Beauty Ink

After more than 15 years in the beauty industry Skintifix founder Robyn McAlpine has released her first book to share her secrets and inspire other entrepreneurs. By Anita Quade

Tell us how you got into the beauty business?
“I trained for my diploma back in 2005 after a lengthy inner battle of not feeling ‘girly’ enough to be in the beauty industry. A year after graduating, I realised there was a lot more to this industry than nails and makeup. The creativity and artistic flare of the former were never my forte, but once I realised that my love for biology could translate into skin therapy, the beauty industry became something that I could really sink my teeth into. In the last decade I have invested in a myriad of post graduate short courses to indulge my skin nerd brain.”

You founded your business in 2009 and it was re-branded Skintifix in 2017. What has been the best part about being your own boss? Worst part?
“I love the flexibility and variety. Also knowing that you are the one responsible for the good and the bad, it all falls on your shoulders and you get to control how you handle that.
The worst part is not knowing when to switch off. The to-do list and the goals list is ever growing and I tend to forget what is a realistic amount that can be achieved in a day. You also have to have nerves of steel as there is very little predictability. Even a decade of owning my own business, I can see patterns but you really never know what each week, month or year will bring so you need to learn to get comfortable with a certain level of discomfort.”

Can you let us in on your major career highlights?
“There are so many! Opening my business, hitting the 10 year milestone, having an exceptional team, speaking at events, becoming brand ambassador for Dermaviduals, publishing my book, truly I am so proud of what I have achieved.”

You practice Corneotherapy. Tell us about that.
Corneotherapy works to always strengthen the barrier which often goes against what is trending. I know for me, that I had to unlearn many habits and ingrained thoughts and start to look at skin from a perspective of biology and what it’s naturally capable of when we don’t interfere.”

You have been in business more than a decade – how have you seen the beauty landscape evolve?
“I feel the sense of community has grown. I believe due to becoming more specialised in select services, businesses now work more collaboratively, referring clients to trusted providers for services they don’t offer.”

What has been one of the major game changers in the industry?
“The revolution of skin care and how we work with it to achieve results has always been a big part of the evolution of our industry. It is an ever changing game, despite skin cell biology always remaining constant, the only advances are in the technology we use to understand more intimately how it works. The actual biological function doesn’t change. The tides have turned as we now know that skin has simply been asking us to respect its process and not interfere with it. It’s like we have come full circle and we are beginning to repair what we were once tearing down. I believe we are seeing a big shift both in skin care formulations and treatment modalities.”

You recently released a book titled Skinside Out, first of all how did you find the time for that with running a business?
“Honestly, I don’t even know! Skinside Out was written in the very early mornings, late nights, on trains, in airports and everywhere else in between. I look back to the last two years of my life and between running a business, going through a complete rebrand and a few hurdles in my personal life, I often wonder how I managed to include writing a book. I really enjoy writing so this book really has been a pleasure to write. Not once did it feel like a chore or something to begrudge. I would almost say it was cathartic as it gave me a bit of an anchor amongst all the crazy going on.”

How long was the process?
“I have always wanted to write a book but it wasn’t until last year that I really started working on it. In 2014 I wrote Skinside Out, my 12 week online program that ran for two years and will be relaunched in September. A lot of what I was doing in that program became the backbone of my book and so it naturally evolved into print. The actual writing of the book took 12 months. I wasn’t rushing the process and would often come home and write late into the night after conversations with my team and clients. They would ask me to explain something happening in their skin and I would then go home and elaborate on my answer.”

What was the most difficult part about writing the book?
“Finding time to get it out of my head and onto paper was tricky, but then also figuring out how to make it all flow. The best part was that my editor knew nothing about skin and so was able to point out the bits that didn’t make sense. Without assumed prior knowledge she was able to question the places where I didn’t explain a biological skin process in understandable detail for someone who hasn’t studied skin.”

What has the reaction been like to the tome?
“Incredible! I wrote this book for our clients, to empower them to make great skin choices. There is so much mis-information out there that I wanted to give them some foundational skin knowledge to help them see through marketing hype.
So far, I have had amazing support from my fellow skin nerds, the skin and beauty industry have really embraced it. I realise now that this book is also a great tool for young therapists who are struggling to explain complicated skin processes to clients. This book gives them the metaphors and analogies that not only help them better understand what is happening, but they can then share this with their clients.”

What is the major message you wanted to get across in this release?
“I wanted everyone who reads this book to have a gazillion ‘aha’ moments about their skin. I wanted them to understand why past treatments may have under delivered and why not all skincare is skin “care”. I believe as our industry expands, that everyone will want a piece of the action. We have already seen this with a barrage of influencers stepping into the beauty advice giving space.
I wanted to cut through the mis-information and empower readers with knowledge so that they could make informed choices.”

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