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Thursday February 28, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
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Kumi Craig is the go-to men’s celebrity groomer of the moment.
WHO would have thought that there was a career to be had in professional grooming? What more, dedicating it to just grooming celebrity men!
Well, celebrity trainer and groomer Kumi Craig discovered her niche while working with A-list actors, athletes and musicians. Think: John Hamm, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Bacon, Chris Pine, Michael Jordan, Green Day and R.E.M. She has also worked with top photographers such as Michael Thompson, Terry Richardson, Mark Selinger and Martin Schoeller.
Initially, she started out studying special-effects make-up for film in Vancouver, and later moved to New York, working on film, fashion and music.
“When I met photographer Matthias Clamer, I worked on a lot of shoots for Entertainment Weekly, British Q and Spin Magazine. Little by little, my book became filled with more men than women. I sort of fell into it and have stuck with grooming men ever since,” she said in an exclusive press statement.
The more she dealt with men, the more it became apparent to her that men too, like women, care about their looks – especially when they appear alongside their female co-stars who look primed from head-to-toe.
Currently residing in New York, she caught on the surge of celebrity men’s skincare needs just by going with the flow and is today considered the go-to groomer.
What’s more, her grooming kit doesn’t contain just any skincare products, but La Mer, no less.
Craig was introduced to the luxury brand in 2004 by her sister and since January year, she has been keeping products from the brand which she used on awards show, and the response, she said, “has been incredible”.
Coincidentally, the Miracle Broth that is highlighted in all of La Mer products contain sea kelp that is harvested off the coast where Craig grew up – a fishing town in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada.
“My grandparents were salmon fishermen and actually used to harvest sea kelp as a hobby,” she shared. “Ironically, kelp has always been a staple in my family’s diet, as a side with salmon and rice.” Even the soap her family used was made with sea kelp.
With fronds growing up to over 60m, this North American Pacific kelp, macrocystis pyrifera, comes with its fair share of old wives tales: “My aunt used to tell us that kelp cuts calories and that we could eat as much rice as we wanted if it was eaten with kelp!” she added.
Craig has since found her passion for men’s fashion and looks forward to expanding her book (on grooming) with more men stuff, educate them and help them look their best, starting with their skin.
Here, she shares some of the tricks of her trade:
How is prepping men’s skin different from women?
Craig: Men don’t take care of themselves the way women do. So I often find a lot of men with really dry skin or ingrown hair. With men, it’s an opportunity to advise and teach them. They tend to need it more than women!
Do you think you have a signature look or technique that you are known for?
I always try to keep a man’s look fresh and natural. The one thing that really helps a working man who has been travelling or filming, is an extra touch of colour. Keeping it natural is my key to being a good groomer. I always want them to look detoxed, healthy and natural.
Can you take us through the morning prep on set with skincare and then, how you treat skin after shooting all day?
I start by misting them with Evian spray as sort of a wake up call over their face, neck and hair. It’s a great way to start hair prep as well.
Then I spray The Mist on their skin and pat it dry with a cotton pad. If they have dark circles or their eyes are puffy, I’ll apply La Mer’s Eye Concentrate or Eye Balm Intense with what I like to call the “magic wand” applicator until it warms on each eye.
Based on their skin, I choose either The Oil Absorbing Lotion for men with oily skin or if they have drier skin, I‘ll use The Hydrating Infusion (also great for men who shave everyday) followed by The Moisturizing Gel Cream.
After I’ve treated their skin with a moisturiser, I’ll rub it in with my hands and then start with make-up and conceal any areas that need to be concealed or if they need a little colour I’ll use a matte bronzer.
I finish off with the Lip Balm which men love. It’s great for men because it moisturises their lips without shine. I like that it’s minty so it gives them fresh breath too.
At the end of the day, the process sort of begins all over again. If I’ve applied make-up I’ll use a cleanser such as the Cleansing Foam to remove it, spray them with water, spray The Mist, reapply eye cream and then apply the Moisturizing Lotion or Gel Cream, and just let that absorb.
In your opinion, who are some best in class groomed men/male style icons?
Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Alex Skaarsgard always look put together and polished. Jon Hamm and George Clooney are two of my favourites as well. David Beckham has impeccable style and grooming, Jay-Z is one of those men who looks amazing all the time without doing much.
What’s the biggest excuse you hear from men if they don’t groom?
They say they don’t have time for it or they don‘t want a lot of fuss. It’s like drinking water – sometimes they just tend to forget! No matter how many products I suggest to a client, at the end of the day men don’t want to use more than one thing but it’s really important so I try to keep it easy for them. By keeping their regimen to a cleanser and a moisturiser they are more likely to keep up with it. That being said, men go crazy when I apply the eye creams with the applicator so I think if they had it they would use it too! – Karyn Anne
The kit contains The Moisturizing Gel Cream, Eye Balm Intense, Lip Balm, Cleansing Gel and Tonic. Retailing at RM950, it is available at La Mer counters.
La Mer Men’s Skin Essentials
IT is essentially a customised kit containing a complete regimen for cleansing, toning, treating and moisturising the skin. Specifically created for men to experience the restorative power of La Mer, the kit works together to renew and rejuvenate skin, provide moisturisation, visibly improve tone and texture, and with time, diminish the appearance of wrinkles, pores and fine lines. Designed to be deeply nurturing, the regimen is said to help transform the complexion, leaving skin looking firmer and younger-looking.
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