Vanessa Hernandez is a bonafide skincare guru. Trained personally by Dangene Enterprise, Vanessa was mentored as her protégé for four years, working bicoastally with clients in both LA and NYC on a weekly basis. Committed to helping anyone's skin radiate their natural light from within, Vanessa now bases her own practice out of Brentwood and boasts an impressive roster of clients — and an equally impressive wait list. The skincare expert took time with the Arch to detail what you need to keep your skin in shape.
It Starts with Your At-Home Routine
There are so many different brands and products, it can be hard to know which ones are right for you. But I think the most important things are keeping your skin super clean, exfoliated, and nourished. In the summertime, or if you’re an outdoor person who lives an active lifestyle, use a sunscreen every day. It’s funny, I actually never wear sunscreen unless I’m at the beach or on a hike, because for someone who is acne prone like myself, if I were to wear sunscreen every day I’d have bumps, clogged pores, and my skin can’t breathe. I tell everyone to get a bubbly, foamy gentle cleanser for at night, something that really removes makeup, sunscreen, dirt, and oil. Cream cleansers aren’t as good at removing the gunk, and are better for older, dry, or sensitive skin. Then, it’s important to exfoliate almost every day, if not every other day. Some people are like, oh my god, isn’t it bad to scrub so often? But it’s actually the best thing you can do, because you’re scrubbing away the dead skin cells and gunk that may be trapped in your pores, your makeup will go on more smoothly, and you’re stimulating blood circulation for a rosy glow.
It’s All About the Eyes
My number one point is hydration. When I’m looking at someone, sitting talking with them, I’m looking at this [eye area] on the face. I’m not having a conversation with their jawline. So you can never start too young with eye cream, because the more glowing that area is, the more it radiates outward to your whole face. My favorite eye cream is one from New Zealand called SCBI. It’s off the beaten path, but it has all the right hydrating, nourishing, plumping ingredients like rose hip seed oil for anti-aging, vitamin e, Shea butter, and hyaluronic acid. But then they have this stem cell ingredient, the sheep placenta (no sheep were harmed), and these stem cells help our own cells regenerate. People start to get tired, they start to get wrinkles from laughing or not enough sleep or it’s hereditary – who’s to say. But if you’re using a special eye cream morning and night, it’s going to keep that area protected and supple and hydrated.
Active Ingredients for Morning & Night
I love Vitamin C in the morning. It helps protect against UVA/UVB rays, and it gives a ton of antioxidants to the skin. helps fight free radicals and pollution and sun damage and aging over all. I like one we sell called Skin Ceuticals C E Ferulic with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and ferulic acid. You should apply every morning, and do your face, neck, and chest – everyone forgets about their chest.
Anything with collagen, anything with peptides, and any of your acids you want to do at night.
Hyaluronic acid is retaining moisture and plumping, but a lot of people like to use glycolic acids, or alpha hydroxy acids, or salicylic acids. All those can make you slightly sun sensitive. Anything with a lot of potency you want to do ay night, because while you’re sleeping, all your cells are turning over, so if you’re putting something amazing on it will help it adhere a lot faster.
Preventative Skincare from Your Esthetician at Every Age…
I’m a huge believer in microdermabrasion. I think it’s great for any age, at any time. When people come in, we always do their face, neck, chest, hands, and elbows because those are the other places on women that first show signs of aging. It’s ok to be gentle to avoid breaking capillaries – less is more – and ideally do it every 6-8 weeks.
I love microneedling – it makes it look like your skin has been airbrushed in real life. The needles are going into your skin and breaking apart large pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. There are only 2-3 days downtime where you’re a little pink and sunburnt looking. It smooths everything out and stimulates collagen production. When we do the treatment, we use stem cells which are being needled into the skin. And you’re numb, so it’s not uncomfortable at all. In your 20/30s you can do microneedling 1-2 times a year, and late 30s and above you can start doing it 4-6 times spread throughout the year.
I would never suggest at-home microneedling. Medical grade microneedling is almost like a pen, and the tip of the machine is like a stamp. So it’s going up and down quickly, and when the incisions are being made, they’re all at the same angle so it’s consistent and precise. At home, you’re most likely using a roller and the needles are all going in at different angles. You’re actually causing the wrong kind of trauma which can cause more damage in the long run. Trust someone to do it, because you can end up harming yourself.
The next step would be radio-frequency and ultrasound devices, like mini lasers for tightening. As we get older, our collagen and elasticity cells start to loosen, so our skin isn’t as firm. The best way to picture it as like a box of spaghetti. When we’re young, they stick straight and firm, and as we start to age, they start to cook and get loose and fall apart. This laser – the Excilis Ultra – actually firms the skin, and everyone should start that in their 30s. Someone who has lose skin along their jaw or under their chin can do a series of 4-6 of these laser treatments to tighten, and you really can do it anywhere. It’s also zero downtime, zero pain – it feels like a hot stone massage. My client last week fell asleep.
Keep on Your Shelf
Everyone over 25 should have a prescription for a Retin-a and be using it twice a week at night. Over-the-counter retinol creams are too gentle, unless you just have very sensitive skin. Otherwise, you need a strong Retin-a or a retinol that comes from a medical line. It’s a game changer. We tell our clients to put a pea size amount in the palm of their hand with a pea size of whatever moisturizer they prefer, and apply to the face, neck, and chest. If you do it this way, you’re never going to be red or flakey. It prevents acne, tightens pores, exfoliates, softens fine lines and wrinkles, and prevents new ones from forming.