Insider Interviews: Sarah Chapman: Facialist & Skincare Founder

The celebrity facialist shares her skincare tips, route to success & favourite beauty addresses

By Amy Wilson Wyles

  • Job Title: Founder, CEO & product formulator

  • Location: Chelsea, London

  • Famous For: Skinesis Facials & Skincare

  • Clients/Fans Include: The Duchess of Sussex, Victoria Beckham, David Beckham, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Katherine Jenkins, Clémence Poésy & Alison Loehnis

  • Years in the Industry: 20

The Backstory

I first knew I wanted to be a Facialist after I started working as a make-up artist and quickly realised that models with great skin had the best canvas for applying make-up. So many models I saw had terrible skin so we would spend a long time correcting and covering. I wondered how we could help improve the skin, helping the model feel better and the make-up look better. During this time I started to realise my passion for helping people achieve perfect skin, so I retrained as a beauty therapist.

The urge to set up my own product line, Skinesis, became impossible to ignore when I had an idea in my head that wouldn’t go away! I was in the clinic mixing my own skincare formulations. I was using lots of clinically potent formulas that didn’t feel or smell beautiful on the skin, so I started adding my own essential oils, floral waters and ingredients to elevate the facial experience for my clients. I also noticed that the products I could count on to deliver the best results were in very medical-looking packaging that people weren’t proud to display in their bathrooms or recommend to friends. I think it felt like a natural evolution for me rather than a single lightbulb moment.

Getting involved in product formulation has taught me patience and determination! I started formulating my 6 initial products 4 years before the official launch in 2008. In the beginning I was getting a lot of push back from chemists who said that what I was asking for wasn’t achievable. Finally, I found an amazing chemist in the USA who was able to work with me to push the boundaries of what had been done before, bringing together the most potent active ingredients, luxurious textures and beautiful scents to deliver results without compromising on the luxury beauty experience. Product formulation is still the most challenging but rewarding part of my job because I never compromise on anything but truly believe that what we launch is the best it can possibly be and that’s why we have such loyal clients and have won many awards.

At the clinic, we decided to offer a beauty drop in element because sometimes in today’s busy world people just don’t have the time for a full facial so are looking for an intensive fast facial. Also, we would find that often clients would like a booster treatment in between their facials for special events, parties, filming and to keep their Skinesis glow at all times. Due to the success of our facials we are generally running a 4-month waiting time so the drop-in facials enable us to service our clients more effectively.

The treatment I find most transformative for a lot of my clients is my Bespoke Luxury Facial. We tailor every one to meet the needs of the client’s skin on the day to ensure optimal results, meaning no two facials are the same, even if you have been a clinic client for many years. Our treatment rooms are flooded with natural light so our therapists can assess your skin in detail and determine a course of action depending on what they see. The condition of our skin and our primary concerns are constantly changing due to the weather, hormones, age or environmental factors, so we like to let the skin be our guide.

The next big thing to look out for in skincare will be formulas getting even more refined, considered and effective. The main trend right now is “clean skincare”, but this is a broad term and not many people know what it really stands for and what degree of “clean” the products are delivering. As formulators we are always looking at how to make the most effective products whilst being conscious of sourcing the safest most powerful actives and ingredients.

The Advice

My golden rules for great skin: 

  1. Cleanse, cleanse, cleanse! Cleansing is the foundation to healthy, glowing skin
  2. Protect your skin with SPF all year round
  3. Invest in a Vitamin A serum to target signs of ageing & use this every day
  4. Have a facial every 4 weeks minimum
  5. Take regular omega oil supplements and nutrients to support the skin from within, and consider what you eat in your diet as this shows in your skin

The Kit

Skincare:

Overnight Facial is definitely my desert island product. I keep it on my bedside table and never travel anywhere without it. It recreates the glow of a clinical facial while you sleep so you always wake up to plump, perfected skin.

My Platinum Stem Cell Elixir and Stem Cell Collagen Activator are essentials every day, feeding my skin with peptides and collagen boosters to help combat signs of tiredness and ageing.

My 3D Moisture Infusion Mask is amazing for pumping up hydration levels and giving the skin a fresh glow. I always use this mask before a photo shoot, TV appearance or special event.

I now have a great device for facials at home which I have been using for the last few months. It is a powerful steamer that uses nano micro-mist to deep cleanse or aid hydration. I know already its on many peoples ‘can’t live without lists’!

On days when I am not wearing make-up, I use Skin Insurance on its own. This has an incredible skin-perfecting effect whilst feeling like you are wearing nothing. It protects the skin on so many levels as it is a very high-tech modern product but it also has adaptive tint technologies that disguise minor imperfections and make you look really healthy!

Foundation: Chanel Vitalumière Aqua – I use this light foundation every day after applying my skincare. I love the fact that it evens my skin tone but looks like you haven’t got anything on.

Lipstick: Chanel Rouge Coco – A swipe of lipstick can make you feel instantly more glamourous and confident. I love Chanel lipsticks and always have one in my make-up bag. They have great colours and I find them very hydrating.

Secret Weapon: A great friend of mine gave me a RMS Living Luminizer, Cream Illuminator, which is a lovely creamy formula to add a little cheekbone glow to the face and I also love Delilah’s Illuminating Powder.

Supplement: Flax seed oil supplements help replace essential lipids in the skin to improve its condition and moisture levels. I have always believed in a 360° approach to skincare and take supplements daily to support my skin from within. I always take my Overnight Facial Supplement before bed and definitely sleep better whilst they supercharge my skin.

The Experts

Hairdresser:  Andreas Wild at John Frieda cuts my hair and he was the one who convinced me to cut it shorter a few years back (“Darling you need to cut this off!!!”) and finally gave me a hairstyle. He is a great personality; I trust him and I enjoy spending time with him.

Hair colourist: I get my hair coloured every 6 weeks and used to see Cetera at John Frieda and the team at Salon Sloane. However I am currently having a change and Josh Wood is giving me a modern refresh!

Blow-dry go-to/hair treatment: Salon Sloane – Kirsty does great styling but all the team are great.

Facialist: I honestly see everyone at Skinesis because I know how good they all are, but I love seeing Lisa who has been with me for 10 years. We love to catch up on life and never get time as we are so busy, and she does a damn good facial and massage.

Dermatologist/Skin Doctor: any questions I have I ask Dr. Alexis Granite at The Cadogan Clinic who is very knowledgeable and looks amazing!

Gym/Exercise Class: PBB Signature sessions and cycle classes at KXU but not often enough!

Manicurist/Pedicurist: Kate at Hari’s Fulham, she used to be at Bliss, so I have followed her as she is very professional and does a great mani that really lasts.

Masseuse: Katy at The Lanesborough Club & Spa or the team at the Bamford Haybarn Spa in Brompton Cross.

Eyelash/brows: for brows Sophie Thorpe at Skinesis who uses clever semi-permanent techniques to shape and give definition to mine and many of my client’s brows!

Body treatment: Tanning by Moiya Saint who does visits at home and is a genius with fake tan!

Favourite Spa Destination: Gosh so many. In the UK – Limewood and Cliveden House Hotel.

Get In Touch

Location: 259 Pavilion Rd, Chelsea

Telephone: +44 207 589 9585

Follow: @skinesis

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