The first thing you notice about Joshua Ross, owner and founder of Los Angeles medspa SkinLab™ — even over the phone — is his energy. Enthusiastic is an understatement. Excitement and positivity radiate from his voice, and if he’s talking about skincare or medical aesthetics, that enthusiasm becomes a tidal wave. During our chat, he talked a mile a minute, as if I’m his best friend (even though this is the first time we’ve spoken), and I have a feeling that’s how he is with everyone. But his personal touch is what keeps his clients coming back. His personality and that client loyalty combined to give him what he refers to as his big break: an appearance on The Real Housewives® of Beverly Hills.
The journey to that point wasn’t easy, though. As the son of missionaries in a small town in Texas, Ross didn’t have a lot of options when it came to pursuing beauty. During high school, he did a work study program at a local hair salon. “It was kind of the only thing in beauty [in my town],” he says. “Everyone else was going to cosmetology school. I just didn't feel I wanted to be standing up cutting people's hair all day.” After spending a few years as a flight attendant (“I like to get a good amount of rest and you're not getting a lot of beauty sleep when you're a flight attendant,” he laughs), he called it quits to move to Los Angeles and attend beauty school, with the goal of getting a spa director job.
Post-graduation, a chance meeting with an employee at a prominent plastic surgeon’s office led to an esthetician position instead. “Having access to all of these non-invasive treatments that I could do in the scope of my license as an esthetician was a whole new world,” Ross gushes. “I fell in love . . . I was able to see real results and make real change in people's skin.” Eventually, he struck out on his own, starting SkinLab in 2014 with the goal of combining “proven, effective, non-invasive treatments” and quality care with a more accessible environment. His reputation grew, but it was really that RHOBH episode that launched him into the big leagues.
“Teddi [Mellencamp Arroyave] was my client before she was a Real Housewife, and we developed a really close relationship,” he explains. “When you're doing people's skin, it’s intimate.” When she started filming the show, Ross had been performing weekly Venus Legacy® radiofrequency skin tightening treatments on Mellencamp Arroyave’s lower face and neck. She loved the results so much that when she had the opportunity to pitch some things about her life to the producers, she pitched SkinLab.
The result was the episode “Wham, Glam, Thank You Ma’am,” which centered around an idea the reality star and Ross came up with together: a Glam Circle. For this, Ross brought all of Skin Lab’s machines to Mellencamp Arroyave’s home, offering treatments to the women as they “caught up.” It was a hit with both the viewers and the housewives: Lisa Rinna and Camille Grammer are both now regular clients. (While the private Glam Circle isn’t a regular SkinLab service, it’s not entirely off the table . . . as long as you’re willing to meet the Housewives-level price tag.)
Lately, Ross has been making waves for a different reason. In November 2018, he married former Dallas Cowboys® linebacker Jeff Rohrer, making Roehrer the first known NFL® player (past or present) to enter into a same-sex marriage. Neither of them expected the media attention leading up to their wedding, which added another layer of stress. “Building up to the wedding, I think he [Roehrer] definitely wanted to look his best,” says Ross. “We had already done one CoolSculpting® treatment under his chin. I was able to [slim down the treated area]. It was my wedding present to him.”
[Editor’s note: The CoolSculpting treatment is a non-invasive fat-freezing treatment that effectively reduces fat in certain self-proclaimed “problem spots” in the submental and submandibular areas, thigh, abdomen, flank, and upper arm, along with bra fat, back fat, and underneath the buttocks (you know, those bulges that just won’t go away, regardless of how much you sweat it out on the treadmill). While it isn’t a weight loss solution, fat-freezing can reduce pouches of fat. It may take three months or longer for complete results to show. Results and individual experiences may vary. As with any procedure, there are risks and side effects, so talk to your doctor to see if it’s right for you.]
When I ask whether he’s taught his now-husband anything about skincare, he laughs. “The problem is that he won't stay out of the damn sun,” he says. “He’s a simple guy. It's not like he's texting me asking, ‘Hey babe, can I come in for a facial?’ What happens is I'll do something to myself, he sees my skin, and says, ‘I want to get that.’ I've done probably two or three major chemical peels on him.”
