Nail Artist Lila Robles on the Beauty of Airbrushing and Celebrating Her Xicanx Heritage
March 3, 2021
Lila Robles, aka @nailjerks, creates the type of art that stops you mid-scroll. Her medium is manicures, with airbrushed nails featuring intricate detailing that is nostalgic and romantic, yet retains an edge. Which is why her work, unsurprisingly, has already caught the attention of brands like Sephora and KVD Beauty, singer Kali Uchis, and rapper Leikeli47.
Robles was drawn to airbrushing at a young age—she saw it on the low riders passing through her hometown of San Jose, California and the t-shirts being sold at the county fair. “Before I started doing nails, I went to school for graphic design, and my very first art purchase was an airbrush kit,” she tells Vogue.
In 2009, Robles was looking for a creative outlet that would allow her to “connect more with people and myself.” She started to invest in getting her nails done, which grew quickly beyond a routine pampering session into a deeply-rooted passion. Hours of surfing the web to find inspiration and artists she could follow eventually led her to M.I.S.S., an online women’s magazine founded by Gabriella Khorasanee and stylist Liz Baca. They shared her love of “weird nail art and would create nail calendars with dead stock sneakers,” Robles remembers.
Shortly after connecting with Khorasanee and Baca, Robles decided turn her passion into a career. She began interning for M.I.S.S., helping them create nail art for shoots and writing as one of the main columnists on their site, while attending school to be a manicurist. In 2014 she received her license, and started working for a San Francisco-based salon that same year.
Fast forward to 2021 and Robles is now an independent nail artist, traveling across the country to create custom designs for a list of devout clientele, collaborating on shoots that span beauty and television (13 Reasons Why), and teaching private classes to aspiring artists.
When it comes to her aesthetic, more is more. “I like bright colors and I like a lot of depth and variation,” she says. “And I love to layer, like creating bubbles for the background and then going back to top it off with charms.” Robles’s inspiration spans “bootleg Patrick Nagel salon window posters and Japanese artist Pater Sato to fellow airbrush artists Malcolm Stuart, Daniel Barrigas, Everett Regua and the early nail designs where you would get sunsets or your name written across in script.” To create the sharp lines she’s known for, she uses the Nail Labo’s AIRTEX airbrush gel system.
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Her love of bold, colorful makeup is deeply rooted in her heritage. “Growing up xicanx has definitely inspired me,” Robles says. “I’d listen to freestyle music like Stevie B, my first bicycle was a low rider that my uncle gifted me. I loved the interchangeable custom upgrades you could add on which would then lead me to muscles cars and eventually nails. For me, it’s all one in the same—building and customizing until you create something that is uniquely yours.”
Seeing the industry embrace the beauty she grew up around has been powerful. “It’s part of our heritage—the long nails, having your boyfriend’s name on your nail or shirt,” she says, “and it’s really cool that the editorial space is branching out to let people express and celebrate their style, along with the history that comes with it. It shows people another side of what nail art, or art in general, can be.”
What Is a Cleansing Milk?
Got (Cleansing) Milk?
What makes a cleansing milk different from other cleansers? Physically, cleansing your face with a cleansing milk feels like dipping your skin into a cloud – they’re softer, creamier, and thinner than your average gel cleanser.
Water vs. oil content
In the world of cleansers, cleansing milk doesn’t get as much attention as their scrubby counterparts. A typical skin cleanser requires water as an activator; the water creates the cleanser’s final texture, be it a lather or scrub. Many prefer to apply cleansing milk directly to skin without water, since the lathering action comes from the fats in the formula itself.
What makes a cleansing milk unique is the combination of oil and water. As we mentioned, there’s really no need to add water to use, meaning there’s no surfactant cleansing agent at work. Water is really only needed to rinse the cleanser away after you’ve massaged it over your skin.
The same cleansing milk components feeding the skin supportive nutrients are also working to cleanse away dirt and debris. Multi-tasking ingredients like coconut oil in our Coconut Oil Cleansing Milk provides vitamin E support, moisturizing and softening properties, as well as antibacterial cleansing and a deep, gentle clean.
Creamy, dreamy texture
Texture is the name of the game with cleansing milks. The smooth creaminess sweeps into our pores, gently lifting away surface debris while preserving the natural moisture and softness of our skin. Some harsher cleansers can be stripping, leaving skin dry and tight. Cleansing milks are pillow-soft with emollient qualities, which is what makes these types of cleansers excellent for dry and sensitive skin types.
