Beating the Holiday Blues


We all come to the Christmas season with different emotions, experiences, and expectations. For some, the days of late November through the New Year are congruent with the words of Andy Williams’ famous song, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”  For many, these days tap into a now distant childhood and bring out a youthful excitement that we seldom see the rest of the year.  For others, however, this time of year is a dreaded span of time, filled with stress, financial strain, uncomfortable proximity to family dynamics which have caused significant emotional wounds, etc.  For a number of people the shortened days and cold weather foster what some refer to as “the blues”…or an even deeper level of emotional discomfort known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.

A growing body of research within psychology has focused on the role of therapeutic touch as it pertains to depression. Psychological research has produced findings which show that the work of massage therapists and spa technicians is more than just for pampering.  Massage therapy is also linked to pain relief, increased alertness, diminishing of depression, and the enhancement of immune function.

While the role of professional counseling and social support cannot be overstated. Many healthcare professionals are looking at a holistic approach to dealing with life stressors and depression.  Professional counseling relationships, healthy social support, exercise, diet, self-talk, mindfulness….all important facets of healthy lives and emotion management.  That holistic approach has also expanded to embrace the role of therapeutic touch, with inpatient facilities offering massage therapy to their patients.

So, if you find yourself experiencing stress and the holiday blues, maybe it would be beneficial to take a time-out for some much needed self-care. Head to Toe Day Spa has a wonderful staff of massage therapists who provide Swedish, Deep Tissue, Prenatal, and Hot Stone Massages.  We would love to schedule a session for you, in hopes that it will help your holiday season be a little more enjoyable.

Additionally, Reiki sessions are available in our Medical Spa with our very own Lillianne Kepley, a certified Reiki Master. Reiki is a Japanese technique used to reduce stress and promote relaxation.  It helps alleviate tension and pain caused by stress and health related issues.  The Reiki session also incorporates elements of therapeutic touch.

Lilli and Denise Coates, massage therapist at Head to Toe, have teamed up to offer clients a package service that marries Reiki and Therapeutic Massage at a significant savings. This package would include one Reiki Session followed by a massage for the incredible price of $65.

If you’re in need of some self-care this holiday season, or for the post holiday crash, consider a massage, a Reiki session, or both. To schedule a consultation or additional information about Reiki, feel free to contact Lilli at 919.368.2163 or email her at .

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of taking care of oneself, of honoring one’s own needs and taking the steps necessary to ensure peace in one’s life.  I hold an MA in Mental Health Counseling… part of the curvaceous, wonderful journey my life has been.  I have had experience in the counseling arena, both mental health and educational counseling.  While completing my degree, I fulfilled my practicum requirements at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, serving in the areas of substance abuse counseling, mental health counseling with the severely depressed, and counseling support for those recently diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.  I have served in higher education as both recruiter and enrollment counselor.  Before setting out to achieve my long-held dream of working in the hair industry, I served as a psychiatric technician and teacher of coping and life skills at a local mental health hospital.

Sadly, there is still much stigma attached to mental health and the gift of therapy.   The reality is that we all need help from time to time, we all need a nonjudgmental, safe place in which to share our fears and concerns.  Life is hard.  I see counseling as nothing more than an efficacious extension of the social support we all need to make sense of our experiences, stressors, and losses in this life.  Much of what I taught in the hospital environment were lessons that I have learned and employed in my own life through the years.  They were/are offered in the spirit of brother in the journey of life…not as professor or sage.  And, most of those lessons are not simply something reserved for therapy…they are proven methods of developing a greater sense of internal peace and harmony with oneself and the world around us!

In addition to visiting our Spa this season, let me offer you some food for thought concerning something that has the potential to improve your mood this season…something that will not cost you a dime.  After all, the beautification of our own hearts, minds, and souls is as important as any other form of self-improvement…some would argue that it is even more salient.  Self-awareness is a beautiful and hard-won achievement.

In one of my counseling classes, the professor began our session with an exercise.  We were to take out a piece of paper and, over the five minutes she allotted, make a list of things for which we were thankful.  At the end of the exercise, she shared a study with us concerning the positive effects of gratitude.  I regret that I did not capture the name of that study.  Nevertheless, the bottom line was that in a particular test group, those who took time daily to keep a journal of gratitude were overall healthier, happier people.  I am including a link to an article which echoes this point, even though it is not the exact study which she mentioned.

Obviously, there is something about taking the time to list a few things each day for which we feel gratitude that elevates us to a higher plain of wellbeing.  And, if this is true…why wouldn’t we want to spend just five or ten minutes out of our day to follow this advice? It’s a journey I’m going to be making this holiday season!  Anyone wish to join me?

Here’s the link:

Why Gratitude Is Good.

We hope your Christmas is filled with rich moments of peace, joy, and gratitude! Amidst all the chatter and bustle, remember to take care of yourself and make time for the things that give you peace and joy.  If our services can help with that, we would be honored to see you!

Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas!

