Cassie Fehlen on regimen, repair, and the power of exfoliation
MEET THE PROFESSIONALS:
An aesthetician with Jedi skills and a radiant soul.
Cassie Fehlen’s skills as an aesthetician and makeup artist are legend in Minneapolis where she runs the chic and serene aesthetic studio Skin MPLS. Whether shaping the perfect brow or helping a bride perfect her skin for her big day, for Cassie, it’s all about the joy of results.
Cassie Fehlen on regimen, repair, and the power of exfoliation.
What’s your beauty philosophy?
I’m a proponent of the “you do you” mantra and I think it applies to the beauty world too. The differences among us are what defines beauty. For some people, trends and edginess are what make them feel and look beautiful. For others, it’s classic techniques and styles that make them beautiful. My beauty philosophy and style is classic and understated. I prefer to enhance what I like best about myself while minimizing parts that I like less.
When should people start worrying about aging?
It’s tough to put a number on it because everyone’s skin ages at different rates based on their circumstances, but I really don’t think you can start too early. It’s good to be aware and ready, and easier to do in advance instead of playing catch-up. On my own face, I’d much rather prevent a hyperpigmentation spot than be treating it.
What’s the biggest mistake people make in caring for their skin?
Under exfoliating and not understanding exfoliation, in general. I find that people have a huge fear of over-exfoliating their skin. Our skin is incredibly durable. Just look at what it does for you every single day. It protects us, stretches with us, shrinks with us. It needs a little help to regenerate and that’s what exfoliation does. It brushes off or chemically helps shed the top dead layers so that new, fresher skin cells can generate to the surface. Every time this process happens, it also generates new collagen and elastin.
Your skin will send you signs to tell you if it’s getting close to over-exfoliated, so listen. If you’re looking a bit pinker than usual or feeling a bit chapped or wind-burnt, lay off the exfoliation for a day or so. Then gently restart once you’re feeling better. There isn’t really much risk of over-exfoliating. Think of it as a mini-peel. You just need to give the skin time to repair, and then it will be better than ever.
What advice do you give your clients (skin care or otherwise)?
Live your life and try to do the right thing for your skin 90% of the time – then come to see me to undo that other 10%!
How did you become interested in being an aesthetician?
I guess I’ve always been interested in it. I’ve been doing a five-step nightly regimen to my face since I was a fifth grader. After college, I began working long, stressful hours as a consultant working with Fortune 500 companies. Not too many years into my work, I noticed the wear and tear on my face. Not only was the stress hard on my skin, but also, my five-step regimen had dwindled to just cleansing and moisturizing because that’s all I could muster before falling into bed at night.
I realized it was a burnout job for me and I really wanted to have a career that I loved and that would love me back. I took a leave of absence and went to esthiology school. Just walking through the doors on my first day, I could tell that was where I was meant to be and this was the field for me – it was love at first sight (don’t tell my husband).
You work with brides frequently. Do you have any tips for brides-to-be on getting their skin glowing for wedding day?
If you’re just looking for that glow, find an aesthetician to work with at least 3 months before your wedding. If you’re also struggling with breakouts – tackle it about a year in advance so that you have time to also clear up any residual scarring.
Do you have any advice on aging gracefully?
I believe that aging is gorgeous – it’s premature aging that I worry most about. To age gracefully (and not prematurely), avoid the sun, don’t smoke, have an AM and PM regimen, and also have an aesthetician that knows your skin. Poor skin tone and texture are the two biggest tells of age—sebaceous hyperplasia, milia, actinic keratosis, sun spots, rosacea—they all make our skin look much older than it is. Plug some effort time into your skin. It does a lot for you every day, so give it some attention.
Other than product, what do you think has the most impact on the health of your skin?
Just avoiding those things we know to be harmful to skin helps the health of your skin so much. Our skin is an amazing organ. It regenerates and heals itself. So when it’s not being bombarded by constant damaging factors like smoking (which prevents the skin from getting enough oxygen) and sun rays (UV rays break down our skin cells’ DNA), it does its thing. And looks good doing it.
What’s your de-stress strategy?
Making lists or a plan helps relieve a bit of the stress for me. Once it’s on paper or there’s a plan in place, it helps to ease my mind. Then, it’s the classic self-care methods: massages, lounging time with stacks of magazines, binging on terrible reality television shows with my dog (she loves bad tv!), going out for coffees and dinners with my husband, getting adequate amounts of sleep, yoga, running.
How do you keep up on the latest trends in skin care?
It can be overwhelming. Skin trends are having a moment! I weed through the trends to decide which to pay attention to. There are some that are clearly fleeting and have no staying power because they’re complete fluff. Others though, the ones that have some scientific ground to stand on, those are the ones that I pay attention to and plug the time into researching and incorporating into my treatments.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Clearing acne gives me so much fulfillment. To see clients smiling when they come in for their second treatment, looking clearer than they have in years, and after trying countless other remedies and dermatologists. To be able to make that kind of change—sometimes in just one month’s time—for someone who has struggled with acne all of their teen, early adult years and into their 40’s—it’s unexplainable and I love it so much.
What’s the secret to great skin?
To me, great skin is glowing skin. The secret to glowing skin is exfoliation and hydration. The trick, though, is finding the right form and frequency of exfoliation for your skin and the proper type and amount of hydration.
"The secret to glowing skin is exfoliation and hydration."
SKIN CARE REGIMEN
My morning routine is all about protection: anti-oxidants, peptides, and SPF. I do a gentle cleanse in with Green Tea Cleanser followed by Rejuv Rx, Spin Trap, a bit of Marine Cream and loads of Day Treatment Lotion SPF15, in that order.
In the PM, I want to treat, repair, and rebuild my skin. I do a 2 minute, thorough cleanse with either Mandelic Acid Wash or Mandelic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser, followed by 3% Mandelic Acid Toner, Exfol-A, Wink eye cream, plus Totaloe for hydration and Marine Cream for moisture. (There’s a difference between hydration and moisture and you typically need both.)
Mandelic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser and Exfol-A are my most favorite products in the world. They’re both what I call “lifetime products.” You’ll use them for the rest of your life because they’re so effective at treating almost every skin ailment: hyperpigmentation, breakouts, and premature aging. It’s such a bonus for my acne clients that these two products not only treat their acne, but they also treat their scarring and then are also providing anti-aging benefits too. I can’t get enough. I could keep going.
SECRET TO GREAT EYEBROWS
Leave them be! I’m serious, absolutely no tweezing, whatsoever. Find a good aesthetician that specializes in eyebrows.
Vitamin A and Alpha Hydroxy Acid products are paramount to changing skin.
Protect in the AM. Treat in the PM.