The In-Tray


Photographed by Lisa Cohen.

Los Angeles-based skin specialist Kate Somerville is the go-to skin saviour amongst Hollywood stars. Want Kate Hudson’s translucent skin? Jessica Alba’s summer glow? Or Demi Moore’s ageless complexion? Then look to Somerville—she’s treated them all.

She’s on speed dial for good reason—she got her license at esthetics school, after suffering from troubled skin as a teen and started out renting space from a dermatologist and plastic surgeon, where she observed cosmetic procedures and was taught how to do peels and injectables. She went on to open her own Melrose based skin care clinic in 2004. Two years later she launched her own clinical-strength line of skin care products, which have become a firm favourite at MECCA with customers sold on the solutions-based skin care.

“I just love having the chance to transform someone’s skin, because it also then transforms other parts of people’s life,” she says. Somerville jetted into Melbourne recently and chatted to MM about her “skinspiration”.

TMM: Tell us how you started out in the skin care industry.
KS: “I rented a space with a dermatologist and a plastic surgeon in San Luis Obispo, California, where I learnt all about peels and face lifts. In 1998 I worked with lasers and found the client’s skin became so sensitive. I was mixing other people’s products together to help the healing process and I thought I need to start formulating my own. I met a pharmacist who helped me create products designed to address skin problems from dehydration to sun-exposure and launched the Kate Somerville line in 2006.”

TMM: You’re on the speed dial of Hollywood’s who’s who. How did you get such a following?
KS: “When I moved to LA I was working with a really prominent plastic surgeon and I opened a clinic for him. He was working with the A-listers and when I opened my own Kate Somerville salon on Melrose Ave in 2004—a handful of celebrities followed me and it just caught on.”

TMM: Is there one product celebrities can’t live without?
KS: “Everyone loves ExfoliKate Cleanser and the Dermal Quench Liquid Lift Advanced Wrinkle Treatment—they are our most sought-after products because they deliver results.”

TMM: Is there an A-lister that you consider has the most beautiful skin?
KS: “There are so many that have beautiful skin, but a standout would be Adele—she has a flawless complexion that just glows.”

TMM: How long does it take to turn a client’s skin condition around?
KS: “I feel that we do miracle work in six weeks and you can get the best results with treatments and skin care in that time.”

TMM: What product would you take to a desert island?
KS: “Deep Tissue Repair Moisturiser — it’s our anti-ageing moisturiser that doesn’t leave your skin greasy and helps with redness. I always go back to this!”

TMM: Is there a big difference in the skin of women in Australia and LA?
KS: “I think it is very similar because of the sun. Sun damage is a big concern, but I feel that Australians are educated earlier in life about it.”

TMM: What are your best tips for winter-proofing skin?
KS: “I like to add an oil into my moisturiser. I use ExfoliKate Gentle Exfoliating Treatment more in winter because I want to turn over the skin without worrying about sun damage. I take my summer damage and get rid of it in winter. I have also just launched the ExfoliKate Glow Moisturiser that guarantees a glow.”

TMM: What quote do you live by?
KS: “It’s a quote from FINDING NEMO—“just keep swimming.” I’ll never forget when I opened my first clinic I was painting the wall and I was frozen with panic. I said to myself ‘just keep going.’ It helps me focus so that no task looks too big.”

TMM: It’s your last supper—what do you eat?
KS: “My mum’s Mexican shredded beef burritos and a Margarita.”

TMM: Three words that sum you up.
KS: “Tenacious, creative and passionate.”

Story by Anita Quade.
Shot on location at Marion Wine Bar, Fitzroy.


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