Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 4/27/2021 – Cosmetic chemist and “certified nose,” Vince Spinnato is the go-to expert in beauty product development, with a career spanning over 25 years in personal care, cosmetic and fine fragrance industries. Spinnato has formulated and developed hundreds of products for skin and hair care, color cosmetics, bath & body, and fine fragrances as well as baby products and pet products…and has experienced the glam, the glitz, and the batshit crazy. In a new tell-all memoir just released with an audiobook to come, Spinnato reveals the juicy tea and hilarious encounters not just in the industry but throughout his life with My Pursuit of Beauty: A Cosmetic Chemist Reveals The Glitz, The Glam, and The Batsh*t Crazy.
When did your dreams of developing luxury beauty products come into reality?
As a ten-year-old, my favorite activity was sitting on the couch snuggled next to my Grandmother watching “The Young and the Restless.” The main characters owned a cosmetic company, and I decided that I would own a skincare company when I grew up too. Fast forward ten years. I climbed in my car, left Vineland, NJ in my rearview mirror, and struck out for California. The day after arriving in Beverly Hills, I registered my company, TurnKey Beauty, Inc., and talked my way into an internship with a fabulous woman who developed “kitchen cosmetics” made from products found around the home. My next unpaid internship was
with Beverly Sassoon after the split from her husband, Vidal. We worked on sales and marketing for her high-end hair care line. I learned a ton from both, but since I wasn’t paid, I nearly went bankrupt in the process. Simultaneously, I began selling white label products (generics that are approved by the FDA but are privately branded) under the VS Vincenzo label. One of my customers actually stalked and threatened me when I ran out of the face cream. It got so scary that the police had to intervene!
You grew up in a religious Italian family in Vineland, New Jersey. What challenges did you face when pursuing your dreams?
My parents were supportive, thinking I would grow out of it, but the older I got, the more determined I became. Since Vineland is a beach community, there was nowhere nearby I could go to learn about the industry. I always knew I would have to head to Hollywood if I wanted to live my dream. Ironically, years later, I learned that all the major firms—Proctor & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Estee Lauder, L’Oreal, Chanel, etc.—were located one mile north of me in Newark!
You are the CEO of TurnKey Beauty, VS Vincenzo Ltd., and Vincenzo Skincare. You have developed hundreds of products. What lessons have you learned over your career?
In the beginning, I thought all there was to producing skincare products was formulating the product itself. In reality, there are many more steps. You need a container, a cap, a box, bar coding, compliance with the FDA for over-the-counter products, labeling, etc. I had to farm out most of those duties. At times, the results weren’t the best. Over the years, I’ve added strategic services one by one, and today TurnKey Beauty, Inc., is just what the name implies: a full-service company that handles everything from formulation to getting the products to market. I’m completely hands-on, and every few weeks I visit my manufacturing partner at Velocity in Tempe, AZ to make sure things are rolling along smoothly. The other piece of the puzzle I’ve learned is how to get into clients’ heads to discover what they’re really looking for. In my documentary that will be out later in the year, one of my clients says, “Vince has the ability to know what I want before I know what I want. He understands what I do and the world I live in.” I take that as a huge compliment.
Tell us about your newest luxury product under the Vincenzo Skincare brand, Caviar & Diamond.
I’ve been perfecting Caviar & Diamond for the last ten years but clients like Lorna Luft, Tori Spelling, Lilian Garcia, Nicole Eggert, Jennifer Grey, and others are just hearing about it. I’m happy to say they’ve given the products rave reviews.
There are four products in the line that combine caviar and diamond sirt (dust), ingredients that are approved for all skin types and are crazy good for the skin.
Diamond Dual Active Micellar Fluid is an all-in-one facial cleanser, tone, and make-up remover that helps improve the skin’s overall health, firmness, and hydration, thus revealing a younger appearance. And who doesn’t want to look younger?
Morning Dew Drops are the day facial treatment that helps prevent the formation of expression wrinkles by inhibiting muscle movement. Clients call it ‘Botox in a capsule’.
Dual Active Eye Crème is a day and night eye treatment. It contains proteins, vitamins, and minerals that deeply moisturize the area and reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and feathering around the eye area and on the lid. It also contains Argan Oil that reduces puffiness and provides antioxidant benefits to improve the eye area’s overall health, firmness, and hydration.
Dual Active Face Crème is a day and night facial treatment that is packed with vitamins and minerals that are the building blocks of the skin—and deeply moisturizes the skin, thus reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and feathering. Another ingredient, caffeine, helps lessen puffiness and also improves the skin & overall health, firmness, and hydration to reveal a younger appearance.
What do you enjoy the most about the beauty industry?
It’s never the same and never boring. New technologies, new jars, and bottles, new packaging designs are always evolving. I love studying new trends and trying to keep one step ahead. For instance, during the last few years, adding CBD oil to products has been big. In 2020, the most popular kid on everyone’s block was hand sanitizer. Turnkey was ahead of both curves.
