Welcome to our latest series '5 Minutes With’ a quick-fire Q&A with industry experts from around the world. First up is skincare guru Shani Darden. Shani is the skin expert behind Hollywoods most radiant complexions (Emily Ratajkowski, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Jessica Alba, Chrissy Teigen, Shay Mitchell and Chriselle Lim to name a few) and also helms her own namesake skincare brand, which includes her iconic (and INÈS Top Seller) Retinol Reform.
Here Shani talks us through her AM/PM routine, explain her unwavering passion for retinol, plus she shares her top tips for tackling pigmentation. .
I.For anyone new to the skincare game, what would you say is a good starting point for a baseline skincare routine.
SD. A great gentle cleanser, an antioxidant serum, and sunscreen. At night, a gentle cleanser, a treatment serum, and a great moisturiser for your skin type. Exfoliation 1-2 nights a week. You can build up from there, but these are the essentials!
"This is when I developed a love for retinol because I saw how it can really make a big difference with boosting collagen, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, clearing acne, and decreasing pigmentation."
I. What’s your typical skincare routine for AM & PM ?
I love a gentle, yet effective cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin. Daily Cleansing Serum features Oat Bran Extract to repair the skin’s barrier and Glycerin, Jojoba, & Sodium Hyaluronate to help the skin hold on to moisture. I love to remove cleanser with two pieces of wet cotton gauze. It helps to gently exfoliate and make sure all traces of cleanser are removed.
After cleansing I apply iS Clinical’s Pro-Heal to nourish and provide antioxidant protection.
To add extra hydration, I will apply a hyaluronic acid serum like iS Clinical Hydra Cool Serum or Dr. Nigma’s Serum No 1. It combines plant stem cells and marine peptides to plump up and deeply hydrate the skin.
Next up is sunscreen. I love one that is lightweight yet hydrating one like Supergoop’s Everyday Sunscreen.
I’m diligent about washing my face every single night. If skin isn’t cleansed thoroughly, your treatment products won’t be able to properly absorb. I use Daily Cleansing Serum and remove with two pieces of wet gauze.
After cleansing at night, I love to use a toner. It’s a great step to wrap up your cleansing routine. Daily Toning Essence brightens the skin with Sake Water and Sebocytine helps to regulate sebum production to keep pores clear.
1-2 times a week, I use the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads to exfoliate. They combine AHAs and BHA to remove the dead layer of skin on the surface and clear out any congestion.
On nights when I’m not exfoliating, I use Retinol Reform. I can’t live without it!
After Retinol Reform, I apply a hyaluronic acid serum again. It’s such a great way to add extra hydration without needing to rely on a heavy moisturiser which can cause congestion.
Finding a great moisturiser that works well for your skin type is so important. For more normal to oily skin, Daily Oil-Free Moisturiser is a lightweight, fast absorbing moisturiser formulated with Sodium Hyaluronate to draw moisture to the skin and help it hold on to it. .
I. Tell us about your love for retinol, how it started and why you believe in it so much.SD. Early in my career, I worked for dermatologist Dr. Erma Benitez, and I saw a lot of young people with acne and many other skin concerns. It motivated me to want to help people with their skin. This is when I developed a love for retinol because I saw how it can really make a big difference with boosting collagen, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, clearing acne, and decreasing pigmentation.
"What makes Retinol Reform unique is that it combines both Lactic Acid to provide immediate brightening and smoothing benefits along with retinol for longer term cellular turnover, collagen boosting benefits. It’s effective, but it doesn’t cause any of the dryness and irritation generally associated with prescription retinols. "
I. Knowing Retinol is your No.1, what’s your 2nd favourite skincare ingredient?
SD.Sunscreen! Wearing sunscreen every single day is the most important thing you can do for your skin to keep it healthy and youthful.
I. The first thing you do when you wake up?
SD. I start my day off using my Daily Cleansing Serum and spending 20 minutes in my Deesse Mask. It’s my favourite way to start the day so that I have a glow all day long!
I.Your two desert island products?
SD.Sunscreen and Lipgloss
I.Retinol Reform has an unquestionable ‘cult following’ - what makes it so amazing?
SD. What makes Retinol Reform unique is that it combines both Lactic Acid to provide immediate brightening and smoothing benefits along with retinol for longer term cellular turnover, collagen boosting benefits. It’s effective, but it doesn’t cause any of the dryness and irritation generally associated with prescription retinols.
I. If you were to share one piece of skincare wisdom with the world what would it be?
SD. Wear your sunscreen. Every single day! Don’t ever skip it!
I. What do you foresee as the next big beauty trends?
SD. I think non-invasive treatments like microcurrent and LED light therapy will continue to grow in popularity. I love microcurrent because it can tone, tighten, and lift the skin to keep skin looking youthful. LED light therapy can boost collagen in the skin, minimise fine lines and wrinkles, and increase circulation to make your skin glow. Both of these will result in firmer, more lifted skin and reduce the need for more invasive treatments.
I. The biggest mistake you see people making with their skin ?
SD. Not wearing sunscreen!
I. Best piece of beauty advice you’ve ever been given.
SD. Never to lay in the sun
I.Top ingredients for tackling pigmentation?
Regular professional peels can help to lighten pigmentation. For someone who has melasma, you may need to use something stronger, like a tretinoin/hydroquinone mix from a doctor. At home treatment would be a combination of Retinol Reform, Dr. Dennis Gross Peel Pads, a Vitamin C serum, and sunscreen. All of these together can help to tackle pigmentation!
I.How do you detox?
SD. Spending time with my daughters
I.How do you retox?
SD. Gummy bears or a little Pinot Grigio