Behind the Scenes: Karee Hays

Karee Hays was in her late 30s when she started to notice that just cleansing and moisturizing her skin wasn’t cutting it anymore. “I knew I needed big-girl ingredients,” she says. That need sparked a search that then fueled a passion, and before Karee knew it, she was catapulted onto a new career path. She was fascinated by ingredients — which ones could actually communicate to the cells and actively create change and which products she could save money on and buy at the supermarket. The more she learned, the more she wanted to share all her findings with her friends so that they, too, could have great skin and feel beautiful. She started writing a monthly newsletter that she would share with friends (who would then forward it to their friends), and before she knew it, she was going back to school for advanced aesthetics and studying for years under a dermatologist and then a plastic surgeon before going out on her own seven years ago and starting Karee Hays Esthetics. We chatted with Karee in hopes of gleaning a little of her insider knowledge on achieving the ideal skin care routine.

Name: Karee Hays

Profession/Title: Owner, Karee Hays Esthetics

Years in Nashville: Born and raised right herein Nashville

Zip code: 37215

Number of beauty products you use daily: 12 — I love me some beauty products!

What drew you to aesthetics? Helping people feel good about their skin and [the idea] that no two people’s skin are the same. What works for one may not work for the other, so I knew that I would never get bored.Even as a young child, I loved the sciences and chemistry and wanted to know how things worked.

What’s your favorite part of your job? Wow, there are so many parts of my job that I love! A brand-new client who has never found a regimen that worked.The worse the skin, the more I go on a mission to turn it around from the inside out. Then the reward is making someone feel better and giving them hope.I love teaching people how to care for their skin and educating clients — making Nashville glow!

What are your top five favorite products? Only five? I have faves for the face, hair, body — inside and out — but for now: KH custom Koji Pads, Revision Intellishade tinted SPF, Omni Core Recovery Complex serum, Revision DEJ Eye Cream and Vital Proteins Collagen Powder.

What’s your favorite beauty secret? Shave your face. Rarely do you see a man with fine vertical lines around their mouth. They begin to age more by the crow’s feet and forehead where they don’t shave.  They are getting cellular turnover daily.  Check out me shaving my face on my website. It's easy; you won’t grow a beard, and your products absorb better.Get ready to receive compliments galore on your skin.

What are inexpensive drugstore/supermarket products that you recommend? Cetaphil cleanser for all skin types, CeraVe products, Oil of Olay Complete, Epsom salt, Maybelline Full 'N Soft mascara, rose petal witch hazel, organic coconut oil, Burt's Bees facial grapefruit wipes, Simple Cleansing Micellar water, to name a few ...

What’s the absolute most important beauty rule to follow? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! And take a good probiotic daily. 

If someone can only afford to pay for one service regularly, what should they choose? Chemical peels are game changers. It’s what you do at home that makes the most difference anyway, which is why we spend so much time creating your magic regimen for your skin type to ensure results.

What’s the most inaccurate beauty myth you’ve heard? That you have to spend a fortune to have great looking skin.Spend your money on products with ingredients that can truly change the skin (retinoids, glycolics, antioxidants) and save on the basics (cleansers, toners and some moisturizers).

What’s one luxury you can’t live without? My KH signature scent

What foods are the best for your skin? Bone broth, green tea containing EGCG (potent antioxidants), wild-caught salmon, foods rich in vitamin A— like carrots, sweet potatoes and dark leafy greens, which helps prevent premature wrinkles and bumpy skin and can protect you from the harmful exposure of UV rays. Bold colored orange and green veggies are packed with vitamin A.

The worst? One of the most dramatic ways to attain youthful, glowing skin free of inflammation and breakouts is by cutting out dairy and sugar. Even cutting back can help. Hormones in milk can speed up aging and cause a whole host of other skin problems. Dairy is highly inflammatory and can cause flare-ups in acne, rosacea and rashes.

Other than the items you already mentioned, what are the other beauty products you can’t live without? Oh my ... KH Renew vitamin A cream, Oribe Superfine hair spray, Harry Josh Pro hair dryer, Gillette Fusion razors, Zoya Flirt lip gloss, Kat Von D Tattoo eyeliner, Full 'N Soft mascara by Maybelline, Tom Ford bronzer, Amazing Cosmetics concealer

What’s your philosophy on beauty? I am not a fan of typical beauty. I think when we learn to truly love and enjoy ourselves we can begin to share a type of beauty that radiates and never goes unnoticed.

What are five things every woman should have in her makeup bag or medicine cabinet? A good probiotic — the health of the gut is everything — a good retinoic acid for you skin type, sunscreen, antioxidant, and a AHA or BHA to help with cellular turnover.And, of course, always a good lip gloss!

What’s your favorite locally made product? KH Signature candles and room spray, Clary Collection Renew + Repair oil

What’s been the biggest advancement in skincare in the last five years?Advancement in skincare, anti-aging and wellness is about advances in technology. One of my current favorites is how we now can get key ingredients deep into the skin.I see this in my own practice as we use lasers to deliver products now. Example: radio frequency treatments with microneedling, driving in growth factors.

The gold standard in anti-aging products remains prescription retinoids, a form of vitamin A. But now, over-the-counter products containing lower concentrations of retinol have been shown to be effective in reversing the signs of aging like never before.

Non-ablative laser resurfacing, unlike traditional ablative laser treatment, does not remove the upper layers of the skin, which is an exciting new way of treating wrinkles and other skincare issues. Non-ablative laser resurfacing helps tighten skin and stimulate rejuvenation.The results are incredible.

Was there anything you wanted to be before you decided on aesthetics? To be Julie on The Love Boat.I worked at the YMCA for nine years and raised three children while building and flipping homes with my husband.My passion came later in life …

What’s one thing you hope never changes about Nashville? The friendliness of the people