Linda Meredith has been one of the U.K.’s leading facialists for more than two decades, and boasts a client list that includes Jennifer Connelly, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham, Penelope Cruz, Minnie Driver, Michelle Williams, and Madonna (Stella McCartney combines regular visits to Meredith’s salon with stocking up on her products, now available in the U.S.) The secret of Meredith’s success is her willingness to fit in with her clients’ busy schedules, her outstanding diagnostic skills, and her straight-talking approach. Here she offers her tips for getting skin red-carpet ready in time for the Emmys.
How far before the big night do clients start getting facials?
Ideally they should be coming in anyway every three to four weeks for a Haute Couture facial. Two weeks before the event we’ll probably add in more oxygen treatments. A course of six would be ideal, but if that’s not possible, we’ll do a couple close together right before. It’s fine to have an oxygen treatment every day.
Oxygen treatment? As in “breathe deeply”?
The oxygen goes into your skin, not your lungs. By infusing 98 percent pure medical-grade oxygen along with a serum packed with vitamins, everything just plumps up.
What’s the Haute Couture facial?
We layer one product on top of the other, so moisture reaches all 20 layers of skin. We clean the top layer with steaming, then apply a hydrating gel that inflates the layers allowing any sebum to escape, followed by a very mild apple-based peel with AHAs and BHAs, then a moisturizer and a mask that pushes the products in more. Removing any dead skin cells helps the oxygen get right to the base of the epidermis.
What products does Penelope Cruz use? Or Gwyneth Paltrow?
Every Haute Couture treatment is personalized because every skin is individual, with a different amount of subcutaneous fat or different elasticity. You can have thick skin when you’re 60 or paper-thin skin when you’re 20, so we don’t look at age. What’s more, your skin can change on the day if you’ve been out in the sun or have a breakout.
Don’t filming commitments get in the way of regular visits?
We’ll gear a regime to their schedules. If they’re flying off, we’ll give them products to use at home: a hyaluronic mist, a cleanser with fruit oils, an oxygen mask, an eye gel, and a moisturizer. We have moisturizers aimed at solving different problems, like adding nourishment or calming inflamed skin.
Are the products only available to salon clients?
Absolutely not! Anyone can order the products for home use.
So will a treatment take off 20 years?
You’ve got two types of lines, expression lines and age lines. An oxygen treatment will work on sharp age lines because it relaxes the skin and the lines become softer. Expression lines have nothing to do with age—you can have them at 20 because they result from how you use your facial muscles. The cause may be even deeper. For example, you might have lots of little lines over your top lip because of the way you move your mouth if you have prominent front teeth. Or if you don’t have a strong jawline you might be more prone to developing sag under the chin. That can only be removed with surgery. And while products and treatments can repair lifestyle-related dark circles and undereye puffiness, we can’t do anything about genetic dark circles. We don’t make any false promises.
How about a quick fix instead?
I don’t do and don’t recommend aggressive treatments like peels, lasers, and needles because they produce collagen by either burning or seriously hurting the skin. The key to good skin is hydration and long-term maintenance. If you give us a little bit of time, we can do amazing things.
Linda Meredith’s skincare products are available at lindameredith.com.