“I don’t really encounter arrogance from my customers, there’s usually a degree of nude-faced embarrassment, if anything” Linda Meredith told me when I probed her about her clientele. Well, you can’t blame me – Linda has treated pretty much all the instantly-recognisable faces from round the globe, Madonna, Gwyneth and royalty amongst them. Having spent an hour in her hands, I understand why those with faces in need of care visit her (and am just a little delighted to hear that most A-listers don’t love being without their make-up, too).
If clients were displaying a touch of the uppity, I think a dose of Linda would check their attitude quite quickly – she is equal parts skincare specialist and sensible, self-made business woman full of quiet confidence and determination.
Having started at Estee Lauder and opened her own business after working as a make-up teacher, Meredith has a wealth of experience behind her, to which her complexion attests. She revealed, as we wee discussing the effects of pollution and city life on the skin, that she always wears foundation to protect her face, her belief being that it is in part to thank for her youthful skin as it provides a barrier from damage. She quickly dismissed the faulty belief that it will clog pores: “that’s only if you leave it on long enough for it to break down and absorb and, if you haven’t cleansed by that point, you will suffer from blockages anyway.”
This is how Linda works – she doesn’t dissimulate and is more than happy to draw on her own experiences to advise – within half an hour she realised my skin is showing signs of stress common to worriers and told me it will never be perfect unless I learn to relax before showing me how to rub my solar plexus anticlockwise to relax it before I eat.
More advice followed: “don’t ever mix brands of moisturisers. For masks, that’s fine, but with moisturisers the ingredients will be different and your skin won’t absorb them in the same way. Aqua should always be the first ingredient of anything you put on your skin. We live in a different generation now from our parents where our environment, lifestyle, medication and processed food all contribute to dehydration. Most of the women I see have dry and dehydrated skin – it is singlehandedly the biggest problem with skin nowadays. It feels tight, and needs moisture to plump and soften it – feed it from the outside as you would your body from the inside using a water-based product and, if it absorbs, do not be frightened to apply more product.”
I asked her about British women’s skin and she fired back: “English women were not taught by their mothers and grandmothers to take care of their skin in the way other nationalities are – they still think a facial is a treat or pamper, but times have changed and it isn’t enough to rely on the moisture from living on an island. People always make excuses about not having time, but really need to make time.” How can a busy working woman best look after their skin at home? “Remove your make-up the moment you get home in the evening and apply your creams then so that you have the evening for them to absorb and the scope to apply more.”
I took home some of her range (sleek tubes filled with natural products developed by Linda) and am now a devotee to the Gel Cleanser (no dryness after even two washes) and Enzyme Peel (the smell of it and the texture of my skin post-treatment is too good). Linda’s done good.