Ep 129 - The Future of Facials: Challenging the European Standard

Christine Valmy, the pioneer of esthetics, is quoted as saying women in Europe would spend all their spare money on their skin while women in America would spend thousands on their evening gown and walk into a party with blackheads. In this episode of ASCP Esty Talk, Maggie and Ella discuss whether Americans and Europeans view skin care differently and what it is about the European Facial that makes it the most popular and common type of treatment.

ASCP Esty Talk with Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman

Produced by Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) for licensed estheticians, ASCP Esty Talk is a weekly podcast hosted by Maggie Staszcuk and Ella Cressman. We see your passion, innovation, and hard work and are here to support you by providing a platform for networking, advocacy, camaraderie, and education. We aim to inspire you to ask the right questions, find your motivation, and give you the courage to have the professional skin care career you desire.

About Ella Cressman:

Ella Cressman is a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, business owner, and absolute ingredient junkie! As an educator, she enjoys empowering other estheticians and industry professionals to understand skin care from an ingredient standpoint rather than a product-specific view.

She has spent many hours researching ingredients, understanding how and where they are sourced, as well as phytochemistry, histological access, and complementary compounds for intentional skin benefits. In addition to running a skin care practice, Cressman founded a comprehensive consulting group, the HHP Collective, and has consulted for several skin care lines, including several successful CBD brands.

Connect with Ella Cressman:

Website: www.ellacress.com

Website: www.hhpcollective.com


About Maggie Staszcuk:

Maggie has been a licensed esthetician since 2006 and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stephens College. She has worked in the spa and med-spa industry and served as an esthetics instructor and a director of education for one of the largest schools in Colorado before coming to ASCP as the Advanced Modality Specialist. 

Connect with Maggie Staszcuk:

P 800.789.0411 EXT 1636

MStaszcuk@ascpskincare.com or AMI@ascpskincare.com


About our Sponsor:

About DMK:

Founded by botanical visionary Danné Montague-King, DMK is the World Leader in Paramedical Skin Revision™. Our revolutionary concept of REMOVE. REBUILD. PROTECT. MAINTAIN.® aims to match an individual’s biochemistry with the appropriate skin therapy. DMK believes that the origin of most skin conditions is a result of disharmony within the skin. Using the principles of biochemistry, DMK has formulated a range of Enzymatic Treatments and Home Prescriptives that encourage the skin to return to its most balanced and healthy state. For skin care professionals whose business depends on generating long-lasting clinically-proven results, DMK’s education-first approach has become essential. Hundreds of salons, spas, and even industry experts have recognized the effectiveness of the DMK concept, witnessed by thousands of people worldwide whose lives have been changed forever.

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About Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP):

Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) is the nation’s largest association for skin care professionals and your ONLY all-inclusive source for professional liability insurance, education, community, and career support. For estheticians at every stage of the journey, ASCP is your essential partner. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions or would like to join and become an ASCP member.

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0:00:00.5 Speaker 1: DMK is the world leader in paramedical skin revision education. With certification programs designed to give licensed professionals a thorough understanding of the skin and an in-depth study of the DMK concept of remove, rebuild, protect, maintain. Created by the botanical visionary Danné Montague-King, DMK offers skin revision training and education for all ages, skin conditions and ethnicities in more than 35 countries, harnessing the body's innate healing mechanisms to change the health of the skin. Learn more at dannemking.com, that's D-A-N-N-E-M-K-I-N-G.com. 




0:00:48.1 S1: You are listening to ASCP Esty Talk. Where we share insider tips, industry resources, and education for aestheticians at every stage of the journey. Let's talk, 'cause ASCP knows, it's all about you. 


0:01:03.7 Maggie: Hello and welcome to ASCP's Esty Talk. I'm your co-host, Maggie Staszcuk and ASCP's cosmetology education manager. 


0:01:10.8 Ella: I'm Ella Cressman. Licensed aesthetician, certified organic formulator, ingredient junkie and content contributor for Associated Skin Care Professionals. Before we get started, Maggie, I kinda wanna do something, if it's okay. 


0:01:23.4 Maggie: Do it Ella. 


0:01:24.4 Ella: Alright, I wanna give a shout-out to one of our listeners I was able to connect with over the last couple of weeks. So here's to Janette Elder. Thanks for listening. I had an amazing exchange with her. She said she listens to every episode, and so this one's for you. 