Two-for-one cleansing action
We stan a simple evening routine, and finding a cleanser that tackles dirt as well as makeup is like hitting the lottery. Cleansing milk makes our makeup removing and cleansing process a two-for-one experience, and allows us to keep our skin care routine as uncomplicated as possible.
Gentle enough for your morning cleanse
Rise and shine, Sleeping Beauty; it’s time for your morning facial! Your skin might be a bit puffy from staying up all night with Prince Charming – uneven skin tone, dark circles, and dryness are real instances in which we #WokeUpLikeThis.
We don’t want to attack our skin with astringents or super textured cleansers while it’s already trying to repair, especially if your skin type is combination or dry. Instead, smoothing on a calming cleansing milk first thing in the morning sweeps away any residue from your hair, pillow, or sweat. It jump-starts the moisturization and hydration process, and allows skin a moment of recovery in an otherwise hectic morning.
Who Shouldn’t Use a Cleansing Milk?
Cleansing milks are great, but there are certain times or specific skin types that might benefit from more targeted care. For example, someone suffering from moderate to severe acne would see the most calming results from cleansers that target breakouts. Preferable ingredients might include tea tree oil, charcoal, or lavender, while oil-forward and emollient components in a cleansing milk aren’t likely to have power over active breakouts.
This also means that somewhat to very oily skin types are better suited with cleansers specifically designed to balance sebum, rather than a cleansing milk.
100% PURE™ Cleansing Milks
Calendula Flower Cleansing Milk
We’ll never get over just how creamy and luxurious cleansing milks feel on the skin. Here’s what makes our all new Calendula Flower Cleansing Milk a total crowd-pleaser!
This floral fantasy cleansing milk does wonders for the skin. A single pump delivers milky hydration that smooths over the skin like early morning mist, addressing any imbalances on the surface first. Calming natural ingredients and botanicals are what make this gentle gem a favorite skin treatment for dry or sensitive skin types.
The type of water included in this cleansing milk is what makes it transformative for the skin:
- Aloe Vera Leaf Juice: One of our favorite skin care formula bases, aloe feels like slipping into satin pajamas for our skin. This skin savior soothes active inflammation like acne and rosacea, while helping to clear the complexion and hydrate skin.
- Glycerin: A humectant power player when it comes to hydration, glycerin helps boost and maintain skin’s moisture levels by drawing in the hydration it needs from the environment.
- Calendula Flower Water: The star of the show, this lovely floral is lesser known but effective for diminishing inflammation. Natural brightening properties deliver on a more youthful glow.
- Rose Water: A favorite floral of ours, red and rosy skin take a backseat with this hydrating, super soothing ingredient.
As we now know, cleansing milk is a harmony of water and oil-based ingredients. This marriage makes for a unique blend of hydrating, moisturizing, and purifying abilities for the skin. Our Calendula Cleansing Milk features the following fruity and floral oils to deliver calm, cleansed skin:
- Calendula Oil: To add to the list of what we love about calendula, this flower also helps preserve our skin’s collagen and maintain tight, plump skin for a youthful appearance.
- Sea Buckthorn Fruit Oil: This shrub extract is perfect for addressing inflammatory skin conditions but also helps with new skin cell generation for fewer lines and smoother skin.
- Chamomile & Geranium Oils: A sweet blend that makes for a calming skin remedy to reduce irritation and breakouts
Just as important as what it includes, is what this natural cleansing milk leaves out. Free of surfactants and synthetic fragrances, this vegan cleansing milk makes dry skin woes, deep dirt, and surface skin debris just melt away.
Coconut Oil Cleansing Milk
Boasting just six ingredients, sensitive skin types and dry skin alike will appreciate the simplicity of our Coconut Oil Cleansing Milk. Sink into creamy, dreamy softness as coconut milk brightens and smooths skin by working to restore elasticity.
Coconut oil delivers fatty acids right where we want them, is at work helping to pull out anything undesirable on or in our skin. Fragrant, anti-inflammatory vanilla supports skin soothing while working with coconut milk to boost suppleness. With natural humectant properties from vanilla, glycerin, and coconut, this cleanser will stay on standby to keep skin hydrated well after you rinse it off.
This formula might make you thirsty for a fresh-cut coconut on the beach – meanwhile, let your skin experience the soothing bliss of a gentle, luxurious cleansing milk made from real coconut!
What Is Skin Polishing?
Skin polishing is a technique used to brighten or exfoliate dull skin by removing the dead skin on the surface. This improves your skin’s texture, making it smoother, and also reverses skin damages like tan or uneven skin tone.
