Renée Rouleau’s got the prescription for great skin.
By Joanna Cosgrove
Early in her skin care career, Renée Rouleau recognized that the tried and true, one-size-fits-all take on skin care probably wasn’t the best approach. After all, not all skin types fall into the generic categories of dry, normal and oily. To that end, Ms. Rouleau formulated her own brand of products based on nine distinct skin types to deliver the kind of results her clients demanded.
A licensed esthetician for more than 20 years, Ms. Rouleau opened her first Texas area spa in 1991 at the age of 21 with the belief that with proper tools, effective products and a disciplined approach, anyone can have great skin.
“Working as an esthetician, I found it very limiting to offer products based on the traditional dry, normal and oily skin types,” she recalled. “My client’s skin concerns went way beyond that and I had to bring in several different lines to be able to offer them more options for home care. I said to myself, ‘Certainly there has to be something better than this.’ So [in 1995] I started creating my own line with the nine skin type concept.”
Her nine skin type categories are grouped under the traditional oily, normal and dry skin categories.
• Skin Type #1 - Oily/Clogged Pores/Severe All-Over Breakouts
• Skin Type #2 - Oily/Combination/Occasional Breakouts/Anti-Aging
• Skin Type #3 - Oily/Combination/Clogged Pores/Consistent Breakouts
• Skin Type #4 - Oily/Combination/Sensitive/Red/Occasional Breakouts
• Skin Type #5 – Normal/Sensitive/Red/Anti-Aging
• Skin Type #6 – Normal/Anti-Aging
• Skin Type #7 – Dry/Dull/Sluggish/Anti-Aging
• Skin Type #8 – Dry/Sun Damaged/Anti-Aging
• Skin Type #9 – Dry/Sensitive/Red/Anti-Aging
Once a client’s skin type is determined, she is given a corresponding product prescription consisting of a unique, multi-step morning and evening product regimen comprised of various cleansing lotions and gels, exfoliators, eye care treatments, glycolic acid/AHA and specialty serums, moisturizers, toners and sun protection formulations. The company also issues recommendations for the most beneficial home mini facial products, which are to be used once per week.
Ms. Rouleau’s complete product range is comprehensive, spanning a signature facial—Synergy 7, a treatment that blends seven age-defying facials and combines them into one singular treatment—to an extensive, 60-product, “in-home maintenance” range of “Personal Skin Prescription” products.
Given her penchant for result-driven formulations, she said her company’s skin care product philosophy can be drilled down to finding the most beneficial crossroad of science and nature.
“The products use the best of science and the best of nature with an emphasis on avoiding common ingredients that can be harsh and irritating to the skin,” she said. “I have visually seen the harmful effects that some skin care ingredients can have on the skin. My line avoids harsh and irritating ingredients such as SD Alcohol 40 in our toners, sulfates in our cleansers and synthetic fragrances and dyes in all of the formulations, and no animal testing.”
Other harsh ingredients absent from Ms. Rouleau’s formulations include mineral oil, petrolatum, sulfates, isopropyl myristate and palmitate, and synthetic fragrances and dyes.
In addition to being free of harmful additives, the products also feature cold-pressed herbal extracts and essential oils. “Many of the natural ingredients (plants and herbs) contain nutrients that are heat-sensitive and prone to destruction when using heat extraction,” she explained. “By using the cold pressing method, the beneficial components are preserved and therefore can be more effective on the skin.”
The formulas rely on “special delivery vehicles” including liposomes, silanols and micro sponges to optimize ingredient penetration into the skin.
Toners are probably the most often overlooked aspect of a skin care regime, but according to Ms. Rouleau, they are crucial. Her line boasts eight distinctive toners and the latest new product is Balancing Skin Tonic, a “therapeutic toner” for oily/problematic skin that is formulated to destroy acne-causing bacteria.
According to the company, “Many people don’t use toners because they don’t understand why they are necessary, or if they have used them before, they most likely contained alcohol leaving the skin feeling tight and dry. When a toner dries out the skin, adding a moisturizer only puts back the very thing that was taken out–moisture!”
Not only do alcohol-free toners not only impart moisture, asserted Ms. Rouleau, they also “remove drying chlorines and minerals found in tap water,” balance skin pH, enhance the results of a skin care program, and support the skin’s protective barrier.
The newest Renée Rouleau toner, like the other eight in the collection, does not contain SD Alcohol 40 or denatured alcohol. While these alcohols are prominently used in many toners, Ms. Rouleau considers them to be harsh and responsible for raising the pH balance of the skin, resulting in tight, dry and irritated skin.
“Renée Rouleau avoids these alcohols in all of their toners, so the skin is never stripped of its moisture after toning,” the company said. “Toners are a vital part of a proper skin care routine and should be used every morning and evening after cleansing to remove impure tap water and cleanser residue and to provide essential hydration to the skin.”
The Balancing Skin Tonic features a steam distilled witch hazel base which refines pores in oily/problematic skin. The tonic retails for $30.50 (8 fl oz.).
Renée Rouleau skin care products are currently sold in Ms. Rouleau’s two Texas skin care spas and on-line at the company’s website. She also said that in 2009 she planned to work on having her line sold at “a few very strategically placed, high-end resort spas.”