Wendy Lewis is an international insider to the world of anti-aging, skin care, beauty and cosmetic surgery. She is also the author of 10 consumer health and beauty books, including two editions of America’s Cosmetic Doctors & Dentists and her newest title, Plastic Makes Perfect; The Complete Cosmetic Beauty Guide. Her contributions to the beauty industry are vast, of which you can learn more on her website www.wlbeauty.com.
Pierce Mattie: In a recent article on Health News Digest you raved about Lumixyl. Would you say that it even works better than Tri-Luma? What do you see as the biggest difference between the two?
Wendy Lewis: Lumixyl is a newly launched peptide based skin brightening/lightening cream that will sell for around $120 US for 1 ounce pump. I love Tri-Luma, which is a prescription drug from Galderma that is modeled from Kligman’s Formula and contatins 4% Hydroquinone, retinoid and a mild steroid. Lumixyl is a hydroquinone alternative, and the results of studies conducted at Stanford showed great results, and it is gentle for all skin types. Lumixyl is an OTC product sold through professional channels, whereas Triluma is an Rx and requires a prescription from an MD. I foresee that some dermatologists may put patients on a regimen that contains both of these formulations in some cases.
Pierce Mattie: There are many aesthetic consultants in Manhattan, Palm Beach and Beverly Hills but no one who executes it as well as you. I have always said it’s your skill to really match up your clients with the right physician. What kind of research goes into your work?
Wendy Lewis: I am flattered Pierce, especially coming from someone who is a guru in the beauty biz. I take my “Knife Coach” brand very seriously and care about my clients and the recommendations I give them. I do a ton of research, attend conferences in the US and Europe, routinely interview and visit doctors in all specialties and read trade journals online so I am up to speed on all the latest developments. I have never altered from my original business model, which differs greatly from other me too “consultants” I have come across; my independence and impartiality is paramount, I treat all clients with total confidentiality, and I am not in anyone’s pocket.
When I suggest a product or practitioner for a client, it comes from the heart and from my personal knowledge and expertise. I am doing more phone and webcam consultations today with private clients than face to face, both from an economical point and for convenience for the clients who are busy, active, and international. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close, and I have been at it now for over a dozen years.
Pierce Mattie: Do you have one or two doctors that you just adore to pieces, that no matter how big the aesthetic challenge they seem to always come out on top? Care to drop a name or two on who they are?
Wendy Lewis: Not just a few – I have many! Some of the surgeons I am impressed with are Sam Rizk, Alan Matarasso, and Paul Lorenc in New York, Tim Marten in San Francisco, and Foad Nahai in Atlanta. Bryan Forley, who is the Medical Direct at Red Door Spas, does my injections brilliantly. I am always on the hunt for great dermatologists too. When it comes to lasers, David Goldberg in NY, Michael Kaminer in Boston, and Jill Waibel in Palm Beach are terrific. When I want to know what is coming next, I go to Neil Sadick to find out what he is working on. And the list goes on and on…
Pierce Mattie: In the 1980’s it was all about the address of the East 60’s off or on Park Ave, wife being the docent in the office, beauty editors in the lobby, etc. That was a sign of a good Manhattan cosmetic surgeon, but times have changed. Today, what do you view as a successful aesthetic practice rather than one that is so focused on the bells and whistles?
Wendy Lewis: Great question – you are spot on. Times have definitely changed especially post the collapse of the financial markets. Old school facelifts and browlifts are so yesterday. No one wants the overoperated look anymore; sophisticated clients want a natural appearance without any telltale signs of surgery and radiant skin. They want to look younger, better, prettier, more refreshed, but NOT distorted.
The sign of successful practice is also not a waiting room that is overflowing. I look for quality over quantity – a discreet, well run, professional practice. The staff needs to be switched on and highly service oriented, and the doctor should be well versed in trends, continually committed to improving his skills, and up to date on advancements yet selective so that he or she doesn’t just bring on every new technology just for its marketing value. A posh address is nice to have but not if the inside doesn’t match the outside, and if you havent got great hands and don’t treat your clientele well, you will have to rely heavily on PR and guerilla marketing tactics to staying busy today.
Pierce Mattie: At Pierce Mattie PR we get several cosmetic surgeons wanting to hire us to provide their PR council and secure beauty press. But when we visit their practice, review their list of services and work we unfortunately see nothing that is really story worthy, per say for Vogue, Allure, Elle, etc. If you have a doctor that is hungry for that kind of press what would you suggest they do with their practice to stand out? Any examples come to mind?
Wendy Lewis: Only established, experienced cosmetic surgeons who are truly doing something innovative can really reap the rewards of a firm like Pierce Mattie. It has become increasingly difficult for publicists to generate big stories in this space, especially in light of the economic climate. If the doctor is not located in a major media outlet, his changes of being covered drop considerably. Ditto if he is not telegenic. Non-surgical trends are far more popular with media outlets and there is more of an opportunity for placements about the new Botox, the latest skin tightening laser and novel uses for fillers.
Someone who is doing great neck lifts or is a master at breast augmentation will have fewer chances to be included in major news features. This is a hard lesson for doctors to learn. I routinely explain to them that they should not expect to get on Oprah or have a feature in Vogue or the Times even if they have a top PR firm in placeo; there are just too many of them and not enough media ops to go around.
Far too often doctors hire good PRs, but don’t give them what they need to represent them, in terms of stories, case studies, data, before/after photos, etc. The best bang for the buck, so to speak, for younger physicians is undoubtedly online today. Web optimization, social networking, and internal marketing will generate a better return on investment. Being involved in clinical trials also affords them an opportunity to be quote d in trade press which resonates with the media. Once they are able to build up their brand, they will be ready to work with a professional PR firm. I am inundated daily with mass releases about doctors who are touting themselves to be “the first” using a new device or who claim to have invented some technique with a catchy hyped up name that sounds bogus to a trained eye. I doubt there is any member of the media who has not been approached ad nauseum by now about “experts” to speak on Latisse. (Yawn.)
You can learn more about Wendy Lewis and her consulting services by visiting her website “The Knife Coach.“