Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Experts. The Facialists. Amanda Lacey.

I'm so frequently asked about favourite brands and facialists that I figured it was time to start showcasing them a little more.

If I was forced to pick one facial to have for the rest of my life I'd probably go for Amanda Lacey's. You know when someone is just excellent at what they do? That is Amanda. The surroundings are immaculate - always - and the hands are warm and firm and leave your skin looking like you've had a rest. Which is what I always, always, need. No-one removes milia better. No-one.

Unlike the trend in recent years, she has no interest in discussing her celebrity clients. None. She would be mortified if she was mentioned as a 'celebrity facialist' - equally, she has zero interest in being famous herself. Completely refreshing and old school. 

Amanda also makes some of my favourite products of all time. I have long been obsessed with the Cleansing Pomade, whilst the Camellia Oil and Oils of Provence Oils will never not be in my arsenal. As well as the hands, Amanda has a nose to rival most fragrance houses, her perfumes, body products and candles are just beyond.

I'm regularly asked for advice on entering the beauty industry so I grabbed Amanda for a quick Q & A this week to get her take on a few things....

How did you end up as a facialist? Was it something you always wanted to do and therefore a straightforward path? Or something you discovered you loved almost by accident?

I guess after my beauty training at the age of 23.  I only ever wanted to own my own business and create beautiful products.  It’s interesting, beauty, it kind of grew on me, and I've had a love affair with it ever since...

I receive a lot of queries about training – some of them seem to be asking for the quickest route to a qualification. Where did you train and how important do you think the basic level of training is?
I trained at Joan Price's Beauty School in Chelsea, London.  Joan was the Beauty Editor at Harper ‘s Bazaar many years ago, so an important figure in the British Beauty scene.  The basic level of training for any therapist is of the upmost importance. Try and always go for a school with heritage and immaculate credentials. (Amen to THAT - CH)

What do you think the best reason for having a facial is? Is it for the results or the feel-good factor – or both?
 I feel when you are having a facial, it is important to experience a sense of well-being and of course overall excellent results. So both!

What is your favourite part of what you do?   
I really have to say, I am very blessed, in that I love every aspect of my job.

What is your favourite skincare product outside of your own range? 
Sisley Ecologique Compound. 

Thanks to Amanda for taking the time to answer my Q's. More Facialists to follow!

More information on Amanda Lacey can be found on her website Queries to

Do yourself a favour. Go.

*I have no business affiliation with Amanda Lacey. She's just very good at what she does. 


  1. Hi Caroline, please help! I'm desperate for your advice. I purchased the Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner & after one use, my skin seems to have reacted quite badly to it resulting in a LOT of bumps & a few small spots all over my face :( . Would you advise me to stop using it or carry on trying? Very disappointing as I was so excited to try it, I have never found a bad review of it!

    1. I experienced this! Bumps were tiny but not blemishes. I think its overexfoliation. Cut back on aha and make sure to use a spray toner after clarins bc it has alcohol

    2. Hi Sarah,

      You may be intolerant of glycolic. Drop it to once a day or even every other day. If you see no improvement then try REN Clarifying Toner - its lactic acid only.

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  3. Hello Caroline, beautiful pictures and lovely post! I'm wondering though, if it is possible for you to recommend an airtight -either in a tube or airless jar packaging type, vial, etc- moisturizer for combination/leans more dry,flaky skin? I noticed a while back(Sept 23,20212) you stated that high end products have good preservatives to keep unstable ingredients from going bad. I'm not sure if you have changed your mind about this. However, stabilizing a formula with preservatives has nothing to do with that. Preservatives are all regulated and therefore the same ones used in high end are also in the cheaper products. Preservatives prevent bacterial and fungal contamination/overgrowth from daily use, fingers dabbing and whatnot but do not keep for example, vitamin c, stable.

