As the senior esthetician at Rescue Rittenhouse Spa and principal of Moontide Consulting, Linda Harding-Bond is regarded as an ethnic skin care expert.
Now she’s taking her expertise to India, where she will be providing a month-long series of workshops for the famous Oberoi Hotel and Resorts. The Oberoi Udaivilas Hotel been ranked by Travel and Leisure magazine as number one in the world.
She will be training the spa teams at seven Oberoi locations including the Shimla located in the Himalayas, the Amarvilas in Agra where each room faces the Taj Mahal, the Rajvilas in Jaipur and the Udaivilas on Lake Pichola.
Harding-Bond’s opportunity to provide training for the upscale group came after she interviewed Christine Hays, vice president of spa, Oberoi Hotel for her blog www.ethnicskinaficionado.com.
During the interview, Harding-Bond learned that Oberoi’s spas faced the challenge of retail sales of skin care products.
“Part of that has do with you can’t sell a product if you don’t know what product is appropriate for the client’s skin,” she says.
“The smaller problem is retail sales; but the larger problem is recognizing who is coming through the door and what you do with their skin.”
Harding-Bond hopes that since the Oberoi is using her expertise, that other five-star hotels will follow suit and realize the importance of catering to the needs to clients with ethnic skin.
“It is phenomenal opportunity,” Harding-Bond says in regards to training Oberoi’s spa teams.
"This really speaks to the mentality of Christine Hays and the fact that she’s such a visionary — and the fact that the Oberoi is so on top of things.”
Harding-Bond was spurred to launch her consulting business when she realized that there was a dearth in spas and skin care companies when it came to meeting the needs of people of African descent, Asians and East Indians.
“There was need to consult with other skin care spas and skin care companies,” she says.
“Skin is taught from a European perspective. A lot of these companies still don’t get it. It’s about the business case. I believe right now ethnic skin is a $15 billion industry, but so many companies still don’t get it. The shift just has not happened yet. I think that the industry is wide open and there are major opportunities.”
Since 2010, Harding-Bond has been offering advice on ethnic skin care through her blog which features interviews with owners and directors of five and six-star, award-winning spas around the world.
Seventeen years ago, she left a corporate career with Verizon to pursue her dream of working with skin. From the age of 16, she aspired to tap into skin care, however her father encouraged her to obtain a college degree and head into the corporate world.
One thing that Harding-Bond finds disturbing is the lack of African-American women who are pursuing careers as skin estheticians. She would like to see more African-American girls in vocational/technical schools directed towards studying skin care as opposed to hair care.
She recalled the times when she visited spas and didn’t get good facials because the esthetician didn’t know how to handle African-American skin.
“I would like to see a world where my mom can go into any kind of spa and get a facial like the one that I provide for my clients at Rescue. I am so tired of going to places and I can’t get decent skin care because I’m Black,” Harding-Bond said.
With that in mind, she says it’s important the women of color find out whether or not a spa has an esthetician that understands their skin.
“It’s a two-fold issue. The spas have to train their people to know what they’re doing,” she added.
Harding-Bond has been the recipient of numerous recognitions including “Best Facial” by Philly Style magazine and was listed as one of “Philly’s Favorite 50 Things” in WHERE magazine.