"I have a slightly oily T-zone, but my skin is pretty balanced otherwise," she says. To keep things even, Darden relies on a luxurious but ingredient-forward routine for oily skin that's filled with formulas that help balance oil production, reduce fine lines, and protect against environmental aggressors. From morning to night, scroll through to see the nine products Shani Darden puts on her skin every single day.
Morning oily skin-care routine
Cleanser: Derma E Hydrating Facial Cleanser with Hyaluronic Acid, $12
"I love a gentle, yet effective cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin," says Darden. She calls out ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, that hydrate the skin while removing makeup and grime. Pro tip? She uses wet cotton gauze to remove the suds, which also provides gentle exfoliation.
Antioxidant: iS Clinical Pro-Heal Advance Serum, $155
"This is an amazing vitamin C serum that helps to offset the effects of environmental stressors like pollution and UV exposure, and can also help reverse the signs of sun damage by brightening skin and boosting collagen," says Darden. It's packed with antioxidants like zinc, olive leaf extract, and vitamins A and E to leave skin highly protected.
Eye cream: Cosmedix Opti-Crystal Eye Serum, $65
"I like this eye serum, which has copper complex and liquid crystals to brighten, hydrate, and firm the skin," says Darden. For best results, pat (don't rub!) the product under your eyes and on the thin skin surrounding your lips.
Sunscreen: Supergoop Play Everyday Lotion, $22
"Wearing sunscreen every single day is the most important thing you can do for your skin," says Darden, who refers to SPF as her "desert island" skin-care product, that she never leaves the house without. She loves this lightweight SPF 50, which is extra hydrating thanks to rosemary and sunflower leaf extracts.
Nighttime oily skin-care routine
Toner: Shani Darden Sake Toning Essence, $52
After she uses her cleansing serum at night, Darden applies a toner. "It’s a great step to wrap up your cleansing routine," she says. "Our Sake Toning Essence brightens the skin with sake water and sebocytine helps to regulate sebum production to keep pores clear." Another oil-balancing toner we love? Skinceuticals Equalizing Toner ($32) which uses fruit acids and botanical ingredients to whisk away dead skin cells and reduce redness.
Exfoliant: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel, $88
Darden's go-to exfoliating product is the same one our editors swear by. She uses these pads once or twice a week, explaining that "exfoliation is necessary to remove the dead layer of skin on the surface so that your treatment products can do their job." The combination of glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids in this formula work together to clear dead skin cells, stimulate collagen, reduce blockages in your pores, and support natural cell renewal.
Retinol: Shani Darden Retinol Reform, $88
"On nights when I’m not exfoliating, I use Retinol Reform.," says Darden. "It combines lactic acid and retinol to speed up cellular turnover to bring fresh skin to the surface, as well as boost collagen, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, reduce hyperpigmentation, and help keep skin clear." The formula won't cause dryness or flaking, which means it's safe to use every night (as long as you're not pairing it with an exfoliant). For another sensitive-skin friendly retinoid, try Mara Evening Primrose + Green Tea Retinol Oil ($120).
Hydrating serum: Dr. Nigma’s Serum No 1, $185
It may seem counterintuitive, but it's extra-important to keep oily skin hydrated, because when it dries out your skin starts to produce excess oil to try and remedy the situation on its own. "If I need extra hydration, I’ll add in this hyaluronic acid serum to deeply hydrate and plump up the skin," says Darden. In addition to hyaluronic acid, this serum also features plant stem cells that protect skin and help smooth fine lines.
"Finding a great moisturizer that works well for your skin type is so important," says Darden. "For more normal to oily skin like mine, I prefer a lightweight oil-free moisturizer formulated with hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin." This one, which has a cooling jelly texture, fits the bill.
Treatment: NuFace Trinity Pro, $325
"Microcurrent is another treatment I love to tone, tighten, and lift the skin," says Darden, who uses this device a few times a week to help keep her skin lifted. "It’s a great preventative treatment—if you use microcurrent consistently before your skin starts to drop, it will help to prevent it." The waves in this microcurrent device stimulate the production of collagen and elastin in your skin, keeping it from creasing or sagging.
Shani Darden isn't the only esthetician who's given us a peak into her skin-care collection: Here's how Silver Mirror's Cindy Kim treats her sensitive combination skin. Plus, the common skin-care mistakes estheticians see their clients making all the time.
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