Imagine a typical self-care day following an insane work week. You might book a last-minute appointment with your hairdresser just so you have an excuse to rest your eyes and wake up to an edgy, new you (maybe with bangs if you're really going through it). You might opt for a mani-pedi with your best friend, pitching in the extra $10 for a 15-minute massage with little hesitation reserved for nightmarish weeks. Or, maybe you text your esthetician to pop in for a facial because you are unequivocally in need of pampering and decompression.
Women generally recognize that self-care and wellness are crucial forms of therapy in themselves. Some keep up with a rigorous maintenance schedule (in addition to regular sessions with accredited therapists) in an effort to preventatively care for our bodies and minds. But according to Lashelle Ullie, the owner of the Beverly Hills-based Lashelle Effect Atelier, the archaic set of rules that govern men's skincare, wellness, and grooming are quite the opposite.
"Modern masculinity is so fragile because men, on an emotional and spiritual level, have been neglected for far too long," Ullie tells UncoverLA. "Society tells men they should be strong and stable providers. So when it comes to wellness, men don't want to take care of themselves in a fluffy way because it doesn't fit into their ideals of stability."
Like every other small business owner in the time of COVID-19, Ullie had to adapt quickly. His full repertoire of services are now available via private in-home appointments while L.A. County restrictions are still in place. That means complexion enhancements, lash lifts, threading, and more from the safety of home — with masks and extensive sanitization, of course.
With over 20 years of experience working in the beauty industry, the makeup artist and expert brow groomer certainly has his finger on the pulse of men's beauty and skincare. Throughout his career, he has developed products for makeup monoliths like Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Estee Lauder, and MAC Cosmetics, and boasts a celebrity client list that includes Kelly Rowland, Toni Braxton, Pat Cleveland, Emma Watson, Johnny Galecki, and Toni Collette. But his motivating force has always been educating men on the benefits of skincare — both internally and externally.
"What we do, as estheticians, is more than just provide beauty treatments, and my message is about promoting a self-care revolution," Ullie explains. "We need to educate men on the importance of self-care and the impact it can have when applied properly. I want men to see that beauty isn't a mask, it's an arsenal."
This holiday season, Ullie plans to safely reopen his eponymous Lashelle Effect Atelier at Studio 90210, where he offers gender-inclusive facials, microneedling, brow grooming, waxing, threading, and makeup application. The European-inspired space, which features decadent oil paintings (including one the esthetician created himself), first opened in February earlier this year but was forced to shutter temporarily due to L.A. County COVID-19 regulations. That hasn't stopped Ullie from perfecting and investing in a curated, elegant ambiance, which he's scrutinized from the ground up.
"I wanted men to feel comfortable coming into a space that was made specifically for them," Ullie says. "As a man myself, I needed to create a space that felt meditative and beautiful and special for me, as well as for my clients."
As a Black man in a white-dominated space, Ullie is also fighting the misconception that skincare is one-size-fits-all. The entrepreneur often asks his clients about their ethnic background to better understand how their skin might react to certain products, or to assess what treatments might suit them best.
"There aren't a lot of estheticians who understand how to treat melanated skin. As African Americans and minorities, we have long been getting beauty treatments, but people are just starting to learn about us and how to treat our skin," says Ullie. "We have to understand how cultural differences can impact how the skin responds."
To combat this knowledge gap, Ullie pioneered the Gentlemen's Skin Engineering Technique (GSE), which treats conditions unique to men, like razor burn, dry skin, fine lines, or sebum hyperplasia. Using professional-grade Le Mieux products, Ullie's signature facial includes multiple masks, extractions, and micro-needling to nourish and hydrate neglected skin.
Despite Ullie's expansive skincare knowledge, The Lashelle Effect experience is transformative for a different reason. In Ullie's world of equal accessibility and unrelenting acceptance, there is no judgment. Whether you've experienced incessant racism, homophobia, or an ailment as simple as maskne, Ullie's space has been tailored to make you feel safe. The atelier notably feels less like a salon and more like a home —something that some skincare giants of the past have failed to emulate in their attempts at luxury and exclusivity.
"When I put a man in a chair, and let him see his brows after they've been groomed, he looks at himself differently," Ullie says. "Some people use beauty and grooming to hide who they are, but I'm helping men use beauty to feel better…to become better."
To book an appointment or house call, visit www.lashelleullie.com.
Lashelle Effect Atelier, Salon 90210, 338 North Cañon Dr., Suite 1, 2nd Floor, Beverly Hills, 90210; Temporarily closed.