Q+A with Celebrity Skincare Expert and Facialist Aida Bicaj
Aida chats with us to debunk skincare rumors, talk about how her mother inspired her to get into skincare, and more.
Aida Bicaj is a world-renowned facialist and skincare expert who has been in the industry for twenty years. For Aida, it's all about ensuring that her clients — who range from celebrities, to Fortune 400 CEOs, to other famous names — have the best and most high-quality experience possible, with rigorously tested skincare products and top tier facial tech from Europe. Based out of New York City, Aida prides her spa boutique on being an oasis from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Read on below to learn more about Aida's thoughts on skincare, her time in this field, and more.
Q: How did you get into skincare?
I was influenced by my mother, who they actually called “The Black Orchid”, because she looked like Sophia Loren. We didn’t have a lot of money, so before she would go to parties she would always do remedies for her skin at home. I used to look at her mixing them on her face, and by the time she would leave the house, she would look like a million dollars. She taught me at a young age that skincare is so important because it is the first thing people will notice about you, and it reveals how you take care of yourself.
Q: What do you love the most about what you do?
I want to help people regain their confidence, as I feel the media today does not help that. A good skincare routine can bring your confidence back. When people meet you for the first time, the first thing they often notice is your skin. When your skin looks good, your entire presence shines, so I love that I am able to help others on their skincare journey to get the results they want.
Q: What is a myth about skincare that you want to debunk?
A myth about skincare is that there can be instant gratification with any routine you do. However, skincare is a long-term commitment, and it can take weeks for people to really even start to see results. People want their skin to look amazing, but I often find that they do not want to put time and effort into it. I always say, it only takes five minutes a day to take care of your skin.
Once you have developed a careful routine and stick to it, you will achieve the skin you want. But as I mentioned above, it is not immediate — you will not wake up one morning after using a serum only a couple of times and have your skin suddenly be better.
Another misconception people have is that if they break out at the start of a new skincare routine, they think it is not working and they want to give up right away. I tell my clients that this may actually mean something IS working, as the skin is constantly purifying itself. Four weeks is generally a good length of time to gauge whether a product is working for you.
Q: You’re passionate about putting the products you use at your spa boutique through a rigorous quality testing process. How do you go about vetting products? Can you tell us a bit about that process?
First, I look at the ingredients and how active they are – by the percentage. Then, I test them for up to four weeks on myself. Even if the product feels good on my skin, if I don’t see any changes, the product likely isn’t working for me. I don’t go by the feeling of the product, I go by the results. I also avoid mass-market products because they have a lower level of active ingredients.
Q: What is one product everyone should be using, no matter what their skin type?
Everyone has unique skin types and no single product can treat all, but if I could suggest one, I highly recommend Biologique Recherche Lotion P50.
Q: What is your best advice for someone who is struggling to find skincare products that work for them?
As I always say, it takes time and commitment to find a skincare routine that works for you. When it comes to your own skincare routine, it is important not to mix too many product lines because you will never know the true benefit of each if you do. That being said, stay consistent with products when you find what works for your skin type. I would also recommend coming into my spa for a consultation (we can also set it up virtually).
Q: As we know, our lifestyle habits in general — from what we put in our bodies, to how much sleep we get, etc. — have an impact on our skin. Can you tell us a bit about your day-to-day and any changes you’ve made in that way that have benefited your skin, or any advice you give your clients about it?
For me, self-care and maintaining a healthy body and mind requires discipline and a holistic approach. This includes meditation, water, sleep, working out, and eating healthy food. All of these healthy steps will contribute to changes in your skin too. Dairy consumption is the #1 enemy of your skin — more than sugar and carbs! Cut dairy out and you will not believe how your skin will change. Then, try cutting sugar and carbs next. One change I have made in my routine is that I’ve increased my consumption of water from 1 liter a day to 3 liters, which I recommend to everyone to stay well-hydrated.
Q: What do you wish people were talking more about in skincare?
First – instant gratification does not exist for our skin, and the younger generation is at a disadvantage because skincare is becoming more like fashion, which it isn't supposed to be. Rather than thinking only about how fast you will see results, people should focus instead on their routines and actually taking care of their skin, based on what their skin needs. Results are the most important when it comes to skincare, not the media’s presentation of a product. Skincare is commitment or nothing.
Second, as I mentioned earlier, it’s important to simplify your routine in terms of staying away from mixing different product lines. Try using only one skincare line versus an assortment, as you won’t know what is truly working, and the fact that the combination can have a negative effect on your skin. Also, it’s important to know what you’re using and if it is right for your skin type and issues. Don’t go by the beautiful bottle and marketed name.
Finally, I would also like to add that people should become more aware and informed about the concept of wellness as it relates to your skincare routine. I strongly believe that you need to treat yourself the way you want life to treat you — and to be kind to yourself!
Q: What are some ways you can get a spa-level facial treatment at home?
You should get a facial treatment every four to six weeks. But beyond that, to achieve the “glassy skin” effect on your own, you should use a toner-exfoliator, mask regularly, apply a combination of serums appropriate for your skin type and, of course, use day and night moisturizers.
Rapid Fire Round
Q: Worth the splurge:
MBR Eye Cream Smooth 100.
Q: Favorite drugstore or budget find:
Arm & Hammer AdvanceWhite Extreme Whitening Toothpaste.
Q: Latest beauty empty:
Leonor Greyl Creme Aux Fleurs.
Q: Recent discovery:
Forlle'd Hyalogy Platinum lotion, essence, and eye cream (all for pigmentation).
Q: Product you can’t leave home without:
Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant.
Q: Brand you wish more people knew about:
For more of Aida's favorite products, check out her shop: