Star therapist Shane Cooper gives me the VIP treatment… and it can be yours at home, too.
Given the names in his client roster, I’d expected to find a gang of paps loitering outside when I rocked up to A-list facialist Shane Cooper’s London clinic recently to try out his famous Red Carpet Facial. But it was all very discreet, much like the man himself.
Sure, he reposts his famous customers on his social media when they’ve shown him some love on their feed, but not a drop of gossip about any of them passes his lips during the time we’re together. So, the likes of actresses Sienna Miller, Vicky McClure and Phoebe Dynevor, singer Ellie Goulding and presenters including former Spice Girl Emma Bunton, Maya Jama, Rochelle Humes and Laura Whitmore can all rest easy.
Although he may be the soul of discretion, his clients have all blabbed about his skills and word of mouth has led to the great and the good beating a path to his door and turning him into one of the most sought-after therapists of the moment. He even has a monthly residency series launching at The London Edition hotel. Why? Because he gets great results from his face and body treatments (look at his Instagram @shanecooperuk to see some impressive before-and-after action).
All of his protocols are based around deploying technology. Now, personally, I love a good facial massage but Shane is not about that. Instead, he has a retinue of medical-grade machines and gizmos that can really make a difference to how your skin looks and feels (one, for instance, was created to help stroke and Bell’s palsy patients to lift and retrain facial muscles back to their original place). He has so many, in fact, that I think of him as the beauty world’s very own Inspector Gadget.
It isn’t just the machines, either – Shane has found ways to deploy them that are all his own and to boost results in the process (when he was starting out, some of the tech companies would contact him to ask how on earth he delivered the results he did using their product). ‘I always say it’s like a hairdryer: you could give everyone the same one but that doesn’t mean all hairdressers will blowdry the same way,’ explains the always upbeat Shane.
What he’s all about is ‘really advanced nonsurgical – and noninvasive – face treatments using high-end tech,’ he continues (no Botox or fillers are to be found here). ‘I pick the best technology from lots of different machines and combine them.’ My Red Carpet facial, for example, included an oxygenation exfoliation (to remove the top layer of dead skin and target fine lines and pigmentation), TriPollar radio-frequency (to stimulate collagen production, help with skin elasticity, plump out fine lines and minimise pores), microcurrent treatment (to lift and tighten and boost collagen), Infra light therapy (to rejuvenate), blue LED light (anti-bacterial) and a Cryo Coolifting Gun (great for hydrating and much lauded by Kim Kardashian, don’t you know).
Shane will tailor treatments for each client’s needs. ‘It’s something my clients will invest in and it’s great because these treatments also have longevity’ – which means you’ll continue to see results including lifting, improved skin tone and increased glow long after you walk out of the salon. ‘It’s not so much about therapeutic treatments here but about making a difference – and some of the results can be life-changing for clients, especially when it’s stretchmarks, post-pregnancy tums, cellulite and pigmentation. To make someone feel confident in their own skin is so lovely.’
If that sounds a bit like therapy-speak then perhaps it’s because Shane started out ‘working in mental health for adults who abused substances to manage their emotions and self-esteem issues. In fact, if you’d asked me ten years ago what I wanted to do, I’d have said be a psychotherapist.’
Instead, another kind of therapy came calling when his mother – then in her late 40s – became concerned about the ageing process ‘but was too scared to go down the invasive [facelift] route so she sought out a nonsurgical treatment that used microcurrents. She loved the results so much that, as she had some money set aside, she decided to invest in a machine of her own,’ he recounts. Of course, it isn’t quite that easy. ‘The company explained you can’t just buy the equipment – you have to train properly in how to use it.’
Clearly not a family to do things by halves, he, his mother and his sister all enrolled for training and soon afterwards Shane set up at home treating friends and family. His fanbase grew, as did his training. He handed in his notice at his day job and started doing the rounds in his car to treat clients with his now expanded collection of machinery stored in the boot.
That was until two years ago – just before Covid-19 hit – when he moved into his current premises. Thankfully, especially because he didn’t qualify for any government support when forced to close his salon doors in lockdown, he’d been working on a skincare product line and its success has kept the business afloat. His Oxygenation Mask (£90), created to mimic the first stage of his Red Carpet Facial, now sells out within a matter of weeks of a restock. His Collagen Firming Cream (£145) and hydrating Hyaluronic Boosting Serum (£110) have also become modern cult classics.
Now, he’s expanding further and has just launched The Hyaluronic Mist (£65), which can be used as a toner, to hydrate skin throughout the day, and to fix make-up. The range is suitable for all skin types and skin tones, as are his treatments.
Perhaps because of his mental-health background, Shane is keen to ensure expectations are realistic. Yes, his treatments can be transformative, but ‘sometimes social media can create an unrealistic expectation of what skin can look like. There’s no such thing as perfect skin – I don’t have it, and I have all the machines! Skin changes all the time, too, whether it’s pigmentation, breakouts, or due to hormones or stress, so it’s important to manage expectations.’
He feels the same about bodies. ‘Cellulite, for instance, really should be normalised. I see it on a daily basis on all body types and regardless of lifestyle, and I would never tell anyone they needed to do anything about it. But if something is bothering a client, I tell them what solutions we offer; it’s incredible the effect it can have. I’ve had clients who haven’t had the confidence to wear shorts in ten years and then they’ll send a photograph of themselves on a beach in a bikini.’
Shane is clearly moved by the story, and for the umpteenth time, he smiles broadly: ‘I love my job!’ And perhaps that’s the real secret to his success. @edwinaingschambers
Treatments start at £250; shanecooperuk.com.