0:01:40.5 Maggie: I love it. 


0:01:41.1 Ella: Woo-hoo Janette. 


0:01:43.7 Maggie: Okay. [laughter] I'm gonna read a quote to you. This is from Christine Valmy. She actually said this in 1978. "If a woman in Europe has $10, she knows where to put it, on her face. Here in America, a woman pays $1800 for an evening gown and walks into the party with blackheads. If I have $1800, I will use the money for my skin and walk around in a $10 cotton dress." So for those of you who don't know, Christine Valmy is a Romanian immigrant who came to the US in 1961. She established a chain of 1400 facial salons, founded the country's first licensed skincare school and founded the American Association of Esthetics. She is also widely credited for coining the term esthetician. So, do you agree with this quote or has America changed? What do you think, Ella?  


0:02:38.5 Ella: First of all, this quote is as old as I am. 


0:02:40.8 Maggie: Yeah. 


0:02:41.3 Ella: I was like, Wow, this is an old one. And I think that it's interesting. Great Christine Valmy is the pioneer of esthetics, as we know it, right?  


0:02:53.1 Maggie: Mm-hmm. 


0:02:53.1 Ella: In fact, they still have schools, Christine Valmy Schools, especially in the Northeast. 


0:02:56.4 Maggie: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Several campuses. 


0:02:57.8 Ella: And I think what we learn in school is that the European facial. Like, that is the first thing that we learn and that is very indicative of her influence here. I don't know the... I do know the last time I performed a European facial, because I was just telling Maggie that it was this week. But before that, like a traditional European facial I haven't really followed that for a long time, verbatim, or a step-by-step protocol as far as that goes. But I do still have that as my foundational learning, so I do kinda follow that. So, has America changed? I think so, and I think we can see that influence with the number of estheticians that are becoming licensed all the time, right?  


0:03:39.2 Maggie: Yeah. 


0:03:39.5 Ella: Different from when we went to school. But I also still agree with this quote too. [chuckle] I think that the focus is different in America. 


0:03:48.7 Maggie: Yeah, and I agree with you, focus is different. I mean, clearly, what Christine Valmy is saying here is that Americans do not invest in their skin and I think that we can argue that that's a 100% not true, but where they're choosing to put their money compared to Europeans may be just different, right?  


0:04:07.9 Ella: I think so too, yeah. 


0:04:09.3 Maggie: Yeah. I came across this poll. It was commissioned by Massage Envy, and it says that many Americans lack skin care knowledge. So, here's some interesting statistics based on this poll. Two-thirds polled agreed they don't know how to take care of their skin, 70% struggle to find a suitable skin care routine, 62% believe they need professional assistance, but 58%, they admit they're too uncomfortable to make an appointment with an expert. And 35% are willing to pay a $1000 a year to live with beautiful skin. 


0:04:45.5 Ella: Well, I think this is a very interesting poll. I think this is also probably an indication of why there's rise to Internet "experts," as we just recently discussed. 


0:04:56.8 Maggie: Yeah. 


0:04:58.7 Ella: Because in this specific statistics, 62% believe they need professional assistance, but 58% admit they're too uncomfortable to make an appointment. Wow. Where are they turning? Because I think that... It's been my observation, and maybe it's because I'm in the industry that skin care aware... The awareness of skin care versus just a lotion or a cleanser or as preventative is a lot more prevalent than the restorative of the past, right?  


0:05:33.8 Maggie: Yeah. 


0:05:34.1 Ella: So, fixing a... Like, preventing a problem before you have to fix it. So, the other thing I'm having, turning my head to the side on is this 35% are willing to pay a $1000 a year to live with beautiful skin. I'm like, oh, oops. [laughter] Then I'm blowing my budget. 


0:05:50.9 Maggie: Yeah. Totally. Well, I think this goes back to what we were saying, it's, where do Americans put their money and what do Americans think they need in order to have that beautiful skin compared to Europeans? Right? So, is it that Americans are doing Botox and fillers and laser treatments and chemical peels and in their mind, that's what it takes, and that's where this $1000 is coming into play? When really, what if they just went in every month for their "European facial," right? To maintain the health and integrity of their skin and purchased good product. 


