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Jolien’s dream of opening her own beauty salon came about in 2013 when she was studying in Genk to become a beauty specialist. But at that point, that’s all it was. A dream. Now 3 years on, Jolien is the proud owner of “Le Petit Salon” nestled in the heart of Belgium’s famous fruitland of Haspengouw.

“At first, I just wanted to learn how to apply make up on myself like a pro and get clear skin,” starts her story Jolien, “but I had no idea it would turn into all of this.”

Born in a multicultural town of Genk, she was the child of a middle-class family. After school she high-tailed it to Hasselt, where she studied to be a social worker, setting the pattern for her future professional achievements. Tall, slender and photogenic, with an explosive intelligence and assertive presence, she gradually made her passion for beauty a serious pursuit. After Graduate School, with a bachelor’s in social work, she became immersed in the vanguard of beauty world, the environment in which she felt more at home. As a result, Jacobs enrolled in a 3-year beauty therapy course at “SYNTRA Genk” to become a beautician.

“My father is an independent fruit farmer, has worked hard to run a successful business. My mother raised 4 children on her own, while working. Both of my parents have taught us to be independent and implanted in us an important thought: we can accomplish everything if we work hard. It’s in my nature to make people happy, that’s why I’m always around to help. I enjoy sharing my professional discoveries with others. Therefore, in my beauty salon I do both: I teach customers lots of things about skincare and I make them look and feel beautiful. Healthy skin is a beautiful skin. And with a few simple steps it is easy to get it glowing ”.

Le Petit Salon/Courtesy Anuschka Theunissen

Le Petit Salon/Courtesy Anuschka Theunissen

If Jolien Jacobs takes up beauty industry as a way of earning a living, it is also true that she makes her way to realize her own ideas, rather than simply carry out the work tasks given by customers. She believes that for a beautician to be successful every assignment has to be perceived as something that “hits you in the stomach.” This could be something familiar or something unfamiliar, but always challenging. For her, makeup and creams are instruments for probing the world, a way of capturing aspects of a permanently changing exterior that otherwise we would fail to see.

“Le Petit Salon is not only my work, but also my obsession. It consumes most of my time. Everywhere I go I’m questioning the surroundings: how can I beautify the world and people in it. I live and work in the countryside in the south of Limburg. There are fields and woods, which make it a very meditative scenery. Low traffic, friendly people, soothing atmosphere, and peaceful energies – these aspects I try to transfer into my beauty services. Clients can relax and enjoy themselves in the serenity of my institute”.

Le Petit Salon/Courtesy Anuschka Theunissen

Le Petit Salon/Courtesy Anuschka Theunissen

“Le Petit Salon” is much more about human relations rather than just beauty services. Jolien’s work evinces empathy, curiosity, compassion and admiration, and reflects her attraction to latest developments: the human exterior as stage.

“I’m happy to see that people who believe in my skills and knowledge, obtain better skin and they actually feel more attractive and in harmony with themselves. It’s often a boost for their self-confidence. Happy clients = happy me”, admits Jolien.

“When starting a beauty salon, you need to keep in mind what your principals are and what u want to achieve. Thus, choosing a brand of my products was not easy. I’m all about natural beauty. For this reason, I prefer to work with products that are not tested on animals and environment friendly: I use Medex Bio Science (products ) and ArtDeco (make-up). They are especially developed for skincare with a maximum of working elements. People with sensitive skin, like myself, can use Medex without any worries. You will see the differences in a relatively short period of time. Unlike many other brands, ArtDeco’s make-up is not tested on animals. This is a very important aspect for me. They use the refill-system for their make-up, you can buy refills that you easily insert back in the casing. They have this cute little make-up boxes where you can store your eyeshades, blush, etc … It’s a system with magnets, so you can change the content as many times as you want. This way you have to buy the product only once and refill and change it countless times”, smiles Jolien.

Le Petit Salon/Courtesy Anuschka Theunissen

Le Petit Salon/Courtesy Anuschka Theunissen

The relationship between a customer and a beauty specialist is a sacred thing, one that requires a lot of faith, understanding, and mind reading. Beauty specialists are often the people clients trust most, they are sometimes the only ones who see customers without makeup, filters and stage lighting.

“Clients bloom knowing you are making them feel good. I am just lucky I’m able to do this. Actually, the criteria of a good beauty salon is personalized approach, the ability of a specialist to listen to clients’ stories and wishes, to be prepared to turn their everyday stress into constructive emotions. A happy mind has a positive effect on the skin. Stress and pollution are the most common causes of unhealthy skin”.

Jolien is often asked to share a few simple tips on how to obtain and maintain a healthy skin. Here is her advice.

“The most important step is to remove your make up at night, so your skin can breathe. Tip: change pillow covers twice a week. Wash your face with cold to medium warm water and a cleansing gel, milk or oil. Use a scrub that’ll have your face feeling fresh and flawless. Apply a serum according to your skin type, this product really brightens the skin and helps to solve skincare problems. Always use a day or night cream, to protect and nourish the skin.

Le Petit Salon/Courtesy Anuschka Theunissen

Le Petit Salon/Courtesy Anuschka Theunissen

All products mentioned above and advice on how to use them, you can easily get at the salon. People often buy clothes and shoes and buy new ones if they are worn-out, but you have got only one body, so why not to invest in your own skin?! While you get a facial, the beauty therapist will do an analysis of the skin and determine which skin type you have and thereupon will recommend the best treatments. Your beautician will give you a relaxing or a lifting facial massage followed by a special anti-aging mask. These steps are essential to keep your skin glowing”.

Jacobs’s contribution as a beautician goes well beyond cosmetics. Probably in another life Jolien could have been a dietitian. “Limburg is known for its delicious fruit and beer production which happens to be healthy for body and skin. Apples and pears are full of vitamins and antioxidants that keep the skin firm and young. Strawberries have loads of antioxidants that lend your skin a healthy radiance from within. In ancient Egypt, long considered the birthplace of beer, women of the upper classes used beer for all sorts of cosmetic and therapeutic purposes: to freshen the skin and reduce the risk of skin conditions. Whatever the health benefits of beer are, it’s worth a try if you have dry or acne-ridden skin”, says Jolien.

In the end, there is as a question of how often should women and men visit a beauty salon. “It depends on what people like to get done in the salon. For hair removal it’s best to come every 4 to 6 weeks, taken into consideration the growth phases of the hair. For a facial min. every 6 weeks, except for e.g. a purifying acne treatment, then it’s best to come every week for 6 weeks in a row. For the best results clients should use the recommended products at home. Other treatments are at people’s choice and mood: the massages, make-up, mani- and pedicure. I do think looking your best is really, really good for the spirit and my treatments allow people to project their personalities and express themselves”.

“Le Petit Salon”: Wezerenbrugstraat 1, Gingelom, Belgie.

By Marina Kazakova