New this month, we’re beginning a series of interviews with leaders within the field of esthetics to get their take on industry trends, learn their top skin care recommendations, hear their tips for those just beginning their career as an esthetician, and more. Whether you’re a professional in the field or a consumer who wants to ensure your skin is as healthy as it can be, we’re confident that the interviews in this series will hold valuable information for you.
Meet JoElle Lee.
A highly respected skin care expert, educator and celebrity esthetician, JoElle is the author of “Esthetician on a Mission, Business Building Workbook” and co-author of “Multicultural Skin Treatments: Learn How to Effectively Treat Skin of Color Using Chemical Peels and Laser Treatments,” which has become a trusted guide for those treating diverse client populations. In addition to being featured in numerous national consumer publications and a guest on radio programs around the country, JoElle is recognized for being the former personal esthetician to First Lady Michelle Obama during her time in the White House.
JoElle’s path to becoming an esthetician was inspired by another professional in the field. As someone who always had a passion for beauty and a desire to serve others, she recognized that a career in esthetics would allow her to marry both of her passions. More than 20 years later, that hunch proved correct. Today JoElle can be found conducting personalized skin care consultations, serving as keynote speaker at industry events, teaching classes around the country on the topic of multicultural skin, and sharing her expertise via her social media channels.
You’ve had so many different roles within the esthetics industry. What role are you enjoying the most these days?
JL: I am really enjoying being a speaker and educator. When I was getting my start in the industry it was challenging to get other estheticians to help and support me. For that reason, I strive to share my knowledge with others in the field while supporting their growth.
As you look at the field of esthetics today, what do you feel are some of the most important topics?
JL: There are a number of them that I’m keeping an eye on, including: spa vs. medical modalities performed by estheticians, state board rules and regulations, the discussion surrounding whether or not estheticians should have some type of medical license to perform medical esthetics, and variations in what treatments and services estheticians are allowed to implement from state to state. These are topics that are always somewhat in flux and, as licensed professionals, it’s vital that we stay on top of them.
As an expert in the treatment of multicultural skin, do you feel that esthetic programs are today doing an adequate job of teaching students how to properly address the needs of their multicultural clients?
JL: The reason I wrote my book on multicultural skin treatments was because I was approached by many estheticians asking if I could train them on how to treat skin of color with more advanced or aggressive treatment options. Most esthetics school programs and the textbooks they utilize don’t cover how to treat skin of color, leaving graduates feeling less than confident when treating multicultural skin. This is unfortunate, as the majority of the U.S. population is now multicultural.
What is your most important piece of advice for new esthetic graduates who are just entering the field and want to emulate your success?
JL: From my standpoint, success if formulaic: find a niche, take action, continue educating yourself to master your craft, stay the course, and stand out from the rest. Finally, don’t forget to give back by lifting up those who come after you.
Our team has been especially appreciative of your holistic approach to skin care that goes beyond just at-home product usage and professional treatments to focus on diet, stress, and other factors that can impact the skin, as well. It’s a philosophy shared by Lexli founder, Dr. Ahmed Abdullah. What inspired you to look at skin care through a broader lens and what has been the result of that approach?
JL: The skin is our largest organ so there has to be an inside-out or “wholistic” approach to its wellbeing. I have been able to get far better results and help clients improve their overall health and wellness by incorporating this philosophy into my esthetics practice.
If a client was limited by budget and time, what would you suggest as the most vital skin care steps and, beyond that, the most important professional treatments?
JL: In my opinion, cleansing, exfoliation, corrective serums, moisturizer and sun protection are the most vital skin care steps. I always recommend that consumers meet with a skin care professional to discover the most appropriate products for their skin and how to use them in each season.
As for professional treatments, at a minimum, I advise getting a facial seasonally. For those who want to combat common skin conditions like discoloration, acne and wrinkles, facials and chemical peels are most important.
You’ve already had an incredible career. What do you envision for yourself for the next 20 years?
JL: I am intent on continuing to focus on overall education and advanced esthetics training. I hope to open an Advanced Training Center in the near future where estheticians can not only learn advanced techniques but also get required certifications and continuing education hours while learning the business and retail side of esthetics.
Learn more about JoElle Lee and her upcoming appearances and training opportunities by visiting her website or following her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. For professionals, she offers a Facebook group where members can discuss trainings and classes.