MODERN SALON: Skin trends right now include "Jello Skin", "Glazed Donut Skin", "Laminated Skin"—these all refer to the look of skin that is hydrated, plumped up and glowing. How can this look be achieved?
Shawn Johnson: I love this question, because ultimately, this is what healthy skin looks like and that’s what we aim to achieve at Ultraceuticals. A combination of Vitamin A for smoothness and plumping, Vitamin C for bouncy elasticity and clarity, Lactic Acid for texture and hydration, Hyaluronic Acid for its humectant and plumping properties and a moisturizer to suit your skin type will help you achieve these results.
One combination I like following my cleanser and eye cream during the day is Ultra Brightening Serum, Ultra C Firming Serum, B2 Hydrating Serum, B2 Hydrating Mist then Ultra Hydrating Lotion. The humectants in the mist attract atmospheric moisture, so I can refresh with it throughout the day to keep a well hydrated look.
MS: What ingredients will hydrate the skin?
SJ: Sodium Hyaluronate (a smaller molecule of hyaluronic acid) is the gold standard for hydration, but when combined with Niacinamide (Vit. B3) it’s “next-level.” The sodium hyaluronate helps retain moisture while the niacinamide strengthens the moisture barrier and prevents TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss), ensuring better, more sustained hydration. I swear by Ultraceuticals’ Ultra B2 Hydrating Serum to keep my combination skin balanced and hydration without ever feeling greasy.
MS: What ingredients will ‘plump’ the skin?
SJ: Sodium hyaluronate is also ideal for plumping. Its moisture-retention properties help plump the skin. Poly-Hydroxy Acids, especially gluconolactone, and Vitamin A are also good for plumping because they can help support our skin’s own ability to produce GAGs- our body’s natural plumping agent. I love the combination of Ultraceuticals’ PHA Professional Peel Treatment with a B2 Hydration Mask for a refined, plumped, and hydrated complexion, immediately! As part of my home care regimen, I’ve recently graduated to nightly use of Ultra A Skin Perfecting Serum Mild which has been a game changer.
MS: What ingredients will help restore skin's glow?
SJ: My go-to’s for an amazing glow are Vitamin C, Niacinamide and Hydroxy Acids, especially Lactic Acid.
Lactic acid’s ability to both exfoliate and hydrate results in a beautifully smooth, more radiant complexion. This is exaggerated when it’s combined with Niacinamide. Since Niacinamide improves moisture retention and barrier function as well as minimizes discoloration, the combination leaves the skin luminous. Since achieving radiance is my number 1 goal, I use Ultraceuticals’ Ultra Brightening Serum and the Ultra C Firming Serum daily, in the am.
MS: What is meant by ‘sandwiching’ skincare products? And related to that, what is the best order to apply products?
SJ: The sandwiching trend has been all over social media lately. It’s a concept for layering products which is supposed to improve the skin’s response. For instance, the “moisture sandwich” is supposed to help improve moisture in dry skin, while the “retinol sandwich” is said to reduce potential irritation. We haven’t tested this concept, so I can’t speak to its efficacy.
What I can say is Dr. Heber (Ultraceuticals founder) is adamant about achieving results through a “progressive, not aggressive” approach to corrective skincare. It is an approach he’s clinically tested for the past 25 years and it’s the foundation of how we recommend products.
The general order for product application at home is: cleanser, eye cream, corrective serums, moisturizer, and if it’s daytime then sun protection.
We have a specific way of introducing our corrective serums and treatments, as they are the cornerstone of Ultraceuticals. They are where you get your results! Because our formulas are quite active, we recommend a layered approach to introducing them into your regimen. An Ultraceuticals’ Skin Expert can guide you through the process, but essentially, we phase in the usage of 3-4 corrective serums, customized to address your specific concerns and combine this with a professional treatment plan to optimize your results, all over the course of 90 days. Not only do we layer products, but we “layer” in when they are used to ensure the skin is in optimal condition to accept them.
MS: Transcending trends, what are three skincare non-negotiables for any skincare regimen?
SJ: While trends are exciting, the fundamentals of aesthetics still reign. As a result, my non-negotiables have an emphasis on both product and process.
1. Whether at home or inside the treatment room, properly preparing the skin is essential. In an at-home regimen, this means adequately cleansing with an appropriate cleanser for your skin at the time- day and night. This creates the best conditions for subsequent products to work effectively, without irritation.
2. Maintaining a healthy moisture barrier. You can’t achieve your best skin without it.
3. Correct concerns with a serum. Whether you’re looking to correct a concern or simply maintain your skin’s current condition, the key to achieving your best skin is in your serum. They are more active and therefore do a lot of the corrective heavy lifting. While they may play the starring role in your regimen, they cannot perform without the support of proper skin preparation and a healthy skin barrier.
4. Finally, Sun protection! It’s the single best defense against visible signs of aging and skinhealth. Not to mention any corrective work you’re doing will be in vain without it.
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