Meghan Markle’s Facialist Sarah Chapman on Pregnancy Skincare, Wedding Regimens, and Facial MAssage
People always talk about the pregnancy “glow,” but the fact of the matter is that Meghan Markle has always had incredible skin—even before the royal baby. Who can forget her wedding day, when minimalist makeup let her freckles and dewiness shine through? Everyone had the sudden urge to purge their beauty bags (including yours truly).
Clearly, Markle knows the value of a solid skincare regimen. And, she has Sarah Chapman, London-based facialist and founder of clinic and skincare brand Skinesis, to thank. Chapman reportedly gave Markle a facial the night before the royal wedding and has been her confirmed go-to for facials since moving to the UK. Chapman also works with stars like Victoria Beckham (rumor has it she introduced Markle to Chapman), Naomi Watts, Jourdan Dunn, and Gigi Hadid.
We recently sat down with the skincare expert at a Net-a-Porter beauty event in New York to learn all there is to know about her techniques, which some people wait six months(!) to experience at her clinic.
Skincare should include your neck…and ears.
“If everything that we’re doing with skincare is about stimulating collagen, renewing skin, supporting the skin from within, then we should do that on the back of the neck as well, so that it stops the accelerated slackening at the front. We put moisturizer on our chins, on our legs, on areas of the body, but so often forget the ears. If you think about it, it’s an extension of your face. I always say you want to take your skincare from your jaw down to your chest. I do see in a lot of my work where I’m looking close up at the face, earlobes that have stretched a lot—because they do lose their collagen—deep crinkles, and lines. It becomes quite crepey. I think the more that we do to prevent that, the better.”
Facial massage is your best friend.
“Some of our massage is really unusual—so much so that lots of people say, ‘What machine is that you’re using?’ when it’s our hands. We’re working really deep into the muscle. It’s releasing all the tension by getting down into the muscle, but also really working the skin on so many sort of levels, whether it’s lymphatic drainage, or for circulation. A lot of the movements are really pinching, rolling, tapping—very fast—and a lot of lifting. Even if we just did a cleanse and did the massage, you would see a kind of lifting and plumpness.”
The only tools you need are your hands.
“If you’re doing [a facial massage] at home, when you’re cleansing or putting on an oil, or cream, put your hands into a loose fist, then face your knuckles towards you, and just roll and knead into the skin. Start from the center of the face, and work out towards the ears. The other thing you can do that’s really easy is just pinch with your index finger and your thumb. Sometimes just pinching, and a bit of slapping and tapping—and your face kind of comes to life.”
But if you want to get fancy, invest in some facial devices.
“The facial lift massager was essentially, ‘How do we mimic what we’re trying to do with our hands?’ We use the knuckles quite a lot in cleansing, so we’re literally kneading into the skin, like baking bread. The massager enables you to do some of those movements at home. A steamer is great, and in terms of other machines, I love LED. I use a lot of LED in the clinic. If you’ve got a good LED product at home—I know that people have talked very highly of the Dr. Dennis Gross one—doing that at home a couple of times a week is brilliant. If you’ve got acne, and you’ve got an LED mask with blue light in it, I would do it even every day.”
If you want a jawline, it’s all about lymphatic drainage.
“We’re always looking down at our devices. [Try] drainage, because a lot of that [puffiness] is fluid. Some of it is obviously slackening in the skin, but you can just drain out all the lymph nodes with the massaging. Just stroking to pull it out. Always, when you’re applying product, do it towards the jawline so you’re lifting all the time.”
Get a facial once a month.
“For maintenance, go once a month. If somebody comes and they’ve got a specific skin issue, like acne or pigmentation, we might see them once a week for a while, until we get skin into much more of a balance. If you’re somebody who’s got no particular issues with your skin, but you want to maintain it, you want that glow to the skin, then once a month is usually enough.”
During pregnancy, you don’t need to change your skincare too much.
“I don’t think you should change too much during it. It depends what happens with the skin. Some people get hormonal imbalance with it, and so they get a lot of breakouts. Then you’ve got to deal with that, but I think, always in a gentle way. Some people don’t get any breakouts, they just get an amazing pregnancy glow, which just stays through the whole pregnancy. So then it’s really about hydration. Using things like Vitamin C is great to control pigmentation and to keep the skin really radiant.
I think it depends on the person, and what is going on during their pregnancy, because people respond so differently. But I think if you’re one of the lucky ones that just looks great throughout, it’s about good facials, massage, using good skincare, and not changing things too much.”
Before a big event, like a wedding, plan your skin regimen for six months ahead—not just the week of.
“If you have a plan for a wedding, and you’ve got six months to do that, we can deal with things in stages, rather than thinking, “Oh my God, we’ve got to do everything in one, and you’ve got to look fabulous.” It gives you a chance to actually strengthen up the skin, then we get into some more stronger peels, to really resurface, smooth, tighten.
We’ll work on strengthening the skin with oils, particular ingredients and products, and supplementation. I work a lot with omega oils, topically and internally. I’ll have them take fish oil, flax oil, or omega oil. If their skin is quite prone to breakouts, we’ll maybe introduce zinc and B vitamins. Then we start to work on what’s happening on the surface of the skin. We use lactic, mandelic, and some combined peels with azelaic acid as well. We also have a liquid facial resurfacer, which is a daily at-home micro-peeling.
A couple of months before the wedding, we start to really focus on plumping, brightening, and getting the skin really glowy. It’s good to have a facial the week before, or 10 days before the wedding, and then the day before. Ten days before, we can still do another micro-peel.
The day before, we usually do a lot of massage, oils, the vitamin C kit, and the Radiance Recharge System. Then that’s all there for the next day. Quite often, I’ll get people on the wedding day to put the 3D Moisture Infusion mask on, which is a sheet mask with tons of hyaluronic acid, before makeup.”