Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton Creates Products Even Beauty Gurus Haven’t Heard Of

Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton Creates Products Even Beauty Gurus Haven’t Heard Of

We are endlessly fascinated by people who could have taken one incredibly impressive path, and instead took a leap to an even cooler one. Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton is a Board-Certified Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon. Many with these big time creds work in impersonal practices with other doctors or at hospitals, but in Chaneve’s version, she opened a private practive in charming space with thriving plants in the waiting room in New York’s hottest borough, Brooklyn Face & Eye where she sees patients daily and founded clinical skincare epi.logic in 2019. Below, Chaneve talks about her career journey, prioritizing melanated skin in her formulations, her Yayoi Kusama-worthy packaging, and the best advice she ever received. 

Tell me about your thought process going from where you were to where you are now. 

I love that you make it seem as if there was a lot of planning and strategy involved, but it evolved naturally. As you know I’m an oculofacial plastic surgeon, I've got a cute boutique practice, Brooklyn Face & Eye, and the development of epi.logic came very naturally as a result of interactions with my patients, conversations with them and basically me trying to get them to use really high quality clinical skincare products and them being like, "No, we hate these things. Stop asking me." I was just like, what is that about? I paid attention to what their pain points were and what those elements of resistance were. And quite honestly, epi.logic was sort of self-serving, like I need to give you something that you're going to want to use, so this conversation is easier for me. That's honestly how epi.logic launched. It wasn't a desire to have another business. If anything, I've come to regret being a business owner of two entities, but really I needed to solve this problem for myself and for my patients. 

What specifically did you see that was missing in the skincare world that you wanted to fill? 

I love and adore clinical skincare. I want to see the papers, I want to see the evidence. I want to see the research behind the ingredients and why you're putting them together in the way that you are. And so I would make clinical skincare recommendations to my patients and they were just like, A, I don't want that cold, ugly, sterile looking stuff in my bathroom and B, I don't feel seen by these products. I would hear things like, "As a woman of color, it took me forever to find you, a practitioner who specializes in the skin of women of color and now you're going to recommend all these things to me that don't honor that relationship at all." And they were right on both points. And so when I made epi.logic it was really about taking up space and making clinical look and feel differently, even though it was still going to be performance driven and results oriented. 

I want to talk about the packaging of epi.logic. It is so beautiful. Where did you get the inspiration? 

We wanted to embody the ethos of epi.logic, which is really about doing clinical differently. It's about inviting our customers to question convention.There's often this duality that's created—why can't you have the thing that feels good and also works? And so with the packaging, we were trying to push the visual limits of what looks clinical and serious enough, but also provides whimsy and beauty and inspires you to want it. Because I will say that I think clinical is beautiful. My practice is beautiful, my relationship with my patients is beautiful. I think data and evidence is beautiful. And so the embodiments of that and the home version can also be something that's worth beholding. You may notice that there's a dot pattern that appears on each one of the vessels. And I think part of the storytelling was just like, could you think of anything more boring than a dot? And so we took that and created a whole language with it. 

What’s different being in your own boutique practice versus being in a more clinical environment, what drew you to making that change?

In terms of my role as the provider of services at Brooklyn Face & Eye, I forget that I'm going to work every day. I have to be honest with you. It is the best time. I sometimes tend to be like, okay, okay, okay, you're not my buddy. Let's go back. I'm supposed to take care of you. Because my patients are the coolest people on the planet. I literally take care of all these super dynamic women. These are the people moving our lives forward. And when I see their names on the schedule, I'm like, I get to see what's going on with A, B, or C. There's this fundamental trust that I never get over, like the fact that these people are forward-facing and for some of them [their face] is actually their career. They entrust me with something that's just so sensitive, so vulnerable—the things that they disclose to me—I just love the relationship that I get to build with my patients. And it's beauty. How fun! All day long I'm like, Ooh, what are we doing today? It's an earnest enthusiasm about helping people reach their goals. 

I love that. You said that it was more of a natural trajectory, but somewhere along the way you took that leap to set up your own business and launch a brand. What made you jump off that cliff? 

