National Skincare Awareness Month’s founder Renee Rouleau, celebrity esthetician and owner of her namesake spa and skincare line, knows a thing or two about skincare. She practices in Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles and has over 25 years of experience helping her clients achieve healthy, beautiful, glowing skin.
Renee shares some insight into her life and business, plus the importance of taking the bathroom sink ice challenge.
How did you start out in the business?
I was inspired by my grandmother, an exceptional woman who worked tirelessly in her own beauty salon. My grandmother’s passion and dedication to give her very best resonates with me to this very day. She was an entrepreneur back in a day when most woman stayed at home and raised their children while the men went off to work. Growing up in her beauty salon, I observed how a woman would come in to her salon feeling down, and would leave glowing — both inside and out. I never underestimate how powerful looking good can positively affect a women’s self-esteem. So from a young age, my goal was to get people to like what they saw when they looked in the mirror.
What made you launch your own skincare line?
I saw a gap in the marketplace for truly customized skincare. From the beginning of my career as an esthetician in 1988, I recognized that every person’s skin is unique but the skincare industry mostly relied on a one-size-fits-all approach. Product lines were (and still are!) catered to very generic categories of skin — dry, normal, and oily — so I began formulating my own exclusive high-performance products based on nine skin types to ensure that my clients achieved the results they desired. Technology continues to customize our information, allowing us to make informed decisions and enhances our personal lifestyle, so why shouldn’t skincare be the same?
Any new products you’re especially excited about?
I’m launching a new skin oil that I’m very excited about. It contains a blend of 12 oils including sweet almond oil, evening primrose oil, rosehip oil, and safflower seed oil to hydrate and replenish leaving skin softer, and more supple. It’s ideal for post-sun, post-peel, post-laser, pre- and post-flight and any time the skin needs some serious hydration and repair. One of my pregnant celebrity clients just had her baby and used it throughout her pregnancy and got ZERO stretch marks.
What’s the number 1 skincare mistake you see women making?
This biggest mistake people make is not wearing sunscreen daily and not applying it generously enough. For starters, the number one reason why your skin will get premature aging is from sunlight, daylight, and UV rays — period. And 78% of those rays come from incidental exposure. These are all the times when you don’t think you’re getting the damaging rays — like driving in the car, sitting in your home or office near windows, or walking outside on a cloudy winter day when people don’t feel like they need sun protection. If you want to prevent wrinkles, wearing sunscreen 365 days a year, rain or shine, inside or out, is a must. No anti-aging product can be effective if you’re not stopping the DNA damage that occurs from UV light.
Share your best anti-aging skincare tip.
In addition to the obvious which is to wear sunscreen daily, exfoliate often. The quickest, easiest way to get smoother skin is to exfoliate regularly to remove surface, dry skin cells that can cause the skin to look wrinkly and older. Literally, just one use of a facial scrub can give you instantly smoother skin. It’s immediate gratification can provide a smooth canvas for which makeup can enhance. If you want even better results, add in an exfoliating acid serum while you sleep that continues to work over time to smooth the texture of the skin, making you look younger. These are simple products that can easily be used at home and can make a world of difference with your skin. I recommend using a mild facial scrub like Renée Rouleau Mint Buffing Beads ($42.50) two to three times a week. For an added boost, you can use an at-home skin peel like Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel ($86.50) twice a month or BHA Clarifying Serum ($47.50) three nights a week.
Share your best beauty tip.
Get a glow! I’m really an advocate for increasing blood flow to the skin for skins that need it. When the skin ages, less oxygen and nutrients are being delivered to the it. For example, by the time you are 75 years old, you have about 50% less blood vessels in your face, so with less vessels, it means less blood is flowing to the skin. The result can be sluggish, dull skin. So anything that can bring nutrient-rich blood to the face is always the best tip for aging. This includes hanging your head upside down for three minutes a day, or massaging your night cream into your skin with a bit of pressure from your fingertips. It brings a glow from within. Or even wearing a brighter blush color and avoiding clothing colors that can add to sallow skin tones like olive, burnt orange, khaki, and a warm yellow.
What is your own beauty routine like?
