Renée Rouleau: “Transparency in partnerships”

From my early years growing up in my grandmother’s hair salon, I saw how a simple haircut could put a bounce in someone’s step because when you look good, you feel good. This was also reinforced when I used to do makeup for women who had been affected by domestic violence. I would meet a […]

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From my early years growing up in my grandmother’s hair salon, I saw how a simple haircut could put a bounce in someone’s step because when you look good, you feel good. This was also reinforced when I used to do makeup for women who had been affected by domestic violence. I would meet a woman who was down and out and taking care of her with a makeup application would absolutely brighten her day and bring confidence. I think feeling beautiful is achieved when you do something special for yourself and self care can play a big part into this. Treating your skin to a mask, getting a new hair style, standing up straighter to exude confidence, smiling more often (even when you don’t feel like it), and getting in some exercise can all give an inner and outer boost of beauty.

Ihad the pleasure of interviewing Skin Expert, & Celebrity Esthetician, Renée Rouleau.

A life-long skin enthusiast, Renée Rouleau has dedicated 30+ years to the art of skin perfection. That passion helps drive her successful blog covering her top advice, expert viewpoint and problem-solving approach to skin care. She’s considered a complexion coach and blemish-busting hero by many thanks to her magical touch and ability to make skin concerns quickly disappear.

Renée’s commitment to skin perfection led the way for her to create a new way to analyze and treat the skin: “Nine Different Skin Types”. This broader view of the skin’s unique needs eschews the skin industry’s traditionally narrow view about skin types and instead expands the conversation to ensure all skin concerns are targeted with the correct solutions. Her namesake product collection, Renée Rouleau Skin Care easily navigates these customized needs by using ingredients and formulas that are innovative and effective.

As the Founder and creative force behind Renée Rouleau Skin Care, Renée will lead her company with a new infrastructure and innovation in the coming year. The Austin-based Renée Rouleau HQ will soon include a video production studio, space to host local skincare enthusiasts, and other key features including a commitment to increasing sustainability practices and a continued focus on recyclable packaging. Exciting new formulations developed with Renée’s touch are also set to debut.

Renée is a well-regarded skincare thought-leader, often quoted throughout multiple Gen Pop media and digital platforms. She authors her own skincare blog that also addresses authentic lifestyle topics that inspire her fans like resiliency, aging, travel and entrepreneurship. An adventurer and rider, Renée recently participated in Babes Ride Out, a motorcycle event that brought 1,500+ women together across the CA coastline and she also recently hiked 110 miles on the El Camino Santiago trail in Spain.

Throughout her career, Renée has worked with clients who trust her and demand the utmost in skincare. This makes her the go-to expert for many of today’s most skin enviable personalities including Demi Lovato, Lili Reinhart and Madelaine Petsch. She is also on the advisory board for Woman @ Austin. This is organization that is on a mission to advance women entrepreneurs striving to grow their companies.

For additional information on Renée Rouleau or Renée Rouleau Skin Care, visit www.René

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?

Myfirst exposure to the beauty industry was growing up in my grandmother’s hair salon. She was a hairdresser, and I loved playing with all of her beauty supplies. When I was 18 and trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, my mother recognized that I had always taken an interest in helping others and all things beauty. She encouraged me to pursue the industry. I started out doing hair, but quickly switched over to the world of esthetics. I immediately fell in love with all aspects of the industry including: being of service to others, helping people feel more confident in their skin and loving the ingredients of cosmetic chemistry.

The light bulb moment for me to start my skincare line was when I saw a gap in the marketplace for truly customized skincare. From the beginning of my career as an aesthetician, I recognized that every person’s skin is unique. But the skincare industry mostly relied on a one size fits all approach. Product lines were, and still are, catered to very generic categories of skin-dry, normal, oily. I began formulating my own exclusive high performance products based on my theory of the nine skin types I developed these nine skin types and formulas to ensure my clients achieved the results they desired. So I started my company in 1996 and have been shouting this unique philosophy from the rooftops ever since. I have been an esthetician now for 30 years and still continue to learn and grow.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

The decision to involve my husband into the company. I had a business consultant who told me once, “business isn’t romantic” when he spoke of spouse’s working together. Because of this, I never entertained the option of having my husband join the company — even though his operational and problem-solving skills would have been an asset. So for years, he was behind-the-scenes as a sounding board but when I was in desperate need of an ops person, I decided to hire him. We spoke at length about expectations to set ourselves up for success, but truthfully, you can have all the conversations you want, but it’s still going to be a gamble. Fast forward 12 years until his passing in late 2018, he thrived in his position as COO and we had a beautiful working relationship. In fact, I can confidently say that it was one of the best decisions I ever made for my company. Our relationship also thrived because we were truly a team working towards the same goals. I think what made it work was that we were opposites so we didn’t ever really step on each other’s toes. His strengths were my weaknesses and vice versa so together, we satisfied the needs of the company.