Head to Toe Day Spa & Salon is a full-service spa and salon, offering exceptional service to the people of the Wilmington area.  Voted the best spa in Wilmington for three years running.  We are located at 1970 Eastwood Road, Wilmington, NC. 

 Special thanks for Lilli Kepley and Denise Coates for sharing their vision for this article!

Blog written by Joseph Styron, Hairdresser at Head to Toe Day Spa and Salon


Get Your Groom On!

mens blog pic

Across the nation a niche has developed based on the understanding that women are not the only ones who care about their appearance.  Salons and spas devoted exclusively to the male client have emerged across the world, capturing a target market that has too long been overlooked.  The reality that these salons are capitalizing on is that everyone wants to look their best…no gender should have the market cornered on this.  That shift in mindset has turned the world of male grooming and male self-care into a multi-billion dollar a year worldwide industry.

What men are embracing, world-wide, is that manly does not mean unkept.  There are a wide range of personal styles.  But regardless of one’s personal style, or preferences for their significant other…whether one prefers the clean shaven, smooth bodied look or bearded with a Tom Selleck chest….no man looks good with three inch ear hair or a shag carpet peaking up above the collar of his tee shirt.  And that’s just the way it is.

As was mentioned in a previous blog, Head to Toe Day Spa and Salon has a significant and valued male client base.  For twenty years we have been serving some of Wilmington’s top male executives, medical professionals, firemen, surfers, actors, fishermen, principals, athletes, and the list goes on.  These men span all age ranges and stations in life, and we are grateful for every one of them.

Over the years we have seen more and more of these men enter our doors.  Initially, many of them are looking for a salon experience that takes greater care with their haircut and styling than they receive at some other places.  One of their favorite aspects being the attention they receive at the shampoo bowl, with a complementary scalp massage and products designed exclusively for men.  However, our services for men expand far beyond our hair salon.

More and more men are taking advantage of the full range of services we offer.  From a massage to target those problem areas associated with stress and vocational or sports injury to a full menu of waxing options, men are beginning to take full advantage of the benefits found in the spa.  We also offer an infrared sauna that has been proven to assist with joint pain, detoxification, skin issues, and a host of other benefits.

Additionally, many men are beginning to take advantage of our nail salon for manicures and pedicures tailored specifically to the needs of our male clients.  We offer wireless headsets and flat screen televisions in our nail salon, allowing our male clients to watch the big game while they receive a pedicure and manicure.  This is beginning to be a special Sunday afternoon treat for our male clients…not to mention that they can bring in their own beer to enjoy during their service.

While the international trend of catering to this clientele has taken on considerable momentum in that past several years, we at Head to Toe have been providing these services for some time.  Nonetheless, we are constantly evolving and thinking of new ways to provide our male clients with exceptional, tailored services.  Gentlemen, we invite you to come in and take full advantage of the opportunities we provide you.  Join the ranks of countless other men worldwide who are discovering the male-tailored spa experience.  Groom on!

Head to Toe Day Spa & Salon is a full-service spa and salon, offering exceptional service to the people of the Wilmington area.  Voted the best spa in Wilmington for three years running.  We are located at 1970 Eastwood Road, Wilmington, NC. 


Blog written by Joseph Styron, Hairdresser at Head to Toe Day Spa and Salon


Keeping your money close to home.



“What do you get the person who has everything?”

Ever find yourself asking that question?  How things have changed!  I grew up in a lower middle class family, as most of us were in the little fishing villages that I call home.  From mid summer on, anytime I mentioned anything I wanted I could count on one standard response: “Christmas is coming.”  We awaited Christmas morning with such a sense of anticipation.  Now, it seems that it’s Christmas all year long.  If we want something, we typically just go out and get it.  And in some ways those packages on Christmas morning have lost their excitement.  We are now faced with the dilemna of finding gifts that are meaningful to people who already have everything they need and most of what they want.  It’s really a privileged problem to have when you look at it in print.  Nevertheless, it’s a real dilemna for many of us.

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”  While that can be applied to life on many levels, it is particularly salient this time of year.  There is a sense of good will and giving that seems to permeate the air from November to January.  There is a real desire to give for joy it brings.  That being said, I would like to give you some food for thought concerning where you do business this season.

There seems to be an increasing sense of awareness in our culture as it pertains to supporting local business.  We have been conditioned, largely through convenience and effective marketing, to support big business, to flood large department store chains in the coming weeks to find that perfect gift.  Sadly, we seldom stop to consider the small, local businesses that add so much to our local economy.  In 2010 “Small Business Saturday” came into being.  It was a national movement aimed at bringing awareness to the need of supporting those small, local businesses that serve our hometowns and provide employment to the local workforce.  Imagine how sad Wilmington would be if it was only comprised of large corporate businesses.

As you make your holiday shopping plans, I respectfully ask you to consider shopping local.  On Black Friday, for one day only, Head to Toe Day Spa and Salon will be offering a 20% discount on all gift certificates for any dollar amount above $100.  Who wouldn’t love to receive a gift certificate enabling them to treat themselves to a spa service after a stressful week at work?  To break it down further, you could treat that someone special to one of our “Divine Indulgence” spa days and save over $70 on the regular package price.  This includes a body wrap of the client’s choice, a full session Sweedish Massage, reflexology, one deluxe facial, one deluxe pedicure, and one deluxe manicure.  As with all of our packages, it can be used in a single session or split up, giving your loved one the ability to treat themselves to multiple visits that may be more condusive to their time constraints and busy schedules.