It is also referred to as microdermabrasion . The procedure can be done on various parts of the body like the neck, hands, back, etc. Microdermabrasion treatments are effectively used to treat melasma photoaging, striae or stretch marks , hyperpigmentation, age spots crow’s feet and improves the tone and texture of the skin.
How Is The Treatment Done?
Skin polishing is a treatment where the skin is polished and nourished with nutrients, while the dead skin is removed. It is a gentle procedure and similar to a facial.
The technique typically includes a device that the skincare professional will use to gently remove the top layer of the skin in the area being treated. This is followed by the application of a serum or moisturiser based on your skin type to close the open pores and maximise the benefits of the procedure on the skin.
Skin polishing can be done at home or by a skincare professional or dermatologist. However, we advise you not to try it without the professional advice of an expert. For best results, microdermabrasion should ideally be done for upto 8 sessions with a gap of 3-4 weeks between each session.
Types Of Skin Polishing
Microdermabrasion and chemical peels are the two most popular forms of skin polishing treatments. The most common ones are the Crystal and the Diamond Microdermabrasion techniques used by most dermatologists and skincare professionals.
A new method being used is hydradermabrasion, where crystal-free exfoliation products are used simultaneously with creams that get absorbed into the skin. This method aims at increasing collagen  production and blood flow while removing dead skin.
Depending on the problem being addressed, the number of treatments can vary from person to person. They usually range between 4-12 sessions; however, there should be a gap of 2-3 weeks between each session.
1. Clinical Methods
A. Crystal Microdermabrasion
It is a non-invasive procedure that uses the principle of friction to sand away the top layer of the skin. The hand held device uses aluminium oxide srystals that are sprayed onto the skin at high speed. Simultaneously, an attached vacuum sucks away the dirt and dead skin.
- Very little downtime required (24 hours).
- Results visible almost immediately after the procedure.
- Permanently removes scars and marks in a few sittings.
- Good for acne reduction as the crystals have antibacterial qualities.
- The crystals can access wrinkles, and the lines near your nose and mouth because of their irregular shape.
- Aluminum Oxide that is used in the crystals is inert, hence non-toxic, non-carcinogenic and will not cause any allergies or adverse reactions.
- Crystal dermabrasion can be more effective for older skins with sun damage that need treatment.
- It may be too strong a treatment for younger or sensitive skins.
- The skin can be sensitive to the sun for a few weeks.
- Slight redness of the skin can occur, however, that fades away in a few hours.
- The spray can be hard to control in the hands of someone less experienced.
- Skin may feel sensitive to the touch.
- Use a strong sunscreen with high SPF, if you have to step out.
- Use hypoallergenic products that nourish and moisturise your skin.
- Avoid colour cosmetics on the skin if the treatment has been done on the face.
- Avoid using anti-acne creams and lotions on the face.
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
- Avoid touching your skin and body heating exercises like a sauna or a hot shower.
B. Diamond Microdermabrasion
Here, a handpiece with a diamond-tip is used to exfoliate the skin very gently. It simultaneously uses a suction method to suck in the dead skin and dirt it exfoliates. This method is used for sensitive areas with thin skin — the under-eye region and the surrounding areas.
- Preferred by skincare professionals as it gives them more control for better results.
- No chance of any particle getting inhaled or irritating the eyes.
- Diamonds being the hardest substance found, they can be most effective for dermabrasion.
- Gives the professional more control for better treatment over delicate areas near the eyes and mouth.
- Effective on sensitive skin and does deeper exfoliation.
- Ideal for younger, firmer skins, especially if you need glowing skin for your wedding or a big occasion.
- Fixed and rigid shape makes it difficult to reach every part of the face.
- Build-up of dead skin particles on the wand’s tip may increase risk of bacterial infections.
- Can be less effective on skin with wrinkles and lines as the wand doesn’t have crystals that can fit into the crevices and irregularities on the skin’s surface.
- Avoid applying any topical creams — medicated or cosmetic.
- Use sunscreen with a high SPF.
- Avoid applying make-up for a few days.
- Stay away from hot showers or saunas; steam rooms or exercise — anything that increases your body temperature — for at least 24-48 hours.
- Drink a lot of water and don’t touch your skin.
2. Home Methods
Microdermabrasion can be done at home as there are several branded kits available. These treatments can be done once a week upto a period of eight weeks. However, it is best to talk to your dermatologist before trying it yourself at home.
