There’s a lot of brains behind the beauty of Cornelia Zicu, chief creative officer for Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas. The esteemed aesthetician, whose bespoke facials command $1,000 each, is obsessed with finding the magic ingredients for serums and sprays.
When she visited the Chevy Chase branch of the spa chain last month to debut the Professional line — 43 products now being used in treatments — she bragged that the staff had just completed a 16-hour organic chemistry course.
That education is necessary, she says, so associates can determine appropriate skin-care regimens for anyone who walks in the door.
“We don’t want to offer a program that won’t work for them,” Zicu says. “They will reject it like they would reject a strange organ in their body.”
Still, some elements of skin care are universal, she says.
In the summer months, every morning routine should start with a product enriched with vitamin C, an anti-inflammatory that guards against sun and pollution damage, Zicu says. Layer sunscreen on top of that to enhance your protection.
But you don’t want to block out the sun completely or you won’t get enough vitamin D. One of its many talents: slowing the aging process. So Zicu recommends spritzing olive oil moisturizing spray. It leaves lipids on the skin, and that, she says, accelerates vitamin D absorption. Even if you’re soaking up rays only early in the morning, you’re still getting your vitamins.
To give the process time to work, Zicu adds, you shouldn’t take a shower for at least 30 minutes after heading back inside.
By the time night falls, skin is bound to feel thirsty. That’s why Zicu turns to a serum with hyaluronic acid, which she calls essential for rehydrating skin. She takes her evening routine a step further by also applying a “cooling, hydrating” mask before bed.
Too much to remember? Then at least just try to be thorough in whatever you do put on.
“Don’t forget about the ears. People don’t understand to apply lotion there,” says Zicu, demonstrating how she massages her earlobes. It’s the neglected body parts, particularly the ears, eyelids and lips, that often reveal someone’s age.
“I want my ears to look 20,” Zicu says. It’s possible hers could pass for 18.