    Preservatives also have nothing to do with the air and light that destroy antioxidants, or unstable ingredients when you open the jar. Bacteria are not air nor light, which is what destroys antioxidants hence the name antioxidant "anti-oxygen". Antioxidants become unstable and degrade quickly with exposure to light and air. therefore useless in jar packaging. One exception is niacinamide also known as nicotinic acid, but all the rest including retinol, vitamin C in all its forms, Vitamin E and others need airtight packaging.

    This is well-known in the cosmetic industry, and here is a quote from COLIPA, the governing association for cosmetics in Europe:

    "Packaging can directly affect finished product stability because of interactions which can occur between the product, the package, and the external environment. Such interactions may include … barrier properties of the container [and] its effectiveness in protecting the contents from the adverse effects of atmospheric oxygen.…"

    Companies know jar packaging looks and feels luxurious, even I love a big, heavy elegant jar. . but I won't buy it. I know you are knowledgeable in all things beauty, so perhaps this is repetitive. Again please do not take offense, if anything I have written comes across as rude it is not my intention - this is not my opinion, but what years of well-documented unbiased research has shown and proven time and time again. And I think most people want what is proven to be most effective and beneficial for skin. I don't wish to spend £400 on moisturiser that is useless shortly after I've opened the lid.

    Any suggestions would be most welcome ,


    1. Hi Aimee,

      Of course I'm not offended :) - I would say product development has come a long long way and I disagree to a certain degree. If a product is in a pot, I tend to check the colour of the product. If its not completely white then the general consensus is that the product has been coloured to disguise the oxidisation of the content. If it is blinding white, the preservative system is in place. Would also bear in mind that COLIPA is one of many bodies - and the individual bodies always disagree - the perfect example is the EU and the FDA. Worlds apart on a lot of issues.
      If you want completely airless look into Kate Somerville, Sunday Riley, Elemental Herbology and REN - depending on your budget. :)

  4. Lovely to see people truly passionate and dedicated to their job.
    Any reccomendations for facialists in the Netherlands? I know you have contacts everywhere and your knowledge knows no limits :)

    1. No I'm sorry - it doesn't stretch that far!! :)

  5. Dear Caroline! I feel so sad because i bought all these lovely new products recommended by you, and my acne is just getting worse! I use the clinique TTDO, REN clear clame 3 clay cleanser, pixi glow tonic, hydraluron, rosehip oil and the very gentle moisturizer by Trilogy. What can I have done wrong? I've had the rosehip oil for 6 months and it's fine and a changed back to my old moisturizer (did not break me out but had mineral oil) just to see if this was the prob, but it's not. No changes i makeup has been made either. Pretty please help me. :'(

    1. It's so hard to tell because every skin is so individual. I personally wouldn't use the rosehip on acne - but if you say you've been using it for ages - try maybe stopping the TTDO for a few days and see if that helps?

    2. Thank you for the advice! Is there any other cleanser that you could recommend? I have dry skin so i liked the idea of a balm, but maybe a milk is better?

  6. Hello Caroline!
    I really live your blog .You are seriously so much fun to read . I need some advice please. I have dry/ combination skin and I have small bumps underneath my skin .i exfoliate regularly but it's not helping . I use philosophy purity cleanser, Estée Lauder night repair serum and aveno lotion.please help and recommend some nice skincare.thanks love

    1. I have the same problem! These bumps are like clogged pores, but without opening (and also without a "head", neither black nor white), just as if a tiny "ball" of sebum sits underneath the skin. They're not inflamed and fairly new to me. I have tried exfoliation (both mechanical and chemical), but they don't go away. When I squeeze really hard, the sebum does come out, but then it gets inflamed of that's not an option. I have rather oilly/combination skin. Do you have any idea what could help? Thank you!
      And btw: I love your blog! It's so refreshing to read and I purchased some of the products you recommend and they're just great!! :-)
      Greets from Austria,

    2. I used to have the same problem. Those flesh-colored bumps on the forehead, right? I used reviva lab glycolic acid cream10% and they disappeared within days! Plus, it's only $10 a jar on the vitacost website.