And while both of their skincare routines are simple, don’t call them basic. Ross prescribes to a holistic view of beauty that he imparts to his husband and his clients, too. “Your health and your diet is reflected in your beauty, your attitude, [and] your personality,” he says.
Ross is a believer in results he can see, which to him means medical aesthetics more than products. “I'm very wary of product claims,” he says. His home routine, as he puts it, is all about gentle, soothing, protective products so his skin can heal between in-office treatments.
So what exactly does this Los Angeles-based celebrity esthetician do to keep himself looking his best? Here are his Top 11.
- Rosewater with Glycerin ($9): “In my morning routine, I don’t cleanse. I like to prep with Rosewater. [It’s] extremely anti-inflammatory and we want to be reducing inflammation as much as possible at home. Second to that, it has a light glycerin base. Glycerin is an ancient moisturizer, tried and true. I really like it because it allows me to get better product penetration for the next steps.”
- iS Clinical® Pro-Heal Serum® Advance+ ($88): “A lot of people love iS Clinical Active Serum™, which is better for acne, but Pro-Heal Serum is all-around amazing. The major ingredients are vitamins A, C, and E. Vitamin A increases cell turnover, in the form of retinol, and vitamin C is an antioxidant so it prevents free-radicals from the sun. Vitamin E is just a really gentle, oil-based hydrator so the serum itself has a different consistency. I'm not crazy about the really jelly, gooey serums.”
[Editor’s note: Retinol shouldn't be used by those who are pregnant, considering getting pregnant, or nursing. Please consult with your doctor before use.]
- Boiron® Calendula Cream ($9): “I’m obsessed with this cream, which you can get from Whole Foods Market® in the First Aid section. It's a homeopathic treatment to heal skin. I know ingredients, and the ingredients in it are great hydrators that aren’t going to break you out — and it has the additional [healing] benefits of calendula. Any moisturizer that you're using should be gentle enough for you to be using it as an eye cream, or you shouldn't be using it. That's how I feel. You see a pattern here, right? Rosewater: soothing, Pro-Heal Serum: healing, Calendula Cream: healing.”
[Editor’s note: Ross also uses this treatment as an eye cream.]
- Supergoop!® CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 35+ Sunscreen ($34): “Zinc is the gold standard in sun protection. It's a physical sunscreen as opposed to a chemical sunscreen, so it reflects away the light instead of causing a chemical reaction in the skin to neutralize the harmful rays of the sun. This has 20 percent zinc.
I always tell people: don't just look at the SPF. Find a sunscreen that you like the way it feels with at least 10 percent and a maximum of 20 percent zinc, and you know you're going to be doing as much as you can to protect your skin. Since this has a tint, it’s a really good thing to have in your gym bag or purse and reapply throughout the day, especially if you have redness or blemishes. It goes on really nice.”
- ReveSkin™ Super Moist Cream Cleanser ($55): “At night, I'm definitely going to do a cleanse, and I prefer a creamy cleanser. The one that I really love is by a newer company called ReveSkin. I like to massage the face for at least 60 seconds. Massaging the face [can] also help reduce fluids that get retained.
[Editor’s note: ReveSkin is a line of professional products exclusively available through doctors and medspas. You can purchase it at SkinLab locations. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new treatments.]
The most important thing that you have to keep in mind when you're using a cream cleanser is that you must remove it with a warm washcloth. You're not really gonna feel like that skin is completely cleansed unless you do that. I prefer a basic white washcloth. That is the only manual exfoliation I have in my home routine. I know I'm gonna get as much exfoliation as I need, and I know I'm not going to irritate my skin and cause too much inflammation. The other great thing is that with a white washcloth, you're going see if everything's off of your skin, especially if you have makeup or CC cream on. It’s one thing everyone can do that is a real gamechanger.”
- [Prescription retinol]: “I love [retinol] so much. You just need a small amount. I know a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with retinol. I find it most effective to use it every single night, starting with the smallest quantity as possible, even if it's half the size of a fingernail mixed in with your moisturizer.”
- Medical Aesthetics: “I get [injectable wrinkle reducers] once a year, and then I get fillers once a year. It's all about your own individual aesthetic. For me, I'm looking for a wrinkle at rest. If I see lines, I don’t mind that, but I don’t want a [wrinkle].”
