“What’s an Esthetician?” Years ago at cocktail parties people would ask what I did for a living. When I said: Esthetician, a lot would say “Oh, so you put people to sleep for surgery?” uh, no, that’s an Anesthesiologist. The term Esthetician is much more mainstream now. I don’t always have to explain that I do non-medical skincare treatments, waxing and makeup. Though I do end up in a lot of conversations about the latest “miracle cream” being advertised on TV or get asked “Can you get rid of my wrinkles?” or “Can you fix my skin?” If only it were that simple, right?
My problem skin was an ongoing “project” of mine for many years, especially in my twenties and early thirties. You name it, I tried it. I had persistent acne, oiliness and unexplained rashes, extreme redness and sensitivity. Here I was, a “grown up” and my skin was a mess! It was a blow to the self-esteem at times. I spent a lot of time trying to cover up my skin. I was a regular in the beauty aisle at Target. The Clinique counter ladies at Dillards all knew me by name. I visited dermatologists for peels and other resurfacing treatments. None of it had any long-term effect. I’d get a little improvement then I always ended up right back where I started. It was quite frustrating, annoying even. I started getting regular facials around the time I turned 30. No bells and whistles just basic skincare facials that focused on cleansing, light exfoliating, extractions for acne, hydration and skin nourishment. At that time there were very few places in Wichita to even get a facial. I remember my co-workers thinking it was funny that I was paying someone else to wash my face. I didn’t take it personally, of course, they were un-informed on the details of a great skincare treatment. Around the same time I started researching my skin problems and learning about cosmetic ingredients and how diet can effect the skin. I read anything I could get my hands on.(I still do!) The resulting combination of getting facials and my new found knowledge on skin products and makeup was much clearer skin. I still had a ways to go with skin reactions and skin sensitivity though so I kept researching and learning about the skin. I even considered going to cosmetology school to become an Esthetician, but with bills to pay, I couldn’t justified quitting my full time job at the time.
As “luck” would have it I soon learned the office supply company I worked for was closing it’s doors and I was to be laid off in a few short months. I decided to take the chance and go to Esthetician school in early 2005. There were people in my life that thought I was making a big mistake. Several told me that I’d never get a job doing this and I’d never be able to make a living. Though slightly terrified at the thought of being unemployed and learning a new trade, there certainly wasn’t much else I wanted to do so I jumped in with both feet. About 6 months after being laid off I had earned a license to be an Esthetician.
So there I was, just out of Esthetician school and I still had my cycle of breakouts and inflamed skin! While it was considerably better than in years past, I still had this persistent problem with my skin. It was mortifying to put myself out there as a professional skincare therapist, but I just grabbed my concealer and decided to fake it till I made it! I started using a 302 Professional Skincare around that time. I learned even more from the trainers at 302 on how to treat truly sensitive skin. So much of the skincare industry is about resurfacing and peeling the skin. The idea is to prompt the skin to reproduce new smoother layers of skin. I now know that this is an unsustainable way to treat skin, especially sensitive skin. I also started to take my health seriously and changed the way I was eating, cutting out soda and processed foods and drinking lots of water. I made some changes to my personal life, deciding that I was going to change my thinking and not let the usual things stress me out! I started taking time for myself and saying no more. (Although looking back I had a LONG way to go in that department!) It took a few months but my skin transformed and so did the skin of my clients, a lot of whom were on a similar journey as I had been with my problem skin! I learned early on in my skincare practice that there is no one right treatment or product for everyone. Each client is so completely different building a relationship with them and getting to know their individual needs is the key, not throwing the latest, greatest “miracle cream” or fad at them. I worked in a spa locally for two years and continued to build my knowledge on healthy skin. I always kept my focus on holistic treatments and treated the skin as just one piece of the puzzle having known from my own experience that the skin is influenced by many internal and external factors like diet, stress, environment etc.
In 2007, I started Skin Essentials. I chose the name because I wanted something simple that reflected my passion of holistic skincare. Just the “essentials” for great skin, no junk, no gimmicks.
In 2012 I went through a year-long program with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to become a holistic health coach. I’d spent years giving my skincare clients advise on what to eat for great skin and I also learned that food allergies and sensitivities had caused much of my skin problems as well as other health problems I’d been dealing with. The program at IIN was just a way to further expand my knowledge in this area. It also taught me many business building and coaching skills which have been so valuable in growing Skin Essentials into what it is today. Also attending local business seminars and participating in education through Aveda in recent years has enriched my professional and personal life so much.
Skin Essentials just celebrated it's 9th birthday and it has grown from just my one-room Esthetician service to a spa with 8 Estheticians. I started with just one line of skincare and now Skin Essentials offers many lines of skincare and cosmetics including Aveda, Dermalogica, Alima Pure, Blinc, Billion Dollar Brows, Elke Brow Collection and of course, 302 Professional Skincare. I’m so happy to be able to offer these options, and choose only products I’m passionate about and products that I actually use, because I spent so many years looking for the ones that worked for my freakishly sensitive skin! When it comes to cosmetics we have sought out healthy, natural alternatives to support the health of the skin, not just cover it up. When it comes to eyebrow and eyelash design, a popular segment of the beauty biz, we base our designs on each individual client and their unique features instead of being overly focused on the latest trends. My fellow Estheticians are as passionate as I am and are on their own journey of discovery with their clients. I love that we work together instead of competing with each other. I am so lucky to be working with pros that love what they do and contribute so much to our community. I believe we have built a great culture at Skin Essentials by focusing on our clients health and wellbeing instead of chasing the ever unattainable ideal of “anti-aging”. We teach our clients that if you take the steps to be healthy and take care of the health of your skin, you will automatically be beautiful inside and out.
I’m so glad I didn’t listen to other peoples fears and started on this journey so many years ago. Looking back I had no idea what I was getting into. I didn’t know how much work it was going to be. I also didn’t know how much I would learn and how exciting and rewarding it would be. I didn’t know about the community of brilliant, caring people I would come to know and love. I can’t wait to see what the future brings!