If healthy, glowing skin is your goal, Yvonne Martin’s clinic should be in your contacts. One of the UK’s leading facialists, and a notable expert within the beauty industry, Yvonne’s boutique, in the heart of Little Venice, London (pictured above right; Yvonne left), regularly appears in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Her holistic approach to skincare, encompassing food, wellbeing and a healthy lifestyle – as opposed to a purely product-led approach – has attracted a roster of celebrity clients who put their trust in her famous facial-massage techniques.
How did you become a facialist?
I have been in the beauty and wellbeing business since I was 17 years old, and have experienced all aspects of the industry. When I got my salon, 15 years ago, we initially offered a varied menu of treatments, but I then decided to focus on bespoke facials and skincare. I did a lot of research, going to high-end spas and clinics, mainly in London, Europe and the States. I was really struggling to find effective old-school facials that were both thorough and gave results. I received great training at my college from tutors who had worked with the likes of Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein back in their heyday. They were so professional, and showed me amazing massage techniques, plus how to perform a good facial that works. Over the years, I’ve updated and perfected my method from simply experimenting and being inspired by my other training along the way, as well as the various places I’ve worked.
Can you explain the philosophy behind your clinic and your approach to wellbeing?
I truly believe in the inside/outside approach. I’ve been saying for quite some years that organic ‘whole food’ and exercise are absolutely essential to good skin. In the past, many people in the past didn’t understand my views, or couldn’t comprehend the idea behind it. Their thinking was glowing skin could only be achieved by applying topical skin products; while those who didn’t invest in skincare believed it was simply down to genetics and nature should just take its course. However, genetics only plays a small part.
‘Double cleansing’ has become a bit of buzz phrase. What does it actually mean and why is it important?
Oh, that’s my number-one skincare tip. I’ve always advocated the double-cleanse approach to my clients. When I was working with L’Oréal as its ambassador for one of their skincare brands, I was banging on about it constantly to the journalists and anyone who would listen.
I have the full cleansing method at my clinic. Always cleanse the neck and face. The first cleanse is to remove the surface pollution and make-up (apply cleanser and massage for a few seconds, then remove with a warm cloth), the second cleanse is to go deeper to the point where you massage the cleansing milk thoroughly into the skin, until it’s completely absorbed. Then, add warm water to emulsify – this will take around two to three minutes. Afterwards, use a clean, warm cloth to remove product.
You are renowned for your facial-massage technique. Can you share some tips for trying it at home?
I suggest looking at some good facial-massage videos for ideas. It’s not easy to apply the method from illustrations in a book if you’re not a massage therapist. Alternatively, I can suggest you visit my clinic for a facial, or book in to learn some homeware facial-massage techniques. I’m actually bringing out a short video for people who’d rather learn from home.
What are the three things every woman should do for her skin each day?
1) Double cleanse thoroughly.
2) Use a bespoke, blended organic oil or serum at night (for both neck and face).
3) Layer your products (serums and creams) at the start of the day.
What are your favourite ‘skin foods’ to help promote healthier skin?
My own brand of bespoke face oils, which contain organic essential ingredients. Plus, taking high-quality supplements such as blue-green algae.
Of all your career achievements to date, which are you most proud of?
I’ve had many challenges on the way, and learnt some valuable lessons. But I think running my own facial clinic was the biggest one; it took a long time to get off the ground due to the fact it was situated in a hidden side street. However, it eventually became known as a ‘hidden gem’, so it was all worthwhile.
Can you share the most valuable life lessons you’ve learnt so far?
Oh, my goodness! I’m still learning daily.
My essential life skill that I never doubt is I strongly believe in listening to your instinct. It takes training for some – it’s a very subtle voice. We are constantly bombarded with so much noise and distraction. Take 10 minutes, or more, of quiet time to listen daily. I also believe in visualising white light.
At The White Company, home is at the heart of everything that we do – a true sanctuary. What does home mean to you?
Home means family and the school friends I grew up with in Scotland. But life changes and develops. Home can be an environment where you feel totally spiritually at one.
For us at The White Company, ‘white space’ represents calm. What is your white space?
Being by the clear, blue sea or in the wilderness of Scotland (preferably during Spring or Summer). I especially love sitting in beautiful old trees.
Who, or what, is your greatest passion in life?
I am obsessed with competitive (ProAm) ballroom dancing. I dance with a professional, and do all five dances: waltz, quick step, Viennese waltz, tango and foxtrot. It’s so much fun travelling to different countries and dancing in great venues. I have incredible costumes with a serious amount of crystal stones glued on, plus a ‘wow’ hairdo and tons of make-up. It’s escapism, but the training is very tough, and it has opened me up as a person. It’s the best art form combined with fitness, ever.
5 questions, 5 minutes
1. Favourite Summer reads? I like to escape, so I love the old classics, like the Brontë sisters. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and many books on wellbeing – especially food related – are always on my list.
2. Top three Summer songs?
- Moving On Up – Curtis Mayfield
- Summer Breeze – The Isley Brothers
- Shame – Evelyn Champagne King
3. City break or beach escape? I like a bit of both. One of my best trips ever was travelling in South Africa, doing the scenic Garden Route. The food is amazing in Cape Town and the beaches are spectacular. It ended with a few wonderful days at a luxury safari lodge with a spa.
4. Bath or shower? An aromatic bath – lovely and hot. I always skin brush before.
5. Early rise or lazy lie-in? It depends where I am and the season. I’m not great with early starts in Winter. I do get up early to go to pilates, or the gym, but it’s not easy for me. I love to get up early when I’m on holiday, especially to enjoy a hearty breakfast alfresco.
Yvonne’s White edit
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For more information on Yvonne Martin’s clinic, visit her website.