Each of our Pro features celebrates the inspiring success of influencers from diverse industries. Up this week, Leslie Kritzer and Madison DeClerq of Skin Worship in Los Angeles.
HOW THEY GOT STARTED…
Madison: We actually met on Craigslist, which is always so weird to say… [laughs]
L: Oh my god, are you actually going to tell them that?!
M: I was fresh out of beauty school and looking to rent a little space to start doing eyelashes and explore getting into skincare. I had a knick for lash extensions right away, so I rented what was basically a little closet from Leslie. We were working together, but separately; she was doing facials and I was doing lashes.
L: I had a bunch of different renters. I was getting married for the second time, and at that point, I was at a crossroads of whether or not I wanted to stay in the business. My husband is a manager for actresses and actors, and there’s always been this renaissance part of me that’s wanted to write and produce in the entertainment industry. My clients were terrified when I told them I was thinking of getting out, and that’s when I started thinking that I really do bring something different to the table. I combine clinical practices, what you learn working with a dermatologist, and more holistic treatments.
Madison was really promising [in skincare]. She has had her own issues with her skin, and because of that, she asks very detailed questions. Her and I have both been the girls who have either perfect skin, or moments where we’re breaking out, and when you are that girl, you research and study even harder than someone who has skin that is constantly breaking out because you know what it’s like to have good skin. I started giving Madison a few clients, and she was killing it. People loved her!
M: I see so many different clients, but I’ve always been into my acne clients because when I would get them on a regime, I really saw skin changing and getting better. It was more than the instant gratification with lashes.
THE BIG BREAK…
L: I was doing Demi Lovato’s manager around this time, and we got a call one day to go to Demi’s apartment for a facial. We weren’t set up to be mobile at that point, so it ended up being a great challenge for Madison to make this work. I told her she had 30 minutes to make this happen, and so we talked through it and ended up inventing a facial for ‘on the road’, she went to her place in Westwood and killed it! That was when I knew she had some balls on her and really was willing to do anything to make this work. When you have a partnership, you need someone with balls. It’s hard to grow a brand!
We had a few clients early on who were influencers, then more started coming, and all of this was coming together right as Instagram was starting to take off.
M: We were very parallel with the rise of Instagram, so our growth was really organic.
L: It was really a perfect storm for us. A lot of the bigger, more established companies were giving away free products and services…
M: But with us, it was all friends recommending other friends, and that’s what made people want to be a part of this ‘tribe’ we’d created. When someone genuinely says they’ve had the best facial somewhere, you immediately want to go to that place, and for us, it really spread like wildfire. We have a very boutique treatment style. Whatever your skin needs at any given time is what you get when you come in. We don’t have a menu or set services.
THE SKINCARE MARKET TODAY…
L: Right now, everyone is over treating their skin, and that’s the biggest problem we see. It’s a giant lie that the cosmetic industry has created to get sales. If you talk to any doctor or chemist, they’ll tell you most products just sit on the surface of your skin and irritate it.
Once you have any sort of inflammation or irritation on your skin from overusing products, your skin breaks down. It starts aging, it can’t handle the sun, so you get hyper pigmentation, and you start getting breakouts. What’s worse is that dermatologists are a little behind the times, and they’re still prescribing the same stuff they’ve been pushing since the ‘70s. It didn’t really work then, people were still breaking out, so it’s probably not going to work now!
M: We have so many clients that come in and are dependent on these products like Retin-A that their dermatologists have given them, and it’s so hard for us to treat their skin because it is going through what we call ‘topical addiction’.
L: Topical addiction is when your skin literally can’t handle not having Retin-A or other topical retinols, so we have to take you through a detox. You look like shit through the detox and you will go through a very bad phase before it gets better, but it will get better.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T ALWAYS BELIEVE MARKETING HYPE…
L: Most cleansers, right out of the gate, are stripping your skin. That means you become dependent on all the stuff you use afterwards to make your skin feel better. You’re already on a losing curve. Then, because there’s this crazy trend right now that having tons of ‘active ingredients’ suddenly makes products better, you have these serums and creams that are full of ’37 Active Ingredients’, which sounds great, but chances are, one or more of those ingredients will irritate you. Unfortunately, the skin doesn’t know how to prioritize ingredients to take in the handful of good ones and leave out the bad that don’t work for you. Your skin just immediately gets inflamed.
