Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

My Beauty Business Icons April 2, 2012

Filed under: beauty — askanesthetician @ 5:00 am
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Allure published a list of their beauty innovators a while ago and that got me thinking: just who are my beauty industry icons? Allure named Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden, Max Factor, Bobbi Brown, and Charles Revson (founder of Revlon) as their beauty innovators since combined these five transformed the face of American beauty (or should we say faces?). While of these entrepreneurs have made lasting and important contributions to the American beauty industry I decided that my beauty icons were a little different (except I do agree about one of the people mentioned above). I’ve been thinking about this post for some time and finally decided that it was time to publish it even if, at the moment, only four people came to mind whom I wanted to highlight at this point. I have a feeling there will be a part two to this post in the future.

The four people I want to talk about in this post are: Bobbi Brown – make-up artist and mogul, Jane Wurwand – founder of Dermalogica and advocate for women everywhere, Linda Wells – editor-in-chief of Allure magazine, and RuPaul – drag superstar and role model. I know it is a diverse crowd, but why leave anyone out?

Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown began her make-up empire because she saw a hole in the beauty industry for make-up that real women wanted and needed. Allure explained it best in their piece about Brown:

As a makeup artist in the high-artifice times of the late ’80s and early ’90s, Bobbi Brown sensed that something was missing from the marketplace. She wanted to wear makeup that enhanced rather than transformed, that celebrated uniqueness and was easy to apply. So she made it herself, starting with a pinkish brown lipstick that instantly took off. But as much as women loved Brown’s colors, it was her underlying philosophy of self-acceptance that really struck a chord. “Beauty isn’t about looking perfect,” she said. “It’s about celebrating your individuality.”

Reading The New York Times‘ recent article about Brown, The Mogul Next Door, made me admire her even more. Brown seems down to earth and approachable and is really committed to helping others . She very actively supports Dress for Success which helps women from disadvantaged backgrounds find, prepare for, and keep professional jobs. Not only does Brown really does want all women to feel great about how they look she gives them the tools to do so. I have Brown’s book Makeup Manual which I really love. This book really helps someone learn to apply make-up beautifully – for daytime or nighttime looks and for all ethnicities. I learned how to do a smoky eye from this book. I feel that Bobbi Brown sets a great example for anyone looking to succeed in the beauty industry. She also shows that nice girls can finish first.

Jane Wurwand

I am sure that unlike Bobbi Brown few people outside of the spa industry have heard of Jane Wurwand, founder and owner of Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute (which offers post-graduate education for estheticians). In my opinion, the fact that Wurwand isn’t as well-known as Brown is a shame. As an esthetician I find Wurwand to be a great role model. Wurwand’s online bio from Dermalogica explains her key beliefs and causes:

Two core concepts guide the growth of the brand, as embodied by Jane herself: the transcendent power of human touch, and the far-reaching effects of education. These dual qualities have not only shaped the success of Dermalogica, but also provided a social blueprint for women’s financial success in every country and economy.

As a passionate advocate for mentoring and entrepreneurship, Jane writes and speaks frequently about the specific financial needs of women, especially in the developing world. Within the context of the skin care profession itself, comparatively modest licensing requirements and initial capital investments costs offer many women unusual access to financial independence. This experience is further enriched, socially, culturally and politically, by the fact that 98% of all professional skin therapists are women, and that these professionals attract a clientele which is 92% female—literally creating more woman entrepreneurs than any other industry in the world.

Through her work in many areas of philanthropy, education and women’s business development, Jane now champions her brand, via The Dermalogica Foundation, to create and support similar opportunities for women in other professions through a hand up, not a hand out. Jane shares the view that the future for world-economy depends upon the ability for women, especially marginalized women, to financially support themselves and their children. In January 2011, through her foundation and in partnership with Kiva.org, Jane launched a global initiative to empower women worldwide called FITE – Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship. The first microlending Web site that solely focuses on women entrepreneurs, FITE will help a minimum of 25,000 women to start or grow a business in over 57 countries around the world.

I think that it is great that estheticians have such a strong advocate for estheticians’ continuing education and success. I really admire Wurwand’s committment to helping women everywhere achieve financial independence. If you want to know more of what Wurwand thinks of a whole range of subjects be sure to read her blog. She’s feisty and opinionated, and I love it.

Linda Wells

Anyone who has read my blog with any consistency knows that I love Allure magazine (of course I even began this post by mentioning the magazine).   I love Allure for the make-up tips and tricks and for the up-to-date, excellent skincare information.  Yet another reason why I am a devoted reader of Allure is because of its editor-in-chief Linda Wells.  I wish Wells could be my friend since I feel like I know her just from reading her monthly letter from the editor in the magazine.  There is a realness to Wells’ attitude about beauty and celebrities that is refreshing and a pleasure to read.  Ok while I may be a die-hard Allure fan I feel like most people can really find something of value in this magazine in order to enhance their beauty routine.  Wells always seems to find the right balance between trying to look good and youthful without going overboard and being fake.  Lastly, unlike some beauty magazine editor-in-chiefs she really seems far from aloof which makes me like her even more.  And Allure almost never has articles about how to land a guy and what the newest sex position is.  It’s a magazine for intelligent women who just want to look good.

