Jez Smith, Photographer

For more than 25 years, British photographer Jez Smith has photographed the fashion and celebrity A-list (you might remember him as a judge and photographer on the Next Top Model franchise in the US and Australia), but these days you are more likely to see his work in advertising, beauty and portraiture. Jez preferences clients that have a social conscience, “like skincare companies that don't retouch images, and shoot a wide age range (from 15 to 60) … anything that celebrates the diversity of real women's beauty, and doesn't perpetuate a homogenised version or expectation of what women should be, or what's actually 'beautiful'“.

Jez’ day starts at 4am, before de-stressing and focusing at the gym for an hour, then starting work. In between this, he makes time for a skincare regime that focuses on science-based, results-driven products.

A Q&A with Jez Smith

What is your skincare philosophy?

The skin is our biggest organ, and I was born with chronic eczema so I've always had to be 'skin aware'. I treat it the way I treat my general fitness, by eating well etc. I also know there's not a huge amount of real regulation when it comes to 'claims' of what a product can actually do, so my philosophy is simple products, with proven active ingredients, at a fair price.

Do you have a hero product/treatment? Something you really rate? Why?

Hyaluronic acid combined with a retinol (Vitamin A) and or Vitamin C (in a stable form, in airtight packaging) is an everyday, twice a day, combo. And I have extreme combination skin so BHA (salicylic acid) is also a must have ‘cos I still get pimples at 47!

2% BHA Liquid | Image credit: Paula’s Choice

2% BHA Liquid | Image credit: Paula’s Choice

What skin/skincare advice would you give to your younger self?

I was bandaged from head to to every night until I was about 11/12 so my younger self was already skin-concerned and skincare obsessed. My advice would be 'Don’t worry when you get called a leper by kids at school, ‘cos one day you'll grow out of it and at 47, people will tell you have 'great skin' … words as a kid I never imagined I would ever hear!

What would you never do to your skin?

Neglect it.

Are there things you love or hate about your skin as you age? How does this make you feel?

I went through a stage when I was working on TV of getting botox and fillers. I’m always brutally open and honest about that, but now I'm out of the public eye, I'm really more relaxed about a few lines. I like that I look like I have lived, and have grown to appreciate the way my face has aged and changed. I’m a 47 year old man, and I want to look healthy, and hopefully a 'good' version of whatever that is, but I 100% don’t want to try to look 'younger'. 

I have earned the right to look my age, and with age comes the greatest thing of all: now, I don’t really care what anyone else thinks about the way I look. I know I have way more to offer than the way I look!