Kate Somerville is one of the world's most renowned facialists, famed for her Los Angeles clinic that boasts innovative skin technology and a loyal following of A-listers – think everyone from Jessica Alba to Karlie Kloss and Kate Hudson.
Perhaps her most famous fan, however, is royal bride-to-be Meghan Markle, who told US blog beautybanter.com that she uses one of Kate's moisturisers and visited her salon when she lived in LA. "Now that I live in Toronto for work," said Meghan, who was based in Canada filming Suits at the time of the interview, "I still use the products to maintain that glow that they give. 'Quench' is my favourite moisturiser.'
Kate Somerville is a world-renowned facialist
For years, Kate's range of products has only been available to buy in the US, meaning us UK-based skincare fanatics have had to rely on trips to the States to get our hands on cult classics including ExfoliKate, a gentle yet effective face scrub, and EradiKate, a pink lotion that works to shrivel blemishes with almost immediate effect.
Heads up, though, as Kate Somerville has now landed on British soil! To celebrate the hotly anticipated arrival, we sat down with the skincare expert to discuss trends, myths and memorable celebrity moments…
How does it feel to launch your brand in the UK?
"I'm super excited to bring the Kate Somerville experience here – I've wanted to for so long. We have access to the most cutting-edge treatments and technologies in Los Angeles and there has been a strong interest in the Hollywood lifestyle coming from the UK consumer. My US clients want to look like the best versions of themselves – natural and pared-back, and I think that's representative of British beauty where make-up is minimal and healthy skin is valued."
Royal bride-to-be Meghan Markle is known to be a big fan of the brand
How does British skincare differ?
"You're lucky to live in England – although not having much sun can affect mood, it is hugely advantageous to the skin. In California, we battle lots of pigment and sun damage.
However, acne is still a big problem here, especially in London with the pollution, as is hydration. That's why I was excited to launch my line here – we're really strong in in our hydrating products and we have the DermalQuench Liquid Lift, which is a unique, patented product combining hyaluronic acid with oxygen to deliver immediate hydration."
What are the current LA skincare trends?
"The current trend that's all the rage over in LA has to be cryogenics, a therapy that uses cold temperatures to stimulate circulation. Traditionally, it's used to help athletes recover and improve performance, but I find that a lot of our celebrities are requesting it for anti-ageing purposes. I've actually been using it for years in my clinic – all my treatments finish with cryo just to close the pores and tighten the skin. It also helps with killing bacteria.
In general, people are trying to achieve that natural, beautiful glow. Kim Kardashian, who has actually been a client for many years, brought a full, heavy make-up look to the forefront but girls are starting to move away from that trend and towards a natural, pared-back look – which means you have to rely on good skin. We get lots of requests for clean, clear, poreless and flawless skin."
Kate's famous EradiKate Mask
Are there any skincare practices you don't buy into?
"I'm not a big fan of microdermabrasion – the suction breaks your capillaries and beads pelt down on the skin, causing pigmentation and damage. I have never practised it and I don't recommend it. Essentially, microdermabrasion is exfoliation, and there are far better ways to exfoliate the skin without any damage. "
What's the common skincare mistake you come across?
"People don't customise their treatment enough. A lot of people have combination skin – so if you only have acne on the chin, use it there and don't apply to the whole face.
Your skincare needs to vary from day to day, and from season to season. If you're tired and need a little bit of brightening, use a Vitamin C serum; if it's winter and your moisturiser isn't enough, add some oils; if you've worn lots of make-up in the day, use a foaming cleanser or do a double cleanse.
You need to be able to identify your skincare needs rather than using a 'one size fits all'-method."
The Kate Somervile ExfoliKate Cleanser
What are the skincare essentials every woman needs?
"I have five steps that every woman should follow – exfoliate, cleanse, hydrate, moisturise and use sun screen. Make sure your moisturiser is made for your skin type and whatever you do, don't miss exfoliation! It's important to get rid of that top layer of dead skin."
You have such a big celebrity following, how did you start to build an A-list fanbase?
"After I moved to LA in 2001, I started working for a prominent plastic surgeon and he was treating the biggest stars in the world – sometimes we would be on lockdown because we had dignitaries or presidents in the clinic. He introduced me to that clientele and when I opened a skin clinic they started to visit.
I also worked with lots of celebrity make-up artists who told their clients to visit me if they were having issues.
Younger celebrities like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie were often spotted coming to the salon and the everything snowballed.
Celebrities often have skin issues – they're exposed to way more bacteria than the average person because they wear so much make-up on a daily basis. They also often go on crazy diets and detoxes which affects their skin and half of the time I feel like I'm battling the diet they're on!"
What's been your most memorable celebrity moment?
"I've had so many during my career – a couple that stand out are Barbara Stresiand calling my office and Taylor Swift citing our products as her must-haves during an interview – but my ultimate pinch-me moment was working with Michael Jackson. He is the biggest client I've ever worked on and I literally didn't know how to act because I grew up idolising him. When he stepped into the room, I wanted to faint.
I've also heard that Meghan Markle is a fan of the brand. I've never treated her personally but the clinic has. She's gorgeous, absolutely beautiful and just a really down-to-earth girl."