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Meet Karly O’Keefe of Skincraft LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karly O’Keefe.

Hi Karly, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
My journey to becoming an Esthetician began with my own struggles. As a teen, I struggled with acne and breakouts quite frequently. When I was around 15, I noticed it was a little more than what most kids my age were dealing with. It seemed like everyone around me was growing out of the “acne phase” while skin was only getting worse. I remember feeling alone and hopelessness more than anything. That’s when I decided to really focus on what I was actually putting on my skin and even more importantly, how my skin was reacting to these different products. After I started seeing a major change in mine own skin, I wanted to help anyone with skin issues who would listen.

After high school I jumped head first into the medical field as a medical assistant, hoping to further my career in the future but not exactly sure what to focus on. Soon after, I received a license in phlebotomy but I still couldn’t find my niche in the medical field. It wasn’t until a friend mentioned a career in the esthetics industry when a light bulb finally went off. I had never even had a facial before so I had no idea what an esthetician was or that I could make a career out of it. I immediately googled “esthetics schools near me” and scheduled an appointment to tour a school. I enrolled that same day.

Since then I have worked in Beverly Hills at a high-end spa, in Toluca Lake at a smaller boutique spa, alongside a Dermatologist doing blood draws for PRP treatments, and now, at my own studio in Sherman Oaks. I’m currently preparing to start the next chapter of my career and enrolled in a nursing program starting this August. I hope to be able to offer even more treatments to my clients and I truly couldn’t be more excited to have found my passion and continue to help others in their own personal skincare journey.

Because everyone deserves to feel confident in their own skin.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I think the most channeling part of this whole journey has been finding the self-confidence to go out on my own. I never actually planned on starting my own business. If someone were to ask me five years ago if I could see myself as a business owner, I would have said: “absolutely not”. I saw firsthand how hard it was and I just didn’t think I’d have what it takes to run the show.

There was a point during my second job as an esthetician where I wasn’t sure if I could even continue in this industry. I was questioning myself almost every day. I came to the conclusion that if I were going to keep moving forward, I’d need to do it on my own. I wanted to choose my own product lines, add new treatments to the menu etc. and while working for someone else has its benefits, it just wasn’t allowing me to operate the way I wanted. So I decided to take a leap of faith.

I started looking for places to rent and having conversations with my fiance about what this would mean for us. He was very supportive of me and still is to this day. I think having a strong support system is crucial for any type of success and I don’t think I could have done it without that support.

I had a bit of saving so started looking for a space I could rent and afford for at least three months with no income. I created a business plan, treatment menu, website and business name and hit the ground running. I spent all my savings on the business and money was very tight in the beginning. I rented out my studio on the days I wasn’t in the treatment room to help pay for my rent. I spent my days off as “office day”, utilizing all the free marketing I could get my hands on to get the word out about my business. Slowly but surely, my books started to fill.

I think owning a small business will always be stressful. I consider that part of the ride. I still have slow weeks, months even, and having fluctuating income has a lot of challenges but I absolutely love what I do. Even on the worst days, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
My goal at Skincraft has always been to make people happier and more confident in themselves. I want every single client to leave my treatment room feeling better than when they walked in. That is what’s most important to me.

Attitude is everything when you’re working this closely with a client. They are taking time out of their day to come to see me. They are trusting me with their skin. It’s an honor and I work really hard treat every single client as an A-list celebrity. There is a massive energy exchange during each treatment and I pay very close attention to the energy I give off.

I focus a lot on facial massage and lymphatic drainage. Every movement, every stroke is calculated when I am doing facial massage. I also love doing extractions. If needed, I will spend up to 20 to 30 minutes on just that. I consider extractions the most important part of the treatment itself, as this is the one thing clients should not being doing at home.

I’m also a big fan of chemical and physical exfoliation. I provide professional PCA chemical peels and Microdermabrasion. Cellular turnover rate is important for all skin types. If the skin isn’t being exfoliated properly, we start to see enlarged pores, texture and sometimes acne development. Chemical peels are also great for sun damage and various types of pigmentation.

I’m big on research so I make sure every device I use has had a clinical study. I want my clients to see results and more importantly, I want them to be safe. I offer LED treatments using the Lightwave light panel which has the highest wavelength available. I use red light for anti-aging benefits and blue light for acne or acne-prone skin.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
I’ve had great mentor’s in the past that have shaped me into the person I am today. I think it’s important to test the waters.

Reach out to the people who you admire and let them know they’ve inspired you. There is room for everyone and a good mentor will not see you as a competition.

I also think finding mentors with different backgrounds and experiences is very helpful. Be open-minded and get different opinions. Constructive criticism is important for growth so finding someone who is honest with you is a great asset.

When it comes to marketing myself, I’ve found that staying true to who I am has been the most helpful.


  • 60. Min Facial- $90.00
  • The Essential Facial- $160

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Image Credits
Corey Allen

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