Cassandra Campbell Beauty + SKYN FACTORY Changing Scarborough

When I meet Cassandra Campbell, founder and Chief Beauty Architect of Cassandra Campbell Beauty + SKYN FACTORY she is all smiles despite me being late. She takes me to her intimate studio space where she has set up to do my makeup. Cassandra starts to tell me about her journey through makeup, how she’s moved from mobile services to her permanent space and how she wants to reframe waxing and intimate care by offering Coochie Care services.

“My journey into makeup started in high school. I had a careers project that I had to work on. ‘What do I want to be?’ Makeup seemed like a good idea because that was the beginning of the YouTube boom and I saw the transformations that some of the artists who were just coming up were doing . I thought I was going to get into transformational makeup and I did end up getting into transformational makeup. Just not in the physical sense that I thought. I went to makeup school and I fell in love with beauty makeup. When I started working on actual clients, I quickly realized that the transformations were the relationships that I was building with those clients. My initial thought was never how it would impact the client emotionally, it was always how they would look at the end of it. I continued in the beauty industry gaining experience through various retail jobs and later transitioned into freelancing and now I do it full time professionally.” 

Campbell tells me that shifting from mobile services to having a studio space came down to the comfortability of going into someone else’s home. “I realized I must be very trusting and adaptable in order to go to someone’s home. They also must be very trusting to invite me into their home because it is such an intimate experience to have someone in your personal space. Even when it comes to physically completing the makeup service, I’m right in their bubble. I felt like I was struggling to create a nice zen environment in some of my clients’ homes. I’d arrive and sometimes there would be a lot happening in the background. I need them to sit for 45 minutes to an hour, uninterrupted.” Cassandra adds that clients would try to multitask or finish doing things at home despite prior communication of the importance of having a dedicated time block. “They hired me to help prepare them for a function and I’m trying to help get them there on time.” 

“I felt like at this stage there was a certain atmosphere I wanted to create for my clients and if they want me to come to their home, it’s no problem but it’s going to be a more premium rate than if you’re to come to my studio. I can create an environment that’s more calming and you’re not overstimulated from everything that’s happening within your home while you’re getting ready to attend an important event. I primarily focus on makeup for special events and occasions so people who are getting makeup done are getting it done for a celebration or a very specific event that has some form of importance to them. If you’re already emotionally charged and I’m going to come into this space and have to meet you where you are, I can’t effectively bring you down to a calm level.”

Campbell is quite passionate about services in line with Coochie Care, her cute name for products and services for clients after they receive Brazilian waxing. “I went to school for esthetics. I thought I was going to be a phenomenal facialist because I love facial massage and skincare. I started working at a speed waxing bar and I quickly fell in love with the hair removal process.I was able to get clients in and out in 20-30 minutes max, talk about efficiency. While I was performing Brazillian’s, I became aware of how many women had similar struggles with ingrown hairs, inflammation, textured skin and pigmentation. There were so many insecurities around how the skin appeared, especially if the clients were going on vacation or they’re being intimate with their partner. There was so much shame around how the texture of the skin looked. We would offer a service called Vajacial, which thankfully are starting to become more popular but I didn’t like the name. So I thought, ‘what’s something that would be catchy and cute and make people giggle a little’? I decided that I wanted to focus on that to hopefully alleviate the self-consciousness that goes with it. Also the stigma of women being able to openly talk about the discoloration, inflammation and texture that they have because chances are you’re probably not the only one who’s experiencing it. There’s so much shame around openly talking about the intimate area, I wanted to start the conversation so women know they can treat it. The catch is, you do have to be consistent in order to see an improvement. If they’re not able to make it in to see an esthetican or if they live in an area that doesn’t offer that service, they can potentially do things at home that will help to treat it”. She adds that going in for services helps with concerns like ingrowns that require removal so she thinks it’s ideal to come in for these services.

As a Black woman, I was curious if Campbell as a fellow Black woman had any specific tips around hyperpigmentation that would avoid bleaching anyone with melanin. “Benzoyl Peroxide is a pretty potent ingredient and can bleach the skin for women of colour. I like things that have mandelic acid. It has larger molecules and is gentle, yet effective at exfoliating the skin. It does work at a slower rate, but sometimes slow and steady still wins the race. If you’re trying to get [rid of hyperpigmentation] fast and furious, it won’t work. The skin is always renewing and regenerating itself. If you give your skin the time to adapt to the product and you’re not just trying to get instant results you’ll find that something with mandelic acid does wonders for women of colour.”

In five years, Campbell aims to expand her beauty studio to include a team and focus on education. “I really want to lean more into being an educator. We are constantly being inundated with information, to a point where right now there’s too much misinformation as well. There are unrealistic expectations that are being set out by this. Whether I’m talking to a client or to a peer a lot of what I’m finding is peers don’t know how to sell products or they don’t give you the ‘why’ you’re using the products [Peers are] not letting them know they have to do this for X amount of time so that they can actually see the results because the skin takes 28 to 90 days to regenerate depending on age, skin type and other lifestyle factors.  People are expecting instant results and estheticians or service providers are feeling like they’re having a conversation and their clients aren’t converting or clients feel like they’re just being oversold to.”

After hearing Campbell’s amazing story, she also did my brows for the first time in my life and I can honestly say both experiences were delightful! If you’re in Scarborough check out Cassandra Campbell Beauty + SKYN FACTORY. Use code ADDICTED or mention this article to receive 20% off any in studio service.

 Cassandra Campbell Beauty offers:

  • Skin-focused makeup artistry for weddings, photoshoots, and special events
  • One-on-one and intimate-group makeup lessons

While its sister company SKYN FACTORY offers:

  • Master esthetic services, specializing in precision brow design and speed waxing
  • Revolutionary 7-minute brazilian and Coochie Care- a customized facial for the intimate area

 Stay tuned as their service menu will be expanding late spring. 

Hillary LeBlanc

Hillary LeBlanc

Hillary is an Acadian-Senegalese queer woman passionate about sharing stories relating to the Black community, fashion, beauty and sustainability.