She’s put the power of an anti-aging device in the palm of our hands. Written By PUNCH HUTTON
In a new series, VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers for their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit.
“What do we need to know?” “What’s next in beauty?” “How can I look younger and fresher?” “Am I hopeless without a face-lift?” These are the questions I hear most since taking on my role at Violet Grey. I’m far from a beauty expert, but one of my constant refrains is, “Get the ZIIP. I’m not kidding. It works.” It is the device I would most like to give my girlfriends, my mom, my in-laws, and a few others who run hot and cold on injections but could benefit from some lifting and tightening. In all honesty, most of us would fare well with a little ZIIP in our lives.
The ZIIP, the brainchild of electrical esthetician Melanie Simon—who developed it with her technology partner, David Mason—is a palm-size nano current skin care device that stimulates collagen and elastin by way of pushing electricity into the skin. Envision a battery with a positive end and a negative end. The energy that runs between the two polarizing ends gives life to whatever it makes contact with (in this case, skin). This penetration positively affects the body’s Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) a naturally occurring chemical that helps cells repair themselves. Are you still with me?
Simon—who is a walking, talking example of what she preaches and teaches—has flawless skin, and is renowned for helping her clients achieve the same results. Her electrical facials, which she administers from offices in Montecito, LA, and Jackson Hole, are considered the Holy Grail of next-level skincare. In addition to her allegiance to Biologique Recherche creams and serums, she uses medical-grade vitamins, oxygen, and low-frequency electrical currents on her overflowing roster of camera-ready faces. But for people who don’t have the luxury of visiting Simon regularly, there is hope.
"With ZIIP, customers not only get the tool, but also they get a personal, virtual, Electrical Esthetician, to teach and support them through the process."
- Melanie Simons
Simon created the ZIIP as a way of sharing her knowledge with the world and connecting to them via technology. “With ZIIP, they not only get the tool, but they also get a personal, virtual electrical aesthetician to teach and support them through the process,” she explains. Once you’ve purchased the device (at $495 it is not cheap, but I promise it amortizes over time), you need to download the app. Simon literally walks you through each program (currently, there are six) as you begin. Its like you’re performing your own at-home facial with your best friend by your side. The key to all of it is the conductor gel, which you must apply lavishly so you don’t feel the prickly currents. You get to choose which “electrical cocktail” you want, depending on your skincare needs.
“Your ZIIP evolves and changes just like your skin does. For example, if you are breaking out, use the Total Clearing program. If you have a date night or an event later that day, upload the Instant Gratification treatment. The treatments are completely unlimited,” explains Simon. And that’s just it—the beauty of ZIIP is that you can get a little lift whenever you want. You’re in total control of your face, and the results are immediate. Simon is the wizard behind the wand, and she has bequeathed her power to her users. #Abracadabra
What is the atmosphere of your bedroom?
It’s like a blue cocoon—royal blue paint and velvet walls. I really prioritize sleep above all other essentials. To ensure deep sleep I need my room to be blacked out at night, and I always have the humidifier humming along.
Please describe your bed and your favorite thing about it.
After skin care, sheets are my personal weakness. The Sferra Giza sateen and percale sets are my favorites. They are made from Egyptian cotton and wear in like butter. I am also having a romance with the Kerry Cassill blue poppy flat sheet, which I use as a coverlet. I saw it in Vogue years ago and thought it was embroidered. The print is dainty and elegant. Every week I wash it with dye- and fragrance-free detergent and press it using drops of lavender essential oil.
What time do you wake up?
Too early! I have hundreds of alarms on my phone. Some, especially in the wee hours, are 1, 2, 10 minutes apart so I can get in every last minute of sleep. I also hate waking up at just 6 or 7. I like 7:02 and 6:24; they have so much more personality.
How many hours of sleep do you require?
I require eight, but nine or ten is better.
Any bedside beauty essentials?
On my white glazed Astier de Villatte tray I have either my Cire Trudon Positano candle or the tall red BYREDO Saints Altar candle, always freshly cut flowers (I pick fragrant blooms, like blue hyacinth or lilacs, for my room), the Biologique Recherche spray L’Eauxygenante (basically liquid oxygen), and Egyptian Magic, which I dab on my upper eyelids and the corners of my eyes and mouth at night. In the evenings I also drink water that is slightly alkaline, followed by some warm pH-balanced water with a magnesium supplement mixed in.
Do you drink coffee or tea, eat breakfast?
French press coffee with heavy whipping cream and a pinch of brown sugar (like the kind you get with oatmeal, not raw sugar).
Do you work out in the a.m.?
My skincare routine is eight steps long—does this count?
What is your morning skincare regimen?
Cleanse with Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water.
Apply P50 1970 Biologique Recherche on my face and neck with gauze and allow one minute for the product to acidify.
Apply Sérum Amniotique Biologique Recherche on face, eyes, and neck.
Apply my serum “C” on face, eyes, and neck, then wait 10 minutes to let the product set up (vitamin C doesn’t play well with others, so I give it time on my skin in isolation.
Press Sérum Matriciel Biologique Recherche into the skin of my face, eyes, and neck.
Crème Dermopurifiante Biologique Recherche.
Press Crème Contour Yeux et Lèvres Biofixine Biologique Recherche onto crow’s-feet and lips.
And, finally, press Fluide VIP 02 Biologique Recherche over all the other products to create a shield on the skin.
What makeup and products do you use on a daily basis?
I break out super easily, so I use Jane Iredale pressed powder for my physical sunblock (it’s zinc/titanium and the particle size is not too small, so it meets all my safety criteria). This sits on top of my products, so it doesn’t penetrate and poison my skin care routine. What’s the point of spending my life savings on great products if I am going to taint them with chemical sunblock? Give me a My Fair Lady sun hat and this pressed powder any day.
What’s your hair situation in the a.m.?
Wild. Wild. Wild. I was convinced to air-dry by Ashley Streicher, so I wash in the morning and let it slowly dry. While still damp, I apply Leonor Greyl Creme Éclat Naturel to ends, and Oribe Matte Waves texture lotion to the area around the nape of my neck. This results in amazing volume the night of, and evolves by the day into a relaxed beach wave until I wash it three or four days later. It has been really liberating not to feel the need to conform my curls by fire. It has honestly changed my life. I wouldn’t have been caught dead in public without a blowout before, but now the idea of it feels so oppressive and out of touch.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
Most likely emails and text messages. If I am hopping into the car, I’ll listen to a podcast like How I Built This, and then call my team from the car (while sitting in traffic) to go over the day’s agenda and early emails.
What business do you conduct before 10:00 a.m.?
I am a dreamer, so I really give myself the creative space to just be. I spend my first 45 minutes drinking my lemon water and then slowly sipping my coffee until the caffeine has fully hit my bloodstream. Then it’s off to the races.
Each morning there is something different. Typically I am taking press appointments or training retailers in LA, traveling to NY to do the same, or consulting with our team of engineers and medical advisors regarding a new Electrical Cocktail I want to make available through our App. It really varies so dramatically that I couldn’t begin to make a consistent schedule. Often I am on the road because so much of what I do is about connecting with people physically and demonstrating ZIIP in person. It’s obvious when you meet me that I practice what I preach.
I learned a long time ago that no one will build your business for you. You have to get out there and connect with people in person. You have to do the work.
What time do you head to your office?
My car-fice? 9-ish. I’m on the go all the time. I have facial practices in LA, Montecito, and Jackson Hole, and ZIIP is based in the Bay Area. We also have retail partners (and their customers) around the globe whom I visit and teach how to use the ZIIP.