EYES IN Magazine Exclusive: Editor-in-Chief, Vivian Van Dijk had the chance to interview Celeste Hilling: CEO, Co-Founder, Product Formulator & Spokesperson of Skin Authority. We are excited to bring you an exclusive preview of the interview! This November, visit http://www.eyesin.com/magazine/ to download your digital copy and read the complete feature and interview with Celeste Hilling in the 25th Issue of EYES IN Magazine.
Editor-in-Chief Vivian Van Dijk: “Celeste Hilling is one-of-a-kind; she combines her passion for helping people with the highest level of customer service, high-quality products and innovations in science. Her skincare line is unparalleled because of her commitment to the best technology and thorough research. The way that she seeks to educate clients about healthy, conscious skincare choices creates a valuable purchase experience you cannot find elsewhere.
“She is a powerful force in her business, in her community and with her warm heart, giving the world a perfect example of how to stay true as a business woman by allowing your femininity to guide you into a strong, ethical business.” –Vivian Van Dijk
As the founder of Skin Authority and the host of the talk radio program, Skin Health Today, entrepreneur and beauty expert, Celeste Hilling, is giving the traditional cosmetics and skincare industry a complete makeover.
“I am passionate about art, because I see art everywhere. It is all around us. Some have a view that it hangs on walls in museums, but I see art as anytime that you are creating, in any form, be it a blog or a presentation or fashion, etc.” – Celeste Hilling
Based in San Diego, California, Celeste Hilling received degrees in both business and technology. Her professional career started out as the President of Compaq Computer Corporations, as well as President and CEO of the Day Spa Group for Steiner Leisure, a company committed to innovation and comprehensive wellness in the spa industry. In 2005, she decided to start Skin Authority as a means to “build a modern skin care brand that delivers products that are relevant to the needs of today’s consumers.”
As a child, what did you want to become?
When I was growing up, I always had an entrepreneurial bent and an intrigue to start new things, even if just a lemonade stand. I always knew I wanted to help people, make a difference, and be involved in education and coaching. Granted, I did not know how it would look when I grew up, but that desire was always there.
In which town did you grow up?
Austin, Texas. We were always surrounded with creativity, music, cooking, and a lot of the arts, which stimulated innovation and creativity into my childhood. Austin has always been a great incubator for creativity.
Do you think your background has influenced you as a business woman in the skincare industry? If so, what specific element in your background is most pervasive in influencing the health and beauty industry?
The one thing that impacted me the most is coming from a humble family. My parents were very hardworking. My dad always had two jobs and my mother worked very hard as well, but they were always happy and smiling, too. They instilled in me a great work ethic. A vision cannot be realized without a lot of hard work, and I have them to thank for modeling that for me.
They also inspired the importance of having a dream and a vision. My father, at the age of 33 and with eight children, decided that he wanted to go back to school to become an attorney. Everyone told him he shouldn't because he was too old and with a family, but he wanted to. My mother supported him and I remember those years being difficult, but my father went on to become a very successful attorney. I think this is so important, especially as women, to not underestimate the power of passion.
What inspired you to create the Skin Authority?
The seed was planted when I was younger. There was a next door neighbor, an older man who was like a grandfather to all the kids in the neighborhood. We all just loved him. He got sick one day and my mother told me he would have to have parts of his face removed. It turned out that he had skin cancer, but as a child I didn’t know what that was or how to understand that. He eventually died of skin cancer, and I was heartbroken.
I remember asking my mother why the doctors couldn’t fix it and thinking that somebody should do something about that. My mother became vigilant to guard against skin cancer. These experiences led me to think more about the importance of skin education. That was how it started out, for consumer education. There’s also the cosmetic factor. We’re living longer and we want to look more youthful and embrace the feeling of vitality. So this is a way to combine health with loving what you see in the mirror. Both were a great motivation for me. And technology gives us so many tools to make the care of our skin so accessible.
In which way do you consider yourself an innovative creator?
The most impacting element about the Skin Growth Factor 4, or SGF-4 Technology, is actually two points: prevention and regeneration/repair. If you look at all the tools in traditional skincare, it’s all about repairing damage that has already been done and working at a cosmetic level. The technology we have is inspired by regenerative medicine that looks at how we can help the body and skin perform its regenerative job, like it did when we were younger.
Can you tell us more about the groundbreaking SGF-4 Technology you use in your skincare products?
Our approach with the SGF-4 Technology is all about a more sustainable way of treating the skin and giving back to it what it needs to be its best. When the body is healthy, it will kill off damage on its own. It’s all about getting the skin back to its optimized condition. The SGF-4 gives the skin the instruction set to perform again at its highest level, so that it’s not about just repairing, but regenerating.
In which way has the renowned Dole Nutrition Institute influenced your development of skincare products?
We both share a passion about putting great tools out there that can help people really replenish their level of vitamin D. What most people don’t recognize is that vitamin D is not a vitamin, it’s a hormone. It’s created only in the skin, and is the only one that the body manufactures. It is super critical because it is an essential building block of our immune system. What we now know is that it is the cornerstone to over a thousand system processes, everything from cardiac health, mental stability and respiratory health, etc.
