It’s been weeks since we started the shelter in place quarantine. At this point, many of you are letting things go beauty-wise and your skin isn’t looking its best.  The effects of stress, alcohol, and unhealthy eating can cause dehydration, breakouts, and dull skin.   My goal today is to provide you with information about basic skincare demystified.  Let me help you lift your spirits and enjoy some me-time with this recipe for a simple at-home facial that will help hydrate, revive, and restore your skin!

Step 1: Cleanse

This important first step is different for everyone. If you have oily and combination skin you need a gentle, foaming facial cleanser.  Dry and mature skin on teh other hand needs more nourishing milky/cream cleansers.

I’ve tried hundreds of products throughout my career and I have found that there’s no reason to ever spend a lot of money on a cleanser.  I preach this to my first-time clients will always during our initial consultation because it literally just goes down the drain.

A $50 cleanser that claims to have an exotic and rare lotus flower from the Himalayan mountains? A $30 cleanser that contains acne-fighting medicine?   They are all pretty useless and not worth your money since none of teh ingredients are left on your skin to have much impact.

A good cleanser gently cleanses while effectively removing makeup, oil, and debris without stripping and drying your skin. That’s it!

Skincare Demystified Tip:

Heavy makeup wearers will want to do a double cleanse in the evening and anyone can benefit from using a clean, warm washcloth to ensure the skin is thoroughly cleansed and ready for the next step.



Step 2: Tone

This step is often misunderstood and ignored. During my time as an esthetician at the Borgata Hotel and Casino, I had an incredible G.M.  and skincare trainer named Collin.    After he explained the importance of using a toner I realized that it was information that I had to pass it on to my clients.  A toner is not so much the second step of cleansing, rather it is the first step in hydration.  It also balances the PH of the skin so that the products that follow it are more effective. In the evening, I recommend an exfoliating AHA/BHA version and in the morning a gentler one.


Step 3: Massage

Massage is one of the most important steps in an effective skincare routine. It energizes the skin and speeds up circulation, bringing more oxygen to the tissue which in turn brightens! You can do manual massage or use whichever massager or roller you prefer.

Massage for at least 5-7 minutes and concentrate on areas of tension such as the jawline, sinuses, and pressure points of the eye area. Bonus points if you have a facial cupping kit! I have facial cups, a rose quartz skin gym tool, and a jade roller at my studio that I love using on my clients to get that glow!

Skincare Demystified Tip: If your skin is particularly broken out, I would skip this step and use a mask instead.


Step 4: Serum

I always get asked about serums and there are a lot of them out there so here is my CliffsNotes answer. Serums tend to be the most expensive products in your skincare arsenal and rightly so because they are effective.

Serums are made up of small molecules that are able to penetrate deeper to deliver highly concentrated ingredients directly into the skin to heal, rejuvenate, and improve skin’s health overall.

I love Vitamin C serums in the morning and hydrating hyaluronic ones as needed during the winter when I’m using my retinol.  Fun fact about retinol.  “Retinoids break down in sunlight, which is why they are bottled in opaque packaging and are still best worn at night to make sure they aren’t rendered inactive. However, they do not make the skin more prone to sunburn.”  Dry skin types will always crave a hydrating serum and tag-teaming with moisturizer, it’s really a game-changer.

Skincare Demystified Tip: Depending on the mask you are using, you may or may not need a serum.


Step 5: Sheet Mask Application

Masks are an easy way to nourish and support the skin and sheet masks are the most fun! It’s an easy and inexpensive gateway into the party that is “Korean” beauty and skincare.  Sheet masks can range in materials and ingredients and are typically made for brightening, moisturizing, acne control, or anti-aging. They can often replace serums depending on what they are used for. Leave on for 20 minutes.

Skincare Demystified Tip: Before applying roll an ice cube over the sheet mask for an added cooling effect.


Step 6: Moisturize

This final step is key to any routine. A good moisturizer doesn’t have to be expensive but must contain skin-restoring ingredients that instantly hydrate and lock in moisture.

Oily and acne-prone skin types must stick to oil-free moisturizers. They deliver the right hydration to balance the skin without clogging pores and causing breakouts.

I am available for private consultations by phone or video chat especially during crazy times when you can’t make it to my studio. You can contact me here or through


Beauty is only Skin Deep!


Biba Vernon

Biba Vernon

Biba is a New Jersey based esthetician, business owner and 15-year veteran of the skincare industry. After working as the lead skincare therapist at top spas in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia, she founded her own private studio in 2015. Beauty by Biba, located in Southern New Jersey, is a unique wellness getaway where clients receive decadent, customized facials, the highest quality waxing services, as well as in-depth education and insider knowledge of how to achieve their best skin.