Skin Deep

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Going to the right skin clinic, is like finding the perfect hair stylist- it will take you at least 3 tries till you get it right. Like most people, I have visited a variety of skin clinics, but almost always had terrible experiences; as most clinics use machines that service lighter skin tones than mine. In hopes of banishing the burns;  World Bride Magazine met with  with Seven Brown, the woman behind the magic at the “Harlem Skin & Laser Clinic” in New York, to uncover her secret skin regimes, for all types and color of skin.

From regular moisturizers to fully fledged day and night routines, the list just kept getting bigger. But what we often forget is that, it’s not always about what goes over the skin, but the actual skin itself. Treating and replenishing your skin, is like being on a healthy diet; without the right nutrients, it’s only a matter of time before it starts to radically change.

When critiquing a variety of clinic’s it was quite fascinating how the melanin in your skin can impact the type of product or equipment you use. As individuals we have been trained to overlook the fact that in many cases the face of a variety of product’s is that of a  white woman, the beautiful posters in the salons or clinics entice us to enter with the expectation that all skin is created equal.  But who knew that when the woman with glowing light skin enticed us at the door, the machines were literally expecting “her.”


WBM: How did you get into skincare?

SB: I was an agent for people in the beauty business: hair stylists, makeup artists, and wardrobe stylists. I decided to get licensed as an esthetician more as a business move than a love of the actual process. But then when my teacher made me actually perform services, I fell in love with it and the rest is history!


WBM: So from there you knew you wanted to open a salon or clinic?

SB:  No, not really. I went on to perform services, teach courses, and setup up schools overseas first.


WBM:  What would you say is your number one requested service at this point?

SB:  The Brazilian Wax.


WBM:  I noticed these little snack box looking things on the shelf.  I Love My Muff?

SB:  Yes  (laughs), these are maintenance kits for your bikini area.  It contains products for post wax, hygiene, and skincare.


WBM:  Why are YOU able to perform laser treatment on people of color when so many people say they cannot?

SB:  I actually wanted to be able to offer this amazing service to everyone.  When I kept having people that looked like me say they were not being heard within this industry, I knew better.  I did my research to find the best machine that would offer the service that can work on multiple skin types without creating hyper pigmentation on folks that have more melanin.


WBM:  What makes this machine different? Do you switch them out?

SB: It combines all the best technology. It has the ability to treat every single skin tone.  It also has enhanced speed so treatment times are virtually cut into half; it’s gentle and has a dynamic cooling system.


WBM: Are there different parts/nozzles for the machine for people of color?

SB: That would be using what we call “NdYag” which is the crystal used in laser for darker skin tones that allows a direct target to hair rather than darker skin. It doesn’t get switched out it is a specific function of the machine.  Lasers are basically focused light that search for a target “chromophore” in the case of hair removal that is melanin which people of color have present in skin and that is what can cause burns and other injuries as the laser is attracted to the surrounding tissues.


WBM: Do people of color have to do anything different to prepare for the laser and after their treatment?  

SB: First of all, everybody has to avoid the sun as much as possible and that means after the treatment you wear sunscreen, that is absolutely necessary, but in this instance it’s not any different really to what anybody else who doesn’t get any treatments would have to do, because once upon a time it really was, and now it’s a level playing field.


WBM:  What is the number one mistake people make with regard to skincare?

SB:  People purchase products based on their skin condition instead of their skin type. A skin type is something you’re born with, however based on how old you are where you live, and your health, those conditions will change. For instance, you’re 20 years old, but you work in the sun all day, you’re skin will present itself like a 50 year old. What people do often when going into the store is they purchase products based on what they think their skin type is, when they don’t really understand what that is.


WBM: What products are you using here that your clients can purchase?

SB:  I really like the Rhonda Allison products.  They seem to work well across the board and I can offer them at a good price point so it’s a win/win.


WBM: What makes them special, and what is your favorite product?

SB: Rhonda Allison is a huge line—but they are by far the most cost effective and work on all skin and colors. If I had to choose it would be “Drops of Essence”, the “Sheer Tint Finisher” and the “Antioxidant complex serum.”


WBM:  How often should we receive a facial? Every 30 days? 60 days? 6 months?

SB:  There is no magic number.  Most people do not need a monthly facial.  I would say if you do not have skin issues you should do one every season but it’s best to consult with your esthetician for your specific needs; Usually if people need facials more often, it’s usually regarding acne issues.


WBM:  Are men coming in more now than you’ve seen in the past?

SB:  The funny thing is I’ve always had a higher male clientele.  When I first went into skincare I used to make all of my male friends my clients, then that clientele grew.  Definitely in the past few years I am seeing more men become focused on their skincare though.


WBM:   What do you suggest for our brides who are getting ready for the big day? How close to the big day should they come in for a consultation?

SB:  So we have this thing I say.  After you get the ring you call us the next day!


WBM: So far from the wedding?

SB: Yes! We have a wonderful package called Bride or Groom Bootcamp!  For one fee we will not only take care of your skin but we will also set you up with a wedding planner, set up tastings, personal training.  We want to get you through the entire event.


You can visit Seven or any of the other wonderful therapists at Harlem Skin & Laser Clinic at 2119 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026 or email, for more information.

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