In this episode of ASCP Esty Talk we are joined by Eva Borges, who shares her professional experiences working as a Black esthetician and discusses how skin color plays a major role in proper treatment protocols, skin care education, and our daily lives. We discuss the impact of what it is like for clients of color to be treated by an esthetician of color and what effect that experience has on a client’s confidence.
There will always be areas of improvement and progress to be made within the skin care industry, and it all starts with a conversation. But as Eva says, “you can’t just be about it, you have to take action.” We hope that this episode inspires you to be a little more open, a little more vulnerable, and to have conversations that encourage us all to grow, prosper, and make this industry an even more beautiful and inclusive place.
About Eva Borges:
Eva is a licensed esthetician in the state of Massachusetts. She completed her esthetics training in 2016 at the Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics, and shortly after began her career working for a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who specialized in treating various ailments of the skin. During her time there, Eva obtained certifications in Fraxel DUAL, Clear & Brilliant, Isolaz, and VI Peels. For the past four years, Eva has been working at a brow bar. With a strong passion for shaping eyebrows, she currently serves as a lead sales esthetician and trainer. She absolutely loves doing what she does every day and thrives on her ability to change a person’s face through brow shaping alone. Her future endeavors include getting certified in permanent brow makeup, and she hopes to eventually launch her own brand one day.
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0:01:27.6 Speaker 2: You are listening to ASCP Esty Talk, where we share insider tips, industry resources and education for estheticians at every stage of the journey. Let's talk 'cause ASCP knows, it's all about you.
0:01:44.7 Emily Morgan: Hello, everyone, and welcome to ASCP Esty Talk. I'm your host today, Emily Morgan. I am a licensed esthetician in the states of both Massachusetts and Colorado. I am also the Membership Program Manager here at Associated Skin Care Professionals. We share all kinds of great information on this podcast from insider expert tips to resources on all the topics that you can't get enough of from ingredient deep dives to business tactics, and sometimes we're just here for some Esty real talk from one esthetician to another. And today, I am so excited to be joined by Eva Borges.
0:02:25.9 EM: Eva is also a licensed esthetician in the state of Massachusetts. She completed her esthetics training in 2016 at the Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics, and shortly after that, she began her career working for a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who specialized in treating various ailments of the skin. And during her time there, she obtained tons of certifications: Fraxel Dual, Clear and Brilliant, Isolaz and the eye peels. But for the last four years, Eva has been working at a brow bar where she currently serves as the lead sales esthetician and trainer there. She absolutely loves doing what she does every single day and thrives on her ability to not only change a person's face with just brows, but also to improve their confidence and self-esteem as well. Her future endeavors include getting certified in permanent brow makeup in hopes to eventually launch her own brand one day. Super exciting. So please, everyone, welcome Eva to the podcast. Hello, my friend.
0:03:28.1 Eva Borges: Hello. Hello, everyone. Hi, Emily.
0:03:32.5 EM: I know. Long time, no see.
0:03:33.7 EB: Wow, it's been a while.
0:03:38.1 EM: I know, it has been a while, so I'm so excited to chat with you today on just a multitude of levels. So if some of you listeners were thinking, "Whoa, that's crazy. They're both licensed estheticians in Massachusetts, what a small world," you're actually not crazy. Me and Eva actually attended the same school at the same time, we were both in the same class together. And yes, I can personally vouch that she has been and always will be the brow shaping queen, slaying looks and keeping full books, as I like to say.
0:04:14.4 EM: So it has been forever since we have had the chance to just catch up and talk skin. So before we jump into everything that I wanna talk about today, Eva, how have things been going for you in general, like work-wise these days? Are you finding that your clients are just clamoring to get back in to see you now that restrictions, at least in Massachusetts, are kind of lifting and becoming a little bit... Easing up a little?
0:04:38.6 EB: I feel like it is a little slower, but I feel like I'm seeing more of my regulars now, and a lot of them are going back to work and they work in the area, so I see them after work or during their lunch break. So it's been picking up and I'm excited, I missed them. [chuckle] So it's good to see everyone. And I feel like things are getting back to normal, whatever normal is, so I love it.
0:05:03.1 EM: Good. Well, I'm sure that they all miss you so much during the heaviness of the pandemic, and it must just be so nice to start to see them starting to trickle back in, so that's amazing. Normally, on this podcast, we are talking about things like ingredients or skincare devices or marketing tactics for your business. But as I mentioned in our intro, honestly, sometimes we are just here to talk one Esty to another and we're keeping things real. And being that it is February and it's Black History Month, something that I think is really important to reflect on right now, but also most importantly to discuss and be having conversations about is, how prevalent a role skin color plays in all of our lives.
