( ENSPIRE Man Code 101 ) Cosmetic Expert Vince Spinnato Reveals the Story Behind His Successful Career and Inspirational Life in His New Memoir “My Pursuit of Beauty”
ENSPIRE Contributor: Abby Ladner
Cosmetic chemist Vince Spinnato has dedicated over 25 years to the beauty industry. As CEO and founder of TurnKey Beauty, he has developed hundreds of products for personal care and worked with celebrity clients, including Michael Jordan, Jennifer Lopez, and Victoria Beckham. However, his path was not an easy one, as he has faced many challenges both within the beauty industry and in his personal life. In his new book “My Pursuit of Beauty: A Cosmetic Chemist Reveals The Glitz, The Glam, And The Batsh*t Crazy,” Spinnato details the obstacles he has overcome on his journey to becoming a cosmetic expert.
In his book, Spinnato combines comedy and sincerity to explore the adventures he’s had throughout his career as well as his personal struggles with Trichotillomania, adjusting to difficult times, and finding the true meaning of beauty. Read Spinnato’s interview below on his book and the message behind it.
What is your main goal in publishing “My Pursuit of Beauty”?
After 30 years of therapy, I told my shrink I couldn’t stand to hear myself talk for another minute and started to write my book. The idea was to use my life as a source of lifting people up. I also wanted to bring awareness about Trichotillomania, an under-the-radar hair pulling condition that has beset me most of my life. It’s one of those conditions that people try to hide. My hope is to let other sufferers know it’s okay to talk about Trich.
Who do you want to reach with this book, and what do you hope they will gain from reading it?
There was nothing in my young life that predicted I would be successful. I had a lisp, a hair-pulling condition, a long nose, multiple learning disabilities, and I didn’t fit in. Yet, I’ve succeeded in doing what I dreamed about as a kid—owning a skincare company. I want to inspire young entrepreneurs who are starting out and also reach people in the beauty industry, the gay community, Trichotillomania sufferers, and the education community to show them that true grit pays off. I also want to reach readers looking for an entertaining book that will help them reach their own goals.
What inspired you to go into the beauty industry and develop your own products?
When I was 10, I didn’t like “boy stuff” like ball games, playing cowboy, fishing or hunting. My favorite activity was sitting on my grandmother’s couch watching the TV soap, “The Young and the Restless.” Every. Single. Day. The show revolved around Abbott family’s perfume business, Jabot, which became such an obsession that I began creating scents in my sister’s Easy-Bake Oven. My dream never died, and at age 20, I took off for Hollywood to develop skincare products for rich and glamorous people like I saw on TV.
In your memoir, you write not just about your success in the beauty industry but about your personal struggles as well. How have the difficulties you’ve faced in your life impacted your career?
Overall, I think my struggles have led to my success. The more people said, “You can’t do that,” the more I persisted. Oh, there were times I went to bed vowing to throw in the towel, but by morning, I woke up even more driven. It goes back to that old entrepreneurial “must-have,”—grit.
I’ve had to adapt to circumstances during my entire career, and it’s never been more important as it is now when pivoting means life or death for scores of businesses. I learned that lesson after 9/11 when people craved fragrant, religious candles instead of skincare products. As a perfumer, I was able to land a consulting job for a candle company that kept my business afloat.
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government seized most of the alcohol in the United States for use here, thus cutting off access to other countries. Governments in Nicaragua, Colombia, and Costa Rico reached out to me to ask if I could supply them with sanitizer for hospitals and medical facilities. Those contracts have literally saved my company.
Have you learned anything about yourself in the process of writing your book?
Writing the book clarified the things I learned the hard way. One was overcoming my insatiable desire to buy the best, glitziest, most expensive “stuff,” and simultaneously trying to buy my boyfriends’ love with over-the-top gifts like cars and speedboats. Yes, really. The book exposed those destructive patterns and helped me realize that I didn’t need to “buy” affection.
Another was a preoccupation with my appearance. I’ve been in pursuit of beauty my entire life. The result was serious health issues stemming from too much plastic surgery, as well as bankruptcy for living far out of my means.
Are there any sections of the book you’re particularly excited for people to read?
There is a chapter in the book that describes my visit to Auschwitz, the infamous Poland concentration camp, where I finagled permission to spend the night. Lying on a bare wooden bunker in total darkness at the ugliest place on earth, I finally understood the meaning of true beauty. The next morning, I emerged an entirely different person.
On a lighter note, I think readers will laugh about my disastrous lunch with famous Hollywood actress, Lauren Bacall, who I met at Jimmy Stewart’s funeral. Instead of impressing her with my beauty products as I had hoped, I spilled red wine and linguini all over her bespoke white suit.
I’ve also included a chapter on the inner workings of developing skincare products that I think will be of interest.