#SpaExpertSeries - Desi Valentine's Best At-Home Beauty Devices

Desi Valentine trained as an aesthetician under leading companies and dermatologists for a number of years before deciding to set up her own company. In 2016, she started offering high-end, non-invasive facials. She quickly developed a reputation in London for delivering the best mobile facials and her client list exploded. Her facials are designed to naturally and instantly lift, de-puff and brighten the skin, as well as soften fine lines and wrinkles. She has an impressive selection of non-invasive machines and devices and couples these with the very best professional products. In 2019, Desi also launched an online platform called Skinned, where you can book her and her specialised team’s advanced facials, body contouring treatments and holistic therapies in the comfort of your own home.

As a true skincare expert and the queen of devices, we asked Desi to share her wisdom…

What is your favourite at-home device to cleanse the skin and how do you use it?

My favourite is the Ultrasonic spatula, which has been around since the early 1980s because it achieves great results. It’s a sort of microdermabrasion or ‘soft peeling’ offering retexturing results with the safe and gentle use of ultrasound vibrations of up to 28,000 cycles per second. I recommend using it on damp skin and gently gliding the device over the curves of your nose and face. You’ll have no redness and it’s inexpensive. For home use, I recommend the Labelle Ultrasonic Spatula.

There are also a few other cleansing devices on the market. The Foreo is a gentle facial sonic brush with long and soft-touch points made of non-porous medical-grade silicone, which means you’ll never have to re-buy a brush head. Your skin will look radiant and brighter after use. There’s also the Clarisonic Brush; you do have to regularly buy a new brush but its 300 movement/second gently massage away impurities trapped within the pores. Excess dirt and makeup can build up between the gaps/ bristles so it’s important to clean both devices with warm water after use.

If you have sensitive skin I would recommend the Foreo over the brush. However, for less sensitive skin my preference is always the Ultrasonic spatula.

You know a thing or two about getting pesky spots out; what would you advise customers to use to help them at home?

For extractions, I always advise clients to perform them after taking a shower when the skin is cleansed and pores are open and ready to be extracted. If you want to be extra pro, you could also buy a small facial steamer to open pores further. I’ve used the Nano Ionic Facial Steamer before. Whether you have a steamer or not, the next step is to wrap your index fingers in tissue before gently squeezing out any blackheads. When it comes to a pimple be very careful! If it’s deep, do not touch it as you can cause trauma to the pore and spread bacteria under the skin which will cause more pimples. Always disinfect the area with an antiseptic toner; out of the Irene Forte range, I would recommend the Lemon Toner.

In terms of more devices, the ultrasonic spatula I mentioned certainly helps to draw out excess oil and impurities.

You can also use high-frequency on pimples. High-frequency kills bacteria and reduces inflammation. The tool itself looks like a stick with a little bubble on the end; the bubble is the electrode that produces argon gas and emits a small electrical current. In terms of how to use it, place a gauze over your face, turn on the wand and the dial up until you feel a slight tingling sensation. Move the wand over your pimples with circular motions, working on each one for no more than a minute or two. I like using the Skin Gym High-Frequency Wand. However, a word of caution - I would recommend you consult with your aesthetician or dermatologist to get proper advice and guidance on how to use this. If applied incorrectly you can cause trauma to the skin.

I know that vacuum tools that use suction are quite popular at the moment. I find these much too harsh on the skin. The physical suction is not just pulling blackheads from the skin but it’s also causing damage to the pores, removing natural oils (which the skin needs to stay healthy) and pulling blood and other tissues to the surface which causes dilation of the capillaries. If you do want to use this I would only recommend using it on the nose and the chin.

I would also recommend an anti-blemish mask once to twice a week. I’m in love with the Irene Forte Lavender & Rosemary Face Mask.

For someone that is prone to acne or big break-outs, what would you advise?

Other than using balancing and purifying products and devices like an Ultrasonic spatula and High-frequency, I like LED. I would recommend using the blue light; this is the light which is most often used for treating acne.

A good FDA-approved brand for LED home use is the Dr Dennis Gross Spectralite FaceWare Pro. However, it is expensive! The Light Salon Boost LED Mask is good too and it’s slightly cheaper. I also like the Aduro LED Mask which is not advertised much in the UK for some reason but it’s a good one and even cheaper.

I would not recommend microdermabrasion at home because you can break capillaries and bruise the skin if you don’t stretch it enough.

In terms of treatments, I would recommend a course of chemical peels or facials designed for blemishes. For those that only suffer from blemishes from time to time, I like to recommend Hydra Facial.

What are your favourite tools to boost circulation and tone face muscles?

I really like microcurrent which uses low-grade electrical current to ‘train’ facial muscles to look more lifted and firm. This was originally introduced in medicine in the 1980s, when it was approved by the FDA to treat Bell’s palsy and muscle paralysis. One of my favourite brands for home use is the Pure Lift Pro. It uses 7,300 microamps with a triple wave patented EMS (electrical muscle stimulation) technology (a traditional at-home microcurrent only uses 223 microamps). Therefore I prefer the Pure Lift Pro to brands like NuFace. Do always use conductive gel with the device in order to maximise the impulses. I would recommend using this for approximately 10 minutes a day, or every other day. If you’re using a NuFace, given that it’s weaker, I would suggest using this 20 minutes a day or every other day.

You can also use an Ultrasound Hot and Cold facial massager. This tightens the skin and improves lymphatic drainage. I really like the Ultrasonic Cryotherapy Face and Body Unit on the PR Global Store.

Another option is a Radio Mesotherapy device. I like the one on the PR Global Store called 5in1 EMS Face Lift Anti-Aging Radio Mesotherapy RF. You can use it once you apply your serum, working the device over the skin in circular motions to push the ingredients deeper into the skin, firm and tighten. Opatra do a similar device but it’s very expensive.

I am not a huge fan of a Jade Roller but I do like the Gua Sha if applied correctly. Either way, I believe that regular self-massaging techniques with your hands and knuckles works better than these two tools.

What do you think about using derma rollers at home?

Dermarolling, a form of microneedling, involves using a mini wheel covered with hundreds of tiny needles to gently prick the face. The roller produces micro-punctures in the skin that can enhance the absorption of skincare products.

I would not recommend using derma rollers at home. I think that this should be left to a specialist; with the right aesthetician you can achieve fantastic results. It generates new collagen and skin tissue for smoother, firmer, toned skin. It can also treat scars, wrinkles and large pores. We deliver a microneedling treatment through my app Skinned.

We know you're the queen of devices, can you tell us about what you use in your all-singing and dancing facials?

Over the years I have designed a variety of different facials with devices. I’m known for using a number of different devices in one treatment. My favourites are Oxygen, the Carboxy Infusion Gun, Microcurrent, High-frequency and Ultrasound.

Any other at-home devices or ideas for our readers?

Body devices are starting to become popular. There is a device on the PR Global Store called Ultrasound EMS Slimming Body Massager. This is a fantastic device for at-home body contouring, especially given that most spas and clinics are not open yet and you all want to get ready for the summer.