Beauty starts from within. The first step to feel more beautiful about yourself is to try and eliminate negative emotions like anger, fear, envy, and self-doubt. If you are focused on replacing those emotions with peace, love, and gratitude, you will immediately look more attractive. It will move you into higher vibrations and frequencies which naturally bring your life more beauty.
As a part of our series about how technology will be changing the beauty industry over the next five years, I had the pleasure of interviewing Elina Fedotova.
Elina is the formulator and CEO of Elina Organics, an award-winning cosmetic chemist and celebrity esthetician. She hand makes her professional skin care line in her laboratory using holistic principles and organic ingredients from around the world. In 2007, she founded the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners (AHSCP); a nonprofit organization that provides ongoing training and education for professionals. The Elina Organics product line is available in professional skin care salons and spas across the country. She continues to offer her unique, holistic skin care treatments to clients who come to her spas in Chicago and Kalamazoo, MI.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up in Russia, I struggled with an oily and acne prone complexion. It was difficult to find solutions while avoiding antibiotics or oral antibiotics or other topical medications. Probiotics and compresses from herbal extracts of calendula, burdock root, and chamomile helped me to achieve the level of skin balance that I was satisfied with. Being able to improve my skin holistically was an incredible relief and gave me inspiration to learn more about herbs and Phytotherapy. At the age of 16, I had received a few facials from one of the salons in Moscow. The facials only consisted of steaming, extractions, massage, and applications of masks and lotions. A few years later, I ended up receiving a teaching degree and worked at a school and publishing house. At the same time, I was continuously studying chemistry, herbalism, and esthetics, learning how to make natural creams and homeopathic ointments. In 1991, I arrived in the United States with my husband Igor and our baby boy, Yuri. It took me several years to improve my English and receive my licensing in the United States. In 1998, I opened my first spa and I finally launched my own skin care line.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I have many stories during my two decades of work but today I would like to share one. I don’t know if it is interesting but it deeply touched me. Fifteen years ago, I was giving a facial to a client on the second floor of my spa. It was in the evening, all employees already left and we were alone in the building. Suddenly, we heard a very scary crashing glass noise. We both realized that someone broke in. I wanted to go downstairs to see what happened, but my client grabbed my hand, jumped from her treatment table barefoot in only a robe and said, “You can’t go alone. It is too dangerous and I am going with you.”
She refused to stay in the room and followed me barefoot downstairs. When we came to the lobby, we saw the large front window was broken. The criminals stole my purse and some money from the front desk. It was a cold Michigan day in January and freezing wind and snowflakes were floating into the spa. I asked my client to go home and she refused again. She stayed with me until the police arrived. It was too late to catch the criminals when the two policemen came to the spa. After completing their investigative report, they did not want to leave me alone with my problems. Instead, they went to the police station, brought plywood, hammers, and nails and covered my broken front window themselves. All of this time, I was in shock. And at that late of hours, it was not possible to get a professional technician to repair the window. The policemen comforted me with their kind words and made sure my spa would be warm and protected overnight. They did this out of the kindness of their hearts. My client could have asked for her money back and just went home but she didn’t. Because of people like this who are kind and loving, I think there is still good in this world. It was a deep and meaningful story for me which I am grateful for. The most interesting part about my career is learning about people and to be able to help them, not only on a skin level, but also on a soul connection level. This is part of the holistic approach to health and beauty.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
My business started to grow pretty quickly thanks to my clients. I did not try to market my products to other salons but estheticians were knocking on my door, asking to learn more about herbal facials. They wanted to start working with my products because they heard about my business from their clients and friends. I realized I needed to create a retail channel but also wholesale prices for my products so that salon professionals could start to work with my line. In 2007, I formulated one of my best-selling products, the Elina Organics Ambra Lift Elixir, and could finally afford to do independent genomic studies on it.
In a 48-hour period, Ambra Lift Elixir is scientifically proven to increase the expression of Sirtuin-1, a key anti-aging gene, promote anti-wrinkle effects, and activate the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory genes involved in protective cellular mechanisms, in a statistically significant way. It was quite shocking for people that a completely all natural and organic product could produce serious, clinical results.
