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Driven and Passionate

By: Abby Penning
Posted: December 31, 2009, from the January 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Christal Petrak image

The combination of business acumen and a passion for esthetics is a powerful thing, and Christal Petrak, owner of The SkinSpa Institute in Signal Hill, California, is living proof.

Petrak grew up and went to school in Michigan, setting her sights on the beauty world at a young age. “I graduated high school early and earned my cosmetology license in 1980, and have been doing hair and nails at various places throughout the years,” she explains.

In 1986, after visiting her sister in California, Petrak caught West Coast fever and moved to Long Beach herself. She transferred from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, to California State University, Long Beach, and transferred her cosmetology license, too, so she could keep practicing.

It was through personal battles with her own skin, however, that Petrak discovered esthetics. “I had problems with cystic acne for a long time, and I went to a lot of different dermatologists, but nothing seemed to solve it. Then I met an esthetician in Long Beach, started doing her hair and nails, and we traded services. She really trained me on how to have healthier skin,” Petrak explains.

From then on, she found herself becoming more and more dedicated to skin care, actively seeking classes at educational events and trade shows.