The word transformation in the beauty industry often conjures up images of before-and-after photos, flawless photo-shopped skin and celebrity makeovers. And it sells. But at MV, we understand that the real transformation is always beneath the surface. We sat down with MV’s founder, Sharon McGlinchey, to discuss the emotional transformations she has witnessed in her clients, that continue to drive her as a beauty disrupter and natural skin advocate.
How have you seen problematic skin affect people emotionally?
As I specialise in difficult skin conditions I do see a definite emotional impact, particularly with rosacea and acne. Not only are people very self- conscious but they are often quite depressed. Body language tends to reflect a lack of self-esteem and even a person’s hair style can be geared towards partially hiding the condition. And to compound this, where low dose long term antibiotics have been prescribed by a Dermatologist, gut issues and a feeling of constantly being run down are common-place, due to lowered immunity.
You’ve said before that you no longer assume what issues have brought new clients to see you. Why is this?
I have been a hands-on therapist since 1992 so, as you can imagine, I’ve performed thousands of facials. Back in the early 2000’s when I had a skin clinic is Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs my rooms were directly underneath a laser clinic. Women would walk past constantly with red raw faces and large hats and occasionally one of these women would book in to see me. I presumed it was because their skin was ravaged from the laser treatments or from dermabrasion but no, some of them just wanted to relax. When I mentioned the trauma I could see and how a few key MV products could help desensitize and strengthen their compromised skin, the response was often that they were happy with their skin. They liked the taught and ‘shiny’ appearance which – when covered in foundation to hide the redness - made them look so much younger. I realised then that it was unwise to presume anything!
What has been your favourite, most emotional transformation you’ve witnessed in a client.
A beautiful young woman who had quite serious acne and lived way down the coast came to see me for quite a few sessions but – being a student – she was on a budget. Regular facials were a luxury, however – for home use - she did exactly what I asked of her. Each time I saw her I could see a definite improvement, but I could tell she was pretty down about the whole thing. Almost a year went by then one day she walked into my Concept Store with a young man - she introduced him as her boyfriend. Her skin was incredibly clear and she was beaming like a Cheshire cat. This was just one moment of many in my career but perhaps having a daughter about the same age really had an impact on me.
Why do you think we place so much importance on our faces, and the condition of our skin?
You know that old saying ‘The eyes are the window to the soul’? Well, not only are our eyes very important, but our facial expression tells the world how we feel and it’s usually how we attract the opposite sex. A strong human urge is to reproduce and we are all part of a family dynamic, so we understand, particularly from puberty onwards, the power and importance of attraction. When we have clear healthy skin, we know this is far more attractive than red, blotchy, flaky or blemish prone skin so it’s easy to see why the skincare and cosmetic industry is worth billions of dollars.
How do you think the commercial beauty industry uses emotion to sell its products?
Very easily. The commercial beauty industry makes us feel ‘less than’, that there’s something wrong that needs to be corrected. Unrealistic images of 18-year-old models with photo-shopped skin are our benchmark, so where do we go from here? If we are bombarded with such images repeatedly we actually start to believe we are not OK just the way we are and worse, that it’s not acceptable to age, especially if you’re a woman. Anti-aging products are a Marketers dream come true – which is why I refuse to use this terminology anywhere on my website or on the products I create.
Sharon was interviewed by Yvie Wolfenden from Digital Narrative.