In 2019, the same Ambra Lift Elixir won the Aestheticians’ Choice Awards through DERMASCOPE Magazine — our oldest trade show magazine for skincare professionals. When I started to distribute my products to other salons, I realized the need for holistic skin care education. I wanted to draw the line between conventional beauty treatments and clean beauty services, which benefit not only the skin, but also the entire body. This is why in 2007, I organized the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners and this allowed me to be able to share this approach with other estheticians. Many holistically-minded people can feel isolated and I felt they needed a network to connect with likeminded estheticians. We believe a healthy body requires mental clarity, positive emotions, whole food and a clean environment. It is hard to achieve this alone. We need each other to make better choices individually and on a global scale. By taking a “whole-istic” approach to our health and lives, I feel we can deliver more peace to ourselves, care more about our resources, and help create a more harmonious life for all — practicing holistic skin care is a large part of making this happen. My tipping point happened around this time when I started to share my knowledge with other professionals and now my products are available in spas all around the country.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I do not have one particular person. But, to be able to be successful, you constantly have to do research. If you are only attending professional trade shows and conferences, that is not enough to be an industry leader. Instead of learning about what other people invent, I had to think out of the box and invent formulas myself. I was always guided by my intuition and gut feelings which led me to certain ingredients to study further. I would come up with new ideas and then brainstorm with my friends who are scientists, chemists, biologists, and progressively minded doctors to clarify some information. This helped me to create my formulas. Also, why I still do facials several times a month is because I get inspired to create new formulas by working with people directly. I can’t imagine creating new formulas without working with the skin and understanding a client’s needs. Working directly with my clients and understanding who I am exactly formulating for helps me incredibly.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The beauty industry today has access to technology that was inconceivable only a short time ago. Can you tell us about the “cutting edge” (pardon the pun) technologies that you are working with or introducing? How do you think that will help people?
I was doing liposome encapsulated skin care products since 1998. I never purchased liposomes and literally developed my own using phospholipids from organically grown botanicals. I introduced peptides in my products over 10 years ago as well. I was really fascinated with the research done by the scientist, Dr. Khavinison from Saint Petersburg, Russia.
If we are talking about technology, I did a genomic study on my Ambra Lift Elixir which was very cutting edge and helped me to understand the performance of my product.
Being a spa owner, my goal was to create holistic and clinical spa services. This vs. a med spa which is sometimes associated with beauty treatments that are not necessarily healthy. I wanted to deliver the same results but by using holistic therapies. I have a medical doctor on staff because we perform serious clinical procedures like fat graphing which is injectables made with your own fat instead of synthetic, artificial substances. We also do PRP which uses your own blood to grow more collagen. Our latest procedure we do is systemic ozone therapy. This helps to detoxify the body, clean the blood, and oxygenate the blood. It will benefit inflamed and problem complexions. Ozone therapy can achieve skin improvement from the inside out. A lot of skin conditions can only be approached topically and in a med spa, they will be treated with a lot of medications which could have a lot of side effects. All of our procedures require a doctor but are still holistic alternatives to conventional med spa procedures.
In 2007, I organized the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners which I am a President of. I did this to collaborate with scientists and doctors, analyzing technology and choosing the best, safest and most effective ones from a holistic point of view. In other words, if some technologies may be able to really beautify some areas of the face or body, but it still has a potential of negative side effects, we will not recommend someone to use that machine. In my world, I have an advisory board of experts who can advise and analyze equipment or ingredients from many different perspectives. I love technology. I just want to make sure that it is the safest and most beneficial. I can see how a holistic practice can work with technology — holistic does not mean historical. I would like to offer the most benefits to my clients without side effects and risks — this is my understanding of holistic.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the “beauty-tech” industry?
Being an organic spa owner and formulator, very often people ask me about all of my beauty machines. They are surprised by how much equipment I have being a holistic practitioner and organic formulator. My answer to those people is that when it comes to pathogens, I do not want to use toxic chemicals on their skin. I prefer to sanitize their skin with ozone therapy using the D’arsonval High Frequency Machine.