0:05:51.9 EM: As estheticians, we live and breathe all things skin. Most of us get into this business because we have a passion for making the world a better place, which maybe sounds like a little intense or dramatic, but it's true. If we can make even one client feel amazing about themselves and about the skin that they're in, then we've done our job. And as estheticians, we have this amazing opportunity to really take a deep dive into skin and experience working with all sorts of clients from all walks of life: Different cultural and racial backgrounds, different skin colors and types and skin conditions. So for you, Eva, as a black woman and an esthetician, how has learning about skin at such great depths that you have affected how you feel about your own skin color?
0:06:41.8 EB: Well, actually, the reason why I attended esthetic school is because I was going through some skin issues, some adult acne, and I just didn't know how to deal with it. It made me very self conscious and insecure, so that is actually the reason why I attended school. So I wanted to learn about my skin, I wanted to learn what I could do to help it and also to help others, 'cause I was so insecure and I'm like, "If other people are going through the same thing I'm going through, I wanna help them and be that person that can guide them and teach them about their skin and skin care." So that's the reason why I became an esthetician. And to be a person of color, I feel like I didn't have a lot of representation, especially in Boston. So I definitely wanted to cater to especially Black people and people of color and people that had melanin, 'cause our skin is definitely more delicate and definitely more sensitive and might not need the same things as a person of non-color. So it was good to learn and teach myself and then help others.
0:07:56.2 EM: Good. Well, you know as well as I do how empowering learning about your skin can really be. You were just saying things with acne, to not really have that knowledge of what to do with your acne or what ingredients to use, to get that kind of knowledge and to take the control back for that, it's really empowering. And that sort of education, I feel like, can help both you and your clients maybe feel less hopeless and less... I don't know, almost like you're desperate for a solution and you just don't know how to get it. So it's a very frustrating process, and knowledge is definitely power for us on that personal level. But being able to share it with others is really what makes part of being an esthetician just so rewarding, in my opinion. It's our ability to share knowledge and help others feel like they can have beautiful skin too. They can be loved, they can have this beautiful life, it's not just for those who are blessed with good genes or that are deemed worthy enough to have good skin and happiness and confidence. That is for everyone.
0:09:10.3 EM: So on that note, what does it mean for you when you are specifically getting a client of color who walks in to receive a service from you or is seeking your expert advice? Does your knowledge of skin care along with your personal experiences as a Black woman have any sort of unique impact on you when you're providing services to clients of color?
0:09:30.1 EB: I actually... I feel honored that people of color just trust me automatically with their skin and with their brows. Where I work, I am actually the only person of color, so I feel like they gravitate, they walk in and they see me and they're like, "Oh. Someone that looks like me, someone that represents me. I trust her, I wanna see her." And that always makes me feel so good when they sit in my chair and they tell me that, "Oh I saw you... I walked in, I was intimidated, and then I saw you and I was like, 'Okay, I can trust them, they know what they're doing. They have a person that has the same skin as me and maybe has the same skin issue.'" And I just feel really honored and just blessed to provide them with their needs, and their skincare and their brow needs, and for them to trust me, automatically.
0:10:23.3 EM: I was gonna say that's really important just because the nature of our industry is we want to make people feel more confident and we want people to... Even if you have a lot of hyper-pigmentation or you've got a lot of acne or whatever it is that your condition is that you are looking to just better... I mean, you're already going into it with some sort of feeling of like, "I don't feel great about this, and I wanna feel better. I'm going to this person and I'm choosing to be a little vulnerable here," which isn't always the most comfortable for us, "And I'm opening myself up to this person." And I'm sure to just walk in and just have that immediate feeling of like, "Oh, this person will get me. I was nervous before, but now I'm in Eva's hands and I feel so much better and so much more at ease. I know that she'll take care of me." And that's really what it's about, right?
0:11:21.0 EB: Yeah, absolutely. I would say 10 years ago, maybe we didn't have as much representation. I feel like things are looking up and things are getting better. I see a lot of Black estheticians and even Black dermatologists, and I follow a bunch of skincare experts. And I feel like we're evolving, which is great.
0:11:43.7 EM: Yeah, moving in the right direction.
0:11:46.4 EB: Yes.
0:11:47.3 EM: Before I get into my last question here, I do have one more question for you, and I guess I just have something personal that I think that I've observed that I also wanted to share. In this past year, we have all experienced and witnessed a lot, and it's not just COVID-related things. Obviously that was difficult in of itself, but within our society and as a country, we've experienced a lot. It was a really heavy year and in particular for me at least, really around spring, early summer of 2020, I really started to realize and admit, I have honestly been real comfortable with being complacent here. And I kinda hate that. And it was just something that I didn't realize until that period of time, and I was like, "I hate feeling like this and I never... " And once you're aware, you're like, "Oh, gosh."
