Best workflow for swapping out character versions?

So what would be the most painless workflow to update the face mesh and materials, while keeping all the other relationships, rigging, animation etc intact? I have my character set to be playable through Advanced Locomotion, so I need a lot of connections to remain intact. So far the smoothest transition I can get is by importing the new character, dragging the skeletal meshes and grooms from the new character BP to the current one, and rewiring those into the Set Master Pose Component I have in the Construction Script so they all get the animation. Is there a smoother workflow for updating characters?