Melanie Grant Talks Skin Slugging, Her Favourite Skincare Brands, and Opening in the UK

Go-to skincare specialist and author, Melanie Grant is renowned across the globe for her tailored made facials. She reveals to Anita Quade the top trends and her synergy with high- end formulations.

Welcome back from your whirlwind travels for Chanel fashion week recently – can you let us in on any skincare trends you have noticed?

“Slugging as a trend is still going strong. I’ve actually been doing this for as long as I can remember but without the new name. Creating an occlusive barrier over the skin is a great way to help actives absorb and prevent trans-epidermal water loss. I’d recommend “slugging” overnight or while on a long haul flight, as it can feel too heavy for most on an everyday basis. I’d also advise to be mindful of the products you’re using – look for ingredients like Shea, Ceramides and Candelilla Wax that can offer benefits to the skin in addition to their humectant properties and please don’t use Vaseline!”

Are there any skincare trends you would tell your clients to beware of?

“Skin cycling is also still trending, however something I’m not really a fan of. In my opinion, a simple and consistent regime always yields the best results. I’m a firm believer in taking the time to identify your skin concerns and to target them with a specific regime that’ll do the heavy lifting for you. You don’t need to use a different product every evening – your skin care shouldn’t feel like work, it should do the work for you. If you’re incorporating actives, look for micro-encapsulated or slow release formulas and introduce them gradually once per week, working up to nightly use only as tolerated. This will also prevent the risk of reactivity by incorporating too many different products and having them interact negatively.”

What is your favourite tip for prepping model skin backstage?

“Before an event I’m always cautious not to do anything too corrective – I like to focus on refining the skin with gentle peels, infusions with hydrating and brightening boosters, red light therapy to promote circulation and radiance and finishing with a firm and purposeful massage to flush stagnant lymph, sculpt, lift and tone the complexion and leave it with a healthful glow.”

You are known for your luxurious facials – tell us what is the most popular and why.

“Our Custom Skin Health Facial is one of our most popular treatments, as is our Custom Biologique Recherche Facial which is exclusive globally at each of my Studios. Both of these treatments are completely tailored to the unique needs of our client’s skin on that particular day.

These treatments really allow our therapists to work collaboratively with each client and choreograph something that is really unique to them – it’s the ideal way to treat the skin: listen to the client, observe their concerns and perform a comprehensive, targeting protocol to address them.”

What do you love most about treating clients at your studios?

“I love being able to connect with my clients, they’re what bring my work meaning each and every day. Being creative in the treatment room is my happy place. Drawing on a diverse range of modalities like microcurrent, microdermabrasion, peels, LED light therapy, masking, IPL, laser, radio frequency and collagen induction and pairing these strategically to target the unique concerns of each of my clients is so rewarding – there really is no satisfaction like a true, tangible result.”

You are also renowned for stocking the most luxurious skincare brands from around the globe – tell us about the beautiful Auteur range?

“Auteur is a relatively new brand, based on a strategic edit of results-driven formulas that elevate modern, regenerative skincare to an art form. Engineered by leading scientists and laboratories in Germany, their library comprises a host of patented peptides, over 100 proven ingredients sourced from nature, science and medicine, and micro- low to high molecular actives that target cellular degeneration in all layers of the skin. There are only 11 formulas in the range so far, making the range very aligned with the Melanie Grant philosophy – that is, to take a “less but better” approach to home care.”

How did you come across this?

“I first discovered Auteur a little over a year ago through Instagram. I’m always on the lookout for new and noteworthy brands with interesting stories and above all, with best in class formulations that really deliver results. Strangely enough, at the same time the brand reached out via my LA Studio to see if I’d like to learn more about their range. I’m a firm believer in divine timing and this was exactly that.”

What sets it apart from other luxury brands on the market for salons?

“The unique peptide technology that underpins each of Auteur’s formulas is so fascinating – there are peptides that react with light to energise skin cells, others that organise collagen, or work with a cyclic approach to stimulating cell regeneration and renewal, and others that boost the skin’s own hyaluronic acid stores rather than simply depositing it topically. There’s even a type of patented peptide complex that instantly lifts and tightens the skin, while continuing to build density and elasticity over time – it works like an injectible alternative.

These peptides are paired with top tier actives – like microencapsulated retinol, ceramides, Vitamin C, growth factors, amino acids and prebiotics – in the greatest allowable amount, without any addition of fillers or unnecessary additives. This is a succinct, sophisticated collection of really concentrated formulas designed around complete skin renewal.”

It must be really tough to decide what brands to stock in your salon – how do you go about doing this?

“For me to bring on a new brand in Studio, it really has to offer something for my clients that we don’t already have available, which can be hard now that we carry over 45 brands! My team and I spend a lot of time trialling products, speaking to brands and learning about their philosophy, their values and their formulation process. I’d never include anything in the edit that I didn’t personally select – or believe in. So, each individual product has to be the real deal. It’s a lot of work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Another cult classic you discovered about five years ago was Augustinus Bader – tell us how you found this?

“I was first introduced to AB through a friend during my Paris Residency around five years ago when the brand had just launched. I was given both The Cream and The Rich Cream to try and was instantly taken with the fact that – not only was the formula elegant and a pleasure to use – it was so effective. It was a particularly cold winter in Paris and my skin was sensitised, dry and red from the harsh wind, cold temperature, heating and the hard water in Paris. I used The Rich Cream before going to bed one night and the results were incredible, my skin continued to improve throughout the week – I was hooked. I met with Charles Rosier one of the co-founders of the brand that week and I’ve worked with the range in each of my Studios ever since.”

You were ahead of the game on your discovery and it has since become a global cult classic – why do you think this is?

“The TFC8 technology that underpins each formula is backed by decades of research and it really works to build the strongest, most resilient version of your own skin. These formulas are adaptable, they’re multi-purpose and they deliver on their promise on the bottle. For many, like me, they allow you to be more “slap dash” with your skin care without having to compromise on real results.”

Read more on Augustinus Bader’s use of TFC8 in our luxury ingredient article here.

What is the hero product in the range?

“My favourite product has always been The Rich Cream, but I love The Cleansing Balm as a first cleanse as well. A close second would have to be the Cell Rejuvenating Power Serum, which was created by Professor Bader in collaboration with Victoria Beckham. It’s so plumping, strengthening, energising and really works to build a strong skin barrier.”

You have mentioned Augustinus will be here in December – can you share any details of this exciting event?

“Watch this space!”

You are also opening your Mayfair salon shortly – tell us about that?

“It’s always been a dream to open a Studio in the UK! It’s just been a matter of finding the perfect space. The perfect home for our first London Studio is now mid-build! We’re hoping for it to be open by August.”

Will the interior have the same aesthetic as your beautiful Double Bay space?

“Each of my Studios is a reflection of the city they call home – they have to feel like they belong, to create a seamless transition from the outside world to the treatment room for my clients. I like to spend a little time in each location before opening to get a feel for the lifestyle and take cues from local architecture, designers and art. I love interiors – if I wasn’t a skin therapist it would be my only other career choice.”

Aside from a well earned rest – what other plans to you have for the Melanie Grant brand?

“There are always exciting projects in the works – new brands being welcomed to Skincare Edit exclusively in Australia, Melanie Grant product development, expansions of our treatment menu across all locations. It’s always fun and no two days are ever alike, but an end of year holiday sounds great too!”

This article originally appeared in the July-August 2023 print issue of Professional Beauty.

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