Shelley Marleen Hess | Entrepreneur and Holistic Aesthetician

In 1976, Shelley Hess wanted to become a medical researcher to find a cure for acne. Even with Johns Hopkins medical studies, Hess’ career path took a turn, leading her to being mentored by a Tibetan doctor on holistic practices. For 11 years she was guided into the skin care career she currently holds. Although Hess did not become a doctor, she found a way to assist thousands of men, women and children by handling many skin care problems and giving back a sense of confidence to those who found difficulty in feeling content about their appearance. I have been in the aesthetics industry for 37 years. Throughout those years, I have been an educator at various skin care schools in New York, Maryland, Florida and California;

logoI have authored nine textbooks in our industry; I actually invented a makeup technique that I patented, with the word Faceology; I wrote four makeup books in two languages; I was the director of education and marketing for Prescription Plus when Robert Diemer was still head of the international company; I was a freelance educator for over 30 different cosmetic companies; and I have also owned and operated a skin care business for 25 years. With all that I have accomplished in those 37 years, I believe my role as an aesthetics teacher has impacted me the most. I have learned from my students as I shared what I knew from my own mentors. They gave me fresh eyes to see what I had been working with for so many years. The only regret I have is that I wish I had taken a stronger platform to inform aestheticians and clients about the dangers of tattooing the body when the lupus chromosome gene is present. Along with the National Lupus Foundation, I would have liked to take a larger role in our industry to inform people about the life altering health conditions brought on by the correlation between lupus and tattooing – micropigmentation being a part of that body of work. It only takes a simple blood test before tattooing a client’s eyebrows and eyeliner. But no matter what, I have never lost my passion for aesthetics. Through the many decades, a lot has changed to the approach of skin care treatments. However, I believe it is the relationship between the client and the aesthetician that keeps clients coming back. When a client can experience the aesthetician’s love for their job as they treat their skin, they will continue to come back month after month. My secret to keeping life in balance is that I simply adore what I do. I make sure to acknowledge every single day as a blessing. Not that every day is easy; it is not. But every day is an opportunity to make a memory for someone else to remember!

More from our interview with Shelley Hess:

DERMASCOPE:
Has there been a constant theme that has led you from one point to the next throughout your training and career? continued…

Shelley:
I have never lost the passion for aesthetics. Through the many decades, a lot has changed to the approach of skin care treatments, some I have found to be difficult to accept. For example, the overuse of Botox, but the passion and love for holistic medicine for me has remained steadfast.

DERMASCOPE:
What has surprised you most during your professional journey?

Shelley:
I guess I am surprised by how many gadgets have come and gone through the various tradeshows. The one element that has never changed is the power of our hands. The skills found in the fingers of a dedicated aesthetician has and I believe always will be the backbone of great skin care.

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? continued…

Shelley:
I wish I had taken a stronger platform to inform aestheticians and clients alike what the National Lupus Foundation has tried to let people know… that tattoos on a body with the lupus chromosome gene will cause life altering health conditions. Micropigmentation is part of that body of work. And all it takes is a simple blood test before beginning the tattooing of their eyebrows and eyeliner to save them from the ravages of lupus 25 years ago we had 80,000 cases of lupus in the United States; today there are over 800,000. And we as aestheticians could help get the word out to better serve our clients/patients – before they tattoo their bodies.

DERMASCOPE:
What do you believe separates the best clinics from the rest?

Shelley:
Not to sound like a broken record, but if the aesthetician is genuine about his/her love of the industry it makes the experience in their workplace a joy to behold. It is intrinsic, an invisible energy that no paint color or interior design can mimic.

DERMASCOPE:
Do you have a signature treatment that your clients love – a classic of sorts? What makes it so loved?

Shelley:
With new clients, I have a three level treatment protocol. First time clients only receive a seven layer penetration of their epidermis. The following session is 13 layers and last is 20. I explain to my clients that it is like a new hired maid into your mansion. Your security alarm system (such as the auto-immune system through your lymphatic system) wants to make certain that this cleaning is welcomed inside your home, not to be perceived like a burglar ransacking the place. I realize this may sound weird, but my clients truly get the picture I am painting. Medical terms set aside, get them to “see” what I am driving at, and they follow me completely.

DERMASCOPE:
What tool or tools would your treatment room not be complete without and why?

Shelley:
Sterile comedone extractors; five-diopter dermascope lamp, a steamer, hundreds of tongue depressors (so I never double dip into my wax pot or dig out product from a jar with my fingers); and dermafiles, which I use as my chosen form of microdermabrasion.

DERMASCOPE:
Is there a particular moment or procedure where most aestheticians go wrong?
What could they alter for a better result?

Shelley:
Now, I realize if an aesthetician has spent hundreds, if not a thousand or more dollars, on an aluminum crystal vacuum driven microdermabrasion machine, they probably would not want to throw it out. But they should. No machine can give you a perfect reading of what crystals are still left embedded into the epidermal surface. The suction also does play havoc with the tiny capillaries found just below the stratum corneum. Coupé rose can be created by just one application of such a vacuum treatment.

DERMASCOPE:
Do you or your company support any particular causes or charitable organizations?
If so, who and why?

Shelley:
I support the National Lupus Foundation, for reasons I have already mentioned. I believe I have a responsibility to help my clients and their children understand what they are doing to their bodies before it is too late to change it. And of course the American Cancer Society. I am proud to be a makeup artist for the Feel Good program. I also go into six different oncology units through Kaiser Permenente, where I aide the patients during their infusion sessions with the use of my extensive knowledge on holistic aromatherapy and other sources. Having been one of them myself at one time, it makes them trust me even more.

DERMASCOPE:
What is the one piece of advice you give to every client you see?

Shelley:
I tell them that I am there for them whenever they need me I am just a phone call or e-mail away. They do not have to come in for a treatment (although I hope they will) for me to be a resource for their own quest of knowledge about skin and treatments of their skin. If they see a television advertisement or an infomercial, they can ask me to evaluate what they are looking at. I will give them honest feedback.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Tara Sitser Monday, 24 June 2013 20:04 posted by Tara Sitser

    Wonderful, informative article Shelley! I am glad you are so happy in your work and that you are getting the recognition you deserve. Your passion and insight are apprecieted.

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