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Rescue Spa Founder Danuta Mieloch Shares Her Number One Skincare Rule

Danuta Mieloch has done “thousands and thousands” of facials in her lifetime, she says. Since opening the first Rescue Spa in Philadelphia in 2004, the aesthetician has been responsible for transforming countless complexions and educating a bevy of influential clients on the importance of proper, consistent skincare. Rescue Spa is known for carrying the most effective products on the market, from Biologique Recherche to Valmont, so it may surprise some to hear that she’s recently launched her own tightly edited line of skincare essentials. Named Danucera, the line features a nourishing multi-use balm, an exfoliating toner, a dual-textured washcloth and a white jade gua sha stone. Here, Mieloch tells W about how Danucera’s hero product was inspired by her upbringing in Poland, why you should avoid the temptation of the “skincare buffet,” and which at-home devices are always a good idea.

Tell us about your decision to start your own brand. What did you feel was missing from the skincare marketplace?

I’ve noticed that a lot of women are still struggling—even the ones who get so many facials, and so many treatments—with what to use at home and how to use it. Some clients at Rescue Spa use too many products, and we have to help them streamline it. We also see people who don’t use enough, and we have to encourage them and say, “Hey, your daily routine is really important, what’s going to set you apart in the long term.”

I wanted to keep things simple and achievable. I always wanted to do things a little bit more sustainably, more clean, but still effective and active.

You launched your line with only two product formulations and two tools. Why did you decide to keep it so tightly curated?

I wanted to grow my products organically. I never wanted to do everything at once, because really to create amazing products, there’s so much thought and process involved—especially when we’re choosing sustainable, clean ingredients and we’re not using any parabens, artificial fragrances, or silicones. So it takes that much time and effort to really do magic. My dream is to create no more than eight products—products that anybody can use, with any skin type and condition.

My first product, Cerabalm, was modeled after how I approached skincare when I was growing up in Poland. We didn’t have much. We used one cream, and ideally, you cleansed with it, you moisturized, you put it at the base under makeup and so forth. I wanted to create an amazing product that can be used for simplicity, because trends come and go.

Right now the trend is people applying layers upon layers, which can be super irritating for the skin. It’s like having a breakfast buffet, you know what I mean? You can do it once in a while, but if you had a buffet every day, you’d be in trouble.

Yet even though we have this trend, I still feel that 95 percent of people don’t cleanse their skin properly. They either over-strip with a foamy or soapy cleanser, which depletes our acid mantle and pH level, or we don’t cleanse at all. For me, skincare starts with proper cleansing. We’ve been told that we need to brush our teeth for two minutes. I feel like we need to spend at least three minutes cleansing our skin. It’s the esthetician’s dream to teach people how to clean the skin.

I’ve been using the D22 Tonic and loving it—it feels like a gentler version of Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50, which is a Rescue Spa staple.

Anybody who knows me knows I love toners. I’ve used Biologique P50 for 30 years, so that’s a no-brainer. But a lot of people kept asking me, “Which P50 I can use? Can I use one while I’m pregnant?” And there’s all kinds of controversy [with the ingredients]. Then there are people who want clean beauty.

So, I wanted to create an exfoliating toner that would be suitable for a sophisticated, educated, consumer who knows the ingredients. It’s called D22: D stands for Danuta, and December 22 is my birthday. In my toner there is birch juice and birch sap, which are like nature’s tonic. Growing up in Poland, we used to drink birch juice and birch sap for the healing properties. It has polyhydroxy acids, which are gentle and suitable for any skin type, even the most sensitive. You can use it while you’re pregnant. You can use it while you’re breastfeeding. It exfoliates, it balances the pH, and it’s great for pigmentation.

What skincare advice do you find yourself giving the most?

Cleanse your skin properly and hydrate. You really need to do a proper, thorough cleansing in the evening to remove chemicals, let the skin breathe, and prepare the skin for a night routine which is more nourishing, more repairing, and contains more active ingredients. Of course, we all know we need to do sunscreen. I think doctors take the lead in that. I’m not going to compete with them. Doing sun protection, it’s like we should know by now, but we still don’t…

What does your personal morning self-care routine look like?

Before I work out, I put on Cerabalm. I’m in my fifties, so my skin is already dry in the morning. I use the Cerabalm as a moisturizing mask. After I exercise, I meditate, drink my lemon water, and prepare my breakfast, which is usually chia seeds with fruit. Then I jump in the shower. After the shower, my routine depends on the day. Sometimes I do a more elaborate routine, and I’ll apply MBR eye patches and do a little facial massage with our sculpting stone. Other times it’s just serum, moisturizer and sunscreen from Elta MD or Institut Esthederm.

What about your makeup go-tos?

I like Chantecaille tinted moisturizer. And with blush, I always smile to myself in the mirror and apply it right onto the apple of my cheeks, which is closer to the nose than most people would do blush, but it gives me a more youthful appearance. I absolutely love all the trends that younger girls are doing in makeup, but I unfortunately cannot experiment with them. Then, it’s a little light shadow, either Chanel or Chantecaille. I feel like they have beautiful textures. And I always finish with Chantecaille’s Longest Lash mascara.

Do you have an ideal spa day?

Well, I have to be partial to Rescue Spa. I have to say, I don’t get enough massages. So, I probably would start with a massage, followed by a facial, a blow dry, and then a manicure and pedicure. Rescue Spa was founded because my dream was to be able to do all of that under one roof. I wanted to create just one stop for busy city life. Outside of the city, you have all of these places that can offer more of a spa experience, with hot springs and things like that. I haven’t been to any since Covid, but I’m going to the Six Senses in Ibiza this summer so I’m excited to try that.

Tell me about your evening routine. How do you wind down at the end of the day?

I drink either a cup of chamomile tea or a Calm, which is a magnesium that I drink with water. I sort of alternate, either or, but always something warm and soothing. For my skincare routine, it depends. I’m one of those people who loves using actives like retinol and vitamin C and things like that. But I only use them two or three times a week. So, some nights it’s that. It’s the layering of my retinol, Vitamin C. Other nights, I go simple only with Cerabalm. After cleansing, just that. Let the skin breathe and recuperate. My skin is pretty sensitive so I need to be mindful—if I overdo it with actives, my skin is peely and angry.

What beauty products would you say are worth the splurge?

Well, we carry MBR cosmetics, so I definitely have splurged on the best of the best, like their eye cream and their Liquid Surgery serum. They’re absolutely great if budget allows. But I tell my clients, don’t worry if you can’t afford it, because results are truly more about the routine and the consistency than anything else.

My products are priced for regular people, and it’s about balance. It’s like with fashion: sometimes you go out and buy expensive things and that’s terrific if it feels good. But I buy my T-shirts at the GAP, because I feel like they have the best cotton.

Are there any drugstore beauty brands that you use regularly?

I always have a jar of Nivea cream on my shelf because it makes me feel good. I also love Bio-Oil natural body oil. It has the best texture, it applies really well and I only need a little bit for my whole body.

Are there any at-home skincare devices you’re excited about these days?

I always tell my clients, it’s great to have all the gadgets, but you have to use them consistently and properly. Anything LED or microcurrent is definitely healthy. Those are proven methods to do at home, as long as we don’t over do it. Don’t pull on the skin: Skin is like silk, you have to treat it really gently. When using microcurrent, never pull down in any way—it always has to be upwards and mindful of the muscles. There is an art to it.

Source: W Magazine

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