The ideal situation is when you can streamline ingredients into only the exact amount a product needs to work and nothing extra, which is what we’ve done with our products. Because of that, everything in our products has to be top-notch perfect since we’re not hiding behind tons of ingredients.
M: Or stacked ingredients, which make it look like there’s only a few ingredients in a product, and then you look each of the ingredients up, and it’s actually five different chemicals combined.
ON THE ANTI-AGING CRAZE…
L: There are a lot of really famous brands out there who make super expensive creams that have become cult-like, which is so hard for us to watch because we see the bad effect they have on skin.
M: A lot of our influencers who get gifted moisturizers and creams by these luxury brands come in with skin that’s red and bumpy and they don’t know why, and it’s because those creams actually act like a barrier that doesn’t let the skin do it’s job.
L: We always tell people, if you get gifted that stuff or if you have it and and need to use it up, put it on your hands and elbows! Have deliciously soft hands, but don’t use it on your face. The only time you should use thick, heavy department store creams on your face is after a treatment like a chemical peel, when your skin is raw and fresh and not ready for the environment. Any other time, though, your skin needs oxygen, and by applying these creams, you’re actually blocking it from being able to receive oxygen, which makes it age faster. It’s such an oxymoron, because these brands have built everything on being anti-aging superstars, and in reality, they’re making you age quicker.
BURSTING THE VEGAN SKINCARE BUBBLE…
L: The idea of vegan skincare is great, and I love the intention behind it, but there is no possible way to not have preservatives in a skin formula. It will literally start growing bacteria within days without it, even sooner if you have any sort of protein in it, and anything that is going to rebuild skin tissue has to have a protein to be effective. Preservatives are synthetic, which gets a really bad rep. Really all that means is the preservative is created in a lab, but it’s such a small part of the product, and it’s essential, so as long as the rest of your ingredients are great, it’s fine. But a lot of these vegan brands are saying they are preservative free, which is really misleading to consumers.
ON THE SECRET INGREDIENT BRANDS USE TO MAKE SALES…
L: You know when you go to Barney’s or Saks and they make you test an eye cream on one side of your eye, and then you look in the mirror and you’re like ‘Wow, it’s amazing! What a difference!’? All that is is an ingredient called silicone dimethicone, which temporarily plumps lines, but doesn’t actually do anything long term. Brands do have to sell, and they have huge distribution channels that they have to fulfill, so yeah, ingredients like that make people feel good in the moment, but in the grand scheme of things, they aren’t doing anything good for you.
HYALURONIC ACID ISN’T ACTUALLY AS GREAT AS YOU THOUGHT…
L: We fought with our chemists to include hyaluronic acid in our line because it’s such a popular ingredient, but what we learned was that it’s actually just cheap, which is why brands use it. It also gives you this instantly smoother feeling, which is part of that instant gratification that people love so much, but it’s really just building scar tissue, so when we have clients that use it, we have to go through the same process of weaning them off of it like we do for Retinols. Instead, we use Lactic Acid which has been esterified, which is the process of taking the Acid out of Lactic Acid.
WHY THEIR LINE, SKIN WORSHIP, IS DIFFERENT…
M: We’re not trying to anti-age you, because that’s not possible. We’re taking preventative measures to stop you from aging faster. Most of our clients are young professionals that are starting to take care of their skin early, so I think they’ll have a leg up on the older generations that feel like they have to overcompensate with fillers and botox because they didn’t take good care of their skin when they were younger.
L: The magic bullet for us was hooking up with nerds who knew their shit to create our products [laughs], and we mean that in the best way possible! The nerds make great products, but they didn’t know how to make them sexy.
ON CREATING BODY VIBES, THE NEWEST BEAUTY CRAZE THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR WORLD…
L: My husband had crippling rheumatoid arthritis, to the point where he was in a wheelchair and couldn’t move. To combat it, he went on Humira, which I’m sure everyone’s seen commercials for, and he was eating edibles and taking Vicodin on top of that to dull the pain. One of his clients introduced him to a naturopath who was also an immunologist and oncologist in Eastern Europe and was making amazing strides treating patients. He had treated some big names from Los Angeles, so my husband went to visit him at his clinic in Orange County, and when he came home, he had these little frequency patches all over his body. He told me they were patches to treat pain, energy and sleep. My husband is a New Yorker, and he doesn’t buy into stuff like this easily, but when you’re in pain, you’ll do just about anything to treat it.
