I love saying this, but practicing self-care is more than just a catchy phrase or the latest trend. Since 2020 has been a complete reset on literally everything, the same message rings true: take care of your mental, physical, and spiritual health in light of all of the events and change and life and loss and turmoil and upheaval converging on this year. The sting of this year has impacted all of us, and the smallest habits we are able to infuse into the day that are simply and purely for ourselves, make a world of difference.
Skincare might seem frivolous right now but my own clear skin journey has definitely been amplified since quarantine. I am in the house much more, tucked away out of the pollutants in the air, with all of nowhere to go, so there's little to no makeup-wearing at all. My skin is like, breathing; and never mind the fact that the simple act of taking care of your skin, of seeing the results, well, it's the subtlest of reminders not to give up on ourselves.
It's the subtlest reminder that with consistent effort, anything can change.
The SkinPlex is a new brand created by twenty-three-year-old, Savannah, GA native, Paris Scott, whose own skincare journey became the catalyst for her brand. The budding esthetician, located now out of Atlanta, GA, released her first line of products just this past week, on October 27th.
The journey unfolds differently for all of us, but Paris was kind enough to spend some time going back and forth with me, explaining her own and listing the ways her life seemed to unfold; her circumstances changing until she was led to her own destination, a skincare line built on the fundamental differences and sensitivities of our skin.
Q. First things first. The background check.
A. I am 23-years old and I was raised in Savannah, GA. My family relocated to the Atlanta area after I graduated high school in 2015. Although I was originally planning to attend Georgia State University to obtain a Bachelor's in Accounting, due to financial issues it never happened. In April of this year, I finally decided to enroll full time at Hogan Institute of Cosmetology and Esthetics to obtain my esthetician license.
Q. What's the story behind your business? Like, where did you get the idea? How did you set off to start? When did you decide you wanted to be an entrepreneur? Y'know, y'know...
A. I originally became interested in skincare sometime in 2016. At the time, I was using products like black soap, witch hazel, and aloe vera gel not knowing any better. It wasn’t until 2018 I got the idea to make my own line of products (although I didn’t physically act on it until late 2019). I feel as if my journey to entrepreneurship was spiritual almost. I went through a phase of quitting various jobs because I was so unhappy and feeling lost. Because of this, I spent a lot of nights up alone thinking about my future and the type of life I wanted to live. I knew that a regular 40 hour a week job would never be enough for me and wouldn't finance all of the things I dreamed of having and doing. At the same time, I also felt as if I were being challenged about what my beliefs were as far as spirituality is concerned. In a nutshell, I found comfort in the “universe” and astrology to guide me to where I'm at today.
Q. What was your career path prior to starting your own business?
A. I worked at a gas station named Quiktrip for almost 3 years. That was the longest I ever kept a job. After that, I worked for Spectrum as an outside sales rep; Walmart, Target, and two different call centers all within a year and a half.
Q. What advice do you have for young men and women interested in starting their own company?
A. You honestly just have to jump into whatever it is that you want to do. There will never be a perfect time to start. Also, be sure to fully believe in whatever it is you want to sell. If not, you’ll more than likely give up before you can see the fruits of your labor.
Q. What was the best piece of advice you have received regarding your career?
A. The best advice I have ever received was from my high school principal during my senior year. He basically told me to be more proactive in my life. At the time it didn’t mean much to me, but as I get older the quote constantly pops into my head whenever I feel helpless.
Three of Paris' Skincare Tips
Q. How has your work been (positively or negatively) impacted by COVID-19?
A. Fortunately for myself and all of my loved ones, we have been blessed to have never contracted the disease. I honestly feel that had 2020 not happened exactly as it has, I would not have fully committed to starting a business. I knew it was what I wanted and had done so much research months before everything happened. Right before the country shut down, I was about to get a part-time job to support myself while in school. Covid-19 forced me to alter my plans for starting my business after I obtained my license. Because of this, I began the process of sampling/testing products around late March/early April.
Q. I just wrote an article about my friend Bri, who owns The B Spot Beauty, and she also talks about feeling like every job she took prior to starting her own business just wasn't for her, and she could feel it. How do you manage that? You mention your journey being spiritual...but what was your sign from the Universe that it was really time to take a leap of faith and begin your own skincare business? Did you have an "aha" moment?
A. As far as the whole job situation, I just kept getting different jobs while hoping to find something that would make me happy. It got so bad to the point I wasn’t lasting longer than 3 months anywhere. I didn’t get my “wake up call” until earlier this year. I thought I had everything planned out but COVID-19 shut that down quickly. It felt like I had a rug pulled out from under me. It made me see the bigger picture and realize that only I had my best interest at heart. Also after talking to friends who were basically let go from their jobs without notice (the very last call center I worked for sent everybody home without a date to resume working), I finally understood how disposable we are as employees to these major companies. I knew I never wanted to be in a situation like that and not have a way to provide for myself. That was my lightbulb moment which made me begin my skincare line. I also would like to provide some backstory on how I came to the conclusion to start a skincare line. I definitely am what somebody would consider being a product junkie when it comes to skincare. The only thing was that not one product stuck with me. I also realized that a lot of mainstream products contained unnecessary ingredients. This sent me down a rabbit hole of what ingredients really work for black skin and what is harmful. Through my research, school training, and various sample testing I was finally able to come up with a product line I could be proud of.