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?

I think the “tipping point” is when you have somebody that’s had a huge audience and is shouting your name from the rooftops. For me that was when I started working with celebrity clients, Demi Lovato, Lili Reinhart and Madelaine Petsch. I have developed very good, close-knit relationships with each. They have been very generous about sharing their skincare journey with others and how I have played an important part in keeping their skin clear and looking its best. What’s really important to understand when working with high profile people is that the relationship has to be built on trust. Allow them to talk about you and you can share what they say with your following but don’t go blabbing about them first. Celebrities know that their names provide benefits to a brand but you need to tread lightly so as not to jeopardize these important relationships. Basically, play it cool.

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?

There have been individual people along the way but collectively, the most I have learned that can be directly contributed to my success is through EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization). The members are people like me, hard-working, passionate entrepreneurs with small companies that are figuring out as they go. With all the people I have met within EO, I have relied on them as a sounding board for best practices so I don’t have to learn all the mistakes myself.

The back story of how I joined is a fun one. Back in early 2008, when Renée Rouleau Skin Care had already been in business for 12 years, I read about this organization online and saw they had a chapter in Dallas, the city in which my business was located. I filled out the application and scheduled a meeting with them to learn more. When we met, they told me that the requirements to get into the group was that your company had to have 1M Dollars in revenues. My company had never quite hit that with the previous few years being around 700K dollars— 800K dollars. I loved everything I heard about the organization and desperately wanted to join so I worked really hard to grow my company in a way that I hadn’t previously and on Dec 29, 2008, two days before the end of the calendar year, I hit 1M dollars. Just goes to show what happens when you set goals.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?

Personalized skincare products.

Everyone wants products that are catered to their unique needs and so having a high-performance skincare line that checks all the boxes has been very innovative. Brands are still doing the dry, normal and oily categories and that is just too limiting. I felt as though the industry was really missing products that catered to the unique concerns that people have. I think it is so successful because when people take my Skin Type Quiz they can really identify with a type and get on the right routine for themselves. As for the nine skin types, one example of a skin type that was not being addressed is someone who is 30 and is now starting to see the signs of aging. They are still having problems with clogged pores and breakouts, but their skin is less oily than it used to be. What type of skin is this? How does someone manage breakouts and clogged pores without over drying the skin? How do they manage signs of aging and creating an environment of the skin, but in a non-pore clogging way? With my system, this would be a skin type #2. Aside from the skin type system, the products themselves are very well formulated products using the best of science and nature. My line has 50 products and they are all very solution focused.

Products that focus on treating acne for adults.

Historically, and still the case now, brands who have acne products formulate them for the needs of younger skin types that have a lot of oil in their skin with the goal of trying to dry out the acne. As an esthetician, I discovered early on how many adults were struggling with adult hormonal acne but found that products geared towards drying out their skin only made it worse. My innovation has been on creating a collection of products that are gentle yet create an environment within the skin where bacteria is less likely to thrive thus reducing the appearance of new breakouts. It has been extremely successful with clearing up acne in adults without compromising their anti-aging needs of their skin.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?

Innovation with more targeted problem-solving products.

I’m excited as to how brands, including mine, are thinking outside-of-the-box with creative solutions for beauty. Whether it’s pimple patches, home devices or products that specifically address acne for adults, it’s all really positive.

Social media for connection and collaboration.

Sure, social media has its negatives, but one of the best things to come out of it is the ability to connect with others from all around the globe. Over and over, I hear people saying “We met on Instagram!” For me personally, it’s been great to become friends with my peers in the industry and help support each other. We stand united more and more because of social media. Additionally, these new relationships open up opportunities for collaborations. A win/win for all.

A focus on product ingredients.

Now more than ever, the consumer seeks knowledge to be a more informed skincare consumer and this includes learning about how products work and what ingredients are the most effective. On my blog, some of my most popular posts have to do with skincare ingredients. I think it’s really exciting that the consumer has such a thirst for education with what they put on to their skin. From the brand side, companies recognize this and are being more transparent in sharing what goes into product development and why they choose the ingredients they do.

Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?

Legitimate information. Through my blog that I have had since 2009, I seek to educate my audience and fans as much as possible, even if they don’t buy anything from my line. I want to make sure that everyone stays a smart skincare consumer since there is a lot of false information out there. Starting their routines at a younger age, knowing the importance of daily SPF usage, how products are formulated, and being mindful of the factors that can cause long term skin damage.

