Christine Valmy is a Rumanian immigrant who came to the US in 1961, established a chain of 1,400 facial salons, founded the country’s first licensed skin care school, and founded the American Association of Esthetics. She is also widely credited with coining the word esthetician.1
Valmy was once quoted saying, “If a woman in Europe has $10, she knows where to put it—on her face. Here in America, a woman pays $1,800 for an evening gown and walks into the party with blackheads. If I have $1,800, I will use the money for my skin and walk around in a $10 cotton dress.” 2
Since Valmy was first quoted, not much has changed in people’s attitudes and feelings toward personal appearance and skin health. Or so it would seem. According to a poll commissioned by Massage Envy, many Americans lack skin care knowledge and are uncomfortable in their own skin.
Results of the survey say two out of three people agree they don’t know how to take care of their skin. Seventy percent struggle to find a suitable skin care routine. Sixty-two percent believe they need professional assistance, but 58 percent admit they’re too uncomfortable to make an appointment with an expert. And for some, never having a breakout again means going to extreme lengths. Thirty-seven percent are willing to relive high school and never eat chocolate again, while 35 percent are willing to pay $1,000 a year to live with beautiful skin.3 This last survey result is not all that mind-boggling since the cosmetics industry is one of the biggest global markets. Americans spend an average of $244–$313 on cosmetics every month.4
However, even with all this desperation and willingness to invest, clients still experience skin problems and the lack of confidence that comes with them. Of those surveyed, almost 70 percent say it has taken a long time to find a skin care routine that “actually does the job,” and 67 percent report concerns that the products they use may be causing more harm than good.3 The most common skin conditions of respondent include acne, eczema, inflammation, dermatitis, and puffy eyes.
But the role of the esthetician is more than treating a blemish emergency. Thanks to Valmy who pioneered the esthetics profession, estheticians lend an ear, educate, and advocate, treating their clients’ whole-body health. The esthetician who is passionate and committed, who takes the opportunity to lead the conversation and educate their clients, will forever be rewarded.
ASCP's Esty Talk episode 129, The Future of Facials: Challenging the European Standard, discusses 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..
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