These days it’s nearly impossible to know what women are spending on the way they look. Someone with Instagram-flawless contouring might have honed her craft using the finest from the drugstore aisles, and the utterly makeup-free type might be spending thousands on laser treatments and serums. Enter our series What It Costs to Be Me, in which we’re asking interesting women for radical transparency.
Next up? Shani Darden, 45, celebrity esthetician and founder of Shani Darden Skin Care, from Los Angeles. Her grand total? $49,758
Shani Darden has incredible self-restraint. “I get sent a lot of skin-care products to try,” says the esthetician. “But I tend to stick with my usual lineup.” Darden’s controlled approach stems from years of watching her clients’ skin suffer as they added unnecessary steps and frivolous products into their routines. “If you use really effective products, you don’t need a lot of them,” she says.
Darden stays true to that same philosophy when curating retail products for her Beverly Hills skin studio, where she stocks science-driven brands like Furtuna Skin—for which she serves as an ambassador—and Dr. Dennis Gross in addition to her own line, Shani Darden Skin Care.
Although running the latter could be its own full-time job, Darden still makes time to perform custom facials for VIP clients like Jessica Alba and January Jones. Here, the products, treatments, and tools that help her look and feel her best through it all.
My shower routine: $88
I’m really lazy in the shower, to be honest. I’m not into scrubs or anything like that. I’m in there for maybe six minutes, tops. Everything I do use is by Ouai—shampoo, conditioner, and Body Cleanser ($28). I love the smell of it all; it’s just good and clean. I like their Clean Shampoo ($28), but I actually use their Treatment Masque ($32) in place of conditioner. I just have so much hair that I have to use an even thicker formula.
My post-shower body routine: $184
While my body is still wet from the shower, I like to use The Honest Company Organic Body Oil ($10). It absorbs really quickly, so sometimes I’ll do Ouai Body Crème ($38) moisturizer over that. I’m obsessed. But I do like to switch it up. I use Environ Body Vitamin Treatment ($136) quite a bit, especially on my arms. It’s two oils: one has lactic acid and the other has vitamins A, C, and E. It’s hydrating, but it also treats crepey skin and pigmentation.
My hair-styling routine: $202
I don’t wash my hair every single day, but if I have, I’ll use Ouai Hair Oil ($28) on damp hair. If I haven’t washed my hair, I’ll usually just apply a dry shampoo—Kristin Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo ($14) doesn’t leave a film—and add some curl with my T3 Professional Ceramic Curling Iron ($160).
My daytime skin-care routine: free because of my job (but if I paid it would be $2,360)
If I get up early, after I wash my face with my super-gentle Daily Cleansing Serum ($38), I’ll do an LED light treatment for about 20 minutes. I use the Déesse Pro Mask Next Generation ($1,900), usually on the red-light setting. It helps with antiaging by boosting collagen production in your skin. I’ve been using it for years and years now, and it makes such a big difference.
After I’ve showered, I’ll do my skin-care routine, usually starting with an antioxidant. Right now I’m using Furtuna Skin Porte Per La Vitalità Face and Eye Serum ($185). It brightens and tightens, and it’s really hydrating. Then I use a hyaluronic acid serum like Dr. Nigma Serum No. 1 ($205). The texture is nonsticky and just awesome.
The last thing I always end my routine with is sunscreen. I love Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($32) because it doesn’t make my skin feel congested.
My makeup routine: $119
I don’t use it everyday, but if I want any kind of coverup, I’ll go for Supergoop! CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Sunscreen ($36). I love that it has SPF in it. My favorite mascara is Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Lash Primer ($15). It has amazing staying power. That and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Rose Gold ($38) make it so that I don’t look dead at work. I use it on both my eyes and cheeks—it’s so easy.
I use lip gloss all day long. I have so many, and most of them are all Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss ($30). I’m a total lip gloss obsessive; I love the shine.
My signature fragrance: $265
I wear Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower Parfum Spray ($265) every single day. I’ve been using it for so long that it’s probably time to for me to switch it, but it’s just so floral-yet-musky and good.
My nighttime skin-care routine: free because of my job (but if I paid it would be $196)
Right when I get home, I’ll wipe off my eye makeup using Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water ($7). Since I don’t like to wear makeup, taking it off as soon as I get home feels so great.
Before I go to bed, I’ll wash my face again using the same cleanser I did in the morning. Then I’ll use my Daily Toning Essence ($52), which is great for brightening. Next, I’ll typically use my Retinol Reform ($95) to treat fine lines. I’ll let that absorb before I use my Furtuna Skin serum again as an added layer of antioxidant protection. It’s also super calming.
I’ll end my routine with my Daily Oil-Free Moisturizer ($42). It hydrates without clogging my pores.
My skin treatments and extras: free because of my job (but if I paid it would be $14,000)
I try to do microcurrent at the office everyday when I first get in. You can’t overdo it; it’s like exercise. It’s not a standalone treatment we offer; it’s part of our facial ($600), which I do get sometimes. I also get a professional peel ($200) once a week. I’ll usually get a combination of acids, like salicylic or lactic. It just depends what my skin needs that day.
My standing appointments: at a reduced cost because of my job (but if I paid it would be $32,400)
I can’t really go anywhere because of my schedule, so everything has to come to me. I don’t know how other people do it! If I were to go someplace else, I would never see my kids. I get a massage ($300) with Susan Paul about once a week. I don’t actually enjoy getting massages. I do it because of all the leaning over I have to do during facials. If I miss a week, usually my back will go out.
I’m really obsessed with my nails; I get a manicure and pedicure quite often with Kim Truong and Diem Troung ($350). I keep my nails pretty plain, or I’ll do a French tip. As for my hair, I have to get it done a lot because I have extensions in at all times. So my hairstylist Kristen Hasselbach comes about once a week to put them in or change them out ($250).
One place I do go is Cooch for a brow wax ($100) with Kim Nguyen. And once a year I go to Dr. Simon Ourian’s office for a CoolLaser treatment (~$5,000). I have melasma, and it’s the only laser that helps it.
My fitness routine: $140
I don’t work out. But when I do, I go to Cycle House ($140 for five classes) and take a class with Michelle. She motivates and empowers you along the way, so it’s like therapy and cycling all in one.
Originally Appeared on Glamour