An Inishowen beauty therapist has scooped a prestigious international award at the Institut Mahler in Bordeaux in France.

Joan Wilkin, the owner of Joan’s Beauty Salon in Buncrana, received the "'Mahler Skincare Achievements and Product Knowledge" award from Dr Michel Grillon, chief executive of the Simone Mahler company.

Speaking to the Inish Times, Joan said it was “nice to be recognised after all this time working with the product, having developed a great working knowledge about its benefits.”

The modest beauty therapist added: “I was one of only six Irish salon owners to receive the Mahler award and what was lovely was we spent a lot of time with Dr Grillon doing two days of very specialised training.

“He understood exactly how our businesses worked and he was able to take us through each and every ingredient in the products we use and the benefits they can have.

“The Simone Mahler products I use are high-end and professional. I would describe them as dermo-cosmetic, which means they are absorbed to a deeper level in the skin cell, activating the collagen, which makes up 70% of our skin, giving it a plump appearance,” said Joan.

Now in her 30th year in business in Buncrana, Joan received her beauty therapy training at private college in Dublin.

She recalled: “My training consisted of CIDESCO (Comité International d'Esthétique et de Cosmétology) and CIBTAC (Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology) qualifications.

“I had always wanted to be a beauty therapist when I was at school. When I qualified, I worked in Dublin and when I wanted to go into business on my own, I discovered there was somebody in Donegal Town, there was somebody in Letterkenny and there was somebody Ballybofey. However, there was nobody in Buncrana, so that is how I ended up in Inishowen.

“I love it here. I have very loyal clients and I am passionate about my client care and client satisfaction. I find that if you look after a client well, they will recommend you to someone else.

“In the salon, I do all aspects of beauty therapy, including specialist waxing. Skincare would be my main service in-salon and I advise and show my clients how to use the products at home. I also offer electrolysis, which is a way of removing hair growth, not after first time you do have to come back but the results from it are excellent if you stick with it,” said Joan.

Joan, who has always used Simone Mahler products, also does makeup for formals and weddings.

As well as the training she received at Institut Mahler, Joan enjoyed the social aspect of the awards trip.
She said: “In Bordeaux, I loved the visit we made to a local vineyard. It was the fourth biggest vineyard in France and President Macron had been there just the week before.

“I was delighted to receive the ‘Mahler Skincare Achievements and Product Knowledge’ award because I have a passion for my business. The products I use mean so much more to me because I know exactly what ingredients they contain and how they work.

“It is also to be able to associate a person, Dr Grillon, with them. I loved conversing with him about the products. The whole experience and the award was amazing. I enjoyed every minute of it,” said Joan.

Photo shows Joan (second from right) with some of her fellow award winners.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.