Safe products. One of the main reasons I am involved in all our product formulations is to ensure their efficacy and safety. I get seriously concerned when people talk to me about their attempts at making DIY at home skin care products or routines. Some are downright dangerous and can cause irreparable harm.

Transparency in partnerships. These days everyone is trying to be an IG influencer and promote themselves. Too many people are misled or encouraged to buy something based on an “authentic” opinion. Beyond owning 100% of my own company, I personally am never paid for anything I tag or endorse online — despite getting daily offers to do so. My personal IG account is authentically me — sharing my favorite foods, my life on a motorcycle, working out and how I seek to live each day to the fullest. Without trust, you have nothing so I keep it real.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

From my early years growing up in my grandmother’s hair salon, I saw how a simple haircut could put a bounce in someone’s step because when you look good, you feel good. This was also reinforced when I used to do makeup for women who had been affected by domestic violence. I would meet a woman who was down and out and taking care of her with a makeup application would absolutely brighten her day and bring confidence. I think feeling beautiful is achieved when you do something special for yourself and self care can play a big part into this. Treating your skin to a mask, getting a new hair style, standing up straighter to exude confidence, smiling more often (even when you don’t feel like it), and getting in some exercise can all give an inner and outer boost of beauty.

Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.

Working for someone else is like getting paid to learn. While I only worked for an employer in a salon for two years before I started my first skincare business at age 21, I really valued all the valuable knowledge I gained from that experience. From managing inventory to customer service, I took away a lot that I could apply in my own company. Many people today seek to become entrepreneurs early on in their careers but there simply is no better way to learn than on someone else’s dime. Don’t rush it.

Manage relationships well.

The biggest asset you will ever have in business is your customers and clients, the best way to earn their trust and loyalty is by constantly saying to yourself, “How can I make their life easier and better?” Search high and low for new ideas for anticipating their needs and giving the best, hassle-free customer experience and they will stick with you.

Pursue every education opportunity possible to make yourself an expert. A person’s credibility in the eyes of the media, their followers and their customers is crucial to be able to stand out from the rest. For me, I didn’t attend college but I sought out every opportunity to learn. This includes many cosmetic chemistry courses at UCLA, attending every trade show pertinent to the industry and subscribing to many educational emails to keep up on scientific studies related to skincare. Because of all of this, I eventually I was asked to be a keynote speaker at a well-respected industry trade show which both confirmed my credibility and helped excel it in the eyes of others.

Focus on problem-solving. Whenever I’m creating a new skincare product, the first thing I ask myself is, “What problem am I trying to solve for people?” It’s really important to make sure your product has a true purpose in bringing a solution.

Scrutinize every opportunity before saying yes. Everyone loves opportunity and when something good comes along, it can be really exciting. However, I have seen too many people say yes to things without really weighing the pros and cons. As a result, things don’t always work out like you hope it will. Every time an opportunity comes my way, I ask myself a series of questions to help me really think through if it’s something I will truly benefit from pursuing.

  • Is it a hell yes?
  • What problem are we trying to solve?
  • Is it in alignment with our core values?
  • Does this align with our 1 year goals, 3 year goals and 10 year target?
  • Is it on brand so as not to confuse our brand messaging and offerings?
  • How will it affect our core business and focus?
  • Will this opportunity to get bigger make us better?
  • Is this where it makes sense to put time and energy?
  • How will this affect our team and culture?
  • What is the worse case scenario?
  • What is the jump ship plan if it is not successful?
  • When we will know it’s not successful?
  • Lastly, WHY?

This list of questions has served me very well to make sure I’m being really strategic.

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.

As an esthetician, I believe in the healing power of touch. And with this pandemic going on, we are all in desperate need of it. When life returns to normal, I would like to see a movement that would encourage people to hug more. When people argue, hugging it out can immediately soothe the tension. It’s really a great way to provide better connection and foster healthier, happier relationships.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Marcus Aurelius said, “It’s not death we should fear, we should fear never beginning to live.” I have always been someone who sought out new experiences to live life to the fullest, but when my husband (and COO of my company) passed away in November 2018 from a short six month battle with cancer, this quote had a profound affect on me. Witnessing how he made the best of his last six months while also surrendering to his fate was awe-inspiring, to say the least. There were many gifts to be had due to his passing but learning to accept that we all have an expiration date and the perspective it gave me for how I live each day has been a true blessing.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can find me at or on Instagram at @reneerouleauskincare and @reneerouleau

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