sarah chapman interview | prestige hong kong (nov 2017)

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a facialist, a doctor and a plastic surgeon weigh in on three unique approaches to skincare. christina ko and zaneta cheng report.

All in Skin

Before Sarah Chapman opened her Skinesis Clinic in London’s Sloane Square – a flagship that is, for devotees including Victoria Beckham and beauty editors across the city, to skincare what the Apple Store is to mobile technology – she spent all her time looking at skin from every vantage point in the skincare industry. Her initial contact with skin was a make-up artist, which led to a career trying to perfect the canvas itself so that there would be no need to conceal and cover. Subsequently training as a facialist – Chapman worked for botanical brand Darphin followed by a spell at results-driven cosmeceutical brand Environ – she developed a unique holistic approach that insists on performance.

“I don’t believe in skin type,” she says. “I think we have skin condition. Your skin changes. It changes with seasons, with age, it changes with stress. I have people that I’ve treated for 20 years and I do something different every single time they come because their skin will have changed.”

Chapman’s range reflects its founder’s philosophy, integrating a core daily range with boosters to support and treat specific conditions that arise with changes in skin. Her standard for each formulation is rigorous and unrelenting. 

 “Our approach is face-to-formula,” she says. “We’re diagnosing skin all the time. What’s going on? What does it need? And then creating the product to do that.” 

“I’m always pushing to get the maximum potency. A lot of chemists tell me that most people put four to five active ingredients in but I’m asking for 15. But I have them all in for specific reasons. So it’s getting the chemist to understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. I take a long time. I do loads of research. I give them all the actives and I also take up 20, 30 different samples before we get to the right texture, the right smell, the right results on skin.”

These days, facials at the Skinesis clinic involve Sarah Chapman products along with a supplement of effective brands she has used over the years, including Environ. Her team members spend six weeks of full-time training, learning about everything from microneedling and Dermalux to IPL and radiofrequency treatment, as well as the brand’s own products, additional brands and the signature massage technique – relearning the way hands move in order to manipulate muscles precisely and in staccato to lift and drain according to Chapman’s choreography.

Chapman’s own commitment to skin over sales is paramount. She says, “I think in our treatments, it’s all about getting the best results for whatever skin comes in. My range is still relatively small, so as of now we can’t treat anything. If somebody comes in with acne, we need some other products. It’s important, even if I have my own range, always to have every solution for every need.

“What I’m doing is creating an edited mix of products that are right for the skin. You’ll notice Sarah’s Edit at the back of the boutique, so people have the resources, whether it be books about diet or nutritional supplements for a comprehensive approach to skin.”