An interview with Marion O'Leary of Mokosh
When I approached Mokosh's director Dr Marion O'Leary about answering some questions, I was blown away by her warmth, her attention to detail and by the philosophy she's created for her business. Marion has built a skincare label that she can stand behind and be 100% proud of, which is self-evident when you read what she's got to say about Mokosh.
For those who aren't familiar with Mokosh, could you tell us a little about your brand?
Mokosh skin care products are formulated with the idea that the best way to take care of our skin is to use only 100% natural ingredients. Despite what you may read in advertising material, skin care contains a large range of synthetic ingredients, including preservatives, emulsifiers, surfactants, thickeners and so on. These synthetic ingredients do not always sit well with our skin - some of them are known toxins, while others disrupt the skin’s all-important barrier function, or block our skin’s glands and disrupt natural excretory processes. Our products are unique in that they are made without water - in contrast to the average moisturiser which contains 85% water. This means our moisturisers are up to 5 times more concentrated than standard skin care and can be used in tiny amounts. We have used the latest scientific research and sourced the best certified organic botanical ingredients from around the world to create our range. Our products are balanced blends that are rich in nutrients, restore and protect the skin and work with its natural growth and regenerative processes.
Tell us a little about your background. What path led you to making organic skincare?
I worked as a veterinary surgeon, pathologist and medical researcher for some years before I stumbled upon the idea of making skin care. I took a career break when my children were young and started dabbling with making skin care in my kitchen. It began a slow process of discovery where I learned how conventional skin care is made, and it wasn’t long before I was researching the commonly used preservatives and synthetic ingredients and the risks associated with using them. What I learned scared me - I did not like the fact that so many people were using skin care products that contain ingredients that are potentially harmful. I decided there had to be a better way - not only better for our health, but better for the planet and the poorest people in the world who frequently grow and harvest the key ingredients. We are one of the few companies world-wide that produces skin care that is free of palm oil and its derivatives. We also use fair trade ingredients where we can.
The full range of Mokosh products are 100% certified organic. Why are organic ingredients so important when it comes to skincare?
Using certified organic ingredients is part of our philosophy of making the purest skin care we can, free of potentially harmful ingredients. It is also part of our commitment to making products that tread lightly on the earth, because support for organic produce is support for a sustainable ecosystem. We are delighted to find that so many of our customers see such a dramatic change in the health and appearance of their skin when they switch from their synthetic-laden skincare to our 100% natural certified organic skin care.
What is your personal skincare ritual?
In a word - fast, because like nearly everyone else I know there seems to be too much to do in a day. However, without fail I use our Facial Cleanser, Exfoliator and Mask
and massage it over my face before rinsing it off in the shower, followed by our Pure Hydrosol Toner
and one of our moisturisers, which will depend on how my skin feels that day. I would use one of our Beauty Serums
if I want something light, or one of our Face Creams
if I feel my skin needs something richer. I then use one of our body moisturisers, once again based on how my skin feels. In winter I like to use our Frankincense & Orange Body Cream
because it is so nourishing for drier winter skin. In summer I usually go with the lighter Sesame & Frankincense Body Oil. The fragrance of the body products is so delightful - it stays with me for hours. When I can spare the time, I love to do an Ayurvedic face and body massage using a Beauty Serum on the face and the Sesame & Frankincense Body Oil on the body. It takes around 20 minutes but is so worth the time when I do it.
Mokosh is a philanthropic company donating to environmental and social causes. What cause are you supporting at the moment?
We are a ‘Business Crusader’ for One Girl
, a charity whose mission is to educate girls in Africa. We are really excited that every sale we make helps change the world for these girls.
What does a typical day working at Mokosh HQ look like?
We tend to split into teams, with one team preparing and packing orders, and the other carrying out manufacturing, labelling and so on. We try to mix jobs around as much as possible so everyone understands the whole process. Because our operation is certified organic, every job involves strict record-keeping to ensure every product and ingredient is traceable, and to keep all our operations running smoothly. Mixed in with this is we like to discuss product ideas, where we are going with the business and what to post on social media that day. The last part of the day tends to be cleaning and tidying the studio, finishing up office work and researching and planning our next blog. I love the research side, but it is really fun to have a busy day mixed with lots of different activities, and being around such lovely people.
You can find a range of Mokosh products at ecoHaven in store or online. We're also running a promotion at the moment where if you spend over $75 on Mokosh products you get a free 15ml Elderberry and Chia Seed Beauty Serum (while stocks last).