Abigail James on the ultimate plan for gorgeous skin
-Nov 11, Jenny Paul , Health -
Abigail James is one of the world’s most sought after facialists and therapists. The Brit’s London treatment rooms are frequented by some of the most famous faces from across the globe. Her clients flock to her for her natural skincare ethos and focus on delivering a truly personalised, holistic approach fused with rock solid science for long-term skin health. She is also a mother, a trained yoga teacher, a published author and she even helped deliver her nephew when he was born. Clearly, Abigail is not one to rest on her laurels. We sat down and spoke to her to discover more about what inspires and drives her.
How did you become interested in beauty and wellness?
My interest has its roots in my childhood. My grandparents kept bees, my father was into homeopathy and as a family we ate a lot of healthy vegetarian food. I had my first child at the age of 23 and suffered postnatal depression. A friend who was a beauty therapist came over and gave me treatments and I noticed what a positive difference it made to how I was feeling. It’s something that’s just for you and is a way of uplifting and treating yourself. So, I trained as a therapist so I could help other people feel good too.
What inspires you every single day?
My kids. I provide for them and feel it’s important to set a good example. And my job, I really love helping people. Skincare is not just about being pretty, it’s about helping your overall inner and outer confidence.
Can you describe your typical day?
I have three different types of day; one is my treatment day where I spend the day at my treatment rooms with clients. On those days I get up at 6.30am, I walk the dogs and look after the kids. Amongst all of that I fit in a healthy breakfast and reply to emails, then I’ll have a solid day of clients until 7.30 or 8.30pm. Each client and their needs are different and sometimes I’m not home until 9pm. Another type of day I have is an at home day; I get up, do yoga, sit down and do some writing, answer emails, do admin, prepare food and focus on family life. On those days I go to bed at 9.30pm. I feel it’s really important to remember that the body works on cycles and to work with your circadian rhythm. So, going to bed early when it’s dark and getting up early when it’s light really gives your body a helping hand.
What are your five non-negotiable holy grail skin products?
A cleansing wash, like CosMedix Benefit Clean Gentle Cleanser.
An antioxidant/vit C serum. I really like Medik8’s.
A hydrating moisturiser like the one from Augustinus Bader.
An SPF mineral – Try Osmosis.
A hair oil or leave-in treatment – Try Rahua.
How do you adapt your beauty routine when you travel?
I decant all my favourites into tiny pots and then leave the pots where I was staying when I go home again. I never use retinols in the sun. I cut back on actives and acids and exfoliants and sometimes cut them out completely. I’m very careful to protect my skin from the sun.
What is your favourite daily healthy beauty habit?
I see my daily skincare regime as a healthy beauty habit. In the morning I cleanse, eye cream, hydrate, double serums, moisturise, and SPF. In the evening, I double cleanse, do a serum and then an oil. Every three nights I will do an acid exfoliator and a mask.
Did you have to face any obstacles when starting your career?
Yes, I was a young single parent of three children. I did mobile therapy and juggling childcare was insane at times, although I would never call my children an obstacle, finding childcare whilst working was difficult. Working in central London is difficult because rents are so high.
How do you unwind and relax?
I listen to music. I love the Rolling Stones; my favourite song is Jumping Jack Flash. I also love getting outside and walking. I do yoga and treat myself to the odd glass of wine.
Sometimes the biggest challenge for those looking for better skin is knowing where to start. What do you think is the best starting point?
Look at adding serums and actives to your skincare routine. As a very basic routine cleanse, add a serum and moisturise. You need to cleanse, then do serums which add moisture and the layer on a really good moisturiser which is like adding a comfort blanket. Never skip SPF. Do a basic routine like that twice daily and have a facial every four weeks, because skin cells work on a four-week cycle. Bespoke facials by a professional are best.
What is your favourite healthy dish?
Broth or stew with chicken and veg – especially greens.
Are there any health or beauty trends that you completely disagree with and if so, why?
Micro-blading and shaving the face.
You say that great nutrition is like a great face cream- it should hydrate, nourish and keep you glowing. How exactly does inside-out beauty work?
Bad nutrition is like putting diesel in a petrol sports car. Crappy food shows up in the whole body. Nourish and feed the skin internally with good, healthy food.
What does ‘agelessness’ mean to you?
I don’t know if there is such a thing as agelessness…