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Flannels blog article

The OG queen of glow, Kate Somerville has gone from sought-after LA esthetician to the mastermind behind a global skincare brand. The aim? To deliver the same incredible results from her clinic straight to your home.

Bringing years of experience, knowledge and expertise, her products have been carefully created to hit common skincare complaints. Expect everything from peptide-infused moisturisers to cleansers ft. goats’ milk, with products working to tackle acne, signs of ageing and stressed-out skin.

To celebrate the launch of Kate Somerville at FLANNELS, we sat down to talk about her beauty beginnings, how to get that elusive glow we’re all chasing and what’s going to be big for 2022.

Where did your beauty journey begin?

I had eczema as a kid. It’s really dry and red and super painful, and as a kid, it’s kind of embarrassing... So, at an early age, I understood, first off, what it felt like to be uncomfortable in my own skin. We lived on a farm, and my mom one day put goats’ milk in my bath. I’d been going to dermatologists, but they just continued to give me cortisone, and that’s not good for a kid. So, it’s weird how early in my life I started experimenting with different things on my skin and noticed that products and different ingredients and natural products actually made a difference.

What made you first see it as a career?

I went to school in California for interior design but moved to a small town on the coast and just really needed to figure out what I wanted to do with my career. I was waitressing three jobs, and I had a friend that was a dermatologist, and she was like: ‘you should become an esthetician and work in a doctor’s office’. A lot of her nurses were doing facials and peels, and it started to become a thing. I went back to school, and I put a business plan together and went to every doctor in town. And the good thing is, I kind of had my pick, they thought it was a great idea, and I ended up with a plastic surgeon and a dermatologist and I just learned about medical skincare. Then, about three years into my career, lasers came on the scene, and I ended up marrying somebody that’s from Hollywood. We moved back with his dad in Hollywood and that’s when I opened Kate Sommerville on Melrose Place. Things just really skyrocketed from there. I was kind of the first to ever go out on my own as an esthetician and bring the medical and the aesthetic world together. So, when I opened the clinic in 2004, I was one of the first. I landed in the right spot at the right time.

How has your relationship with beauty changed over the years?

As a teen and having a rash or growing up with acne, or now in my 50s, you know when you age and you look in the mirror and you think, oh you know I’m not proud of that, you typically hide, your spirit hides. And for me, I’ve been able to, not only unlock my own puzzle but unlock a lot of people’s puzzles. To give them normalcy and give them the baseline that so many of us have - that normal, great skin. If you haven’t experienced something like that you may not know, but it can be debilitating. My best friend in college had cystic acne, and there were times when we were going to go out to a club or go out to a party and she wouldn’t come. And we’d be like, ‘it’s okay, but she just didn’t feel comfortable and confident. It can really wear on people’s psyche, so for me, I’m just so grateful that I can unlock and solve so many people’s skincare issues, and even older women that look in the mirror and they’re like, ‘I don’t like what’s happening’, and I can help give them the glow back or turn back the clock a little, or even help skin pigmentation. To give them that confidence to be like ‘yeah, I’m me again.’

To feel confident in who you are, in your authentic self. That to me is all an attitude… So, beauty is attitude.

What does beauty mean to you?

To feel confident in who you are, in your authentic self. That to me is all an attitude… It’s all about how they [other women] present themselves, so you watch those women that you know feel good, or men, and you can just tell they’re attracted to it. So, beauty is attitude.

You’re the queen of glow and right now we’re all obsessed with getting that lit-from-within skin. Where do we start with your products?

I have a philosophy and it’s [called] ‘five daily dos’. Three of those are what give you the glow. So, the ‘five daily dos’ start with a great cleanser for your face. Number two would be a wonderful exfoliator, physical and chemical, so that would be Exfolikate. The third step would be to hydrate, so pumping the skin full of hyaluronic acid, and you can do that through serums. We have something called Dermalquench, that’s the number one treatment in the clinic and we have a home version of it. Number four would be moisturisation, so locking and sealing with lipids. And then number five would be protection. But the three that are going to get you to glow, are exfoliation, hydration and sealing it in with a moisturiser. You can really customise your regime with ingredients, especially within those three. So, hyaluronic acid, exfoliation would be in there, but your moisturiser could have vitamin C or retinol or peptides. So, that’s where you get to customise for your skin.

How can we best tackle dull, dry skin during a UK winter?