0:06:32.7 Ella: I prefer option number B. I'm going through door number B. [laughter] Door two. 


0:06:36.9 Maggie: Yeah, yeah, door two. 


0:06:38.0 Ella: I think that is key, and I think that when we look at even culturally, the difference between the pace of American lifestyle versus European lifestyle, where they put their importance on, the length of meals, for example, or time spent with family, it's just different... It's a different pace. In fact, I was just talking with somebody about this yesterday, and so, we're go, go, go. We want results. We want it now. We've got places to be. We gotta hurry up and get there so we can hurry up and get to the next place. So if we look at that culturally and apply it here to skin care, when we're looking at our care, we want instant results or to see an immediate change, so we're looking at trends like Hailey Bieber with slugging. Well, originally slugging, right? It was meant to show dewy fresh skin, but our version of it... Not all of us, but a version of this, this quick fix is to slather Vaseline, so you've got that same thing. Or to have a healthy glow rather than just being healthy, we're doing bronzer and blush and contouring, right? To have that appearance of rather than the actual state of. 


0:07:53.6 Ella: So I think that's a big difference potentially, and I think... 


0:08:00.3 Maggie: Yeah. 


0:08:00.3 Ella: Last year I was in Greece and 2018 I was in Spain. And the way my body felt, the way my skin felt, the way my soul felt was different. And then coming back here, it just all goes back to normal. So that's my only comparison that I would say. 


0:08:17.2 Maggie: Yeah, I think you nailed it when you said that Americans want that immediate result, we have a faster pace of life. And then also, it's these influencers and social media and Internet that are also contributing to our perception of beauty and what it takes to get there. I would agree with that 100%. And I have this question here, but I think we've already answered it. Do Americans and Europeans view beauty and aging differently?  


0:08:43.1 Ella: Well, I gotta be honest with you, I watch a lot of TV. [laughter] So I will say I have seen 90 Day Fiance, and there is this one... I think she's from Turkey. I don't remember exactly where she is from, and she looks like she's got the American standard [chuckle] beauty as far as like, makeup and such and I... You know, back in the day, do you remember the show, it was The Travellers, like, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding?  


0:09:06.5 Maggie: Oh yeah. 


0:09:07.4 Ella: Yeah. And so, they're European and they have a different standard. So I think it's a mix, but as a whole, generally speaking, I would say that we do focus on makeup. I have seen a larger focus on makeup and on filters, than on the care of skin. However, I have seen a shift, even just going to Big Box beauty stores like we've talked about, there is more focused on the care of skin. 


0:09:32.9 Maggie: Do you think that it's the role of these estheticians who are establishing their business, you know, the solo esthetician out there, and for you too, Ella, is it their job to educate and change the mind of their consumer or to adapt to the consumer?  


0:09:50.6 Ella: Both. To meet them where they are and educate. And eventually you're building that trust, and then you're getting those results, because if you're... We are... I guess we're doing an American facial, [chuckle] 'cause we are... I am incorporating some quicker fixes as far as devices and such. So I'm having those short-term results and I'm having long-term results. That's the point. That's the goal. So I think during those times after thorough consultation and training session, let's call it, that you're building that trust. I'm not gonna have you completely stop everything you're doing the first day you come in. I'm gonna meet you where you are. 


0:10:33.6 Ella: And the reason is because I want a long-term relationship with you. I don't wanna just make a sale. Also, there is a good reason why you're doing what you're doing. And let's be honest, this $1000 a year, I think is conservative. There's a lot of money spent on trying this and trying that, and this is what my neighbour is doing, or my mother-in-law gave me this product or whatever, there's... If you looked in your medicine cabinets, there's thousands of dollars there. So that's a hard pill to swallow when you put all that money in just be like, so none of this is good? You know?  


0:11:07.9 Maggie: Totally. 


