INTERVIEW WITH CLAIRE MASON
What started as researching ways to treat adult acne, has turned into a career spanning over two decades in the beauty industry. Claire Mason, founder of Integrity Skin and Mason & Young, turned a time of self discovery into a business and brand that is pioneering the way in an industry full of misinformation and unethical practices.
We took some time to sit down with Claire, to get her thoughts on the industry, how it’s changed and men’s grooming now and into the future.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your time/experience in the skincare industry?
Prior to studying dermal science (which feels like a lifetime ago!), I suffered adult acne. After finding that no matter how many people I saw or how much money I spent, the condition was getting much worse, I began my own research. With a goal to pioneer my way through the minefield of misinformation and marketing hype out there, my enquiring mind and love for health science led me to discovering my own solution and joining the aesthetic industry.
The beauty industry back then was in definite need of good practitioners not afraid to step away from traditional grooming services and become more specialised skin health professionals. I wanted to (and still do) practise ethically and provide a platform that consumers can go to and trust, knowing their best interest is foremost – a clinic specialising in skin health and wellness, employing highly education practitioners not afraid to read white papers, constantly improve their education and provide the utmost duty of care.
It’s been nearly 25 years now and a lot of progress has been made during this time. As science progresses, so does our team. I now lead a phenomenal group of health science advocates covering all aspects of skin health, nutrition, aesthetic lasers and wellness. I am so pleased with the direction of our industry and the work my colleagues and I have completed to push for better education and public awareness, improving the health and function of patients’ skin and general health. We’re so proud of our status now as a multi-award winning skin clinic, and I’m forever grateful for my own professional recognitions.
What was it about the industry that compelled you to pursue a career in it?
Again, it was my quest for answers to help my skin condition. Then it got me thinking: If I feel this way, a gazillion others probably do too. I could then see the potential for a new wave of practitioners. As I was about to leave the military at that point, it seemed like a natural progression, and one I have never regretted.
Was it a natural progression to open Mason & Young?
Yes, I believe so. I always knew I would grow my skin clinic; however, the idea was firmly planted about six years ago when I noticed a rapid rise in the number of patients presenting with severe inflammatory skin conditions. This encouraged me to do some more research into the toxic chemical side-effects of personal care products.
We’ve always known that what we apply to our bodies can be absorbed via the water pathways of the skin. However, research is forever evolving and we’re now able to quantify just how much our toxic chemical-loaded environment and personal care products influence our health. After much research and a determination to follow my pursuit for holistic patient care, I endeavoured to create a business model that would complement the clinic and add value to our community.
How has men’s grooming developed in your opinion over the years you’ve been in business? Where do you see men’s grooming going in the future?
Men have begun to spend more money on male-specific toiletries other than shaving products and soap. Sales of skin care, in particular, boomed from 2012, and there is no going back now. More and more men are putting higher stock into looking good. It’s about self-confidence as much as anything else and the desire to feel more attractive, more successful and, increasingly, more youthful. More men are recognising the value of clinic treatments and home personal care.
The male skincare industry should expect to see a further segmentation of men’s grooming, particularly in the developed markets like Australia. In skin care, there will be growth in products designed not only for different skin types but also for different degrees of stubble. The number of products launched for men will still be low in comparison to products for women, I should imagine, but the gap will definitely narrow over time. I am really excited to see what comes next.
All I know is that the male grooming industry is definitely on fire! What comes next is up to the creators and formulators in our beautiful country! It’s lovely to see more Aussie men taking good care of themselves and looking smarter and healthier.
What should men be including in their grooming routine?
Everything that a woman uses; we both have skin health needs. If everything is customised for the individual, we’re all getting our needs met. In addition, hair/beard care, of course.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about using skincare products?
Perhaps that price means quality.
Consumers do not need to start with an entire range of A-Z skincare products. Just start somewhere. Every little healthier, toxic- and chemical-free change we make will have a positive impact on our health and wellness, and ultimately the way we look and feel. Choosing healthier personal care products does not mean you lose on the therapeutic or cosmetic benefits of the product. Nor does it mean you need to settle for anything less than an amazing-looking product for your bathroom!
What should men be looking out for when selecting products?
Men might not be across all the available options in healthy personal care. There are a few beautiful stores in Australia showcasing natural, organic and certified organic skincare. Choose a reliable business focusing on health and wellness to choose products from. In addition read labels; look for toxic chemicals and aggressive additives to avoid like manmade fragrance and colours.
Where can we find Mason & Young?
You’ll find our boutique concept store in Upper Mt Gravatt in Brisbane, Queensland; however, we have a beautiful online store for national orders and will be launching internationally shortly.