What I do is I up my exfoliation because dead layers of skin are dry skin. I do Exfolikate twice a week. And then, sometimes I’ll do our Liquid Exfoliate at night because it’s a little gentler. Those of you in the UK have a little more sensitive skin than we do, at least in California I think, because we get so much sun here, so our Liquid Exfolikate is something that will really unlock dry skin for you. Because if you think about it, dry skin is just dead layers of skin built up. So, I recommend that at least three times a week. And then deep hydration. We have a Firming Serum that has a ton of hyaluronic acid, but it also has ceramides in, and ceramides kind of match your skin - it’s like putting a liquid band-aid on. It’s like a liquid skin barrier. And then a great moisturiser. My favourite moisturiser is Peptide K8. Or, if you’re really dry and you want anti-ageing, our Repair Cream as well [Kateceuticals line]. This is what I’ve been doing in really dry climates: I do my Exfolikate at least twice a week, and then I do my Dermalquench, which is like a liquid, hyaluronic acid, and I do that morning and night.

And then I do our Peptide K8and I finish it off with - and this is a huge product for the UK, I think this would probably be our biggest launch with you guys- Delikate. It is one of my most amazing recovery creams. I use it on a daily basis now, so I’m layering that last, to give this protective shield. I made it for people that were either doing a peel or a laser and right after, to heal, to protect, to soothe. It has ceramides, but it has this really special peptide that helps with inflammation. It takes redness down and it gives you this protective layer. It feels really heavy when you put your finger in the jar but when you apply it, it really goes in, and it doesn’t feel thick. It’s strange because a lot of my clients, particularly my acne clients, have been gravitating towards it and I was like ‘oh that’s too heavy for you', but they weren’t breaking out from it. They felt like it gave hydration and moisturisation, and it also took the redness out of their acne. So, it’s actually become this cult following, out of Kate Sommerville The Clinic for sure, but with acne clients, which was very surprising to me, to be honest with you.

We don’t like to pick favourites but… which is the key product in your line?

I tell my clients when they first come in, ‘try Exfolicate’ because it’s so transformative, in two minutes, but I think for everybody in the UK, I would say our Peptide K8 or our Delikate Moisturiser. Another favourite in the UK, I think it’s our bestseller in the UK, is our Goat’s Milk Moisturiser. That was one of the first products I created because my mom put goats’ milk in my bath, and it just transformed my skin. For sensitive skin, I would say Peptide K8, and then if I’m younger and I have great skin, I’d say Delikate and Exfolikate.

The Goat Milk Moisturiser has become something of a cult product on Instagram…

They love that product. The reason why it’s so popular, and a lot of men like this product too, is it’s fragrance-free, and it’s a lighter moisturiser but it’s super moisturising. It’s a funny feeling, when you pump it, it feels almost like a heavier lotion, and then when you apply it, you just get such a deep moisturisation. But what I think people are really gravitating towards, is it has natural lactose, so you’re getting a tiny bit of exfoliation when you put it on but it also calms the skin. So, you get this smoothness and this light, resurfacing when you’re using it, and your skin gets so soft after you use it for a couple of weeks.

What’s the biggest mistake you see people make with their skincare?

I would say either overusing, I see that a lot. Or if they have a big event, they try something new right before it and their skin erupts.

it's the five-daily dos. If you do the five-daily dos, I’m telling you, you will have beautiful skin... 


What’s the most important thing we can all do for our skin?

It’s really five things: the five-daily dos. If you do the five-daily dos, I’m telling you, you will have beautiful skin... But I would say, if I only had one thing to do, it would be, moisturise properly. Really seal in and moisturise, because that hydration and moisturisation, that’s going to keep your skin looking youthful for a long time.

What do you think will be the biggest skincare trends of 2022?

Retinols are kind of the hot new thing right now and you’re seeing more and more brands come up with different retinol mixtures. We were the first and still, as far as I know, the only one that has formulated a way to do vitamin C and retinol together. Those two together are so transformative. Vitamin C helps with elasticity, it helps with clarity, it helps with evening out skin tone. Retinol is kind of the be-all and end-all. It helps with collagen production, it helps with resurfacing, it helps with skin structure. But when you put them together… We have something called Retinol Vitamin C Moisturiser and when I’m really consistent with that, people are like, ‘what did you do?’ I use it at night, as my night repair cream.

Finally, what’s your desert island beauty product?

Peptide K8. If someone was like, you’re on an island, so you have sand, so you can exfoliate, I would need my Peptide K8. It’s kept my skin, now at 50… I should look a lot older than I do, and I really feel like using those peptides for so long has kept my skin in really good shape. And I don’t have many wrinkles. I’m definitely losing elasticity, but the wrinkle part, I don’t have, and I, I’ve been really consistent with peptides, and Peptide K8. I’ve used it for over 10 years now. It’s so gentle too, so it’s this anti-ager, but it’s not going to irritate, like vitamin C or retinol or that kind of thing. I feel like it’s just fed my skin.