I think it came out of necessity. When I finished my sub-specialty training, I did the thing that most of us do as specialists, which was consult for different practices and hospitals and teach. I was just really frustrated in all of those positions. I didn't get the kind of quality time with my patients I wanted. It was maddening to think about the fact that they would assign me 15 minutes with a patient to examine them, explain to them that they're having surgery, really go through the ins and outs with them, and explain to them what they were actually signing themselves up for. It was just rude. So that was really difficult. I hate to sort of be the person that's complaining all the time, but I would walk into these practices and sometimes the staff were in the mindset that they were just there to churn along. I didn't feel like the people that were coming in to see me were getting the kind of experience that I would want them to have from beginning to end. This is going to sound crazy, but I think the day that was the last straw that I was like, I cannot do this. I remember I was setting up for a procedure and I went into the cabinet of the storage room and when I opened the cabinet doors, everything fell on me. And I was just like, ‘nope, I cannot work in these conditions.’ And so that really propelled me to having to do my own thing. I'm also not the greatest employee. I'll be honest with you. I was sort of annoying to have on the roster because I was making a lot of demands because I thought my patients deserved it. 

What has been the best feedback you've ever received from one of your patients? 

l’ll never forget, there is one patient that I did a surgical procedure on and he came in for his followup. At each first postoperative visit, I open the door, I look at my patient and I try to not just read the results in terms of the execution, but instead to read the emotional resonance of the person. I always ask, ‘are you happy?’ And the line that came out of his mouth was, ‘I'm in love with my face again.’ I was so moved by that line and it has followed me—it had so much weight for me because when I think about the relationship I have with most of my patients and where the procedures fall in their life, I think women can often be seen as nitpicking about our appearances. And it's not that at all, right? We genuinely adore ourselves. This comes from a place of self-love and it's really about reconnecting with our ideal self in a way. And so the way he put that so succinctly, it moved me and it's been one of my favorite lines of feedback ever. 

If you had to choose just one, what do you consider your hero product and why? 

Our hero is easily Master Plan and it's because it's the most daring. I think you don't see a lot of products out there with growth factors. And I really am passionate about regenerative aesthetics and how it's truly the future of beauty. But not just that, the future of inclusive beauty, like the fact that we can replenish our bodies with proteins and elements that are innate to our skin and their physiology and actually affect our beauty and our complexions through reworking our intrinsic mechanisms. It speaks volumes to me and it does it in a way that's not irritating, not stimulating. It's true restoration. Master Plan has been the runway hit for the line because it’s based in growth factors. 

What do you think women may be missing from their skincare? 

I think it goes back to growth factors. I think we're all becoming such skincare savvy consumers. We know ingredients, we know our AHAs or our BHAs. I just think there is so much more education around and nuance in skincare. But even your tried and true skincare gurus sometimes get tripped up when you say growth factors, they're like, whoa, whoa, whoa. What's this? It's still somewhat of a new kid on the block but still has beautiful evidence behind it. And so I think even for a lot of people that consider themselves true experts, they can have growth factors missing from a routine. And I think that's something that you can introduce to people's routines and then they surpass plateaus that they've been experiencing. 

You spoke a little bit to inclusivity. Why and how have you been able to bridge that gap and make sure that it's clear that you're putting out products that are for everybody?

My formulation philosophy is pretty simple. If you make products and center those that are the most reactive and typically that is skin of color—they're the most prone to inflammatory complications—if you center them in your formulation process, then it’s good for everyone. And that's really the through line that goes through all products.

That's super interesting. And what's the best advice you've ever gotten? 

The best advice I've ever gotten, it's actually from my friend's mom. And it's funny because this line that she said has morphed through my life and so that's why I hold it so dear. It was back when I was deliberating if I wanted to go to med school or not. I knew it was going to be really hard. I was questioning, do I have what it takes? Am I going to have the endurance? And I remember she was sitting chatting with me and she was just like, "Chaneve, the time is going to go by anyway. It's just about what you decide to do with it." And in that moment and in that head space, I was just like, why don't I take this challenge and why don't I try? Because the time will go by and I'll never know if I could have done this or not. Now that I've gotten older and in a different headspace, that sage advice actually means something completely different to me. Now when I'm thinking about whether I'm going to be sweet to myself or take some time off, I still remember her words. The time is going to go by anyway and it's what you decide to do with it. It really makes me a bit more intentional with how I decide on challenges or back away from them depending on what I need in the space that I'm in.