A veteran esthetician brings her customized brand of organic skin care to a lucky group of clients.
Q. How did you get your start in the industry?
A. Originally from Russia, I came to the U.S. in 1991. Before emigrating, I had the degree of cosmetic chemist and herbalist. I was working in a beauty house in Moscow and dealt with different skin care problems. In 1995, I began formulating my products and started selling them in 1998 when I opened my skin care business in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Q. What changes have you seen in organic skin care over the last 20 years?
A. I couldn’t even find chamomile tea in Texas when I moved there in 1991. I was happy when the organic revolution happened in the U.S. Every day it gets easier to find ingredients and easier to talk to people. People always asked, “why are your creams not white?” I explained to them it’s because I don’t bleach them and they have organic items, so the products are colored by the natural ingredients. Now my clients recognize how natural products look compared to synthetic products.
Q. What’s the hardest part of your job?
A. In my clinic, I work only with people I love. All of them believe in healing and working harmoniously. The hard part is working with the outside world. We treat each other and our clients with love, then you go to the grocery store and someone is rude, and I’ve forgotten how it is. I get so spoiled being in my world, I don’t want to go out into the world where people can be rude!
Q. Why do you choose to be “hands-on” with clients?
A. I can’t formulate the products without working on the skin. It’s very holistic—the giving and receiving. It’s a time of rejuvenation, balancing. Every esthetician is a counselor and clients bring their lives to us. No matter how hard or difficult the story, I like them to be able to share, to find love and understanding with no judgment. It’s not only me—every practitioner has established clients, and these are priceless relationships. The most amazing thing is, as much love as we give, we get more in return. It’s amazing work.
Q. How do you deal with difficult clients?
A. Most of the people who come are really good people. There are some who are unhappy, for different reasons, but every person deserves the best of the best. The more challenging the situation, the better you can see the results. I’m most excited when I can see the progress.
Elina Advanced Skin Care Clinic
Kalamazoo, MI and Chicago, IL
years in the industry: 20
specialty: Customized, deep herbal facial treatments.
products: Elina Organic Skin Care
favorite products: Ambra-Lift and Oil Control Lotion
favorite spa service: Elina Herbal Facial
advice for new make-up artists: Before you go to school, ask yourself, “Am I ready to listen and ready to have compassion full-time, eight hours a day?” If not, don’t go. If you love people and love to help, then go. Everything else you can learn. You need to be ready to serve and love; otherwise, choose another occupation.
what inspires you: I feel like this is my purpose. I’ve known that forever. I receive lots and lots of help, and every morning I’m thankful for that.