Known as both the electrical esthetician to the stars and co-founder of ZIIP, Melanie Simon’s journey started from rather humble beginnings. In fact, her passion for perfect skin was sparked by her sister’s science project. “She tested different moisturizers on the skin of nectarines from the same bundle,” Simon explained. “The one with the Lubriderm looked perfect, the other nectarines completely shriveled into tiny balls and looked like satan’s spawn.” From then on, the skin whisperer was hooked—and not just by the family-size packs of lotion her parents would pick up from Costco.
Simon has since swapped Lubriderm for Tatcha’s swankier Indigo Soothing Silk Body Butter, but her enthusiasm for science and skin has only continued to grow over the years. It was during a family road trip to Mammoth, California to snowboard that the self-proclaimed “mountain girl” discovered endermologie (a non-surgical procedure that uses rollers and suction to smooth cellulite and tone skin) on television. “Everyone else was loading up the car to catch the first chair up the mountain and my mom and I were both glued to the TV,” she said. “Fate has really taken me where I am today. I look back at the steps it took to get here and I can see so clearly my mom and I in that tiny motel in Bishop.”
While fate certainly played a role in getting Simon to the top of the skincare world, she did take a few twists and turns along the way. After spending time at a junior college studying communicative disorders, she escaped to Mammoth for a much-needed break where she taught snowboarding and got her esthetician’s license on the side. Upon graduating from beauty school, she used her “nest egg” to invest in an endermologie machine and start a business in Santa Barbara. Once she built a clientele, Simon shifted her focus from the body to the face. Famed for her pre-red carpet facials, Simon’s celeb roster pushed her to search for a treatment with a more “cumulative” effect, which is how she discovered nanocurrent and its long-term benefits for skin. After acquiring a nanocurrent device from London, her signature electric facial was born.
Since Simon only had so many coveted slots in her Los Angeles, Montecito, and Jackson Hole locations, she sought to find a way to deliver her skin-reviving technique to the masses and found the ideal partner in David Mason, a childhood friend who also happened to be an industrial engineer with a background in cloud computing. “His sister has been my best friend since preschool—I remember Dave when he was in diapers!” laughed Simon. Long story short, the little boy in diapers helped Simon build a breakthrough device—the ZIIP—that put the power of electricity in the palm of your hand. The award-winning tool uses nanocurrent to boost skin’s level of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that helps stimulate collagen and elastin. Translation: The ZIIP lifts, firms, and revs up radiance so that skin looks better instantly and over time.
Three years after disrupting the beauty space by launching the iPhone equivalent of at-home devices, Melanie Simon Skincare was born. Once reserved for her private clients only, Simon started bottling the handmade secret sauce—a.k.a. Serum C—that treated everything from acne scarring to sun damage. “I always thought vitamin C was a complete crock and a total marketing joke,” she said. That was until she discovered an oil-soluble form that produced “crazy results.” Designed to be used as a treatment after microneedling three times a week, the pro said that Serum C “pulled itself into the [beauty] arena like a rock climber.”
Both of Simon’s businesses continue to rise, but in her mind, they remain complete separate entities: “[David and I] dream about ZIIP, but Melanie Simon Skincare is my playtime.” Here’s hoping playtime continues to expand and the dreams only get bigger.
Below, Simon spills some of her best-kept skincare secrets and explains how one man made bathing a truly electrifying experience.
Her ride-or-die beauty product: “Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 PIGM 400. It keeps my skin clear and my pores tight. It’s also a nice break from the Lotion P50 Original 1970 formula. PIGM 400 is gentler, making it great for summer.”
Her best drugstore discovery: “Johnson & Johnson 4x4 inch gauze pads. I use them to apply toner because it pushes the product into your skin instead of stealing it like cotton.”
Her 7-step daily ritual: Simon starts with Bioderma Sensibio H20 and follows with her ride-or-die Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 PIGM 400. She blends together Biologique Recherche Serum Amniotique E and Serum Elastine Pure before patting into skin. To brighten and boost collagen levels, she reaches for Melanie Simon Skincare Serum C three to four times a week. The pro alternates her namesake serum with Biologique Recherche Sérum Matriciel Visage and polishes off her skincare regimen with Biologique Recherche Creme VIP 02. For hair, she swears by David Mallett Volumizing Shampoo, Conditioner, and Spray No. 2 Le Volume.
Her skincare mantra: “Layer your products from thinnest to thickest and give yourself time.”
Her biggest beauty mistake: “Not changing my pillowcase at least once a week.”
Her dirty little secret: “If you don’t have time to wash your pillowcase once a week, flip it inside out every seven days and hide it behind the other well-kept pillows on your bed.”
Her ultimate escape: “The beach. I always bring Jane Iredale PurePressed Base Mineral Foundation, which I use as SPF for my face.”
Her beauty icon: “Cher circa Moonstruck and The Witches of Eastwick. Her skin is so milky and clear. It’s almost glowing with those big, crazy, black curls surrounding her face. I just love that contrast.”
Her dream beauty raid: “Nikola Tesla’s apartment. He apparently had a bathtub that he would fill with milk and electrically charge. People would soak in it to cure ailments.”
Written by Amber Kallor
April 25, 2019