Skin Deep: Q&A with Charlotte’s Book Founder Robin Shobin

Robin Shobin left a Wall Street desk to become a startup founder, launching Charlotte's Book, a thinking woman's guide to beauty services.

Robin Shobin left a Wall Street desk to become a startup founder, launching Charlotte’s Book, a thinking woman’s guide to beauty services.

Beauty is visible, but a woman’s beauty rituals, and the doctors and other providers who manage them for her, are usually a secret. How is a busy professional woman to find the best places to go when she wants beauty services? Robin Shobin faced this dilemma in her work on Wall Street, where women are expected simply to look good, without ever discussing how they get that way. Her solution: leave the world of finance and launch a website, Charlotte’s Book, to showcase vetted providers, with a focus on beauty and dermatology. The site centers on New York City now but is expanding to other areas, Shobin told us.

Max Luxe spoke with Shobin about her own beauty routines and what new trends she’s seeing in skincare and wellness.

Max Luxe: Tell us why you founded Charlotte’s Book

Robin Shobin: I wanted to create a resource that spoke to busy professional women who care about looking and feeling their best. There have been so many advancements in the world of cosmetic health and wellness, and quite frankly it’s just getting very confusing not only to find the right doctor or expert, but also to learn about treatments and products. Skincare and anti-aging are the fastest-growing segments in beauty, and I wanted to create an easy to use resource for women to educate themselves and find experienced experts.

I think many of the best rely on word-of-mouth, but in an increasingly more digital and online environment, people are searching online for reviews and advice. These topics are also still quite personal and sensitive, and to be honest, many women still lie and fib about work done. It isn’t quite done to lean over to your deskmate and say, “I am thinking of getting botox.”

What’s your personal go-to list for wellness? Things you do, places you go?

It’s all about routine and you have to stick with it. Every 6 weeks I like to either get microdermabrasion or dermaplaning. I also get the Clear & Brilliant laser a few times a year. And honestly, one of the best things you can do for your skin is eat right, sleep, and maintain stress levels. I get acupunture regularly with Stephen Cohen and it is a life saver. Almost everything that’s going on inside you shows on your skin. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and a bad diet and stress show quickly. Conversely—good diets and good habits can really give you that inner glow. I struggle from hormonal and stress breakouts when I am working myself too hard. A great acupuncture session coupled with a good night sleep can work wonders for these issues. Of course, it is important to take steps to make sure that you are getting the best possible quality of sleep too. This can be difficult if you live with aches and pains or common back problems, but investing in a new mattress can often make a big difference. You can find the perfect choice for a new mattress for you by doing some research online if you are due a replacement. Ultimately, in my opinion, getting enough sleep is fundamental. Obviously a great skincare routine is essential, but I believe in a 360 approach. This is why we have nutritionists and other wellness experts on Charlotte’s Book.

If you could go on a wellness retreat, which spa or destination would you choose?

One of my favorite places is the Mii Amo Spa inside the Enchantment Resort in Sedona. You can stay inside the spa, separate from the rest of the resort. It’s inside these gorgeous red rocks where you can hike during the day. The health food is great and the spa treatments are amazing. I love the fact that you can come out of the spa and be served perfectly delicious health food while sitting in your robe. And this is after you had a great day hiking the red rocks or relaxing at the pool drinking customized health juices. Also, cell phones don’t work, which forces you to really zone out. On my wish list is the Como Shambhala Spa in Bali.

How can an office-based professional sneak in wellness and beauty treatments?

Being a professional woman, you are always expected to look your best, but to never talk about it or spend time catering to it. It’s very difficult. The treatments with the least downtime that you can actually sneak in during lunch or after work are dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, and micro-current.

The professional women I know find a lot of value in booking facials with medical or private aestheticians rather than at a traditional spa or full fledged physician. These professionals are often hidden inside a doctor’s office, but to book with them, you don’t have to be a patient of the dermatologist. These aestheticians give advanced, noninvasive facials that incorporate several therapies like ultrasound, microcurrent, and LED light therapy. Patients are able to try medical-grade products with services that are just more customized and results-oriented. You can come in quickly during lunch, after work, or on a Friday afternoon for these no-frills services and come out glowing. Also, something as simple as having a cream to hand in the office and applying it regularly can help to keep the glow. A few people have recently started trying CBD cream and I know of a CBDistillery Promo Code that will get you a discount if that’s what you want to try.

What are the big anti-aging trends you’re seeing at the moment?

Cosmetic acupuncture and topical botox products. I always get asked, “What can I do without getting injected?” I have seen a big surge in interest in both of these areas. There are a lot of places that offer Botox procedures to anyone who is interested in them, and we are looking at some topical botox products now that are about to be on the market that is really exciting. It is fairly easy to get Botox all over the world now due to it’s popularity, but just make sure you are getting the best out there. For any readers in Australia, I would recommend botox in melbourne with VCI if you are looking to get some work done. Also, cosmetic acupuncture is a great treatment that works by stimulating the facial muscles. This might be the best option for some people instead.

What questions should you ask your dermatologist or plastic surgeon to make sure you’re receiving the procedures you need?

Don’t get “glamoured” or overwhelmed by public relations placements and “heavily circulated” doctors who have a celebrity clientele. They aren’t all as caring and won’t all give you the same attention and care. And be aware that doctors are more specialized now, so make sure you are seeing the right person for your specific needs. I like to ask potential doctors (1) who else is in their referral network (2) what do they consider their areas of speciality and (3) whether they are active at industry conferences. You want to make sure your doc is at the forefront and that they are looking at all the options, not just pushing on you the equipment that they have invested in their office. Also, check your doctor’s certifications. You would be shocked at the number of fake certifications right now. It is scary. There are literally 8 hour courses that certify one in Botox. Don’t be fooled. At Charlotte’s Book we only select dermatologists who are members of the American Academy of Dermatology and/or the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how often this gets overlooked. You can read more about Charlotte’s Code here.

It’s now possible to buy machines and tools that previously were only available in doctors’ offices. Which ones do you like best?

The NuFACE Mini Facial Toning Device This tiny little FDA-cleared gadget has two spheres that deliver 335 microamps of gentle stimulation just under the sensory level, so you feel little to no sensation-and the included gel primer prevents any pinching or stinging. You can adjust the intensity to any one of the three settings at any time during treatment — although the device should not be used around the eyes or mouth. As aesthetician Georgia Louise says, “If you can’t get in to see me, then this is the next best thing!”

The Baby Quasar: If you suffer from acne or breakouts, this portable aluminium wand uses 24 100% blue LED lights You can spot treat a specific problem area anywhere on your body. Treat skin three to five times a week for optimal results.