Beauty Secrets of 5 Top Facialists

Aestheticians (aka facialists) have access to the best beauty products and procedures—so what do they choose to use themselves? Five in-demand skin gurus reveal their secrets

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Nichola Joss, 45

Joss owns the Joss Beauty Limited spa in London. Star clients include Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson.

Illustration by Cath Riley

Nichola's daily drill

“I follow a simple routine that begins with the Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System [$119], a cleansing oil and toner. I’m also fierce with SPF—and use it every day. My favorite is SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 [$32].”

How Nichola hydrates

“I have very dry skin, and my grandmother introduced me to oils; they really make an immediate difference in my skin’s plumpness and dewiness. My current obsession is Sanctuary Spa Therapist’s Secret Facial Oil [$40]. I massage it in for five minutes each night, and on days when my complexion is dull, I mix it into my sunscreen.”

Nichola on how to fake it

“A flawless look is possible, even on bad skin days, thanks to this dynamic duo: Lancôme Teint Miracle Lit-from-Within Makeup [$40] makes my skin look even and dewy, and Nars Blush in Orgasm [$29] provides the best-ever flush for cheeks.”

Nichola says no needles for now

“I had fillers injected so I could have an informed opinion about them. But I decided I looked better at this point by sticking to traditional skin care. In five to 10 years, however, I will probably do a little Botox around my forehead to soften deep lines.”


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Nichola's radiance-boosting trick

“My secret weapon is St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse [$18-$42]. I use it every two weeks to give my skin an allover glow; it definitely makes me look younger.”

Mamie McDonald, 57

McDonald has 20 years of experience, specializing in treating skin of all colors. She owns Mamie’s Skin Care Center in Manhattan; celeb devotees include Kerry Washington and Eva Mendes.

Illustration by Cath Riley

Mamie on her split-personality skin

“My own complexion is a mixed bag. I have eczema and recently, thanks to menopause, developed rosacea.”


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Mamie's golden rule

“I feel strongly about sun protection for people of color, including Asian and Pacific Islander populations. I’ve seen skin cancer and hyperpigmentation in all ethnicities. Darker skin pro-vides some natural protection from UV rays, but you still must wear sunblock with SPF 30 and UVA and UVB protection.”


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Mamie on how to prevent hyperpigmentation

“Acne eruptions can leave darker skin spotted with patches that last for months—long after the blemishes themselves have healed. To minimize this discoloration, I use a DIY remedy: Mix ½ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon distilled water to create a paste, then apply it to the affected area for five minutes; splash off. Afterward, I use a cotton swab to dab on hydrogen peroxide. This kills any remaining acne bacteria and prevents darkening.”


Photo courtesy of Ugo Cutilli/

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Mamie's recommended eye cream for all colors

Prolastil E-50 Eye Serum [$139] is a high-potency cream specially formulated for the thin, sensitive skin around the eyes.”

Mamie's bedtime ritual

“After washing my face at night, I prefer to apply only serums. I believe skin needs to breathe while you sleep, so I don’t use anything heavy. I also skip eye cream before bed, because I think it can cause my eyes to become puffy by morning. I use eye cream only during the day.”


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Mamie says to flush out on Fridays

“I detox every Friday by fasting and drinking just green juices and plenty of water. Cleansing the body of toxins, mucus and other waste materials in the intestinal tract helps all skin disorders. I use detox products from M’lis."

Mamie's top tactic for hydration

“I think overexfoliation causes the skin to lose water and become dehydrated. So I limit acids or scrubs to once or twice a week and drink water constantly to rehydrate my skin cells. In my opinion, water is the best skin-care product in the world.”


Photo courtesy of Mama_mia/

Mamie's feelings on fillers

“I have tried both Botox and Restylane. And I will consider plastic surgery down the road if time and money allow.”


Photo courtesy of Givaga/

Renée Rouleau, 43

Rouleau owns two skin spas in Dallas and is the founder of Renée Rouleau Skin Care products. Celeb clients include Anna Faris and Brenda Strong.

