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In Memoriam: Geraldine Howard of Aromatherapy Associates

Company chairman and cofounder passes away after long battle with cancer.

Aromatherapy Associates today announced the passing of company chairman and cofounder Geraldine Howard, who was diagnosed with cancer several years ago.

Howard was regarded as a pioneer and expert in the aromatherapy oil arena. She initially trained at Micheline Arcier’s renowned aromatherapy clinic in Knightsbridge, London, where she met Sue Beechey. Together, Beechey and Howard founded Aromatherapy Associates in 1985, and in the intervening three decades the brand has grown beyond its signature bath and shower oil collections to encompass skin- and bodycare, candles and more.

In 2013, Aromatherapy Associates launched Inner Strength, an essential oil that Howard had specifically created to help herself get through treatment. One tenth of all the proceeds from the sale are donated to the Defence Against Cancer Foundation. Aromatherapy Associates commented: “It's a testament to Geraldine that even in the midst of her personal struggle, she found a way to help other people.”

"Geraldine was recognized as one of the best loved people in beauty and well-being and her enthusiasm and drive was second-to-none," read the official AA statement. “It was always Geraldine’s mission to tell the world how incredible essential oils are, and she saw Aromatherapy Associates as more than a business; it was her way of life. We are honored to continue this mission on behalf of Geraldine and the brand she loved so dearly, and we celebrate her life and legacy each time we use and share her beautiful and transformative aromatherapy blends. Thank you for all your support as we give thanks for having Geraldine in our lives and leaving us with her legacy that is Aromatherapy Associates."

Howard received numerous accolades over the years, and last November was awarded the Leading Woman in Wellness award at the Global Wellness Summit for “her unfaltering mission to educate on scent’s impact on the health of the body and mind, and for bringing aromatherapy to the forefront of wellness practices.”

“My views on wellness and health have changed as I’ve gone through treatment,” said Howard in her video message to attendees. “Particularly over the last 18 months, with a rampant cancer that has spread throughout my body. I now believe more than ever that it’s vital that medical therapies and natural remedies are used together.’

Meet the NovaLash LASHoff Finalists

Congrats to the NovaLash LASHoff Contest finalists: Liz Lovell, Natalie McCarty, Maribeth Melton and Celine Tran! Watch their finalist videos below.

Natalie McCarty:

Maribeth Melton:

Liz Lovell:

Celine Tran:

[Video courtesy of NovaLash]

Green Spa Network Unveils New Membership Portal

Image: Green Spa Network

The new portal will allow for greater ease of profile management and networking opportunities among fellow members.

The Green Spa Network (GSN) is welcoming 2016 with a redesigned membership portal on the brand's website, Designed for easier, more intuitive use, the revamped portal will allow GSN members to more easily manage their profiles and will improve member-to-member networking on the site.

In a recent announcement about the new membership portal, GSN stated, "Our mission and sense of purpose continues to come alive through the growth of our network and the impact we're making is becoming a tangible resource that will ignite the passions of so many people seeking to reconnect their daily work with the desire and vision for healing that guided them to the spa industry in the first place."

Spa News: Essie Announces Nail Art Contest, The Essie's

Image: essie

Hosted on YouTube and on, the essie's will award nail art superstars.

Nail brand essie recently announced its nail art contest, the essie's, taking place from January 2016 through June 2016. Hosted on YouTube and, the contest will feature a series of nail art challenges to discover the next great nail artist. Beginning on January 6, 2016, essie fans and up-and-coming nail art superstars will have the opportunity to partake in the four-phase competition for a chance to win the grand prize: a $20,000 partnership with essie, a spot at New York Fashion Week with celebrity manicurist Michelle Saunders, and much more!