0:11:09.4 Ella: So it's more of building a trust to say, Okay, this is what we're gonna do, here's your priority, and then we're gonna slowly work out of this. This happened recently. I have a client, she's 21, just graduated college, and she's suffering with acne, and she's one who's tried everything. She's done this diet, she's taking these supplements, she's tried all these products, and so in the thorough consultation, she brought everything in. And I said, You know what you're doing well is you've got a system here, but here's some things that will satisfy immediate needs. Here's how it's gonna go, it's gonna get better, worse, better, worse, better, worse. But the trajectory is, it's going to be getting better along the way. And so, as we go through this, we're gonna change your products out. I know this is a long version for my American facial, but... [laughter] So, long story short, what happened was, to answer your question, she said, I'm almost out of this hyaluronic acid, which is from another company. A plain old company, and [laughter] rather than having her... 


0:12:13.1 Maggie: ____ use that. 


0:12:13.2 Ella: The one I think is way better, I said, Just use this until this is out and then replace it was something better and we did, and don't you know the trajectory is still there. So, I think they're willing to. I think it's just the race with that, this is gonna be a minimum six months. Are you with me? Are we doing this as a team? Where the European standard, when they're having skin issues, it's normal to go regularly. 


0:12:42.4 Maggie: Right. 


0:12:43.1 Ella: Not just when you have a problem... 


0:12:45.5 Maggie: Right. Right. 


0:12:46.4 Ella: Like we have here. 


0:12:48.1 Maggie: Yeah, yeah, it's ingrained in them and maybe not so much in us. 


0:12:50.3 Ella: Well, we get pedicures regularly. We'll get our hair done regularly, and we get our skin done when there's a problem. In Europe, it's... We get our skin done, it's all part of that, like, upkeep. 


0:13:02.9 Maggie: Yeah. So, what is it about the European facial treatments that make them the most popular and common type of facial? Why is that the first thing that we're learning when we go to esthetic school?  


0:13:13.0 Ella: I would say tradition. I say we go back to the beginning of this, into your quote, I say that's foundational. I mean, that's my first initial response, my knee-jerk. The second one is, there's benefit in each step. If you're to really dissect the protocol, there's benefit. You're cleansing or you're double cleansing, you're massaging along the way, you're exfoliating. There is skin benefit in each of those. You're exfoliating too low for better extractions and so on. So I think there's benefit to that and you can take that away and create your own cadence or customize it for each person. They won't always need that, step one, we do this, step two, we do that, but those are foundational things we have to learn in school... 


0:13:55.9 Maggie: Yeah. 


0:13:56.4 Ella: So that we can learn how to custom. 


0:13:58.5 Maggie: Yeah, I would agree with that. And also, like you're saying it, it is a foundation. It sets the tone for then bouncing from that to create something else for your client. 


0:14:06.8 Ella: If you take the European facial and you wanna add Microderm, you're cleansing, [chuckle] you're just putting it in the exfoliation stuff and you're still... You can put a mask on afterwards. You're following a similar guideline or Dermaplane. Maybe not laser, but [chuckle] there's bits and pieces of that. 


0:14:23.2 Maggie: Yeah, could be, could be. You're still pulling from that. 


0:14:24.4 Ella: You're finishing with SPF. 


0:14:27.8 Maggie: 100%. So, you and I were talking before about training standards in Europe compared to the US, and I think everybody, whether you're fully invested in doing research, you know that there's some deregulation in the US and rules and regulations are always changing here, and it's much different in Europe. They have very intensive training compared to what we see here in the US. 


0:14:49.7 Ella: All over the whole world. Like, if we look at Australia even, they call them skin therapists, and they have five years of training, five years. Mine was... I think I did 700 hours total, but I'm not quite sure. It's 600 plus Microderm and chemical peels, but what do they do for five years? [laughter] I'm curious. I want to know. I've got that question out there. I'll report back when I find out, and then I was talking with someone in Italy last week, and their schooling is three years, but in those three years, they're not coming out with like... We talked about Utah and Washington, how they have a master esthetician program, and they're able to do different modalities. In Italy, they're focusing on other things, a lot of massage, massage manipulation for lymphatic drainage or muscle lifting and things I'm not... I'm just so excited to understand more about, but they do a lot more histology, a lot more product application, but their products aren't laden with the same Alpha Hydroxies that we have or the same exfoliants or the same active agents that we have here. So they're doing a lot more... I don't wanna say, natural, isn't the thing, but mechanical manipulations maybe, so it's a lot different. 


0:16:10.9 Maggie: Yeah, it's almost like they come out with an Associate's Degree or a Bachelor's Degree in Esthetics. 


