Sean Garrette on Why Black Men Shouldn't Be Left Out of the Skin-Care Conversation
Sean Garrette is a New York City-based aesthetician. For our column UNTOLD, he is sharing how he went from being a makeup artist to working as the global ambassador for Fenty Skin. This story was told to Danielle Jackson and edited for length and clarity.
My career in skin care kind of happened on accident. I was always interested in working in fashion, but one of my family members actually said to me recently, "I always saw you in this field because you've always been interested in beauty, whether it be hair, makeup, or skin."
When I did realize that people worked in skin care for a living, I only saw white women doing it, so I never thought it was something that would be feasible for me. I was working as a freelance makeup artist at a spa in Baltimore and working with a few skin-care brands there. I would always preach to my clients the importance of skin care, because when you're doing makeup and you're so close to people's faces, you can see all their skin issues. So I started giving my clients recommendations and consulting them on skin care while also performing a makeup service, and it kind of got to a point where all my clients were like, "You should just do skin. That's what you seem to be the most passionate about."
I had moved to Atlanta to live with my mom for a bit to figure out what I wanted to do with my career. The first week, it just clicked that I should go to aesthetics school. I decided to take the leap, and the next week we went for a tour, and I enrolled. I was like, "OK, this is clearly what I wanna do, so this is what I'm going to focus on." That was about three-and-a-half years ago, and it's pretty much been my trajectory since.
On Getting His Foot in the Door
When I first started as an aesthetician, before I even graduated, my instructors told me I was very talented and they saw me having a great career, but they wanted me to be aware that me being a Black male in such a female-oriented field could be challenging, and it absolutely was.