Courtesy of Melanie Grant
Melanie Grant will soon become a beauty name that will need no introduction. But in the US a newcomer’s first impression of the Australia-based esthetician who treats the likes of Victoria Beckham, Karolina Kurkvova, and influencer Nicole Warne, involves a mirror-wrapped staircase up to her new second floor salon on Melrose Place in Los Angeles. The similarity to the famous mirrored staircase of Coco Chanel’s apartment at 31 rue Cambon in Paris is unmistakable, especially as you encounter the vintage Chanel campaigns hanging as artwork or the pile of Chanel bath products in the in-salon bathtub. After many years as Chanel Australia’s facialist, Grant has signed to make it official with Chanel US as of this month.
An hour and a half experiencing Grant’s signature microdermabrasion, ultrasound, and light therapy treatments leaves no question as to why the iconic beauty brand tapped her. Grant’s technique of using multiple technologies (she uses even more advanced machinery at her salons in Melbourne and Sydney—she previously worked in the offices of plastic surgeons in Australia) along with very firm massage, leaves her A-listers completely sculpted and glowing. Grant, whose own skin is so clear and bright she looks like she’s wearing foundation when she’s not, started to grow her international fan base when her treatments spread by word of mouth at Paris fashion week four years ago. Today, she now has more than 55 thousand followers on Instagram and four international studios, and she is currently on the hunt for her New York location. We caught up with the Grant in Los Angeles last week during the celebration of another new Aussie Chanel hire, Margot Robbie for Gabrielle Chanel Essence Eau de Pafrum, and asked the esthetician for her skin care secrets including her three-part cleansing routine she does in her night routine.
What is your airplane beauty routine?
As I get on the plane I cleanse with micellar water as a little refresh. I’ll always apply an antioxidant serum because the free radicals when you’re in the air are crazy. Then I like to apply an oil—I like the Chanel Huile de Jasmine. I apply it to my face and—I probably shouldn’t do this, but—I put it on my body and my feet and hair as well. Otherwise I arrive like a little crisp. Then I also use a cream mask—you don’t need to sit there with a sheet mask—and you have the time on a plane to massage it in. I also like the Chanel eye patches, I always think they look really pretty and they cover your circles. I mist a lot on the plane, too.
What’s your morning skin routine?
I’m a mom and I travel and I have a hundred things to do in the morning other than my face, so I’m all about multipurpose products. I always cleanse in the morning. In the winter I’ll use a cleansing oil and in the summer I love Bioderma micellar water, I travel with bottles of it. Then I do an antioxidant serum, generally vitamin C because I like the firming and brightening. I press it in, then I always tap around my eyes and do a massage. Always massage upward, don’t drag your skin down. Going upward and toward your lymph nodes is nice and draining. Then I use an eye treatment and a moisturizer with a built-in SPF. I take everything down my decolletage to my bust. For each layer, my tip is to massage each product in until the skin is tacky and the slip goes away, then you’re ready for the next one.
What about night?
I do an oil like the Chanel Sublimage oil to gel cleanser, then I use a lactic acid cleanser. After that, I still finish with a micellar water on a cotton pad because then I know things are perfectly clean. I do a liquid exfoliant twice a week. I like lactic acid because it’s more gentle, but thicker or oiler skin will like a glycolic acid. Salicylic is good if you’re getting blemishes. Then I use a retinoid always. I never use prescription strength retinoid—it’s too harsh and the formulas are outdated. Retinol serums now are slow release and low dose, and you can use it every night without redness and irritation. Then I use a night cream or oil on top or sometimes both. I do a cream mask one or twice a week. I like a nourishing mask on my cheeks and something more purifying on my nose.
What do you do around the eyes?
I like a lightweight eye gel or serum during the day and something more rich at night. I just pat it under the eye with my ring finger and around the bone, you don’t need to put it on the lid as it will travel there on its own. People don’t realize that their crow’s feet are mostly from dehydration. In a facial, I give them a peeling solution and then a beautiful hydration infusion, and the crow’s feet are gone. At home, I would do a gentle liquid exfoliant around the eyes, never a scrub, and that way your eye serum and creams penetrate better for similar results.
How do you treat your gorgeous lips?
I brush them with a toothbrush so they are all swollen and pink, and then I use a lip balm. I like this Australian brand called Lanolips, I have them everywhere, and I also use Chanel Hydra Beauty lip balm and Biologique Recherche BioKiss. I don’t use lip plumpers—the tingly sensation actually makes them dry.
If a client is getting ready for a big event like a wedding, how far in advance should they start getting facials?
If you’re doing corrective things for pigment and broken capillaries, we start at 12 months out because we have to stop with corrective treatments like lasers or chemical peels three months prior. There is always risk and the three month mark gives us time to correct if something is going wrong. You don’t want to do something like Fraxel two weeks in advance—you don’t know if you could take a month to recover. I think if you don’t have anything to correct, it’s nice to do a course of light therapy 6 to 8 weeks out from the event and some monthly facials. And there is so much you can do at home with a purposeful skin care regime and a regular facial every 4 to 6 weeks. Then a final facial 48 hours before the wedding.
Do you see a big difference in women’s skin in different continents?
Pollution is really big in the US and the skin here is really dry. There is a lot of sun damage in LA and Australia. It’s funny because in Paris they have such a different lifestyle, like my clients smoke and which I think is crazy. French women don’t mind having a bit of pigmentation or a few crow’s feet. I love that they don’t overdo the injectables. But in Paris, people are quite stressed, too. It’s a harder lifestyle compared to Sydney where everyone gets off at five and goes to the beach. So you do see the difference.