Meet The Founder

She’s so Cult: Kate Somerville

When it comes to tackling ‘problem skin’ they don’t come much better than bonafide skin care legend {Kate Somerville}. If you don’t have the time or the funds for regular facials, this {targeted range} – which just landed at CB Towers, whoop! – is the next best thing. With more A-list clients than you can shake a stick at (she’s been treating Hollywood’s finest for the last 25 years), her range of pioneering skin saviours is inspired by her treatments, dealing with all manner of skincare bugbears, from acne to fine lines, dryness and dullness.

Products like {EradiKate Acne Treatment} are true SOS wonders, given their ability to blitz blemishes into oblivion, while {DermalQuench Liquid Lift} plumps and lifts like nobody’s business. Containing those all-important acids we all know and love (oh heyyyy hyaluronic) to hydrate and rejuvenate, as well as good ol’ retinol, her pioneering formulas have garnered this line a fiercely loyal following. So it was only a matter of time before they were inducted into The Cult (praise be!). We caught up with Kate to tell us more about why her products are a bathroom cabinet staple and impart some of her sought-after skin care wisdom in the process…

{Cult Beauty} Hi Kate! First and foremost, can we talk a little bit about the brand’s backstory? What inspired you to start a brand and what has led you to this point?

{Kate Somerville} Growing up, I had horrible eczema, and I looked for different remedies to solve my own skin issues. That’s how I got into skin care, because I knew what it was like to feel uncomfortable in your own skin and I wanted to help people. 

I created my skincare collection in direct response to the challenges I saw on a daily basis in my clinic – the same skin health issues men and women of all ages and ethnicities face everywhere. I can’t see everyone personally, but through my products, I can help people see real results in their skin. All of my products are developed, tested and proven in my clinic. They’re created to address real skin concerns and deliver real results.

{CB} We’re still (regrettably) in the depths of winter. What are your top tips for nurturing winter-stressed skin?

{KS} Exfoliation is crucial during the winter months to remove dead, dry skin cells. Use steam before exfoliating. It not only warms the skin, it also adds moisture and hydration to soften it – making it much easier and more effective to exfoliate. Use water that’s warm enough to produce steam, but be careful that it’s not too hot. Excessively hot water can dry out the skin.

Hydration is also key during winter. I recommend balancing skin by exfoliating 2-3 times a week, hydrating with a serum (look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid to bind moisture to skin), and sealing it all in with a moisturiser. My {DermalQuench Liquid Lift} is based on my #1 facial, DermalQuench Oxygen Treatment. It combines hyaluronic acid with the power of oxygen to deliver immediate hydration, while instantly plumping and smoothing skin.

{CB} Exfoliation is a bit of a contentious issue – some are die-hard ‘physical’ fans, while others swear by acids. What’s your stance on exfoliation?

{KS} Exfoliating is one of the most important steps in skincare and is the key to brighter, smoother, and more even skin texture. It sloughs off dead skin, and helps subsequent products work more effectively.

I recommend using an exfoliator that is BOTH physical and chemical, like my {ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment}. For physical exfoliation, look for a product with small, round beads. Stay away from products containing sharp nuts or seeds, because they can cause tiny tears on the surface of your skin. Those tears will then appear as sensitivity or irritation, and may also serve as little reservoirs for bacteria to attach and thrive.

For chemical exfoliation, look for formulas with lactic acid or fruit enzymes – like pumpkin, pineapple or papaya enzymes found in {ExfoliKate} – these gently dissolve dead skin. Ideally, you should be looking for scrubs with enzymes, acids, and/or round beads that gently roll across the surface and lift away dead skin cells.

Everyone can and should exfoliate. Those with sensitive or dry skin think that they can’t exfoliate because it’s going to cause more dryness or irritation, but dead skin is dry skin. Anybody with rosacea, sensitive skin or active acne should stay away from scrubs. Chemical exfoliation is the safest way to exfoliate for these skin types, depending on the strength of the acid. I recommend lactic acid because it dissolves the dead top layer of skin without causing irritation. Lactic acid is mild and gentle, yet super effective.

{CB} Can you give us an insight into your own skin care ritual? Which products do you swear by, and what’s your go-to for complexion crises?

{KS} I always start by cleansing. I do a double cleanse at night to fully remove dirt and makeup. Next, I exfoliate (I like to exfoliate at night, but you can do it in the morning too) and then I hydrate with hyaluronic acid (AM and PM) using my {DermalQuench Liquid Lift}. I moisturise and apply SPF (AM only). If I’m limited on time, I’ll cut back on my makeup, but I always do those skincare steps. You don’t need to wear a lot of make up when your skin is hydrated and glowing.

The products I swear by are:

• {ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment}. – as mentioned above.

• {DermalQuench Liquid Lift} – as above.

• {Wrinkle Warrior} – it’s a serum and moisturiser in one. It contains 3 different sizes of hyaluronic acid to deliver immediate plumping results. It hydrates while targeting crow’s feet, fine lines and wrinkles.

• {EradiKate Acne Treatment} – this is a must-have when experiencing a blemish emergency! It’s a sulphur-based spot treatment that will dry out your blemish overnight.

{CB} And which ingredients are you devoted to. Which do you think will never go out of style?

{KS} At Kate Somerville, our priority is delivering visible results and that means finding ingredients that really transform skin. Tried and true ingredients like hyaluronic acid, retinol, glycolic, salicylic acid and sulphur remain relevant for a reason, they deliver great results!

{CB} Finally, if you had to swear allegiance to just one product from this point forward (sorry!), which one would it be?

{KS} This is always the hardest question! But if I had to pick one, it would have to be my {ExfoliKate Intensive}. We call it “Hollywood’s two-minute facial” – because it truly gives you that Hollywood glow in just two minutes!


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…