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a doctor to see if they’re right for you. And learn more by chatting now with a trained aesthetic specialist.]
- RevePeel®: “When I was getting married, I had a lot of anxiety about making sure that my skin looked amazing and wanting to really put together a comprehensive plan. I started eight weeks before my wedding with a RevePeel. It’s a medium-depth peel that's oil-based, which allows for more even distribution of the solution. A superficial peel would be something that you would get at the day spa, like a glycolic or a salicylic acid peel, but a medium-depth one is actually going to pass that top layer and remove the entire outermost layer of the epidermis.
The RevePeel is great for pigmentation because it has some TCA [trichloroacetic acid] in it. So you leave the treatment on for five hours and remove it at home. The next day, you start seeing all of this pigment come to the surface that you'd never even know was there — all these dark spots. Peeling lasts about one week: you start peeling around day three to five, and then on day six or seven, you start revealing. The skin underneath is no joke. It's so fresh, it's so amazing, it's like a baby's bottom. I chose to do it first because I wanted a fresh start.”
[Editor’s note: Talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment.]
- Venus Viva® and Legacy: “I started doing the Venus Viva, which is radiofrequency microneedling. Classic microneedling punctures the skin, while radiofrequency microneedling makes contact with the skin and sends through a tiny pulse of radiofrequency. That does two different things. First, it's going to remold the tissue from the inside out to help the appearance of scarring, instead of just peeling away the top layer. It’s actually producing new collagen inside. The second thing is that as the pulse of radiofrequency passes by the skin, it helps the texture and the pigmentation on the surface of the skin.
I also did weekly Venus Legacy® treatments, which is radiofrequency skin tightening. I did that along my jaw and chin and neck to make sure I got a good profile, and around my eyes to make sure that I looked bright-eyed. The Venus Legacy can help with undereye circles by helping to reduce fluid, which is a really nice added benefit in addition to the skin tightening.”
- Hydrafacial®: “I recommend getting a Hydrafacial about once a month, and my lead aesthetician Ashley gave me one the day before my wedding. Those things really really work.” (Read our editorial director’s review of the Hydrafacial treatment here.)
- CoolSculpting: “CoolSculpting is one of our specialties [at SkinLab]. I got my first CoolSculpting treatment 10 years ago, and I've done it here and there since thenPeople always ask, ‘Is it permanent?’ What I tell them is that the [treated] fat cells we remove will never come back and in that sense, it is permanent. But you do have other fat cells that are left in the area and they continue to shrink and expand throughout your life based on diet and exercise. You can always go back and revisit CoolSculpting. [But] you still have to maintain your diet and exercise no matter what.”
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Allergan® may receive commission for purchases made through links in this article.
CoolSculpting® is an Allergan-owned non-invasive fat reduction treatment.
CoolSculpting has not been studied in combination with diet and exercise.
CoolSculpting® Treatment Important Information
The CoolSculpting® procedure is FDA-cleared for the treatment of visible fat bulges in the submental (under the chin) and submandibular (under the jawline) areas, thigh, abdomen and flank, along with bra fat, back fat, underneath the buttocks (also known as banana roll) and upper arm. It is also FDA-cleared to affect the appearance of lax tissue with submental area treatments. The CoolSculpting procedure is not a treatment for weight loss.
Important Safety Information
The CoolSculpting procedure is not for everyone. You should not have the CoolSculpting procedure if you suffer from cryoglobulinemia, cold agglutinin disease, or paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria.
Tell your doctor if you have any medical conditions including recent surgery, pre-existing hernia, and any known sensitivities or allergies.
During the procedure you may experience sensations of pulling, tugging, mild pinching, intense cold, tingling, stinging, aching, and cramping at the treatment site. These sensations subside as the area becomes numb. Following the procedure, typical side effects include temporary redness, swelling, blanching, bruising, firmness, tingling, stinging, tenderness, cramping, aching, itching, or skin sensitivity, and sensation of fullness in the back of the throat after submental or submandibular area treatment.
Rare side effects may also occur. CoolSculpting may cause a visible enlargement in the treated area which may develop two to five months after treatment and requires surgical intervention for correction.
Ask your doctor if CoolSculpting is right for you. To learn more about what to expect, visit the CoolSculpting website.