An effective home solution that can work as a substitute for a salon microdermabrasion treatment is mixing baking soda and your cleansing face wash to form a paste. Scrub your face gently with this mixture — it will remove dead skin and help the skin to absorb any moisturiser that you use after a shower. You can do this once or twice a month.
Benefits Of Skin Polishing
Skin polishing can make the skin brighter, softer and minimise the appearance of acne, fine lines and spots. It also improves blood circulation and is effective in treating enlarged pores and blackheads. For skin problems such as stretch marks and scars, hyperkeratosis , etc., skin polishing can be a permanent solution.
How Is Skin Polishing & Brightening Different From Facials?
A skin polishing treatment can make the skin’s tone even and take care of a wide range of skin problems in a non-invasive way. Its results are more effective than facials, in terms of giving the skin a glow and removing dead skin. Facials only work on the top most surface of the skin to improve its appearance, while polishing exfoliates dead skin to resurface healthier skin.
What Are The Side Effects Of This Treatment?
Usually, there are no side effects if you follow all the precautions prescribed by your dermatologist. Immediately after a session, there might be slight redness on the skin, which goes off in a few hours.
How Long Does The Procedure Take?
Depending on the area it is being worked on, each skin polishing session lasts for 45 minutes to an hour.
Who Is Eligible For This Treatment?
All skin types can avail of this treatment as it is safe. However, people with severe skin conditions are not eligible for this treatment.
So, if you wish to have younger and brighter looking skin, or want to minimise the appearance of fine lines, crow’s feet or wrinkles, skin polishing is a treatment you can opt for. It is safe, non-invasive and the results are visible in a few sessions. However, getting it done by a professional dermatologist is recommended.
Tips for Successful Ice Cream Truck Business
Starting an ice cream truck business can be an excellent choice for an entrepreneur launching a career.
The financial barriers to entry aren’t overwhelming, and, to some extent, the business allows a fair amount of flexibility regarding hours. Also, an ice cream truck business is highly scalable. To expand, all you need to do is to purchase a second truck.
If this gets you interested in learning how to start an ice cream truck business, take a look at some of the unique considerations and steps involved in this unique and delicious business.
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1. Assess the resources you need to start your business
The major asset you need to start your ice cream truck business is, not surprisingly, the truck itself. Look into purchasing a used ice cream truck that has freezers installed. If you aren’t able to find one that meets your needs, you’ll have to purchase a truck or step van and make the necessary alterations. Taking all of this into account, plan to spend $10,000 to $20,000 for your truck.
Operating expenses include gasoline and maintenance costs, among many others. Once you know the length of the route, you plan to drive you can calculate your costs.
Of course, you need to purchase the ice cream itself on a regular basis, in addition to any toppings, cones, cups or any other supplies you might need. The good news is that you’ll receive payment immediately for your products, so you’ll have an income that you can turn right around to keep your inventory well stocked. Most ice cream truck businesses can bank on spending around $1,500 to purchase startup inventory.
Other costs when starting an ice cream truck business include the permits and licenses necessary to operate. These expenses will vary depending on where your ice cream truck is located and the local laws that the government has put in place. Also, consult with your insurance company to receive an insurance quote for your ice cream truck.
If you’re planning to start an ice cream truck business by yourself, at least initially, you won’t need to budget for labor costs. But if you expect to hire staff to drive your truck and serve ice cream, make sure to factor those costs into your startup budget as well.
2. Decide what type of ice cream to sell
While most traditional ice cream trucks sell ice cream novelties, some do well selling soft-serve ice cream or hard ice cream. Novelties are by far the easiest choice since the main requirement is sufficient freezer space. It also reduces some of the food handling concerns that come with running an ice cream truck business since the ice cream is pre-packaged. Your inventory will also be easier to manage and keep track of. When starting an ice cream truck business, this is one aspect you’ll want to take your time deciding on. Consider your options carefully because it will have a profound impact on everything from your branding to the demographic you attract and most importantly your bottom line.
Though inventory management for pre-packaged ice cream might be easier, a truck that sells soft serve or hard ice cream has the potential to be more profitable. The variations are virtually limitless with this kind of product. You can vary prices by the scoop, combination of ice cream flavors, toppings and more, all of which makes your offerings more appealing to potential customers. Also, if you’re selling soft serve or hard ice cream, you still have the option to add novelties to your inventory such as prepackaged goods.
Nevertheless, if you make a commitment to serve soft serve or hard ice cream, you must plan on a more significant investment in equipment and staffing. Even your truck may be more expensive. As a result, making the novelties versus soft-serve/hard ice cream decision is one of the most crucial you will make as you plan your ice cream truck startup.
