This month’s BeautyPass Masterclass Monday guest was none other than skin-care visionary Kate Somerville, celebrity aesthetician and founder of Kate Somerville Skin Care, whose brand has become a household name for skin-care aficionados around the globe, and whose hands have prepped and pampered the faces of Hollywood’s biggest names. During last night’s virtual show, Somerville shared her personal story that led her to where she is now (including a frustrating battle with eczema), along with dozens of other noteworthy sound bites on skin care, including five we’ve included below.
When I asked Kate if her experience with eczema as a young adult helped propel her into a career in skin care, she said it was definitely a piece of the puzzle, but there was more: “Looking back, I think it was part of it. I was in high school, I was a volleyball player and I was embarrassed by my skin. I felt so uncomfortable—burny and itchy—and I was really trying to figure out what to use to soothe it without using so many cortisones. I lived on a farm, and one time my mom put goat’s milk in my bath, and it was so soothing. So, one of the first collections I came out with had a Goat Milk Cream, so that definitely inspired me, but I also had a friend who was a dermatologist and she prompted me to go to aesthetic school.”
Not knowing where it would lead, Kate put a business plan together and started knocking on the doors of local doctors. “Back then, doctors didn’t really know what an aesthetician was, so I was kind of the first to go into medical skin care. Then I met my husband in LA, and brought my techniques to LA, and it worked!”
ExoliKate Intensive Was Inspired by a Celeb
“I had been doing skin care for quite some time before I opened my own clinic—I worked at other doctors’ offices—and when a client came in, I would cleanse, steam and then do a scrub to lift the dead layers of skin. And back then I had a lot of different ingredients and bases that I would mix right on site for my clients. So I would rinse the scrub off and then paint this amazing enzyme mask on the skin—I call enzymes ‘little Pacmen’ because they dissolve the dead layers of skin, but don’t go too deep that they irritate—with papaya, pumpkin and pineapple and a little bit of lactic acid, hydrating rosewood oil, stimulating cinnamon and detoxifying chlorophyll. I would leave it on for two minutes under the steam.
One day I had a really famous client come in, who was leaving for four months to go film a movie, and she asked me what she could use for her skin. I just dumped the beads into the mask, and I said, ‘OK, here’s physical exfoliation, along with chemical exfoliation,’ and she called me and said, ‘You have to make this a product.’ That’s how ExfoliKate Intensive was born, and it got really famous fast. To this day, it’s our most popular product around the world, and the reason is because it literally transforms your skin in two minutes.
I like to use it in the shower—you don’t have to cleanse your skin before you use it—and it really gets into the pores and helps with blackheads, fine lines and wrinkles, discoloration and acne scars. It’s great for all skin types, unless you have severe rosacea—then you need our liquid version of it instead. Massage it into your skin in circles for about 30 seconds and then leave it on like a treatment for at least for two minutes. You’ll feel it working, at least the first couple of times you use it, and that’s the cinnamon working. I usually shave my legs, put my conditioner in my hair and then rinse it off. I use it twice a week, and I have sensitive skin. I’m telling you, you will never find a better exfoliator than this.”
The Reason Why ExfoliKate Is Green
“The mask is green because of the chlorophyll in it. I learned about chlorophyll through Reese Witherspoon honestly. She was a client of mine and coming into the clinic, and her skin just started really clearing and I saw a difference. She told me started putting chlorophyll in her water, so I did a lot of research on it and found out it was a great detoxifier so I put it into the mask.”
These Are Kate’s Favorite In-Office Treatments Right Now
“We do amazing facials and they’re really technical. I love using different instruments, like ultrasound, which breaks up clogged pores, pushes product in and kind of contour the face. We do a lot of that. Also, a lot of microcurrent for the facial muscles, which is kind of like going to the gym for your face. But we’re also a medical facility, and we have some of the newest lasers and devices. We have a new laser treatment called MOXI that is so amazing: it lifts, it gets rid of any broken capillaries or dark spots. Morpheus microneedling is also becoming huge in our office, and there is a little bit of downtime and it’s a little painful, but it’s really great for improving skin texture and lifting the skin. My products are really meant to enhance these treatments and get your further along when you’re home.”
This Product Has Been Used for Years on Celebs Before Walking the Red Carpet
“Our DermalQuench treatment is still one of the most popular before big red-carpet shows like the Emmys and Oscars. I’m really known for this treatment and we use it on all of our superstars before they walk the red carpet because it helps with wrinkles literally in seconds. There’s oxygen inside the can, so you have to shake it before you use it, and the oxygen is what pushes the hyaluronic acid deep into the skin, so you get some lift, but it also reduces deep wrinkling. It took me about five years to figure out and we’ve patented it. It’s also great for my acne clients because they typically have surface dryness but they can’t use oils or moisturizers because they break them out. The cool thing, too, is that the oxygen kills the bad bacteria on the skin.
You can also use it right on the eyelid. I’m 52, and I’m noticing crinkling on my eyelids, and when I use this in the morning, it really plumps them up. This is really the product I recommend putting on your eyelids because it doesn’t migrate into your eyes or irritate them. Just make sure you don’t spray it on your eyelid. Spray it on your cheekbone or temple area and then move it from there onto your eyelid, and really work it in. We are getting ready to change the packaging, so when you see it next year—we’ve got about six or eight months before it changes—it’s still the same efficacious formula, but not in this can.”
Kate’s Two New Hyaluronic Acid Products Are Selling Out Fast, and Are a Must for Dry, Winter Skin
“As we’re aging, we’re losing hyaluronic acid in our skin. I’m going to give you an analogy: If you have a piece of leather, and you let it dry out and you move it, what happens? It cracks, just like our skin. So if you’re not constantly putting hyaluronic acid into your skin deeply, as you move your face and make expressions, you’re causing lines and wrinkles, and they’re going to stay. But if you took that piece of leather and constantly hydrated it and kept it supple, it’s not going to crack. Even in your 20s, I recommend my clients look for a serum that has a a high strength of hyaluronic acid in a small molecule size. We just launched HydraKate—a serum and a moisturizer—and it’s selling out fast. It’s actually hyaluronic acid and something called AquaPort, which boosts your hyaluronic acid and skin hydration up to 81 percent.
Our HydraKate Moisturizer is a really light water-cream and it’s not going to clog your pores. Also, the packaging is airless, like all my creams, because I don’t want you dipping your fingers in and contaminating it, and it also lets me use fewer preservatives in the formula. I really made this honestly for my son, who is in his 20s, and has dehydrated, fatigued skin. My son actually helped me develop the scent for this product too. A lot of our products contain naturally derived scents because I don’t like fragrance, but this one is just really light and refreshing.
The HydraKate Serum is amazing too. What I love most about it is the smoothness it gives your skin: the slip and feel it gives right after you apply it. It’s like nothing I’ve ever created. A lot of makeup artists are using this under makeup instead of primer, too. I’m also excited to tell you we’re working on masks, so stay tuned for more on that soon.”
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