Secrets Of A Celebrity Aesthetician

Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
I'm an aesthetician with 25 years of hands-on experience, so you might expect me to be well-versed in the tricks of the trade — and you wouldn't be wrong. I have tips, tricks, and advice on everything from how often you should wash your face to how to get rid of blackheads. Like many of the people I see, I'm not always 100% pristine about my skin-care routine and I do have a history of habits I'm not so proud of. But, I try my best to lead by example: My profession demands it. Ahead, my no-holds-barred beauty secrets, revealed!
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
My Skin-Care Rules
I live by these.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Avoiding Sunlight In Airplanes
When you’re in an airplane, you may be exposed to the same amount of harmful UV rays as you would be while in a tanning bed for 20 minutes. This harmful radiation is responsible for damage to cell DNA, which leads to premature wrinkles and brown spots.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Using & Reapplying Sunscreen
I apply and reapply sunscreen on my face, neck, and sides of my neck 365 days a year — rain or shine. I follow my SPF 30 moisturizer with a dusting of an SPF-infused mineral powder for extra protection and easy reapplication throughout the day.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Increasing My Circulation
Healthy skin has good blood flow. To achieve this, I hang my head upside-down for three minutes per day. This can be done up against a wall, during a downward dog pose in yoga, or simply by hanging your head over the side of your bed. After three minutes, a slight redness appears on my skin. In the long run, it can make a big difference in getting (and keeping) my inner glow and looking lit from within.

The reason this works is because blood carries all of the oxygen and nutrients to feed the cells (both in our skin and body). Arterial, venous, capillary, and pulmonary systems are all avenues through which blood circulates. When capillaries are dilated, the uptake of oxygen and blood increases, ultimately causing the glow.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Limiting My Dairy Intake
Although there is no scientific evidence to back it up, personally I've found that dairy causes me to break out in cystic acne. Several of my clients have also come to the same conclusion. As much as I adore cheese, especially on my yearly trips to France to see family, I've learned to limit my dairy intake because too much will cause me to break out. Keeping dairy to a minimum (plus using my anti-cyst treatment when I flare up) has helped my skin tremendously.

I'm not saying that if you stop eating dairy, you'll stop breaking out. But, I do think it's crucial to listen to your skin's needs through changing climates, hormones, and stress levels.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
My Skin-Care Sins (Past & Present)
Nobody's perfect.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Tanning
During my high school years in the late '80s, I worked at a drugstore that sold tabletop suntan lamps. Since I was always trying to get away from being so ghostly pale, I gladly embraced the lamp in hopes of getting a deep, dark tan. Did you know that it’s possible to get sunburn (and blisters) from a lamp? Well, it is. And, I have.

When I was 18 — and a practicing aesthetician — I occasionally used tanning beds, which have UVA rays that cause premature lines and wrinkles. Luckily, I soon learned the error of my ways and now want nothing to do with tanning of any kind.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Smoking
I smoked cigarettes as a teenager. I gave it up for a New Year’s resolution one year, and never touched them again. When I go back to France to visit my husband’s family, I’m around a lot of smokers, but I have no interest in lighting up. And, my skin can thank me for that!

A smoker’s skin can appear slightly gray because capillaries are dying and closing off, which reduces blood supply and oxygen. They tend to have increased blackheads that appear on the tops of the cheeks, sides of the nose, upper lip, and forehead; where the smoke accumulates. Smokers will also experience increased wrinkling, especially on the cheeks and mouth, and undereye puffiness from collagen damage. Even if there weren't other serious health implications, the physical effects should be enough to get anyone to quit.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Picking Blemishes
I used to be a terrible picker. I’ve always said that I went into this profession so I could actually get paid to do what I love — picking! I justified my own problem by saying, "I’m licensed. I know what I’m doing." Luckily, I finally had the self-discipline to give it up in 2001 (another New Year’s resolution). Picking leads to terrible scarring, and it only makes blemishes worse. After all, what's easier to cover up with concealer: a closed, small bump or an open, scabby, oozing wound? Your choice.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Not Getting Enough Pro Treatments
I recommend monthly facials, and that really is the ideal, but with my busy travel schedule and running a growing skin-care company, sometimes I just can't make it happen. I don’t always have the “me time” I want, but if I skip a professional facial, I make sure to do a mini-facial at home with an exfoliating peel and mask. Bottom line: Pamper your skin.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Not Protecting My Hands From The Sun
I have to admit that I’m not always good at remembering to put sunscreen on the tops of my hands when I am driving, even though they are exposed to the same damaging UV rays as my face. Wearing sun protection is essential for all exposed areas, since the number-one cause of premature skin aging (wrinkles, rough texture, brown spots) is unprotected sun exposure.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
My Essential Products
We all rely on a few key products, don't we?
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Retinol
Aside from sunscreen, retinol is considered to be one of the most effective ingredients for making pores look smaller and smoothing the skin. I can’t live without my stable, time-released advanced resurfacing serum, which contains pure retinol. More than any other product, it has improved the clarity and texture of my skin.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Toner
I’m a huge fan of using an alcohol-free toner after cleansing to remove drying chlorine, salts, and minerals found in tap water. I leave the toner damp on my skin before applying my serum and moisturizer, and it helps give my thirsty skin cells an instant boost of moisture. Additionally, leaving it damp causes the skin to be more permeable, so the performance ingredients in my serum can work more effectively. From my line, I use elderberry toner.
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Illustrated by Jasmin Valcourt.
Exfoliant
As aestheticians know, exfoliation is the key to solving most skin woes — reducing and preventing breakouts, fading post-breakout marks, clearing clogged pores, and giving a glow. When I’m in a rush and need my skin to look smooth, there’s nothing like using a gentle facial scrub for an instant glow. I always use round, natural jojoba beads, as they are gentle and better for the environment.

When I have a little more time (and as part of my at-home mini-facial), I apply my triple-berry smoothing peel and leave it on for 10 minutes. It is guaranteed to remove dead skin cells, soften lines and wrinkles, and make the skin look flawless under makeup.
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