Amanda Lacey $160
The celebrity-worshipped British esthetician on oils, art, and fielding 435 phone calls.
Name: Amanda Lacey
Known For: Radiant, youthful complexions courtesy of her own oil-based skincare range and masterful massage techniques
Where to Find Her: Chelsea, London
Clients: Emily Blunt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Emily Mortimer
Years in the Industry: 25+
Beauty Essentials: Amanda Lacey Cleansing Pomade, Amanda Lacey Camellia Oil
Mentions in The Violet Files: A Deep Dive in Oils
On September 13, 2000, British newspaper The Telegraph published an account of a particularly exquisite facial said to revitalize the complexion with nothing but oils and massage. The practitioner was a by-referral-only facialist named Amanda Lacey who could be found only through word of mouth. That same day, Lacey installed a phone line at her London atelier, and was promptly deluged with more than 435 calls from aspiring clients.
Sixteen years later, Lacey is still in the highest of demand, with a customer base that includes Emily Blunt, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Emily Mortimer. The secret to her success lies in her unique technique, which eschews lasers and chemical peels in favor of facial massage and the natural oil formulas she makes in close collaboration with her chemist. “I suppose my love of natural things comes from being raised on a farm,” says Lacey, who grew up in the Kentish countryside surrounded by botanicals.
Indeed, becoming an esthetician wasn’t always part of Lacey’s plan. “I went to college to be a nurse,” she says. “But I wanted something more—I loved beautiful things that are a little bit more aesthetic.” So at age 23, she enrolled in London’s Face Place Beauty Therapy School and qualified for the prestigious Swiss CIDESCO exam (think of it as the Harvard School of Business for aesthetics). At Face Place, Lacey learned a massage method that would ultimately become her signature. “There were only six of us in my class, and every week we’d do facials on each other,” she explains. “We would learn one hand movement a week and all about the physiology of the body. It was quite intense.”
After completing her course in 1988, Lacey ran a private atelier for exclusive clients from her London apartment, soon migrating to a larger space to satisfy demand. Beauty editors were a core part of her following, and over coffee, one trusted editrix client advised Lacey to create a brand of her own. “I decided to produce a collection with my massage technique in mind,” she recalls. “When I trained at The Face Place our teacher always instructed us to use oil because it glides seamlessly and doesn’t pull at the skin,” Lacey explains of the inspiration behind one of her first products, the oil-based Cleansing Pomade, which launched in 1998 alongside her Camellia Oil. The range has grown over the years, comprising fragrance and additional skincare essentials like her Miracle Tonic, Revealing Pink Mask, and Oils of Provence.
At the end of the day, precision is paramount for Lacey, whether it’s in the careful balance of ingredients in her formulas or her tidy salon. “Even all my muslin cloths are hand ironed. Attention to detail as a therapist is extremely crucial. That’s what makes you far more exclusive,” she says.
Amanda Lacey on beauty essentials, the importance of sleep, and the goose down pillow she takes on all her travels.
For my manicure I go to The Nail Gallery on Fulham Road in London. They use Gena Healthy Hoof Cream—the same thing they use on the equestrian horses—to strengthen nails. Also, Bastien Gonzalez’s pedicure is beyond. He repositions the pads of your feet and the back of your legs. He’s more of a podiatrist, but he gives a good manicure. So good, in fact, he doesn’t even need to put nail varnish on.
I’ve been going to Gary Burke at John Frieda in London for years. He always highlights and balayages my hair.
My favorite florist is Moyses Stevens. They’re really famous and have worked a lot with the Queen. They’re at the top of their game. But I don’t necessarily use them. I like to go to my mother’s garden, even though I can’t pick her roses or she’ll kill me.
Going to look at art at the Tate Modern. I love it. It allows me to disappear and escape.
One of the best things for anti-aging is sleep. I believe it’s so important to get eight hours every night. But in terms of products, I strongly advocate oils only at night. I would never use them during the day because if you go out in the sun your face will burn. But at night, oils slough away dead cells and soften and lift the complexion.
My Frette goose down pillow. I won’t go anywhere without it. I get a new one every year.
I would have loved to get my hands on Brigitte Bardot’s skin in the ’50s.
I’d probably be an actress or a film director.
DO YOU SEE THE PERFUME BOTTLE HALF-EMPTY OR HALF-FULL?
I am an optimist! Always half-full. That has always been the case.
PREFERRED VACATION DESTINATION
I adore Italy. I absolutely love the Amalfi coastline. All my perfumes have Italian names because it’s my favorite country in the world.
THE FIRST THING I NOTICE WHEN I MEET A NEW PERSON IS THEIR...
The first thing I notice is their energy and the second thing I notice is their skin—I can’t help it.
Presenting the multipurpose beauty essential for cleansing, moisturizing, and enhancing radiance.