Shani Darden is a skin wizard.
Getting into skin:
“I’ve been an esthetician for a little over 11 years. There was a spa called Kinara Spa that was opening and I knew it was going to be really big, so I begged someone there to get me a job as a receptionist. I started working there and went to school [at the same time]. First, I went to school for massage therapy and then to be an esthetician. The second I finished my license, one of the girls there got me a job at a dermatologist office and that’s where I learned everything. I went to a bunch of different places: a plastic surgeon, I worked for two hotel spas and then the last place I worked before I went on my own was a wellness center.”
“Oh, it was so scary—it was sort of an accident. I was doing house calls; I was pregnant with my second child and I couldn’t move. I was like, ‘I’m not doing this.’ It was Jessica [Alba] that said, ‘Why don’t you set up [your spa in] the backyard?’ I did but I thought no one would ever come. It was much easier—I could just roll my body to the backyard and give a facial. Soon I couldn’t get people to move back to the wellness center because they could come here, they don’t have to deal with a receptionist, they don’t see anyone and there’s parking.”
How Shani met Jessica Alba:
“We met at Kinara Spa when she came in for a facial. [One day] she was leaving [and she was about to] to have Honor and I told her, ‘just so you know, when you come back [after you give birth] I won’t be here because I’m pregnant.’ She’s such a nurturer, she instantly wanted to tell me everything [about pregnancy and babies]. After I had [my daughter], Phoenix, she started inviting me over for baby things and we became close.”
That pivotal moment in her career:
“When Jessica put me on Twitter, that’s when everything changed for me. She signed me up for Twitter at her house one day and she was doing some sort of [interview] on Twitter. They asked her questions about beauty and she said ‘ask my esthetician. Follow her’. Within four hours I had 3,000 new followers. She called me up and told me I had to answer these people right now. I think it was a solid week where I never left my phone—I was sweating and answering every question about every skin care problem in the world. That’s when it all changed.”
“I’m pretty simple. Every morning I cleanse, I use an antioxidant and then sunscreen. Then at night; cleanse, retinol and a moisturizer. Once a week I exfoliate. And, every night I use the light mask.
Three only products you need:
“Cleanser, retinol, and sunscreen. Use a gentle cleanser.”
The most important skin care product:
“You have to wear a sunscreen, always. Sunscreen is more important than anything because not wearing it is what’s going to cause you to age.”
Start using retinol in your…
“Early 20s. When I was in high school everyone was using retin-A for their acne. Now, those people look two [years old]—they never aged. I see a lot of older woman that forgot to put it on their neck and chest, so on their face there is not one wrinkle, but their chest shows their age.”