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More With Marti Dunne

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: June 27, 2008, from the July 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 3 of 4

What works well for me is that when my patient walks in, they are turned right over to me. Together, we design a custom treatment for them, be it Thai massage with hot stones, with a algae foot scrub detox, reflexology, a facial exfoliation and hot aroma towels. It could be a facial with a deep AHA peel and soft, aromaticl thai poltices gently compressed over the body during the soothing mask period.. love the creativity, variety this gives me and the patients leave with a once in a lifetime, custom treatment. And they come back and they send their friends and families. The wellness center will work around my needs and health. They do a free indepth health workup on each employee, which has helped me with some health issues, so I have more even energy. Inside is always full of lively conversations about health and neighborhood happenings and recommendations for the visitors to Maui. It is always upbeat and our receptionists greet each client as if they were a long-lost friend, or the most important person on Maui! We serve chilled water and exotic delicious teas, sometimes healthy snacks to our guests. We have an outside, cushy love seat and a terrific tropical flower arrangement where our guests can wait, meditate and watch the waves roll in across the road. Next door is The transformational yoga and Pilates center, farmer's market, health food store, coffee corner and ocean activities shop. Lots of fun, healthy places to visit.

Laura and Courtney encourage me in my public speaking career, along with my my love for writing, and help me with my brochures. We are now working on a skin regeneration class for me to teach there. They both have great conflict-management skills. Should the slightest friction occur, they sense it, listen and work things out in a win-win way for all. Within the center, we are encouraged to trade treatments and knowledge with each other. I could not think of a more loving enviroment to be a part of that inspires me to persue my personal dharma.

Being given the honor of working on that sensitive center of our external being, the human face,is a passionate privilege to me. The more imperfections, the more my affection for that face. I am like the mad chef in a gourmet kitchen. I love the smells, colors, products, decorations and soothing music of a facial room. All the former chaos of my entire life is gone, and I am in this healing space with a person laying there in trust and anticipation, perhaps saving up for a long time for this session.

My concerns about the industry are that, at one time, no one knew what an esthetician was, now everyone one wants to be one. Some schools dangle easy employment, large paychecks, and massive numbers of new estheticians are pouring out of these schools. What I see in Hawaii, perhaps other states?, is that estheticians get out of school, get a job and never advance these beginning treatments. It is still to me education, education, education. I worked with one pleasant but static esthetican who, two years out of school, still had her notes opened up, used a bulky plastic school neck sheet and was reluctant to remove blackheads. I could tell you horror stories of estheticians doing things totally uncontricated. Some spas let them coast. I personally feel and have practiced what I preach, that being a good aesthetician requires endless commitment to education.. healthy lifestyle, dedicationto our art. Buy contemporary books on skin care. Read your Skin Inc. magazine cover to cover. Attend Toastmasters. Support the incredible dermatology/spa conferences as frequently as possible. Be fluent in "spa speak" Know all about drugstore products all the way up to higher levels and the products physicians use. Be prepared to answer any question your client may challenge you with. If you cannot answer it, say "I will get back to you on that." Research it and let them know what you found out. Have your clients call you after a treatment if they have concerns and call them to check in with them also. If they are repeats, add a little extra massage somewhere, bring them a special little gift when appropriate. Straighten that special bond when ever you can.

When I was in esthetic school, there came that proud halfway mark where we were allowed to don the white lab coat. It was a source of great pride. I still today use a nice feminine lab coat, white apron or dress in white. Appearance for an esthetician is very paramount. The last place I worked employed an esthetician who came to work defensive in beige Levis, a t-shirt and lank, greasy hair--no makeup on her bad skin, and eventually, because of complaints, she was fired. She never knew why! You never get a second chance to make that first impression. I carefully choose my esthetician clothes, spare but complimentary makeup on my now-good skin. I get manicures and pedicures. I style my hair up, with hair flowers and decorative combs and subtle jewelry. It is important to me to live a health lifestyle so I am congruent with what I recommend to my clients. I can tell that when I look well groomed, confident and come out to greet them with smiling eye contact and a warm hand clasp that they are relieved and assured that they are in good hands. Right from the get go. I shared a space with a young esthetician who would come to work with a brash attitude, sporting spandex shorts, a tight white low cut t-shirt, her blond hair bouncing all over her face and and high heels. What are these people thinking? It is not about you, it is about the gaining confidence and comfort for the client. It has taken a long time for us to gain legitimacy in the field of massage and facial treatments. The image we present to the public represents what we think of ourselves and the work we do.