Tell us about your memoir, “My Pursuit of Beauty: A Cosmetic Chemist Reveals The Glitz, The Glam, and The Batsh*t Crazy.”
Since I have every learning disability known to man, I dictated my stories to my ghostwriter, Mickey Goodman, who turned them into a book I’m proud of. I’m happy to say that sales are going well. I’m thrilled that Tori Spelling, Lorna Luft, and Joni Rogers-Kante wrote great blurbs for the book. I’ve tried to be brutally honest about the highest highs and lowest lows of my life that include batsh*t crazy stories about my accidentally spilling linguini all over Lauren Bacall’s designer white suit, getting caught in a water slide that involved melted butter, and the fire department and being tethered to a bridge during a tornado. The audiobook debuts on May 18 and a documentary, “Skin Deep: Formulating a Legacy,” will air later this year. Readers can find my book in all formats on Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, BookLogix Bookstore, and Bookshop.
You were quoted as saying, “I bumbled my way to success despite the people who promised moon dust and instead delivered muck.” Expound on this idea.
Let me give you an example. By nature, I’ve always been an extremely trusting person and people had to do me in – over and over before I gave up on them. Midway in my career, I headed the beauty division at a company I call Silver Palace. It was a wonderful opportunity and a fabulous learning experience. Until it wasn’t. I had been pulling in major clients and working on a $25 million dollar deal with Kmart when I was introduced to one of the managers at Estee Lauder. She needed a new product development head for the Clinique brand and asked if I’d like to interview for the position. Would I! When I was offered the job, I told my boss, never dreaming he would counter the offer. Just the opposite. He told me that if I would stay on at Silver Palace and close the Kmart deal, he would triple my salary AND finance TurnKey Beauty, Inc. It was a gut-wrenching decision, but the opportunity to get a significant investment and a huge bonus was just too alluring. I turned the Estee Lauder offer down. A few months later, the owner came into my office and told me that Silver Palace was shutting down the beauty division, but he wanted me to continue pursuing the Kmart deal, promising I would get my million-dollar bonus. But when the project didn’t move as swiftly as he expected, he fired me. No triple salary. No salary at all. No backing my business. It was the ultimate business betrayal of my life.
But he was not entirely to blame. I had made two major mistakes. First, I believed him to be a good and honest man. Second, I didn’t insist on a contract.
What will people enjoy the most from your book?
Hopefully, they will enjoy hearing about my journey and all the crazy things that have happened to me. A recurring theme is that all my life I’ve sought to enhance my outward appearance through multiple plastic surgeries, expensive cars, and mansions, and designer clothes I couldn’t afford. But I was never satisfied. I never had enough stuff to change the way I felt about myself on the inside. It took an overnight stay at Auschwitz where more than a million people died to make me realize that there is so much more to life than outer beauty. Lying on those wooden slats I realized that I had everything within myself that I needed. The confirmation came as I left the infamous death camp. Blanketing the area where the gas chambers had existed inside the camp were millions of tiny yellow buttercups blooming their hearts out. Outside the barbed wire fence, the soil was entirely barren. Was this Mother Nature’s way of marking the passing of so verified what I had learned. True beauty comes from within.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud that I was able to turn my childhood dream of creating a skincare firm into reality and launching more than 300 brands (and counting) for celebrities, entrepreneurs, doctors, retail stores, and major skincare firms. I never cease to be thrilled when I can make a client’s dream product line become a reality. I’m also thrilled that after 10 years in the making, Caviar and Diamond under my own VS Vincenzo brand is finally on the market. (vincespinnato.com)
Who have you admired during your career?
I’m a bigger feminist than most women! The three people I admire most are Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, and Coco Chanel. All built dynasties at a time when it was extremely difficult for women to make it in the business world. Because it’s still a lot harder for women today, I’m blown away by their talent and perseverance.
How important is giving back to you?
Extremely important! Shortly after my father and grandfather died, I established Professor Enrico Serra & Vincent Spinnato Sr. Scholarship in the arts at my old hangout, Vineland High School in New Jersey, to honor both of who were well-known musicians. I personally present two awards annually in the amount of $20,000 over four years. As a chemist, I realize how essential clean water is to health and wellness so I’m working with Wells of Life, a non-profit that provides reliable water projects to communities in African nations. Last year I sponsored my first water well in Uganda. There will be more to come. I’m also in the process of founding a support group called Tric-Stars for trichotillomania sufferers like me and developing products to alleviate the symptoms. (Trichotillomania)
My Pursuit of Beauty is now available in paperback and ebook wherever books are sold. The audiobook will release on May 18, 2021. For more information, please visit
http://mypursuitofbeautythebook.com/ and http://vincespinnato.com.
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