‘I’ve Been an Esthetician for Over 20 Years—Here’s Why I Believe in Tools Over Products’
As an electrical esthetician, Melanie Simon works with electrical currents to stimulate the skin, helping with issues from acne to wrinkles to dullness. She's the creator of the at-home skin-care device brand ZIIP—an editor favorite and consistent bestseller—so it's safe to say she knows a thing or two about high-tech beauty tools.
From LED masks to microcurrent devices to facial massagers, Simon routinely uses over $2,000 in beauty tech—and no, that doesn't include her cleansers, serums, creams, etc. Although Simon has access to professional-grade tools, her routine consists of items anyone can buy and use at home. If you're looking to spoil yourself, browse Simon's go-to products below and add one (or two) to your cart.
Start with a clean face
Simon's routine begins the way any good one should: with a cleanse. Before starting in with her tools, she likes to ensure her skin is clean and nourished. "I like the PSA cleanser and the Superegg cleanser, because they give you a really nice cleanse, but they don't strip the skin," she says. "You want to be in that state before you do LED: You don't want to be putting serums and things on—the skin should be bare, but you want your natural oils intact for it to be optimal."
This sulfate-free, creamy cleanser removes daily grime and makeup while adding essential moisture and nutrients to the skin with ingredients like manuka honey, açai, and pomegranate.
This gentle foaming cream cleanser uses botanical extracts and antioxidants to remove makeup, dirt, and excess oil while restoring the skin’s natural balance.
Break out the esthetician-approved beauty tools
The fun begins with this LED mask. Simon loves that it has a combination of different lights to target different issues. The red lights stimulate collagen production to reduce the look of wrinkles, sun spots, and sun damage, while the blue lights kill acne-causing bacteria and help to prevent future breakouts. You can use each light setting on its own to target specific issues, or use them together for a combination treatment.
While wearing the Dr. Gross mask, Simon applies this Omnilux mask to her neck and chest. This mask also uses red LED light to reduce the appearance of pigmentation, redness, fine lines, wrinkles, and sunspots, resulting in healthier-looking skin overall.
The Droplette transforms skin-care ingredients into a micro-mist, allowing the actives to sink 20 times deeper into your skin. It comes with three single-ingredient capsules: collagen, retinol, and glycolic acid. Simon uses the collagen capsule, but stays away from the other two because they don’t play well with the tech she uses afterward. “I’ve even heard from people that if they do the glycolic and put it under their gel for the ZIIP, they get like a full-blown gnarly peel because the ZIIP is pushing it in even deeper,” she says. So, pro tip: on nights when you’re using microcurrent, lay off the retinoids and exfoliants.
After using the Droplette, Simon applies her ZIIP gel (shop below) and then uses this wand from celebrity esthetician Shani Darden. “This device is awesome when it comes to lymphatic drainage,” says Simon, noting that she uses it for “a good 20 minutes” every night. “It’s got that flat plate-like disk with silicone over it, and it’s pulsing up and down so fast that it’s really pumping versus vibrating the lymph node, and that’s what you want—a pump.”
The wand uses the same “acoustic ultrasound” technology that Darden uses in her facials, which uses gentle vibrations to transmit acoustic soundwaves into the skin. This works to stimulate the facial muscles responsible for fine lines and wrinkles, and helps to give you smoother, firmer skin over time.
Now, Simon is ready to use her own creation—the ZIIP. The do-it-all tool employs microcurrent technology, which delivers low levels of electricity to enhance muscle tone and stimulate collagen production, two things that effectively firm up your complexion. It’s also got nanocurrent technology in the mix, which delivers a smaller electrical wavelength that penetrates into deeper levels of this skin to further support this process. The device connects to an app that offers seven comprehensive full facials, seven targeted treatments, and four long-term treatment plans. The sessions can fight acne, even out hyperpigmentation, depuff your eyes, sculpt your face, calm irritated skin, aid in lymphatic drainage, and more.
During her routine, Simon places this facial massager in a bowl of ice so it’s nice and cold when she’s ready for it. She uses it around areas that she wants to define like her brows, cheekbones, jaw, and neck. The chilled massage the tool delivers helps to combat dullness and skin laxity to leave behind a brighter, firmer, more sculpted complexion.
Moisturize to finish
"I wash the gel off and then move on with my normal products at that point," says Simon. "I need very little like a lightweight, lotion, not a heavy cream, and then something light around my eyes and I just let my skin breathe and go to bed."
“At night I like to use Biologique creme EOR,” says Simon. “It’s lightweight but incredibly hydrating.” The formula is high in vitamin E to restore the skin barrier, and is enriched with colostrum and hyaluronic acid to help reduce skin’s water loss and prevent signs of aging.
“After doing my at-home skin-care routine with tools, I use the Biologique Recherche Sérum Elastine around my eyes,” says Simon. This serum stimulates the synthesis of elastin, the protein responsible for skin tissue and elasticity, to fight established wrinkles and fine lines.
Once the Elastine serum has completely soaked in, Simon applies the Yall- O2 serum. “The two together make the perfect eye product and it allows the eye to breathe and for the lymphatic fluid to drain out from under the eye area,” she says.
Learn more about the ZIIP from Simon:
Erin Bunch contributed reporting for this piece.
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