In Conversation With Ivan Pol of The Beauty Sandwich, the Met Gala’s Secret Skincare Weapon

Ivan Pol in a navy blazer, white shirt and grey trousers leaning against a wall
Courtesy of Ivan Pol

For any star walking the red carpet at last night’s Met Gala, it’s fair to say the preparation for fashion’s most glamours night began days, weeks, and even months ago. You’d be hard pressed to find the word “sandwich” having any place during this intense prep period—that is, unless you’re one of the fortunate individuals who managed to get the famed Beauty Sandwich facial from aesthetician and skin king Ivan Pol. There is no other facial that has been requested more by Hollywood A-listers and fashion elite, hands down. The non-invasive, radio frequency-based treatment is unique in that it gives skin a perfectly sculpted, healthy appearance without any extracting, peeling or poking. Pol’s schedule is often unrelenting—and understandably, more so this week than the rest of the year—but he still worked around the clock with many of last night’s attendees, including Carey Mulligan, Zoë Kravitz, Karlie Kloss, and Tessa Thompson. Pol did manage to take some time out to chat with W about all of the personalization involved in administering his specialized facials, along with the elements that go into maintaining skin at its very best level.

Do you have a secret when it comes to calming your celebrity clients’ nerves before their big fashion moment?

I start every treatment with an intention and with a mantra: love, beauty, energy. This sets the vibe for a thoughtful and effective experience. And I play music—my current current playlist is a mix of Cuban boleros, Jane Birkin, Van Morrison, and Linda Ronstadt.

You’ve said that you tailor The Beauty Sandwich method according to each face and its individual needs. How did you individualize The Beauty Sandwich technique on faces like Zoë Kravitz’s or Tessa Thompson’s?

I would say sculpted skin, not glowing skin, is the goal. My method doesn’t change depending on the time of day. Remember, Beauty Sandwich is not a traditional facial with extractions or masks, etc. it’s a high-tech skincare method I developed to enhance facial features, tighten the skin and help with wrinkle reduction. The Beauty Sandwich has a proprietary recipe which makes it so effective. I will change the recipe depending on what the client wants to focus on. Since my method is about elevation as opposed to augmentation, you can focus on two or three facial features. For example, Karlie’s makeup artist, Hung Vanngo, wanted an elevated and tight look to her skin—a “snatched” face to complement his makeup inspiration, with a focus on the elevation of the corners of her eyes.

Selfie courtesy of Ivan Pol at The Peninsula NYC.

What is your go-to method before an event if someone is suffering with an acne breakout?

I don’t do extractions or focus on breakouts. Clients come to me for a non-invasive lift and facial sculpting using advanced radio frequency, layered like a sandwich. Still, there have been a few stress breakouts for this Met Gala. I have been very fortunate to work with Barbara Sturm’s top facialist team, which has been on hand to take care of any of those little friends wanting to crash the party. What made this setup unique is that we created our own Sturm Sandwich. They would prime the sandwich, then I would bake it, and then Sturm Dressing was applied for the glow.

Is there anything you advise your clients to avoid a week or two before a big event?

Yes, avoid excessive sun exposure because it dehydrates the skin, avoid any invasive or harsh treatments that can weaken the barrier of the skin, and don’t experiment with any new skincare products.

Exhaustion plays a big role in skin quality. How do you revive tired eyes before an event?

This is the main reason clients come to me—to pop up their skin when it looks exhausted. So much of the skin has to do with what we eat, so I highly recommend an alkaline diet to reduce acid in the body, which can rob the skin of its glow. Hydration is key! I recommend three to four liters of water daily (glass bottles only—not plastic!). And if possible, using a hyperbaric chamber. Also, start showering with cool or cold water. Hot water really dehydrates the skin and is not good for it, especially before an event.

Is there a product you find to be a miracle for tired skin?

Tired skin lacks water or hydration. To quench that thirst, I highly recommend Dr. Barbara Sturm’s hyaluronic serum. It has five different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid to pump the skin with water. However, just water isn’t enough. You must use a cream afterward, to lock the water in—try Dr. Barbara Sturm’s super anti-aging cream. This product is a must!

What tips do you have for skin during a long night such as the Met Gala—where makeup is on for hours on end and there’s too much wine or champagne involved?

Make sure you hydrate or use a beauty cocktail IV infusion with Glutathione to help combat skin fatigue and dehydration.

What is your preferred method for makeup removal at the end of a long night? Are you a fan of cream cleansers, or balms or you prefer double cleansing?

I’m a big fan of gentle cleansing. I really don’t like harsh cleansers or cleansers that have too much alkaline. I love to combine cleansing with micellar water. I love a very gentle pH-balanced toner which is why I love Barbara Sturm’s toner so much, because it has beta-glucan.

Do you recommend clients sleep with a humidifier at night for their skin?

I do not. The best investment for your skin is the most underrated investment: sleep. More importantly, beauty sleep or skin sleep, which is why choosing an all-natural, non-toxic mattress is so important. My mattress of choice is Hastens, of course. I am lucky enough to have Hastens mattresses for the beds in my spa. During Met Gala prep, all of my clients enjoyed their Beauty Sandwich on a luxurious $55,000 Hastens mattress which is the crème de la crème to me. It is an investment for your beauty and skin. People ask me why I look so good and yes, it’s Beauty Sandwich, but a lot of it is the mattress. I’ve been sleeping on these mattresses for over six years and they have been a game-changer for me.

Do you have a favorite look from Met Galas of years past?

I loved Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s vintage Chanel looks for Camp: Notes on Fashion.