Boss FilesDec 19, 2018

Take a Seat with Shani Darden

Written by All Sorts Of

Feeling confident in your skin is Shani Darden‘s number one goal. And let us tell you, Shani is quite literally the most sought-after facialist, ever. And we’re pretty sure every person who has ever walked away after a facial with Shani is feeling confident as all hell (and with a glowing face). 

Yes, we are number one fans of Shani’s skincare line, but what we’re most in awe of is Shani’s entrepreneurial journey and work ethic. She just launched three new incredible products to her skincare line (which we’re obsessed with, more detail on that below), she’s in the office all day every day giving facials, and she’s a mama and wife. Lucky for you, we sat down with Shani and got all the deets on all the things. So go ahead and find out Shani’s favorite products of the moment, the biggest skincare myths out there and work-life balance. 

And in case you missed it, we got the scoop on Amber’s skincare routine — and surprise, surprise — it’s filled with Shani’s products. Shani, you’re a boss and we’re following all your skincare advice. 


You’re the skin boss of all bosses, but we know success doesn’t come overnight. Tell us about your entrepreneurial journey.

I’m from a small town in upstate New York, so when I was in my early 20’s I was scouted by a model agent who said I could work as a model. My agent told me I was going to be a “big star,” so I convinced myself that I should move to LA to pursue modeling. When I arrived, I basically only booked music videos, and although I couldn’t dance AT ALL I somehow wiggled my way into a Destiny’s Child video. Needless to say, I realized that my “modeling career” wasn’t going to pan out. I decided to pursue skincare instead since I’ve always been obsessed with skin (even at a young age), and decided to become an esthetician. The first job I took was working for a dermatologist, which ended up being an eye opening experience for me. I learned about different skin types, medical skin challenges, and was introduced to retinol for the first time. I saw how effective retinol was in treating acne and keeping the skin youthful, because patients in their 50s who were frequent retinol users had the skin of a 30-year-old. 
From there, I worked for a few high end spas which is where I met Jessica Alba. Jessica and I were pregnant at the same time, but she was due a few months before me. She was so warm and motherly with me, and was actually the one who encouraged me to go off on my own and start my own thing. I eventually took her advice and started doing facials in my guest house at home. Jessica was one of my first clients and has now become one of my closest friends.
I really wanted to put out a product that would be a game changer for skin, and drew upon my experience working with retinol at the dermatologist’s office. The issue with some prescription strength retinol is that they tend to be very harsh, especially for people with sensitive skin. I thought, what if I could create a retinol that is just as powerful, but without all the negative side effects like flaking and irritation? That’s where I got the idea for Retinol Reform, which was my first product. That’s how my journey as an entrepreneur started. 

Was there someone that served as a mentor-like person through your entrepreneurial journey?

I learned from a lot of incredible women in my early years. When it comes to skin, I learned the most from the dermatologist I worked for, Dr. Irma Benetiz. We’re still extremely close and I see her frequently. She’s one of the smartest people and she’s had a heavy hand in molding my skincare philosophy. 

What’s the best career (or life) advice you’ve ever received?

Be kind to everyone, work hard, and believe in yourself. 

You recently launched three new products. Tell us about them!

Daily Cleansing Serum is a gentle cleanser for all skin types that removes makeup and gets rid of pore-clogging impurities without stripping the skin. My Daily Toning Essence is a hydrating toner that regulates oil production and reduces the appearance of pores for smoother skin. And my Daily Oil-Free Moisturizer provides light hydration and improves the skin’s elasticity. I’m so excited for people to get their hands on them! I’ve been working on these products for over a year, and I’m so proud of everything, from the formulas to the packaging. 

New Products by Shani Darden

Daily Oil-Free Moisturizer: An oil-free, fast absorbing moisturizer that protects skin with seaweed extracts while providing weightless hydration.

Daily Toning Essence: Refines the look of pores for smoother skin texture. Hydrates skin while supporting its elasticity and resistance to wrinkles.

Daily Cleansing Serum: A concentrated, gentle cleansing serum for all skin types. Soft lather removes makeup and pore-clogging impurities without stripping skin of its natural oils, leaving skin feeling fresh and balanced.


What are your go-to facial products right now? 

I’m pretty obsessed with my new cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. I use one of my retinol products, either Texture Reform or Retinol Reform every night. For exfoliation, I can’t live without Dr. Gross peel pads. Also, I can’t live without my Deesse Mask. It’s truly a game changer for aging backwards.

If I’m on a budget, what are a few products I should never live without?

If you’re on a budget, don’t ever skip your sunscreen. I always recommend a SPF of 30 or greater to protect from sun damage. Also, you want to invest in serums. Serums have the highest concentration of active ingredients. 

What are the biggest skincare myths that we should all know about?

One of the biggest myths is that you should only wear sunscreen if you’re going to be out in the sun. UVA rays still penetrate through clouds and through windows causing sun damage to your skin. Another myth is that you can shrink your pores. This isn’t true – you can only keep your pores clean, which can reduce their appearance, but you cannot actually shrink your pores (sorry guys).


Moving onto life at home (which we’ve heard is stunning and designed by the one and only Jake Arnold). What’s your favorite room at home and why?

I literally die for Jake. Right now, it’s hard to say which room in the house is my favorite. I’m really into our family room, which has a big, comfy couch that can comfortably fit all of my girlfriends and my little ones. I love chic design, but it also needs to be comfortable and “lived in” – we have a lot of good times in our home, we always have friends over and love to entertain. 


What’s your morning ritual?

I usually wake up around 4AM, I don’t know why. I answer emails for a while and then put on my Deesse Mask. I use my Deesse Mask every single day for 20 minutes; the LED light is the best for fighting inflammation and anti-aging. Once my kids are up I get them ready for school. My husband drives them to school because he’s the best and then I get on the phone for some calls with my team and head to work. I typically start facials at 9am and go back to back all day. And every morning I have a carrot juice, with apple and extra ginger!


How do you find your work-life balance? Is that even a thing these days?

I don’t really believe in work-life balance, because when you love what you do you just figure it out and find a way to handle the demand. I make sure that I have time scheduled for my family and friends. For example, I always spend Friday afternoons and evenings with my daughters. It’s also important that they see me at work, doing what I love, to set that example for them as a businesswoman. 


What’s next for you on the career-horizon? Any huge goals you want to check off the list in the upcoming months?  

More product launches are on the horizon, which I can’t wait for everyone to try. I’m also opening my new skincare location in Spring of 2019. Other than that, I want everyone in the world to have gorgeous, glowing skin and to feel to feel confident – that’s my ultimate goal. 

Shoppe Shani’s Picks

Retinol Reform Peel



Daily Oil Free Moisturizer



Daily Toning Essence



Daily Cleansing Serum



Texture Reform™ Gentle Resurfacing Serum



Dr. Gross Alpha Beta Peel



Deesse LED Mask



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