I’m feeling extremely jetsetting, readers. Lucky Magazine just hosted the first “west coast edition” of their Fashion and Beauty Bloggers (FABB) conference in L.A., so I made my first trip to the city of angels. It was a pretty quick trip, but I managed to squeeze in a pilgrimage to Kate Somerville’s clinic in Hollywood.
As you may recall from previous posts, a friend introduced to the Kate Somerville brand about a year ago, and I have since fallen deeply in love. Every product I’ve tried does everything it claims, and a consistent “Kate” regimen means perfect skin for me. I could easily, happily use almost every product she makes… but I guess the folks at Neiman Marcus might object to my living at their counter.
Kate’s medi-spa (she has just the one location in Hollywood) goes way beyond your usual facials and body treatments — though, obviously, they do those very well. They offer a variety of lights and lasers (to treat rosacea, acne, sun spots, scarring, lack of firmness, milia, hyperpigmentation), injectables, Botox, hair removal — you name it. The clinic is staffed by an amazing team of doctors, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and aestheticians.
The space is so beautiful, and SO aligned with the brand. Everything is white and elegant and sunlit (though shades are always drawn in the treatment rooms, of course). The building actually used to be a private home (Sean Connery used to live here! And Johnny Depp!).
Though I came in the front door, clients who might be eluding the paparazzi can slip up the back stairs — Kate not only has a sterling reputation for her treatments, but also for her discretion.
I scheduled a signature facial. I already knew I liked the products, and (especially after the flight) I was really looking forward to the facial. But I was also curious to learn how a Kate Clinic experience differed from what I’ve already enjoyed at the counter in Dallas.
Every Neiman Marcus Kate Somerville counter (and many Nordstrom counters) offers DermalQuench facials as a complimentary gift with purchase.
The key to a DermalQuench facial is an airbrushing machine, which sprays a superfine mist of hyaluronic acid and vitamins, followed by oxygen (which has antibacterial properties). It is total instant gratification — immediate hydration, reduced fine lines, and “glow” without oiliness or irritation. You look fabulous from the moment you get out of the chair. If you haven’t tried it already, I highly recommend it.
The signature facial doesn’t use the DermalQuench machine, but no one leaves the Clinic without “the Kate glow.” I knew I was in good hands with the lovely and very knowledgeable Lili.
Lili started by washing my face with Kate’s Gentle cleanser (to remove makeup/sunscreen). This product is sulfate-free and protects the skin’s natural barrier — a must for dry and sensitive skin.
She followed with Kate’s Detox cleanser, which she used in conjunction with a Clarisonic. The Detox cleanser contains phytic acid to help fade acne scars, and vitamin B complexes to prevent over-drying.
She then gently ran a vibrating metal ultrasound wand over my skin. She explained that this tool helps slough off dead cells, stimulates cell turnover, and improves circulation. It also improves product absorption.
After the ultrasound, she applied the famous ExfoliKate. ExfoliKate contains mechanical beads, as well as lactic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid, which causes dead cells to fall off, stimulates skin cells to reproduce, and promotes the production of collagen, which increases skin’s elasticity). Lili explained that mechanical exfoliators loosen dead skin cells, but you really need a chemical exfoliator to lift them away. ExfoliKate also contains papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin enzymes, as well as cinnamon to enhance circulation. As you can imagine, it smells delicious.
Normally, Lili would perform extractions at this stage, but I asked if we could skip that step. I believe facial skin is too delicate for the procedure. Every time I consent to extractions it hurts, I regret it, and my face is really red afterwards… plus I can’t really see a before-and-after benefit.
The next step was probably my favorite: a blueberry-and-honey hydrating mask. Though this is a proprietary Kate product, it’s not (currently) available for sale — so the only place to experience it is in the Clinic. Lili applied a thick layer of this super hydrating, super-antioxidant mask to my face, then gave me a shoulder massage while it “dried” (a transformation I didn’t even notice). I truly lost track of the passage of time, but when she’d finished the massage, she peeled off the mask in one thrillingly stretchy, flexible, solid sheet. It was reminded me of my elementary school days, rubbing Elmer’s glue on my palm, then peeling it off in as large a piece as possible. This mask is usually part of the Pregnancy Facial (a baby-friendly regimen that focuses on hydration, calming, de-puffing, and gently soothing the skin).
Even though the Signature Facial doesn’t use the DermalQuench machine, Lili gave me an extra dose of hydration with Kate’s new use-it-at-home DermalQuench Liquid Lift (a shake-and-spray portable version of Kate’s wonder machine).
Treatment complete, she got me ready to hit the road with Kate’s anti-dark-circle CytoCell eye cream (which contains synthetic stem cells, peptides that promote cell turnover, and caffeine for circulation). And Oil-Free Moisturizer.
I confess, Oil-Free is just about the only Kate moisturizer I haven’t tried — I’m not super oily, so I had overlooked it. Lili said that I might really like Oil-Free for summer, because the formula is light but extremely hydrating. She said it contains red marine algae, which helps with skin elasticity, and peptides which reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Dammit, Lili, this was one of the FEW Kate products I thought I didn’t need to possess.
We finished (of course), with Kate’s oil-free SPF 55, on face, chest, and arms.
Indulge me while I walk you through a few more photos of the spa:
Okay, so the Clinic is beautiful. But my FAVORITE space is the enormous, high-ceilinged room off the main reception area. The walls are lined with products and copies of Kate’s book, and the room is fantastically lit by a floor-to-ceiling window that takes up almost an entire wall.
In front of that window is a makeup station — the most wonderful makeup station in the world. It’s a lucite desk, so you don’t block any of the light from the window. Ordinarily they have a makeup artist (slash brow artist, slash lash tech) there — for anyone who would prefer not to leave the Clinic completely au natural. I still had my suitcase (and all my makeup) with me, so I asked if I could do my makeup there before I left. (I knew the situation in the hotel room was going to be pretty dismal.) They graciously said to take all the time I need.
It was the most wonderful vanity setup I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen my makeup application so clearly! Someday, I want one just like this.
Of course, it helped that my skin was looking pretty awesome, too. Yeah, I skipped foundation.