Jessica Alba, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Chrissy Teigen: Other than genetically gifted features and glowing skin, what do these three women have in common? That would be Shani Darden—know the name, and commit it to memory. Darden has gained a reputation among Hollywood’s A-list as the skin whisperer. Her clients rave about her ability to soothe acne, rosacea, and sensitivity, as well as breathe new life to dull, tired complexions. If you aren’t in Los Angeles (or able to squeeze in an appointment—her wait-list is long), you’re in luck, because we begged politely and asked Darden to share some of the top products she recommends to clients like Alba. To say we were surprised by her picks would be an understatement, mainly because many of them we’ve never heard of. And we’re beauty editors. So.
From a lightweight sunscreen to patches that mimic an eye-lift, keep scrolling for Darden’s picks.
“The single most important thing you can do for your skin is to protect it from the sun," notes Darden. "Sun exposure ages your skin and is extremely hard to reverse later in life. This sunscreen provides protection without clogging pores.”
Control Corrective's sunscreen is hydrating, too, so it doubles as a lightweight moisturizer.
“At-home exfoliants get rid of dead cells on the surface of your skin to keep your skin bright and glowing," says Darden. "I recommend a chemical exfoliant like Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peels (Original Strength), as I find them to be strong and effective but not as harsh as other methods of exfoliation. Removing the top layer of dead cells also allows products (e.g. retinol) to penetrate into the skin.”
“Retinol is my favorite anti-aging ingredient," says Darden. "Prescription-strength retinol can cause irritation, but most people’s skin can benefit from a good over-the-counter option like my Retinol Reform—especially if you take the time to slowly introduce it to your skincare regimen. Retinol decreases ﬁne lines, wrinkles, and discoloration; boosts collagen in the skin; and helps make skin look tighter and younger.”
With 2.2% encapsulated retinol, Darden's product is gentle, but still effective (as a bonus, it contains lactic acid, so the glow-inducing results are almost immediate).
[Ed. note: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley told us she’s a fan!]
Formulated without parabens or dyes, this mask helps to soothe skin with a calming blend of anti-inflammatory ingredients. “This mask is great for all skin types," says Darden. It’s extremely hydrating, so my clients use it during long flights or in extreme weather.” It's also ideal to use after days spent in the sun.
“These patches decrease ﬁne lines around your eyes and noticeably plump the skin underneath your eyes in just 20 minutes," says Darden. "They’re perfect for a quick lift before an event.” Try using them while applying eye makeup, as they tend to catch any eyeshadow fallout.
“I love this device and attachment," says Darden. "I use a professional version of the device in my facials. The microcurrent technology helps improve facial contour, tone skin, and reduce wrinkles.”