This article was originally featured in Glowtista: The Magazine, a research-based skincare magazine created for my senior project in Communication. You can check it out here.
Heyday is a facial and skincare shop that offers a personalized approach to skincare, dedicated to its clients’ personal needs and goals to create a routine that works best for them.
I chatted with Lynn Gallagher, a skin therapist at the newly opened Rittenhouse location, about clean beauty, facials, and the newest trends in skin care treatments.
Tell me a little about your background. I’m from Philly and I graduated from Temple in 2015 – I just received my [esthetician] license this past year . I have a background in holistic beauty, and I’m trained in ayurvedic beauty which is a 5,000-year-old science that originated in India. I work with clean beauty brands and also practice gua sha which stems from traditional Chinese medicine. I’ve worked at Heyday since they opened this year .
What inspired you to get your esthetician license? I have a background in yoga and meditation and l was looking to include more bodywork into my offerings, spotlight more women-owned brands, and wanted to do something more with people.
So what exactly does an esthetician do? What does a typical day or facial session look like at Heyday? So, firstly, at Heyday, we are called ‘skin therapists’. We like to think of ourselves as a facial shop – taking the facial out of the spa experience to make it more accessible. We offer customized facials and see clients for either 30, 50, or 75-minute sessions. Each facial is custom-tailored to your skin’s needs – we like to look at your skin from a holistic perspective. So we take into account your lifestyle, including your stress levels and the amount of sleep you get each night.
What is Heyday’s approach to skincare? What sort of brands can clients expect to see used during their facial? Currently, we use 14+ brands, both growing brands, and well-established brands. All brands enter a sort of qualifying process: products that fall along the lines of more natural, biological-based beauty products. I like to think of it as where nature meets science. So we might use products that have chemical stabilizers, but only when it is necessary.
Can your clients purchase products used in their facial at the Heyday shop? Some of the products are professional-only products, but there is a crossover between products we use in facials and what we sell in the shop. The best way to know what will work for you is by scheduling a facial consultation with a skin therapist.
So what’s your best advice for a beginner looking to start a skincare routine? Keep it simple! I believe that a good skincare routine is one that’s anywhere from three to four steps, but across the board, the most important way to approach skincare is to do whatever you can commit to. Cleansing first, toning, moisturizing, sun protection, and exfoliating at least once a week.
What is one product you think everyone should be using in their routine? SPF – protection from the sun! From an aesthetics standpoint, 90% of skin aging occurs from the sun. Skin is the body’s largest organ, so it is susceptible to the most damage from the sun.
Are there any products or ingredients you think people shouldn’t be using? I am not a cosmetic chemist, so I can’t speak on behalf of what is and is not safe. However, some of the things I like to avoid are nanoparticles, parabens, and sulfates. t’s important to remember that just because it’s something you can’t pronounce doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad. That’s why you need to do your own research. People might say “oh I see it has some acids or sulfates in it” but they might be fine for your skin. Or they might have artificial fragrance as an ingredient that might be irritating to some.
What do you mean by ‘doing your research’? How can the average and everyday consumer know what ingredients are bad or good? Skincare is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and unfortunately, there isn’t a standard across the board for what can be considered clean beauty. What I recommend is using the Environmental Working Group’s scale that tells you their metrics for clean beauty. You can search for tons of different products and ingredients. It will tell you more about the brand and how harsh or chemical-free it is according to their standards.
What types of ingredients do you see in clean beauty brands? One thing I do look for – and it depends on the skin type – but in general, I look for botanical beauty or biological beauty. So something that’s active, from the earth, purer – that can be anything from aloe to chamomile to milk, things that you know you can eat, you should be able to put on the skin. I look for brands that have efficacy and transparency, they can speak to the mission of their company, and usually are small businesses that haven’t been paid off. I ask questions like are there ingredients ethically sourced, are they good for the environment, are they toxic to your body?
Let’s talk about facials – what are some current trends you’re seeing in what clients are asking for? I’m noticing that people want more advanced therapies because we’re a results-driven society. They want chemical-based treatments. There are SO many trends in facials: sculpting, dermaplaning, bio-peels, and more. But I always say if it causes trauma to the face, it’s not for you. Facials should be customized for people’s skin so they can understand their skin’s needs. At Heyday, our clients can customize their facials by adding on LED light therapy, gua sha, microdermabrasion, or chemical peels.
LED light therapy – what’s that used for? It’s actually one of the only treatments that are actually FDA approved. It’s one of the most approachable forms of advanced therapies – it essentially synthesizes the cells the same way the sun does. Blue light for acne, or red light for collagen. The blue light can help penetrate beneath the skin to kill the acne-causing bacteria. The red can help stimulate elastin in the skin, which can help speed up the healing process. It’s accessible to consumers outside of the spa or dermatologist office. If your skin has been compromised in any way, though, be careful with anything you’re using. When you are using anything at home that should be used in a professional setting – speak to your esthetician and/or your doctor to make sure it’s okay for you first.
Speaking of doctors, how does the work of dermatologists and estheticians overlap? It’s not one or the other. There is an appropriate time for a dermatologist. You should see them at least once a year, especially to check for skin cancer. Something a little more specific, like acne, might require a trip to the dermatologist. Sometimes the dermatologist might not recommend the right products for the skin, and estheticians might recommend something a little gentler that works better. We both need each other.
Closing question – how do you feel about cosmetic enhancement of the skin, like Botox or fillers? I think there are appropriate times for those procedures to happen. You can’t be dogmatic in the skincare industry – modalities are always changing. There are tons of procedures that have been around forever. Of course, it’s always to each their own. But if your skin is taken care of from a young age, it will be okay. Sleeping, eating well, drinking enough water when you’re young – then when you’re older that’s when you can use these enhancements as a last resort. If something is genetic, you are who you are. At the end of the day, you are still going to be you, Maybe you need to accept yourself the way you are. When is enough enough?
You can follow Lynn on Instagram at @lghtwellness. Let me know who you’re interested in seeing interviewed next for ‘The Face’ series in the comments below.