Skincare expert to the stars, Linda Meredith has been in the beauty industry for over 40 years, boasts a celebrity client list that reads like a night at the Oscars, and is set to launch her cult-followed skincare brand, Linda Meredith, onto Australian shores this week. Sally Hunwick talks to the skin guru about how the industry has changed, the reasons we’re seeing more chronic skin issues – and why clients lie!
When A-listers such as Kate Moss, Renee Zellweger, Claudia Schiffer, Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham and Michelle Williams entrust a facialist to their skin (in other words, their livelihood), you know she has something special. Think you know everything about skin? Think again, and read this…
You have been in the industry for four decades, what changes have you noticed in terms of professional facial treatments over your career?
Because the medical industry has now encroached on the cosmetic industry my facial protocol is very important. Massage movements will alter with each therapist I train and I cannot change that but what I do insist on is very light pressure when moving around the face. Clients lie as to what they are doing or have done and if they have had botox or fillers you can move them with too much pressure. Many clients now have cheek implants and if the pressure if too heavy they can be ripped away from the muscle they attach to!
How have you altered your treatments to work with the rise in cosmetic procedures?
In the past, before the cosmetic procedures were widespread, facial massage was very heavy but even without any procedure, as you age and your skin sags, I still would not want anyone stretching my skin any more than it has to. I have to say there are companies still out there that do this method and it terrifies me as to what damage can be done. I also insist on the movements around the face being very slow. My treatments are result-based and clients come to my salon for extraction and a thorough cleaning as very few salons to it anymore.
Technology has come into many salons’ treatment offering these days. Is human touch still important?
If the first touch is light and slow it makes the client think she has been on the bed for two hours not one and by going slowly it gives a message to the client that she has 100 per cent attention from the therapist. That first touch is so important as to whether the client relaxes and trusts the therapist. If you have ever had a facial I am sure that when the therapist first touches you, you are thinking this a great and relax or I cannot wait for this to be over. My hands always move with the music being played. It is like a ballet in sync or I say to students it is the difference between a black man dancing and a white man dancing.
Where have the biggest changes been in the industry?
The most dramatic change in the industry is obviously from the medical side, which, I have to say, are sometimes carried out by therapists. Treatments that damage the skin just to cause the skin to produce more collagen like needling or laser and strong chemical peels that burn the skin just to tighten it. I find this frightening.
I always say to my clients doctors have two hats; one is medical and the other a salesman. It is sad because young women are desperate and looking for eternal youth and I feel they are sometimes taken advantage of. Be comfortable in your own skin. We are so obsessed with perfection and it can never be achieve, we all age. Forty years ago it would have been wealthy women going into a salon for a cleaning and nourishing treatment, now more women have disposable income and are looking for a miracle.
You have just launched your brand, Linda Meredith Skincare, in Australia. What is the philosophy behind your brand?
My philosophy is very simple. Skin types, dry, oily or combination do not exist individually anymore, they can all over lap on one person. Skin can change every day depending on environment, diet and most important emotional stress. All other brands still follow this out dated rule where each category of product cannot be overlapped.
Therefore what I needed to develop (I had no option for my clients) was a range that just dealt with skin issues or problems I could see. I also wanted each cream to deal with more than one issue, so for example, Phyto 4 is liposolvent, which is great for acne or excessive oil but also strengthens capillaries so it both reduces redness and is very firming on sagging skin. I also believe we should feed our skin in the same way we feed our body and if the cream you apply absorbs quickly, apply more. It is still hungry. You cannot overload the skin with water based products; in fact, the more you apply, the better. You want to keep applying until a fine layer of cream remains on the surface.
What products do you think will work well here?
It is very exciting to launch in Australia and all of the products will work there as they do anywhere in the world. We live in an international world now so the same philosophy applies. Skin types have disappeared and so has individual ethnic traits… We are just dealing with particular skin issues that can arise anywhere in the world; the same problems pop up everywhere.
Does Linda Meredith Skincare have any hero products?
My hero product would still be LM1 as it has more ingredients and actives than any other product in the world.
What are your three most favourite products in your line?
I use most of the products depending what my skin is like at the time but if I have to choose it would probably be V-TOX, Phyto 4 and Serum.
Phyto for me as it is firming and because of my age my skin is much thinner and typical English so it reduces redness. V-TOX, as I do sometimes apply a fine layer all over at night and my fine lines disappear in the morning. And my serum as it is a booster product and can be added in to any other product to repair any damage. Remember the brain classes age lines as damage.
What is your number one top skin tip for your clients?
Number one tip. When you get home in the evening before you do anything else cleanse your skin and apply your products. They then have time to absorb and you can see if your skin needs more. If you apply your night creams just before you go to bed you will not know if you have applied enough for them to work effectively throughout the night.
What is new or coming up for the brand?
I am re-formulating all the time as new ingredients become available. There will be new products probably next year but you will have to wait and see.
Linda Meredith skincare is now available from her Australian website. Make sure you check it out!