Town & Country beauty director Jamie Rosen invited a few of her finest resources to dish on the latest innovations, as well as what some their celeb and well-heeled clients and customers are booking appointments for today. Brooke Alpert, nutritionist and author of The Sugar Detox; Dr. Tina Alster, dermatologist; Joanna Vargas, aesthetician and owner of Joanna Vargas Skincare; and Alicia Yoon, founder of Peach & Lily joined the mag for a panel discussion at Hearst Tower this morning. Without further ado, a few gems…
On client requests, then and now…
Tina: Twenty years ago people would come in and say, ‘I don’t want to look like my mother.’ Now, there’s this fear of being overdone. People want to turn back the clock, but not so much, and they don’t want people to know that they’ve done it.
Brooke: I used to have a client that would say, ‘I know this is good for me, but will it make me skinny?’ That what she cared about versus trying to actually be healthy. I’m really starting to see a trend in people caring less about their actual weight and the pounds on the scale, but more about, ‘Am I healthy? Is this going to give me longevity?’
Alicia: A few years ago, most of the emails [we received] were centered around, ‘How do I get rid of wrinkles? How do I look younger? How do I deal with enlarged pores?’ Now the number one question we get is, ‘How do I deal with texture refinement?’ That’s a dimension we’re seeing a lot more of as Korean beauty is becoming a bigger and a more known topic.
Joanna: When I first became an esthetician, everybody was looking for the ‘magic pills.’ These days…we all know that’s not the case. It takes work on my end and it takes work on your end. Today women are more willing to put in the time.
On the age-old question, how young is too young?…
Tina: You’re talking to somebody who sees birthmarks in infants! I do think there is a problem with starting too young. I don’t get the 18-year-old being dragged in by their mother who wants them to start an anti-aging routine. If I did have one of those, outside of saying protect your skin, maybe get a start on an antioxidant. I don’t feel the need to get them started with in-office treatments. I think that is overkill.
Joanna: There is such a thing as too young. The best thing you can do is have a good routine. Wash your face at night. How about that? A lot of people don’t do that. It’s really weird! I was in my office yesterday with a 26-year-old beauty editor who was putting so much stuff on her skin, and she was breaking out everywhere, because she was using products that were made for me! You don’t need that at 26. You need to just wash your face. Eat healthier. Stuff like that is more anti-aging and healthier than buying stem cells and doing crazy treatments.
Alicia: It’s never too early to develop a relationship with what beauty means to you, and what self care means for you. I grew up around my mom, where putting on her skincare products and that regimen, which was really just five to 10 minutes, was her peace time and her sacred time. It’s not a chore.
On what they recommend to clients today…
Joanna: If you’re 20 I’m going to recommend LED light therapy, something in addition to getting cleanses. [If they’re in their 40s], radio-frequency [facials], microcurrent [facials], and LED [light facials].
Brooke: For every new client that comes in, we talk about the basic fundamentals to good health. That includes everything from what’s on your plate to how much sleep you’re getting to how much water you’re drinking and the rest of your lifestyle, whether it’s meditation, whether it’s yoga, whether it’s just taking a few minutes of ‘me time.’ Sometimes people are surprised at that in the first session, when I’m asking them personal questions.
Alicia: We have this term that we use called the ‘inner skin.’ I trained as an aesthetician in Korea about 15 years ago and that was something my beauty teacher taught me. [It’s] linked to hydrated skin from deep within. In Korea the goal is for your skin to stay hydrated 24/7, because the minute it’s dehydrated, it’s just an unhealthier environment.
On the influence of social media, the selfie, and technology…
Tina: [No one likes] the way their neck looks in a selfie. We call it ‘tech neck’ in the biz. The fact that people are paying attention to the neck has actually increased business at my practice. It’s a hard area to treat. We have noninvasive ways…that includes injectables like Botox, or ultrasound, or radio-frequency, or fraxel for crepiness. Your next step is to do a neck lift or wear turtlenecks and scarves! One other thing that’s come around in terms of treatments are these kybella injections to melt the fat in a double chin. That’s actually been a game-changer.
Joanna: In general, magazine photography, selfies, the whole thing, has never been a great example for my clients. [They] come in with unrealistic goals sometimes. Everything’s been Photoshopped or blended. Even celebrities that come to me mention other celebrities’ Instagrams and selfies and say, ‘I wish I had legs that look like that.’
Alicia: I think [at Peach & Lily] we really leverage social media to send a positive message. A lot of women I speak to in the U.S., it’s almost embarrassing to be very high maintenance…especially around the face. Whereas in Korea it’s very embarrassing to be low maintenance. It’s sort of like saying ‘I don’t shower!’ On social media we do a big push to be high maintenance.
On the future of products, treatments, and requests…
Tina: We’ve been adding more technology to make people’s faces look better, but also body contouring. People are much more aware in what they’re asking for but also what they want. I have a 20-year-old son who knows very well what he looks like in a photo. He’s cognoscente of everything he puts in his mouth. The younger generation has their finger on the pulse of everything.
Joanna: I just introduced radio-frequency last year to my salon, and I’ve really never seen anything quite as fantastic as the way it shrink-wraps the skin. And I love that beauty is getting away from being so cookie-cutter. When I first started, there would be one signature treatment. Now, the signature is to put together a protocol that’s for your skin. Everything that we now do to the face, we can now do to body parts, which is really awesome.