How Top Aestheticians Take Care Of Their Skin

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
While we love knowing the intimate details of Kylie Jenner’s beauty routine, sometimes it makes more sense to go directly to those responsible for the smooth, poreless skin of Hollywood’s elite: aestheticians. These beauty professionals work with stars to customize at-home skin-care programs and treat them to deep-cleansing facials, exfoliation, and extractions. There are few other vocations in which your own face is the best advertisement for your work, and these women boast complexions as clear and glowy as their top clients.

Armed with the knowledge of which products work for which skin types — and access to their own product lines and treatments — they also have the ability to “prescribe” themselves some pretty sick regimens, including ones they tailor-made. That's why we talked to some of the best skin savants in the business about what they’re using on their own faces in the morning, at night, and when they travel. From double-cleanses (sometimes from the waist up!) to weather-specific moisturizing tips, you’re going to want to snag these skin-care routines for yourself.
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Courtesy of Vanessa Hernandez.
Vanessa Hernandez, aesthetician and founder of Vanessa Hernandez Skincare
Clients: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jenna Dewan, Jessica Capshaw, and Claire Danes
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Morning: Hernandez’s morning routine consists of washing with Ayur-Medic Anti-Bacterial Wash (a benzoyl-peroxide cleanser), followed by a hydrating mask, like Radical Skincare Instant Revitalizing Mask. After rinsing clean, she smoothes a thin layer of EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 sunscreen over her face, as well as L’Oréal Age Perfect Eye Renewal Eye Cream all over her eye area. "Always use your eye cream morning and night. The eye area is the most delicate area on the face, so it is extremely important to take the right precautions to keep the eye area supple and hydrated," says Hernandez.

Night: Before bed, Hernandez washes her face with Brave Soldier Clean Skin Cleanser (a eucalyptus-based deep-cleanser) and massages on an anti-aging face oil, like L’Oréal Age Perfect Glow Renewal Facial Oil. She follows that with a layer of SkinMedica Retinol Complex 1.0 (a retinol treatment), and smoothes StriVectin TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream on her neck and décolletage. "It's never too soon to start anti-aging products and serums," she stresses. "It's all about prevention."

Travel: When she travels, Hernandez replaces her normal foundation (Armani Luminous Silk Foundation) with a tinted moisturizer (L’Oréal Youth Code Skin Illuminator Tinted All-In-1 Moisturizer SPF 20). She keeps L’Oréal RevitaLift Radiant Smoothing Wet Cleansing Towelettes in her bag to take off her makeup. "Cleansing towelettes are amazing and easy to use anytime!" says Hernandez. "On the plane, in a car, or at the end of your evening. It's important to keep your skin clean. Clean skin is happy, healthy skin." She also wears Patchology Energizing Eye Patches in-flight, and continuously mists her face with Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 to rehydrate her skin in the drying airplane air.
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Courtesy of Kate Somerville.
Kate Somerville, aesthetician and founder of Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts
Clients: Jessica Alba, Paris Hilton, and Debra Messing
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Morning: Somerville starts her day by double-cleansing, and then layers on a hydrating serum that contains hyaluronic acid (like Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift Advanced Wrinkle Treatment) to draw moisture into cells and plump up her skin. She follows with a moisturizer, like her brand's Daily Deflector Sunscreen SPF 50, which seals in hydration, keeps the skin balanced, and offers sun protection. “Many of my clients ask me to take away or reverse something they don’t like about their skin, and usually what they don’t like could have been avoided by staying out of the sun,” she says. “I never leave the house without SPF 30 at a minimum.”

Somerville exfoliates with her brand's ExfoliKate Intensive scrub three times a week, followed by a layer of hyaluronic acid. She always smooths on retinol and vitamin C at night, as both are light-sensitizing. “Retinol is the most important ingredient you can use in a regimen if you’re over the age of 30,” she notes. “It stimulates collagen, removes environmental damage, aids in wrinkle reduction, helps with breakouts, reduces scarring, minimizes pore size, and helps skin texture.” She follows with a stabilized form of vitamin C, like her brand's Mega-C Dual Radiance Serum, and finishes with moisturizer.

Travel: She packs the Age Arrest Hydrating Firming Mask for intense hydration, firming, and to fight free-radical damage. “I also love using it when I’m skiing as a barrier to protect skin,” she says. Somerville’s secret to treating dark circles post-flight? She steeps green-tea bags and puts two metal spoons on ice. She then puts the tea bags over her eyes for 10 minutes before massaging eye cream into the eye area with the cold spoons. “This trick instantly reduces puffiness,” she says.
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Courtesy of Isabelle Bellis.
Isabelle Bellis, epidermologist and founder of the Isabelle Bellis Center
Clients: Bellis' client list is top-secret — and includes a bevy of A-listers and beauty editors.
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Morning: Rather than washing her face, Bellis mists it with Avène Thermal Spring Water and wipes it clean with facial tissues or cotton pads — a trick she learned through her French upbringing. Then, she spritzes on rosewater before massaging in serum, moisturizer, and/or cream, depending on the weather. “[It depends on whether] I will be in air-conditioning or dry heat — sometimes you need something light; sometimes you need something heavier,” she explains.

Night: “Especially if you live in an urban environment, it’s critical to remove pollution, grime, and dust with an effective cleanser,” Bellis says. She’s partial to the Joëlle Ciocco Lait Onctueux (Sensitive Cleansing Milk). After rinsing with it, she spritzes on more spring water and — get this — goes to sleep without a drop of serum, moisturizer, or night cream three times a week to let her skin breathe. The other nights, she’ll don a light eye cream and finish with serum, moisturizer, and cream.

