Rana Good is the founder of Naïra NYC. A writer for publications such as Forbes, Travel + Leisure, Coveteur, Mens Journal and others, she created her own platform celebrating women of color.
When A-listers need their skin to be red-carpet-ready, they turn to celebrity aesthetician Shani Darden who’s worked with celebrities such as Beyoncé, Shay Mitchell, and Jessica Alba. Darden is famous for making her clients’ complexions look radiant and flawless, and even if you can’t get an appointment at her Beverly Hills Studio, you can still experience her magic touch at home with her brand, Shani Darden Skin Care.
We spoke to Darden about her newest product, a moisturizer that hydrates for up to 72 (!) hours, and how to best way take care of melanin-rich skin.
You’re known as the facialist to the stars in Los Angeles, how did you start your career in beauty and why did you launch your own salon?
Shani Darden: Early on in my career, I worked for a dermatologist which was an incredible experience for me to treat a variety of different skin types and conditions. It was here that I discovered the incredible effects retinol can have on the skin to keep it looking smooth, youthful, and clear. However, I also saw how incredibly challenging prescription retinol can be to use, creating dryness, flakiness, and irritation. I couldn’t find a retinol on the market that had all of the benefits of a prescription formula, with minimal irritation, so I decided to create one.
I launched my first product, Retinol Reform, almost ten years ago. My clients were always asking me about launching more products, so I finally decided to take all of that knowledge and put it into developing my own skincare line.
When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I started doing facials out of the guesthouse of my former rental house. It was a very private space that worked really well for me and my clients. After a few years, I began to outgrow the house and knew that I wanted to find something that was still very private, yet a bigger space to grow into. I ended up finding the perfect spot on a really quiet, private street in Beverly Hills that I had torn down to the studs and from there, my studio was built. I officially opened my studio in June 2019.
How did you develop such a star-studded clientele?
I have been really fortunate that I’ve had a lot of really great clients from the beginning who have referred me to others, and it continued to grow from there.
What’s your unique POV on skincare?
My point of view on skincare is always that it’s not about using the most products, but the right products for your skin type. The trends always change, but I believe that skincare does not have to be complicated in order to be effective. It’s about using the best products for your skin specifically because what works for someone else, may not work great for your skin. You have to take the time to determine what works best for your skin.
What are some skin issues you see in women of color and what recommendations do you have to manage melanin-rich skin?
Melanin-rich skin types may be less prone to sunburns, but skin still needs to be protected with sunscreen. Darker skin tones are still at risk for skin cancer. Additionally, sun damage can cause the skin to age faster. Looser, sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles all happen as a result of sun damage, and protecting your skin with sunscreen every single day is still necessary to help prevent that.
Can you tell me about your most recent launch, your moisturizer, and why it’s unique?
Hydration Peptide Cream is my newest launch. It’s a rich, oil-free moisturizer that I formulated with moisture-drenching Hydrosella, plumping peptides, and replenishing squalane to deliver deep hydration while continuing to support your skin barrier. A lot of richer creams are formulated with oils, which can lead to congestion [on the skin]. Hydration Peptide Cream has a really nice, thick texture, but it absorbs well into the skin to deeply hydrate and plump up the skin without causing congestion.
You have the Rolls Royce of LED masks, what’s special about your device and why is it important to incorporate LED into skincare?
My LED Light Therapy Mask is a great device to help achieve your best skin. It features simultaneous Red & Infrared light, the gold standard in treating anti-aging, which elicits a stronger cellular response, boosting collagen production to visibly diminish wrinkles. It also has simultaneous Blue and Red LED light to minimize mild to moderate acne. It has 238 LED Lights which is almost triple the number of lights compared to many other masks on the market, at optimal Power Density to deliver the clinically proven dose of light therapy for maximum results. Additionally, the mask is FDA-Cleared which was really important to me.
What is a healthy skincare routine in your opinion?
Here are some of the staples for a great skincare routine. The most important thing is to make sure you’re wearing sunscreen every single day. Find a sunscreen you love that you’re going to actually wear every day. Beyond that, I recommend a gentle, yet effective cleanser, an antioxidant serum such as vitamin C in the morning, and sunscreen of course. At night, use a gentle cleanser again, paired with a treatment product such as a retinol serum like my Retinol Reform, eye cream, and a great moisturizer for your skin type. These are really the basics, but you can add in other products beyond this as well to tailor it to your skin specifically.
What’s next for you and your brand?
I have some really exciting launches set for later this year and early next year that I can’t wait to share with everyone!
What piece of advice do you have for future founders who want to launch a beauty product?
Work hard, learn as much about ingredients as you can, and always be nice to people, especially other artists, and practitioners who can send you referrals. For estheticians, I recommend working with a dermatologist if you can. Learning about as many different skin conditions as you can be so helpful in the long run.
Check out Shani Darden Skin Care here.