Gill Meets Sarah Chapman
What is your background?
I have always been fascinated with beauty and was lucky enough to discover this as soon as I left school. One of my first jobs was working as agency staff in the Harrods beauty room whilst I was studying. My beauty education involved aromatherapy, make up artistry, beauty therapy, hairdressing and cosmetic science leading to my work in the skincare business for two very different brands: one was Parisian aromatherapy-based, and the other was a cutting-edge clinical range.
You are an award-winning aesthetician; what set you on this path?
My experience managing beauty clinics followed by working with different skincare brands taught me a huge amount, I was lucky to work alongside a plastic surgeon and his innovative clinical skincare range when the beauty world was still focusing on essential oils. This was my greatest progressive time and it was during this that I chose to go back to college and study cosmetic science. My skin care clinic evolved when I started looking after some of my friend’s clients when she emigrated abroad. I was already obsessed with skincare and working in television as a beauty expert but my client base grew so quickly and treatments took priority. My clinic evolved as I expanded by training other facialists to cope with the demand. I have always been passionate about the products I use in treatments and I continually attend advanced skincare courses and research machines, techniques and treatments so that my facials are the best and most advanced they can be. Working with brands and directly with skin, my ideas naturally developed and I couldn’t resist following the dream with my clients. My understanding of formulations developed and I believe this combination of science, hands on practice and sales experience has helped in the development of my skincare business.
What is your skincare philosophy?
My clients are the inspiration for Skinesis products and treatments. I focus on product and treatment development to target the skin concerns I treat every day, pushing the boundaries of skincare and thinking outside the box. The direct contact I maintain with my clients on a daily basis allows me to create the best products and treatments to improve skin health for long term benefits whilst being guided directly by my customer. Don’t follow rules and push formulations and treatments to the limit. I believe you should innovate not follow and nothing is impossible- as Audrey Hepburn said ; ’nothing is impossible in fact the word itself says I’m possible’
You have created your own skincare brand, Skinesis, what was the inspiration behind the brand?
Over time, I became increasingly obsessed with products, and what I could do for people’s skin, seeing some of the results that could be achieved with cosmecuetical skincare. I began mixing the formulas I was working with and layering several different products in my facials and homecare routines. I began to think, ‘Why can’t there be a product that’s cosmeceutical in its performance, but also smells good and is aesthetically pleasing?’ In my opinion, once you’ve used a cosmeceutical product, you can’t go back to just botanicals; but at the same time, women want efficacy alongside beautiful scent and packaging. I went on to study cosmetic science, ultimately hoping that, rather than offering my clients a clinical serum followed by a botanical cream and then an essential oil for scent, I could create formulas that combined all three. So the heart of my Skinesis range is exactly that: a fusion of the scientific, with high levels of actives and omega oils, in a base that’s paraben-free, and fragranced with natural essential oils. It wasn’t an easy balance to strike; the formulas were four years in development.
This combined with my quest to create the perfect skin canvas was the inspiration behind my Skinesis range, I strive to combine the best of science, nature and luxury and achieve optimum skin transforming results to bring facial results into the homes of everyday women.
Your products are formulated in America – why did you make that decision?
I spent years working with lots of different labs trying to find somebody who could help me bring my vision to life. Finally I found a great lab in America, the only ones who didn’t say I was trying to achieve the impossible. I worked for 4 years and with 4 teams of chemists developing my cutting edge skincare range constantly pushing for more performance and new technology with a passion for achieving the best formulations tested on a panel of willing clients. I spent 8 years in total researching and working with different experts and product houses to launch my Skinesis line. My lab were so in tune with my ideas and formulas and together we create my award winning skincare range which is incredibly exciting, challenging and rewarding.
Your hero product?
This is a really hard question! I love all of my Skinesis products – each one I have developed and nurtured from the initial concept to the final product being approved, tested and bottled. However IF I had to choose, then it would be my much loved Overnight Facial. Overnight Facial is by far our bestseller and a favourite with so many of my clients. It captures the product-range philosophy and the essence of my firming and brightening skin rejuvenating facials. It is a cashmere textured serum-oil which on first contact feels like a traditional aromatherapy oil but transforms into a unique silky moisturiser. This was my original idea, to combine powerful cosmeceutical actives in a botanical delicious oil. It contains antioxidants, vitamins, my signature skin-brightening complex, skin firming peptides and essential oils of jasmine, rose, frangipani and tuberose. It has a superior drying time so it transforms into a moisturiser as it disappears into the skin. We also use this to massage in all our facials.
What is your passion?
I have always had a passion for beauty ever since being in trouble for purple streaked hair and too much make-up at school! I grew up in Norway and it was there that I learnt about skincare in order to cope with the harsh weather conditions and as a family we shared big tubs of protective moisturisers. It definitely had a profound influence on my interest in skincare. I trained as a make-up artist and became increasingly more fascinated with the skin as I strove to create the perfect canvas for make-up on stressed, damaged, breakout prone models skin. I now being able to make a difference for peoples skin, the best call to me was a client who said ‘ I have really sore uncomfortable difficult skin and its been like this for years, can you help?- I did and she is still a client 10 years later but glides through winter with no discomfort and glowing skin. This is hugely rewarding, I also love when I meet people at events now and they squeal with excitement about overnight facial and my facialift massager!
Your top tips for skincare?
Always protect your skin in the sun. Don’t skimp on cleansing, spend your money on a good cleanser. Choose products with vitamin A to help fight the ageing process. Support skin with omega oils internally and externally. Combine supplementation and good diet with a good skincare routine for best results. Don’t overuse AHA’s or peeling products and be careful with harsh exfoliators and microdermabrasion.
What are you currently working on?
Ooh, I am constantly working on new formulas for the future. I have so many ideas and the list keeps getting longer, technical formulations however take a long take time develop and as a perfectionist I never accept them until they are the best they can be, so you may have to wait a little while longer but a new treat will be coming in the autumn. I am also developing some of our clinical treatments with the introduction of some new machines and technology.
How do you see the future?
I sense that technology is going to take more and more precedence in both the treatment room and in skincare products. The rise of the high tech facial has bought more gadgets into the treatment room as we continue to look for new and more efficient ways to treat skincare concerns and maximise our treatments. Products have also become more technical with regards to their formulations and their delivery to provide greater skin health benefits and reverse cellular damage. Skincare products are becoming more potent in order to keep up with clients quest for skincare perfection and their increasing knowledge. It is no longer acceptable to have one active ingredient for a skincare marketing story, savvy customers are looking for multi-functional skincare that delivers optimum results.