Here’s What I Learnt From A Celebrity Facialist

One of the biggest parts of my job as a beauty columnist is making sure I am on top of the latest techniques and trends when it comes to skincare. So when I found out that celebrity facialist Sue Dann was making a rare trip to Brisbane, I had to book in immediately.

With more than 35 years in the business, Sue is known in the industry to have “magic hands” and is almost always booked up months in advance. And I just so happened to have secured one of her coveted spots. So what did I learn from the skincare guru? Oh so much, my beauty-loving friends.

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Oil is the key to getting rid of pimples
Wait, getting RID OF pimples? Yep, you read right. For so long I was hesitant to use facial oils, even though I was told they were a holy grail product for fear I’d clog up my pores. But during my pamper session with Sue, she hit me with a few home truths that confirmed what I’ve since discovered myself. Even though oil build-up is the cause of most acne, it’s the key to eliminating breakouts as well. “Oil-based products are proven to hydrate the skin better and longer than water-based creams,” she said. “An oil-based cream will protect the skin better against external aggressors – it effectively reinforces the skin’s own acid mantle.”

Water-based products are bad at moisturising
And why is oil so much better at moisturising than traditional water-based creams? Because, well, our skin is waterproof. When Sue told me this, I went to object but then thought about it… If skin wasn’t mostly waterproof, we’d swell up like sponges while taking a bath, which we don’t do, so there had to be something in this. The products that Sue uses, all from the Dr Spiller brand, are described as “biomimetic” in that they mimic the functions our bodies already carry out, just on a more efficient and thorough way. She explains this is why oil-based products work so much better than water… our skin produces oil all on its own, so the oil can get back into our pores much easier, delivering much-needed moisture to dehydrated skin.

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We’re prone to overdoing it with skincare
AHA and BHA acids are having a bit of a beauty moment right now, but Sue says we are using them much more than we should be. The beauty expert explains that while these have an immediate effect, they also strip your skin’s natural defence barriers over time and can cause long-term damage if we aren’t selective with when we use it.

There’s a secret ingredient clogging our pores
Just when I thought I couldn’t learn anymore, Sue asks me what type of foundation I use. She explains that many foundations use an ingredient called dimethicone, which is a silicone product. It’s used to help many foundations glide right on, but since it doesn’t naturally occur in the skin, it clogs things up somewhat. Almost all primers also contain dimethicone so it’s something to look out for if you want to clear up your skin. But don’t go ditching all your favourite products, Sue says they’re “sometimes” products and won’t do damage unless you’re using them every day.

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The Verdict

At the end of my heavenly facial with Sue, I was convinced there must be something in her advice. My full treatment included a cleanse under steam with Dr Spiller Aloe Cleanser, exfoliation with an enzyme mask, toning with Dr Spiller Aloe Toner, a serum with hyaluronic acid and collagen applied with a microcurrent device and LED light. Then, Sue applied Dr Spiller Vitamin Skin Function Oil and their Cellular Day Cream. My skin felt soft and plump and hydrated in a way I hadn’t felt in a while, and that continued in the days that followed. Yes, DAYS.

I vowed to go home and check my product ingredients a little more closely to make sure I wasn’t accidentally adding to my skin’s problems in the future.  

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