Christine Heathman’s journey began in an unassuming way. She was the oldest of eight children and the daughter of a GM executive father who encouraged her to pursue her own vision and dreams. Early on, her goal was to become a veterinarian, stemming from her love for animals. Always an independent thinker and a jokester, Christine forged her own identity and followed her own path from an early age. Her nonconformist outlook and gregarious personality often clashed with the very strict, rules-based Catholic boarding school environment she was enrolled in and this ultimately resulted in her expulsion.
During her school years, Christine was a skinny, flat-chested girl who endured relentless teasing and bullying throughout childhood. Ultimately, this motivated and fueled her lifelong drive to reach out and help those that society had cast aside. She stated in a 2016 interview, “I will do anything to help an animal in need or to help the sick, underprivileged, or those victimized by bullying. It’s the many damaged people and helpless animals who depend on us that are important to me.”
After graduating from high school and attending college studying law enforcement, Christine applied to the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department in California. One of her interviewers explained if she was hired, Christine would have to work in the county jail. She was further advised that the interviewer felt that serving as a jailor would not allow Christine to accomplish all she seemed capable of doing.
This advice gave Christine the opportunity to reflect on what really matters. Armed with her nothing-can-stop-me attitude and coupled with skills gained from helping her friends and family, she set out to fully embrace her commitment to helping people make the most of themselves. After all, her younger sister, Michaelyn, had served as an eager model growing up and they always had fun experimenting with ways to make Michaelyn beautiful. Why not share this magic with others? Combining her innate sense of style and design with her skill with cosmetics allowed her to begin working in the beauty industry. She quickly realized that she was helping transform each of her clients, both outwardly and inwardly, as they experienced newfound confidence and acceptance.
Christine has always been fascinated with makeup, hair, fashion, and skin care, while also being analytical and curious by nature. She began a passionate, lifelong study of skin anatomy, histology, and physiology, always with the goal of advancing the art of medical makeup and skin care. She continues to strive to heal and conceal skin imperfections brought on by trauma, dermatological disorders, congenital challenges, and post-operation conditions.
And, so began Christine’s wonderful journey in makeup and skin care – starting first as a specialized makeup artist in California, where many people quickly recognized her talent and skills as demand grew for her services.
FROM CONCEALING MAKEUP TO EFFECTIVELY TREATING THE SKIN
Frustrated by the difficulties in concealing her own acne, Christine began the serious study of several skin diseases. This research ultimately led her to a solution for clearing up her own acne. Fed up with the many ineffective, over-the-counter products, as well as those recommended by salons and dermatologists, Christine grew ever more determined to find an effective solution. Her dedication to studying the science of the skin led her to a solution for her acne. As a result, she began formulating her own personal products. The excitement over this discovery led to even more study and the acquisition of a California aesthetics license that allowed her to provide professional services and products to help others overcome their dermatological challenges.
Christine has always had a soft spot in her heart for others and a passion to help people feel good about themselves. This is especially true for individuals afflicted with dermatological, accidental, post-operative cosmetic, and reconstructive surgery challenges. Realizing the need for a patient-safe place and educational center, Christine founded Advanced Aesthetics Inc. in Concord, California and went on to exercise her vocation with people who faced serious skin afflictions. It was at this time Christine formed an alliance with the top plastic surgeon in the Bay Area, Dr. Hale Tolleth, MD, F.A.C.S., who sent his post-cosmetic and reconstructive patients to her for skin and makeup rehabilitation. Christine’s reputation grew as she successfully helped those with severely traumatized skin. She also accepted patient referrals from Bothin Burn Unit of San Francisco, Saint Francis Hospital, and the dermatology department at Stanford University Hospital. She was the first camouflage makeup artist in the country and continued to use her experience as a premier makeup artist and her knowledge of traumatized skin care to help empower people to look and feel beautiful, changing lives. She has always understood the dual needs to both treat the skin so it can achieve its optimal condition and help the client or patient optimize their appearance.
During her infancy in skin care, Christine pursued educational opportunities and attended courses at the American Institute of Esthetics (AIE), founded by the godfather of aesthetics, the legend Robert Diemer. Armed with new credentials, Christine made a quantum leap in her career and opened up the first training center for skin and specialized makeup of its kind inside her established skin care clinic in Concord, California. Many successful individuals in the skin industry today attended advanced aesthetic courses during these years taught by Christine. The exclusive curriculum consisted of color analysis, medical camouflage, acne peels, and medical skin care. She developed the first medical makeup camouflage course to be recognized and licensed in the state of California.
As Christine’s reputation grew across the United States, it also soon expanded to European skin care and makeup artists. Given her makeup and skin care expertise and personal charisma, she received several invitations to provide a training program in Zurich, Switzerland. In a 1989 DERMASCOPE article, Christine stated, “I want to make it clear to all that my goal is to elevate the prestige of American aesthetics and share our knowledge worldwide, thus crediting our profession. All of us can only benefit when we work together as a unit on a global basis, sharing, learning, and supporting each other.” A week later, she presented a second course in Munich, Germany. Christine received her license to practice aesthetics in Europe from the Board of Cosmetology in Düsseldorf, Germany. The following year, Christine presented her innovative medical skin class in Malaysia, Australia, and New Zealand. Over the years, she has continued to provide her highly developed and always evolving aesthetic program domestically and internationally.