Coming in as a close second for my favorite editor-in-chief of a beauty magazine is Joanna Coles of Marie Claire magazine.  I “discovered” Coles while watching Project Runway All Stars where she was the mentor for the contestants.  I love the fact that Coles is straight-forward without being mean, that she’s intelligent, and a great advocate for women, especially working women.  I just wish I liked the magazine she edits more.  And by the way, am I the only one out there that develops “crushes” on magazine editors?  It must be a side effect on my life long fascination/addiction to glossy beauty and fashion magazines.

RuPaul

I know that my inclusion of RuPaul in this list of my beauty business icons may seem odd to many and quite a stretch given the category, but here’s a fact about me – I love drag queens. And I really love RuPaul. Yes, sometimes RuPaul can be over-the-top and outrageous, but I also think that she is very beautiful and glamorous. I also believe that RuPaul is a great role model and not just for gays or aspiring drag queens. I think everyone can learn more than a few self-esteem lessons from this drag superstar. Though RuPaul is really an entertainer above all and not a beauty maven, in the past RuPaul has been a cosmetic spokesperson (as the first face for MAC’s Viva Glam make-up whose sales support HIV/AIDS awareness), as well as a music star, and now a mentor to other drag queens on his show RuPaul’s Drag Race (and yes, I have watched the show, well I watched one season all the way through). If you read any of RuPaul’s books or bio you’ll see that RuPaul has struggled with finding his place in the world, low self-esteem, and substance abuse issues. Having overcome all of these I really believe that RuPaul serves as a gorgeous role model for anyone looking to express themselves without shame or embarrassment. Lastly, RuPaul proves that true beauty knows no boundaries.

I would love to hear who you admire in the beauty industry. Please share below.

image from papermag.com

 

The Healing Touch November 10, 2010

Quite some time ago I wrote a post called Why You Should Get a Facial ASAP.  In the post I mentioned how important the massage part of the facial was for both your skin and your physical and mental wellbeing.  Recently I was reading my copy of Skin Inc. magazine and came across a piece written by Jane Wurwand called Healing the Industry, the World and Ourselves about the power of skincare and how “professional skin care is a healing force, in more than one sense.”  Personally I read Skin Inc. in order to stay informed about the latest trends, treatments, and innovations in the esthetic world and normally don’t find much personal inspiration in the pages of the magazine.  So I was pleasantly surprised to read Wurwand’s piece.

Before I go into greater detail about the article I’ll briefly explain who Wurwand is.  Jane Wurwand is the founder and owner of the skincare brand Dermalogica which if it isn’t already is on its way to becoming a household name.  Not only does Wurwand develop products for Dermalogica she also oversees the training of skin therapists in 28 countries through the International Dermal Institute which is a center for post-graduate esthetics education.  She has extensive experience both as an esthetician, educator, and leader in the esthetics field so I certainly take what she has to say seriously.

I found quite a few inspirational things in Wurwand’s article:

Through this skin care profession that we love, we can change the world, one person at a time; maybe even save the world, one skin at a time.

No thinking person will deny the fact that the world is in need of healing. But, where to begin? The question and the task are more than merely daunting. The skin, far more so than the eyes, is the window to the soul, or certainly, to the being of a person. Genetics, environment, nutrition, hormonal activity; every aspect of health, every nuance of experience and mood present themselves in the living epidermis.

So my suggestion is that, rather than starting world-healing on the macro level, the micro level needs to be taken care of first. Begin with the skin. My experience of the past three decades suggests that professional skin care is a healing force, in more than one sense.

A client’s skin tells the spa professional a great deal about her world. Consider how the relationship between the spa professional and the client begins; they lay their living skin upon the client’s naked skin—naked hands upon the naked face. This sort of social touching is essential to civilization, in my opinion. It is nonsexual and nonthreatening, but today, is virtually illegal in the industrialized world. For example, any workplace attorney will tell you that a casual touch on the job can land you in court. The most essential component of humanity—touching—has been all but eradicated from a person’s daily identity.

When the skin is touched, the brain responds. Presuming that the touch is favorable, a cascade of feel-good chemicals rushes through the neurons. Endorphins, dopamine and serotonin flood the brain, balancing out cortisol levels—that twitchy, nasty stress hormone. Most powerful in this outpouring is the soothing, grounding brain chemical called oxytocin, the antithesis of cortisol.

Considering that the spa profession is mainly made up of women—female therapists caring for female clients—triggering oxytocin may be much of the reason that women continue to seek out beauty services, regardless of the economy or other circumstances. This is evident in Afghanistan, Rwanda and other places where salons and beauty schools fearlessly spring up out of the rubble of war. Women need, want and demand the reassurance of touch from other women, and this touch is the beginning of the rebuilding of community.

Health and beauty services are some of the few contexts in which touching between strangers is still socially acceptable. Some in the spa community believe that, for hygienic reasons, skin care treatments should be given wearing disposable latex gloves, as though one were working at a chicken-processing factory. This would nearly defeat the purpose.

 

Is it naive to think that facials and haircuts can change the world?  I don’t think so at all and that is why I liked the fact that Wurwand pointed out that both a positive, soothing touch and interactions between two human beings can help change the world on a micro level.  By being empathetic and caring estheticians can help provide their clients with a sanctuary from the real world even if it is only for an hour.  Such positive interactions can only benefit all those involved and yes, that might just help heal the world a little bit.

 

 
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