Q. When will you receive your esthetician's license? Do you plan on opening a practice?
A. I will officially graduate from school on January 14, 2021. At this time I do plan to open a mobile spa business and to one day have a chain of spas across the country. Along with my product line, I hope to make TheSkinPlex a household name before I leave this earth.
Q. What is your skincare routine?
A. My current daytime skin routine is pretty simple. All I do is cleanse, tone, moisturize, and then use an SPF. All of the products I use are from my line except for the sunscreen. At night, I like to double cleanse with both an oil cleanser and one of my cleansers from my line; I then tone, exfoliate (3 times a week), do some extractions (once a week), use a clay or cucumber mask depending on what my skin needs (only once a week), and then use a thicker moisturizer.
I am seriously so very inspired by this story, Paris. And for you to be so young, too? I love anyone who is able to turn their passion into a project that benefits everyone collectively.
Q. Why a mobile spa? That's such an incredible idea. And, since that idea is so unique, what else about The SkinPlex makes your line different from others?
A. I chose to initially start a mobile spa due to its affordability. It would be cheaper than getting a storefront and I didn’t want to just pay booth rent in an already established spa/salon. I also like the idea of being able to offer a unique experience to clients without them having to travel so far. What separates TheSkinPlex from others, is that every single product included in this line have been personally tested on my very own skin (along with family) over the course of 2 months. I truly believe in the benefits of each product and know that regardless of skin type, everybody will find something that works for them.
Q. Also, what ingredients have you found to be harmful and which ingredients have you found to be beneficial to melanin-rich skin?
A. As for the ingredients, every product has been formulated to exclude these harmful ingredients: Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl Urea, DMDM Hydantoin, Quaternium-15), Sodium Lauryl, Phthalates, Toluene, Talc, Triclosan, Benzophenones, Progesterone, Bovine-sourced ingredients, Propylene Glycol, MIT (methylisothiazolinone), Parabens, Mineral Oil, Paraffin and Lanolin.
As far as my research for black skin, I just want to say that this isn’t scientifically proven but my own hypothesis. When you study skincare, it is taught that people of darker skin tones do not burn easily, are oiler, and can withstand harsher ingredients. From what I’ve seen, a lot of people with darker skin actually have more sensitive skin. Most issues that we deal with when it comes to our skin, like hyperpigmentation, stem from not treating the skin delicately. I believe that proper hydration and exfoliation would actually alleviate most of the problems people have. Also, I do not condone the use of brightening agents unless they are being specifically formulated for darker skin. I say this because a lot of commercial products don’t take into consideration the effects that these ingredients have on us. When black people use these products, what ends up happening is that the skin ends up with a grey undertone. Through my product line, I hope to not only provide quality products but also educate people on ways to obtain clear skin and how to maintain it.
This is incredible. And so much of this information isn't shared by big brands. I think there are so many brands out there that don't necessarily keep these differences in mind.
Q. What products are you offering when you launch your line this October, and why did you choose to start with those products specifically?
A. For my first launch, I will have a total of three cleansers, two toners, and two moisturizers. These products were selected based on their ability to provide people with a simple starter routine. As the launch date comes closer, there will be multiple Instagram post made to highlight the ingredients of each product and its use. As the brand continues to grow, I hope to continuously introduce new and updated products.
That's so incredible!
Q. What is your daily work routine?
A. Tuesday through Saturday I attend school. Due to the virus, we only physically attend school 2 out of 5 days. The other 3 days we do virtual lessons. On those days, I’ll wake up around 10:00 AM and prepare for my class and handle all of my personal hygiene. I’ll usually be completely done with all of my schoolwork by 1:00 pm at the latest. Afterward, I’ll finally have a meal. Then throughout my day, I’ll alternate between my phone and my laptop taking care of different tasks for my business. This includes making changes to my website, scheduling social media posts, engaging with people to gain followers, researching various marketing tactics, etc. Besides school, my day isn’t really structured. As long as I accomplish all of the things I put on my checklist, I consider that to be a good day.
Q. Is there anything you want people to know specifically about either you or your brand?
A. I feel as though we have pretty much covered all of the important points concerning myself and TheSkinPlex. I do hope that anyone reading this that they take a chance to check out our Instagram page @theskinplex and join our community where we share helpful skincare tips and in the future our very own line of products.
There's a launch special discount, so head to brand page for more information.