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How the founder of DERMAFLASH is dispelling the myth that dermaplaning leaves you with longer, thicker, darker facial hair.
Written By: JAYME CYK
In this series, VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers for their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit. Here, we talk to DERMAFLASH founder Dara Levy.
Before DERMAFLASH was a device, Dara Levy, the brand’s founder, trademarked the name not knowing there was something much bigger in store.
But let’s rewind. Prior to launching an exfoliating device that instantly removes dead skin cells, built-up debris, and pesky peach fuzz, Levy was working in finance in Chicago. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer, and when he passed, she decided it was time to pivot. In 2009 she opened a med-spa that offered dermaplaning, a physical exfoliation procedure that requires the use of a sterile, surgical scalpel as its hero treatment. “I started dermaplaning in the ’90s, and it changed the texture and tone of my skin,” says Levy. “It was the one thing, through thick and thin, including my husband’s illness, I never stopped doing. I was seeing a plastic surgeon for dermaplaning. And then I was going to the back of a beauty salon to get facials. And I was visiting a dermatologist for Botox. I realized there was a real need to put the best of the best all under one roof.”
While dermaplaning was the foundation of Levy’s med-spa, she also offered laser treatments, injectables, CoolSculpting, and Ulthera. “We had a parade of people coming in every day just for the dermaplaning facial,” she says. “I ended up trademarking DERMAFLASH based on the idea that the treatment removes that top layer of [dead skin] buildup, amps up the efficacy of all your products, and creates a flawless canvas for makeup.”
As her business thrived, Levy was brainstorming other ways to build her company. She was in the weeds of formulating a skin care line when an idea came to her in the shower and she screamed, “OMG! It’s DERMAFLASH,” at the top of her lungs. “I went running out of the shower soaking wet,” she recalls. “I started making phone calls and realized I was about to invent a new category.”
That said, education is paramount to DERMAFLASH since Levy has to bust a slew of myths about taking a blade to the face. “The first question we get asked is will my hair grow back thicker, darker, stronger, or fuller?” says Levy. “It’s been passed down for generations that if a woman removes the hair from her face, it will change it. But the only thing that will change your rate of growth and how it comes back is hormones.”
In 2016, DERMAFLASH launched, but it was by no means smooth sailing. “We came out and I realized there were inherent issues with using the device,” says Levy. “People were confused so I took it back in 2017 and we relaunched in 2018 with what is now the DERMAFLASH 2.0 Luxe. I learned that you’re not going to get it right the first time and if it can go wrong, it will. Every mistake and every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow.”
What is the atmosphere of your bedroom?
I have two places, an apartment in the city in Chicago and a home in the suburbs. My one rule is not to bring my laptop into the bedroom. For me, it’s just going down the rabbit hole. I work every minute that I’m awake, so it’s important not to bring my work into the bedroom. Otherwise, I keep my bedroom pretty zen and low key. I have white duvets on the bed and I have an arsenal of skincare that I keep bedside. Other than that, there are a few books and a TV. I wish I could say I didn’t, but I love getting into bed and watching TV.
I have an insane bed by Vispring and loads of pillows. When I’m watching TV, I use the Nurse Jamie pillow behind my neck, and that helps with my neck wrinkles. I also always sleep on a silk pillowcase. Even when travel. I’ve been sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase probably for over 20 years, and I really do think it helps with fine lines.
Around 7:15 a.m. I never set an alarm. Even if I have to catch a plane at 6:00 a.m., my internal clock wakes me up before an alarm will.
How many hours of sleep do you require?
I’m a zealot about sleep. I take melatonin every night, and it really helps. I go to bed by 10:00 p.m. and get at least 8 hours.
Any bedside beauty essentials?
I always apply a lip mask before bed. I have a couple of different brands like Laneige and the KNC Lip Mask. I also try to put on a heavy hand cream. Lately, I’ve been using Aquaphor at night because my hands are so dry right now. I’ll also use a La Mer sleeping mask or an SK-II sleeping mask.
Do you drink coffee or tea, eat breakfast?
I cannot speak without my coffee. Every morning, I have coffee with homemade almond milk and a scoop of collagen powder. Also, I’ll have a couple of eggs for breakfast with spinach and tomatoes. Occasionally, I’ll concoct a superfood smoothie.
I usually work out late morning. I try to do 30 to 45 minutes on the treadmill. Then I’ll do my own thing with sit-ups, plank, and a little stretch.
What is your morning skincare regimen?
In the morning and at night, I do whatever I feel like my skin needs. I’m a huge Dr. Sturm addict. When my skin is not feeling quite right, I’ll use the Calming Serum. But the one product I never divert away from is the SK-II Essence. I’m also a fan of La Mer The Concentrate and the 111SKIN Cryo Activated Serum. Then I’ll apply Creme de la Mer or the Dr. Perricone Cold Plasma + because it has an SPF 25 and it makes my life easy in the morning. I’m also a big masker. My new obsession is the La Mer Hydrating Mask, which changes your skin instantly. If I’m speaking or I have a meeting, I’ll throw that on. And of course, I use my DERMAFLASH once a week.
What makeup products do you use on a daily basis?
I have a pixie cut. It’s as low maintenance as it gets. I get out of the shower and I use my AQUIS towel. I don’t have a brush. I mess my hair up with my fingers and scrunch it and when it’s dry, I’ll run some product through it.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
I usually read the Five Things You Need to Know Today from CNN and Forbes. Then I read The Glossy, WWD, and I’ll go through the homepage of The New York Times, all online.
A ton. I grab my phone first thing. I look at all the emails that have come in, and I’ll always answer those immediately. I spend the first few hours of the morning reading to see what’s going on in the world.
I work a lot from home, so it depends on the day. Sometimes I’ll be in by 10:00 a.m., or I’ll pop my head in to say hello. I work remotely a lot, and I check in with the team if I have meetings. I’m very productive 24/7, so I feel like I am my office.