Inspiring People

Why This Influencer Esthetician Wants to See More Diversity in Beauty

Instagram Influencer, Esthetician & Entrepreneur Sandra Morgan Downie

In 2005, Sandra Morgan Downie was looking for a change. At the time, she was in her early thirties, had just finished a stint as a nanny in Greenwich, Connecticut, and knew she wanted to take her career in a different direction. She had always loved beauty, but wasn’t quite sure what to do next. A friend connected her mother — an esthetician — to Downie, hoping they could chat, and just like that, Downie’s life was changed forever. “She successfully talked me into a career that I'm so passionate about and love to this day,” she shares. Since that year, when she attended Paul Mitchell The School® in Hamden, Connecticut, where she went through the International Dermal Institute’s℠ training program for skin therapists, Downie has leveraged her learnings into a true vocation. Today, the 46-year-old Brooklyn native is a full-time esthetician, entrepreneur, and founder of the skincare studio Amenda Beauty℠, in Manchester, Connecticut. 

Clearly, Downie has come quite a long way since she started her career as a Mary Kay® consultant at the age of 22. It was during that job experience that she first saw the power of makeup and skincare in real time. “I realized how it impacted women — to feel beautiful in their own skin,” she recalls. It was the perfect predecessor to an important conversation over a decade later that would ultimately determine her fate.

“I've always loved skincare, makeup, and beauty,” says Downie. “What I love most about being an esthetician is helping people find confidence, be comfortable in their own skin.” Flash forward to 2020, and Downie sees approximately 10 clients a day — of all ages and skin types! — at her private skincare studio. Under her calming hands and trained eye, Downie’s clients are equipped to fight back against hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, uneven texture and tone, and acne concerns. “Most times, people seek out skin professionals because they are frustrated with what is going on with their skin,” she says. “As an esthetician, my goal is to always help my clients reach their skin goals, efficiently and effectively.”

Plus, she is trained in applying henna brows, a form of eyebrow tinting that stains the skin under the hairs, creating the illusion of fuller arches. (Thanks to a brief tenure at a Benefit® Brow Bar, she fell in love with brows.) “I became Connecticut's brow queen very quickly,” she says, proudly. 

On top of her (already) impressive resume, the multifaceted business owner splits her time between Windsor, Connecticut, and Brooklyn, New York, has a skincare brand named Amenda Beauty, a beautifully curated lifestyle website, and a devoted following of nearly 100,000 fans on Instagram®. Oh, and she’s also married, with a 26-year-old daughter. It’s safe to say that Downie is busy.

Inspired by Downie’s self-reinvention, success, and radiant skin, we had to pick her brain. Here, she shares advice for those looking to follow in her footsteps, who inspires her, her skincare and aesthetics regimens, what she’d like to see more of in the future of the beauty industry, and more.

Doors didn't open for me. It was really hard getting in. I paved my own path and opened my own studio.