Two Allergan Alumni Create Proof Aesthetics To Be The “Glossier Of Med-Spas”

Allergan alumni Winnie Eastwood and Gardenia Perez have teamed up to launch med-spa concept Proof Aesthetics

Beginning with a location in Carlsbad, Calif., it’s targeting a young, diverse clientele that its co-founders feel has been overlooked in the med-spa industry by committing to prioritizing inclusivity, price transparency and a distinct experience suited to millennials and gen Z. It has a full menu of aesthetic and spa services, including injectables, custom facials, specialty massages and hair restoration treatments. 

“A lot of the growth is coming from the younger millennials and also gen Z, who are just getting started in aesthetics. I spent two years bringing representation into Allergan’s campaigns,” says Eastwood, former associate director of consumer marketing at Allergan. “There’s a lot of different entry points into aesthetics, and they vary based on your ethnic background, geographic location and age.”

Winnie & Gardenia Founders
Proof Aesthetics co-founders Gardenia Perez and Winnie Eastwood

Proof Aesthetics’ staff demonstrates its focus on inclusivity. Amina Stone, full-time nurse practitioner at Proof Aesthetics, specializes in administering procedures for melanated skin. The med-spa has gender-neutral branding and features clients of various skin tones in its before-and-after photos on social media.

To resonate with its target customers, Proof Aesthetics’ interior is designed to be minimal, but not clinical. The 2,200-square-foot med-spa has an LED light therapy room where customers can decompress following treatments. It avoids appearing salesy by keeping its space free of advertisements and informational pamphlets.

“Customers often feel like they’re going into a refurbished doctor’s office, and they’re being rushed in and rushed out, and there’s no connection there,” says Eastwood. “We look at ourselves as the modern approach to medical aesthetics. We are really trying to build a familial experience that people go to as a destination.”

Proof Aesthetics provides access to its prices via its website, QR codes and printed flyers. At the med-spa, Botox is priced at $11 per unit. Lip filler and structural filler are priced at $650 and $850, respectively. Eastwood has noticed that private equity-backed med-spa chains are driving down the prices of injectable services by hiring young practitioners out of school, and she aims for Proof Aesthetics to not compete with them on price. 

“We’re the Glossier of med-spas. We have a high-quality product, but it’s still approachable,” says Eastwood. “We got a lot of pressure when we came into the industry. People were telling us, you’re not going to make it, no one’s going to come in if you have those prices.”

Customers are indeed coming to Proof Aesthetics. Eastwood estimates that the med-spa has treated over 300 people since its July debut. Stone performs anywhere between 20 to 25 filler treatments a week, and the med-spa’s part-time aesthetician, Susie Litschke, performs around 10 facial treatments in the same timeframe. Proof Aesthetics is currently breaking even and is forecast to reach profitability by the end of the year.

Proof Aesthetics strives to be the go-to aesthetics destination for millennial and gen Z clients in Carlsbad, Calif. To appeal to younger consumers, the concept is leaning into aesthetics as self-care and away from clinical positioning.

Lip filler is big with gen Z clients at Proof Aesthetics. According to Eastwood, before-and-after images that show a subtly enhanced pout have been effective at engaging young customers weary of the overfilled look that dominated the 2010s. To satisfy the demand for natural-looking lips, Proof Aesthetics offers half-syringe filler treatments priced at $450 for 30 to 35 units. The treatment isn’t the most profitable one for Proof Aesthetics, but it’s become an important brand-building tool for the med-spa.

Eastwood says, “The concern is that they’re not getting the full result, and they’re not going to be satisfied, but, in practice, when they come in and they see the lips, they’re like, ‘Oh my god, I love them.’”

Proof Aesthetics has drawn high interest in functional treatments such as Botox injections in the trapezuis muscle that relieve tension in the back and shoulders. Eastwood theorizes the business of treatments that tread the line between aesthetic and functional will increase at med-spas. She says, “The primary goal is coming in and feeling like you’re going to a day spa, but you’re treating yourself to something that’s multifunctional in the sense that not only is there an aesthetic benefit, but there’s also an emotional and mental benefit too.”

Proof Aesthetics’ clientele is roughly 75% female and 25% male. It recently introduced a membership program geared toward its facial business that’s priced at $199 a month. Members can add services like lymphatic drainage massages and dermaplanning onto their monthly custom facial as well as receive discounts on injectables. The med-spa plans to debut a membership for injectables in the near future.  

Proof Aesthetics is entering a med-spa industry that’s rapidly scaling as social media destigmatizes aesthetic treatments for millennial and gen Z consumers. The market research firm Grand View Research estimates the size of the global med-spa industry at $16.4 billion in 2022 and projects it will advance at a compound annual growth rate of 14.97% from 2023 to 2030. 

Investors have been rushing to capitalize on the med-spa opportunity. Last year, cosmetic dermatology concept Ever/Body closed a $55.5 million series C round, med-spa booking app Upkeep raised $2 million in seed funding, and med-spa chain SkinSpirit nabbed a minority investment from private equity firm KKR. This year, management company Aesthetic Partners received a minority investment from venture capital and growth equity investment firm Norwest, and Moxie, a startup facilitating the opening of med-spa businesses, secured $15.7 million from the firms SignalFire and Boulton & Watt.

Although the majority of Proof Aesthetics’ treatment business is driven by injectables, the med-spa is seeing traction with facials, including the popular Microtox Glazed Skin Facial. Priced at $575, the Hydrafacial treatment utilizes 24-karat gold micro-dosing needles to infuse the skin with a mix of Botox, hyaluronic acid, vitamins and antioxidants.

Proof Aesthetics is self-funded, but Eastwood believes outside investment could become mandatory in the future as the business scales its team and physical footprint. Her goal is to expand it to three locations within five to seven years. “The hiring process of who we bring on as team members is really important,” says Eastman. “We’re also making sure that the way we structure the business is very solid and sound, so that when we do get investment or eventually if we want to sell it in the future, that we try not to disrupt the patient experience too much.”