Most skin conditions are related to stress and hormonal changes. Skin conditions that we don’t have treatments for, like alopecia and male-pattern baldness, are all linked to a vitamin D deficiency. But it is difficult to get this through food sources, because you would have to eat eight cans of tuna to get the daily requirement. As our skin ages, it loses the ability to produce the levels of vitamin D needed. Seventy-six percent of all adult women are deficient it, creating an epidemic that affects the skin’s overall performance.
Together with Dole, we came up with a whole food source, not a supplement or a chemical derivative, for vitamin D that helps the skin produce more vitamin D. It is both a topical treatment and nutritional enhancement. We launched this brand new technology, the only one that is commercially available in the world. We are excited that we can bring a healthier lifestyle from the inside out.
Are you the first skincare brand to integrate the VitaD Fortified Technology and the AOX Technology into your skin care products? Can you tell us why those technologies are so beneficial for the skin?
AOX stands for Antioxidant Technology. We are very intrigued that the most powerful way of getting vitamins is by combining them, like in a multivitamin form. So we asked, “If that works internally, why couldn’t it work on the surface of the skin?” So we came up with the five most powerful vitamins for the skin and supercharged the levels by combining all of the antioxidants. That is our AOX technology. The results are evident.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Getting the word out. It’s one thing to put a product out there, but the education behind it all is so important to me. I want a megaphone for the world so that I can say, “Pay attention to your skin!” The more that you know, the more difficult the job gets.
What is the most fun part of your job?
I’m so passionate about this that it never feels like a job. This is my calling. It’s a pleasure to wake up each day and think about what I can do next.
Do you expect your way of formulating skincare products to change in the future?
Absolutely. Technology is evolving rapidly, and I see a time when we no longer talk about organic skincare and natural skincare. The next generation of skincare is getting to the place where we are giving the body its own ingredients to heal itself, giving it back what truly is natural to the body, not just putting something on it. It will be more about what we eat, the clothes we wear. It’s health versus chemicals.
Do you like art? Do you have any preferences for an artist and/or for creators of artistic work?
I am passionate about art, because I see art everywhere. It is all around us. Some have a view that it hangs on walls in museums, but I see art as anytime that you are creating, in any form, be it a blog or a presentation or fashion, etc. I helped start the new Children’s Museum here in San Diego, which is an interactive art museum for children and their parents.
One artist I especially love right now is Victor Muniz. He takes trash from where he lives and arranges it into art forms. It’s some of the most beautiful work I have ever seen, yet it’s constructed out of trash. That’s true art — that he sees a way out and sees beauty where it’s not evident, and re-purposes it into something beautiful and sustainable. That makes a huge impact on society.
If so, why is that? What special quality do you like in their work or personality?
He is a generous and amazing man.
Do you aspire to collaborate with an artist or developer from another creative discipline?
I love working with chefs, and with us having a focus on a healthy lifestyle, a chef would be a great fit for a collaboration. Eating should be a joy and a celebration, a part of connecting and stress reduction. I love working with chefs who see that, people like Curtis Stone, who help families with farm-to-table eating. It’s an art form in addition to a job/craft.
Do you follow any philosophical or psychological approach in creating your products and businesses?
Philosophically, yes. You can’t go out and talk about a healthy lifestyle without having one. I don’t have a perfectly healthy lifestyle or claim to be a perfect role model, but it is something important that I try to implement the best I can. For example, we have yoga Fridays here, because we want an environment that inspires health.
I also really believe in giving back to the community, being a part of the area you service. That’s extremely important to me. You have to be an organic part of society in order to be a brand that people can connect with at a soulful level. I really believe that and it is a pillar of who we are.
What is your favorite building in the world and why?
I have lots because I love architecture. In Denmark there is the Blue Planet. It’s the national aquarium. It’s beautiful. Depending on the angle at which you look at it, it can look like a whale or a starfish, etc. It’s very contemporary and abstract, but it makes you feel the power of the ocean and a connection to it. I like that.
What is your favorite hotel and why?
There is a resort called Little Palm Island, because it is a place where I can disconnect from technology. It’s 80 miles from Cuba, and is the southernmost island in the United States. There are 80 little huts on the island. It’s amazing. There are no phones or televisions in the rooms, so it lets you really connect with people. It’s rare to find something that lets you be in touch with you. My battery gets recharged there.
What would be your ideal home and why?
Anywhere where my family is. I don’t like walls in my home; I like open styles with natural air and natural light. I feel grounded when I’m exposed to nature. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 square feet or 1,000 square feet — I just need to be connected to nature.
Where is your favorite place to work?
For me, it’s all about being in a space that puts me with the people I’m serving. As long as I have access to those using our products, where I can have a dialogue with them, that is ideal for me.
Do you have any dreams for the future, professionally and/or personally?
There are a lot of things I want to do. I want great skincare to be accessible to everyone and be at a price point that allows that, but always with great high quality. The technology is coming to that place and we will get there.
Source: EYES IN Magazine - Exclusive Interview with Celeste Hilling of Skin Authority
Get the latest issue at: http://www.eyesin.com/magazine/ and remember the full Celeste Hilling interview will be in print in our EYES IN Magazine Issue 25, due out November 2013.
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