Log in

Interview — Maryse O'Donnell

What do you value most and how are you bringing that into your collection?
I think what I value most is having an authentic process in whatever you are doing. I’m drawn to brands and products that have a unique story behind them, be it through the makers or ideas or process. There is something so special about things that have been made with lots of time and care. I think people really embrace learning how and where their products are formulated and made.

In my own studio I prefer the more considered steps of small production beauty. For example, the unique phyto-concentrate featured in my products has been grown and harvested then infused especially for my collection in Little River, South Island.This signature blend of Kawakawa, Calendula, Dandelion Leaf and Rosehip has been chosen by me for this range because of their complementary properties.
What is the essence of the collection?
At its core, Maryse is clean and authentic skincare. I wanted to create a collection of multi-nutritive formulations that were effective with no unnecessary fillers. Every ingredient is there for a reason and they bring their own unique properties and benefits to serve the skin. Designed to be used daily, the collection is the foundation of a beauty routine that optimises healthy skin.
What drew you towards skin care?
As a facialist, I had done skin treatments on my clients for many years and noticed the benefits of using botanically active formulations. My clients were wanting to incorporate something more pure without harmful ingredients into their daily rituals. I combined my existing knowledge of skincare with a lot of in depth research and decided to create my own personal formulations.
What does your daily beauty regime look like?
I find as I get older my routine is more about skincare and less about makeup. To keep things simple, my approach is pared back and minimal, but consistent. I try to notice the changes in my skin and adjust my products to suit. I use the Enzyme-Refine Cleansing Balm at night and start my morning by applying the Moisture-Lock Hydrator all over my face and neck. Often I include the active Bio-Boost Serum and Omega Treatment Oil for an extra boost. Having two small children can leave me feeling a little lacklustre at times, so I apply the Dew and Tint in Apricots to make me feel and look a little more refreshed than I am.
What is your process of making?
I spend a lot of time experimenting with botanical extracts and plant oils to get the right combinations that will serve the skin in the best possible way. There was a lot of trial and error which I really enjoy, and it takes a long time until I’m happy with the finished product. My Mineral Tints took almost 2 years until I was satisfied and felt like I’d nailed the formulations.

The research, formulating and production all takes place in our purpose-built blend studio in Auckland, New Zealand. Working in a small production environment means that the time it takes to get from the blend studio to your home is only a couple of months, which ensures the efficacy and freshness of our products is always there. In this way, I can really prioritise potency.

I’ve also been collaborating with a cosmetic chemist on a few new ideas lately. I love this process of working with other experts to create something really unique.
Do you use native NZ ingredients in your formulations?
I try to incorporate New Zealand sourced ingredients as much as possible, which allows a depth of traceability that is very important to me. A few favourites are the Bioactive Green Tea extract, Manuka Leaves and Manuka Honey. I discovered Manuka Leaf when I was searching for a native New Zealand alternative to Tea Tree. The hero in our Manuka Leaf Exfoliant, this plant is sourced and finely milled on the East Cape. No other skincare collection utilises this native’s benefits in this way.
What is happening in the future?
When creating new products I focus on what really interests me and going with what feels right. I try to avoid following trends as they are constantly chopping and changing. I’ll be expanding the colour collection and I have some ideas for a multi-active mask I would like to develop soon.

Moving forward, the focus is to keep working within the principles of what I do, to create thoughtfully formulated products that serve the skin.