Getting Schooled with Seanna Cohen from Clean Beauty School
Graydon: Hey it’s Graydon from Graydon Skincare, welcome to our People We Love series, where we have conversations about breaking old habits shifting patterns and starting new conversations. We like to interview badass people, and Seanna Cohen is one of my favourite bad ass gals. I love that she helps people make good choices for themselves so that we can be the best versions of ourselves. So here we are with Seanna from Clean Beauty School, you're beautiful new baby Samuel. Welcome!
Seanna: Glad to be here!
G: So you are a holistic skin care specialist. Can you tell me what that means?
S: So I have a certification in skincare therapy, so really like an aesthetician. The holistic part kind of came about just through experience, working with a natural, clean, holistic ways to take care of yourself. The holistic way of beauty is not just about topical solutions, it's really about looking at the entire picture, and what internal aspect we have to take care of.
G: So you are not just selling products you're looking at the individual as a whole. I have a feeling that what you offer people is not just products to buy, but a true mind-body-spirit connection, with the goal of looking and feeling your best. And healthy skin being a byproduct of that process.
S: For sure. A lot of my work is really one-on-one with clients. I do do those specific skincare consultations, but also just with customers that come to my online store, I really do have that one-on-one connection because people come and ask me what specifically works for them, in their specific circumstances and situations. It's not like you just buy a product because it's the most popular or it looks good or so-and-so is selling it.
G: When people come to you, do you still get the ‘oh I just want something anti-aging’?
S: Some people are looking for a quick fix. It takes a little bit of convincing to show them that it's not always a quick fix or it's not the solution they're looking for. It takes some work in the long term. Oftentimes though, people are truly looking for a change. They come to me because they know that they've tried everything and anything and don't understand why it's not working. They can come to me and we can work together to find a solution.
G: So you are sort of like a therapist!
S: It is a great connection. I was speaking to my sister yesterday, and I was going through a phase where I was wondering if the industry is just super vain. You always have that question because the beauty industry and the skincare industry…
G: It can be so outwardly focused!
S: Yeah, so I was wondering if I was doing something just as good as someone who was for example, a nutritionist, who helps people from the inside to get healthier and feel good about themselves. But my sister was like, ‘this is the connection, you speak beauty and skincare and that is your passion, so that’s how you connect with people’. It's because I have that passion that I can make the connection through that which is a really cool concept. I've connected with so many people because be speak the language.
G: It must be really inspiring to make a big difference in somebody's life, and actually seeing the process.
S: For sure, because it really does affect people. The way we look really affects the emotions, how we go that her daily lives, and how we connect to other people. We want to make sure that people feel best about themselves. I always say there's no such thing as flawless skin outside of photo filters and Instagram. That's why I focus on healthy skin. Even if you are interested in anti-aging, it’s really healthy-aging, because we are not going against age, we are all going to age, but it's about how does that look best for us.
G: I think that's a really important point to bring up. I also have a feeling that by the time people find you, they have gone through some challenges.
S: People are definitely looking for a more natural way to help their skin. One thing I always tell my clients is that I don't have all the solutions. But, I can direct them in the right way. I can be that emotional support, the first responder if you will. Just being that coach.
G: You have a network of people. We mentioned therapy, and I've been looking into have a stress in the skin are so linked.
S: That’s actually what got me into skincare in the first place. Skincare was something I was always interested in. When I grew up I was always the one that my sisters would come due to do their hair and their makeup, and it just came naturally to me and was always interested in it. As you go along and look for careers, I went down another path, because I was also interested in history and museums. At one point I wanted to become an archaeologist, be a historian, at one point be a chef. It wasn't until my late 20s when I already had a career that I started to get hormonal acne. It seems to come out of nowhere. I also got melasma, known as “pregnancy mask”, and I wasn't even pregnant at the time. So it was clearly a hormonal thing. Later on I realized the trigger definitely was stress, and that got me looking at them more natural ways to combat that. I followed the journeys of many holistic nutritionists… I went on a bit of a rabbit hole, and discovered clean beauty. I already know about the diet aspect but I didn't know about skincare yet. That was my first entry way to the skincare business. I never wanted to be just a blogger, I always wanted to be working with people. So I started doing workshops, and I went to school part-time to get a certification in skincare. And that's a long story! When I started doing facials that's really when I started connecting with you! Graydon was the first skincare line I used for my facials.