What got me so excited was when he started getting off the Vicodin because the patches he was wearing were helping. Then, as we started to hear more bad stories about people who took Humira, he began easing off of that too, and eventually, he was just using the patches and felt better than ever.
I have suffered for years with panic disorders and anxiety, and to be totally honest, I’ve taken all the pharmaceutical drugs to help get rid of it. After seeing what my husband went through and how much the frequency patches had helped him, I started wondering if there was one that could help with my issues. I ended up learning that they have patches to treat almost everything, from stress, to sleep disorders, to hair loss. There’s literally a frequency to treat everything that ails you.
I started the anxiety patch, and even though it wasn’t perfect, it was giving me space not to freak out. From there, it kept getting better, and eventually, the Ativan I was relying on to treat my anxiety became a bottle I kept just in case. I became obsessed with the frequency patches, but I was always embarrassed because I thought they looked like hormone patches, so Madison and I partnered with this brilliant scientist out of Nevada and decided to make our own. Ours are called Body Vibes. They’re labeled with cute emoticons that reference what each of them treats, and they’re tailored for the biggest issues our clients deal with. I knew right away this was going to be my ‘Post-It’! [laughs].
HOW DO BODY VIBES WORK?
L: Bioengineers have been capturing ‘frequencies’ for years, so there’s a whole catalogue of different frequencies.
M: Everything natural in the world has a frequency.
L: Optimally, humans are at a 62-72 Hz [frequency]. When it drops, like if you have a cold or flu, you go down to 58-60 Hz, then chronic illnesses like Epstein Barr are around 52 Hz, and cancer appears around 42 Hz. There is a frequency for how every disease affects your body, even things we talked about before, like stress and sleep disorders, but there’s also a frequency that can help treat the symptoms you’re feeling.
HOW DO YOU USE THEM?
L: Frequencies work best on your left side, but they work even better on the left side of your body at heart level…
M: Because the heart is an electrical organ. The closer the patch is to your heart, the stronger the effect of the patch will be.
L: The left side of your body receives energy, the right side disperses it. There are people that are very sensitive to energy, which we have been realizing more and more, so some of our clients have to move their patches further away from their heart.
One of the most fascinating things we’ve learned since introducing the Body Vibes is that energy can’t lie, it won’t cover anything up, and when we move energy in the body, it can be startling. I had a client come in yesterday who had gone through a really bad breakup, and she asked for some of our Mood Boosting patches to make her feel better. I warned her that the patch won’t mask her emotions, and more often than not, I find that when people are going through hard times, the patches release all the emotions you compartmentalize and push down. She texted me the next day and said she went through an emotional rollercoaster!
M: As soon as you get rid of whatever negativity you have built up, which can be worse the older you are because you’ve lived more life, you start to feel the positive effects, though.
L: My best advice to people, and I do this too, is to cocktail them. So if you’re going to do a Mood Boost or Self Love for the first time, or you know you’ve been going through hard stuff, wear it with an Anti-Anxiety Patch. It makes the transition easier.
Nothing is worse for your skin than toxic emotions. I always say at 50 everyone gets the face they deserve, so if you’re a bitch, you’re going to look like a bitch. While you’re young, learn how to process and get all that negativity out. Beautiful souls are timeless- you could be a beacon of light at 70! No one cares if a person like that has a wrinkle, so why would you want to be the bitch with a facelift? [laughs].
Humans aren’t perfect! We need tools to get through life the best way possible, and to me, the Body Vibes are tools. Nobody wakes up killing it everyday. No one. So its about finding the little things you can do for yourself to take the edge off.
M: What I love most about this generation is that we want to all be the best versions of ourselves, so the Body Vibes are such an organic fit to accomplish that.
L: Buying a pair of shoes won’t help you feel better. For a few minutes you’ll feel great, and your dopamine receptors will go off, but a couple of hours later, the shoes will be in the closet, and all the stuff you tried to mask will still be there. It’s important to feel your pain, process it, and then let it go. That’s the best thing Body Vibes can offer you.