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If you can’t tell now, I love asking brands the hard questions. It’s important that people leave these interviews feeling empowered to make better, more informed shopping decisions. Oftentimes when I roam the beauty aisles and scroll through Instagram feeds, there are dozens of questions crossing my mind, holding me back from making a purchase, investing my coins in products that underperform and leave me underwhelmed. My hope is that these Discover features highlight value in these black-owned beauty brands that you hadn’t quite connected with before.
It takes time for me to draft thoughtful questions, especially those regarding specific products and ingredients, and Airest Dion did not disappoint in her responses. Natural skin care, artisanal goods, and green beauty are all trending. The term trending has such an off-putting connotation that I’d argue is occasionally unwarranted. Everyone is introduced to their lifestyle choice in different ways, and so what if now is the time you become a more conscious personal care shopper as a part of your holistic wellness. How you start shouldn’t matter. But as it relates to brands, some of these product releases are all about marketing and pandering to the novice consumers who may not know what to look for when transitioning to different products.
Airest Dion of AirestDion Skin Therapy is invested in you making the best decisions for the results you want to achieve. The great thing about small business owners is being able to connect the person to the product. Learning the story behind the brand is great, but the accessibility of asking the maker questions is even better. I’m one who believes that your storytelling is only as valuable as your product performance, but that’s a conversation for another day. Without further ado, here’s skin therapist Airest Dion on her development of AirestDion Skin Therapy.
Introduce yourself & why you do what you do.
My name is Airest Dion. I’m the owner of AirestDion Skin Therapy, a holistic skin therapy practice in Charlotte, NC. Growing up I struggled with severe acne and quickly realized that the majority of skincare products on the market and professionals within the industry were focused more on treating skin conditions and not healing. What I discovered while studying skin therapy is the direct relationship between proper nutrition and skin health. It is my purpose to educate my clients on how a plant-based diet and plant-based skincare products truly bring about lasting healing and results for their skin.
What’s the difference between an esthetician and a skin therapist?
The main difference between an esthetician and a skin therapist is the selection of an area of focus. An esthetician typically performs facial treatments, waxing and hair removal, eyelash extensions as well as make-up application. A skin therapist, however, is an individual who has chosen to focus exclusively on skin care and specializes in bringing about noticeable improvements in the health of their client’s skin.
As a licensed skin therapist, how has your perspective of skin care evolved since your formal training? How has your education shaped your beauty rituals and shopping preferences?
Since early in my training I have always understood that proper nutrition and quality, natural skin care products were the remedy for all skin imbalances. My perspective on skin care has evolved to place an even greater emphasis on educating clients on the power of a raw food diet.
My education has shaped my beauty rituals and shopping preferences in many ways. During my training I witnessed firsthand the damaging long term effects of products that featured high-tech delivery systems and man-made chemicals. My clients in school came to me in hopes of bringing their chemically stressed skin back to life. This experience solidified my belief that natural plant remedies are the only suitable products for long term skin health. It is for this reason that natural hydrosols, oils, butter, herbs, and clays are the only products I include in my personal beauty rituals.
Describe the story of AirestDion Natural Skin Care from inception to manifestation.
In skin therapy school students are taught a general protocol for professional skin care treatments and supporting at-home care. These protocols include steps such as cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and masque treating and are typically executed using chemical-based products. Given my philosophy on skin health, I took the same standard protocols and through my knowledge of herbalism and phytotherapy, replaced the chemical-based products with natural plant remedies that met the same needs of the skin. What I developed was a 100% natural skin care protocol that worked to reset the skin to its natural state of health and balance. Because I was using simple, natural ingredients, I knew I would have to source the highest quality for the best results. I began developing relationships with organic farmers, apothecaries, and distilleries to ensure my products were undiluted, unrefined, and filled with the nutrients the skin required. I first began using these products exclusively in my professional treatments and shortly thereafter, made them available for retail. AirestDion Natural Skin Care was born.
Who is AirestDion Natural Skin Care for?
AirestDion Natural Skin Care is for men and women who are looking to truly heal their skin and not just suppress skin conditions. It is for those who wish to improve the health of their skin and not just temporarily improve the appearance of it. My collection is for those individuals who understand healthy skin is beautiful skin.
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My healing journey thus far… Picture on left: December, 2016. The results of using mainstream skincare products on #acneprone skin. Picture on right: May, 2017. Five months of using only the natural ingredients from my #ADNaturalSkinCare collection. 🌹🌱🙌💫 . . Cc: @airestdionskinstudios #airestdion #skintherapist #wholisticwellness #naturalskincare #naturalskin #balancedskin #healthyskin #glowingskin #results #charlotte #charlottefacials #facials #skincare
Did you have negative experiences with skin care products in the past?
