As soon as I met Negin Niknejad, I understood why an increasing number of New York women are asking her to save their stressed-out skin. The Iranian-born aesthetician has an amazingly calm demeanor—it’s no surprise that she is a yogi and has studied Ayurvedic healing in India. A graduate of the Aveda Institute, Niknejad opened her own Chelsea skincare studio where she solves even the most stubborn complexion issues. She kicked off our recent session by offering me a cup of rose and nettle tea and washing my hands with a homemade chai-scented scrub.
What truly sets Niknejad apart from other facialists is her strictly DIY philosophy: she makes all her treatments by hand with natural and organic ingredients—from local fruits and veggies sourced from the Union Square Farmer’s Market to exotic ingredients like rose water (which features prominently in all her facials). She takes the same amount of care with her JustBe Skin line of products.
Niknejad treated me to an hour of bliss that included a raw honey mask to moisturize my dehydrated skin, a clay mask to cleanse and decongest my pores, and the least tear-inducing extractions I’ve ever experienced. I also got the chance to chat about her favorite ingredients and her SPF regimen—read on to get Niknejad’s best skincare tips!
What are some easy ways to mimic a spa facial at home?
Open up your fridge—it’s amazing how many fruits and veggies you can mix up and apply to your face and body. I love avocados as a hydrating mask or yogurt with a bit of crushed flax seeds to cool down sensitive skin. And egg whites! They’re amazing as an exfoliating mask.
I’m a sunscreen buff. What’s your SPF ritual?
Many sunscreens can be too thick and clog your pores, so I only use lightweight formulas—my personal favorite is Epicuren. I always apply sunscreen around my eyes and on my chest, an area often exposed to the sun that many women neglect.
What’s your skincare philosophy?
I’m so charmed by natural ingredients—ones my body can recognize. Nature is more attractive to me than icy labs. And according to Ayurveda teachings, diet and nutrition have a huge affect on the state of our skin. So speaking to my clients about which foods they need to avoid is a huge part of my practice.
Are there any exotic oils you can recommend?
I love all oils. Olea is just amazing. It is nourishing, hydrating, anti-inflammatory, and high in antioxidants. Also, I love sandalwood oil, which is native to India and relieves stress.
If you live in a big city like New York, are there any extra measures you can take to keep your skin looking its best?
We live in a very polluted environment, so it’s important to thoroughly cleanse your face every night, and don’t touch your face during the day to reduce the likelihood of breakouts. Once a week, try to get some fresh air and get back to nature by going to a park, or taking the subway to the beach and taking a swim in the salt water.
If you’re a fan of face oils, learn how to find the best one for your skin type.