What does allyship mean to you?
As an advocate type personality, my focus in life has always been about justice and righteousness for all. The concept of allyship is one I have unconsciously applied my entire life: I have always supported and lifted up those who have been marginalized or oppressed. One of the main glimmers of hope in today’s society has been the rise in social justice and the emphasize on elevating those who have been oppressed. For me personally it has meant using what power I have to stand up for those in need, to improve the standing of those around me and to correct injustice when I see it. In my skincare brand, it is about consciously including people on my team from all backgrounds, and creating a warm and safe environment for all customers to feel welcome and that they are a member of our extended family.
What was the impetus to start your brand?
There was an obvious hole in the market: we needed clean, scientifically active and clinically proven beauty products and I was the one to do it.
Where are you from and where are you based now?
I am from New York but am Greek-American with roots in Asia Minor during the genocide. I feel like my genetic background does not allow me to be any one thing, as I am considered a little of everything and nothing at all. This taught me that to be part of a culture has not to do with genes, but with the language and traditions. This is partly why I know so passionately that all people are part of one family. Growing up in New York with its incredible diversity allowed me to feel that diversity is natural; no matter where you come from, you have the comfort of a friend in me.
How has your background (growing up, culture) influenced your work and products?
When I spearheaded my first One-Step Skincare Solution, the hero cream, my idea was to include 100% of the population, leave no one out! I formulated a product with 50 plant-based scientifically active ingredients that are healthy for all skin types, all skin colors and all skin conditions. Each and every product in the line follows this philosophy and has been proven to work in all skin types, which is something that cannot be said for predecessor brands. When it came to formulating my tinted moisturizer, I not only included 45 plant actives to address skin health, but included rare pigments that adapt to your internal skin pigment so that they can be used by any skin type and skin pigmentation. That is inclusivity. I am now opening up to my customers to include additional shades that they need with the goal of taking care of 100% of the population.
Has inclusivity always been a priority for you as a brand founder?
Inclusivity and leaving no one out was the #1 driving principle of MACRENE actives. That is why I trademarked the One-Step Skincare Solution. Unlike other brands that include acids and retinoids that can irritate, burn and discolor the skin, I omitted any such irritating ingredients. I also included in my chemist team people of every skin color and type to ensure that all needs were fully being addressed in each formula.
What excites and inspires you about the beauty industry today?
I am most excited that a decade after pioneering clean beauty, the industry has finally caught on. As the Clean Beauty Authority(TM), I have defined clean beauty for the industry (see www.macreneactives.com) and will continue to advance clean standards, formulation and manufacturing practices for the good of the earth and its inhabitants.