The final two winners - one (1) grand prize winner and one (1) fan favorite winner - will be determined through a combination of online fan votes and essie’s panel of experts, including:

  • Carolyn Holba – General Manager, essie worldwide
  • Jenny Fox – founder and vlogger behind Jenny Claire Fox, a top nail art and beauty YouTube channel
  • Katie Rodgers – artist and creator of Paper Fashion
  • Michelle Saunders – essie celebrity manicurist
  • Rebecca Minkoff – essie Global Color Designer and industry fashion leader

The essie's will be broken into four phases, including:
Phase 1: Qualifying Challenge (January 6, 2016 – February 22, 2016)

  • Qualifying submissions will open to all participants. Contestants will be required to upload two videos to, including an “All About You” video and a “Show Us Your Skill” video, creating any nail look using essie nail and care products. The first 1,000 entries will receive essie’s gel.setterkit and the creators of the top ten videos, as selected internally by essie, will move on to phase two.

Phase 2: Spring Trend Challenge (February 22, 2016 – March 28, 2016)

  • In this phase, the top ten contestants will receive essie’s spring 2016 collection and be challenged to create the ultimate spring trend-inspired nail art look. Videos will be uploaded to, where online fan votes will determine the top six semi-finalists moving to phase three.

Phase 3: Dream Getaway Challenge (March 28, 2016 – May 2, 2016)

  • Six semi-finalists will receive an essie branded polish rack filled with 90 shades, and be tasked with creating a nail art look inspired by their dream getaway. The top three finalists, as chosen by online fan votes, will move to the last phase.

Phase 4: Blank Canvas Challenge (May 2, 2016 – June 6, 2016)

  • The three finalists will be flown to New York to film their last video in YouTube’s studio. For this challenge, they will be given a blank canvas and challenged to get expressive. Essie’s expert panel will select the top two winners who will be announced on June 1, 2016.

The Prizes:
ONE Grand Prize Winner - chosen by the judging panel

  • $20,000 partnership with essie
  • Featured as essie’s nail art ambassador in how-to videos, a behind the-scenes experience with Michelle Saunders during New York Fashion Week, and so much more!

ONE Fan Favorite Winner – chosen by the public voters

  • $1,000 prize

For complete contest rules and information, please visit

Spa News: United States Bans Microbeads

Image: Getty Images

The man-made beads, which are commonly used in skincare products, have been under scrutiny, as they do not biodegrade.

Last week, US President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that bans microbeads – small, polyethylene beads used as exfoliants in beauty and personal care products – by 2018.

The man-made beads, which are commonly used in skincare products, have been under scrutiny, as they do not biodegrade, and are able to absorb toxic chemicals, which can then work their way up the food chain, as fish often mistake the beads for food.

Companies that use the beads in products must stop manufacturing them by mid-2017, with a US ban on the sale of the products set to go into effect in July, 2018.

International beauty and spa therapy standard-setter CIDESCO recently called on its global membership to replace products that use microbeads with safer alternatives.

Steve Malkin, CEO of Planet First, a specialist in sustainable business practice, explained the issue at the time. “You cannot remove microbeads from the environment as they are too small to catch in water treatment, and they don’t degrade,” he said. “The danger is that they will sit in our oceans and lakes forever to be ingested by fish and mollusks, damaging our ecosystems and entering our food chain.”

Global Wellness Summit Identifies Top 10 Future Shifts in Wellness

Find out the 10 major wellness trends predicted for 2016.

The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) recently took place in Mexico City from November 13-15, gathering the brightest thinkers from a diverse cross-section of industries to contemplate the best strategies for “Building A Well World.”

It was the largest, most cross-disciplinary Summit in its nine-year history, attracting 470+ delegates from over 40 countries. Never have so many great minds from the medical (e.g., the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics, Harvard and Duke Universities) or workplace wellness worlds (e.g., Johnson & Johnson and Zappos) assembled at the conference.

“The Mexico City Summit was a watershed moment, because passionate leaders from economics, medicine, government, technology, spa/wellness, travel, education and the arts came together to debate how to bring preventative health into our chronic disease and healthcare cost burdened world – much like when the world first came together in Kyoto to declare solidarity against climate change,” said GWS Chairman and CEO, Susie Ellis.

