Top Facialists Share Their Best-Kept Skin Care Secrets

“The easiest way to get products to fully penetrate into the skin is to get into the practice of always using a toner after you cleanse your face and before you apply your moisturizer or serum. Toner helps to absorb any oil or cleanser left after washing, it can also help with the pH balance of your skin as well as open your pores to receive finishing products, like serums and sunscreen.” -Esencia Wellness Spa Manager Ava Hennessey

“Do all of your masking and exfoliating in the shower, this way you can include your neck and décolletage without the fuss or mess. I also line up my skin care products in order. This makes it as simple as possible for those nights when I’m feeling low energy. I use oil in place of lotion to moisturize my body — stick to argan or jojoba — since the molecular weight is lighter so it absorbs easier, which is great for summer.” -Di Medlock, esthetician at Exhale Spa

“If you’re battling acne, stay away from dairy and look for alternatives like sheep cheese and coconut milk and, if you have eczema, the best thing that will calm inflammation and the urge to scratch is ice. Keep an ice roller and ice gel packs in your freezer at all times. The gel packs feel great on inflamed skin and don’t make a mess like ice does.” -Kerry Benjamin, esthetician and founder of StackedSkincare

“Facial mists are key before makeup application to keep the skin hydrated and also lock in your makeup to last throughout the day. Rosewater is a great option for those who have dry or sensitive skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties.” -Leila Aalam, esthetician and founder of Beuti Skincare

“I keep my jade roller in the fridge to double up on the anti-inflammatory properties. I also combat dry travel skin by packing hydrating sheet masks in my carry-on for long flights. Additionally, I like to lash lift and tint in the summer so I don’t have to use mascara. This prevents makeup melt in the hot NYC weather.” -Sam Masciari, esthetician at Exhale Spa

“Every solid routine should include vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night. Trends come and go in skin care, but these two ingredients are tried and true with many studies showing their efficacy. Be very skeptical of buzzy new ingredients. For vitamin C, I love Eminence Citrus & Kale Serum and for retinol, The Organic Pharmacy Retinol Serum.” -Dylan Last-Mustapich, facialist at Face Haus NYC

“I recommend ideally taking a break from strong exfoliators, chemical peels, lasers and retinol a couple of days before your facial. Facials often involve different types of exfoliation and you don’t want to overdo it. Also, if your skin is feeling sensitive or irritated already, definitely communicate that to your facialist. She or he will be able to work around your current condition. Also, I don’t recommend any kind of hair removal right before your facial. It’s totally fine to come with makeup because facials will always start with cleansing.” -Marius Morariu, co-founder of Tracie Martyn

“I always have a corrector or serum on morning and night. My favorite of all time is SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. Your nighttime regimen is of the utmost importance — it’s the time your skin has to repair and rejuvenate — so try a low dose of Retin-A for glowing, clear skin. Also, on any sunny trip, I get completely naked, apply tons of SPF and THEN put on my swimsuit/clothes. Otherwise, you miss tons of little spots.” -Victoria Lewis, medical esthetician at Tribeca MedSpa

“This was my grandmother’s beauty secret that she passed on to me: at night, brush your lips with your wet toothbrush. It will exfoliate and plump your lips. I then apply Eminence Citrus Lip Balm.” -Elaine Farmer, facialist at Face Haus NYC

“When traveling on a flight, your skin gets extremely dehydrated from the recirculated air causing breakouts as well as more pronounced fine lines and wrinkles. To combat this, I apply a vitamin C+E facial oil on top of my moisturizer and follow with an SPF. Always remember to pat the oil on the skin and not rub it in. This causes a barrier between your skin and the air on the plane.” -Caitlin Bacho, paramedical esthetician at The Spa at Auberge Beach

“My personal go-to is a thorough double cleanse beginning with a cleansing oil to melt off makeup and toxins from the day, followed by a gel-based cleanser when I arrive home or after dinner. I can then relax after applying a sapphire facial oil. While I relax, I give myself a facial massage using lymphatic techniques to reduce puffiness and water retention from my face. A facial massage lifts and refreshes the face and is often undervalued.” -Regina Veedel, esthetician at The Spa at Auberge Beach

“If someone is wearing heavy eye makeup, I will use micellar water to remove it before cleansing the skin. It’s an effective yet gentle way to remove makeup that doesn’t require tugging at the eyes to remove even the heaviest eye makeup.” -Shani Darden, Garnier celebrity esthetician

“J.Lo and Jennifer Aniston aren’t lying when they credit their beautiful, bouncy skin to daily vitamins, drinking lots of water and getting plenty of rest. All three really make a world of difference to your skin. Additionally, wear SPF year-round! Just because you’re not basking in the sun doesn’t mean those rays aren’t penetrating your skin’s barrier. Some sunscreens have been under scrutiny lately because of harsh chemical ingredients, however, there are plenty of great sunscreens on the market with ingredients that protect your skin without compromising your health. Key ingredients to look for in a healthy sunscreen are zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. I’m obsessed with Environ’s SPF 30.” -Sarah Akram, facialist

“I always blend custom peels and masks using organic, edible ingredients. You can do this at home with many fruits and vegetables already found in your fridge or pantry. For example, the best hydrating mask from your kitchen would be yogurt and cucumbers mixed in a blender. Cucumber is the champion of hydrating vegetables. Also, a yogurt and honey mask would be beneficial because of the probiotics and lactic acid they contain, which help nourish and hydrate the skin. Another wonderful mask is a blend of watermelon and cucumber mixed with honey. For dry and aging complexions, a great mask could be two parts sour cream with one part tomato. The tomato will nourish your skin with lactic acid and antioxidants, while the sour cream will balance your skin with probiotics.” -Elina Fedotova, esthetician and founder of Elina Organics

 

“Exfoliate twice a week to get rid of dead skin cells that will clog pores and make your skin look aged.” -Stalina Glot, esthetician at Haven Spa

Getting a facial on a regular basis is a game changer. Not only does it help transition skin from season to season while mitigating breakouts, the session is a prime time to quiz the esthetician about all things skin care. No matter how many times you go in for a treatment, there are still endless questions to ask, from how much is too much when it comes to exfoliating to getting the lowdown on a particular product.

So we asked some of the country’s leading facialists to share their best-kept skin care secrets. Click through the slideshow to get tips on everything from plumping your lips naturally to how to help products penetrate your skin more effectively.

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