Career Code: How Shani Darden Became Hollywood's Most Trusted Esthetician
In honor of Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s upcoming book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career ($13), we’re kicking off an interview series featuring 17 questions (in honor of the book’s 17 chapters) about the work lives of the most inspirational female leaders in the beauty industry.
Ever admired Jessica Alba’s flawless skin or Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s glow? Good genes help, but the real secret to the perfect complexions you see around Hollywood is Shani Darden. You can’t open a magazine or click on story without seeing one of her gorgeous clients extolling the virtues of Darden’s practice and her miracle-working Retinol Reform. Case in point: Lea Michelle and Phoebe Tonkin singing the praises of Darden’s regimen on Byrdie.
She’s known for results-driven approach to skincare, incorporating active ingredients and the most up-to-date technology. Peep her Instagram, and you’ll see many a LED-light mask selfie. After working under prominent Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Erma Benitez and working in some of the top spas in Los Angeles, Darden set out and opened her own practice. Estheticians are a dime a dozen in Hollywood, so how did one woman find herself tending to the skin care needs of virtually every It girl? Scroll through to find out.
“I fix people’s skin.”
“That most people are using the wrong products for their skin type.”
“It was too long ago for me to remember, but it’s safe to say there was a white button-down involved.”
“Oprah. I’m pretty sure she knows the secrets of the universe.”
“I have a close working relationship with Dr. Benitez, the dermatologist I worked with when I earned my esthetician license, so I tend to stay up to date through her.”
“I don’t think I have any career regrets, since everything got me to where I am today.”
“Intelligent, driven, confident, fun to be around, and calm under pressure.”
“I feel happiest in jeans and a white tee; they give me the confidence I need to take on whatever comes my way during the workday.”
“A hilarious workaholic who might be a bit mad. (Her words, not mine.)”
“I sneak away for a weekend getaway with my family to recharge.”
“Respectfully, so as not to burn any bridges.”
“A kale salad with chicken, cheese, carrots, and jalapeño vinaigrette from Sweetgreen. So good!”
“Thinking they already know everything. You should always be open to learning.”
“@jenatkinhair: Jen is so funny! I love to see her success; she deserves it.
“@revolve: Who doesn’t use Instagram for a little wardrobe inspiration?
“@honest_beauty: I love to support my friends, and Jessica makes it an easy task with these great products.
“@hollywoodathome: Don’t get me started on this place and its pillows. I’m obsessed!
“And, of course, @byrdiebeauty: It’s my go-to for all things beauty!”
“As soon as I wake up in the morning, I shower, cleanse my skin, and then apply an antioxidant and SPF. This peaceful little ritual helps me feel awake, revitalized, and ready to rush to get my girls ready for school and myself ready for the workday. After I help my girls with homework and tuck them into bed in the evening, I use my LED mask to decompress before falling asleep.”
“Work hard and follow your dreams.”
“An extended product line to launch later this year!”