She’s not called the ‘cosmic facialist’ for nothing. London-born, US-based Georgia Louise is rocking the beauty world on both sides of the Atlantic with salons in New York City and London. With a client list that includes supermodels and Hollywood A listers, we had to find out more...
Georgia, how did you get into skincare?
Through my mother. She has the most beautiful skin and has always looked after it. She was obsessed with clean and clear skin, and as a little girl I would watch her cleansing and massaging her skin – I remember wanting to look like her.
Did anything or anyone in particular inspire you?
My mother’s best friend owned a beauty spa. She taught me to cleanse, tone and moisturize at the age of eleven, and so taking care of my skin has always been part of my DNA.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty comes from within. You don’t have to be ‘born’ a beauty to be beautiful, but you can become it by learning to make the most of what you have and letting your inner confidence make your skin glow. A beautiful face is a happy, well looked after face.
Where are your products made?
It all started in my kitchen – I would spend hours mixing and creating my own formulas. My husband used to tell me I was a mad scientist! These days I have a team in the Midlands who help make my products, though for New York they’re still made from my
kitchen, much to my husband’s delight!
How do you source your ingredients?
It’s important that they’re 100% natural and, where possible, organically harvested. I only want the very best raw ingredients that give results – the passion fruit and papaya I use, for example, contain more than eighteen natural antioxidants. By working closely with my UK suppliers I follow world crop cycles to guarantee the finest ingredients, including Rose Otto oil from Bulgaria and avocado oil from Africa.
Which product are you most proud of?
My Brightening Day + Night Cream: it took five years to perfect and has natural peptides and plant collagen to soften fine lines. With more than 30 natural ingredients, it takes me about two hours to make a batch.
What’s your best-selling product?
My Cleanse and Heal Balm. Its 100% natural and with 18 natural antioxidants, it not only cleanses the skin but brightens and hydrates. It’s so gentle that it can be used as a nappy cream, foot cream and cuticle cream.
The packaging of Georgia Louise products are beautiful, what was your concept?
My packaging took 3 years to create. I went through so many labels and redesigns in the beginning, I felt like a mad artist! My butterfly logo has a very spiritual meaning for the brand, symbolizing the journey of the soul and how each one of my products has a healing and soothing element. I used amber for the jars as it preserves and protects the products from harmful UV rays.
All the while, I wanted the products to look pretty and colorful!
Tell us about the design on your salon interiors...
I wanted to create a 'girly boudoir bedroom' feel for the treatment rooms so that when clients enter, they instantly feel at home. The rooms all have white floors with wallpaper and fabrics from Designers Guild (my favorite interiors shop on the King's Road). I used white as it brings such a powerful healing energy and calmness to the rooms.
Tell us about the Georgia Louise team – London and New York
Everybody who reads about me thinks I’m this huge empire because of all the fantastic press and success I've achieved but in all honesty Georgia Louise is tiny. I'm constantly wearing about twenty different 'job hats' a day!
Matches recently voted you the world’s top facialist, what makes you different to others – what are your secrets?
Without giving away any secrets, my strength comes from the power of hands and a technique that can’t be trained. Cameron Diaz said it’s my attention to detail and how I bring so much energy to the face and body just by using my hands. My clients don't leave without a pore being de-clogged or a wrinkle being plumped! I always try alternative therapies using the coolest, leading gadgets – last month I bought a machine which uses high-pressurised oxygen and saline solution to blast the skin clean.
Who’s your average customer?
To be honest, it’s the jet-set and fashionistas. I live in New York, the capital of fashion, and so I treat supermodels, photographers and editors daily, while A-listers fly in from LA for my red carpet facials. Emma Stone, Linda Evangelista and Cameron Diaz are some of my regulars.
Whose skin would you like to get your hands on?
I have worked with some of the world's most wonderful people but I ultimate customer would be the Queen - I love her! I'd love to finish it all off with some tea and biscuits while catching up on all the royal family gossip. I just want to give her a big hug and make her skin even more beautiful.
What beauty tips can you give us city-dwellers for autumn?
Given that your skin has probably been weathered from the summer sun, sea and sand, it's time to layer up with lots of hydrating serums including hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C to help repair sun damage. To freshen the skin, try using an enzyme mask at least once a week, while my Cleanse and Heal Balm will do wonders to cleanse and brighten the skin.
What beauty trends can you foresee?
The rise of the organic market will make way for marketing giants like Loreal to jump on the bandwagon. I definitely see less being more, with more multi-tasking products rather then using lots of products.
When did you make the move to New York? Whereabouts do you live?
I moved June 2011. We've actually just moved to the Upper West Side, moments from Central Park, which I think of as my sanctuary. I couldn’t survive living in a concrete jungle without surrounding myself with nature - I think it’s the most beautiful park in the world.
What was the reception like when you opened the Georgia Louise NY salon? How did you initially gain traction?
Like Sinatra said ‘If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere’ and I have to say its much easier to become successful overnight here then any other city on the world - all with the proviso that you have talent, a great concept and you're willing to work really hard. I find New Yorkers so encouraging and all generally want you to succeed, which is why I feel New York is booming at the moment. Having a British accent certainly helped me along the way and Americans also love good British brands! I didn’t know anybody here when I moved, I was like a duck fresh out of water and was so used to having such a high reputation in the UK; suddenly becoming an unknown was devastating. I remembered well how long it took to build my client base back home (around ten years!) and so I was determined to take New York and make it my own.
Do New Yorkers follow a different beauty regime to us Londoners?
New York has a much bigger beauty market – every other shop is either a nail spa or waxing salon. New Yorkers are savvy, skin smart and see a dermatologist more frequently than their hygienist; their look is polished and they don’t want to wear make-up unless they have to. Their skin is as sparkly as their diamonds!
Do you have any intention to move back to London?
I love London and really would love to move back one day but New York is the right place for me right now. Let's just see what the future holds!
Where do you plan open to your next salon?
I'm definitely not opening another for a while - it's hard enough working from two locations as it is! I want to spend this next part focusing on my skincare line and my clients.
What’s been your career highlight?
Being named Best Facialist Forever by American Vogue this year – it’s not easy to impress Anna Wintour! She’s our queen in New York and to get her respect is amazing.
How do you relax?
Always with my family; we love escaping the city. We did Napa Valley recently which was incredible.
How was your summer - all work and no play or a chance to holiday?
We went to Greece in May and then to Cyprus for a friend's wedding. Apart from that, it felt as if I literally worked all summer. The lead up to Fashion Week is manic with it being such a busy time getting everyone's skin ready!
Describe your perfect weekend...
No clients, no making skincare and no phone calls. I stoped working weekends when I moved to New York and so now I have more time to spend with the family, which I love. A perfect weekend would definitely start with a cup of Yorkshire tea, cuddles with my husband, son Matteo and two fluffy poodles, before a stroll in Central Park. I'd then finish it all off with brunch with friends, downtown at Sant Ambroeus and an afternoon manicure-pedicure at a local spa.
Georgia Louise London, 1st Floor 24 Beauchamp Place SW3 & Georgia Louise New York, 928 Broadway NY 10010