Faced with an image of themselves on a screen, countless Americans have recently wondered: needle or knife? “You can do fillers, Botox, do facelifts, fine,” said Mark Stanlein, CEO of skincare company QMS, the other day. He was seated at a table in the Palm Court, at the Plaza Hotel, dressed in a blue suit, an expression of sublime serenity on his very smooth face. “It will not change the quality of your skin. Oiliness, oiliness, dryness, eczema, large pores – none of these procedures will change that.
He pushes another option: Spackle. “Your cells are bricks. The glue between them is collagen,” he said. “You have to start adding cement after eighteen, nineteen years.” QMS uses bovine collagen, which our skin absorbs more easily than its popular alternative, marine collagen. “They’re cold-blooded, Pisces,” he said. “If you put a cold-blooded ingredient on a warm-blooded person, the ingredient breaks down.”
QMS wants to conquer men. Among those who used the trick to smooth out the cracks: Daniel Craig, Jake Gyllenhaal and Timothée Chalamet, all aged twenty-six. Donald Mowat, the make-up artist of “Dune”, used it on the actors of the film. Mowat is particularly fond of the company’s “pollution defense” gel ($160). “The fact that you dispense it by pressing a plunger that releases the product – aftercovidit’s huge,” Mowat said.
Originally from Amsterdam, Stanlein, 54, started out selling packaging to cosmetics companies: “bottles, pipettes, paper, bags, boring,” he says. A stint at a local Shiseido office led him to a position as brand manager for La Mer, where he oversaw the launch of a three-week, three-tube home treatment that cost twenty-nine hundred dollars. “The first buyer was a twenty-one-year-old woman,” he said. “It was a status issue.”
Now, he says, “people are becoming more selfish: it’s my skin, what can this product do for meHe joined QMS, which was founded by a German surgeon in 1994, two years ago. (“I haven’t had Botox since,” he said.) He targets his collagen on CEOs, managers and people who are “very well groomed and dressed but not necessarily flaunted,” he said. “We’re mostly on LinkedIn.”
Because the pandemic stalled the brand’s rollout in the US market, Stanlein had flown to New York to introduce spas to the use of QMS for facials. A spa manager, Verena Lasvigne-Fox, of the Four Seasons in Philadelphia, went to a meeting. She wore a tweed blazer and had shoulder-length blonde hair. A common language was discovered (German); oolong tea was ordered. Business has begun.
Stanlein said, “In Fort Lauderdale, we customized the naming of this Four Seasons-themed treatments,” which, according to the hotel’s website, was “the endless waterways that run through Fort Lauderdale.” Stanleyin asked, “Is that something we can do with you too?”
“The thing is, our spa concept is about the healing energies of crystals,” Lasvigne-Fox said. “There are no crystals in your treatment.” She wanted to avoid anything “fancy,” explaining that her spa only used high-end products. “We don’t want to find them at Sephora.”
Stanlein asked what the spa was doing to retain customers.
“I send flowers to our best customers at his house,” she said.
“It’s a him, huh?” Stanley replied, “Men really invest a lot in skincare. But you have to communicate so differently with them.
“They need To feel it’s for them,” Lasvigne-Fox said.
“More technical. Not romantic.
” Tanned skin. Very important.”
Common ground reached, they agreed on a tentative date to roll out QMS facials in the spa. Then they turned to shoptalk.
“Do you ever sleep during treatment, or not?” Stanley asked. “I never fall asleep.”
“Oh, yeah,” Lasvigne-Fox said. “With a massage, I personally allow the therapist to knock me out.” She added: “If I don’t fall asleep in a facial, I feel like I’m missing something.”
Stanleyin said, “I feel like I’m lying there as CEO of QMS. Maybe I’m afraid someone will say I fell asleep—“He didn’t even pay attention. ”
“But the therapist would be proud if you fell asleep,” Lasvigne-Fox said.
“Probably,” Stanleyin said. “Maybe I need to let go.” ♦