Come awards season — or any other time of the year when Hollywood stars seek ethereal-looking skin — Shani Darden is among the few entrusted by Jessica Alba, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Chrissy Teigen, Amanda Seyfried and countless others. For years, A-listers have flocked to the expert aesthetician’s Los Angeles home for her signature glow-giving facials; now, with the opening of her first flagship studio in Beverly Hills, anyone can book coveted face time with Darden and her team.
The L.A. facialist feted her chic new space Thursday night with co-hosts Alba and InStyle editor Laura Brown alongside guests like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Molly Sims, January Jones, Michelle Monaghan, Milla Jovovich, Rebecca Gayheart, Lea Michele and fashion designers Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, among others.
“I’ve been working from my guest house for six years,” Darden tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I didn’t open this to make it a big thing — to have a bunch of aestheticians and to have a ‘Shani spa.’ I just really wanted something that was more of me and that’s what this is. Where I had been working, it just wasn’t pretty. That’s really how it came about.”
Located not far from the buzz of Rodeo Drive, the 2,300-square-foot skin-care haven is tucked away on a low-key stretch within walking distance of UTA and fellow star-fave the Streicher sisters’ Striiike salon. Known for her highly customized, radiance-giving treatments ($500 and up) that combine a chemical peel, oxygen mask and LED therapy, Darden says she opted to keep the menu simple: “I’ve gotten a few new devices that I really like; I have this new amazing microcurrent machine I’m super excited about and I started using a new oxygen treatment. I’m always testing things out to see what’s new and what actually works…but [the focus] will still be my signature facials.”
On offer is her tightening and lifting Custom facial (60 minutes) as well as 90-minute treatments such as the wrinkle-smoothing, breakout-banishing Signature and intensive microcurrent-powered Ultimate — all of which use products from the pro’s namesake skin-care line ($38 to $95), including her cult-favorite Retinol Reform, which Darden says she’ll soon relaunch with new packaging. (The star-beloved anti-aging formula will remain the same.) Another room houses a LightStim LED bed, which is designed to boost collagen production and circulation while decreasing inflammation in just 40 minutes.
There is one new addition to the menu: the 60-minute Honest facial, which features masks developed by Alba and nontoxic products from her line, Honest Beauty. “I’d been working on [Honest company founder] Jessica Alba for so long, so that just kind of made sense,” says Darden.
Darden enlisted friend and interior designer Jake Arnold (who designed her home and whose clients include Julianne Hough and Ashley Tisdale) to dream up the bright photogenic space. “It’s got a really great energy with all warm colors and it’s just a really beautiful vibe. Jake did a great job; I’m in a state of shock.” The four-room space features a front desk and side tables made from Calacatta Viola marble, a custom-made powder pink sculptural sofa, modern lighting by Woe & Wé in the reception room and vintage Hans Agne Jakobsson sconces in the powder room.
On the shelves, L.A. beauty buffs will find Darden’s full skin-care collection alongside products from Honest Beauty, IS Clinical and Supergoop as well as go-to devices such as the LightStim ($169 and up) and the Déesse Pro LED phototherapy mask ($1,900), among others. Coming soon is a “clearing serum, which is really great for acne. I actually have a lot of products that I’ve finished. It’s just about putting them out now,” says Darden.
Darden began her career in L.A. as a model before being cast in a slew of music videos for Destiny’s Child and LL Cool J, before becoming an aesthetician. Reflecting on her journey, Darden explains: “I don’t even understand any of it, so I think I’m in more than just a state of shock, to be honest. Even walking into this space, I’m like, ‘I can’t believe this is mine.’ It’s just really overwhelming.”
Shani Darden Studio is by appointment only; to book, email email@example.com