We Asked an Esthetician What She Looks for in Skin Care Products

esthetician penny and pine

When it comes to skin care, many of us know the basics, but not much more than that. Whether you’re completely starting from scratch or have an extensive skin care regimen in place, consulting an esthetician is always beneficial and can help you reach your skin care goals.

What Does an Esthetician Do?

Estheticians are professionals within the field of skin wellness. Estheticians especially focus on improving the tone, texture, color, and suppleness of skin. They are known for apply various treatments to improve these areas, leaving your skin feeling fresh and rejuvenated! 

Recommendations from a Local Esthetician

We met with Heidi LaDoucer, a licensed esthetician in Minneapolis, MN, to get the scoop on all things skincare and ask her our most pressing questions. Heidi works with a wide variety of clients including those who are preparing for special events like a wedding. While your wedding planning period is the perfect time to develop a prime self-care routine, it’s never too early or late to start one!

We were all fairly loyal to a few favorite skincare products prior to meeting with Heidi, but after learning what she looks for when selecting skincare products, we changed our tune on some of our staples.

Heidi noted that while the types of products you should include in your routine don’t differ too much between high quality lines and less-than-stellar-for-you brands, the quality of ingredients in these products and how they’re produced can vary a LOT.

There are some key elements that Heidi considers when choosing skincare products and recommends that her clients keep in mind as well. Heidi looks at everything from the sourcing and manufacturing processes that a company follows to the actual ingredients - and amount of certain ingredients - in the products themselves. Check out some of our biggest takeaways!

Do I really need to invest in a skincare routine?

First of all, it’s a common misconception that you need to be a certain age to start caring about your skin. Acne, wrinkles, and other skin concerns can impact anyone at any age! One of the best times to start a skincare routine is when planning your wedding. Like any wedding planning to-do, though, it’s important to start earlier rather than later! Many brides and bridesmaids wait until a few months or even weeks to get started on their beauty and skincare regimen. Like starting a crash diet right before a wedding or a big event, putting off skin prep until the last minute will not end well.

Heidi says that one year out from the wedding is a good starting point depending on your individual needs. She explained that whether you’re switching products or completely starting from scratch, your skin needs time to adjust to change. It’s important to figure out what you can tolerate and what benefits you should look for in skincare products to alleviate existing problems.

What ingredients should I look out for?

Some ingredients to be aware of include retinol and fragrancesRetinol is notorious for causing irritation in many individuals. It’s important to remember that we all tolerate different substances differently, so while one individual may have no trouble with retinol, some people can experience redness and irritation when using skincare products with this ingredient. Retinol is also not recommended for use by pregnant women.

skincare ingredients

Another factor to keep your eyes on is fragrances. While a nice, subtle scent may seem especially invigorating or relaxing, be aware of how your body reacts to fragrances. You may be able to tolerate some fragrances, but react to others. That’s ok! It’s important to know this and make conscious buying decisions based on this. Many lotions, cleansers, and scrubs include fragrances, so be sure to check the label before buying if you know that you have an allergic reaction to certain scents!

Stick to staples

When in doubt, be sure to keep a few basic products on hand to repair, restore, and soothe your skin. It’s important to start with basic products to accumulate your skin to change and then work your way up to a more complicated regimen. No matter how many products you choose to have in your arsenal or how advanced you want your routine to be, it’s key to include at least one product from each of the following categories on hand!


Anti-blemish and corrective

Let’s face it - almost all of us experience breakouts and redness from time to time. If you’re one of the select few humans on earth who doesn’t, consider yourself extremely fortunate. Whether you’re looking to keep regular acne at bay, or are prone to stress-induced red spots, a spot treatment is key. Acne creams are great, but can cause excess dryness when over-applied and in turn, can cause excess oil production that leads to even further breakouts! Using the On-the-Go Blemish Stick to direct powerful relief toward smaller spots is a great way to get quick results that dry out only unwanted acne - not the surrounding skin! Effective, gentle cleansers are also crucial to achieving blemish-free skin. We love the Rose Hip Seed Cleanser because not only does it draw out impurities, it also promotes cell regeneration to refresh skin and give you an effortless glow.


No matter what your skin type, it’s SO important to keep your skin hydrated and balanced. That’s right, even those with oily skin need to moisturize. Think about it. Your body can’t function properly without adequate hydration. When you don’t drink enough water, you feel tired and maybe even sick. The same goes for your skin. Dry skin can be itchy, embarrassing, and irritating, so why not prevent flakes and redness to begin with by implementing moisturization into your regular routine? Oils, creams, and masks are all great products to use when your skin needs an extra moisture boost. Some of our picks include the Transformation Oil, Moisture Boost Serum, and Moisture Boost Cream.



I know what you’re thinking. You’re too young to use anti-aging products and don’t even show signs of wrinkles yet. However, it’s never too early to give your skin some TLC. Whether you’re experiencing early signs of aging, or just want to prevent those dang crows feet that your mom, older sister, and grandma all have, it’s important to invest in quality anti-aging products. Again, be aware of the side effects of fragrances and retinols as these are commonly found in anti-aging products. DO look for multi-peptides, collagen, hyaluronic acids, and vitamins when shopping for anti-aging products. These products improve the skin’s elasticity and suppleness. They also work to tighten skin and make it appear more energized.

How much should I plan to spend?

While great skincare products don’t have to cost a fortune, be aware of the unnecessary parabens and incomplete nutrients commonly found in lower quality brands. Heidi pointed out that while some lines claim that their products contain certain vitamins and natural ingredients, they may only contain small portions of these substances that aren’t as effective as the “real thing”. For example, Heidi explained, many products claim to include Vitamin C, but do not actually extract the vitamin in its entirety, making the product less valuable, and likely less expensive at retail price. When in doubt, if you ever have a question about the ingredients or claims that a company makes, ask! Chances are, if the company is transparent and willing to answer your question, they provide quality products and services. If not, it may be wise to look elsewhere for a company whose values align with yours and products fit your needs more closely.

Vitamin C

We found Heidi’s tips insanely helpful and hope you do, too! Consulting an expert can help you know what to look for when selecting products to incorporate into your routine because they offer a scientifically and educationally backed perspective. While it may be hard to part with your favorite products or try something new, it’s SO important to be mindful of what you put on your skin because those ingredients get absorbed by your body! Remember, you don’t need a mountain of products in order to create a totally healthy skincare routine. A good moisturizer, anti-aging, and soothing combo goes a long way!

Are you super stoked to toss your synthetic products, or are you not so sure you’re ready to take the leap? It’s ok to take baby steps and slowly introduce more sustainable products! Leave us a comment to let us know your thoughts.

Special thanks to Heidi from Petite Salon!

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