As you know, we love talking about skincare and the latest treatments so who better to chat with than SHEN’s Lead Esthetician, Monica Dawidowicz. We dive deep to learn more about her favorite skincare products, the top skin concern most clients want addressed, and the benefits of customized facials.
You’ve seen it all when it comes to skin. What common skin dilemmas do clients need most assistance with, and what treatments do you recommend?
The most common issue my clients want addressed is “congestion”, or clogged pores. This can be due to having oily skin, but also from not exfoliating enough which I see very frequently since everybody is afraid to overdo it. Most of my clients come in and ask for The Bespoke Facial, which is a customized facial that includes a deep cleansing of the skin and manual extractions. When in need of exfoliation, I encourage my clients to add a peel to their service. My go-to is a light, creamy lactic acid peel by Environ that is good for all skin types.
What are your top five favorite skincare products and why do they work so well?
Nature of Things Clarifying Facial Polish is an enzyme powder that you mix with water, and it becomes a foamy cleanser. It’s exfoliating, but it’s very gentle so the exfoliation process is consistent and it can be done daily, just like a regular cleanser.
Decree Protect Elixir is meant for the daytime and contains a powerhouse blend of Niacinamide, Vitamin C, and Hyaluronic Acid to protect and strengthen your skin from free radical damage.
Decree Treat Tincture is a serum that contains Hyaluronic Acid, Squalane, and Retinol which makes it the perfect anti-aging product for night time.
Pai’s System D Cooling Eye Serum is an under-eye product in the form of a cooling gel that contains Ceramides to lock moisture into your skin. It leaves your under-eyes feeling tighter, hydrated, and soothed.
Bynacht Overnight Onboard Hydration Mist is my favorite facial mist at SHEN. It contains Hyaluronic Acid and Panthenol, which are super hydrating and anti-inflammatory.
Do you have a favorite retinol?
My favorite retinol product is the Environ Concentrated 1 Vitamin A Serum, which comes in 3 different strengths so you can slowly build yourself up to it. This one is a true retinol, so it should only be used at night time, and in the day SPF should always be applied.
We’re always getting asked about the innovative facials offered at SHEN Spa and often receive requests for customized facials. What are some of the ways you customize popular SHEN facials?
No matter which facial you book, it will always be somewhat customizable because everyone’s skin is different. Our Bespoke Facial is the most popular customized treatment that we offer. I create a protocol for each client based on their skin type, skin conditions, and their concerns regarding their skin. Although the facial is customized, one thing all of my clients will experience is a stimulating and sculpting facial massage at the beginning of each facial.
Also, if someone wanted to book a completely customized facial, how can they go about setting one up?
The best way to book a facial with us is through our website, but you can also call our store, or even walk in and book a facial in person.
What products do you recommend for keeping skin looking fresh and youthful between appointments?
To keep your skin looking fresh and youthful in-between appointments, I suggest exfoliating regularly and using a potent mask on a weekly basis. I love the Weekly Decree Airbrushing Acid + Replenishing Paste kit, which contains a Lactic Acid peel and a hydrating, clay-based mask that you apply afterwards. It’s the perfect at-home treatment that feels like a mini facial.
Your skin is so radiantly gorgeous. What products are you personally using right now and absolutely loving?
For myself, I use Nature of Things Clarifying Facial Polish to cleanse, Irene Forte Helichrysum Hyaluronic Toner to balance and hydrate, Decree AM/PM Serums, Lernberger Stafsing Night Cream, and EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 46.
Any favorite skincare-makeup hybrid products that readers should know about?
The Kosas Tinted Face Oil is technically a foundation but packed with ingredients to make it more like an actual facial oil to nourish and hydrate the skin.
You perform a lot of advanced facial massage techniques. What are some of your favorites and in what facials can we find them?
I consider massage a staple of each facial because it is so beneficial for everyone’s skin. It increases circulation which carries more oxygen to the blood, and stimulates the muscles which will immediately tone and lift the face. It's also very relaxing and reduces tension in the jaw. I perform a massage in every single facial that we offer, but it is a major focus in the SHEN Lift and Sculpt Facial. The techniques I use are considered to be “European facial massage” which involves certain movements, but every esthetician has their own approach that evolves with experience.
What’s your top pick for SPF and why?
My top pick for SPF is EltaMD, because it has the best texture and feel, and the biggest complaint about SPF from my clients is that it feels greasy. EltaMD feels nice and light, and actually contains some soothing and acne-fighting ingredients (see EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 Oil-Free).
Do you have any dream celebrity clients you’d like to work with?
Being an esthetician means helping your clients improve their skin while getting to know them one-on-one. It’s a very personal and intimate time spent together. If I could give any celebrity a facial, it would have to be Nicolas Cage (probably not what anyone would expect me to say, lol). I think he’s a character, and spending an hour with him would be an interesting experience. But if my answer were solely based on skin, I would love to give Gwen Stefani a facial. She has been able to evade the aging process, and I would love to work with her.