“I want my children and grandchildren to be proud of themselves, to be in love with what they are and to see themselves everywhere. I don't want them struggling with what I got to struggle with,” says Lisa Julien, a licensed esthetician and a skincare specialist in Ontario.
Julien is a Trinidadian Canadian who has been in the beauty and design industry for over 20 years. She is the owner of a beauty brand called Good Skin Cosmetics, dedicated to Black women and men.
Julien came to Canada when she was seven years old. Because she was one of the few Black people in her area, she was very insecure about her body and her hair.
“Everything around us was white. As a child, I wanted to fit in. I wished I had blonde hair and a thin waist. All I wanted was to feel normal and accepted," says Julien.
She added that her parents were too busy with work and didn't have the time to understand what she was going through. Things got better when she moved to a different part of town in junior high school, one with more Black people.
Her childhood experiences with beauty have inspired her to work in the cosmetic industry. Besides this, Julien has always been a go-getter.
“I was good at makeup and similar skills. I went to school for aesthetics,” says Julien.
After obtaining her esthetics license, however, Julien applied to many jobs but didn't find much success. She explains, “It was hard because I didn't conform to the European standard of beauty. So, I made the decision to start my own business.” This is why she founded Chakra Spa of Toronto.
Since then, more people have gained awareness about women of colour and their struggles.
“I think this industry has become so much better than before. But your looks still play a big role when it comes to opportunities. There is still much to do in this space,” explains Julien.
Her spa in Toronto specialized in chakra balancing treatment for women of colour.
“Chakras are always about alignment, finding balance, and understanding your own body to figure out what's going on with it. We're never completely balanced with regard to the chakras. So my spa created a safer environment for a total mind-body experience,” she says proudly.
Julien was also passionate about Chakra Spa of Toronto because it helped her connect with other women of colour, “As a Black woman, it was a great space to meet other women who looked like me. These women came and supported my business and I absolutely loved the place,” she says.
After serving the women of her community through Chakra Spa for 10 years, Julien decided to offer her services in a variety of directions.
She was a consultant with CosmoProf Canada as well as a trainer for Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart.
She also served as a brand ambassador for leading skincare brands: Revlon, L'Oréal, Philosophy, Josie Maran, CoverGirl and Pacifica. Additionally, Julien represented several hair care lines such as Matrix, Pai-Shau, Prolog and Joico.
Julien has been a beauty instructor at Toronto District School Board since 2012. She continues to work for different companies and learn more about the background of business in the beauty space.
Good Skin Cosmetics
Julien quickly realized that the needs of Black skin were not being addressed by most beauty products. In 2018, Julien started her own product line called Good Skin Cosmetics for women and men of colour. “I'm coming into my own and I want to create something that makes me feel and it's good all around. Good Skin Cosmetics is a vegan skincare line which is just a continuation of the Chakra Spa,” says Julien.
Leveraging her experience with yoga and meditation, Julien presents simple yet effective skincare products that protect melanin from overexposure to the sun.
She uses natural and minimalistic ingredients infused with vitamins and minerals. All her products are paraben-free, hypo-allergenic, allergy-tested, non-comedogenic, and fragrance-free.
“I've found that many products geared towards people of colour have more toxic content than products for our whiter counterparts. This is why I wanted to create a botanical vegan line that didn't have the chemicals, fragrances, and manmade materials in them,” explains Julien.
She further explains that her products contain ingredients that the body recognizes as food. So, the body breaks down these ingredients quicker and gets rid of what it doesn't need and replenishes the skin.
The company sells its products online and has 11 types of products in its lineup (two cleansers, four moisturizers and seven treatments). Julien's hero product is moisture surge serum that provides vitamins to the skin.
“As we age, our body loses the elasticity and collagen. So, we want to nurture it and take care of it because you can't get it back. We know that collagen and hyaluronic acid can protect the moisture in the skin and provide you with younger and beautiful skin,” she says about the importance of using moisturizers for skincare.
Julien also likes to educate her customers and raise awareness. On Instagram, she discusses why Black skin is different and why it is special.
Some Tips for Skincare
- Skincare is more about health care. Our skin is a reflection of what's happening internally. If the skin is looking dull, check to see if you ate something unhealthy or if you were in the sun too long. Next, find a skincare routine to help your skin and give it time to work.
- Our skin has to deal with a lot of pollution, seasonal changes, and the processed food we consume. If you're eating junk food all the time, your body won't have the nutrients to build strong bones and healthy skin. This leads to bad skin. So, eat healthier as much as possible.
- Try to use natural and organic skincare products that the body can benefit from.
- Work with an aesthetician at least four times a year for seasonal facials. Think of it as a 'tune-up' for the skin.
- Find time for mindfulness exercises every single day. Stretching and walking are also very important.
- If you are surrounded by negative energy or find yourself in a negative environment, get yourself out of that situation.
Currently, Julien is working on a new beauty balm cream for Black skin and hopes to release it next summer.
Photo by: @qfotolens