When you start your own business, you need to learn to wear many different hats, from customer service to creating formulations in the laboratory. Now, and since Allure Labs was established in 1995, I have formulated with many Fortune 500 companies creating the latest in advanced skin care. So I have done a lot of things and have been able to take that knowledge to DermaQuest where, even still as the CEO, I am actively involved as the lead chemist. I think that having my hands in every aspect of the company has been really helpful for me. My employees and clients trust me because I am the CEO and chemist, so I care about the product from every standpoint. Its efficacy, its value, its marketability… all of it. Although I have done it all, I must say beginning to formulate products was the hardest! But going through all of it was worth it to create DermaQuest. I am still just so amazed at what we have been able to achieve. If you have the best facility, quality control, development, testing, and you can do it all in house, then you are golden. Being able to do everything under one roof gives you the ability to really make sure your product is amazing because you can make micro-batches, test them with your education team, and be certain that you are putting out the best product possible. We love sharing information and opportunity with our clients at Allure Labs; we want to support everyone who is willing to be bold in the industry. There is a lot of growth in this industry, so you will never be bored… so go for it! Be passionate, adventurous and try new things. Chemistry is extremely interesting and powerful. People often think chemistry is boring or intimidating, but it is actually really fun and cool to get to experiment that way. Learn and be open to new ideas and concepts, especially when it comes to taking risks on new technology and methods. I have learned to never hesitate on trying something new. Even if it does not work out, part of science is ruling things out so we can move on to something that does work. But honestly, it is just amazing how well this stuff actually works! I have realized I can make products that could really enhance people’s beauty, and, thereby, build their confidence and overall emotional health. And lately, it has surprised me that men want it as much as women! But I completely get it: I use our products constantly. Pampering is not just for women anymore.
Do what you love and the rest comes naturally. If you love something, you will always be inspired to do more.
Here’s more of our chat with Sam:
DERMASCOPE: How long have you been in the aesthetics industry?
Sam: Over 25 years.
DERMASCOPE: How and where do you find inspiration?
Sam: I find inspiration from the tradeshows and seminars we attend where you get to learn about, and then play with, new amazing materials. Also, because Allure is such an in-demand facility, we get a lot of visitors who want to sell to us first and they teach us all about amazing new technology which is definitely inspiring. We love sharing that information and opportunity with our clients at Allure; we want to support everyone who is willing to be bold in the industry.
I also am inspired by being able to use botanical stem cells in the first place because I am an ecologically-friendly minded person. Stem cells can be created in the laboratory so you do not have to bring harm to a large number of plants. We are also proud to have no animal testing. And of course to be made in the United States.
DERMASCOPE: Do you have any regrets, or is there any one thing you can point to and think, “I wish I would have done that differently” or “if only I had known then what I know now” that you can share with the readers? Please explain.
Sam: I wish I knew that earlier that skin care was the industry for me because I love working in it so much. If I had a crystal ball, in 1991 when glycolic acid and retinol were so big, I wish I knew about peptides and stem cells!
DERMASCOPE: What adaptations have you made over the years to stay relevant in the industry?
Sam: Discovering new peptides and learning to formulate with them was something we have all had to adapt to. Also leaning to encapsulate retinol in microsponges has kept us really on the cutting edge. Long ago I helped develop one of the first anti-aging over-the-counter products ever, so that was an exciting thing we did to keep relevant.
DERMASCOPE: What do you see are upcoming trends in the industry?
Sam: Honestly, the trend is going to be discovering new stem cells, different kinds of peptides and delivery systems. It is amazing what they come up with every day for aging, acne, hyperpigmentation… everything. Another trend is going to find the winning combinations of these ingredients that enhance skin best.
DERMASCOPE: Why do you think people come to a particular spa?
Sam: Results is first and service is second. If you are not worried about results and just want good service, you do not book a facial, you get a massage! But the winning combination, of course, is results!
DERMASCOPE: Do you have a signature treatment or technique that your clients love – a classic of sorts? What makes it so loved?
Sam: Our Stem Cell 3D Treatments are pretty much immediately loved by everyone who tries them. Especially the Advanced Peel with our Glycolic Acid and TCA. People cannot believe what a difference it makes, and they cannot wait to schedule their next one.
DERMASCOPE: What is the one piece of advice you give to every client you see?
Sam: Prevention is better than the cure. Start early: stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.
DERMASCOPE: What tool(s) would your treatment room (or business) not be complete without and why?
Sam: We have to have brilliant skin care professionals who can use the products and modalities correctly and thoughtfully. They know so much about the skin and its function that they can diagnose you quickly and then effectively treat your concerns. Pair that with the latest in ingredients and technology and you will be amazed at what you get.
DERMASCOPE: Is there a particular moment or procedure where most professionals go wrong? What could they alter for a better result?
Sam: I would say misdiagnosis of the skin, which is a shame because you can do a lot if you do it right. Also you need to perform a patch test. There is nothing worse than a treatment doing the exact opposite of what a client wants it to do.
DERMASCOPE: What are the greatest pressures, strains or anxieties in the work?
Sam: The pressure is always there to be on top of technology with the highest level of actives.
DERMASCOPE: Is there a particular ingredient that you feel is a “super” ingredient? If so, why?
Sam: I think it is the combinations of our chosen ingredients that makes them so special. Pairing the right delivery system with the right ingredient can make all the difference.
DERMASCOPE: You wear so many hats in this industry. What is your secret to keeping life in balance and enjoying the journey?
Sam: I love what I do, so I am already happy. Allure and DermaQuest are both family businesses. My family works with me and helps me out here. My daughter took after the chemist side of me and is a doctor, while my son is in business. So they both took after different sides of me. Not to mention my wife Renu, who is amazing. As they say, behind every great man there is an even greater woman. It is our journey together that makes it so easy and enjoyable.
DERMASCOPE: Do you or your company support any particular causes or charitable organizations? If so, who and why?
Sam: I am currently building a school in India for disenfranchised and poor children, which is a really important project for me. We also donate to the Sikh Coalition which helps women from India get into the country safely and legally, which is a really big issue. There are a number of other things we donate too, especially during the holidays. And, of course, whenever natural disasters happen we donate to the relief effort.
DERMASCOPE: How did you decide that your current career is the right one for you?
Sam: Because it makes me happy. I suppose I knew because I have not wanted to stop.
DERMASCOPE: What are your hobbies when not working?
Sam: I love playing golf, so you can find me on the course when I am not in the laboratory. I am also a big 49ers fan and very into wine. Honestly, however, keeping up with the latest trends in chemistry and skin care is something you can find me researching and reading about even when I am not working.
DERMASCOPE: What is your daily skin care ritual?
Sam: I alternate products, but right now I use our C Infusion Cleanser, the Essential B5 Hydrating, Collagen Stem Cell Complex and the Peptide Line Corrector. I use SunArmor SPF 50 since we launched it! In the evening, I use the Stem Cell 3D Cleanser and the HydraFirm, which we are launching late summer. When I am due, I will schedule a Power Peptide Resurfacer or a TCA/Salicylic Peel, too.