0:16:15.7 Ella: Yeah, and do you remember that school that used to have that Associate's Degree in Esthetics?  


0:16:22.4 Maggie: No, I didn't know that existed here. 


0:16:24.0 Ella: Yeah, it was... They're no longer a school. Didn't work out so well, but they were offering an Associate's Degree in Esthetics. Somehow they were able to break down the credits for that. All they did was took the curriculum of a 600-hour program and stretched it out for two years. 




0:16:43.9 Maggie: That's it. 


0:16:46.6 Ella: So these vulnerable prospects, potential esthetician is like, "Oh, I'm gonna come out with an Associate's Degree in Esthetics, oh, I'm going with this school." And it was at the time triple the cost. 


0:17:00.5 Maggie: Yeah, I mean, I can see the appeal. 


0:17:01.3 Ella: Yeah. 


0:17:01.7 Maggie: Somebody wants a degree, but 600 hours over whatever it is, two years, that sounds horrible. 


0:17:07.3 Ella: Yeah. I'm imagining they're like, "Today we're going to learn... [laughter] I think maybe they stretched it out, because let me tell you, I hosted interns from said school and there wasn't a big difference in the level. Actually, it was subpar, and I would hold the teachers accountable for that, or the Director of Education accountable for that, but it was... They did do field trips. I know that the Director of Education tried to fill time with other things, but my goodness, I don't even know how to do the math at this point, 'cause it's hot outside, but [laughter] I'd like to find out how many... What does that account to?  


0:17:44.5 Maggie: Yeah. 


0:17:44.9 Ella: Like 10 hours a month. Oh, that's five years. Anyways, you guys do the math and see how many and they stretch it out, and then add the clinic. So they would do internship hours for that. 


0:17:55.7 Maggie: Yeah, that's a lot. I don't know. We've talked a little bit about deregulation. That's a constant battle in the US and some of the argument that I've heard for deregulation is that it's actually creating more job opportunities. That's what the people say that are trying to deregulate, that don't force these people to have more training when really they could just go out and start working. And of course, our argument as an association is, that's absurd. We want people to have proper training so that they are prepared to go out and find a reputable job. But when we're comparing 600 hours to two years or three years or even five years, of course, there is a happy balance, right?  


0:18:39.0 Ella: Or no hours like in a Northeastern state. 


0:18:42.8 Maggie: Yeah, or no hours. Yeah, and that's a thing too. 


0:18:45.8 Ella: Yeah, I think there has to be a standard set, not just the European standard. I think there has to be some... Because there's also reciprocity, right? We can go from one state to another state, and if there's the deprivation of hours or whatever, if there's a difference of hours, then we have to make up the difference so we're good. So I can go to another state, as long as they're the same number of hours, I'm cool. But otherwise, I have to show that I either have this experience or take more classes or pass the boards again or whatever it is, but if there was a more standardized qualification or curriculum, 'cause all of these programs are following a similar... Is that Milady's most of them follow now?  


0:19:25.0 Maggie: Yeah, Milady or Pivot Point. 


0:19:27.5 Ella: Milady or Pivot Point. So, they're very similar, but they're still just changing hours, so what's the difference? Is it clinic hours? Is it field trips? Is it internships? Does more hours equal more qualified?  


0:19:42.2 Maggie: Yeah, well, and I guess some of it's politics too, because you know, every state has different rules about what you can and cannot perform. 


0:19:49.8 Ella: Or what you can and can't call yourself, can and cannot call yourself. 


0:19:53.0 Maggie: True, true. Yeah, now listeners, we wanna hear from you. Share your thoughts with us on social media by commenting on our Instagram or Facebook posts or by emailing, getconnected@ascpskincare.com. Thank you for listening to ASCP Esty Talk and for more information on this episode, or ways to connect with Ella and myself, or to learn more about ASCP, check out the show notes. 




0:20:16.4 S1: Thanks for joining us today. If you like what you hear and you want more, subscribe. If you wanna belong to the only all-inclusive association for estheticians that includes professional liability insurance, education, industry insights, and an opportunity to spotlight your sick skills, join @ascpskincare.com. Only 259 per year for all this goodness. ASCP knows, it's all about you. 


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