Hi Sam! Where are you from?
I’m from New York!
Local boy! How did you get into skincare?
I started as a fantasy makeup artist and then I took off the makeup and the skin under was a mess! So I got into skincare and am just so happy that I did. A lot of the work I was doing was face and body painting with a performance art company. Most of my clients were children. I still work with Macy’s to paint clowns for the Thanksgiving parade and the Bronx Zoo. I worked with Nickelodeon and a few other media companies. The owners of the company that I work with were parents at my school, that’s how I met them. I also went to college for art.
So you’ve long worked with skin every day. What is your favorite part of skincare?
I would have to say it’s the ingredients. It’s figuring out what is going to be perfect for each client. What will be elegant and effective? I love that there are endless options. It’s like mixing colors.
You have a scientific and artistic mind, that’s so rare.
You could say that. It’s somewhere in the middle. I’m happier when I’m constantly creating. I paint, although have been lacking lately. I have to get back to it. My brain just frees up instantly.
Do you have any general advice based on what you've seen with clients?
Other than wear sunscreen? Pay attention to how your skin feels when you use products. You have to listen to what your skin is telling you on a daily basis. A lot of people put stuff on and then don’t know what it’s doing to them. It takes a bit of focus to really see the connection between what you’re putting on your skin and how it is reacting, but it’s incredibly important.
That totally makes sense. Do you think that there are any other parts of the conversation about the relationship between lifestyle and skin that you think is missing?
I think that one of the things that really throws people off, in terms of their own skin health, is stress in their life. Stress derails everything else and it can cause hormonal acne. It’s easy to say “don’t be stressed!” but we have to make small steps and then eventually those add up.
What is your favorite success story from the treatment room?
I had a client who came in with a couple of different kinds of acne. It was a mix of bacterial and hormonal. This can be harder to treat, just because it’s difficult to figure out all the factors that could be causing both. We talked about different doctors she would benefit from seeing to get to the bottom of the cause, while we worked in treatment on what we could. Post-appointment she came back and now we have the information needed and are able to get down to work. It’s a great feeling to be able to change how someone's skin behaves. It’s all about teamwork. It’s about working together and building on each other’s knowledge. Clients obviously know more about themselves than we do, so it’s important that we learn from them as well.
If you had a chance to tell a possible client one thing about you before booking with you, what would it be?
I really like to focus on my consultation. We’re going to be talking and I’ll ask a lot of questions. I want to figure out what is going on on your end beyond what your skin is able to show me, that is the most important. That sounded so serious. I take my work very seriously but I’m a little silly, promise. I’d also say that my approach is scientific.
What topic in skincare could you just talk about for forever?
It would have to be ingredients. Short-term and long-term benefits of ingredients. I read a lot. Whenever I have a product, I’ll look at the ingredients then I’ll go figure out both what each ingredient does and what they could be doing together. Slowly over time you learn the language, after looking up one word after another. It’s building a vocabulary.
What are three things that you like that don't have to do with skin?
- Contemporary art, notice a trend?
- Karaoke, for sure. My go-to song is Valerie by Amy Winehouse.
- Chocolate, not great for the skin but great for the heart.