A house guest recently looked at my bathroom vanity and said, “Are you moonlighting as a mad scientist?” He was referring to the countless little dropper vials of serums, lotions and potions scattered around my bathroom. My journey to glowy skin has been a wild ride that, at one point, included snail mucus (until I found out that the mucus is harvested by making the snails anxious...I cannot wear a snail’s anxiety on my face, no matter how much it Benjamin Buttons me).
To clear up the myths about clearing up our skin, we turned to Zaida Gordon, the aesthetician behind the Silver Lake based Skintegrity studio. Just one look at her literally radiant skin and we had to know the secret to her glow.
What makes you passionate about your work?
Zaida: At an early age I became obsessed with beauty makeovers and transformations. My initial love of makeup artistry early in life turned into a passion for wellness, Aesthetics, and our largest organ - our skin while attending Aesthetician school.
The most fulfilling part of my job is helping clients regain confidence in their natural beauty. It’s extremely gratifying to educate them on how to properly take care of their skin from a holistic perspective.
What are your personal steps for daily cleansing?
Zaida: My evening regimen includes the following steps and products. I start with a double cleanse to remove all makeup before cleansing the skin thoroughly.
2. For the second cleanse I use products to really purify the pores. I have oily skin and large pores, so I usually opt for something with an alpha hydroxy acid, such as the Skin Script Glycolic Cleanser or Skinceuticals LHA Cleanser. On drier days I use something without any assets in it, such as the Eminence Stone Crop Cleanser.
3. A couple times a week I exfoliate with the Face Reality Mandelic Scrub to help reduce the appearance of blackheads and clogged pores.
4. Toning is an important step that people sometimes forget. For hydration, I like to tone with Eminence Stone Crop Tonique (to rehydrate skin and PH balance). If my skin is oily or I have an active breakout, I use Skintegrity Mandelic Toner. This step helps remove leftover traces of makeup/dirt/oil, it’s antibacterial, and gently helps lighten any blemish marks.
5. Hale & Hush Brilliant Eye Serum can be used morning or night. It’s especially lovely when trying to diffuse dark circles during the day (anyone over 30 needs an eye cream!)
Depending on the season and the hydration levels of my skin, I like to use this “beauty cocktail” of layered serums. I use a combination of some of the following; Eminence Acai Berry Firm Skin Serum, Skintegrity Firm Skin Peptide Serum (this helps plump and smooth fine lines, a natural alternative to Botox), followed by AnteAge Stem Cell Serum which is an excellent age-defying serum comprised of growth factors and adult bone marrow stem cells.
1. Cleansing with Hale + Hush Quiet Wash
What are the most common bad habits you notice with how clients treat their skin? Are we damaging our skin without even knowing it?
Zaida: Over-exfoliating with harsh brushes or scrubs leads to premature aging by creating micro-tears in our skin. Another bad habit is using makeup wipes instead of cleansing the face properly. Some wipes can actually irritate skin further or lead to breakouts. I do not recommend using apple cider vinegar as a facial toner. Instead of using it on your face, mix the vinegar with warm water, lemon, and pink Himalayan salt for an energizing, detoxing morning beverage! I also tell people not to use baking soda as a facial scrub. This is a terrible idea that disrupts the skin’s acid mantle, leading to dry, damaged skin.
When reading product labels, what should we avoid?
Zaida: I closely examine ingredients to make sure that the product is free of parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, polyethylene microbeads. With chemical sunscreens make sure to avoid anything containing oxybenzone and avobenzone. I also consider the packaging itself. Ideally your products come in environmentally friendly packaging (glass or recyclable containers). Eminence Organics makes wonderful products in environmentally friendly packaging.
What approach do you take with a client dealing with specific skin issues?
Zaida: I definitely love to take a holistic approach when it comes to dealing with skin issues like rosacea, eczema, and acne. Often times, I check and see if a client is using harsh detergents, fabric softener, or any products that contain sulfates. There is a line called Hale & Hush that uses botanical ingredients, is gluten, paraben and fragrance free, making it an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin, eczema, and rosacea. I also make sure they’re using a mineral sunscreen with a high amount of zinc (which is a natural anti-inflammatory). Most people also benefit greatly from taking a high-quality fish oil supplement and probiotic (in addition to eating prebiotic and probiotic rich foods) for overall skin and gut health.
What green glow-ups do you recommend for those of us on a budget?
Zaida: Micellar cleansing water is a very gentle way to remove some makeup. It works for all skin types (even sensitive), and can be found in most drug stores and online. I also like Heritage Store Rosewater Glycerin Mist, a very affordable product that easily hydrates skin. This product can easily be found at most health food stores and online. Using Manuka Honey as a face mask is amazing for all skin types. It has wonderful healing and hydrating properties for skin. Fractionated coconut oil (MCT oil) is a very diverse oil (not to be confused with the regular coconut oil which can clog pores) that can be used for a variety of things on its own, or combined with essential oils. It can be used for facial oil cleansing, and oil pulling (excellent with peppermint oil) scalp treatments. I love to use peppermint and coconut oil scalp treatments to moisturize the face and body.
Zaida Gordon is board certified Medical Aesthetician, a certified Acne Specialist, and the founder of Skintegrity Integrative Skincare. She has received advanced training in acne, holistic acne coaching, and Collagen Rejuvenation Therapy. For over fourteen years, Zaida has passionately worked at highly sought after medical and wellness spas in Los Angeles, working with a diverse clientele, from teenagers battling with problematic skin to celebrities. Having trained under prominent medical and alternative health practitioners, she carefully creates unique treatments combining advanced technology with non-toxic skincare to obtain optimal skin health.
Those of you in the Los Angeles area can visit Zaida at www.skintegrityla.com or follow her on instagram to learn more about her integrative approach to skincare. Her practice, Skintegrity, is located in Silver Lake.