Absolutely. I have very sensitive and reactive skin. Every mainstream product I have ever used has caused adverse reactions to some degree. In hindsight I am very thankful for my temperamental skin, because it forced me to look for better alternatives that eventually lead to the creation of my own skin care collection.
Your Signature Facial Treatment service looks yummy! What are the natural alternatives you offer in your services that standard spas don’t?
There are two main components of my Signature Facial Treatment that you won’t find in standard spas. My treatments are truly therapeutic experiences for the mind, body, and spirit, as I always begin each treatment by guiding my client through a short meditation. Since the body naturally heals itself when we are in a state of rest, these mindful meditations help the client to enter a state of relaxation and helps facilitate the healing process. My Signature Treatments also includes what I refer to as a Biostimulation Facial Massage. This massage technique is unique, because it stimulates various muscles of the face in a specific sequence. Puffiness is visibly reduced and the skin is left more toned and bright after just one treatment.
Are the products you use in your services different from AirestDion Natural Skin Care?
No, although there are professional-only customizations that I create using my products, I enjoy exclusivly using the AirestDion Natural Skincare collection in my professional treatments. This gives clients the opportunity to experience just how effective natural products can be before purchasing products for at-home use.
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I always intuitively knew plants and herbs supported our body’s natural healing processes. After learning about the requirements of healthy skin while in esthetics school, I began researching which naturally occurring plant remedies would meet those same needs so I could completely eliminate mainstream skincare products from my routine. That’s how #AirestDionNaturalSkincare was born. I source my products directly from organic farmers, distilleries and apothecaries to ensure the highest quality. My skin has never been as healthy as it is right now and my clients see the difference in their skin too. ❤️✨💆🏾 #naturalisbest #naturalskincare #airestdion #skintherapy #facial #charlottefacials #charlotte #ecobeauty #clearskin #healthyskin #glowingskin #plantbased
Getting Into the Mix
Balancing Tonic & Rose Cleansing Tonic: Both of these products are single ingredient formulas. What would you say to someone who is skeptical about that?
I would encourage consumers to be more skeptical about products with multiple ingredients versus products with single ingredients. In terms of skincare products, we have been brainwashed into believing that the more extensive the formulation, the more effective the product. This could not be further from the truth. Undiluted plant remedies are the most powerful as the addition of other ingredients has the tendency to reduce the potency and healing properties of the product.
Rose Gold Oil: Would you consider pomegranate seed oil superior to the rest? Why do you encourage this to be paired with the Balancing Tonic?
Yes, I have experimented with many plant-derived oils and pomegranate seed oil is by far the best I have come across. It is an extremely luxurious and nourishing oil that is ideal for all skin types- dry, sensitive and acne-prone. It soothes dermal inflammations such as acne, sunburn, psoriasis, and rosacea. It helps to balance excess oil production in oily skin types and is a fantastic antioxidant that supports cellular regeneration, improves skin elasticity, and revitalizes mature and/or sun damaged skin. I recommend that the Rose Gold Oil be paired with the Balancing Tonic, because we are essentially mimicking the way the skin naturally moisturizes itself. The skin produces oil (sebum) and water (perspiration) to create what is known as the hydrolipidic film. Our hydrolipidic film protects our skin from dehydration, environmental pollutants, and pathogens. When we moisturize our skin using the oil and water combination of the Rose Gold Oil and the Balancing Tonic, we are essentially creating a “protective barrier” for our skin’s natural protective barrier. This fortifies the skin and encouraging optimal skin health.
Floral Remedy: How do you recommend someone prep their skin for a facial steam and what should they do after?
I recommend proceeding your facial steam with an exfoliation treatment. Exfoliating prior to a steaming ensures that the herbal properties in the steam reach the deeper layers of skin as exfoliation removes dead skin cells that can often block the pores. I recommend following your steam treatment with your masque treatment. Steaming opens dermal passages which will allow for your masque treatment to penetrate more deeply and therefore be more effective.
Purifying Skin Polish: The French Green Clay ingredient in this product is described as detoxifying. Tell me more about that process. How does the skin respond to this?