BUILDING GLYMED PLUS
With the success of Christine’s unique and, often, unconventional skin treatments and her advanced aesthetic training programs, a well-known plastic surgeon practicing at San Francisco’s St. Francis Hospital urged Christine to develop her own skin care line. His strong advocacy helped to ignite Christine’s entrepreneurial spirit and she accepted the daunting challenge of creating a line of products for professional use. It is important to note that at this time, Christine was a single mother raising two boys. Investment capital or business credit was simply not available to her. She recalls, “I withdrew what little personal savings I had and used my credit card.” She began her perilous journey with very little capital but well-armed with fearless passion. She produced her first formulations beginning in 1992.
Based on the efficacy of her initial glycolic acid-based formulas and wanting to stay true to her primary vision of building products that are medically meaningful, Christine named her innovative and pioneering professional skin care company, GlyMed Plus. The new startup launched with three core products based on the physiology, anatomy, histology, and Circadian balance of the skin. The products, coupled with her protocols and homecare regimens, were an immediate success and became the gold standard for many companies who have entered the market with their own products. Ultimately, it is Christine’s unique formulas and innovative treatments that have continued to elevate GlyMed Plus as the company’s product lines have expanded.
From the beginning, Christine and her company have worked to shift professional skin care treatments from spa experiences to providing clinically effective treatments.
After extensive study and research, Christine concluded early on that she would be one of the first professional skin formulators to exclude all harmful chemicals in her products. She was also an early adopter of certified-organic, botanical ingredients. She has always maintained the highest levels of integrity in her product formulations, regardless of whether cheaper substitutes were available.
EDUCATING THE WORLD
As GlyMed Plus grew and more formulations were added, Christine found that she missed working with patients as she had earlier in California. She began to collaborate with cosmetic surgeon Brent Kennedy in 1993 and began to work with him as a medical aesthetician. She also taught courses at his new facility, the Institute of Facial Surgery in Murray, Utah. By 1995, Christine established herself as a respected medical aesthetic educator in the state of Utah. In addition, Christine became the first aesthetician approved to practice at the University of Utah plastic surgery department and worked with Dr. Renato Saltz, MD, F.A.C.S. She also co-wrote a chapter in a medical textbook with Dr. Saltz and was a guest educator for many plastic surgery conferences in the United States, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Christine’s love of learning and passion for teaching led her to establish the first International Medical Aesthetics Symposium in 1996. Her goal was to provide an environment that brought top aestheticians and physicians together in one powerful forum. The two-day event was held at Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort. In its third year, the event’s growing popularity forced the event to be relocated to Park City, Utah, where a larger number of attendees could be accomodated. Christine later turned the event over to the American Aestheticians Education Association so she could focus on her growing business.
Years of speaking, teaching, and training have helped hone Christine’s skills as a speaker and expert guest. She has shared her knowledge and experience on numerous local and national television shows, including CBS’ The Doctors and Lifetime’s The Balancing Act, as well as local Salt Lake and Bay Area programs and many other local radio and television stations across the United States. She has written hundreds of articles for well-known skin magazines and medical journals, including DERMASCOPE Magazine and other industry publications. Christine is regularly invited to speak at major aesthetic events and tradeshows. She is always ready and willing to share her knowledge with those around her, bringing an entertaining perspective that is fun and exciting.
She has been presented every top aesthetic award available in recognition for her dedication to the professional skin care industry. One of Christine’s proudest achievements was receiving the Crystal Award in aesthetics. The Crystal Award is the aesthetic industry’s equivalent of an Academy Award. It is granted to aesthetic professionals who work tirelessly and selflessly to improve the standards of the aesthetic industry. As noted in this article, Christine has always been a trailblazer for the aesthetic industry. She was also inducted into Aesthetic International Association’s Academy of Legends. Her down-to-earth outlook is endearing to aestheticians who feel she is approachable and always there to help them. Also close to her heart are the awards for her work with cancer patients.
ELEVATING THE PROFESSION – THE FIRST MASTER AESTHETIC LICENSE
In 1999, Christine spearheaded a group of professionals to lobby for advanced aesthetic licensing legislation in Utah and was instrumental in establishing safety guidelines for Utah’s master aesthetician license. Christine wanted to ensure the safety of the public by requiring aestheticians to undergo additional education and training to manage all potential risks of harm from chemicals used in the treatment room.
In 2001, the Utah State Legislature signed House Bill HB105, becoming the first state to offer two-tiered licensing for both a practicing aesthetician and the newly created master aesthetician. Other states, including Virginia and Washington, have since passed similar legislation. Daniel Jones, the bureau manager for the Utah State Department of Occupational Licensing, noted at the time of the signing of the legislation, “Christine was instrumental in the establishment of the first master aesthetician license. She did not do it for personal gain but for the betterment of aestheticians everywhere. She has been one who could be counted on to help push her profession forward.”
