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Ask Experience Life editor in chief Jamie Martin about her favorite part of getting a professional facial and you might be surprised by her response. “I love how my skin looks and feels afterward, of course, but my favorite part of the experience is asking questions of the esthetician,” she says. “There’s something about using that face time — pun intended — to understand what they’re doing and why. I always leave feeling more empowered about my at-home routine.”

It was after an overdue skincare appointment with Joee Nelson, master esthetician at the LifeSpa at Life Time in Eden Prairie, Minn., that Martin suggested this article idea. “Joee answered the questions I had secretly been wondering about. I figured if I was curious about them, others might be too.”

Jamie’s experience inspired us to dig further, mining for more tips to share. Here, we hear from six beauty and skincare experts about some of the top insider knowledge that we can all benefit from knowing.

1. Joee Nelson, master esthetician at LifeSpa in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Leave extractions to the professionals — with one exception.

I’m usually a hard no regarding at-home extractions as it can aggravate your breakouts. However, if your blemish appears as a whitehead, I do advise extracting it.

To do so, wash your hands, cleanse the skin area, and do a light exfoliation. I love mixing the Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant with the Eminence Mangosteen Cleanser and using it as a mask. After letting the mask sit for 10 minutes, remove it with warm water on a clean washcloth. If the whitehead has not come out at that point, you can take two pieces of damp paper towel and lightly pinch around the pimple. If you see blood or clear liquid coming out of the pimple, stop right away.

Following the extraction, cleanse the skin again and use a cold compress to calm down any inflammation. Finally, apply your choice of moisturizer.

2. Kami Leitza, advanced practice esthetician at LifeSpa in Edina, Minn.

Wear sunscreen — even on cloudy days, including in the winter.

It’s important to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen even on cold, cloudy days. UVA and UVB rays from the sun can go through the ozone layer, through the clouds, and into the skin, causing harm. UVA rays — also known as “aging rays” — can break down skin elasticity. UVB rays can cause burn and irritation.

In the summer, you’ll want to wear sunscreen to protect against both types of damaging rays. In the winter, UVB rays aren’t as strong and don’t usually affect the skin the same as they do in the summer, however, UVA rays are still in full effect. It’s important to protect your skin year-round from UVA rays.

My favorite broad-spectrum sunscreen is Extreme Protect SPF 30 from iS Clinical. I like it because it’s cooling and super hydrating and will leave a beautiful glow, and it works under makeup well. For someone with oily skin, they could use this sunscreen without needing another moisturizer.

3. Lucy Miranda, master esthetician at LifeSpa in Bridgewater, N.J.

Warm up your SPF before applying to avoid a white cast appearing on the skin.

For full sunscreen coverage, I always recommend a mineral SPF which contains zinc oxide to protect against all types of sun rays. However, depending on the percentage of zinc oxide, it’s possible for your face to appear washed out, or with a white cast, after applying it.

To combat this, warm up the sunscreen in your hands before applying it to your skin. I like to put a bit on my fingertips and rub them together for a few seconds; this also helps the formula glide on more sheerly.

4. Kristen Shoemaker, elite esthetician at LifeSpa in Bridgewater, N.J.

Get a little extra out of your products.

I like to keep my Patchology under-eye gels and sheet masks in the fridge so they feel refreshing and cool on my skin. This also helps to depuff the skin. Also, when using a sheet mask, a lot of serum can get left in the package. Don’t waste it! Squeeze it out and put it on your neck and chest for extra benefits.

Check your skincare product ingredients.

I always check the ingredient list on my skincare products. The higher the ingredient is listed, the higher the concentration of it in the product. More concentration means you’re getting a higher quality product with a good amount of effective ingredients that will do what it says it will do for your skin.

It’s important to also understand the official names of ingredients. For example, if you’re buying a product for vitamin C and the benefits of vitamin C, in the ingredient list you will want to see the name L-ascorbic acid, which is the most stable and effective form of vitamin C in skin care. If that ingredient is listed toward the top, then you should be receiving a high concentration of C.

Moisturize your oily skin.

If your skin is extra oily, it may also be lacking moisture. I often hear clients say, “my skin is so oily and so dry at the same time.” This can happen when your skin produces extra oil to make up for the lack of moisture. Oily skin can still get dehydrated, so it’s important to use a moisturizer as part of both your day and night skincare routine. For anyone with oily skin, I always recommend the Echinacea Recovery Cream from Eminence. It has a beautiful balance of water and oil to keep oily skin balanced but hydrated.

5. Taiyana Muhammad, esthetician at Lifespa in Gaithersburg, Md.

Use a hyaluronic acid serum for ultra hydration.

An easy, must-add to your skincare routine is a hyaluronic acid serum. Hyaluronic acid attracts moisture to your skin and locks it in for all-day hydration. It also helps improve skin elasticity for that youthful glow.

6. Roza Dedivanovic, esthetician at Lifespa in Rochester Hills, Mich.

Use a hydrating mist before applying additional skincare products.

Some products — including hyaluronic acid and other serums — need water to work more effectively. When applied directly to dry skin, they can actually draw moisture out of the deeper layers and leave it feeling even drier than before. To avoid this, use a hydrating mist before you apply other skincare products. I like the Stone Crop Hydrating Mist from Eminence. Spray it on your face and gently pat it in to prep your skin for hyaluronic acid. This essentially turns your face into a sponge so it can best absorb the product.

Jolene Turner
Jolene Turner

Jolene Turner is a beauty writer and social media strategist focusing on the salon, spa, and professional hair care industries. She currently works with the Life Time LifeSpa team on social media marketing and content development. Turner’s background includes working as the senior editor for American Salon, as a head writer for beauty blogs, and as a communications and consumer engagement professional for a global beauty brand. She’s worked with leading beauty brands including Aveda, Hotheads Hair Extensions, HiBar, Wella, and more.

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