The man who makes the Queen’s skin glow

He’s the fa­cial­ist midlife stars swear by. Now he’s crown­ing his ca­reer with a re­gal new role

Scottish Daily Mail - - Inspire - by Liz Hog­gard

Did you watch TV drama The Crown last night? No doubt, you mar­velled at the act­ing and the ex­quis­ite cos­tumes and hair­styles as Olivia Col­man, 45, and He­lena Bon­ham Carter, 53, took over the roles of El­iz­a­beth ii and Princess Mar­garet re­spec­tively.

What you may not have seen was the equally skil­ful work that went into mak­ing the ac­tresses’ skin ap­pear at least a decade younger than their real ages. After all, when the se­ries starts in 1964, the royal sis­ters are in their mid-to-late-30s and fa­mously porce­lain of com­plex­ion.

How did Col­man and Bon­ham Carter turn back the clock so ef­fec­tively?

En­ter the flam­boy­antly named Lord Gavin McLeod-Valen­tine, di­rec­tor of stu­dio ser­vices for skin­care brand in­traceu­ti­cals and fa­cial­ist to the A-list, who joined the team behind the se­ries weeks before film­ing be­gan. (Yes, he re­ally is a Lord; his father is a Mar­quess and he grew up in Aberdeen­shire.)

Lord Gavin is known in the busi­ness as the saviour of women of a cer­tain age — clients in­clude Ju­lianne Moore, Su­san Saran­don and Lau­ren Hut­ton — and The Crown’s pro­duc­ers brought him in spe­cially to de­sign a treat­ment package for their two lead­ing ladies.

His se­cret weapon is the in­traceu­ti­cals Oxy­gen Fa­cial, where a noz­zle-like de­vice de­liv­ers a very pure form of oxy­gen to ‘blow’ ul­tra lightweigh­t par­ti­cles of skin­plump­ing hyaluronic acid deep into the der­mis. ‘This stacks the skin with hydration, leav­ing it ra­di­ant, sup­ple and re­ju­ve­nated,’ says Lord Gavin.

in­deed, hydration is the fun­da­men­tal key to anti-age­ing skin­care, he ar­gues. ‘You can fill, fry or freeze the face, but if you don’t have hydration in your skin, you’re not go­ing to look younger.’

it was on Bon­ham Carter’s rec­om­men­da­tion that he joined The Crown. ‘in 2018, i went to He­lena’s be­guil­ing lit­tle cot­tage to give her a fa­cial before the Baf­tas. And i no­ticed around the house a plethora of books about Princess Mar­garet.’

He told her about meet­ing Princess Mar­garet sev­eral times as a teenager when he worked at high-end jew­ellers Gar­rard in Lon­don. ‘i told her that at first i mis­took the Princess for El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor, and that she had been in­cred­i­bly grand but also naughty and rule-break­ing.’

Lord Gavin and He­lena hit it off and worked on other events. Then, out of the blue, he got a call from The Crown’s head of hair and make-up, Cate Hall, re­quest­ing his ser­vices.

His treat­ments were tai­lored pre­cisely to each ac­tress. Before film­ing be­gan, he gave Col­man the pep­tide-packed in­traceu­ti­cals serum re­touch Lift to give her ‘a more ar­tic­u­lated eye­brow’, plus the Col­la­gen + Booster serum.

‘in real life, Olivia’s a tiny, itty-bitty skinny girl,’ says Lord Gavin. ‘She’s slightly de­pleted in her fat pads be­cause she’s so svelte, so to give a youth­ful im­pres­sion you want to puff that face up to get her cheruby.’

He re­minds me that peo­ple don’t nec­es­sar­ily know what the Queen looked like as a very much younger woman, which made it eas­ier for ac­tress Claire Foy, who played her in the Net­flix show’s sea­sons one and two.

‘But Olivia is play­ing a Queen that the ma­jor­ity of us will recog­nise, so there was a lot of pres­sure to get it right.’

For He­lena, ‘be­cause she tends to go grey when she gets tired’, he used the Booster An­tiOx­i­dant prod­uct, which is rich in fruit ex­tracts and vi­ta­min C and ‘gives vi­tal­ity to the skin’.

‘it’s all about soft­en­ing, blur­ring, hy­drat­ing the skin: that ul­ti­mately cre­ates the big­gest change on cam­era,’ he says. ‘When you have an ac­tress of a cer­tain age who is try­ing to give all her emo­tional re­sources to a role, but in her mind she’s think­ing: “Where’s the light? Where’s the cam­era?”, she’s dis­tracted.

‘But when you re­move the fear and set them free, you get th­ese in­cred­i­ble act­ing per­for­mances.’

Th­ese days ac­tresses are so scru­ti­nised, he says — and the ‘misog­y­nis­tic dou­ble stan­dard’ of ex­pect­ing women to look age­less, while judg­ing them for get­ting cos­metic work done, drives him up the wall.

Movie stars don’t have the down­time to look their best, he ar­gues, and at the same time A-lis­ters are mov­ing away from the ‘done’ look in­volv­ing fillers and Bo­tox, pre­fer­ring some­thing less in­va­sive in­stead.

‘They are trav­el­ling like dogs. When i get to them, they need to look like they can have a cam­era close to their face. i spend a lot of time re­mov­ing fa­tigue from their skin.’ He tells the story of be­ing in a lift with a very fa­mous client, rid­ing up to the pent­house, and a fel­low pas­sen­ger said: ‘Aren’t you so-and-so? What hap­pened? You look like s**t!’

‘The over­whelm­ing pres­sure th­ese clients feel to look oth­er­worldly-per­fect is huge. So i have to ground them, and also am­plify their en­ergy, so they can be­come who the public ex­pects them to be.’

GAVIN grew up in ‘a very tra­di­tional fam­ily’. His twin brother went into bank­ing, but he was ‘the black sheep’ and ended up work­ing with the great fash­ion ec­cen­tric is­abella Blow, and later for var­i­ous beauty houses.

He also suf­fered from ter­ri­ble acne and tried ev­ery bru­tal skin­strip­ping treat­ment un­til Madonna’s for­mer make-up artist, Gina Brooke, gave him in­traceu­ti­cals prod­ucts. (Madonna was an early adopter of the oxy­gen fa­cial). A month later his skin was clear. Gavin be­came an evan­ge­list for the brand and per­suaded the CEO to give him a job. His first as­sign­ment was to give ac­tress

Halle Berry a fa­cial before her first Met Gala in New York. ‘She was in­cred­i­bly charm­ing and pretty but after months of film­ing her skin was grey and flat.’ He fo­cused on ‘re-ar­tic­u­lat­ing the shape of her cheeks and bring­ing the brow up so it wasn’t so heavy’ — and his sig­na­ture fa­cial was born.

You can see why celebs love him. Part ther­a­pist, part aes­theti­cian, he’s funny and whips­mart. But it’s not just A-lis­ters who can ac­cess his tal­ents.

in­spired by the skin­care for­mu­la­tions he was us­ing on The Crown, in­traceu­ti­cals has cre­ated the re­touch fa­cial for Epil­ium & Skin sa­lons in the UK (£75,

epil­ium.co.uk). it com­bines serums made of mi­cro-weights of hyaluronic acid and pep­tides with vig­or­ous rhyth­mic mas­sage.

He learned the lat­ter tech­nique from an 87-year-old Ja­panese woman who gave mas­sages to geishas ‘to make their faces more con­toured for a Western client’.

dear reader, i tried it and nearly fell off the treat­ment bed in pain. But the next day i looked amaz­ing.

Re­ju­ve­nated: Olivia Col­man as the Queen and celebrity favourite Lord Gavin

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