Jennifer Rock, is the founder of The Skin Nerd and is fast becoming one of the most well known and trusted go-to skincare gurus in Ireland.
Starting out working in Spas and Salons, the award-winning skin lecturer and multi-award winning facialist is now the exclusive ‘Skin and Beauty Expert’ for Virgin Media’s Ireland AM Morning Tv Show and the ‘Skin Editor’ at Irish Country Magazine. Jennifer is seen regularly on Xposé, heard across multiple radio stations such as Newstalk, Today FM, Sunshine Radio, 2fm and Q102 giving advice to eager listeners, and has written and contributed to numerous publications nationwide including The Independent, The Times, The Sunday Business Post, Stellar, Irish Tatler, Goss.ie, U Magazine and Image Magazine, to name but a few.
Jennifer is a vivacious, optimistic, easy to chat and warm to person. All part of the charming ingredients to her continued path of success. Her main belief is that the skin is an organ and should be treated like so, in a healthy manner. If we can go and spend €50 on a new item of clothing, why can’t we do the same on a serum that will help us maintain a youthful appearance and keep our skin healthy? Jennifer certainly makes sense in many areas concerning skin care and indeed she is revolutionising the mainstream approach to how we view our own skin care routines.
I sat down to interview Jennifer with an eager ear and mindful retreat in to an area I knew very little about…
How did you get your start in the skin care and beauty industry?
I started out in spas and salons and worked my way through it all. I’ve done nails, spray tans, massage, waxing, makeup (although it is not my strong point, and I’m not just being humble) and then specialised in facials and worked in this for years.
From there, I moved on to being the national brand manager for international skincare brands and that led to me wanting to start my own company.
Is being on camera, behind the mic and in the public eye something you saw yourself doing, as you started out in a completely different industry yet that journey has lead you across multiple forms of media?
When I was little, I wanted to be a TV presenter and recorded myself talking to the video camera all the time. When the news had subtitles, I’d wreck everyone’s head by reading them aloud. So, being on TV and radio talking about skin is the amalgamation of two things that I adore. However, to be very honest, that fear that you’ll say the wrong thing on live television or radio never completely evaporates.
And just how did you adjust to becoming ‘The Skin Nerd’ Guru that you are now known to be? Surely there were challenges you faced getting your career off the ground?
I’m still going through that adjustment! It’s a daily juggle and struggle to be the CEO of The Skin Nerd and to appear on TV and radio whilst also being a mum to a teenager.
Time, resources and money are what are holding us back right now, and what have held me back in the past. If we had three times all of those, we’d be a completely different business. We’d be the Netflix of skincare.
Of all the radio shows, events and concerts you’ve worked at lecturing about skin care, which has been the most memorable experience and why?
By far, Wellfest 2017. It was the first year I’d done it and the vibes were insane because it was such an engaged crowd. There were 2 hours of queues after my talk just to speak to me, it was mad and I simply cannot get enough.
Just how does one go about seeking a role in becoming a ‘Nerdette’? What advice would you offer young women aspiring to fulfil a career in skincare?
To be a Nerd or Nerdette, you need to be skin passionate, have a CIDESCO qualification and 7+ years of experience under your belt. We hire “intrepreneurs”, the type of person who runs their role as if they’re running the company due to sheer, unbridled devotion to what they do.
To those looking to work in skin, go out there, get into a good course and learn everything from everyone until you find the thing you’re best at!
How do you feel the beauty and skin care industry has changed over the last ten years and where do you see it going in the next ten years?
The impact of social media has been colossal.
The clients and consumers are more educated and empowered and in ten years time, results-driven ingredients will be the norm.
So many people are opting to get Botox right now, at all ages, especially men and women in their twenties. What age in your opinion is the right age to begin Botox and for how long should people get that treatment for?
There’s no right or wrong age for botox.
The important thing to remember is that botox just paralyses the muscle and doesn’t look after the health of the skin. If you’re interested in botox, research the practitioner and check out their portfolio so you can see what their work looks like.
It’s a long term, repetitive investment as the effects will usually only last between 3 to 6 months.
At what age do you think should women start wearing make-up?
Make-up, in my opinion, shouldn’t be obligatory!
If you want to start wearing makeup, you should do it but you shouldn’t feel pressured at any age.
Is there any skin care and beauty fad that you didn’t approve of… and if so why?
It has to be wipes and micellar water, as they are the fast food of skincare, quick fixes that don’t cleanse the skin and can do more harm than good.
They truly are so bad for the skin. They strip it of its natural oils, impair its barrier function and leave a film of debris and old make-up on your skin all night long.
I’m glad that people are slowly but surely swapping back to traditional cleansing and double-cleansing.
If you hadn’t pursued this as a career what do you think you would have done?
I did think about becoming a nurse before I became a skin therapist. I care about hoomans and making people feel better, and to be fair, I do that now, just in a different way.
What mantras/mindfulness do you use to cleanse the mind and focus on the job at hand?
When I’m in the middle of a project, I park everything at the door. I compartmentalise for the sake of focus, and that works for me.
Speaking of mindfulness, how do you split your time between working with The Skin Nerd and your downtime?
I don’t but I’m getting better at it. I go to the beach every morning and I’ve only recently got back to jogging.
I try to see my friends as often as I can and see my Mam everyday. Your support system, in particular, your family, is key.
It is so important that women inspire and allow each other to grow together through mutual support. What women in Ireland, as well as Irish women abroad, do you most admire whom you feel inspire you today?
Number one has to be Mary Robinson. I did my first school project on her in second class and won an award for it, so naturally, I’ve loved her since.
Susan Spence, the co-founder and president of SoftCo, was my first leader in Going For Growth and she is just fantastic.
What has been your proudest career moment to date? And what are your goals for 2019?
Seeing my book on shelves was such a “pinch me” moment, and now that it is in Barnes & Noble in the US, that’s even crazier.
For 2019, we’re trying to grow our team, do some exciting things and conquer the UK.
What is your morning routine to get you through the working day?
I go to the beach for my jog, I wake Matt up and we have breakfast together and then I sing my merry way into work!
Where are your favourite places to eat and drink in Dublin?
What are your favourite ways to keep fit?
Jogging and walking!
What are your top three beauty essentials?
The Cleanse Off Mitt, a Spritz O’Clock of some kind and SPF, you’ll always find them in my hand bag.
What is the worst possible thing we consume that damages our skin and what is the best possible thing for our skin in your opinion?
Wipes are the worst, vitamin A is the best. Simple.
You skin care routine from morning to night is?
Depends on the products that I’m using at any given time, as I like to try out new products constantly, but always my vitamin A serum, antioxidants in some form and a broad spectrum, HEV-protective SPF.
What is your favourite gadget and why?
I cannot live without my Samsung phone because my notes are clouded to my tablet which makes my life so much easier.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I’m a night owl but I’m trying to become an early bird.
Your greatest food pleasure?
The classic Lindt Bunny. Smooth, sweet, milky chocolate with that satisfying crunch when you first gnaw the ears off.
If you could tell your 16 year-old self anything, what would it be?
Believe in yourself! It’s a massive cliche, but undoubtedly important.
Can you share any exciting plans you have in the pipeline?
Unfortunately, nothing I can share quite yet but keep your peepers peeled… My first book, The Skin Nerd: Your straight-talking guide to feeding, protecting and respecting your skin”, is out now!