In 1896 a Polish woman, with no money and very little English, emigrated to Australia. Once there, she started selling jars of beauty cream. She became so successful at this that she ended up moving to London and setting up one of the world’s first international skincare companies. Her name was Helena Rubinstein and she was also one of the first female self-made millionaires. This was extraordinary when you consider that at this time women weren’t even allowed to have a bank loan.
She was inspiring but what I find most interesting about her story was that she was a passionate believer in the link between health and beauty. She believed that if you wanted beautiful skin you needed to first consider your health. In fact, when she opened her chain of beauty clinics across Europe and North America, they offered not only skin care treatments but also advice on diet and exercise.
Helena died in 1965 and without her leadership and vision her company lost its connection to wellness and eventually joined the ranks of the ‘quick fix’. I think that is such a shame because when studied beauty therapy in New Zealand in the mid 80’s, the connection between health and beauty had long since faded. Glycolics had arrived, and we were all convinced the future lay in peeling the skin. I was well on this path myself when I meet Jan Smith, the founder of the Janesce skincare range in the mid 90’s.
Jan was a very successful naturopath at the time. She was working with quite advanced skin disorders and doing it in a uniquely holistic way. Not only did she prescribe topical products but she also encouraged her clients to make dietary and lifestyle change. I was lucky enough to learn the principles of holistic skin care from Jan and when I started implementing them in my own clinic, I was astounded at the results. Jan brought the health back into the beauty for me and in doing so, helped change the course of my career. Ever since then, I have focused all my professional development and study on learning more about holistic skin care.
I have watched with delight over the last several years as our industry has rediscovered that health-beauty link. Therapists are realising that if you want to truly change the skin, you need to look beyond just working topically. These days beauty therapy students are taught more about health and human nutrition from their training providers. This means they enter our industry with a respect for the importance of working holistically and an openness to learning more. I believe this positive change will lead to more skilled and effective therapists in the future.
If you are a beauty therapist interested in treating skin problems and would like to extend your knowledge about working from within, I have developed a 6-month e-Course on this subject. Click here to find out more