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 • Skincare  • Skincare Guides  • I Sat Down with the Man Behind Celeb Favourite Brand Jordan Samuel Skin

I Sat Down with the Man Behind Celeb Favourite Brand Jordan Samuel Skin

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Main image – @Jordansamuelskin/Instagram

Thirteen years ago, retired professional ballet dancer Jordan Samuel Pacitti did a career 180. Having spent eleven years of his life performing and wowing audiences with his beautiful ballet skills, he felt inspired to transition from dancer to skin aesthetician in a matter of months. And he even launched his own skincare line.

So what made Pacitti pirouette from ballet to beauty? What has made his brand stand the test of time (Jordan Samuel Skin has just celebrated 10 years)? And what skincare tips can he give others navigating their own skincare paths? I sat down with him to find out.

Here, this refreshingly open brand owner tells me how Jordan Samuel Pacitti the ballet dancer became the founder of Jordan Samuel Skin.

 

I speak to Jordan Samuel Pacitti about Jordan Samuel Skin. Image – @jordansamuelskin/Instagram

 


Blessings and breakouts

You’d think that someone with the dream of launching a skincare brand will have suffered with bad skin at one point in their youth. But this wasn’t the case for Pacitti.

“I had the reverse story of most founders,” he tells me from his home in New York.  “I didn’t have terrible skin growing up, I was actually blessed. I had a blemish here or there, that was sort of it. But because of that I also didn’t know how to take care of my skin.”

You’re sweating, you’re touching the ground, you’re touching your face by accident, you’re wiping sweat off.

But then he started dancing professionally and everything changed. “I was in stage makeup eight days a week,” he explains. 

“You have so much makeup on. You’re sweating, you’re touching the ground, you’re touching your face by accident, you’re wiping sweat off. It just isn’t the perfect place for happy, healthy skin.” And because of his inexperience, Pacitti didn’t have the right tools to take care of his skin.

 

Jordan Samuel Pacitti performing in Swan Lake. Image – ©Angela Sterling

 

“In the US they have this disgusting soap. It’s hot pink, antibacterial, and that is what I used to take my makeup off with.” Ouch. “Yeah, and it worked. I mean it took everything off.” And when he says everything he means everything.  

“Skin Barrier gone!  And because of that and not knowing anything, my skin went from fine to broken out, sensitive and dehydrated all at the same time. I didn’t know enough about products to give myself a good regimen.”

 


Facials to the rescue

So now he had experienced skincare from the other side. And he wanted to do something about it. “I started getting facials to learn about my skin, to learn about products and it helped so much and it really intrigued me,” he says. 

“I loved the therapeutic aspect of getting a facial, I loved what the products were doing. I was really back to that dancer discipline again, really consistent and disciplined with my at home regimen. So, I was seeing the results of this.”

I got very intrigued by the skincare and beauty industry as it was something that I was loving and seeing the benefits of.

As we all know, a physically challenging career like ballet has a use by date. But Pacitti had already hatched a plan. “Knowing that dance is a short career, and I would have to retire and still have another career later on in my life, I got very intrigued by the skincare and beauty industry as it was something that I was loving and seeing the benefits of.”

He retired from ballet in 2010. But while most people would book a holiday and have a well-earned rest, Pacitti had other ideas. 

 

Image – Jordan Samuel Skin

 

“Two months later I immediately started an aesthetics programme,” he explains.  “I was in Seattle at the time and I got an aesthetics licence and started working in the largest Day Spa in Seattle, just getting my hands on skin and doing as much skin as possible.”

 


Making connections

It was then that Pacitti realised there was a link between skin in the dance world and skin in real life circumstances. “A healthy skin barrier,” he says. 

“At the time I started working professionally as an aesthetician it was probably about a year or two into at home facial peels becoming the rage. I felt like overly strong acids were getting into people’s hands who didn’t really understand how to use them properly.”

