Secrets Of...

Secrets of Angelina Umansky

by Michelle Konstantinovsky

Angelina Umansky has the face, body and bouncing-off-the-walls energy of someone far too young to be celebrating 40 years of anything. And yet, last year, Umansky and her mother, fellow Spa Radiance co-founder Galina Rovner, marked four decades of beautifying San Francisco’s most recognizable faces. “I’m a fourth-generation aesthetician,” Umansky says. “I was born into it; it’s in my DNA and I feel so privileged to have worked with so many women and men.”

Angelina Umansky
Angelina Umansky

Chances are you’re familiar with a few of these faces: Sharon Stone and Michelle Pfeiffer have both trusted their famous visages to Umansky, and city stunners like Tatiana Sorokko and Vanessa Getty consider her a skin magician. Umansky isn’t kidding when she says aesthetic wizardry is in her genes; her grandmother Rose (Rovner’s mother) was an herbalist and healer in the family’s native Russia and the art of beauty was passed down the generational chain.

What began as a Union Square spa in 1976 has evolved into a full-service Cow Hollow skincare institution, offering an integrative approach that combines old-world wisdom with cutting-edge technology. Umansky and her team incorporate everything from traditional acupressure extractions to NASA-developed LED light therapy to deliver serious results. Umansky doesn’t believe in a quick fix, and as we head into 2018, she has some invaluable insights to enter the new year as a whole new (radiant) you.

Skin sins. Umansky’s seen it all, so what’s the No. 1 mistake she sees clients make? “Overstripping the skin,” she says. “People use foamy cleansers because they want to feel super clean—everyone’s obsessed with ‘clean.’ This dries the skin and basically puts you 10 steps behind so you’re always trying to catch up. Right away, I try to wean them off of the foamy, stripping cleansers and get them to use a milk cleanser at least half the time; these don’t strip the skin because they leave the natural oils—it’s all about balance.”

Keep it simple. “People often think that they need crazy or complicated routines and treatments to change their skin, but it’s the reverse: honor the skin and give it love and start using good products every day,” Umansky advises. “It’s a myth that it always has to be something like a deep laser treatment that takes two weeks to heal; there’s space for that, but you don’t always need to do it.”

Buyer beware. “Products you see in the department stores are sold there for a reason,” Umansky says. “They can appeal to the masses and are unlikely to cause reactions. They are also simple enough that they don’t require a skincare professional to assess if a customer is a good candidate for a product, or has the knowledge to understand the ingredient deck. Don’t waste your money. A lot of the pricey creams—you’re really just buying diluted formulas that are wrapped up in pretty packaging. If you’re going to make an investment, spend your money on products recommended by a professional. Pay for results.”

Euro chic. Umansky’s a major advocate for European products and treatments, and she frequently travels abroad to learn about the latest advancements in order to train her staff. “If you see organic products from Europe, know that it’s 10 times harder to get that certification there because the laws are very strict,” she says. “Each product you see usually comes with a booklet that not only lists each ingredient, but how they got that ingredient and what they used to get it. And in Europe, it’s all about establishing a routine and staying on it, and there’s a patience that people here don’t have with their skin care routine.”

Neck and neck. While the face is front and center in American aesthetics, Umansky says Europeans know that proper care extends well below the chin. “In Europe, it’s very much accepted that when you treat the face, that means treating from the decolletage to the forehead,” she says. “That chest area is always treated, and in America it’s often not even thought about.”

Botox nation. Based on Bravo shows alone, one might think a mobile forehead is outlawed on U.S. soil. Does Umansky think Botox is a must for all? “No!” she declares. “I think if Botox is what makes you happy and if you think doing it will make you look so much better, then go for it. But do I think it looks good on everyone? Absolutely not. Skin that looks dewy, fresh and bright will make you look younger than skin that doesn’t move.”

Face the future. When it comes to treatments Umansky’s excited to offer, technology takes center stage. “Microcurrents help lift the facial muscles and stimulate collagen production,” she says. “Just like you do Pilates and yoga for the muscles in your body, there are muscles in your face too, and it’s the most natural way to take care of the skin for anti-aging purposes. Microcurrents are the secret to why celebrities look so young and natural.”

Proper protection. Think shielding your face from harmful rays is as simple as slathering on a drugstore product once a day? Think again. “Your sunscreen has to have zinc or titanium dioxide in it, and all sunscreens have to be reapplied after a couple of hours,” Umansky says. “The main thing is to go to a spa or dermatologist who can do the research for you and find the right one for your skin. And one big myth is about the number.People will say, ‘I use SPF 80,’ but if they never reapply, they’re not covered. … I use SPF 30. Any number higher than that doesn’t make much of a difference and is more likely to cause reactions.”

Angelina’s Personal Routine


Patyka 3-Step Radiant Cleansing Ritual

Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum

COOLA Sunscreen


Milk Cleanser

Biologique Recherche P50W Lotion

Valmont Hydra3 Regenetic Serum and Cream

Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol

Night Serum (Every Other Night)

3X Per Week

Valmont Prime Renewing Pack

Biologique Recherche Masque VIP O2 or Créme Masque Vernix

Go To Secret Weapon

Valmont Regenerating Mask. “It’s my ‘going-to-a-party’ or ‘need-to-impress-someone’ mask,” Umansky says. “It’s pure collagen from Switzerland and it makes the skin look like it’s been airbrushed – it fills in the fine and not-so-fine lines.”

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