My name is Lorna and I am a cosmetic addict. Advertising works on me which makes me a marketeers dream come true. Any new cellulite treatment, volume mascara, lip gloss with staying power or none streak fake tan, you name it, I probably have it, or a version of it. I go into Boots with the intention of buying Panadol, and come out €50 less off with the latest 2 for 1 offer on expensive shampoo, shower gel with built in exfoliant, or travel minis which I advocate I always need (so untrue). So when I was contacted by Linda Ennis, owner of the Beauty Academy in Drogheda, I was so excited to have a heart to heart with a beauty professional with the most amazing background in cosmetics and beauty therapy.
Linda qualified as a Beauty Therapist in 1989 from the Senior College in Dun Laoghaire and since then has built up a wonderful career in the Beauty Industry, including posts as a Manager for Clinique at Clerys, Dublin, a Business Developer for Estee Lauder Ireland, a Manager for Clinique in Brown Thomas and a Sales and Marketing Manager for NSI&Skin Doctors Ireland to name but a few. From this, Linda set up the Beauty Academy in 2005, “I decided and realised, with all of my career choices, the one thing that I was really drawn to in every aspect of my career was to training and development of people. I returned to study my Certificate in Teaching Adult Learners and opened the doors of Beauty Academy. Initially I delivered all of the training and managed the business, but I am now fortunate to have a team of 15 excellent Tutors who are highly skilled in their professions”.
On top of all of this, Linda is now in her 4th year of a BA Degree Course in Training & Education.
Linda is a self confessed “beauty junkie” , like myself, and I asked her what would be her favourite products, given that it is fast becoming a saturated market with products for cellulite to collagen boosters everywhere. “I have worked with so many brands. My family used to tease me that whichever one I moved to was now the best! It is true but I really believe in quality products and that you pay for what you get. My top favourite at the minute is Dr Murad Firm & Tone Supplements – they are meant to improve the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks but they make my skin denser and firmer. You have got to try these ones! Worth every penny!”
Linda is a big fan of Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant for gentle yet deep exfoliation and Lancôme Renergie Morpholift RARE Yeux. She also recommends that Dr. Murad products which have widely become known as an effective treatment for people of any age with blemished skin. Make up wise; she loves Smashbox Halo Foundation, Clinique Soft Finish Foundation, MAC Eye shadow Colours and the iconic Dior Mascaras. �
The beauty industry is now the second largest global industry after food. Despite the recession, women will always buy make up and their regular lotions and potions in the name of looking good. We all suffer from being paranoid about some part of our bodies, women of our generation seem be obsessed by cellulite, and why not? It’s actually horrible. The combination of living in a coffee society and being dehydrated, have led women of my age to develop the dreaded orange peel skin. Linda says its all down to diet and exercise. She made me a gift of Dr. Murad’s book called “The Cellulite Solution” which gives tips on how to alter your diet to deal with the orange peel. Incorporating fibre and water can make a huge difference, so this week I have been snacking on almonds (only six is a portion apparently). Despite there being several new technologies now available to treat this, Linda says that internal treatment is key. So get on your bikes girls!
The Academy provides the necessary skills and qualifications for anyone who would like to pursue a career in the beauty industry. I asked Linda what her advice would be to a budding beauty therapist or cosmetic consultant. “My advice would be to visit with the colleges to get some insight. Many people sign up for beauty courses considering it an easy option not realising that beauty/holistic therapists are specialists in their own field. It is important to know what the course entails, what is expected from you in the industry from an ethical and professional conduct perspective. Potential students need to investigate the college to see what accrediting bodies they have to offer, what their premises and product offering are like, if the Tutors are qualified and experienced and what methods of training do they use to accommodate various learning styles”. It’s like every industry really, education is paramount and the façade of pretty ladies standing behind cosmetic counters is not the whole of it. Every one of them is highly skilled to give advice for every individual which is specific to their skin and age. Currently, the Academy has approximately 70 students, 6 of which are studying on the full time Beauty Therapy course.
