Name: Anit Hora
Brand: M.S Skincare
Hometown: New York City
What motivated you to start?
I was a licensed esthetician because I was passionate about skin care but I was also a certified herbalist and yoga teacher & was using ayurvedic and herbal remedies for skin for myself & family & friends. Everyone kept asking for more and offered to pay me which is when I thought maybe I have something here. I thought I would commit to doing one craft fair and see what the response to help me decide if I should actually start doing this more seriously. The response was overwhelmingly positive and thus began Mullein & Sparrow, which is now M.S Skincare.
What would you consider your hero product from your brand?
Easily the Luminary face oil and it immediately became a cult favorite. The skincare category is growing so quickly that people might not remember that back then there weren’t a million face oils on the market. We were one of the first and I really studied the botanicals that would go into the formula and made sure they worked well together and everyone who used it noticed a difference in their skin.
What standards/non-negotiable’s do you take into consideration when thinking about enhancing or developing new products?
We don’t take shortcuts in the formula or the packaging. The costs are higher to have glass packaging and cartons, tissue paper & bubble wrap that are recycled or biodegradable, but we don’t compromise on these things. Similarly, the costs are higher to get the cold-pressed oils, the organic essentials, the most finely milled powders, but we won’t compromise on quality. If you read our ingredients for instance, you’ll see that in our hero face toner the first ingredient is pure rose hydrosol, not water as you’ll find in a lot of popular or less expensive options available on the market. We’re not going to put out something just to make it as marketable as possible, we care about the quality and the sustainability of our line.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges for "beauty / wellness" brands today?
Again, skincare is growing at a crazy pace. It feels like there are new brands every 10 seconds and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between them. I think the challenge in wellness is to still be able to stand out and hope that customers who share your values (sustainability, real ingredients, potent formulas) are going to take the time to discern the authentic brands which are genuinely focused on skincare and not merely sales data.
What has been one of your proudest moments since creating M.S. Skincare?
Being featured in The New York Times. As a New Yorker, that felt really sentimental and good!
What can we expect in the future from M.S Skincare?
Hopefully CBD. We’re still a small team so things can take time from inception to final product, but we are hoping to be able to introduce products with this amazing ingredient by the end of 2020.
What advice would you give customers who want to make the most out of your brand?
Products in any line really work the best when used together. So we really recommend for whatever brand of skincare you choose to try, make a small regimen out of it. Get their cleanser, toner & moisturizer if you can. Learn your skin and what it likes and doesn’t before you start combining a slew of products from 50 different brands.
How do you start your day?
I try and wake up at 5am and meditate/set my intentions for the day.
Do you have a morning/evening ritual?
My evening ritual of course includes a thorough skincare routine, this is the time I do masks or treatments, and I try and stop working 2 hours before bed. (I don’t always succeed but I try!)
What is your daily skincare routine?
Double cleansing, rose mist & some mix of moisturizer with face oil. Same at night but sometimes a face treatment added. If it’s at night I’m taking a bath, I definitely do a mask too because your pores are opened from the steam of the bath, why waste that?
Do you have a daily wellniss routine?
As I’m getting older, I’m just trying to be more mindful overall. Am I taking care of my friendships? Am I taking care of my body, my spirit? Do I listen when I’m in conversation or am I rushing away in my mind to the next thing. My biggest effort toward wellniss is to make sure I’m paying attention to my life and the people in it. Life is short.
What is beauty product or tool you can’t live without?
I can’t live without under eye concealer. Between the long hours and my genetics, under eye circles are always going to be a thing! Someone just recommended the Pat McGrath sublime perfection concealer & I’m really excited to try it. Also, my sister bought me a random foot file for exfoliating the dead skin off your heels and I’M OBSESSED and my feet are ready for summer.
What do you do for R&R when you need to reboot?
SLEEP, preferably on the beach somewhere. If that isn’t possible, I love a good movie, or reading in the park or just binge watching Netflix for those days when I don’t want to leave my bed.
What are your must-haves when traveling?
I take all of my travel size items and bath salts. I love taking baths and it’s so good for you! People don’t realize that it’s a great way to get your body to absorb magnesium!
What self-care advice would you have given yourself 5 years ago?
It’s okay to take time off. Taking time off doesn’t contradict your ambition, it fuels it.
Do you have any beauty / wellniss advice for our followers?
Read ingredients and support women owned business! Especially WOC-owned businesses. Women face a variety of challenges when starting businesses that are unique to them including the ability to be taken seriously, building a support network, getting funding and more. When you support a woman’s small business, you provide that support that’s often so hard to come by.