Lexli continues its series of interviews with leaders within the field of esthetics to get their thoughts on key industry trends, hear about their favorite treatments, discover their advice for those just entering the field, and more. The interviews in this segment will hold valuable information for you, whether you’re a licensed esthetician or a consumer who wants skin that looks and feels its best.
Meet Lori Crete.
The founder of Southern California’s Spa 10, Lori is a top celebrity esthetician who has helped many recognizable names achieve their optimal skin health. She is also the founder of The Beauty Biz Club™, a virtual success-based society dedicated to helping beauty practitioners around the world fill their schedule, increase profits and break through to the six-figure mark.
Lori was a finalist for American Spa’s Mentor of the Year and can often be found sharing her industry expertise as a keynote speaker at industry trade shows and events. When not teaching, presenting or performing treatments, she can be heard on her podcast, “The Beauty Biz Show,” which features interviews with experts from various areas of the beauty industry who discuss their tips for success.
L: We’re excited to talk with you today, Lori. I’d like to start the discussion by going back to the beginning. How did you get your start in the esthetics industry?
LC: The facts that led me to the esthetics industry are quite unique. I was a flight attendant when 9/11 happened. I found myself in Boston on that fall morning after taking a flight there the day prior. Sadly, half of my crew was on one of the hijacked planes. I spent the following day talking with the FBI and the Boston State Police as they began piecing together what happened. At the end of that day a voice in my head told me that I had experienced “both the saddest and luckiest day of my life. You have the opportunity to do something different. You can make a change.” I just felt that becoming an esthetician was the right thing for me to do. I flew home and 10 days later was enrolled in esthetics school. I began classes that November and began practicing in February of 2002.
L: You had a number of successful years working as an independent esthetician inside a spa and later as a renter inside of a salon before you owned your own spa. What led you to go out on your own and what were the biggest hurdles you had to overcome?
LC: I was invited to be the esthetician on a makeover show on the Style Network. The owner of the spa at which the segments were filmed offered me a position. Despite the timing initially not being right, she called me every two months for about five years to ask if I was ready to join her business. Eventually, the timing was right and I enjoyed working with her for several months before she decided to sell her salon and spa. The spa was a separate business, unattached from the salon, and she generously gifted that part of the business to me.
In my experience, being forced to start over is a huge business hurdle, and one that almost every beauty practitioner has experienced. For me, that came in the form of the failing economy in 2010. I was newly divorced and so scared when even those clients who could afford my services weren’t coming in regularly. Business, like life, ebbs and flows. Being in a position where you have to regain your footing and trust yourself to grow - or re-grow - a business can be overwhelming but there’s a real sense of satisfaction in it. I think a lot of beauty practitioners are feeling that right now, in light of Covid-19. Personally, I overcame it by learning how to market my business and that’s why I teach this skill to other professionals. Now, more than ever, it’s vital for those in the beauty industry to regard their profession as a career and to learn how to market themselves. It starts with learning how to build or grow a client list. Once I understood how to do that, I was able to overcome a slow period and move into a growth phase.
L: Beyond encouraging new estheticians to understand the basics of marketing, what is your number one piece of advice for those just entering the field?
LC: Frankly, Covid-19 has made now an excellent time for new estheticians to enter the field. Think about it - many talented estheticians have decided not to return to the treatment room as their salons and spas have reopened. This has created room for new talent. Take advantage of this opportunity by getting your resume together and applying at every salon and spa you admire. Those who are willing to do what is necessary to get into the door will really succeed. This may mean finding a mentor or taking a position as an intern under someone with a skill and talent who may want to slow down for a bit. By being of service to that person, you not only learn but are the prime candidate when an opportunity becomes available.
L: What do you personally find to be the most important trends in the esthetics industry today?
LC: I have found that clients used to look for more harsh chemicals and aggressive treatments but are today stepping into a more holistic approach to nourish their skin and see improvement, while slowing the aging process. That can be done, for example, with serums or, as Lexli knows well, ingredients like aloe vera. Anything that is healing and nurturing people seem to be stepping into and craving more for their skin.
L: On that note, after 18 years as an esthetician and working with skin of all types and conditions, what would you say is the key to beautiful skin?
LC: Having a basic but consistent skin care routine that is customized for your skin type is key. If you own the products, use them! As I always tell my clients, “make your routine a beauty ritual.”
A proper skin care routine consists of cleanser, a good serum, moisturizer and SPF. I consider serums to be the worker bees of a skin care routine; it’s just necessary to get one customized to your skin’s needs. For example, a teenager with acne could select a serum with salicylic acid, while a postmenopausal client may look for one with hydrating benefits. They can even be cocktailed into your moisturizer. If you want to maintain a youthful appearance, a serum needs to be part of your routine.
L: If you could only prescribe one professional treatment, what would it be?
LC: In those cases I advise finding an esthetician who gives an amazing deep pore cleansing facial. It’s important to keep pores clean so they can function properly, like a well-oiled gear. Additionally, it’s important to use an esthetician to get you on the right product regimen, something that can happen virtually right now.
I'm also a huge fan of microcurrent. I think of it like a personal trainer for your skin. It can benefit all ages and offers preventive maintenance. However, I also have clients in their 90s who do it. It helps tighten, tone and rejuvenate your skin. After a good microcurrent facial you can almost feel the movement happening under your skin. It’s an awesome treatment.
L: We love to peek behind the curtain to find what estheticians use on their skin. What steps are in your skin care routine?
LC: Every morning I use a cleanser and a lightening serum that contains vitamin C, followed by moisturizer. I then whip on a tinted mineral SPF with a flat-top makeup brush to give my skin an airbrushed look while simultaneously protecting it.
At night I cleanse, apply an eye cream and follow with moisturizer. Two or three times a week I use a vitamin A serum. I always keep my eye cream in the refrigerator to enhance the effect. The cold reduces inflammation and puffiness, which is especially beneficial these days when we’re all eating and drinking too much! It may feel good to indulge but it leaves our faces looking inflamed.
L: Finally, what is a typical week like for you now?
LC: My schedule is very compartmentalized. On Mondays I teach in the Beauty Biz Club and record episodes of my podcast. On Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and every other Saturday, I’m in the treatment room. When I’m in the treatment room, my goal is five facials a day, either Hydrofacial or microcurrent, with an hour reserved for lunch.
I sold Spa 10 and today rent space inside a medical spa. The physician refers his patients to me and I’ve been able to build up a wonderful client list. This arrangement has allowed me to find time for all of my different roles.