10 Shifts in Wellness for 2016

1. From Cracking the Genome to Cracking the Epigenome
We’ve had years of promises that “cracking” the human genome would eradicate all kinds of diseases, but experts like Dr. Deepak Chopra explained that the future is decoding the epigenome, that DNA which is ceaselessly modified by lifestyle choices and environment. Research is underway pinpointing the 20 or so genetic markers (out of 2,400) that are actually modifiable by healthy living. Epigenetic breakthroughs are coming.

2. From Optional to Mandatory Wellness
Global economist Thierry Malleret did the math on the skyrocketing cost of chronic diseases ($47 trillion worldwide over the next 20 years, or 30% of GDP), and a world aging like never before (800 million people now over 60), and concluded that wellness can no longer be optional. More governments will take legislative action to require or reward healthier behavior. This isn’t a “maybe”, it’s near certainty: wellness tax incentives, and insurance companies rewarding healthy behavior (as tracked by wearable/implantable devices) will arrive by 2020. Initiatives that reward and support people will be most successful, and ultimately even appreciated, because they work.

3. From “In Your Face” to Imperceptible Wellness
Wellness has historically been something you “do.” The future is more wellness baked seamlessly into the fabric of our lives: dawn-simulating lighting waking you up gently (goodbye shrieking alarm clock); bed sensors monitoring your sleep, making instant ventilation/comfort changes; and responsive materials (using haptic technologies), including fabrics that cuddle us or clothes that deliver the perfect massage. The prediction? Even futuristic “living” buildings that monitor residents’ oxygen, stress and hunger levels to adapt homes in real-time – even ”growing” you a new room!

4. From Workplace Wellness “Programs” to Total Cultures of Wellness at Work
New Global Wellness Institute* research forecast that workplace wellness approaches will change radically: the current “program” mentality will die a natural death because they’re not working. The future is meaningful, real “cultures” of health at work, tackling everything from physical, to emotional, to financial wellness: fair pay, healthy workspaces, inclusion of families and virtual workers, and tackling fast disappearing work/life balance, like mandating vacations and that workers unplug from always-on, wired work. Companies will replace “ROI” obsessions with measuring total “return-on-value” (ROV), with mounting evidence that happy, healthy workers not only reduce healthcare costs, but also drive recruitment, retention and much higher profits.

5. From Medicine vs. Wellness to Truly Integrative Healthcare
Integrative medicine has been talked about for decades, but is finally happening. Medical leaders from the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics, Harvard and Duke agreed that now we’re at the real “inflection point.” Today every leading medical center either has, or is planning, a wellness/integrative center. And if doctors have always been reimbursed for treating disease, a future where they get remunerated for preventing it looks possible (as in countries like China, Norway, and Singapore). Medicine will incorporate more wellness, but the reverse will also be true. One example: the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program coming to the Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, Turkey in Jan. 2016.

6. Medical Technology Breakthroughs: from Ingestible Health Trackers to Stem Cells
Medical technology breakthroughs presented were mind blowing. Ingestible, health-tracking nanochips that monitor 50 biological functions 24/7 will make clunky wearables seem prehistoric, and usher in a new era of precision, preventative and personalized medicine. And new directions in stem cell harvesting/freezing (no more storing cells from a baby’s umbilical cord, but rather the non-invasive extraction of stem cells from teeth) have the ability to make any cell “young” again: whether bone, insulin, pancreatic, heart, liver, brain, eye, collagen or elastin, cells. Which may be the path to curing diseases like ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

7. Wellness Homes: Big Growth and Big Premiums for Owners/Investors
More homes, communities and even cities are being master-planned from the ground up for human health. New examples: Mayo Clinic’s ambitious 20-year project to turn its base of Rochester, MN into a “City of Health” and Delos Living’s project to transform part of Tampa City, FL into a 40-acre healthy city. Wellness living is certainly good for people, and according to a panel of real estate developers, it’s also good for the bottom line. Preliminary numbers indicate very healthy investment returns: between a 5-35% premium on wellness-branded, single-family homes; a 7-10% premium for wellness rentals; and a 15-30% average daily rate premium for wellness-branded hotels.