I would venture to say that the men in your life may be some of the hardest to shop for.  I mean, how many ties does one man need?!  Consider building a package for that special man in your life!  A significant and valued part of our client base at Head to Toe Day Spa and Salon are men.  You may just be surprised how much the man in your life would enjoy a massage, an infrared sauna session, a treatment facial, and a pedicure.  You could even purchase two at the discounted price and share a spa day together in the New Year.

On Small Business Saturday, November 28th, we will be offering 20% off all retail (with the exception of already discounted retail items).  We have a wonderful selection of the highest quality makeup and skin care lines, haircare products, professional styling tools, and nail care items.   Additionally, we stock a large assortment of Trapp Candles, soaps, and lotions.

With only one week until the largest shopping day of the year, take a moment to consider those local businesses which could provide you with high quality, unique gifts for your loved ones.  Wilmington is rich with wonderful local businesses that supply an array of services and products for the local consumer.  We sincerely appreciate your patronage throughout the year, and we hope that we will be one of your stops next weekend.


Head to Toe Day Spa & Salon is a full-service spa and salon, offering exceptional service to the people of the Wilmington area.  Voted the best spa in Wilmington for three years running.  We are located at 1970 Eastwood Road, Wilmington, NC 28403. 919.256.3370


Blog written by Joseph Styron, Hairdresser at Head to Toe Day Spa and Salon


Diversion…Are you being robbed?


More and more people are coming to understand that professional hair care products are truly worth the investment!  However, in the quest for a seemingly better bargain, many are leaving the salon after their sessions and are looking to save money by purchasing the recommended products at a major department store, supermarket, drug store, or discount venue.  Yes, you will find some professional product labels in those arenas…but there is a problem.  This is what we call diversion.

These stores are not authorized distributors of these products.  Often, what you are purchasing in these places are products which are expired, counterfeit, or simply not of the same quality.  Much has been written on this subject, as a simple internet search on the topic will quickly reveal. The bottom line:  You may think you are getting a deal, but you may be purchasing inferior product or actually paying more.

It is important to purchase your hair care products from your salon.  This way you are ensuring the quality of the product.  I know what many of you may be saying at this point… “The only reason you are saying this is because you want to make money, you want to keep the client’s money in the salon and not in a larger retail store.”  My answer: “You are absolutely right!  We do want to make money.”   But, lest you think that this is just a money making ploy, let me share some interesting findings with you.

Last week I decided to take a little field trip to a local supermarket that was displaying a considerable amount of Redken Haircare Products. What I found was surprising, even to me. In addition to the fact that these products are likely inferior in quality, compared to what you will obtain in the salon…they were also considerably more expensive. I will lay out my findings here and let the numbers speak for themselves:

Redken Diamond Oil Shampoo:

Our Price- $16.78     Harris Teeter- $21.99

Redken Diamond Oil Conditioner:

Our Price- $17.74     Harris Teeter- $22.99

Redken Extreme Shampoo:

Our Price- $14.50     Harris Teeter- $18.99

Redken Extreme Conditioner:

Our Price- $15.50     Harris Teeter- $19.99

Redken Rough Paste Styling Product:

Our Price- $18.00     Harris Teeter- $21.99

Redken Hardwear Styling Gel:

Our Price- $16.00     Harris Teeter- $19.99

Redken Color Extend Rich Recovery:

Our Price- $17.00     Harris Teeter- $20.99

That’s a considerable difference in price…and I could have gone on from there. Also, many people like to shop for products at Ulta, feeling they can get a better deal.

Head to Toe matches Ulta’s prices and honors their coupons.  I think this is an incredible service to offer our guests…we are offering competitive pricing for the highest quality products. Another thing to consider is that purchasing your products at Head to Toe helps your stylist in their professional advancement!

Furthermore, we offer incredible specials and promotions. For example, we are currently running a promotion on our haircare retail products, giving our clients a chance to win a piece of diamond jewelry through Kingoff’s Jewelers. We have already had two winners and will be selecting another in the months to come.

Come see us at Head to Toe Day Spa & Salon.  We have an impressive selection of retail with competitive pricing! You will be ensured that you are not purchasing inferior, diverted products. You will save money. You will help your stylist succeed and advance in their career.  And, you will have a chance to win a piece of diamond jewelry for yourself or a loved one….When you put it like that, it’s really a no brainer!  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Head to Toe Day Spa & Salon is a full-service spa and salon, offering exceptional service to the people of the Wilmington area.  Voted the best spa in Wilmington for three years running.  We are located at 1970 Eastwood Road, Wilmington, NC 28403. 919.256.3370

Blog written by Joseph Styron, Hairdresser at Head to Toe Day Spa and Salon