G: I’m so honoured! I’d like to ask you about the name of your business, Clean Beauty School. How do you define clean beauty vs green beauty vs conventional beauty?
S: I chose “clean beauty” over “green beauty” partly because green beauty is a trend, and is sort of moving away, I think because green can mean so many things. Clean as a concept I think people are starting to understand in terms of the meaning. It's the concept that I am making conscious decisions about what I'm putting in and on my body. It doesn't necessarily mean organic or natural.
“Clean” is meant to encompass a lot more than the previous terms. “Clean Beauty School” reminded me of beauty school dropout from Grease [laughs]. It's not about being an official school where you get a certificate, but if you're someone who's looking for tips and tricks on how to find the best products for them in their skin type, and the most holistic way, and want to casually have fun and educate themselves.
G: Can you give us a couple of tips and tricks that are outside of the typical, ‘drink more water, exercise more, sleep more, don’t eat crappy food’?
S: Doing all those things and feeding your body with healthy stuff internally definitely helps, but the caveat is sometimes you do need something topically. You can have the cleanest diet, but sometimes and environmental factors are to blame. I'm doing a 30 day healthy skin challenge with those who signed up and right now we are on week three. There's certain things that can help anyone, like to stop picking your skin. The no touching policy can help anyone because wherever you are going to be touching is going to spread bacteria. Even if you don't have breakouts prodding and touching your face and obsessing over the mirror isn't good either. Like stand back from the counter and don't look that close!
G: Can you tell us the difference between dry and dehydrated skin?
S: I love this question! Dry skin is a skin type, and it's at the amount of oil your skin naturally produces. You can't really change that, but speaking you're born with the amount of oil your skin produces. But anyone can have dehydrated skin. It's a boat the amount of moisture your skin contains, so you can have a oily skin but they can still be dehydrated. A common thing would be you have very oily skin, you think you need to scrub away all that oil, and so you use harsh products. You might be getting rid of a lot of the oil but you were stripping your skin of all that protection, and all the moisture in your skin will evaporate, causing dehydration. Your skin will over produce oil because it is trying to protect itself. If you have a dry skin tight, you tend to be dehydrated and more, just because you have less protection from oil keeping that moisture in.
G: So you can have dry dehydrated skin?
S: Yes, it’s very common. Originally one clean beauties came to the popular niche, a lot of the brands were only producing oils as moisturizers. So a lot of people were like this is great, but realizing it wasn't doing much for their skin. Recognizing that an oil on its own may not be enough for your skin, you really need that water moisture. A moisturizer is composed of three main things. It has a humectant, which attracts moisture to itself by drawing moisture from the environment. It has emollients, which helps soften and condition the skin and make it feel more comfortable. And it has occlusive ingredients, which would be the oils and butters, which help block in all that moisture. Because it's doing all three things, oils on its own may not be enough. It's going to lock moisture in but it's not going to impart any moisture. A water-base serum, which is a humectant, may not be enough on its own because it can impart moisture, but not protect it.
G: So what do we need?
S: I think in the dead of winter, most people, a serum moisturizer and an oil really is the best way to get broad spectrum of what you need.
G: You need a moisturizer with a serum that is not necessarily oil-based. How do you feel about mists and toners?
S: I think they are great. The French were really before fathers of this multistep skincare. In the French way they had a different pH for every product. So the toner was always there to balance the pH after you cleanse. A lot of times you don't need that anymore because now our cleansers don't change the pH other skin, so you're using a toner more just for the extra hydration. So a lot of the hydrosols and the toners now are anti-inflammatory and.. a good analogy is that a wet sponge absorbs more than a dry sponge.
G: Yes! I love that analogy.
S: So using a toner really helps prep the skin to absorb more moisture. I will also spray my toner after I apply an oil really to emulsify it more.
G: That is awesome, thank you for demystifying those things! And very unbiasedly talking, that's one of the things I really admire about the Clean Beauty School, you really have quite a broad range, and you truly love everything like a personal connection with everything you carry. You just want your customers to have the very best for their skin. I'm so glad you could join us! Where can they best find you?
S: It is @cleanbeautyschool on Facebook and Instagram, and my website, www.cleanbeautyschool.com!