British facialist Amanda Lacey usually takes clients in her London salon, but for the second time this year she's packed up her delicate glass bottles of oils and taken residence for a week in New York's Lowell Hotel. Lacey, who's been doing the fancy face scrubbing thing for over 30 years (including for famous women like Gwyneth Paltrow and Emily Blunt), believes that facialists stand apart from dermatologists because of their "mothering" nature toward skin. When I visited, she immediately demanded I lie down on her treatment table to assess the current status of my skin, even though nothing of the sort had been planned; we were meant to just have a chat over Champagne. With a bat of her coquettish, nearly natural lash extensions, suddenly her nimble hands were on my face as she explained the difference between complexions in New York and London, plus her stance on facial oils versus creams at night.
Why should anyone even see a facialist?
If you’re younger, you need to see someone who is extremely experienced. Don’t go for the fancy facial, which is expensive. You save up your pennies and you go for someone who’ll give you a whole program in that hour, and you learn from that. It’s not just about you buying a product from them; it’s more about you learning the knowledge about your skin, and having a greater understanding about your skin, through someone who is highly qualified.
What’s the biggest difference between London and New York?
We have the adage, the English rose, which comes from the fact that we have a very humid climate in the Northern hemisphere. You wouldn’t think it’s very humid, but it is very humid in England, so our skin is kind of glowy there because of the dank, damp atmosphere. In New York, it's very dry. Dampness helps the skin keep that luster, but over here you don’t have that. In New York, it suddenly plummets down to freezing temperatures, and in the summer, you have the searing heat. It wreaks havoc on your skin.
So then how do you "fix" that issue for your New York clients?
I will bring their skin to fruition through the night oil, so that when they leave here, skin doesn’t feel oily or dry. I bring it to a [point] of hydration which they can deal with on a daily basis, and they can do at home as well. It’s all about hydration and keeping your skin in tip-top condition.
Why oils over creams, especially for winter?
My whole sort of métier, I suppose, is night oils. I don’t personally believe in night creams. I much prefer oils because, at nighttime, they soften and slough away the dead cells. Oils tend to sit in the sebaceous duct, whereas creams work as a barrier in the daytime.
I have sensitive skin. Which one is best to treat that issue?
The Oils of Provence has armoise, bois de rose, sage, and lavender. And it almost makes you feel numb when you apply it, and it puts you to sleep because of the lavender. It helps with rosacea, any redness through the winter months. If you've been outside and you get very chilled and cold, this is great for soothing that as well. The other thing you should do at nighttime is lie flat, because that stops your creasing.
What do you mean by that?
If you’re a lady with quite a large bust or you’re getting older, you crease your face and you crease the central line along the décolletage, down to the middle, when you lay on your side.