Lucy Vose has been the Director of Education at Gatineau since 2003. Her role now includes collaborations with Gatineau’s research and development team in Paris and performing educational seminars nationwide. Gatineau launched in Paris in 1932 when beauty therapist Madame Jeanne Gatineau opened her first salon and began to develop her own skincare products for women based on the avant-garde treatment techniques she used in-salon. Here, with decades of experience under her belt, Lucy tells how to take care of our skin after forty.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey to becoming Gatineau’s Director of Education and a little about what your role entails?

After qualifying as a beauty therapist in 1992 with a certificate of distinction I worked with some luxury skincare brands, first in London and then in Bermuda for six years. It was here that I really developed a passion for the skin and started creating personalised beauty treatments and beauty regimes for my client base. Upon my return to the UK, I gained my teaching certificate and quickly joined Gatineau as a trainer and was appointed Director of Education two years later. I have worked for Gatineau for 23 years this September, not only teaching in professional salons but to our Export Distributors as well. I also write the blogs for the Gatineau website each week.

What makes the brand so special?

For me it is a brand steeped in history and it has always been considered a professional salon brand which is of course is where my career began. Jeanne Gatineau, the founder, was a beauty therapist herself and understood the needs of women’s skin. It is the story of women uniting, of science, and of getting the best from nature and above all preserving our natural beauty. With her brilliant mind she created some unique formulas over the years and many of those formulas still exist today. That is because they deliver immediate and long-lasting results. We continue to be committed to innovation and, as a small company, we are all involved in where we want the direction of Gatineau to go. We all play a part in that process from development to testing to launch.

Gatineau Anti Ageing Skincare

Gatineau launched in Paris in 1932. Why do you think it is still as relevant and cutting edge now as then?

Gatineau has always been known as the age-defying experts in the skincare industry. We have always created unique formulas, including our first ever cream, La 307, in 1932. We were the first brand to create bust treatment ampoules, a toner without alcohol, and then the famous Melatogenine range in 2000. We remain true to our roots but still maintain our Parisian heritage and professional status. The French culture has always been skin-first approach from a very young age, and we continue to educate this over 90 years later.

Many of us begin to notice changes in our skin as we hit our forties. What are the range of issues that women might expect to face with their skin at this stage?

Ageing beautifully can be tricky, as time takes its toll on us especially when you hit your 40s and beyond. There are two types of skin ageing: the one that's more inevitable and genetically determined, and the one that is caused by external factors. While there's less that can be done to counter the former (ageing is an unavoidable part of life), you can absolutely take steps to look after your skin and defy your age. From the age of 40, you will notice fine lines and wrinkles – there are actually five main types, would you believe – lack of firmness and skin that has lost its spring. Most clients will notice jowl lines, a crepey neck and décolleté. Skin can become more dehydrated and drier, and the complexion can look quite flat and dull. I always educate clients to begin using age-defying skincare from their mid-twenties as we know that skin loses 1 per cent of collagen per year from around that time naturally. Unfortunately for women approaching 50 and beyond, the lack of oestrogen in the body can accelerate the above issues and the skin can adopt pigmentation flaws and sunspots as well.

At this point, what changes in skincare regimen should we all be thinking about?

Ideally, I would like to have achieved the changes in a skincare regimen at an earlier age, but luckily Gatineau can support the skin through every decade with specific targeted ranges and products which will help both prevent and slow down the ageing process. There are important points to include. Cleansing is the foundation of every routine. Regular exfoliation is key. Eye, neck and decolleté products are a must and, above all, protecting skin from environmental aggressions which we know dramatically accelerate the ageing process.

Gatineau Age Defying Skincare

What do you think is the most underrated yet effective thing you can do to take care of skin that no longer bounces back in the same way as it once did?

I think we are more clued up on a lot of the effective things you can do to take care of your skin, but I know that still a lot of clients’ skip exfoliation. Typically, skin goes through a 28-day cycle from new cells being born at the bottom of the epidermis to shedding off at the surface. As we get older, the process (called desquamation) slows down and this can reveal itself as dull, uneven textured and drier skin, plus wrinkles and dark spots that look exacerbated. Exfoliation (we use fruit acids and enzymes rather than granules) can help speed up this decline by increasing cellular renewal, plus by removing the dead skin cells, it will improve the efficiency of all of the other skincare products.

What ingredients do you regard as non-negotiables when it comes to skincare for older skin?

There really are so many ingredients that will work wonders for specific skin issues but the ones I have picked are the most effective for any skin type.

