INTRODUCING Allison McNamara: Digital influencer and beauty editor extraordinaire, Allison is considered an iconic figure in the global beauty community.
Utilising her vast experience and expertise, Allison has developed a revolutionary line of clean, non-toxic, algae infused face oils that’s already established a cult following around the world.
Here we chat to Allison about what inspired her to create MARA, and what makes this unique line of oils so special.
I: First things first, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A. I got my career start as a digital / television host working for media outlets like Who What Wear and POPSUGAR which ultimately led to a show on the FYI Network and a beauty series with Refinery 29. I grew up with my family in the beauty business and creating a skincare line has been a dream of mine ever since I was attending commercial shoots with my dad as a young girl. After being burnt out from a decade of on camera work, I decided to pursue my skincare passion and parlayed my experience into MARA, a clean nontoxic line of algae-powered face oil.
We use really unique ingredient pairings at MARA and our formulas are clean, complex, active and easy to use
I. What inspired you to create your own natural skincare line and how was MARA born?
A. I was raised in Southern California in a gorgeous beach town called Palos Verdes and have always believed in the healing powers of the ocean. I came up with the idea for an algae based face oil line and the name MARA on a trip to Turkey (it comes from the Sea of Marmara) and it also happens to be the last four letters of my last name, McNamara.
I. What is it about MARA that makes it so unique ? What differentiates your products from other oils on the market?
A. We use really unique ingredient pairings at MARA and our formulas are clean, complex, active and easy to use. Our Universal Face Oil relies on moringa baobab and kalahari melon as well as our proprietary algae blend which is unusual for face oils. Our retinol oil is a revolutionary formula, combining totally clean retinol with rich natural sources of vitamin A like cacay, hemp seed oil and fermented green tea.
A. I’ve banned over a 1000 ingredients from my formulas. Of course we omit the buzzy ones like sulfates, parabens, animal testing and phthalates–but we take it much further, staying away from things like anything petroleum based including all PEGs, silicones, harsh preservatives like phenoxyethanol, EDTA, BHT, Butylene Glycol, Propleyne Glycol and so many more. Of course you still need to make sure products are properly preserved, but I continue to challenge my chemists to find cleaner, safer ways to do it.
"Our retinol oil is a revolutionary formula, combining totally clean retinol with rich natural sources of vitamin A like cacay, hemp seed oil and fermented green tea."
I. Can you talk us through your hero ingredient Algae and why it’s so beneficial?
A.S We use many different types of algae in MARA and they all serve different purposes, but our base proprietary blend (that we add to depending on the formula) has two types of Alaria Esculenta Extract (brown algae) and micro algae, also known as plankton. Both are wonderful for stimulating natural hyaluronic production which makes your skin look plump and hydrated, helps ward off free radicals and floods skin with phytonutrients, fatty acids and trace minerals not commonly found in other ingredients.
I. And what about Moringa? Why is it so good for the skin?A. Moringa is one of my favourite ingredients on the planet with 92+ nutrients, 46 antioxidants and vitamin A, B, C, D & E–it’s truly the most nutrient dense plant on Earth. It is incredible for the skin by delivering said vitamins and amino acids while hydrating the skin and promoting a natural glow. It’s also a really sustainable ingredient because it grows in even the driest of climates.
I. You have two beautiful oils to choose from – who should use which and how do they best complement each other?
A. the Universal Face Oil was created for all skin types, which is why I called it Universal. It hydrates dry skin types, balances oil production for oily babes, sinks in really quickly and is gentle enough for those with super sensitive skin. The Algae Retinol Oil is also made for sensitive skin types but it is a very active formula. I suggest using the retinol 2-3 nights a week and follow up with Universal Face Oil for moisture.
I. For those new to retinol – what are your top tips for introducing retinol into your regime?
A. Start slow and don’t overdo it! If you are really sensitive just one night a week to start, building to more consistent use. Always remember to moisturise afterwards and know you might purge for a week or two which is totally normal.
I. You have the most beautiful skin, what’s your advice for optimum skin health?
A. Thank you! In addition to using clean, effective products like MARA a few things I swear by are:
-don’t over wash your face
-don’t wear makeup unless you have to
-wear a physical sunscreen everyday
drink lots of water (and with lemon in the AM)
-eat lots of antioxidants like berries and vitamin rich foods like spinach
-don’t overdo treatments
I. We believe skincare is lifestyle and a holistic approach is necessary for healthy skin. Can you share with us any daily wellness rituals you practice?
A. Of course! I always begin each day with a tall glass of water with lemon. Sometimes I add in The Beauty Chef Gut Primer or GLOW. I love dry brushing my body before I get in the shower and always try and do one detox mask a week to flush impurities out of my pores. I also love acupuncture, cupping and monthly facials.