Inside SB Skin with the Facialist Every Fashion Influencer's Obsessed With
Shamara Bondaroff will electrocute and change your skin *forever* (book your appointment while you still can).
You’ve heard her name whispered among editors and models, you’ve seen her tagged in many Instagram and puppy-faced Snapchat selfies (we’re guilty). Facialist Shamara Bondaroff of SB Skin is an addition to the unicorn-like network of New York City’s vast skincare specialists. But guys, Shamara is the real fucking deal, and after spending a couple hours lying on her table, I can confidently tell you two things (that you’ve probably heard from dozens of others): 1) she will change the look of your skin in just one microcurrent treatment (never mind the unreal glow you’ll get from continual visits), and 2) even if you don’t go for the microcurrent, go just to talk with the cool, calming, and so-nice-there’s-no-way-she’s-a-born-and-raised-New Yorker. Or go for her balanced and holistic—but not shoved down your throat in any way—approach to life, all things considered. I left glowing, feeling ten pounds lighter (mentally), and thinking of new ways to get myself back on Shamara’s table in the very near future.
How an all-natural vegan upbringing started it all:
“My parents were fifth generation raised in Brooklyn. My dad rebelled against society and decided we were going to be holistic vegans. I didn’t go to a regular doctor until my late twenties, it was always a natural way to do things—if you had cramps you didn’t take Advil, you embraced being a female and worked through it.
“As much as I thought my parents were dicks for basically making their kids in Brooklyn eat tofu, I know now that their foundation was amazing and they were ahead of their time. Because it’s a trend, I can go to any corner store and find something healthy to eat, but back in the day you had to be creative. Now I want to live natural and holistic and do everything as simple as possible. I believe in finding things that are good for you. Being consistent will show in the long term more than a quick fix.”
And why giving up coffee changed her life (literally):
“I don’t drink coffee for many reasons: it’s not good for your skin, it blows out your adrenals, it depletes minerals—and I’m already high-strung. If I hadn’t stopped drinking coffee I would have missed an important moment in my life; because I slowed down I was able to pay attention more.
“I had always done facials and was trying different types and making natural skincare and beauty concoctions in my house. I stumbled upon microcurrent, and I had one of those coffee-free ‘aha moments.’ I was like, ‘This is it.’ Five days later I signed up for school. I really think that if I was cracked out on caffeine I would have not paid attention. So when people talk about coffee I’m like, ‘Yeah, but if I was drinking coffee that day, you wouldn’t be laying on this table right now.’ I always bring it back to that.”
What really is a microcurrent facial?:
“I use electricity to stimulate the facial muscles, basically giving your face a workout. Reeducating those muscles to actually lift, tighten, and stay where you want them. By stimulating collagen, it makes your face look bright and healthy, plus there’s cell turnover, so it heals the skin. It’s really good for acne, I treat a lot of young people because it speeds up the whole recovery process.
“You see results right away after the first treatment, but after that it depends on the person. I recommend a few sessions in a row to reeducate that muscle. It’s like going to the gym, if you want to make changes you go to the gym a few times on a regular basis, so we try to get you in here as much as possible just to get the muscles to be where they are to stay, and then after that it’s maintenance.”
Stress = poor skin. So remember to relax:
“It’s important for us to slow down here [in New York City] because it’s a fast-paced city. When you take vacation, you feel how intense that energy is on your body. So we have to take that extra time to slow down, it could be not drinking coffee, meditating, doing yoga, taking ten seconds to breathe.
“Slowing down will show on your face and skin. Find one or two things that are simple enough to be consistent with, habits can always be created. If you want to make a change, Google it, ask questions, all the information is there (there’s a little too much information out there, but something will resonate if you pay attention; have that awareness and make those little changes in your life).”
Another reason to get the toxins out of your life (including those negative relationships):
“The skin is our largest organ in our body, it absorbs everything so quickly. It absorbs everything from your products, it absorbs your emotions. I have people who have suffered from acne and they’re still holding on to that emotion because the skin holds everything, even if they don’t have a pimple on their damn face. The skin is our shield to the world, and it’s constantly being bombarded with toxins, pollution, emotions—in New York especially.
“Why would you take a shower and use crap on your body? Especially when you’re in the shower and the steam opens your pores and they absorb everything. Use good things on your skin—you don’t have to be crazy about 100-percent natural everything, but one by one making changes of products will pay off.”
What she does every.single.day:
“For the last 25 years, every single morning I drink apple cider vinegar. I drink it all day long diluted with water, it’s like my version of the My Big Fat Greek Wedding Windex. It’s the best thing—clean with it, use it as a rinse for your hair, for buildup, and keeping the pH balance on your scalp. And salt baths are one of the most important things, at least once a week, to take a bath with multiple types of salts, I feel like that’s my lifesaver.
“I don’t believe in using products that are $300. You can find great stuff from Whole Foods or even in your kitchen. Wash your face with honey, use coconut oil on your body, or a cinnamon-and-honey scrub on your face. Always keep coconut oil, honey, baking soda, cinnamon, and turmeric in the cabinet. You know what’s expensive? Getting sick and paying for doctors and medicine. If you’re eating right and clean, it’s going to show on your body, health, and skin. It’s all about prevention.”
Her cardinal rules of skincare (and why it should be your biggest investment):
“Skincare [is] lifestyle. You don’t need ten steps at night, [it] can be 3 steps. I believe in lightly exfoliating all the time, in using oils on your face, in coming up with a plan that works for you and your lifestyle, in being consistent with it. Sleep is really important, and not getting wasted. Living hard is going to show on your skin; you got to live, but find a balance. Having a good skincare routine, staying hydrated, that’s it. And find time for microcurrent in your life—even if that means using a handheld microcurrent at home, like the NuFace, do that in between sessions.”
Why she treats the never-have-botoxed and the botoxed:
“There’s three types of people that come in here. The girl who lives healthy, doesn’t ever want to do botox or fillers, and could be any age (I have clients from ages 18 to 87). The second type is someone who does botox and fillers, but since botox freezes muscles, I’m keeping it alive and healthy; even though it’s frozen, it’s getting blood flow to that muscle to stay strong. And the third type of person wants to come off botox and fillers. We end up working those muscles so well and giving them such a natural look that they wean themselves off.
“That’s why microcurrent is so popular right now, because people want a natural look that’s healthy with no side effects. Microcurrent has been around for 100 years, it’s safe and gives a look where people might think you did botox, but you didn’t, and you’re keeping your skin and muscles alive and blood flowing. I mean, what’s better than that?”