They’re the women who are on speed dial for L.A.’s elite, trusted to fix, enhance and transform celebrity skin year-round — think Emily Ratajowski, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Meghan Markle, Kate Hudson and Bella Hadid.
Luckily these facialists, while notoriously in-demand, aren’t available exclusively to the A-List, so you too can get that Hollywood glow (given that you book your appointment well in advance). Behold: our round-up of the women who keep Hollywood’s skin in check.
Image courtesy of Melanie Grant Skin Health
Clocking over 20 years of experience, Melanie Grant is one of Australia’s most renowned facialists, with clinics in both Melbourne and Sydney. Grant has an ultra-exclusive list of clientele — including homegrown talent such as Georgia Fowler, Lara Worthington, Nicole Trunfio, and Gritty Pretty’s Spring 2019 covergirl, Phoebe Tonkin — all of whom sing her praises.
It was only a matter of time before she took her talented hands across the Pacific, opening her Los Angeles skin studio earlier this year on the iconic Melrose Place. Before long, Hollywood heavyweights such as Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian, came knocking.
What is it about Grant’s skin philosophy that garners so much adoration? “I combine clinical efficacy with my heritage in beauty,” Grant recently shared with Gritty Pretty. “I have seen the true benefits of peels, lasers, light therapy, and ultrasound, but there is something to be said for the healing and healthful benefits for the skin when incorporating traditional beauty practices.”
If you book in with Melanie, don’t expect any old thing off the treatment menu. “I don’t have signature treatments, just a signature result — healthy, glowing, natural skin,” says Grant. “We have a great repertoire of products and modalities to perfectly customise our treatments.”
Image: Shani Darden via Instagram
Ask anyone in the L.A.-know for their most trustworthy skin destination and we guarantee that esthetician Shani Darden will be mentioned more than once.
With Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jessica Alba, Chrissy Teigen and Emily Ratajowski counted as regular clientele, it’s safe to say that Darden is in demand year-round — and for good reason, too. Her results-driven approach to skin is simple, yet effective, utilising her years of experience alongside noted dermatologist Dr. Erma Benitez.
Specialising in problem skin conditions such as acne, pigmentation and rosacea, there is no case too extreme for Darden’s talented hands. A claim that one Kelly Rowland can back up: “After I had my baby, my skin just turned weird with the hormonal changes. I went to see a facialist my friend Jen Atkin recommended—Shani Darden. She literally fixed my face in a day… I felt like overnight everything changed on my skin.” If it’s good enough for Kelly…
Her eponymous line of skincare products, launched in 2013, also regularly graces celebrities’ top shelves (see: Shay Mitchell’s top five beauty picks), with Suki Waterhouse, Phoebe Tonkin also counted as devoted fans.
Image courtesy of Mila Moursi
A bonafide legend of the skin game, Mila Moursi made a name for herself by bringing her signature European touch stateside in 1981, setting up shop in Los Angeles after years of training in the UK and Paris.
Since then, Moursi has amassed following of Hollywood elite, including Charlize Theron, Sandra Bullock, Jane Fonda, Courteney Cox, Matthew McConaughey and Sia. No biggie. And, given her no-nonsense approach to skin, it’s clear as to why. “I believe in the powerful combination of product and treatments for long-term skin vitality — I don’t believe in quick fixes,” Moursi recently shared with Gritty Pretty. “My philosophy for rejuvenating and maintaining radiant skin is about a customised daily regimen to connect with the skin to enhance our products’ top-performing active ingredients that encourage a natural, healthy glow and keep skin firm and supple.”
Her advice to those who unfortunately can’t make it to her West Hollywood clinic? “Maintain a healthy lifestyle that employs the discipline of a daily regimen of synergistic inner and outer beauty methods,” says Moursi. “Your skin can be a mirror of what is going on with you health-wise. Spend time for self-care. Deep breathing, exercise, positive outlook, good sleep, managing stress and proper hydration and diet for the inner you. Pamper your skin with a dedicated morning and evening routine with periodic regenerating spa treatments.” Well, you heard the woman!
Image: BIBA Los Angeles
A favourite of celebrities and L.A. locals alike, Biba de Sousa has built a reputation not only for her ability to transform problem skin, but also for her down-to-earth character. Hailing from Belgrade, Serbia, De Sousa has long been a devout fan of facials, booking in for her first facial at age 14 — and from there, the love affair continued.
“I studied law, art and language, but I always the most enjoyed my time off to experience spas, water treatments and retreats,” de Sousa explains on her website. “Finally, 15 years ago it became clear that my love of hands-on disciplines really fused into one: the art of touch, the art of giving a facial treatment and sculpting clear, beautiful, healthy skin.”
Blending Eastern European with western techniques and technologies such as reiki, light therapy, cryotherapy, Pressotherapy, OxyGeneo, as well as microcurrent and modeling masks, de Sousa’s holistic approach to wellness and skin has picked up loyal devotees such as Emily Blunt, Miley Cyrus, Shailene Woodley and Emma Roberts.
“In the last couple of years, it became [clear] to me that I had to steer my business to a holistic practice, with a major accent on wellness and health,” says de Sousa. “I have the ‘dewy’ and ‘clear’ skin part down, but I have noticed how much un-wellness there is in Los Angeles and in the busy lives of so many women and men and how I actually have the perfect set of skills to help people.”
If you manage to nab a spot in de Sousa’s busy books, lock yourself in for her Signature Facial, which includes gentle exfoliation, an Oxygeneo treatment, lymphatic drainage and gua sha (as well as, uh, ear extractions). Safe to say you’ll have never had a facial like this!
Image: Kate Somerville via Instagram
You’d be remiss if you didn’t know the name of this famed L.A. skin expert. Boasting top-tier clients such as Kate Hudson, Olivia Wilde, Kirsten Dunst, Eva Mendez and Demi Moore, Kate Somerville has become somewhat of a household name, thanks to her foolproof approach to treating the faces of Hollywood elite and ‘regular folk’ since 2004. Oh, did we mention that she’s also Meghan Markle’s go-to L.A. facialist? If that doesn’t sell you, we don’t know what will.
She’s also famous worldwide for her eponymous skincare line, which has produced cult products including her Goat Milk Moisturising range, DermalQuench range, as well as ExfoliKate — the latter of which was inspired by one of her celebrity clients who wanted to take Kate’s in-clinic peel with her on location.
So, what was the driving force for Somerville setting up shop on Melrose Place? “I wanted to create something new, where clients could experience cutting-edge medical technologies and advanced facial treatments – a one-stop shop,” Somerville recently said on her blog. “I wanted to…not only change my client’s skin, but also empower them to take control of their lives. Seeing someone overcome their skin challenges and feeling more confident and happier is what this is all about for me. It feeds my soul and is what I love most about what I do.”
If you’ve just touched down in L.A., try the Kate Somerville Signature Facial which soothes, brightens and hydrates tired, jet-lagged skin — or, if you’re feeling congested and are acne-prone, opt for the EradiKate Acne Light Stim Facial, which combines exfoliation, a blemish-busting mask and LED light therapy.
Tell us, who is your go-to skin guru? Who is next on your list of facialists to visit?