He began to notice that the skin issues he had seen in the ballet world were also happening in the treatment world. “Wanting to care for people’s skin, keeping the barrier in check, was the catalyst to creating Jordan Samuel Skin,” he explains.

 


Starting Jordan Samuel Skin

As with any other start-up, it was a slow burner. “I started to look for products that I wanted to use in private practice,” Pacitti says. 

“It was such an enormous price that for me it made no sense. And I thought if I’m going to spend that much money on those products, I should just invest in starting my own range and do one product at a time.”

I promise I have a great idea. I know that it will work.

So he begged a lab to take him on, just on a small scale. “I said, ‘I promise I have a great idea. I know that it will work, we will get there.’ They were the only lab that said yes and we are still with them, to this day. And we’re doing much larger minimum orders now, so they made a good decision.”

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Jordan Samuel Skin (@jordansamuelskin)

 

 


Selling skincare

Mega success wasn’t instant and it took time to both build up a large product range and achieve significant global sales. Where did his drive come from to push forward?

“It was total naivete, which I still think is the biggest strength of mine” he tells me. 

“There is something nice about not knowing the landmines in front of you. However, now knowing them looking back I’m like, ‘why was I so impatient?’”.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Jordan Samuel Skin (@jordansamuelskin)

 

Jordan Samuel Skin has since taken off in a big way though, selling globally and attracting a loyal celebrity following and regular media attention. 

“The UK for us has just been unbelievable thanks to people like Caroline Hirons,” he says. “And because of that our first retail contract which we still have today is with Cult Beauty.”

This, Pacitti says, is his single proudest achievement since starting the brand, “because I didn’t know how we were going to be received. And we became the number one brand on that website the day we launched. What they forecasted for us was totally flipped on its head because we were doing so much better than expected.”

 


A steady approach

Now the brand has achieved mainstream success though, does Pacitti dream of big viral product moments, seen by the likes of Clinique’s Black Honey Lipstick after it found TikTok fame?

He claims not, citing his early experiences seeing the volatility of the beauty industry for his more methodical approach.

I saw the amazingness and also the headache of retail and the volatility of the market.

“Early on I trained in the Northwest region of the US for Kate Somerville skincare, which was amazing. I only did it for a year, but I was also working in the back end of Sephora and I saw the amazingness and also the headache of retail and the volatility of the market,” he explains.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Jordan Samuel Skin (@jordansamuelskin)

 

“That’s where I saw the downsides of retail and it’s had a major impact on how I run Jordan Samuel now. Retail seems glamorous and lovely and you want to be everywhere all at once and get your product in everybody’s faces, but it can be at the detriment to the health of the brand.”

“I do feel like everything has actually progressed very methodically, very one foot in front of the other at a time, which is how we’ve also grown the brand.”

“We’re playing the long game and I’m not interested in creating a flash in the pan brand,” he tells me.

 


Highs and lows

Not everything always goes to plan though.

“There are interesting moments where I come out with a product that I just love and I feel like it’s going to do so well and it does and it makes me happy and it gets great for us,” he explains.

I thought it was going to be far away from where it is.

“And then I come out with a product that I love and I know it’s going to do so well and it doesn’t take off like I thought.” For example? “I was so excited for the Moisture Recovery Cream. I knew it was going to do well and it became our best seller immediately. 

“And then [when we launched] the Mandelic Exfoliating Mask I was like ‘oh this is really filling a hole in the market’. It’s done fine, but I thought it was going to be far away from where it is.”

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Jordan Samuel Skin (@jordansamuelskin)

 

 


The Jordan Samuel effect

With a celebrity following that includes Julia Stiles, Vanessa Carlton, Sarayu Blue, and olympic champion Carly Patterson, it’s no wonder Jordan Samuel products are so popular with other consumers too.

We have a lot of people – and I take pride in this – who come to our range and love it and then they get distracted by the high active products out there,” Pacitti explains. 

We are who they’re coming to when they screw up their skin.