The Beauty Academy courses fall into 5 different categories under each they offer many choices including, full Time Beauty Therapy, Holistic Body Massage, Sports Massage, Full Time or Part Time Courses in Basic Make Up and Fashion & Photography. You can also become a qualified nail consultant! There is something for everyone here, and to be honest I am tempted to dabble in a little part time course myself after my visit here.
“Graduates have gone on to work in salons or spas, for cosmetic companies, as mobile therapists and bridal make up artists. Many have gone on to become Tutors and some have opened their own salons. One has opened a weight loss clinic and a few have travelled with their qualifications”, Linda explains.
Aside from the educational aspect of the Academy, the training salon is open to the public. “We offer to the public discounted treatments in our training salon. Every Friday afternoon from 2-6pm the therapists offer treatments to the public at a reduced cost. Clients can avail of Dr Murad or Dermalogica Facials, Body and Indian Head Massage, Make Overs, Manicures, Pedicures, Waxing and Epilation. This service is supervised closely by an experienced qualified Tutor who guides and supports the students in their delivery. In fact you will find that the treatments are usually of a very high standard as the students strive to do their best and impress their new clients. This service is only open from Oct until July while the students are in college. We invite people to book well in advance, many of our clients make a day of it, head to Drogheda for lunch for a girls day out and come to the training salon in the afternoon”. This sounds like my ideal afternoon!
Ladies who visit the Academy for treatments tend to go for the popular therapies like waxing (we all hate it but have to do it!). Linda says “waxing is always one of the most popular treatments but we are finding that clients are paying much more heed to their skincare so they are looking for skin care both in the salon and for home use that truly delivers results. Long nails are back in fashion this season so manicures are on the incline”.
As we enter summer we embark on the seasons of the “dum-dum-dee-dum” or the wedding season as most people call it. Linda says her biggest recommendation to the blushing bride “is to perfect her skin before the big day. It amazes me how much money brides spend on dresses, flowers cakes etc but not on their skin for the biggest day of their lives when all the photographs will be kept to remind them. I would recommend that at least 3 but preferably 6 months before the wedding that the bride starts to have regular facials. My recommendation would be Dr Murad Facials, but these absolutely need to be followed up with a thorough home care regime”. No excuses brides, do you here? Brides must also “ensure the make up artist that is being used on the day is familiar with the bride’s preferences and theme of the wedding. It is advisable always to have a trial. If you are leaving your nails natural have regularly manicures before the big day, if you are wearing acrylic/gel ensure your nail technician is skilled in her application so that your nails looks perfect for your photos on the big day”. There you go free advice from the expert herself.
Apart from the abundance of weddings, summer means getting the pins out on show, and we all know how annoying it is when the bed sheets are covered in St. Tropez, but still, we do it. Linda has some great tips for summer body prep, “I am back to recommending the Dr Murad Firm & Tone Supplements, exfoliate well with a body scrub at least once a week to remove all the dead dull skin cells and moisturise well with Murad Body Firming Cream. I would also recommend that the use of fake tan is kept minimal. It is lovely to have that healthy glow but when we are seeing streaks on arms, hands and legs because of over application or incorrect application of tan it looks far worse than being naturally pale. I think it looks better to be hair free, glistening with moisturiser and with just a light bit of tan on”.�
I’ll admit that meeting Linda was not only an interview but an education process. There are so many treatments out there and choosing which ones are best for your body and skin all comes down to getting the best advice from industry professionals. The Beauty Academy has generated some of the most highly skilled beauty therapists in Ireland. While I was on my tour of the college, I got to meet some of the students who are enthusiastic about their learning and from observing them in some practical sessions on nail and facial therapies; I saw just how skilled you have to be. And it’s not only the technical skills that they have to get right; they are also trained in how to deal with the customer along with other professional skills.
After my morning in the Academy I felt I had a better awareness of what defines a beauty therapist. In a nutshell, beauty is truly a holistic education.