Erica McDowell has been making Louisvillians’ skin beautiful for years. Now the owner of her own clinical day spa SKYN LOUNGE in St. Matthews, you would never guess that she didn’t always have perfect skin. It was the treatment of her own skin that led her to her career now. We’re so happy she joins us as today’s FACE of Louisville!
What do you do for a living?
I am the owner of SKYN LOUNGE clinical day spa in St. Matthews. I am also a licensed aesthetician and I perform skin care services such as therapeutic facials, dermaplaning, chemical peels, waxing, and brow and lash tinting.
What did you do before becoming an aesthetician?
I worked in marketing and promotions planning events for a variety of companies. I love working directly with the customer and creating an upbeat, friendly environment. I have been a makeup artist since I was young, and I always had “makeup jobs” on the side; I’ll never give that up.
Did you always have perfect skin?
No! I took myself to the dermatologist in my early twenties due to some troublesome acne. She prescribed me a little tube of cream called Retin-A. It was the best thing that ever happened to me! Not only did it totally cure my acne, but my skin’s texture and tone appeared so clear. I was so happy and I still use it to this day, along with a couple other products.
Tell us about your makeup career:
My sophomore year in college I decided to get a job at the local department store’s makeup counter. I loved it! I applied makeup for ladies of all ages for special events and daily use. I expanded my passion for makeup into my passion into working with models and actors for print and TV.
After graduating college with a Bachelors of Arts from the University of Louisville, I headed straight to San Francisco. I had landed an opportunity to work alongside some of the best photographers doing makeup on some of the best print and fashion models in the area. This is where I learned so much about the technique of makeup and discovered an artist within me. I wasn’t sure when, I wasn’t sure how, but I knew that one day, I would have my own cosmetics line. I was only 25.
I returned to Louisville, continued to work with some fabulous local photographers, while discovering an interest in skin care. After returning to school for another year to receive my aesthetic’s license, I worked primarily in medical skin care spas for six years performing such treatments as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser therapy. This was so exciting to me.
From there, I left to the open my own business, SKYN LOUNGE, which houses the best of both worlds (makeup and skin care). Simultaneously, I developed my own cosmetic line, Zen SKYN, which combines nature and science to protect, correct, and beautify skin without irritation.
How do you balance your job and your personal life?
My job seems to blend in with my personal life a bit. I always try to take some time for myself. Planning dinners with my girlfriends and family, working out at the gym and taking long walks just to “think about life” help me tremendously. Scheduling a little trip to the beach or a big city for shopping with friends just to get away is a total stress reliever!
What is the biggest life lesson you have ever learned?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. There will be little bumps in the road, but they only make you stronger. If we didn’t make any mistakes, then how would we learn the correct way? Don’t be afraid of failure. Keep your eye on the prize and move forward.
Who is your mentor?
My parents. They are both successful entrepreneurs, very independent and goal-oriented.
What is best advice you have received in business?
Be persistent. Nothing that is worth doing will EVER come easy. You must work for it.
If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?
I would probably be an event planner. This past year, I’ve had to plan some major events for charity, like the Younger Woman’s Club of Louisville Annual Fashion Show. I think I am getting pretty good at it!
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I enjoy visiting art galleries.
Where is your favorite place to go for dinner?
Seviche–I love the little fish tacos.
Where do you like to shop?
Blink, Circe, Saks.
What is a treat or a luxury you allow yourself?
Well, the benefits of owning a spa is that I don’t have to travel too far for a great massage or facial. I try to receive a treatment 1-2 times a month, depending on how much time I have.
What is your weakness?
Overcommitting. I tend to pack a little too much into my schedule or take on too many projects.
What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Going to the Derby, definitely! I wouldn’t miss it for the world! The excitement of the horse-racing, premier fashion, and sheer madness alone are enough to keep me coming back for more!
Three things you cannot live without (besides God, family and friends):
- My curious cat, Kitty, who loves me unconditionally
- Traveling to countries I have never visited
- Strong coffee in the morning
What are you reading right now?
Skin Inc. magazine.
What are three of your “favorite” things right now (can be anything).
ZenSKYN Lip Gloss, My “love” necklace, Smart Water – I feel the electrolytes give me energy.
A big thank you to Erica McDowell for taking time out of her busy schedule to meet with us. If you want to read about my great experience with SKYN LOUNGE and their chemical peels, click here. For more information on the services, click here.
Adele Reding is the photographer for all of our FACES and her work speaks for itself. Be sure to check out her portfolio here and remember her for all the major events in your life that you need to have photographed.
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