pain caused by stress, moving and a lot of other things. My knees are still quite weak, affected by a job I had years ago.
All these things she could feel in the reflective points through my feet. Usually the area feels more sensitive to touch, and a bit stiff. In the worst places (my knees and neck), there was even a crackling sound during the reflexology movements. (From my feet, the zones reflecting my knees and neck).
So pseudo or not, I felt it and I believed it. And I also believe it can have long term health benefits, when treated regularly by an educated reflexologist. When I go back to Finland I might have to find a practicioner and try it again.
Beauty Salons around the world. What are they like? Are they all the same? Here are some insights and observations I’ve made in the past few weeks.
Granted, I have only been to one beauty salon here in Malta, so these opinions are based solely on my work place Beauty Rituals, and the things I’ve noticed and learned there. (And also on some common sense)
A Beauty Salon in Malta
Closed Sunday and Monday
Not a lot of technology (a small UV sterilization, ultrasound device, one device for face/body treatments, a steamer)
No Body Sugaring, waxing with pink wax
A Beauty Salon in Finland
Often closed during the weekend, or only closed for one day
Often a lot of technology (drills, devices for facials, teeth whitening, steamers etc.)
Body Sugaring or waxing (honeywax)
Often the environment in Beauty Salons in Finland is very professional. Which is obviously a good thing, but it is important to still create a welcoming and homey atmosphere for the clients. Here in Beauty Rituals clients are always made feel like at home and as comfortable as possible.
A lot of Graziellas clients have been here clients for years, which of course changes the situation a bit. But an old client or a new one, nonetheless making them feel welcome is important. And if the setting is too professional, the atmosphere can become a bit rigid.
Aseptics are highly valued in Finland, and there are a lot of rules. Obviously this varies from salon to salon, and everyone has their own habits of cleaning and disinfecting. But more often than not there are certain professional products and devices being used. Here in Malta it is not as precise. I am not saying the hygiene here is poor, quite the contrary. But the products used are regular retail products, and most things are washed by hand.
Keep in mind
All of the things I have mentioned also vary based on the location, the owner, the size of the salon and various other factors. But obviously the culture and the people (client base) have a massive impact on the end result: a beauty salon up and running and making profit.
Wednesday 20th of March Once a month Graziella rents a laser machine (and products), and does a whole day of only laser clients.
I have seen laser before, but this was a bit different. The hair needed to be shaved before the treatment, and molds and other abnormalities in the skin colour (i.e varicose vains, redness) had to be covered with white.
During the day Graziella did laser treatments for basically the whole body and for both men and women. The most commonly treated areas were upper lip and underarms. The treatment was also done to arms, legs, back, chest, face and bikiniline.
I got to assist in the treatments by covering the skin, cleaning the skin and applying the after laser cream.
On the second day of work I got to do a lot more, and met Graziellas coworker Jess. She works part time at Beauty Rituals, couple nights a week. I did eyelash and eyebrow tinting for Graziella (which wasn’t my finest work to be honest, because the products were different than what I was used to). I was also answering the phone and welcoming clients to the salon while Graziella was working.
I got to remove gelish nails from a client (which was nice since I knew how to do it in theory but had never actually done it before). And when a client didn’t show up we had some extra time. To make use of the time Graziella showed me palpation (feeling the muscle and discovering the sore pots and pains using your hands) and gave me a little tutorial on neck, upper back and spine massage. I got to be a model for a little while as well.
During the days I continued to shadow Graziella and got to see eyebrow tinting (my god she did it so well and precise), more waxing (for men as well!), a pedicure, a manicure, a basic facial, and a lymphatic drainage massage. On the third day I got to do a half leg wax as well, since we were short on time. Graziella even said I did a good and clean job.
At first I felt like Graziella didn’t have a lot of faith in me and my abilities as a beautician. But after a few days she clearly trusted me more, and gave positive feedback too. She is very protective of her clients, which is understandable, but holds me back a little from doing the actual job I am supposed to do. Granted it’s only been an few days, so hopefully when more time passes I’ll get more clients too.
Today was my first day of work at Beauty Rituals. I got there at 9:30 and went home at 17:00. I mostly spend the day shadowing Graziella, as in watching her do treatments. It was surprisingly nice, and I learned a lot especially from her massage techniques. All of her clients were really nice and welcoming, and didn’t mind me watching.
Graziella also had a meeting about and upcoming event to sell some Eve Taylor products and advertise her makeup artist friend. I got to be a part of the meeting, but was a bit shy to speak up. But I believe when more time passes I’ll get more comfortable there. Graziella did make an effort to make me feel at home and gave me little tasks as well.
Here’s some pictures from the salon
From today I got the impression, that Graziella uses mostly Dermalogica in her facials, but she also has two other brands for retail. I did some research and got to watch her do the Dermalogica Pro Power Peel chemical peeling, which was really interesting. She really made an effort to always make the customers feel as comfortable as possible, and most of them have been coming to her salon for years and years.
When I woke up today I had a horrible headache and been feeling a bit sick which is a total bummer. But hopefully I’ll feel better soon. Today after work I’ve just been resting. Even writing is a bit tricky now so here’s some more pictures from my walk to work (from the bus stop), and my lunch break.