“They do that, they screw up their skin, and a year later, nine months later, they’re back with us. So, I do wear that as a badge of honour because we are who they’re coming to when they screw up their skin.”

So which of his products has been the biggest seller this year? According to Pacitti, it’s The After Show Treatment Cleanser for Sensitive Skin, followed closely by Moisture Recovery Cream.

I can attest to this.  As someone who was lucky enough to receive a personally curated pack of products from Pacitti following our interview, the thick, soothing product that is the Moisture Recovery Cream has instantly calmed my winter and retinol-stressed skin.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Jordan Samuel Skin (@jordansamuelskin)

 

But which is Pacitti’s personal favourite? “It depends on the season but probably our newest product, which is Antioxidant Treatment Emulsion, just because I can use that product every single day,” he says. 

“It’s great for brightening the skin, it’s great for evening tone, it’s great for barrier health and it’s also a great antioxidant underneath your sunscreen. It can be a moisturiser, but it can also be a nourishing serum, depending on how you use it.” Noted.

With the skin barrier one of beauty’s biggest trends over the past few years though, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether Pacitti’s emphasis on repairing products here is sincere passion or trend-led.

Having spoken to the man himself, I get the sense it’s very much the former here; not least because Jordan Samuel Skin predates the skin barrier trend by several years. Pacitti also speaks about supporting skin with a genuine passion throughout our interview. 

A quick glance at his social media too reveals hundreds of reels of the skincare founder himself patiently advising fans to use fewer products, not more.  Not the actions of a typical CEO.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Jordan Samuel Skin (@jordansamuelskin)

 

Having spent 10 years moving to the top of the (extremely competitive) beauty market though, what’s next for Pacitti?

He tells me his priority is now to take the brand forward with updated packaging, using post-consumer recycled materials, as well as expanding into fragrance and both domestically and globally.

And in the case of the man who successfully transitioned from professional dancer to professional aesthetician and then company founder, I believe he’ll do it.

 


Jordan Samuel Pacitti on…

  • SPF:

In short, he says it’s a no brainer. “Prevention is always easier than trying to fix or repair the skin. With that in mind, it is imperative for those looking to maximise their skin’s health to consistently wear SPF. Most concerns and frustrations clients have with their skin later in life are a result of prior sun exposure.”

 

  • The rise in use of active ingredients:

I love actives,” he says. “It’s just that it’s so nuanced for every individual and different people will need to be on a different strength of acid, using it different ways, different amounts of times per week. 

And the problem is it’s not that easy for people to figure that out for themselves, especially if they don’t have the budget to have a professional to help them along the way.” 

So this is where the confusion starts. “You get a product which is seemingly fine, but in the hands of somebody who doesn’t quite understand how to use it specifically for their skin it’s a slippery slope.”

And mistakes happen. “People see breakouts that they’re getting from having stripped their barrier and so they go back and use more actives and more retinols, when in fact they should be doing the opposite.”

There’s nothing like personal experience though.  “I think everybody truly has to go through it. Once they’ve realised that caring for their barrier has been a really great building block routine and is what is creating the glow and the health of their skin then maybe they will get to the other side of it.” 

 

  • The influence of social media on skincare

There’s an issue with social media encouraging acids at a younger age. It’s insanity.” he warns. “Caroline Hirons actually touched on it the other day and said, ‘I don’t care if your kids saw something on TikTok and what they’re asking for; they do not need a 20% vitamin C or a 15% alpha hydroxy acid.’”

Note to self: social media isn’t gospel.

 

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Editor-in-Chief

Sally Underwood is a journalist, *serious* beauty fan, and Editor-in-Chief of Live That Glow. Formerly Editorial Director of one of Europe's largest newspaper groups, Sally has been a beauty obsessive since her teen years spent dragging her long-suffering (but immaculately-groomed) friends around every beauty counter in London. She now leads Live That Glow's editorial operations.

Expertise: Skincare, Body care
Education: University College London
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