Jennifer Rock, a.k.a. The Skin Nerd, on skin sins, the best advice she has ever received and how to maintain a work/life balance. Prepare to have the best skin of your life...
By Rebecca Brennan
How and when did you first get involved in the skincare industry?
I had my first facial at the age of 13 due to stereotypical hormonal teen skin and found it unbelievably intriguing and fascinating how products could help the anatomy of the skin and then in turn my confidence. I became a regular client, an inquisitive one at that, and my passion was born!
What are your three desert island skincare products?
This is a TOUGH one. I believe everyone needs a skin tool kit and should dip and dab into it depending on what the skin needs that day! But I think my top three products would be:
- SPF with added shield in the shape of antioxidants to boost the physical protection – Heliocare is my current must have for light protection.
- Environ AVST is one of my core holy grail products as it has the ability to regenerate the skin and assist in the long-term skin health project!
- My last product would be a tie between Yon-ka lotion for my spritz o’clock and IMAGE Skincare iluma serum to ensure my skin remains the same colour and tone all over. Plus it smells lovely, and it’s all about the smell… Joke! The smell is lovely but it’s irrelevant to the skincare results!
What do you most wish that people knew about skincare? The Do’s…
I wish that people would start good skincare NOW! It is never too young to care. Nor is it ever too late to repair. I wish people respected the skin as an organ and attended reputable clinics (even just once!) for their skin consult and regime, as opposed to spending money on products that are not the right fit for their concerns.
And what you wish they would stop doing? The Don’ts…
- Don't abuse the skin or neglect it
- Don't depend on your genetics
- Don't do sunbeds
- Don't depend on one product to fix the skin; a basic yet thorough regime AM and PM is ideal
- Don't depend on products alone; consider a clean diet as the skin is an organ and is mirror image of what happens inside
(See the rest of my skin sins on theskinnerd.ie)
What’s your business mantra?
- What goes around comes around
- Your manners are your beauty
- Invest in those who invest in you
What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
To seek balance, and to take a step back and look at your business objectively. Be pro-active not reactive, and surround yourself with determined like minded people who will inspire you daily and give you honest critique.
Who is the most inspiring or influential person you have worked with?
My parents are my inspirations as they support me beyond anything a parent would ever be expected to and have work ethics that are rock solid! Both are retired and yet now work for themselves! In my line of work, it has to be Clare Muir, the now director of training at the iiaa; she runs a tight ship, had knowledge to yearn for, but yet was approachable and always remained professional. She's an inspiration on so many fronts. She earned people's respect and never stops learning. I credit her with moulding me into a high-achieving skin-loving lecturer.
What are your strengths and your weaknesses?
I'm the queen of identifying niches, having dreams and forming a long-term vision of what I feel the industry needs and what I could offer it. I like projects to be planned rapidly and with precision so we know the goal. I'm a fast mover, thinker and talker and would love all to be the same – but this is not always right as many projects need time and patience! I am often not very structured and need assistance with time management! My true weakness would have to be the financial aspect – I have not got a notion! I think I'm running a charity! I've a great work ethic and truly throw myself into projects hook, line and sinker, and in turn my weakness is not understanding those who don't deliver as promised or don't give 110% of themselves to a task. I find that difficult to understand!
What is the most important area for women in business that still needs to change?
This is an intriguing question. Within the beauty world I believe I am fortunate enough to not notice too many discrepancies. I believe men are men and women are women: each have their talents and should play up to them accordingly. But I think the real answer would be the salary differences internationally. Perhaps it stems from self-esteem, or lack thereof to demand the same annual sum. I also have witnessed women of childbearing age hiding their desire to have kids as it will affect their career plan – this is a concept close to my heart as I have only been an adult as long as I have been a parent and it has not affected my passion, determination or application – in fact, it motivates me in many ways.
How do you approach a work/life balance?
Since becoming self-employed I have taken the reins back somewhat. I aim to be home for my son from school at 4pm daily, which allows us quality "story telling" time together. Matthew is coming to an age where I truly need to have my wits about me and I plan to position as much as I can around that! It's still a juggle, as many events are weekend-based but if I can gain time midweek in its place I will.
I adore the sea and have to sit near it/be near it three/four times a week to feel alive and recharged. I'm attempting to become happier in myself, ie not always have to be in company and to learn to put the phone down and not always have a distraction.
How do you stay passionate about what you do?
Easy – it's in me! I am like a child at Christmas when I see a new skin manual or can have access to a trainer of a company. But I also know my cut off and appreciate that 24/7 is not sustainable and so I am mastering the art of switching off. Having that time off means that when I'm back in the saddle I'm recharged and passionate again.
But the reality is that it's just me! I'm a passionate all-or-nothing kind of gal!
How do you unwind?
Beach walks solo! Every night myself and mini me watch Home and Away – don't judge us! It started when I brought Matt backpacking when he was five for three months and we visited the set! Now it's our thing that we laugh, impersonate and chat all the way through. I listen to a lot of music and keep intending on reigniting my love for jogging, which has long fallen by the wayside
What is success to you?
This is a tough one! Helping people with their skin is life changing. Each story we receive that highlights the difference people witness after hearing me advise about all things skin is success. Many people have had their moles checked and found pre-cancerous cells that have been subsequently removed due to my awareness and constant skin chats – I consider that a success! I used to believe it was numbers in the bank or the numbers online to represent your social media presence, but I believe success is something else now. A lot has happened in my personal life over the past few years that has made me take note and realise that living to work is not success but loving to work and finding a balance is the true path to success in life as opposed to just having a successful career