Illustration by Cath Riley

Renée's age-embracing approach

“I don’t take extreme measures to avoid wrinkles. I think the key to a good complexion is having the smoothest texture possible. To achieve this, I do mild peels once a month and get Botox between my brows twice a year.”


Photo courtesy of Fly_dragonfly/

Renée says cleanser counts

“Cleanser makes or breaks your routine. I use a gentle, sulfate-free cleansing gel morning and night and warn clients against using anything that provides abundant lather. The more lather you get, the more drying the product.”


Photo courtesy of Yuri Arcurs/

Renée's holy grail product

“I still struggle with occasional under-the-skin bumps. So I created my own antidote: Renée Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment [$40], which cuts the life of a cyst in half.”

Renée's method of complexion cross-training

“If you run all the time, you’ll have great legs, but if you do CrossFit, no muscle is left untouched. Skin is similar in that it benefits from variety. So I alternate three products before bed: a retinol cream to boost collagen production; a deep moisturizing serum; and an antibacterial serum with salicylic, lactic and glycolic acids to exfoliate and break down dark pigment.”


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The step Renée won’t skip

“It’s an absolute must to remove residue left on the skin. To me, using toner after cleansing is akin to washing a glass shower door that’s coated with mineral deposits and soap.”


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Renée's surprising strategy

“I adore cheese, but I believe it causes my cyst flare-ups. So I limit dairy, though I fall off the wagon on my annual visit to France.”


Photo courtesty of Kubais/

Kate Somerville, 43

Somerville has the medi-skin spa Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts Clinic in Los Angeles and an eponymous skin-care line. Regulars include Debra Messing and Rashida Jones.

Illustration by Cath Riley

How Kate became skin obsessed

“I have very sensitive skin and had eczema as a child. Doctors would prescribe all these medicines, yet my skin would still be dry and inflamed. That’s why I became an aesthetician; I knew there must be another method of skin healing.”


Photo courtesy of S_L/

Kate's all-time favorite product

“I came up with ExfoliKate [Intensive Exfoliating Treatment; $85] because my skin is so dry. Right after I use it, my skin is soft and glowing.”

The anti-ager Kate says everyone needs

“Retinol is one of the most effective ingredients around, period.”


Photo courtesy of sagir/

Kate's sneaky sun strategy

“Rather than lotion, my everyday sun protection is mineral makeup from Jane Iredale.”

Christine Chin, 58

Chin owns an eponymous product line and spa in Manhattan and is the go-to aesthetician of models such as Gisele Bundchen and Christy Turlington.

Illustration by Cath Riley

Christine on why we all need moisturizer

“Hydration is essential to keeping skin healthy; I think even a teenager with acne needs to use a moisturizer. If I get a pimple, I actually celebrate because that means I’m well hydrated. But if I’m rashy, I know I’m too dry and need to up my moisturizer application.”


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Christine's worth-it skin splurge

“When you’re in the beauty biz, you try everything—the products, the injectables, the skin-tightening machines. But what has made the most difference for me is lasers: one to remove sun damage and one to promote collagen production. I do a series once or twice a year.”


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What Christine says is almost as good as a laser

“I’m also in favor of products that contain vitamin A—including prescription-strength Retin-A or over-the-counter retinol, which I advise applying directly on the skin twice a week. They are like magic wands.”


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Christine's 10-year plan

“I’m not interested in surgery unless I really need it in the future. I think lasers will help more. But I may need filler and Botox, and I have nothing against that.”


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Christine's dull-skin antidote

“Dead skin cells are like plaque on teeth, and we produce more plaque as we get older. So I slough off the dead skin once a week with my own hibiscus-spiked Christine Chin Cell Gold Gommage Peeling [$120]. All you need is one minute to yourself—and if you can’t find it, I can’t help you.”


Next: Skin Picks of Top Docs


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First Published Mon, 2013-03-11 15:55

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