0:12:41.3 EM: And so I had reached out to some of my friends of color, and I had open and honest conversations with them about what they have and are still experiencing out there in the world with racism. And the cool thing about it was, it wasn't the most comfortable thing for me to do. Obviously, these are my friends and I love them dearly. I trust them and they trust me, but this was not the most comfortable thing for either of us to do. And even me and you having this conversation right now, I mean, you're my friend and I trust you and I love having this conversation, but there is a certain level of vulnerability here. It's like our exposed underbelly here. And what's great about this is that this is what growth feels like, and this is what progress sounds like, having these conversations. This is what it sounds like, and this is moving forward. So on the topic of progress and moving forward, where do you see the future of skincare education going? And what would you like to see more of? Have you noticed anything in particular or specific or experienced anything, changes in more inclusive skincare education?
0:14:00.5 EB: Actually I have. During the whole Black Lives Matter movement that we were having during the pandemic, I actually had a conversation with the CEO of my company, and we just talked about the brand and what I would like and other people of color would like to see change. And it was a really raw conversation, it was really uncomfortable. I was nervous 'cause she's the CEO of the company and she called me 'cause she wanted to know how... She cared to know how we felt about it. And one of the few things that I mentioned was just representation in color, meaning not just three shades for the people of color. We come in all shades and all tones, and we just need more representation. And even for in skincare, our skin could be slightly different, it could be a little bit more sensitive. A lot of people of color, because of their sensitivity, they have hyper-pigmentation from any type of... Even just like anything brushing on their skin, or from acne. So we just need things that cater to our skin as well sometimes.
0:15:15.4 EB: And I feel like honestly, when I started working four years ago, there were three shades. And then it's been four years, and I would say that it has progressed a little bit. Still not to where I feel like we represent every skin tone, but we're getting there, and I'm hopeful and I feel like we're progressing and I feel like people are open to listen and actually do something about it. Not just talk about it, do something about it. And I think that we're going in the right direction, absolutely.
0:15:46.5 EM: Oh, that's good. And it's funny that you say three shades, 'cause my brain literally goes towards like, "Oh, of course, a neutral, a warm tone, and a cool tone." But obviously...
0:15:57.4 EB: Yeah, but it's really the same shade for... It's like a one little... It's really the same shade of like, I don't know, caramel, to be honest.
0:16:06.8 EM: Right. Well, that's amazing. I'm glad and I'm proud of you for having that conversation because it is hard and it can be intimidating, especially when those type of conversations like what you're having... That's not just with your buddy, your best friend, someone that you already know. This is the CEO of a company and this is your job, this is your work. This could have a big effect on you. But for you to speak up and share what's on your mind and what you think, and that there are people that are open and willing to listen, but as you said, not just listen but take it into action. I also see that happening a little bit, and like you said, maybe we're not quite there yet, but we're moving in the right direction, which is a great start, and especially people are open to talking about it. Let's keep having these conversations, 'cause that's really what's the most important.
0:17:00.7 EM: I really can't thank you enough, Eva, for joining me on this episode of ASCP Esty Talk today and just hearing your voice. Beyond the fact that you are my little Aries soul sister that gets me in a way that just non-Aries folks don't quite understand. We've got that...
0:17:18.0 EB: They just don't understand.
0:17:20.1 EM: I know. We've just got that special little connection. Other Aries will get it. I'm just so thankful that I've had the opportunity to grow and learn with you, starting from our humble roots in the esthetics classroom all the way up until this conversation that we're having now on this podcast episode. So just thank you so much for being here with me today. I so appreciate it.
0:17:43.5 EB: Thank you for having me. I'm glad that you thought of me.
0:17:48.6 EM: Oh, of course. I couldn't not think of you.
0:17:52.0 EB: And I miss seeing your face. Sometimes I do miss esthetics school, 'cause it was just like we were so young and naive. We were stepping into this world of skin care and esthetics, and look where we are today. We all took different paths, but are excelling in it.
0:18:09.4 EM: Right. It's amazing. I love seeing how we've started in one place and how we've grown into the women in the skincare industry that we are today, and it's so fun to come together and to chat with you. And if anyone is interested in checking out all of the amazing things that Eva's up to and wants to connect, you can check her out and give her a follow on her Instagram, it's @archedbyeva, super cute username, and you guys are gonna be so obsessed with her work. So if you are a non-skincare professional and you're in the Boston area, check her out. She will work her magic on your brows. [laughter]
0:18:53.3 EB: Thank you. I try.
0:18:55.9 EM: You do a fabulous job. So thank you again, Eva, for joining here today. Thank you, everyone, who tuned into this episode, and we will catch you on the next one.
0:19:06.2 EB: Thank you. Thank you, everyone.
0:19:09.3 S2: 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 at ascpskincare.com. Only $259 per year for all this goodness. ASCP knows it's all about you.