A Celebrity Esthetician on the Powerful Impact of a French Skincare Routine

Photographs by Craig McDean. Styled by Edward Enninful. Hair by Orlando Pita for Orlando Pita Play; Makeup by Peter Philips for Dior; Manicures by Michelle Saunders for Essie at Forward Artists. Set design by Piers Hanmer.

Celebrity esthetician Angela Caglia spent years training as a facialist in France, but is now based in the US, working with clients like supermodel Helena Christensen and actress Minnie Driver in New York and Los Angeles. Here, Caglia opens up about the differences in the way her clients approach skincare in each city, her tips for the best products, and more.

With your extensive training in France, what unique techniques do you bring to your facials in the U.S.?

My French skincare training is very influential in my facial practice. It’s how I learned 23 years ago. The French training begins with a thorough assessment of the skin, including in-depth questioning regarding lifestyle-related issues, i.e, stress levels, skin care routines, diet, medications, and exercise. I was trained and believe in the ART OF THE FACIAL, as I like to call it. It’s about effective and relaxing European massage techniques, using aromatherapy and giving the most soothing, relaxing facial possible, a multi-sensorial experience. My philosophy includes centering the client with crystals, the tone of my voice, and the art of the conversation. It's my client's hour not mine. I’m hyper-vigilant about their verbal and nonverbal cues during their treatment. I explain each step in a soothing tone of voice so they know exactly what’s going on. My clients also expect visible results so I include the latest skincare technology thereby combining the best of Old World and modern.

What are the main differences you see between French facial techniques and U.S. techniques?

The French facial techniques include more massage and touch, a more holistic approach, after all, the French pioneered the facial. In contrast, U.S. facials are quicker and medically focused, i.e, with brighter lights, plastic gloves, more machines, overall less ambiance. I incorporate both. I sneak in the machines after my clients are drifting off. The goal is to always have them on the brink of sleep with the lighting, aromas, sounds and touch. They leave with my signature “Hollywood Glow,” but also walk away renewed, at peace, and very happy.

What are the biggest misconceptions people have about getting facials?

The biggest misconception is that they will break out after. There are no new pimples after my facials. It’s about using the right products on the right skin types and your choices in the treatment room. I do a lot of mixing in my back bar, if needed. There are ways to cause inflammation and ways to calm inflammation, it’s my job to always be on top of what works best for each of my clients.

Another misconception is that you will be red after a facial and can't go out in public afterwards. That’s not the case with my facials. I was trained over 23 years ago by my French para-medical esthetician mentor Chantal Tourtin of Yonka Paris on how to do extractions the “French Way,” a unique and gentle process whereby the client is more comfortable during the process and less red.

What differences do you see between your clients in New York and L.A.?

My New York clientele is similar to my European clientele in terms of skin. They tend to wear less makeup and have a more dedicated, but simple skin care routine. Some of my L.A. clients are more challenging because their workouts are more extreme, like hot yoga, which can wreak havoc on our skin if you are not caring for it immediately after the class. Also, some sunscreens clog more than others. I recommend using zinc oxide-infused sunscreens because they calm inflammation.

What facial treatments do you recommend for clients? How do you incorporate modern techniques into your treatment?

The absolute first thing I do with a client is ask them what their concerns are with their skin. I then tailor the facial to that. I specialize in lifting, tightening and retexturing treatments. I incorporate the best in anti-aging technology like RF (radio frequency), LED light, Micro current, and a new heat light therapy machine I have that stimulates collagen synthesis.

How often do you recommend your clients facials?

Some of my clients come in every two weeks and we mix it up. I wish everyone could come in that often, but it's not realistic for many. I recommend at least once a month so we can keep up the results.

What are your best at home tips to help keep skin healthy in between appointments?

I recommend using my La Vie en Rose Face Roller along with my own eco-luxe skincare line, so you can do your own at home facial type treatments in between appointments.

What ingredients do you like to work with on the skin?

I like to work with Meadowfoam Seed Oil. It’s the hero ingredient of my skincare line and similar in structure to our own sebum so it penetrates beautifully and doesn’t cause acne; rather, it calms inflammation and gives an immediate result and glow.

What are your best skincare tips?

Take your make-up off every night before sleep. Do it before you get too tired or you may be tempted to skip the step. Less is more, don’t use too many products. Sleep is very important for a bright, healthy complexion and the best time to regenerate with a good serum or oil. Get monthly facials so you have an expert seeing the changes in your skin and helping you with treatments and the right products. Read the ingredients of the products you are using. I would stay away from parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, silicones, artificial coloring or fragrance. Also, in choosing a natural line, be cautious of ones with too many essential oils, which may smell heavenly (perfume like), but may also cause redness or irritation.