Natural earth clays are chemically “alive” as they have high electromagnetic charges. This electromagnetic energy detoxes the skin by drawing out impurities from deep within the pores. French Green Clay is one of the more potent clays that can be used for skin care and has powerful detoxing properties. In addition, this product features finely ground organic almonds and oat bran, which polishes the skin to perfection while a proprietary blend of essential oils help to loosen excess sebum trapped in the pores. This exfoliator absorbs dirt and excess oil, refines and softens fine lines and wrinkles, and fades the appearance of hyperpigmentation and scarring. The skin is left smooth, bright and deeply refreshed.
Gold Shea Masque: What’s the consistency of this mask? Do you have to follow up with anything? When is the best time to incorporate this in your skin care regimen?
The Gold Shea Masque is what is known as a “massage in masque”. This means the masque is actually massaged into the skin versus allowing it to simply sit on the surface of the skin. It has a rich, buttery consistency and helps to nourish dry, devitalized skin. I recommend performing this treatment 1-2 times per week and following with your usual finishing products- toner, serum, and moisturizer.
Do you plan to expand your collection?
Yes, I am currently in the product development stages of the AirestDion Natural Body Care collection. This collection will include high-quality bath soaks, bar soaps, body butters, and body scrubs. I am really excited about this addition to my collection, as it will allow for clients to take their at-home self-care rituals to the next level.
Where do you pull inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from ancient cultures. When I was developing my collection I researched the skin care rituals of ancient African and Native American tribes. The people of these ancient cultures had a strong connection with the earth and considered the land sacred. The medicine men and women of these ancient tribes understood how to use the power of herbs, clays, oils, and flower essences to enhance beauty and facilitate healing. Knowing how to work with the power of nature is a timeless art that I feel is still alive and well within me. My favorite saying to describe myself is, “Modern days, ancient ways.”
What’s on your vanity and what’s in your travel bag?
I always keep my Daily reBalance System products on my vanity and in my travel bag. My Daily reBalance System consists of my Rose Cleansing Tonic, Balancing Tonic, Aloe Serum, and Rose Gold Oil. These are the four products I use morning and evening to cleanse, tone, repair and protect my skin. These products work together synergistically to maintain my skin’s proper moisture, nutrient, and pH levels, so my skin is always smooth, supple and glowing. The one and only product I use that isn’t part of my collection is a product called Cellfood Oxygen Gel by Lumina Health. It is advanced science done right. It is quite literally food for your cells, as it contains a wide array of ionic trace minerals, enzymes, amino acids, electrolytes, and dissolved oxygen. These ingredients renew skin texture and reduce the appearance of blemishes and fine lines and wrinkles for a youthful complexion.
What are your best sellers and what are your favorites?
Outside of the Daily reBalance System, the Purifying Skin Polish and the Floral Remedy seems to be the most loved by clients. Everyone appreciates a quality exfoliator that keeps the skin perfectly polished. There is also nothing more relaxing and rejuvenating than an at-home steam treatment. Clients enjoy using the Floral Remedy to increase circulation, which naturally boosts the radiance of the skin.
Share your skin care regimen.
In the morning I start with lightly steaming my face with a warm towel.
- Cleanse with my Rose Cleansing Tonic
- Tone with my Balancing Tonic
- Repair with my Aloe Serum
- Protect my skin with 3 drops of my Rose Gold Oil combined with 4-5 sprays of my Balancing Tonic.
I follow these same exact steps in the evening except instead of protecting with the Rose Gold Oil/Balancing Tonic combo, I apply a light layer of my Cellfood Oxygen Gel. Twice a week I also exfoliate with the Purifying Skin Polish, do a steam treatment with the Floral Remedy, and finish up with a masque treatment using my Healing Clay Masque.
What skin care tip do you live by?
Consistency and simplicity.
What’s the worst skin care tip you’ve heard?
I once had a client with oily, acne prone skin tell me that her dermatologist recommended avoiding exfoliation. Exfoliation, or the removing of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, is essential for healthy skin, you just have to ensure you are using the right product and method of exfoliation for your skin type.
Where can we find AirestDion Skin Therapy?
You can visit www.AirestDion.com to learn more about my skincare philosophy, shop products and reserve appointments. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Instagram where I share skin care tips, skin transformation pictures, and the latest updates on upcoming projects.
Anything coming soon?
So many new things on the horizon. I am excited about the launch of my new body collection due out summer 2018. I will also be releasing my first book, which will be a guide to raw foods for healthy, beautiful skin and I am in the process of completing my certification as a Regenerative Detoxification Specialist under Dr. Robert Morse, ND as a means to further assist my clients on their healing journeys.
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