Beauty Interviews

La Mer’s ‘Personal Trainer for Your Skin’ Clyde Johnson on Miraculous Sound Waves and Turning Daily Routines into Pampering Rituals

Clyde Johnson La Mer

As the executive director of education at La Mer, it’s Clyde Johnson’s job (and passion) to know everything there is to know about what’s best for your skin and how to achieve the results you’re looking for. We spent some time chatting (we really could have gone on all day) with Johnson about everything from rebooting your beauty regimen for the best possible outcomes to the science behind making the trademarked Miracle Broth, which goes into all La Mer products, so incredible and effective. Hint: the sound of rare kelp undergoing metamorphosis is vital to the process.

Tell us about what you do at La Mer and what you love most about it?
I have the great honor of being responsible for education events for La Mer throughout North America. I feel incredibly privileged; I’ve admired the brand my entire career since my first experience with it about 18 years ago. I first fell in love with iconic Crème de la Mer, and I love seeing the company’s portfolio slowly grow with new favorites to complement the original crème.

I have a side role as a global spokesperson, so I get to travel and take fantastic trips to meet customers around the world and spend time with teams outside of the U.S. I also work with the president and closely with editors and social influencers. For example, last month we became the first beauty company to do a Facebook live segment on InStyle with fashion and beauty director Kahlana Barfield. We spent about 20 minutes discussing big-night beauty and insider tips.

Speaking of big-night beauty routines, what would you recommend adding to a regular regimen in advance to make sure you look your best (fresh with no surprises) the night of?
The best way to plan for your future is to predict it. Think about the weeks leading up. There are different things you can do like using our daily/nightly mask treatment, which gives great results and is easy enough you can run out the door with it. We also have intensive masks that are more of a weekly indulgence. They help to gently restore the balance and energy of the skin, and they’re incredibly pampering and good at helping to center the skin.

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La Mer talks a lot about skin centering, which is skin in its “happy place.” There are so many external and internal stressors we’re trying to respond to, and masks—whether daily, nightly or weekly—do a really nice job of intensely centering the skin so it doesn’t show signs of stress. There’s also such a benefit in proper cleansing at night. A lot of times, when we become more tired, we step away from proper cleansing, particularly at night after carrying the whole day on our face. We want to get that off so skin can focus on repair; so really gentle cleansing in the morning and constantly trying to keep the skin energized and in balance is going to be quite preventative.

For someone who doesn’t have a beauty regimen, is kind of lost or needs a reboot, what are the most basic things you think are important for someone to have and to do?
I think everybody is really different, so I would say firstly, know what your personal goals are and really consider what you want to achieve. Once you are able to visualize the results you want, it’s easier and a lot more fun to form rituals to help you achieve those results. Knowing you want to lift the appearance or add radiance near the eye area will drive you to commit to using the right product and dedicate more time to the ritual. Think of goals and results instead of concerns. Like working with a personal trainer or financial planner, they don’t ask what’s wrong; they ask your goals to help curate or craft a plan to help you get there.

Then, from a really basic perspective, you’ll want to make sure you have proper cleansing and proper understanding of key tips to make the most of the cleansing, as thoroughly and gently as possible. We want to make sure skin is both moisturized and energized. The right moisturizer, like Crème de la Mer or Moisturizing Soft Cream, does tremendous amounts to really help achieve a healthy overall appearance. Work in a sunscreen alongside to help preserve benefits over time. We try to understand a client’s desired results and lifestyle as best we can. If they’re rushed in the morning, but interested in using something targeted to get a specific benefit (like brightening discoloration), we would find within her day or week the time to incorporate a serum into her routine when it makes the most sense. Lifestyle is key, and it’s important to find your “me moments.”

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There’s definitely a devoted following to La Mer products, but how do you introduce them to people who haven’t tried or know about them?
The story of La Mer is unique and inspiring, so whenever we introduce it, we always share how the iconic Crème de la Mer and Miracle Broth came into being. It is a highly personal story of one man’s journey of hope and healing. Our founder, Dr. Huber, was an aerospace physicist and did not come from a cosmetics background. He was working on an experiment to make jet fuel more efficient when he burned his skin, which led him on the journey of healing. In his journey, he turned to the power of the living sea.

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Tell us more about Miracle Broth. What makes it so unique?
Miracle Broth is the heart of La Mer. It is a transformative thread that’s woven through all our formulas, from the iconic Crème to the newest Lifting Eye Serum. The broth is a result of a process we call bio-fermentation, which works to transform the appearance of skin. But there’s also a transformation happening in the ingredients themselves. Kelp, sesame, eucalyptus and vitamin E are key ingredients. The kelp is hand-harvested from the coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island a couple times a year when the energy of the kelp is at its peak. The waters are protected, so we work with people licensed to do it. It immediately goes on ice, then is shipped to NYC the same/next day to go into the Miracle Broth.

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The bio-fermentation process lasts three to four months, over which time light and sound are embedded into the formula. The sound is a recording Dr. Huber created of the Miracle Broth as it’s fermenting. If you think about sound and light, they’re both forms of energy, so the fermentation itself is releasing sound waves. In his 12 years and 6,000 documented experiments, Dr. Huber found if you play sound waves back at a louder volume, you increase the energized state of the broth as it goes through the change.

What’s so special is that we always reserve some of the Miracle Broth from previous generations, so we have in every batch today some of the formula that extends all the way back to Dr. Huber’s original work. Miracle Broth is in all our formulas and promises five facets of renewal: radiance, smoothness, soothing, regeneration and moisture.

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We’re offering the Nordstrom-Exclusive La Mer Introductory Collection. Can you tell us the benefits of each item and why they work perfectly together for first- and long-time users?
It works so well because it’s a very complete regimen with all components working together to drive skin to be its healthiest and most energized.

The Cleansing Foam is the softest cleanser imaginable, transforming from a soft minty cream to white as you’re cleansing. Kelp fibers, as well as pro-life powders, make it feel like a kelp mitt. It gently lifts away impurities and leaves skin feeling cleansed and balanced, not tight. Many of our formulas—including all cleansers and all toners—have deconstructed waters, or magnetized/energized waters. It’s a way for us to offer more gentle and effective cleansing benefits without having to use harsh surfactants. It’s the artisanal process of taking purified water, dividing it into two batches and adding salt. One half gets a positive charge, the other negative, and then we extract the salt and combine the two. The positive water works along your skin’s surface to help lift away oils and makeup, while the negative drives the benefits of actives in the formula.

After cleansing, use the Crème de la Mer to give a very comfortable and luminous finish. It has a rich texture, and we make sure to teach clients “the ritual,” or how to take a very small amount and warm it between your fingertips so the Miracle Broth can be released from its colder state (it’s still released quickly from the warmth of your face too, so don’t think you did it wrong if you forget to warm it up first). After releasing the energizing benefits with the ritual, we show women how to gently pat it onto their throat and face.

The Regenerating Serum is made to help minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Our serums are crafted with targeted ferments. The regenerating ferment helps to improve the rate of collagen synthesis (or the prevention of the breakdown of collagen). We start with algae extract, put through its own fermentation process to help drive the benefit of increasing collagen for a smoother and firmer appearance overall. There’s also gold in the formula, so shake the bottle gently so it can disperse and work as part of the delivery system.

The Eye Concentrate is for a delicate area and offers a multitude of benefits. It’s multicorrective care, addressing the five facets of renewal and also working to smooth the appearance of fine lines and energize skin around the eye area so dark circles are greatly diminished. The texture of the cream is a very light and luscious emollient helping to quench dryness, but also comfortable enough to apply concealer over with its perfectly smooth surface.

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