My Skincare Lessons: Shani Darden
My Skincare Lessons: Shani Darden

My Skincare Lessons: Shani Darden

Shani Darden is one of the top aestheticians in the beauty industry. When it comes to skin, she knows exactly what does and what doesn’t – which explains why her clients include A-listers like Jessica Alba, January Jones and Kelly Rowland. Here, we asked her to share her best tips, favourite products and what goes into her own routine.
By Rebecca Hull

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Number One Rule

“You’ve heard it before, but wearing sunscreen is my number one rule. UV exposure is responsible for about 90% of skin ageing, so it pays to wear sunscreen daily and keep reapplying it – even in grey, dull weather. It’s also essential to stay out of the sun during the hottest times of day and keep your face covered whenever possible. It’s the best way to prevent early wrinkles and pigmentation.”

Daily Routine

“My routine is fairly simple and it doesn’t change unless I’m testing out new products. The most important thing is to use a gentle cleanser, an antioxidant-based serum (like a vitamin C) and sunscreen every single day. Always finish with a moisturiser that feels good and is suited to what your skin needs – be it hydration or extra protection. That really is all you need.”

Ingredients That Work

“First, retinol. It’s an amazing, multi-tasking ingredient that helps – and is proven – to address multiple anti-ageing concerns, from the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to uneven texture, dullness and even a loss of firmness. I’ve seen my own Retinol Reform improve my clients’ acne scarring and blemishes within weeks. Another key ingredient in your routine is vitamin C. Using antioxidants like this helps to protect your skin from environmental stressors like pollution and UV – both of which cause dullness. I often say vitamin C is essential for glowing skin. It also helps to reverse the signs of oxidative (internal) stress. I swear by hyaluronic acid too. It helps the skin attract and hold onto moisture and always gives you plumper, fresher-looking skin. Finally, peptides should be in everyone’s skincare routine. They help to support healthy collagen and elastin production, giving you firmer, smoother skin in the long run.”


Advice To Adopt

“If I could go back and give my teenage self some advice, it would be to start using retinol in your early 20s. I’d also tell myself to invest in at-home devices as soon as possible. There are so many good ones now that offer such impressive results and are worth the money – regular use will minimise the need for more expensive treatments later on. My Deesse Pro LED Light Mask is my go-to. It features simultaneous red and infrared light – the gold standard duo in treating anti-aging – which work in tandem to elicit a stronger cellular response, therefore boosting collagen production to visibly diminish wrinkles. It also has blue and red LED light to minimise mild to moderate acne. It’s also FDA approved.”

Day & Evening Tips

“Your routine should look different in the morning and at night. In the morning, you should focus on protection, as you’ll be exposed to UV rays and pollution, both of which can break down collagen and speed up ageing. At night, your skin enters ‘repair mode’, so you need to offset any damage caused during the day. Our cells regeneration speeds up at night, so your skin becomes more receptive to active products like retinol and AHAs.”

Retinol Benefits

“I am often asked whether everyone should be using a retinol. For me, it’s more about whether or not your skin type can tolerate it. Of course, we don’t all need it, but it is the gold-standard for anti-ageing and it does keep your skin looking youthful and glowing. It can completely transform your skin when used in the long-term, but perseverance is key, as is finding the right formula for you. Always start with a low percentage and build up gradually. There are so many benefits to it and it can streamline your routine by addressing multiple issues at once.”

Peptides should be in everyone’s skincare routine. They support HEALTHY COLLAGEN PRODUCTION for smoother skin.

Products Worth Investing In

“Everyone should have a gentle cleanser that includes ingredients like hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin. I also recommend looking for oat brand and olive extract in your skincare – these ingredients rebalance moisture levels and soothe inflammation. A good antioxidant serum is key – I love iS Clinical’s Pro-Heal Serum for protecting the skin, and it works so well to brighten and boost its elasticity. For extra hydration, I recommend Dr Nigma’s Serum No.1 – if you’ve never tried it, I promise you won’t be disappointed. My other favourite product is my Intensive Eye Renewal Cream which nourishes the delicate skin in this area. Finally, if you’re after a good SPF, I can’t recommend Supergoop’s Play Everyday formula enough. It’s so hydrating and the SPF50 doesn’t cause any congestion."

Skincare Motto

“My biggest skincare motto is to find the right products for your individual needs. It’s not about using what everyone else is, or using the latest thing, it’s about getting exactly what you need. Look at your own skin and see if it’s dry, tight or prone to breakouts, then build your routine around this. Less is definitely more and it’s something I live by. You don’t need lots of products; you just need a few that multi-task and contain efficacious ingredients. It's a bit of trial and error but it’s worth it for balanced, glowing, healthy skin in the long term.”

First Skin Memory

“I used to always mix up masks as a kid and begged my friends to try them out. As a teenager, I dealt with some acne and skin rashes and saw a dermatologist for treatment. That was the most pivotal moment for me. Going through my own skin issues and getting the treatment right was invaluable. It really inspired me to help others with their skin.”


Repeat Skin Buy

“It would have to be my own Retinol Reform. It’s the one product I’d recommend everyone tries from my range. I created it because I couldn’t find a retinol on the market that had all the benefits of a prescription formula but with minimal irritation. It offers so many benefits and also contains lactic acid to brighten and plump the skin. Use it regularly and you’ll see plenty of anti-ageing results, not to mention better glow and bounce.”  

Facial Massage

“I prefer to do a facial massage using a device – whether that’s on myself or on clients. I actually start my mornings by using my Facial Sculpting Wand which helps to tone, tighten and lift my skin. I am prone to puffiness and this helps wake up my face. The wand transmits acoustic sound waves up to 6cm below the skin’s surface, so you get the kind of deep muscle stimulation that can’t be achieved with manual massage. Using tools like this will help target everything from crow’s feet to eyebrow furrows and nasolabial lines. They aren’t just marketing hype, they really do work.”

Takeaway Lessons

“Use the right products for your skin type, eat a diet full of real foods and limit ones anything that’s overly processed. Most importantly, wear SPF daily – do all of this and you’ll thank yourself down the line.”

Follow @ShaniDarden for more advice & skin tutorials.


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