Since 2001, Utah has been the premier leader in aesthetics education, attracting students from all over the United States and abroad who want to attend and complete Utah aesthetic schools’ 1200-hour master aesthetic courses and pass the Utah state licensure exam to obtain the coveted license.
COMPASSION FOR ANIMALS AND PEOPLE
Because of Christine’s great love of animals, GlyMed Plus has always been and will always remain cruelty-free. Christine has always had a great love of horses. When she moved to Utah, she purchased a 17-acre piece of property near the Spanish Fork River. In 2003, she fulfilled a personal dream by completing a high-quality horse boarding and dressage facility which she named VIP. Soon after, she fulfilled yet another dream when she purchased VIP’s Major Attraction, a 2003 APHA champion black overo paint. Christine is also now the proud owner of Daturo, an Andalusian Grand Prix Champion, and Infinite Power, a buckskin overo paint stallion that has won in United States Paint Western Shows. She has several riding horses she keeps at her miniature ranch in Utah, with 15 goats, a burro, a Scottish Highland steer, a camel, ducks and chickens, cats, and eight dogs – seven of the dogs are French bulldogs. Many of her animals are rescues.
Besides rescuing and caring for animals, Christine’s compassion extends to many organizations dedicated to helping people in need. Pam Cofer, vice president of Journey Beyond Breast Cancer, stated, “Christine and my paths first crossed in 1998 while I was working on an idea for an organization that would be able to give cancer survivors assistance beyond the abilities of local support groups.” From the onset, Christine’s passion and understanding of what women with cancer endure was very insightful. Christine developed Marie’s Gift, named after her Aunt Marie who fought a courageous battle with breast cancer while making a difference in the lives of all she touched. Marie’s Gift is an incredible collection of GlyMed Plus facial products especially well suited for cancer patients. Marie’s Gift is given at no charge to cancer patients. Cofer continues, “Christine has donated Marie’s Gift to every woman at every one of our retreats for the past 10 years. Each time we contact her about an upcoming retreat, her only question is, ‘How many women will be attending?’ Christine gives generously and unconditionally to many women with cancer that she may never meet. She is as beautiful inside as she is outside. To me, Christine Heathman is an earth angel.” Christine still continues to work with cancer patients on many levels through word of mouth. This is all done pro bono, as she believes in giving back.
ELEVATING THE INDUSTRY – TRANSFORMATION, INNOVATION, AND NEW GROWTH
Starting in mid-2017, Christine and GlyMed Plus began the exciting and difficult task of assessing the industry and rethinking the company itself. Working with outside consultants who brought best practices, current technologies, and exciting ideas from other industries, the company began to map out a new business model that included industry-first innovations, embracing new ideas for technology, and a business solutions approach.
Internally, the company worked very hard for over a year to transform every aspect of the company in preparation for the July 1, 2018 launch of GlyMed Plus’ new REGEN Business Solutions strategy. The purpose of REGEN Business Solutions is to partner with the company’s professional skin care accounts and to focus on helping each skin care partner grow their own skin care business. To do this, the company built an entirely unique e-commerce technology framework that offers a free online retail store to each GlyMed Plus professional account. These stores and all the orders are managed by GlyMed Plus. The company’s professional accounts receive weekly direct deposits for each order placed in the store. Many skin care professionals are now earning thousands of dollars of additional income by selling the entire line of retail GlyMed Plus products on their own online store without needing to invest in any technology or inventory.
As of late November 2019, the company is now hosting over 800 online stores for its skin care professionals and hundreds more stores are expected by early 2020.
“Our competitors chose to disintermediate and bypass their skin care professionals by selling direct to their professionals’ retail clients. However, we chose, instead, to re-intermediate our skin care partners by providing each of our professional accounts with a powerful e-commerce online store. This allows our skin care professional accounts the ability to sell direct to their retail clients and patients and offer our full line of GlyMed products,” says Dan Cooper, GlyMed’s general manager. “It was a huge investment for us, but we saw great value in standing up for the industry and growing the retail businesses of our professional accounts. This strategy is consistent with Christine’s core vision for always pushing the industry forward.”
2019 was also a key year for new products, as GlyMed released several new products, including oxygen- and CBD-based products. As part of the company’s transformation, the company also began offering regional Higher Aesthetic Education events across the country. These events offer the most advanced training available around the latest innovations in skin care ingredients. These events also provide business training helping each skin care professional improve their business practices.
Similarly, GlyMed Plus has most recently introduced an equally exciting and innovative partnership opportunity with beauty colleges called REGEN School and will be launching even more exciting new products and business innovations in 2020.
Christine believes in living her life to the fullest. She has directly and indirectly impacted the lives of tens of thousands of people. She is the real deal, a true aesthetic pioneer, a licensed master aesthetician in Utah and Washington, licensed in California and Europe, a licensed massage therapist, a member of the Utah licensing board representing master aestheticians, and an advocate for the entire aesthetic industry. Christine continues to elevate the aesthetics profession. She is always studying and researching better ways, ideas, and ingredients that will meet the needs for a growing variety of skin types and conditions. Christine’s love and compassion continues to inspire her to always keep one step ahead. We can be assured she will keep moving forward by encouraging and helping everyone she meets along the way.