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The 3 Biggest Mistakes This Celebrity Esthetician Sees All The Time

mbg Beauty Director By Alexandra Engler

mbg Beauty Director

Alexandra Engler is the Beauty Director. Previously she worked at Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and

Image by Ivan Andrianov / Stocksy

December 27, 2021 — 10:26 AM

If you’re looking for natural-looking, glowing skin as you age, you’ll find it in the hands of the renowned esthetician Aida Bicaj. Her work is truly about skin integrity, holistic practices, and setting yourself up for a lifetime of healthy skin–not just quick fixes and temporary solutions.

“We are learning that instant gratification [with skin treatments] isn’t always useful in the long run,” she says in the most recent episode of Clean Beauty School. Throughout the episode, we talk about her journey into skin care (and how she developed her very specific beauty point of view), what she does for her own amazing skin, and the biggest mistakes she sees all the time. Speaking of which, here are three of them.

Not using a quality cleanser.

Face washes aren’t often in the spotlight, but Bicaj argues they are one of the most common missteps she sees with her clients. In what ways, you ask? They go too far in one direction or the other.

“I’m seeing too many people using harsh gel cleansers that strip the protective layers from the skin–or the opposite using thick, thick cleansing balms that stick too much to the surface of the skin and don’t allow the skin to breathe,” she says. Now of course what face wash you choose to use will depend on your personal skin needs, but in general her opinion is that you need to find one that won’t leave you feeling dry and tight nor with a filmy residue post-wash. Both of which can be bad for the skin’s barrier function.

Her solution: a milky cleanser. “These won’t strip the protective oils. Even from a young age, you need to preserve these oils because your skin will benefit later on in life,” she says. Here are some of our favorite cleansing balms.


Indiscriminately following social media advice.

Now, there is good advice to be found on the internet (we’d like to think we’re on that list), but you should always be discerning about what advice you’re willing to practice and what product recommendations you’re taking.

“The biggest mistake that a consumer makes is watching somebody doing a routine and think that that’s going to work for the skin,” she says. “You may see an influencer with beautiful skin and think that she has this product that works, but you may have a completely different skin type. And you never buy a product that doesn’t suit your skin type.”

Treating skin care like passing trends.

postbiotic body lotion

postbiotic body lotion

Ultra-hydrating formula that nourishes your skin barrier

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Here’s a phrase I’ll be stealing for myself: “Skin care is not fashion,” says Bicaj. She goes on to explain that “the skin care market is becoming like the fashion industry. People use like 20 products from 20 different lines,” she says. “I mean, how do you know what works for you if you are using 10 different products from 10 different companies? And then, of course, no one is happy when spending so much money.”

And while you’re more than welcome to use different brands, you’re better served if you don’t have a revolving door on your skin care cabinet. Find what works for you with patience and practice, then stick with it.

For more thoughtful advice, listen to the episode.


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