December 2015

The Face Place by KC

Author: KITTY BARTELL | Photographer: John Brackett

Like easing gently into a bath of liquid and light luxury, it would be extremely easy to overlook the hard science and years of training and experience that make a visit to Kathy Cooksey at her studio, The Face Place by KC, so effective for skin care. The soft lighting, crisp, fresh linens, smooth music, and gently-scented candles set a tranquil mood where clients slip effortlessly under the spell of this special day spa created by Cooksey, a passionate student in the art and science of skin care and cosmetics.

It all began when Cooksey was in high school. Taking night classes during the summer, she graduated as a certified hairstylist and went right to work in 1968. After starting a family, Cooksey joined the Estee Lauder Company. “That’s when I learned about makeup,” she said. “I saw that there was a whole segment of the population that no one was taking care of, and that was people with scars.” Earning her certification in paramedical makeup, The Face Place by KC was founded in Pennsylvania in 1983, working primarily with clients who suffered from facial disfigurements and injuries, such as burns.

Shifting gears, Cooksey spent time working with headshot and modeling makeup, and then began an unlikely but enjoyable 15-year career in wallpapering. A damaged rotator cuff facilitated another career change, which brought her back to cosmetics, skin care, and the classroom. Returning to school in Los Angeles, Cooksey became a certified movie makeup artist; when her mentor and instructor Marvin Westmore recommended she also become a licensed esthetician. “I moved to Charleston to get licensed in esthetics. After three weeks, I figured out that I loved skin care,” Cooksey said.

“Once I started working on clients, you could see the change in their skin. They would lie down with one skin, and by the time I was done, you could see that entire face change—soften. It would become pliable, malleable. Everything just looked wonderful… that’s crazy,” Cooksey said. After gaining experience during the 11 months she worked at a Lowcountry day spa, she opened Arbor Door Day Spa in 2004 in Moss Creek Village. The 2008 financial crisis took its toll on luxury-minded businesses, and Cooksey closed her doors, going to work for an area medical spa. “I learned a lot of medical esthetics and came away with a lot of good knowledge,” she said.

Planning to retire in January 2015, Cooksey knew she wasn’t ready to take that leap and decided to open another day spa. “I absolutely love what I do,” she said. The timing was perfect to come full circle and reopen The Face Place by KC. It took about 24 hours for Cooksey to find the perfect location. “Studios on the Parkway in Bluffton is kind of like a business incubator, with small shop owners sharing the space,” Cooksey said. The brainchild of Bonita Belami, each business has its own small storefront within one larger retail space. “It’s a wonderful concept, and all the different businesses work well together,” Cooksey said.


The Face Place Owner,Kathy Cooksey

The Face Place by KC is where skincare dreams come true, with all treatments and procedures fine-tuned and expertly administered by Cooksey herself, in a lovely, tranquil studio with just the right combination of Zen-like peacefulness and clinical professionalism. Bringing together her years of education and experience, she offers facials, waxing, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, LED light therapy, and makeup application and lessons.

Cooksey is passionate about education and loves to do speaking engagements and teach classes in makeup and skincare. The products she uses and sells are selected with a great deal of research and practical experience. Dermalogica is a spa line with fabulous products. “You have to be approved to carry it. Their percentage of active ingredients is high; as a result, you have to constantly go through training and be updated,” she said.

Obagi is Cooksey’s medical-level line of products. “I am sponsored by a doctor so that I can carry it. Obagi goes down to the live dermal layers of the skin and literally transforms the skin from the inside out; you’re getting a true transformation. If you have brown spots or wrinkles, it will soften them; they won’t be as long; they won’t be as deep; they won’t be as wide.”

The spa’s LED light therapy is particularly effective when partnered with peels and microdermabrasion treatments, Cooksey said. “Anything you do to the skin, the body immediately thinks it’s being wounded and sends up new collagen to heal it. Within two or three days, the new collagen combined with the light therapy results in skin that just glows.” For clients who want an alternative to laser treatments, Cooksey recommends a skin-toning treatment, utilizing two gentle prongs and a micro current. “Muscle has memory, so when you use these currents, the muscle goes back to where it used to be. It can give the face some tightening and some lift,” she explained.

True mineral makeups do not have talc or additives and are made with pulverized minerals so they do not clog pores. Cooksey has selected Skin Sense mineral makeup for her clients. “You buff it into the skin so it becomes part of your skin. If it gets into a pore, it’s no big deal. It’s a vitamin, a mineral, an essential oil. It will not hurt the skin and is good for all skin types,” she said. “There is a trick to putting it on, which is why I teach classes.”

It all begins with a consultation. Cooksey welcomes the opportunity to share her experience, knowledge, skill, and passion for skincare and sets the mood beautifully at The Face Place by KC. 

The Face Place by KC is located at 4376 Bluffton Parkway, Suite 102, Bluffton. For more information or to make an appointment, call (843) 384-5451. Be sure to leave a message.

  1. Kathy is amazing! Her technique is so relaxing and tranquil. But best of all is how my face feels when I leave. I wish I could go more often that’s for sure.


    — diane difato    Dec 5, 09:23 am   

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