There are many reasons I love my job, but by far the biggest reason is the truly fascinating women I get to meet. In between the school run stress and potty training disasters, I get to talk to some truly inspiring ladies. One of those is Jana Nevrlka of Aesthe Cosmetic Institute in Zurich.
Her story is pretty intriguing in itself: Although originally from the Czech Republic, Jana has spent many years in Holland working as a lawyer. Her work brought her to Zurich and Switzerland and it was here that she met a nice young man who wanted a partner in his new cosmetics launch. Seeing as Jana had no previous background in the cosmetics field, or indeed knew how to run her own business, she naturally said yes!
I feel this says a lot about Jana. She is clearly a very intelligent woman, a doer, but also a curious listener who loves learning and finding out how and why things work, and I think I cannot write about Aesthe without writing about Jana and her vision and mission.
She is the first person to admit it was a risky thing to do, get into a business she knew nothing about. But she also feels this has perhaps been a blessing in disguise; her ignorance meant she asked a million and one questions. “How does this product work? Why? What is this machine for? What long-term results have you seen?”
Every single product and machine in the salon have been tried and tested by both Jana and the wonderful therapist Jasmine. If it hasn’t worked on them, it won´t be used at all. This way Jana feels they can be totally honest with their clients. They know what can be achieved and what not. “This is a “trust business” she muses. You are in the hands of a therapist and we know we are not the cheapest. We cannot be and we do not want to be. We want to be the best at what we do and what we offer. That cannot be achieved when competing on price.”
As we talk about this and that, I realise I have no idea how old she is. I get the feeling she must be older than me, simply from the amount she has already achieved in her life, but her face and her skin look far younger than mine. She has a natural and enviable glow that no makeup can achieve and she speaks with such passion that I easily get caught up with.
So, I ask her, what is the idea behind Aesthe?
Jana: We want to bring out the beauty of every woman. We want her to look like the best version of herself. We do not want to join the negative voices who play on women´s insecurities, who want to correct or change a person´s face. Instead, we want to celebrate her face and bring the best out of her. As far as we are concerned, the sexiest looking face is that without too much make up. The face that is simply clean and well looked after. Our strapline is You are beautiful, show it! And that is exactly how we feel.
We also want our clients to feel like proper VIPs. We have opening hours that actually suit working people. We have an online booking system. We have the very best, non-invasive, technology there is. All so that our clients, most of whom have little time, should be able to look and feel fabulous, not only now and in six months time, but forever.
Anna: And how does one achieve this sexy looking, clean skin?
Jana: The honest, unsexy truth?! It is nothing new. You have heard it all a million times before. The difference now is how we can achieve it.
Clean skin is key. We recommend doing a deep clean about once per month. With clogged pores and impurities, it doesn´t matter how expensive your face cream is, it will not and cannot work on anything else that the very surface of the skin.
We have the best techniques and wonderful products and fantastic therapists, but all of this won´t help unless you actually let us help you. Regularity is absolute key. Beauty bingeing, where you go for a really expensive treatment or use a super cream once, will do you little good. Give us some time, and we will make sure your skin heals itself actually does the work for you.
Anna: Ah yes, the ever elusive question of time. In today´s media frenzy world, we see something and we want it. Now. Immediately. And we can. When it comes to age-defying, injections and fillers mean we can indeed look younger immediately. But what does it actually do to our skin?
Jana: Do injections work? Sure they do. They will get rid of wrinkles and frown lines. They will also get rid of the skin´s own ability to regenerate itself. Think of your face as a balloon. With injections, you blow up the balloon, and with each injection, you blow it up a bit more. But we all know what happens to the balloon when it has been blown up for a while and it starts sagging. We need to constantly blow it up for it to stay nice and “sag free”. It is exactly the same with your face. Without those constant injections your face will have lost its own elasticity.
Anna: So are we seeing a trend away from the more invasive therapies and towards the more sustainable non-invasive ones?
Jana: Yes and no. The early adopters have realised the dangers of injections and people are also tired of the “Botox look”. You no longer look like the best version of yourself instead everyone starts to look the same.
Having said that there is also a very worrying trend where we are seeing young girls, as it is mostly girls, who want to get rid of lines with injections, not realising the difference between age wrinkles and expression lines. Expression lines are the ones you get when you smile or frown, simply facial expressions. These are mostly horizontal. We need these in order to be able to communicate properly with people. Remember that the vast majority of communication is non-verbal. It is the vertical, ageing lines and wrinkles, caused by environmental factors that we want to reduce. At age 18 or 20 there are no such wrinkles.
We always try to be honest. When such a young person comes in, or indeed when anyone comes in asking for invasive fillers or injections, we sit them down and we discuss why we don´t do them and what we offer instead and why.
With the risk of sounding too evangelical, we want to draw out the beauty from within. We want to help the skin and the body to be as clean and thus as effective as possible.
Anna: What do you recommend we do at this time of year with winter coming?
Jana: More deep cleaning (laughs)! Seriously it is the most important thing. Of course, the air is drier in winter and the skin produces less talc than in the summer, so the skin needs some extra moisture. Because of this, winter is also a good time to do any permanent hair removal treatments.
Finally, we would strongly recommend doing regular lymph drainage massages. It is the deep clean for the body, like a detox. It helps the liver and the kidneys to get rid of waste and thus work even better. This will also show on your face. Those dark circles under the eyes are rarely just because of lack of sleep or a hard life, they are due to an ineffective liver. With regular (that word again: Regularity is key!) lymph drainage massages you will not only feel better, it will show on your radiant skin.
So call me vain, but the thought of radiant, naked, sexy skin makes me dreamy, therefore I underwent one of Aesthe´s glorious face treatments as well as a lymph drainage massage. Stay tuned for the verdict…