The Crown’s skin expert shows how he takes ten years off Olivia Colman’s face

If you want to know how The Crown’s leading ladies get HD-ready, Lord Gavin McLeod-Valentine is the man to ask.

He grew up in Scotland as a bonafide lord before becoming the A-list’s favourite skin guru, treating the likes of Kim Kardashian with his legendary Intraceuticals oxygen facial.

Now he’s been preparing the faces of Olivia Colman and Helena Bonham Carter for their royal duties – a job perfectly matched to his aristocratic upbringing.

‘I adore Helena, we hit it off as soon as we met,’ Gavin tells us. ‘She told me she'd been cast in the role and I was able to share some insights into Princess Margaret because I’d met her myself when I was very young.'

'I just remember the princess being larger than life. There was a grandness about her.'

'That was the one thing I was able to tell Helena: don't be afraid to be grand with her.'

Helena, 53, was so impressed with the youthful effect of Gavin's facial, she recommended him for a job on The Crown.

His task was to help the leading ladies turn back time, using oxygen to blast moisture into their skin.

‘Olivia and Helena are in their 40s and 50s, but have to play substantially younger,’ he explains. ‘Season 3 runs over a 13 year period, and their characters are in their 30s at the start.'

'What the Intraceuticals oxygen facial does is give bounce and energy and create an impression of youth that’s completely natural.'

‘Everything on The Crown has to look authentic – you can’t have the Queen of England looking botoxed!'

Olivia is 'wildly attractive', he says. 'She has this youthful, bright energy that I wasn't expecting. And the first time I gave her a facial, she was like, ‘Wow! This is magic.’

(In fact, Gavin went on to wave his magic oxygen wand at her at this year’s Oscar’s when Olivia won her Best Actress award.)

Different Intraceuticals serums were required for Gavin’s leading ladies.

‘For Olivia, the collagen booster serum was key because it added volume to her cheeks and gave a real sense of bouncy youth to her skin,’ he says.

‘With Helena, the antioxidant serum was what I really recommended because it puts a light bulb under the skin when it gets tired.'

'They both looked like themselves, but almost retouched in real life.’

Gavin stayed on set in the UK until filming began, prepping the actresses, loading them up with skin care and training up the team to use his oxygen machine while he was away.

He describes it as ‘the most fun, upbeat, happy place I’ve ever works. There were so many expectations for Season 3, yet I never saw Helena or Olivia seem nervous.'

'There was just resolute dedication to bringing those characters to life. They never stopped multi-taking – Helena would be getting her facials and practising her accent at the same time.'

‘I think with Claire Foy so we got an inside look at the Queen when she was very young, as most of us have never known her. '

'This time, with Olivia, there was a real sense this would be a queen who would be recognised. '

'There would be stories that a lot of the viewers would have lived through, so I saw there was this overwhelming desire to get it right.’

He has no doubt Olivia and co have done exactly that.

‘When I flew back at Christmas to check in with everyone, they were shooting at a very grand house that was being used Buckingham Palace,’ he says.

‘I hadn’t seen anyone in full costume until then, so it was just wonderful to step in and see Olivia as the Queen, with all the twinsets and pearls.'

‘There was a sense of majesty about her that took me totally by surprise.'

'In that moment, my comprehension that it was Olivia and not the Queen was completely suspended. That memory is going to stay with me forever.’

– Gavin is director of Intraceuticals Studio Services. Intraceuticals oxygen facials are available nationwide in the UK from £75. We trialled the new Intraceuticals Retouch Facial at Epilium & Skin in London

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