3. Choose and purchase your equipment
Among equipment you’ll want to consider when starting an ice cream truck business is an iPad-based point of sale (POS). Since most ice cream trucks get by with a calculator and a cash box, you might be wondering if the added cost of a POS system is necessary. It all comes down to your long-term business objectives. If the goal of your ice cream truck business is to grow into a thriving, profitable venture, investing in technology that speeds up transactions, simplifies inventory management and provides your business with actionable insights is key.
Starting off your business with a modern cloud-based POS will ensure that you put your best foot forward, improving productivity and automating some of the grunt work that comes with running a business. You can maximize sales by accepting a variety of payment types (cash, credit, or Apple Pay), monitor sales trends in real-time even when you’re away from your business, collect customer email addresses to encourage repeat visits and create a profitable ice cream truck menu by quickly identifying top-selling items.
Freezers and ice cream machines
You will, of course, need freezers, which should be bolted to the frame and floor of your truck. It’s a good idea to hire a professional refrigeration mechanic to make sure your freezers have the proper power supply and maintain the proper temperatures. When starting an ice cream shop, this is one corner you don’t want to cut. Problems with your refrigeration system can destroy your entire inventory in a matter of hours, costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
You can choose from either commercial chest freezers, which are typically between five and eight feet long, or from smaller, non-commercial freezers. To determine which type of freezer you should invest in, calculate the floor space you have available in the truck and estimate how much space you’ll need to store a full day’s worth of ice cream. Don’t forget to factor in enough space to move around within the truck.
If you’ve decided to serve soft-serve ice cream, you’ll need the appropriate equipment to create and dispense the ice cream. Also, you’ll need a generator to keep all of this equipment running. Another option is an inverter, which converts the 12-volt power of your truck’s battery to the 110-volt power needed to power the freezers and ice cream machines.
Other equipment you might need when starting your mobile ice cream business includes a music box and an amplification system that lets people know you’re coming. Consider getting a canopy to shelter customers from the sun as they place their order. You can also invest in decorative signs to let people know what they can buy from you, and specialized equipment needed for additional treats you might want to offer, such as shaved ice or slushies.
Make sure you also have the bowls, scoops and spoons you need—and don’t forget to stock up on plenty of napkins! Remember, you’ll also need adequate shelving to hold all these items.
It’s also important not to forget safety equipment. Flashing lights to place on the top and rear of your ice cream truck let pedestrians and traffic know you’re parked, and to help warn them that there are children around your truck or van. A backup alarm that sounds a warning whenever you put your truck into reverse is also a good idea, especially if you plan to set up in parking lots.
4. Plan your route
The obvious choices for an ice cream truck route are stopping points at nearby schools, parks and music and sporting venues. However, before you make plans to set up shop in the parking lot of the nearest park, check your town’s regulations to see if this is allowed.
Some municipalities, under pressure from parents or homeowners, don’t allow ice cream trucks to operate near schools or parks. Others may restrict where and when you can turn on the music that attracts your customers.
You also need to make sure you’re not trying to poach on a route already established by another ice cream truck, since doing so may insight hostility from that truck’s loyal customers, while also cutting into your sales. Do the research you need to make sure you can find a profitable and legal route in your area.
As the seasons change, so may your route. If you’re selling in a region that experiences harsh winters, you may have to store your truck until spring. You may want to adjust your route during summertime as well when driving near schools is not as profitable. Consider launching your food truck at the beginning of summer to find the largest possible audience for your products.
Consider making your ice cream truck available as well for local festivals, whether music festivals, food truck events or state fairs. At these events, you may be able to afford to offer your ice cream at a discount and instead make your profit from selling souvenirs and non-perishables. As you gain a following, have t-shirts made that provide a new kind of mobile advertising for your truck.
5. Select your vendors and plan for inventory storage
Since ice cream and ice cream novelties are readily available, you can shop around to find the items you want at the best prices. Look for commercial vendors to give you the best possible profit margin. Though not the most cost efficient, if you need to refill your inventory at the last minute, you can purchase treats and supplies at the local supermarket or warehouse club such as Costco or Sam’s Club. This is a good last-minute option during a sales surge on a hot summer’s day.
Remember that your need for a freezer won’t end when you finish your daily route. Unless you plan to sell out and restock each day, you’ll need a freezer available at the commissary where you store your truck each night so you don’t lose all your inventory.
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