Jill Syslo: Regimen. Self-Care. Brunch.
MEET THE PROFESSIONALS:
“True beauty comes from retinoids.”
Jill Syslo is the co-owner and head esthetician at Sacred Skincare, a holistically inspired med-spa in the heart of New York’s Financial District. She also owns and runs the serene Sanctuary Salon (for hair) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Both focus on individual attention and meticulous craft. She manages it all with a strict adherence to schedule, self-care, and frequent visits to her favorite brunch spot, Egg.
Jill Syslo talks post-party repair and why you should definitely be using the “Do Not Disturb” feature on your phone.
What is it like trying to manage two businesses?
It’s definitely laborious, yet rewarding to see your visions come to life and grow.
How do you de-stress?
I take my personal time very seriously and never overbook myself. I put my phone on “do not disturb” mode from 9pm-10am every day. My employees know I am not available during those hours. I try my best not to use any electronics an hour before bedtime. I’m also a big walker. I average about eight miles a day. Walking really relaxes me. Just taking in the environment and not having to be on public transportation is such a relief. I also try to surround myself with positive people who share in my core values. And I try to hit the gym a few times a week if possible, but time doesn’t always allow.
How big a role does stress play in skin health?
Huge! Stress can trigger and aggravate issues like rosacea and eczema. So many of us feel stress and feel there isn’t enough time for that AM yoga class or that after work meditation class, but there are little things we can do every day to de-stress. Take a five-minute walk. Don’t look at your phone while enjoying that first coffee of the morning. Carry an aromatherapy oil with you and inhale a few deep breaths while keeping your mind clear of everything else for those few moments. Lavender, rose, and vetiver are all known stress relievers. We use lavender in almost all of our services at Sacred Skincare.
What got you interested in skin care as a career?
I got my esthetics license 16 years ago. I was working a corporate job and was daydreaming about what move I could make to get out of that world. How could I incorporate helping people AND enjoy my job? Was that even a possibility?
You received your paramedical certification from Dr. Fulton. What was the most important thing you learned from him?
Patience. Skin conditions can’t improve overnight. In an age where everything is instant, people are looking for immediate results, but it takes dedication and follow through with your regimen. It’s so important to clearly discuss the time frame with clients and to be able to walk them through the process. There’s a lot of trust involved.
What’s the best thing about what you do?
Seeing the results in someone who has struggled with their skin for years—been on and off medications and tried every “of-the-moment” regimen—before coming to me. It is the best feeling knowing that person finally feels comfortable in their own skin because of my help. So rewarding.
What is the biggest mistake people make in caring for their skin?
Laziness. Using wipes instead of cleansers. Or using coconut oil as a moisturizer. Coconut oil is rated a four on the comedogenicity scale. [Zero being non-comedogenic and five being the most.] Coconut oil has so many amazing benefits for your health and body, just keep it off your face if you’re prone to breakouts.
Other than product, what do you think has the most impact on skin?
Diet! The old saying “you are what you eat” really rings true. Product can only do so much. If you’re living an unhealthy lifestyle, it will show up sooner or later.
What is your best post-party/late night repair advice?
Drink lots of water! There is always an art opening, a friend’s birthday, or something going on. Go ahead and have that glass of wine, just make sure to hydrate. Your rule of thumb should be for every alcoholic drink, follow with a glass of water. This will most likely slow your alcohol intake, and reduce your chances of having a hangover.
Where is the best brunch in NYC?
My local favorite is Egg in Williamsburg. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for years, and it’s been my go-to. I typically won’t set foot in the door on the weekends as it’s filled to the brim, but you can usually catch me there through the week. I recommend the molasses milkshake the next time you visit. There’s nothing better!
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love taking time to myself, visiting with friends, and heading to Egg, of course!
Skin care must-nevers?
Never go to bed without washing your face. Never start a day without sunscreen, even those with more melanin. Never ignore changes in moles or other spots on the skin; go to the dermatologist.
Finish this sentence: True beauty comes from….
Retinoids! Retinoids are an absolute must for all skin types. Whether your skin is congested, uneven, aging, whatever, a retinoid in some form will completely transform the health of your skin. Thank you, Dr. Fulton.
Finish this sentence: I never leave the house without…
Sunscreen and lipstick. ALWAYS.
Top three rules for great skin?
What’s sets Sacred Skin apart from other spas?
First, experience. My partner (Stephanie Pfouts) and I have combined experience of almost thirty years. My background as a medical esthetician and her background as a holistic esthetician gives us the breadth to take on a wide variety of concerns and treatment options. Living and working in NYC, you have to be on your toes. Our clients tend to be educated, highly driven men and women who want results.
Second, compassion. We truly care about our clients because we love what we do. I feel our clients sense that. We look at you as a person and care about your individual concerns. There’s no one-size-fits-all formula.
How do you keep up with skin care trends?
There is so much info out there via blogs, influencer sites, etc. It’s hard, and often, confusing for clients. Being a professional, it’s my job to stay abreast and research what’s trending, but at the end of the day, I’m sort of old school. I stick with what works. That’s why it was so important for me to have Vivant products as a staple at Sacred Skincare. Trends come and go, but beautiful skin is timeless.
Botox or no-tox?
That’s a very personal decision. I leave that to my client to decide. I’m always happy to educate on the alternatives before going under the needle. A tailored retinol plan in conjunction with administered Laser Genesis treatments for instance. I’m happy to announce that Sacred Skincare will soon be offering injections to our list of services.
What is your personal skin care routine?
Every night, I use Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser to remove my makeup and tone with Normalizing Tonic. Then on to the good stuff, both Rejuv Rx and Derm-A-Gel.
Some people think that’s a lot to do. If I’m home for the night and it’s 5 pm, I just do it then. When people wait to do their routine before bed, a lot of them get too tired and just go to bed with all that junk on their faces. I tell my clients, there’s no need to wait.
In the morning, I cleanse with BP 3% Exfoliating Cleanser, tone with Normalizing Toner, use Rejuv Rx, Spin Trap, and finish with Day Treatment Lotion. I’ve been on this regimen for fourteen years.
Jill’s Essential Power Trio