8. From Superfood and Diet Trend Hysteria to Sane Eating
Given the recent, hysterical obsessions with the next superfood or diet trend, experts are suggesting that we may be experiencing a collective, global eating disorder. Nutritionists noted that what we eat has changed more in the last 40 years than in the previous 40,000. Superfoods are on a collision course with sustainability: our manic importation of chia seeds, quinoa, goji berries, etc. is disturbing global ecosystems. The future? Clean, sustainably sourced (from our own backyard), personally intuitive foods – and a welcome return to eating as pleasure. (Yes, you can skip the kale.)

9. Wellness Travel Booming: from Emerging Markets to New “Pairings” for Wellness
Omer Isvan (president, Servotel Corp) summarized: “Wellness will only become a bigger player in the destination resort space, while resorts without wellness and ‘purpose’ will decline.” In general, experts agreed that the heart of wellness tourism is the “transformational experience”: less about the destination, and more about how the experience alters a person’s mind, body and soul. Jean-Claude Baumgarten (former president, World Travel & Tourism Council) noted that because “wellness” can sometimes remain a hazy concept for travelers, that we’ll increasingly see it paired with every travel category imaginable: wellness and…“adventure,” “culinary and wine,” “cruise,” “cultural,” “safari”…you name it.

10. From Wellness for the Wealthy Few to the Democratization of Wellness
A powerful thread running through the Summit was the need to bring wellness to more members of society: the young and old, wealthy and poor, the healthy and ill. As Agapi Stassinopoulus stated in her wrap-up keynote: “It’s time to take wellness to the masses.”

  • Conscious Capitalism: For companies and individuals, success will increasingly be measured not by net worth but by “net good.” Going forward, the winning brands will be charitable, collaborative and creative.
  • In Sickness and In Health: Forty percent of people will get some type of cancer in their lifetime, and the spa and wellness industries will finally start embracing and retraining for them - eliminating the fear of, and myths about, treating those with the “Big C.”
  • Meditation and Mindfulness Go Mainstream: Nothing has been talked about more in recent years than mindfulness, but people will finally start practicing it because it’s about to become far more accessible and less intimidating. Even Weight Watchers International revealed that it’s expanding its focus from weight loss to total wellness, hinting that their nearly one million weekly meeting-goers will be introduced to meditation.
  • To Build a Well World, Focus on Children: Boutique fitness studios are rolling out myriad classes for children. Spas/wellness retreats are now increasingly creating serious wellness programming for kids: from healthy cooking classes, to yoga, to meditation. In India, meditation and yoga are now taught to millions of school children daily.

*GWI’s “Future of Wellness at Work” research report, including employee surveys conducted with Everyday Health, will be released Jan. 2016

Lydia Sarfati Post-Graduate Skincare Academy Lineup for 2016

Image courtesy of Repêchage

The Lydia Sarfati Post-Graduate Skin Care Academy will host a variety of spa/salon educational courses in the upcoming year.

What better way to learn about some of the best professional skincare treatments and products in the world than hands-on and directly from the source? The Lydia Sarfati Post-Graduate Skin Care Academy will host a variety of spa/salon educational courses for 2016 with in-depth looks at today's hottest topics in skincare, including the newest anti-aging treatments, customized facials and ways to enhance your skin care business. This all-new course lineup includes an assortment of 1-day, 2-day and 3-day classes throughout the year on technique, skin care science, business know-how, and Repêchage product knowledge. In addition, Lydia Sarfati, Repêchage CEO and Founder, will host her annual 3-day Master Class on July 11-13, 2016.

Located at the Repêchage Headquarters in Secaucus, NJ, classes are open to all estheticians, cosmetologists, spa and salon owners, and personnel. Each class is designed to empower attendees with superior scientific knowledge, treatment performance, and spa business information. Skin care professionals should not miss this opportunity to help bring about better business for in 2016!

For more information on the Lydia Sarfati Post-Graduate Skin Care Academy, including a list of courses, please visit

Essie Celebrates 35th Anniversary with Re-Release of Classic Colors

Images: essie

The re-release includes the coveted "starry starry night" shade, along with 5 other discontinued hues.

In honor of their 35th anniversary, essie is releasing six iconic, discontinued shades from their vault in their Retro Revival 2016 collection – including the long sought-after starry starry night.

Until now, starry starry night was only available via eBay, with single bottles often fetching hundreds of dollars. birthday suit was part of essie’s original twelve shades released in 1981.

The full set includes:

  • starry starry night (twinkling midnight blue)
  • life of the party (pinot noir pearl)
  • bikini with a martini (frosted iridescent pink)
  • sequin sash (a sheer glittery bronze with silver flecks)
  • birthday suit (cheeky delicate nude)
  • cabana boy (ultra-cool pearly white)

Each lacquer’s cap is adorned with gold diamonds in honor of the iconic Stardust Casino in the city where the brand first began – Vegas. When it first debuted, showgirls and chic card dealers fell in love with the essie’s dazzling colors and shimmery finishes. Today, Vegas is where essie has their flagship salon, LOOK Style Society.

After this collection first went live on the website, starry starry night sold out in less than 24 hours. But don’t worry, it will be back on Dec. 22nd right here!

Green Spa Network Announces New Board Members

Images courtesy of GSN

Four new members have joined the GSN board for 2016.

The Green Spa Network recently announced four new board members, including (pictured top to bottom, left to right) Rose Fernandez, VP Sales and Marketing, Jurlique; Tessa Kienow, Regional Sales Manager, ReadyCare Industries; Shelley Lotz, Founder, Vios Spa Group; and Peter Plishka, Director of Communications, Natural Body Spa & Shop.

Rose Fernandez oversees the North American business for Jurlique. With over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing in the skincare world, Rose has developed strong businesses by focusing on brand, relationships and profitability. This has been demonstrated across channels in spa, retail, and digital. She is also keenly passionate about assembling the right team and developing people to success.

Since October of 2012 Rose has been the lead ambassador of the Jurlique brand and passionate about connecting partners to Jurlique’s purpose “to inspire people to well-being through connection with nature.” She is committed to developing the Jurlique brand to be the leader in natural premium skincare and is proud of the pillars for which Jurlique embodies; purity, potency, expertise, heritage, and responsibility.

Rose holds a BS in Marketing from the University of Phoenix and has been featured in various publications on the topics of brand and strategy. Rose is also active member of ISPA, GSN, and CEW.

Tessa Kienow has long found her professional home working in the spa and wellness industry. With over 20 years of experience in hospitality and 10 + years of experience in resort spa operations and executive hotel leadership with regional oversight of multiple spas. The past couple of years she has been working in a consulting capacity for both spas and wellness brands on a variety of projects, including The Buzz Bus, A Wellness Lifestyle Tour. In her current role with ReadyCare Industries as Regional Sales Manager for the Mid-Atlantic she enjoys being able to travel and meet an even wider network work spa professionals. She is based in Atlanta, GA where she works hard to live a life filled with intention and reduce the footprint her family leaves on the planet. She has been volunteering with the Green Spa Network for a little over 3 years holding the co-chair position for the Congress Planning team for the last 2.

Shelley Lotz has over 25 years of experience in the spa/wellness/beauty industry as an esthetician, educator, and business owner. Her newest book is Green Spas and Salons: How to Make Your Business Truly Sustainable. She is a major contributing author of Milady’s Standard Esthetics Fundamentals, a textbook for esthetician students. She started an institute of aesthetics and is also a Certified Sustainable Building Advisor. Shelley recently launched Vios Spa Group, a consulting, management, and education company.