We all know that toxins can get into your blood stream through the skin. Beneficial vitamins and herbal extracts end up staying on the surface. Technology, which offers electrophoresis, helps to penetrate botanicals into the live skin cells and I think this is essential to achieve corrective results. If we are talking about botanical extracts or vitamins, our skin’s protective barrier may not allow them to go through and they need to be pushed in which can happen with the use of electrophoresis. Those practitioners who do not believe in equipment are technically just nourishing the dead surface of the skin. I absolutely love the combination of vacuum and tissue manipulation which is used on the new icoone® LASER machine. It literally works on so many levels to improve circulation. And, it helps to release excessive fluid and reduce cellulite — and at the same time is very pleasant and effective. It is also completely safe for people who cannot use electrical equipment. It is a very effective substitute for manual massage which gives you very intense results on the body and face.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
1. Level of education among skincare professionals — I wish licensed estheticians would have deeper knowledge of the ingredients they use on the skin of their clients and of the products they sell. Very often, estheticians only learn the key ingredients but do not know what base they are dissolved into. Sometimes, I notice when I teach classes, certain estheticians have less knowledge than many of our clients and that is very concerning. Some estheticians and business owners make the decision of choosing a product line for their spa without even understanding how to analyze the labels. Today, it is easier because you can research every ingredient online but many people don’t even consider doing that.
2. Every year cosmetic chemists have to introduce products with the latest fashionable ingredients. Because of that, some very beneficial and safe ingredients sometimes get forgotten about because everyone is racing for novelty. Sometimes, formulators do not have enough time to research and deeply understand what they are using. I think instead of trying to amuse consumers with new trends, we need to stay balanced and look for the most beneficial and clean formulas.
3. Quick fixes. Of course, we can inject people and paralyze their muscles to prevent wrinkles but is it necessarily the healthiest choice? I deeply believe that healthy skin is a part of a healthy body, mind and spirit as well. I do not think the quick fixes necessarily bring health to the skin as well as a long-term effect. I think people should focus on skin wellness vs. quick fixes. A surgical facelift leaves scars which do not allow proper blood, lymph, and energy flow through those areas. That is why after a while after surgery, the skin may not look lively.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share 5 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Beauty starts from within. The first step to feel more beautiful about yourself is to try and eliminate negative emotions like anger, fear, envy, and self-doubt. If you are focused on replacing those emotions with peace, love, and gratitude, you will immediately look more attractive. It will move you into higher vibrations and frequencies which naturally bring your life more beauty.
2. Clean. No matter how many cosmetic products we use, if what we eat and apply on our face is toxic then it will lead to degradation of our look and entire health. This is why I encourage people to only use products on their skin that they can eat.
3. Try to analyze people you are spending time with. Identify those who bring you a positive energy vs. those who could be draining and negative. All of this can affect how you feel about yourself. If you have some people who never say anything kind and always criticize you and others, just try and spend less time with them and surround yourself with more positive people.
4. If you wake up in the morning and it is a rough morning, then definitely my suggestion is to wash your hair. When you go in the shower, you have to imagine all that you do not like — maybe aches and pains, exhaustion or disappointments, self-doubts and insecurity, maybe excessive weight or pimples. Imagine all of that going down the drain and energetically it will help to feel much better. After you take that cleansing, purifying shower, you can dry your body with towels and imagine yourself in a universal light that gives you beauty, health, success, and love. After that, come to the mirror and smile at yourself and tell yourself you are beautiful, happy, and talented. And then, proceed with your day.
5. I do not encourage people to go into denial thinking that they are absolutely gorgeous and movie-star-like when they are not — but at the same time beauty comes in all forms and shapes. Historically, in every century, beauty has been perceived differently. Understanding this perspective, you can maybe connect with a certain image where you can recognize yourself. Sometimes it is helpful to think of the positives in the body parts or areas you do not like. You may not like your short legs but these legs are the reason you can walk and run. Try and think of the people with disabilities who would do anything for your legs and it should make you feel grateful. As beauty professionals, we can make sure those legs look their best by offering you all kinds of body services which should make you feel completely confident!
6. I think we attract people with similar vibes as ourselves and if we stay positive then the people we attract will make us feel more beautiful. The key point is to stay positive, grateful, and loving.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I already inspired a movement in 2007 by organizing the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners to draw the line between conventional beauty treatments and clean beauty. I started to formulate organic products a long time before they became trendy. I was not taken seriously by other cosmetic chemists during the professional meetings because I talked about sourcing clean, natural ingredients. I am very happy that it is a big movement and I played my part in making it happen.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Treat people exactly how you would like to be treated.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.