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Behind the Scenes: An Interview with Rita Beril Roberts, Owner of Ayna Ayna Beauty!

Introducing our exciting new partnership with Ayna Ayna Beauty! We are thrilled to offer discounted rates and can't wait to share her inspiring journey as a beauty entrepreneur with you. Keep reading to learn more!

1: What inspired you to open 'Ayna Ayna Beauty'? Tell us about your journey as a female

business owner in the beauty industry… What makes you unique from other beauty salons?

When I moved to Istanbul, I couldn't help but notice a glaring gap in the market. There was a

dearth of beauty establishments that prioritised self-care as a lifestyle choice, rather than a

mere utilitarian service. Furthermore, there seemed to be a serious lack of English-speaking

salons, even in the most affluent neighbourhoods of Istanbul. It was disappointing to see that my

desire for a full spa pedicure was met with nothing more than a sloshy bucket of water, blunt

tools, and little knowledge about hand and foot care. I knew that I had to fill this void and provide

a truly indulgent and rejuvenating experience to those who craved it- myself included!

2: You are based in Istanbul, Turkey - are you originally from there? Tell us about your life/ when

did you become an expat?

I was born in Istanbul, but when I was six years old, my mother and I immigrated to Florida.

Growing up, I spent time between the two countries, always feeling like an expat or a native

depending on the situation. I moved to Budapest to pursue a Master’s degree. That’s where I

came into contact with the Russian methodology of doing nails.

After my Masters, I was visiting my mother in Istanbul when I was offered a teaching job that

came with a salary that was too good to turn down. I loved teaching, but I found it too corporate,

and unfortunately, the women in my industry were… not supportive of each other.

It was during this time that I met my husband, and together, we decided to pool our resources

together to open a salon. That was three years ago, and since then, the salon has weathered a

pandemic and we are now navigating a national financial crisis. As a business owner, it's been

challenging, but I remain determined to find a way forward and continue offering our clients the

best possible service and products.

3: As someone who works in the beauty industry what would you say are the biggest ‘beauty trends’

for women?

It definitely depends on your lifestyle. Women who physically show-up for work are really into

permanent makeup because it saves them time in the morning and it saves them from hauling

makeup inside their bags. They also prefer gel manicures and shorter nails.

Women who don’t work at all prefer gel extensions and services that have lesser time between each

appointment, like G5 massages or lash extensions.

Lash lifts are popular with everyone.

4: What advice do you have for women who may be looking for facial rejuvenation but don’t

want to go under the knife…?

The medical tourism has definitely gotten very popular in Turkey. For that reason, prices for

enhancements and reconstructive surgery are aimed at foreigners. For expats who are settled

and earning the local currency, it may be difficult to set aside funds for beauty treatments.

A customised facial with skincare expert and a 'Dermapen' treatment will give you a great glow

and you are only required to do it once a month!

5: What would you say is the best massage for healing and relaxation? Is massage good for

mental health?

Any massage that you come to with a quiet mind is a great massage. If you cannot achieve this,

it’s best to visualise your own body and focus on the physical sensations.

For female expat women and female digital nomads, what beauty advice would you give...

When scoping out beauty salons, what should you look for/what should you avoid?

Make sure you can communicate with them. You don’t want to go in asking for long, loose

waves and come out with a short bob.

Look at their social media.

Are their pictures consistent? What products are they using?

Look at their Google reviews. Don’t focus on location too much. Great service is worth traveling

for. Look around. Is it clean? Is it in a safe neighbourhood?

Ask questions. Always make an appointment and show up on time.

Ask for prices. Have a local ask for prices, too! (some places are a bit…well, scammy)

Be open to new experiences. Every country has their own way of doing things.

7: Tell us about permanent make up - what does it entail?

Permanent makeup is the process of inserting pigment into the skin and is a form of tattooing.

The pigment is permanent but will fade somewhat over time and will likely need to be touched-

up through the years. It involves measuring and checking for accuracy. Only after everyone is

happy with the shape and colour and the area is numbed does the artist start the actual


8: Where have you traveled/lived/worked that has left a lasting impression on you?

Working as an international teacher changed me. I have worked in kindergartens to universities.

I truly enjoy conveying information to people and watching their lives improve. I like helping

people. I like making space for people to create and discuss.

There are a lot of benefits to traveling and a simple Google search will provide you with pages

of inspirational quotes. My favourite thing about traveling was learning how to make a city mine

and then letting it go. It takes time and care to cultivate relationships, finding bars you like,

picking out a nail salon, learning how to use the public transport…

And then you move and it’s like it didn’t matter. But it does. It does matter. It’s an incredibly

human experience.

9: What beauty hacks/secrets do you have - what are the future beauty trends?

The future of beauty is education. More and more, women ask me about the active ingredients

in their skincare. Are they eco-friendly? Are they compatible with their particular skin? With the

global economy the way it is, we all want to minimise. There’s no room for the 18-step Korean

skin care anymore. There’s no point in over-saturation. You just need what works for you.

10: What advice do you have for women who may struggle financially to afford beauty

treatments but still want to look well groomed?

A targeted skin-care regimen consisting of a cleanser, serum, moisturiser will keep your skin

maintained. You can always call a knowledgeable salon and consult with them. Sure, they will want to try to get you in for a service (can’t really blame them), but the good ones will also try to educate you

on what you can do at home.

11: Lastly, how did you become established as a beauty business in Istanbul, Turkey?

I don’t want it to seem like I did this all on my own, I had seed capital (a mixture of my own

savings, my husband’s salary, and a little from my parents). I don’t want anyone to be under the

illusion that any of this was easy. Our efforts opened a door for me and I have kept that door

open through a lot of hard work. Owning a physical business in a politically and financially

unstable country is stressful and sometimes I have doubts about moving forward. I am currently

weighing my options and and wondering if I should jump into a new career. As a woman with

two professions already, adding a 3rd doesn’t seem all that daunting anymore. I feel like the

ability to acquire skills is the key moving forward.

We have partnered with Ayna Ayna Beauty to bring you discounted rates as a member of Her Expat Life! Find all the details on our website!

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