INTERVIEW: MELANIE SIMON, ENTREPRENEUR, ELECTRICAL ESTHETICIAN, FOUNDER ZIIP
by JVB • Beauty
The very definition of a wonder woman. Melanie Simon is a leader in cutting-edge skin products and treatments. Including her ever popular Vitamin C Serum and the ZIIP device.
JVB: How did your career evolve into the beauty & technology industry?
Melanie Simon: I had always been really passionate about skincare and decided that I would go to cosmetology school in my early 20s and get my license as an Esthetician. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with the license (I didn’t have a plan), but I knew it was something that really interested me. I had also bought and sold my first house by the time I was 24, so I had a little nest egg available to help me enter into the skincare world.
I opened my first space in Santa Barbara soon after, offering Biologique Recherche products and their facial device The Remodeling Face Machine. The brand sent over a wonderful woman from Paris (named Paris!) to train me and I just remember thinking “I have completely wasted my savings! This is so difficult! I am never going to be able to do it!”. But I hung in there and I kept working on it - I really saw the magic that electricity could create on the skin.
I went down a rabbit hole searching for electrical studies on the skin… I learned that a lower range of current (or nano current) provides more cumulative and long-term results. A nano current is something you can’t even feel when it’s on your skin as it’s completely in sync with the human body. To this day, it’s still very hard for me to convince people that these waveforms will give the most long term and lasting results.
JVB: Your wonder device, ZIIP quickly became an industry favorite, did you expect you would receive such a large following so early on?
MS: Yes and no. We knew we were onto something, but you never really know how something is going to be received until it’s out there in the marketplace. We were really thinking ahead of the curve with the ZIIP. If we launched years ago, consumers likely would not have been ready for it. We had a vision that launching a device, along with an app and conductive gel simultaneously, was exactly what it would take for a modern, futuristic device to work for today’s consumer. All three in combination are what make ZIIP so unique. We were the first beauty device to come out with an app that truly enhanced the capabilities and experience of the device. It seems like many beauty companies have, at the very least, an informational app - but beauty tools need to evolve to become more about the individual. It’s all about convenience, personalization, and delivering real results. And that’s what the ZIIP provides.
JVB: What do you love most about your handheld facial design, ZIIP?
MS: I absolutely love the feel of the ZIIP in the palm. The ZIIP fits perfectly in the hand while the probes glide so smoothly over skin, almost suctioning it at the same time. We went through a TON of prototypes (40 plus) until we got it just right. I also love how sleek and modern it is. We were purposeful in making it white, with real gold accents, because it feels like jewelry and speaks to its modern capabilities.
JVB: Do you have a favorite setting or treatment option from the App?
MS: Each treatment cocktail has been designed with unique electrical waveforms of micro and nano-currents, so it really depends on what state my skin is in. I also love layering the treatments and mixing and matching. I might do Energize, followed by Pigment and VitalEyes one day, and a few days later do Instant Gratification paired with Total Clearing. I will say, if I am trying to show someone the power of ZIIP, I use the Instant Gratification treatment on them twice (or back to back) - there is just no doubt after that.
JVB: How do you decide on new treatment options?
MS: We pay a lot of attention to our customers and the skincare issues people are facing. Currently the ZIIP has seven electrical treatments to target concerns like, acne (Total Clearing), sun spots (Pigment), sensitive skin/redness (Sensitive Energize), anti-aging (Energize), under eye circles/fine lines (VitalEyes), pores, under eye darkness and forehead lines (Quick Fix), and Contouring lift (Instant Gratification).
JVB: Do you have any personal beauty tricks you integrate into your routine with ZIIP?
MS: I like to pump the ZIIP gently up and down and then stroke the edge of the face and hairline. This is going to boost the lymphatic system once again. It helps all the fluids trapped in the face to flow out. We want clean streams that are flowing freely, not murky, rocky ponds.
JVB: Why did you decide to launch your own Vitamin C Serum?
MS: Honestly, I never believed in Vitamin C and always thought it over-promised and under delivered. Out of pure curiosity, I decided to source a medical grade form of Vitamin C, called Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, to incorporate into my electrical facials. This form of Vitamin C is lipid soluble, which means it can be absorbed by oily and fatty tissue, like the skin. When you think about it, a water-soluble Vitamin C cannot penetrate the epidermis because it is made up of lipids, fatty tissue, and oils.
So I decided to have the Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate formulated at a 15% concentration - which is what I believe is the most effective. Too little and it doesn’t give your skin the ‘wow’ result; too much and it can have an adverse effect. In addition, I had the formula stabilized so that it would have a long shelf life, suitable for me to use professionally. I had never seen an ingredient perform like this in over a decade.
When I micro needled the formula on clients, the skin just beamed! As time went on my clients asked me to have it formulated so they could purchase the same solution - one that would remain stable and not expire. Thus Serum C was born!
I do recommend only using 3-4 times a week though, and I strongly suggest certain methods of application. First, your skin should be dry to touch, with no residue remaining from other products. Then, after applying Serum C, you have to give it almost 10 minutes to completely absorb, before applying your moisturizer, as water will degrade it.
JVB: What are your skincare must-haves/must-dos?
MS: I am constantly playing and changing it up but my favorites right now are Tatcha’s Rice Polish and Biologique Recherche P50 1970 original formula - I cannot live without it. I also use my Melanie Simon Skincare Serum C, three days a week. In terms of must-dos…I use the Total Clearing program on ZIIP to make sure my skin remains clear, as well as the Instant Gratification program to keep it firm and lifted. Lymphatic drainage is also a regular part of my routine, either manually or with Joanna Czech’s roller tool. And I like the vibrating wand I got from Teresa Tarmey. Oh! And I always get my feathered brows done by Kristie Streicher.
JVB: You have commented before that you use gauze to apply your skin care products. What is it about this method that you find works? And how did you discover this?
MS: Gauze pushes the product into your skin, rather than stealing the goodness from it. I also like it because I can see that no makeup is left on the skin when using my toner. In other words, I can see that the skin is cleansed properly first before I go putting other products back into the pores. I tried many different things initially, but when I finally found gauze it was like coming home.
JVB: Do you have any other beauty hacks you stumbled upon by accident?
MS: Yes! My absolute favorite one is to use the ZIIP Instant Gratification treatment to specifically tone and define cheekbones. I can’t believe how great this works. I also discovered that using VitalEyes helps to plump the lips - it’s incredible! Another trick I do is add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to a bowl of icy water, to make cold compresses. These help to bring down any swelling or puffiness.
JVB: What is one go-to beauty trick you use on your clients when they are preparing for a big event?
MS: Lymphatic drainage is one of my ‘musts’ with clients, before anything else. A trick that anyone can do is find the lymph node for the under eye area (it is typically right where glasses hit the side of your nose) and with your pointer finger, pump both sides at the rhythm of your heartbeat (for 30 - 60 seconds) and this will help drain out any fluid under the eyes.
JVB: What are some of the most valuable lessons you have learned since entering into the industry?
MS: Stick to your guns. If there are products or ideas you believe in, stick with them. It may take time but if you have a passion that you believe in, eventually others will listen.