I am extremely diligent about caring for my skin. I use Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel ($36.50) as my morning cleanser. It’s so refreshing on my skin and really wakes it up and brings a bright glow. It’s sulfate-free so it won’t ever dry out my skin. To reduce morning under eye puffiness, I fill up my bathroom sink with cold water, add in a few ice cubes and splash my skin 20 times. The cold really helps to constrict capillaries which helps reduce puffy eyes. I always follow with an alcohol-free toner such as Elderberry Toner, ($33.50), and then my Vitamin C&E Treatment ($64.50) is a must. It has really helped to fade discoloration that I’ve gotten in my 40s, plus it gives a beautiful radiance. Daily Protection SPF 30 ($37.50) is my next product. I apply it generously to my face, neck, sides of my neck, and any exposed chest.
In the evening, I cleanse, tone and alternate nights between Advanced Resurfacing Serum (with retinol, $83.50), Skin Drink (with hyaluronic acid, $40.50) and AHA Smoothing Serum 17% (with pure glycolic acid, $45.50). Serums make all the difference for giving my skin results. I then follow with a lightweight moisturizer, Sheer Moisture ($37.50) and eye cream, Total Eye Repair Cream ($61.50). Once a week, I’ll use a facial scrub, Mint Buffing Beads ($42.50), followed by an at-home gentle peel Triple Berry Smoothing Peel ($86.50) and then a hydrating mask Bio Calm Repair Masque ($51.50). I also listen to my skin. I change up my skincare routine at night a lot. Healthy, beautiful skin requires a variety of high-performance ingredients and at night is the best time to do that.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out in the business?
It is a fact that a large percentage of people who go through the effort and investment of attending and graduating from esthetics school will never end up practicing esthetics, or will do so for a short time. I believe this is because they could not find a job or if they did, the job was not the right fit for them. My best advice is to explore every option for employment, but be sure to only apply for a position that best suits your style and personality. This way you’re going into the career with a better chance of success.
Photo Credit: anushkaspa.com
Ever wonder where do Palm Beach ladies who lunch go to get flawless skin? Anushka Spa, Salon & Cosmedical Centre’s top facialist Uslin Wood has been beautifying the South Florida elite for 10 years. Her special combination of extractions, peels and serums with a hint of Caribbean know-how has made her the go to facial wizard for the ladies who lunch set. In between cobb salads, tennis tournaments and parties for a cause, Uslin’s well heeled clientele come in to get buffed and beautiful. Her secret, as she says, ‘It’s all in the hands, and loving what you do.” She combines the best of advanced clinical skin treatments with classic training and years of experience working with the skin. Uslin is a mother of two children who keep her very active and a self-proclaimed skincare afficionado who practices what she preaches. We dare you to find a wrinkle, line or mark on her smooth complexion. Conveniently located at CityPlace in West Palm Beach, the island’s best kept secret, Uslin Wood, is tucked away in her tranquil treatment room in the Cosmedical Centre.
What are some of your favorite skin care products and why do you like them?
I really love medical-grade products. They are more aggressive, and also more effective. My clients want to see results from their skin care. I like Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare products for problem skin. I also use SkinMedica products for sensitive and acne prone clients.
Which treatments do your clients ask for most often?
The iS Clinical Fire & Ice Facial is our “glow-to-go” treatment. This is a medical grade treatment that falls somewhere in between a facial and a peel. The first step is the “fire” part of the facial, which includes glycolic acid and vitamin A. Next the skin is neutralized and the “ice” part is applied, which has peppermint, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and green tea extract as well. It works at the cellular level to decrease fine lines and stimulate collagen and elastin. They also love the SilkPeel Dermal Infusion System, which is similar to microdermabrasion, but so much better. The SilkPeel system combines non-invasive exfoliation with a deep delivery of specific solutions directly to the skin without using any crystals or other chemical exfoliants, so I can customize the treatment to each client. These are both great to have before a big event or a vacation for a real WOW effect.
What is your philosophy for treating oily, acne prone skin for all age groups?
It is important to include a purifying toner in your daily skincare regimen if you get pimples and frequent breakouts. It disinfects and unclogs pores, and removes the accumulation of oil on your skin. You should use toner twice daily, especially at night time, and in humid weather. I recommend SkinMedica’s Purifying Toner for normal skin, and Glytone Acne Cleansing Toner for acne prone clients.
Being in South Florida, you must see a lot of sun damage. How do you teach your clients to protect their skin?
Many people recommend highly protective SPF creams, which is good and necessary, especially for my clients who are swimmers, go out on their boats, play tennis and golf, and generally love the sun. I personally recommend also getting a peel with a facial treatment. The top layer of skin is removed when you perform the peel treatment. With regular safeguarding of the skin, in addition to adding peels to your facial routine, you will be doing the best you can to defend against the sun’s powerful damaging effects. One of our best selling sun care products is Skinmedica’s Environmental Defense Sunscreen™ SPF 50+ with UV ProPlex™.
Describe how you perform your most popular anti-aging facial
I perform a treatment-duo: a microdermabrasion with a peel. The SilkPeel exfoliates the skin first, removing unwanted debris, and getting pores super clean. The peel solution then resurfaces and polishes the skin. Finally, I use a custom mixture of serums on the skin that smooth the face, even skin tone, and prevent lines from forming. The client leaves with smoother, softer, and refined skin.
If you could use anything on your skin, what would it be?
I would use a mixture of top of the line serums. These products penetrate better than creams, which have a lower absorption rate. Using a serum as the foundation layer protects your face from external pollutants and the dirt and residue of daily makeup. Ultimately, it’s the best way to defend against inevitable skin irritating environments.
Photo Credit: Andrew W. Werner
Master Medical Aesthetician, Claudio Pinto, is an expert in corrective skincare of the face and body including ethnic as well as pre- and post operative skincare. He specializes in the treatment of acne, aging skin, smoker’s skin, sun-damaged skin and slacking skin using the latest corrective skincare technology such as peels, facials and microdermabrasion. He has been named Aesthetician of the Year by Obagi Medical products and is an expert in administering the famous Obagi Blue Peel. Working out of physician offices – Claudio works with many leading plastic surgeons – he is considered a go-to aesthetician by many in New York City. Claudio is very active in professional organizations, serving on the board of directors for the Society of Plastic Surgical Skin Care Specialists, and chair of Project Beauty, a new service to patients from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into the field of aesthetics?
Aesthetics for me was in the blood – I started doing makeup at a very early age. I went to get my aesthetics license because I needed it for a job and fell madly in love with skincare. From being a resident makeup artist at Chanel, to doing drag queens, to fashion week I did it all. Working in a department store is what paid the bills and what gave me a great background allowing for me to relate better and better with my medical patients. It’s so very important that you understand what’s available in the market so you can properly recommend the best products.
What’s new in the treatment of acne?
Obagi’s Clenziderm is a great and simple acne treatment. I find its 3 simple steps make it very easy for client compliance and helps with penetration addressing the problem at the root. Of course there are many different treatments for acne and what is best for the patient will depend on how aggressive their acne is and if there are other medical conditions present such as acne rosacea, adult acne, etc.
Deeper chemical peels do WONDERS for that acne patient and so do lasers. The first question I ask about is someone’s commitment to home-care treatments. If a patient is committed to home-care treatments he/she will need to see me for peels and in-office treatments less frequently and the downtime of course will be much less than those patients who need more frequent treatments.
How does an acne sufferer know it’s time to visit a dermatologist?
The moment that you see that your products are not working properly I would run to see a dermatologist. Dermatologists and their staff are the experts and can guide you in the proper way, prescribing and suggesting skincare treatments and products that actually work.
It’s a myth that you should only see a doctor when things are out of control and not the smartest way to handle any medical condition. The longer you wait the worse the condition will get. And no matter how much you love your Macy’s or Saks sales person department store products can only do so much for you.
What is smoker’s skin and what is the treatment?
Smoker’s skin is skin that is dull in complexion, gray looking and lifeless. There are many skin types and conditions that would fall into this category including severely sun damaged skin, skin of those who smoke, and skin that is not properly taken care of.
I like to be aggressive with treatments for this skin type. People with this condition need to see results and fast. I like to do a Jessners chemical peel. This is a VERY effective chemical peel with very little downtime – more like social downtime. The more damaged the skin is the more layers of this acid will be applied. The end result is amazing – skin that looks and acts healthier and younger! Who doesn’t want that?
Please briefly explain the famous Obagi Blue Peel.
My favorite treatment EVER – the Obagi Blue Peel is a medium chemical peel used to treat every skin condition and great for every skin type. Please note that it can ONLY be performed by a trained medical professional.
It removes layers and layers of damaged skin. Whether your concern is acne scars, hyperpigmentation, sun damage, liver/sun spots, or general signs of aging, this peel involves more preparation and about 5-7 days of recovery. But the results are amazing – I give myself one about once a year!
What are your key recommendations for maintaining a good complexion at-home?
There are a few things one must do at all times:
1- Cleanser, Toner, Vitamin-C Serum and SPF Every Morning
2- Cleanser, Toner, RETIN-A every night.
That is the best treatment for daily maintenance considering that your skin is already healthy and you don’t have any other concerns. Start with that and you will be very glad you did.