7 Skincare Rules Shay Mitchell's Facialist Shani Darden Swears By (Exclusive)

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The aesthetician to the stars shares her essential skincare lessons to follow for flawless, healthy skin.

What do Shay Mitchell, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Jessica Alba all have in common? 

They all possess the most enviable, flawless, glowing skin -- and they each credit Shani Darden. 

The aesthetician to the stars and founder of an eponymous skincare line has become one of Hollywood's highest-respected skin experts with her simple, no BS approach, so you can imagine nabbing an appointment with the in-demand pro is tough. Fortunately, ET visited her West Hollywood studio and tried out her custom red carpet facial for plump, bright skin, along with chatting all things skincare -- aka invaluable lessons to follow so we can achieve gorgeous A-list complexion IRL. 

Watch Darden in action in the video above and discover the skincare rules she swears by ahead. 

Rule #1: Don't Use Cleansers That Strip Your Skin (and Use Gauze) 

"For cleansing the skin, I like to use gauze. Why I love it is because it gently exfoliates and it's anti-bacterial. So I use two pieces of gauze. I personally use the cleanser in my hand and after I'm done cleansing I use the gauze to remove any of the excess cleanser on the skin. And the most important thing about cleanser is that you don't want to use anything to strip your skin. It's really great to use something that's really gentle, especially if you're using other serums or products with retinol or glycolic acid. You don't want to also be using a cleanser that's just too strong for your skin. My cleansing serum is hydrating, super gentle and for all skin types." 

Rule #2: Make Sure a Product Is Effective For Your Skin Type Before You Buy

"One of the biggest problems I see is people using the wrong products for their skin type and also that people are reading in a magazine that someone is using a certain product and then they run out and they buy it and it's not for their skin type. You want to get on a good routine for your skin type with effective ingredients and then stick with it." 

Rule #3: Apply Skincare Products In the Correct Order

"For the morning, it would be to cleanse your skin, [then apply] a great antioxidant like a vitamin C serum and then sunscreen. However, if you're also adding a toner, you would use that after you cleanse. If your sunscreen doesn't have a moisturizer in it, you would use the moisturizer before the sunscreen. And then at night, it would be cleanse, toner if you're using one and then whatever your serum is -- whether it be a retinol or a serum for acne or hydrating -- and then moisturizer or eye cream moisturizer." 

Rule #4: Invest in a Good Serum 

"I think the most important thing is that you're using ingredients that are going to help with anti-aging or acne or whatever you need and those serums you're using are the most effective ones, so I wouldn't cheap out on a serum. That's where your money should go in skincare -- is your active serum that you're using with the best ingredients for acne or anti-aging." 

Rule #5: Ensure Your Skincare Routine Is Balanced 

"You don't want to over-do anything. It's just like if you're using everything gentle and then you're using a retinol, that's great, but you don't want to add in a toner that strips the skin [and] a cleanser with salicylic [acid]. It can be too much for your skin, so it's just about finding that right balance." 

Rule #6: Use Retinol 

"I'd love for everyone to be on a retinol, because retinol boosts collagen in your skin and it helps with -- you know, you start to lose elasticity in your skin as you age, so using a retinol slows that down. Typically I'd like for everyone to be on a retinol if their skin can handle it."

Rule #7: Use Sunscreen Every Single Day 

"You want to make sure you're using a sunscreen every day, no matter what the weather is, because it will protect you from all UV rays and keeps you young forever." 

Shop Shani's Favorites: 


Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water $7

Shani Darden

Shani Darden Daily Cleansing Serum $38

Shani Darden

Shani Darden Resurface Retinol Reform $95


iS Clinical Hydra-Intensive Cooling Masque $78

Each product has been selected, and each product’s style has been reviewed, by our editorial team; however, we may receive affiliate commissions from some links to products on this page. Prices listed are subject to change by the retailer.