In a world of crazy facial tools and trends over techniques, Candace Marino has been honing the art of facial massages since she was 18. Almost two decades later, the California esthetician has a star-studded list of clientele including Dove Cameron, Tinx, and Kourtney Kardashian amongst others. I was lucky to sit in her chair for a signature facial for glowing skin and get an insider look into her skin secrets. “I completed my esthetician's training straight out of high school at the age of 18 and have been working in the industry ever since,” says Candace, as she talks about making homemade masks with yoghurt and honey with her mum in the kitchen.

When I first met Candace, it was in the warm and comforting space of Le Mill in Mumbai where she had come in as a guest facialist for a week. Le Mill’s set-up truly set me up for a relaxing session, with high ceilings, a lovely ikat blanket, and a calming atmosphere with zero noise.

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Candace Marino at Le Mill, Mumbai

To give some context, I have rosacea prone sensitive skin, so I went in stressed, a little scared, and with plenty of distractions on my mind. I was recommended her signature Intuitive Facial — customised for my skin sensitivity and reduced to 30 minutes. Post my 9 am facial, when I went in to work, practically my entire team told me I looked unusually peaceful for an editor. Facials for breakfast anyone? Yes! Everyday, if I could!

Before diving into the step-by-step guide to her signature facial for glowing skin (that you can recreate at home too), what are some do-or-die skin rules that a Hollywood esthetician follow? Pretty simple ones, I was surprised to discover!

#1 - Exfoliation and Hydration

“The key to glowing skin is exfoliation and hydration,” says Candace, “this helps us achieve balance in the skin, and balanced skin is alive and radiant. Once we rid the skin of excess dead buildup, it's then able to accept hydrating and moisturising products.” She mentions sticking to enzymatic exfoliators instead of chemical exfoliators as they’re more in tune with the skin’s natural exfoliation process. She recommended the iS Clinical Tri-active Exfoliation masque which has enzymatic, physical, and chemical exfoliators!

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#2 - Quick Home Facial

She recommends using the Tri-active Exfoliating Masque paired with the iS Clinical Warming Honey for a decadent exfoliation treatment. Followed by applying the iS Clinical Pro Heal, and Hydra Cool serum, further layering it with the iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion!

#3 - Cardinal Rules

First, never forget sunscreen. Second, move on from the double cleanse and embrace triple cleansing in your PM routine, especially if you wear makeup. “When my clients need a glow, we always do a lot of massages and a good exfoliating treatment,” says Candace. "At my office, we also do LED light therapy to enhance the depuffing and hydrating actions, and to maximise the glow.”

On crafting a facial for sensitive skin

Before starting the facial, Candace told me that she was primarily using iS Clinical India products — clinical grade and effective without being harsh or overly sensitive. Almost all of the steps in my facial are available for retail, which means all of you can re-create this facial at home (with some tweaks), and I can always look date-ready!

Step #1: Deep Cleansing

She began the treatment with a cream cleanser to remove SPF, followed by the iS Clinical Cleansing Complex and the Facify Beauty wand on its vibrating setting to deep clean the pores. When I asked her about the wand, she mentioned it includes massage, heating, and cooling settings to activate a beautiful glow, and yes, they ship to India.

The last step in the cleansing routine was the iS Clinical Warming Honey cleanser, a decadent cleanser with enzymatic properties to gently tackle dead skin buildup.

Step #2: Exfoliation

Candace then layered on iS Clinical Tri-Active Exfoliating Masque, which includes all three forms of exfoliation — chemical, enzymatic and mechanical. She massaged this in with the iS Clinical Warming Honey cleanser and let it sit for 5 minutes under steam. It was so relaxing that I didn’t even realise when she started extracting using an ultrasonic spatula to rid my pores of debris and for the first time, I wasn’t wiping away any tears along with whiteheads, it was as painless as it gets!

Step #3: Drainage Massage

Following this gentle exfoliation, the celebrity esthetician did her signature lifting and sculpting massage. “This includes lymphatic drainage techniques to rid the skin of stagnant fluid, it helps to depuff and revitalise the skin,” explains Candace, who believes the massage is actually the key step for glowing skin. She worked on my face, neck, cheek, shoulders and décolleté. The results left me with a lifted, sculpted and even radiant complexion, if I may say so myself. 

Step #4: Extra Exfoliation

Since we were at the clinic, we did another round of exfoliation that’s totally okay to skip at home! Using the iS Clinical Foaming Enzyme Treatment (which is used by professionals only), she explained how it’s an extremely gentle way to exfoliate the skin, as enzymes will break down dead cells without impacting the alive ones. So unlike chemical exfoliation, it won't disrupt live skin cells or cause peeling.

Step #5: Firming Mask and Ice Globe Massage

Following the Enzyme treatment, she lightly misted my skin with the iS Clinical Copper Firming Mist, a hydrating formula that includes a copper tripeptide growth factor to stimulate collagen. This was followed by a layer of the iS Clinical Rejuvenating Masque (this is a professional product only). Candace goes on to say, “but a good at-home version of this is the iS Clinical Hydra-Intensive Cooling Masque, then do an ice globe massage over the mask. This has anti-inflammatory, cooling, depuffing, and hydrating qualities.”

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House Of Beauty Ice Globe Blue Cryo Facial

Step #6: Targeted Serums

After removing the gel mask, she applied a targeted serum for my skin type — a Pro Heal Serum which is a calming, soothing antioxidant Vitamin C serum. I noticed my usual red spots looked less irritated and it felt like the heat in my skin had gone down after this!

Step #7: Jelly Mask

A 24K gold jelly mask? I was most curious about this step and but Candace said my skin didn’t need it. She explained that it has a cryotherapy effect on the skin as it turns from jelly to rubber, it covers both the eyes and the lips, which really relaxes your skin and eases away the stress lines as well.

Step #8: Finishing Off

After she peels off the mask, she finishes with serums and SPF, basis the client’s skin. For me, she used an iS Clinical HydraCool Serum to hydrate and calm my skin, followed by the iS Clinical Reparative Moisture Emulsion, which is a lightweight moisturiser. This was perfect for the humid Mumbai climate as it nourished my dry skin without feeling too heavy! Then, Candace used the iS Clinical Youth Eye Complex around my eyes and the iS Clinical Youth Lip Cream for my lips, along with an SPF 30 so I was completely ready to face the day!

Even though I follow a minimal skincare routine on a weekly basis, I do plan on incorporating Candace’s exfoliation practice with the tri-masque exfoliator and the honey warming cleanser in my skincare routine, 2-3 times a week. Of course, I’m also super excited to try the iS Clinical Lip Protect with SPF 30, it’s the newest addition to the iS Clinical India family! 

Now, whenever I need that extra glow, you can find me turning my phone off and following this facial at home.

October 27, 2022 — kristen bromiley