Bellis packs — what else? — her bottle of spring water, “as most cities have harsh tap water that’s usually very drying and irritating,” she says. She treats herself to moisturizing masks, like Joëlle Ciocco Spring Mask, as she has more time in the evening when traveling. “A good face oil like Joëlle Ciocco Cerat Aux Fleurs Composées is key for air travel, as airplane cabins always dehydrate your skin,” she says. Lastly, she brings La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Tinted sunscreen, “as overexposure to [the] sun can damage and age skin rapidly.”
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Courtesy of Joanna Vargas.
Joanna Vargas, aesthetician and founder of Joanna Vargas Skin Care
Clients: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Sofia Coppola
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Morning: Vargas washes her face at night, and simply splashes it with lukewarm water in the morning. “I don't like using extreme temperatures on my skin because this tends to dry it out,” Vargas explains. She then smoothes the Joanna Vargas Skin Care Rejuvenating Serum (an argan-oil blend) on her face and neck, and follows with Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. “I don't wear much makeup for work — I think it's nicer to see clean, fresh skin,” she says.

Night: Vargas never hits the sheets without washing her face with her brand's Vitamin C Face Wash. “I take my makeup off with that as well, because I hate fussing with tons of products,” she says. She follows with a layer of the moisturizing Daily Serum. “If I have a big event the next day, I will sometimes go to sleep with my Exfoliating Mask on my face,” she says. “It brightens and exfoliates for a nice, clean palette in the morning for makeup.”

Vargas always packs her line's cleanser, with which she washes her face before boarding. “Facial cleansers are made for the delicate skin on the face; the formulas are pH-balanced,” she says. “Nothing throws your skin off like substituting your cleanser with a bar of soap.” She spritzes on Éminence Organics Sweet Red Rose Tonique, rubs on the Joanna Vargas Daily Serum, and treats herself to a Wei sheet mask. “The sheet mask is awesome because it's not messy, you can easily travel with it, and it's very hydrating,” she says.
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Courtesy of Renee Rouleau.
Renée Rouleau, aesthetician and founder of Renée Rouleau (and Refinery29 contributor!)
Clients: Emma Roberts, Emmy Rossum, and Demi Lovato
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Morning: Because Rouleau's skin tends to be on the oily side, she starts her day with a deep pore-cleansing gel like Renée Rouleau Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel, followed by the brand's Elderberry Toner, Vitamin C&E Treatment, and Daily Protection SPF 30 sunscreen. She finishes with the Vitamin C Eye Brightener. On days when her face is particularly puffy, Rouleau splashes it with an ice-water-and-witch-hazel blend. “The cold plus the anti-inflammatory effects of witch hazel work to constrict capillaries and reduce swelling,” she says. After wearing the Energizing Cleansing Masque for 10 minutes (if she has time), she dusts on Colorescience SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen and BareMinerals Mineral Veil.

Rouleau uses her brand's Aloe Cleansing Milk to remove makeup, followed by the Toning Cloths. She massages a night serum into her damp skin, alternating between Advanced Resurfacing Serum (a retinol cream) and Skin Drink (a hyaluronic-acid serum), and finishes with moisturizer. “In the summer I use Sheer Moisture, and in winter I use Hawaiian Nourishing Cream,” she says. The final step is Total Eye Repair Cream (an anti-aging eye cream).

Rouleau checks a bag on every trip: “I like to bring my full skin-care routine, and there’s no way it can all fit into a quart-size bag,” she admits. To combat the drying effects of flying, she brings the Pro Remedy Oil. “I add a few drops of this oil over my sunscreen pre-flight, and then I pat on two drops every hour that I’m in the air,” she says.
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Courtesy of Sonya Dakar.
Sonya Dakar, aesthetician and founder of Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic
Clients: Drew Barrymore and Gwyneth Paltrow
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Morning: Dakar rises by 6 a.m. and washes her face, neck, décolletage, shoulders, and hands using the Sonya Dakar Hoya Nourishing or the Buriti Purifying oil cleansers. A few times a week, she mixes a bit of her brand's Detox Micro Scrub into her cleanser and smoothes on the Flash Facial one-minute peel. She then smears on the Nano Mask while making her morning green juice. After rinsing clean, she leaves her skin slightly damp to allow the rest of her products to penetrate better. These include a layer of Retinu (a retinol serum), Organic Omega Booster (a hydrating serum), and Eyeposuction (a de-puffing eye cream). She finishes with Daily Face Shield SPF 30 sunscreen, Stila Tinted Moisturizer, and Aquaphor on her lips.

At night, Dakar showers and scrubs her décolletage, shoulders, and elbows. To prevent puffiness the following morning, she drinks organic matcha green tea and presses a cold compress on her face. “It gets the blood rushing to my skin, and leaves it glowing and plump,” she says. She uses Flash Facial again at night, followed by Fade Away (a lightening serum), Stem Cell Transformer (an anti-aging concentrate), another layer of the Organic Omega Booster, and Eye Need (an anti-wrinkle eye cream). She seals it all with a thin layer of the Nano Mask and hits the sack.

Travel: When flying, Dakar wears the Nano Mask before takeoff (if you can’t tell, this is her hero product). She reapplies Eyeposuction every few hours and, upon landing, washes, exfoliates, and presses on a cold compress. She also avoids peanuts like the plague. “I do not eat any salt prior to travel for 48 hours,” she says. “It bloats my face immediately!”
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