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Lewiston business owner restores confidence for cancer survivors

Thu, Nov 30th 2017 02:35 pm
The after (top) and before images of a microblading technique offered at The Lash and Brow Boutique in Lewiston.
The after (top) and before images of a microblading technique offered at The Lash and Brow Boutique in Lewiston.
By Stacey Sheehan
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
Beauty is big business, and there is no shortage of salons, spas or shops in Western New York where one can go to enhance their look. But there is something really special happening out of a small treatment room on Ridge Street in Lewiston.
Inside an immaculately clean, yet very cozy room within Janice's Salon and Day Spa, you'll find Gina Streck. She is the owner and operator of The Lash and Brow Boutique. Streck offers a variety of treatments from glamorous eye lash extensions to rejuvenating facials, but she is more than just an esthetician: Streck is a talented artist who is using a relatively new procedure to restore confidence to those who need it most: cancer patients.
With a steady hand and the careful eye of a true perfectionist, Streck is using a technique called "microblading" to repair, conceal and minimize imperfections, while restoring natural looking eyebrows and hair lines.
Justine Graziadei, a recent client at the Lash and Brow Boutique, said, "I was so tired of having to try to draw on my eyebrows. They were uneven and very painted looking. It was something that bothered me every day. At the gym, at the pool my eyebrows would vanish. Gina was able to create for me a completely natural look that stays in place. I'm so happy now."
Streck's clients range from those who are seeking a more bold or trendy brow for cosmetic reasons, to those who have lost their eyebrows or been left with an asymmetry due to illness such as hypothyroidism, alopecia or bells palsy, or from chemotherapy.
While microblading is growing in popularity, Streck is the only person in the area who is registered as a recommended microblading technician with one of the nation's leading cancer treatment centers. After meeting Streck and reviewing her work, staff at Roswell Park Cancer Institute's Patient Resource Center accepted her proposal and opted to keep her information on hand for those patients who express interest in the procedure.
Since then, Streck has been working regularly with cancer survivors to restore natural hair patterns, providing her clients with a look that is more in line with what they saw in their mirror prior to receiving a cancer diagnosis.
Using micropigmentation, Streck is able to fill in gaps where natural hair growth occurs - such as in an eyebrow or beard - and actually design and recreate the illusion of hair. The result is a semi-permanent tattoo with strokes so precise, so fine and so delicate that they mimic natural hairs and follicles.
The results are stunning.
Each client is treated as an individual and the shade, shape and thickness of the eyebrow or hairline are personalized.
"It's not like the old days when everyone wanted the same exact overexaggerated eyebrow," Streck said "I take into consideration skin tone, hair color, face shape and the client's personal preference to ensure the best result for each individual."
Now in remission, cancer survivor Carla Infantino said she was tired of being reminded of her illness and went to Streck seeking a solution.
 "Cancer changes you; you don't feel the same about yourself," Infantino said. "You feel less confident. You see the imperfections, and you just don't feel comfortable in your own skin. Gina changed that for me. Microblading was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I owe Gina a great deal of thanks. Thanks to her, some of the hurtful reminders have been erased."
Streck said she enjoys being a part of restoring confidence in her clients.
"I feel like we go through this together," she said. "It's so rewarding to have a hand in changing the way someone views themselves. They come in as clients, but they definitely leave as friends."
The microblading process requires two appointments, each lasting between one and three hours and described as comfortable and relatively painless. The result lasts 12-24 months, depending on the individual's skin type and environment.
"It was worth every penny," client Karmel Macoretta said. "I was beyond happy with the results, happier than ever anticipated! Gina knows her craft; she is an artist with a very steady hand. It's saved me a lot of time not having to pencil in my eyebrows anymore. My face looks polished. I no longer spend my money on creams, powders and pencils trying to achieve the same normal eyebrow everyone else has. I feel like me - only better."
The Lash and Brow Boutique is located inside Janice's Salon and Day Spa at 440 Ridge St., Lewiston. Call 716-990-4337 for more information.

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