In addition to traveling, writing articles and volunteering for the Green Spa Network keeps life interesting. Her purpose is to inspire, educate, and connect with others who have enthusiastic energy and a shared vision of sustainability and wellness. Shelley lives in Ashland, Oregon with her Greek husband while dreaming of tropical beaches.

Peter Plishka is the Director of Communications for Natural Body Spa and Shop, a 12-unit day spa chain based in the Southeast, operating since 1989. Natural Body is a founding seed spa of the Green Spa Network, and has kept an active involvement since the beginning. With 8 years in the spa industry, Peter works daily in defining and expressing the green culture within Natural Body’s commitment to its sustainability mission. He has created and delivered numerous eco-focused programs on behalf of GSN, facilitating workshops, moderating panel discussions, and providing content on sustainability for industry trade publications. Peter is committed to assisting in defining GSN’s goals for the future, and creating functioning and pragmatic tools and strategies for members.

For more information, please visit

PBA Announces Return of Beauty Pitch

Image: PBA

The 2016 Beauty Pitch event will be held during PBA Beauty Week on Saturday, July 23rd.

The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) and Cosmoprof North America (CPNA) have announced the return of Beauty Pitch, to be held Saturday, July 23, 2016. Hosted by CPNA, this one-of-a-kind, beauty-centric competition will be held in Las Vegas during PBA Beauty Week. This event provides entrepreneurs from all sectors of the beauty industry a way to connect with qualified investors and the industry at large.

“The Professional Beauty Association is proud to be hosting Beauty Pitch 2016. Helping beauty businesses grow and fostering the entrepreneurial spirit is at the core of our association. This competition allows us to add a new dimension to our efforts,” said Steve Sleeper, Executive Director of PBA. “We’re very excited to have Mark Cuban join us again, and we’re grateful for his ongoing support and expertise. Beauty Pitch is a unique event for our industry – the only event of its kind focused on connecting beauty companies with qualified investors. The competition opens February 1st, we encourage all interested beauty companies to consider applying.”

Startup and Established Business Categories
The 2016 Beauty Pitch competition is open to all beauty entrepreneurs from all sectors including prestige, mass, clinical, organic/natural and the professional salon/spa market. This competition allows entrepreneurs to apply in either the Startup or Established categories, depending on the company's stage of business. The Startup category is for small business' "seeding" stage investment candidates, seeking angel or venture capital. The revenue requirement for the Startup category is $100,000 to $5M. The Established Business category is for businesses with annual revenues exceeding $5M. Businesses interested in applying for this category need to be willing to work with private equity investment groups.

Application Information
Beauty Pitch applicants will need to prepare a two-minute video, complete an online application and submit a one-page executive summary. Three finalist companies from both the Startup and Established categories will pitch their businesses to a live audience and panel of judges on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Registration opens February 1st, 2016 at a cost of $250 for CPNA Exhibitors and PBA Members and $500 for other entrants. From March 16-April 29, 2016 the cost to register is $350 for CPNA exhibitors and PBA members and $600 for other entrants. Starting February 1st, applications can be submitted at

A press event will be held on Sunday, January 30th, 2016 during PBA’s International Salon and Spa Expo (ISSE) where more event details will be revealed.

Beauty Pitch 2015
The inaugural competition attracted a “Who’s Who List” of attendees, drawing industry executives representing retailers, distributors, investors and well over 350 members of the media. In total, over 1,400 attendees attended this unprecedented event. Five beauty entrepreneurs pitched their products to high-profile judges consisting of Mark Cuban, John Paul DeJoria and editors from Martha Stewart Living and 100% Pure, the 2015 Beauty Pitch grand prize winner, received a one-year mentorship with Mark Cuban along with a $10,000 cash infusion from TSG Consumer Partners. Additionally, 2015 Beauty Pitch finalist, 18.21 Man Made took home the Audience Choice Award, which included a complimentary booth at CPNA 2016 and a one-year PBA membership.

For more details, please visit