    3. Yes, but i have them all over the face, especially in the cheek and jaw area :-( really annoying! thanks for the tip, I have to check if they ship internationally :-)

    4. I have the same problem and have used chemical peel treatments but my problem still remains. I have dry/combination skin as well. What would you recommend Caroline?

    5. I have the same problem. Tiny sebum filled bumps under the skin. I'd be interested to see what Caroline thinks to the Reviva Lab products recommended by Anon. That cream seems to have great reviews.

  7. Hi Caroline! This sounds amazing, I wish I was London-based sometimes. Do you have any recommendations for good facialists outside of London? I am in Oxfordshire and haven't had much luck finding someone who really seems to know their stuff, so I have more or less given up having facials. Failing that is there a type / brand of facial you would recommend? I have tried Dermalogica most recently, but the results weren't good. Not sure if that was the facialist or the products though! xx

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  9. Hi Caroline,
    I love Amanda's cleansing pomade. I look forward to getting home and washing my face as I find the smell is so relaxing. I have both the oils too. I have sensitive skin that is prone to breakouts and her oils seem fine for me. Sometimes essential oils irritate my skin. Have you used any of her day products or masks Just wondering if either of the day products would be suitable for my skin. Wish I still lived in London as I would absolutely book a facial. I live in Toronto now and order her products online. God Bless on-line shopping!

  10. Hi Caroline... This is not related to the above article but I have a question for you. We know your stand on mineral oil in skin care products and why. But would you use a deep nourishing hair mask (protein mask, to be specific) that states to have mineral oil as one of its key ingredients?

  11. Hello Caroline! This interview with Amanda is awesome. I really like the fact that she is enjoying what she is doing and actually highly good at that. It is everybody's dream to turn their hobby into a prosperous business. I wish I studied fashion design way back when since that's where my passion lies. Now I am struggling with numbers which is definitely something that I have no aptitude for. As for the beauty industry, I believe my background in chemistry has something to do with it, so it might be possible one day for me to get my foot in the door. In regard to Amanda's products, I'd like to know whether they are available in North America. The place where I live is extremely dry, so I am always in desperate need of hydrating moisturizer. I look forward to trying Amanda Lacey out. By the way, I truly appreciate her humility which is simply rare in today's competitive beauty industry.

  12. Any opinions on the Vichy Idealia life serum Caroline? It's making big promises which I'm a sucker for...
    I'm also suffering with spots on my forehead which will neither go away or fully come to. Any ideas? Exfoliation is not working & I'm out of options!

  13. Really love this post, the photographs are gorgeous and Amanda is the most amazing facialist. It has prompted me to book an appointment....thanks you!

  14. Hi Caroline, what a fabulous interview, it has reminded me that I must book an appointment with Amanda...she is amazing! Love the photographs too! :)

  15. Hi Caroline love your blog. What are your thoughts on the Elixirs of Life natural range of skin care?

  16. What do you think about Yves Rocher products ???

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  18. Your posts always make me wish I lived in the UK! Perhaps one day... =) By the way, do you have any recommendations for a good hydrating mask? My retin-a treated skin is shouting for one that is ideally not too greasy but still moisturising enough to keep the flakes down/soothe the newly surfacing skin! xx

  19. Sorry to be negative but ecological compound from Sisley is full of mineral oil and just awful. I worked for the company and I think their creams are very over priced. Could you please do a post on Sisley? Maybe crem de la mer too x

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  21. Caroline, Given your aversion to anything mineral oil, why are you promoting a facialist who uses a paraffin wax face mask as part of her signature facial?

    1. Because paraffin wax as a mask is a very effective treatment for being a hot barrier on top of oil for a short period of time. It is removed in one piece leaving the skin warm and plump. Paraffin in a face cream is a barrier that stays put on the skin. Not great.