The Union ~ Clients keep coming back to Grass Valley's Reflections Skin Oasis

Posted on April 20, 2015

If glowing testimonials are a sign of a successful business, then Margie Carr has it in the bag. A seemingly endless stream of clients — some of whom have gone to her for more than a decade — are always eager to sing her praises. And Margie is always eager to sing them back — many of her clients, she says, are now like family.

At the age of 31, Margie was diagnosed with an eye condition that required invasive surgery. After many years on the ski slopes and out on the water without sunglasses, the sun had caused serious damage.

“It was a very difficult time, before lasers were used for eye surgery,” she said. “It fueled my interest in what UV light can do to the body.”

After working for 18 years as a dental assistant in San Diego and Nevada County, one day Margie made an appointment for a facial, something she’d never done before.

“I absolutely loved it,” she said. “I thought to myself, ‘This is what I’m meant to do.’ I instantly had a passion for skin care — it felt right.”

In 1995, Margie became a California State Board Licensed Esthetician and almost immediately opened her own Grass Valley business, Reflections Skin Oasis. She was six months pregnant with her second child, Sophie. When people asked her why she launched a new business while pregnant, her answer was, “Why not?” She laughs when she recalls frantically calling and canceling appointments when she went into labor.

Originally situated in a single room above a salon, it didn’t take long for Margie to outgrow the small space. Seventeen years ago, she moved to her present location on Colfax Avenue, across from Back Porch Market. Her slogan, “a calming destination for people who love their skin,” is in sync with her serene environment, which boasts hardwood floors, cherry wood cabinetry, a soothing indoor fountain and oriental rugs.

“While I was pregnant, my husband John started coming in before work to help with heavy lifting,” said Margie. “Sophie is 19 now, and John still comes in before he goes to work to help with things like laundry and garbage in the morning. He designed the cabinetry — I could not do this without him emotionally, and artistically. He should teach husband classes.”

John is a teacher at Deer Creek Elementary School.

With her background in dentistry, Margie’s approach to skin treatment is both clinical and scientific, in addition to creating a pampering experience and placing a premium on maintaining a sterile work space.

“I’ve always done my own extensive research on products,” she said. “I’m a clinical esthetician — many of my products are carried by doctors. It’s not just about the ingredients, it’s the molecular structure and how they’re delivered to the skin. I do a lot of corrective care — I love that someone can come in with a skin condition and I’m able to correct it. It’s all about exfoliation, hydration and protection.”

A sampling of her exclusive skin care product lines include Physiodermie, Nelly Devuyst, SkinCeuticals, ColoreScience mineral makeup, Jan Marini Skin Research and Jane Iredale mineral makeup. Margie is also known around town for her makeup expertise and skill. She was recently voted “Best Nevada County Make Up Artist” by readers of The Union.

Margie stresses the importance of customizing care, as there are different formulas based on skin types. She says it’s always important to keep in mind that “what your girlfriend is using is not necessarily recommended for you.”

“I’ve been coming to Margie for close to 10 years,” said Dawn Harris, an ER physician at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. “I came once for a facial and have been hooked ever since. I go to her to de-stress, but I also use her line of products and keep getting compliments. I’m a low-maintenance girl — not very foo-foo — but she really got me taking care of my skin. She has also become a confidante and friend — she is the sweetest person ever.”

Grass Valley doctor of optometry Stephanie Kirschbaum echoes Harris’ comments.

“I’ve been coming here for eight years — why? Because she’s the most knowledgeable person I’ve ever met when it comes to skin and what it needs,” said Kirschbaum. “She caters to your individual lifestyle — she even discovered skin cancer on my forehead. After that, I went in to have it checked and it was caught early, thanks to Margie. She really cares — she can tell if I’ve strayed from sunscreen.”

With the goal of each client “getting the most from their skin,” Margie offers an initial 30-minute complimentary consultation. She will discuss skin concerns, determine the condition of a client’s skin and offer recommendations for corrective and preventive care.

Popular services include the Swiss Aromatherapy Facial Treatment, the Retinol Rejuvenation Facial Treatment, the Age Intervention Facial and the Acne Facial. The Lumi-Lift Facial boasts “a complete rejuvenating and lifting treatment for the face, neck, chest and eye area,” and is suggested for mature skin in need of toning. Margie also offers the Rainforest Collection of seven professional peels, which are available in varying strengths. Full waxing services, as well as lash and brow tinting services are also available.

Courtenay Geddes travels all the way from Sebastopol to see Margie.

“I started coming to her about 10 years ago when my skin was a mess,” she said. “I grew up in Newport Beach and within a couple of months my skin was well. I had rosacea and Margie was amazing. I travel a lot and have been to many other people, but Margie is one of a kind.”

The staff at Reflections Skin Oasis includes Julie Bryan, Elizabeth Dolbec-Oliveras, Barbi Jackson and newly hired esthetician Emily Tintle, who started in January.

“When I was 8, I came in to see Margie with a bunch of girls and we all got facials,” said Tintle. “After that, I said to myself, ‘I want that job.’ There aren’t a lot of strong women business owners out there who are honest and have real integrity. She’s very educated in skin science. Margie is a great boss and a real mentor to me. When she called and told me I got the job, I cried.”