Hyaluronic Acid: a natural humectant (a substance that retains water in the skin) and capable of holding 1000 times its weight in water. We naturally produce less of this in our 30s and we lose plumpness, hydration and volume.

Ceramides: these are lipids that make up to 50 per cent of your skin barrier but by the age of 30 we have lost 40 per cent and by the age of 40 we have lost around 60 per cent.

Peptides: these are cell communicators that act as building blocks for proteins like collagen and elastin. They are powerful age-defying ingredients.

Vitamin C: a super vitamin and powerful antioxidant that improves collagen production, brightens and helps even out pigmentation flaws.
Niacinamide: this works so well with Vitamin C and improves the moisture barrier, reduces pore size, lightens pigmentation flaws and boost ceramide production.

Fruit acids: these encourage new skin cells to regenerate, eliminate dead skin cells, improve hyperpigmentation and enlarged pores and hydrate the skin.

Vitamin E: a staple in our skincare products for its anti-oxidant protection.

Gatineau has recently launched its Age Benefit Hyperpigmentation Repair Serum. Can you tell us a bit about how it works and what makes it special?

This is an incredible new launch for us and a real skincare innovation. Age Benefit Hyperpigmentation Repair is a targeted treatment serum that works on clearing age spots, sunspots, post-breakout damage and will give you a seriously bright and healthy-looking finish. It’s been formulated with a potent, hardworking blend of actives including Liquorice Root, Marshmallow Root and Rice Bran. Uneven skin texture, fine lines, sunspots, and pigmentation be gone! It has been infused with game-changing Niacinamide and Vitamin C which do so many great things, evening out skin tone, regulating sebum production, shrinking pores, strengthening the skin’s lipidic barrier and of course delivering a luminous complexion. The clinical claims and user trials speak for themselves!

Gatineau Hyper Pigmentation

What is your own daily routine?

Interestingly, I was 28 when I came back from Bermuda and, having lived in a hot country for six years and not properly understanding the dangers of UV exposure, I would say my skin was quite damaged. I have just turned 50 and have been using Gatineau consistently for 23 years and my skin is really good shape. My morning routine includes:

Cleansing: Gentle Silk Cleanser and Toner
Essence: Collagene Expert Hydra Essence – for me this is a game-changing treatment to elevate my hydration levels and makes all my other products work much more efficiently
Serum: Collagene Expert Ultimate Smoothing Serum
Eye: Age Benefit Advanced Eye Serum
Neck: Defi Lift Neck and Decollete Gel
Face: Collagene expert Smoothing Ceramide Cream. I also apply a few dabs of Miracle Eye Contour to areas where I have a little redness and dark circles

My evening is slightly different.
Cleansing: Age Benefit Melting Cleansing Elixir – I like something very decadent at nighttime
Essence: Collagene Expert Hydra Essence
Serum: Age Benefit Youth Revitalising Oil Serum
Eye: Age Benefit Advanced Eye Serum
Neck: Defi Lift neck and Decollete Gel
Face: Age Benefit Regenerating Cream but sometimes I do apply a face mask and leave it on overnight (I Love Collagene Expert Plumping Revival Mask)

As I will be heading to Spain in three weeks, I have just started applying Tan Accelerator once a day to prepare my body for any sun.

As we head into summer, what is the best way to balance getting enough vitamin D while also protecting our skin?

  • Always apply a high sunscreen – one for the face and one for the body – and reapply frequently (every two-to-three hours).

  • Wear a hat.

  • Don’t skip on your regular skincare regimen and include masks.

  • Avoid the sun in the middle of the day when it is at its strongest.

  • Use Tan Accelerating Lotion, which takes all of the hard work out of tanning by speeding up the skin's natural tanning process before you see the sun and rapidly decreasing the amount of time it takes to achieve a sun-kissed tan, not to mention, alleviating the problems of tanning vulnerable areas or being uneven on the front and back. It means you can relax and enjoy your holiday in the sun and achieve a nice even tan by taking regular shade breaks especially in the mid-day sun and applying sunscreen.

How far do genes dictate how our skin ages – and how much can good products pick up the slack if genetics are not on our side?

I believe genes can play a role in how skin ages. However, we now know so much more about the main culprits for premature skin ageing: sun exposure, pollution and smoking. I believe if you take protective measures and proactive steps at an early age to protect skin as well as using a comprehensive skincare regime, you can mitigate and delay the signs of ageing.

If there was one piece of skincare advice you wish everyone knew, what would it be?

Start using an age-defying skincare regime in your twenties! Your 50-year-old self will most certainly thank you for it.