“Influencers” have proliferated the marketing of beauty products across categories; however, I predict 2019 will be the year of experts. While influencers will continue to have their place in the marketing ecosystem, I predict consumers will search for real expertise that comes with years of experience.
With more than 35 years of industry experience, Mila Moursi has perfected luxurious, efficacious, customized face and body treatments that are the secret weapon of her elite Hollywood clientele. Mila Moursi products and treatments look beyond the quick fix for long-lasting, rejuvenating results.
Her signature treatments include traditional massage: a dry-contouring method to work muscles and increase circulation, and a sculpting session to shape the face combined with the latest technology like microdermabrasion, cryotherapy, and microcurrent.
Mila is fiercely intelligent, utterly gracious, and unique in her holistic approach to skincare that continues to evolve. Her philosophy embodies the idea that aging gracefully is really true beauty.
How did you get into the beauty industry? What was it that drew you to beauty and the study of skincare?
Starting at an early age, my grandmother was very influential in cultivating my love for plants and flowers and their connection to beauty/health remedies. She was like a mad beauty scientist, with her garden being her laboratory. At any given time she was making natural face masks, toners, hydrating tonics. Her influence helped fuel the passion in me in the power of plants to naturally heal and beautify.
From there, my path has been a winding road of learning and cultivating a background of experience within different facets of the skincare industry—all elements combined have led to what I do and enjoy today.
I first attended the Academie Esthetique in Paris for aesthetician training. I then moved on to study Hydrotherapy in England (which is incorporated into Mila Moursi Day Spa services). Realizing my passion for creating products, I studied cosmetic chemistry under cosmetology pioneer Dr. Louis Renaud in Paris while also teaching advanced skincare techniques. I worked with Dr. Renaud to create all the original Mila Moursi formulations. Upon moving to the US, I established the Mila Moursi Day Spa & Skin Care Institute in 1981 in Beverly Hills, and the Advanced Skin Care line in 1985 which focuses specifically on anti-aging skincare.
You arrived in Los Angeles from France in 1979. What drew you to Hollywood?
I actually moved from France first to Detroit. My husband had a work opportunity there and I had always been intrigued by the US, so I was excited to move abroad. I instantly loved living in America, and the freedom it offered. Not to mention, the people are so warm and diverse.
I soon realized that Los Angeles would be an ideal fit for me to open up my spa due to its developing spa culture, so we made the move west. Niche skincare spas and brands were opening up in Hollywood that incorporated more of a European philosophy and technique. And due to the open, curious character of LA, clients were excited to try my unique blend of intensive facial and body treatments.
What was your vision for the brand and what were the plans for the business when you launched you skin clinic?
I truly believe in the synergy of product and treatment as part of a commitment to healthy skin, thus I was inspired to fashion my particular spa techniques through the inspiration from teaching a combination of many different massage protocols—from Asian to Greek to French and ancient Egyptian.
I was inspired to create a true high-performance brand with the start of Mila Moursi Advanced Skin Care by investing only in top-level concentrations of actives and extracts for maximum effect.
The beauty landscape, consumer preferences, and how brands market have seen tremendous change in the past 39 years. What steps did you take to ensure your brand remained relevant?
I never compromise on quality. Throughout different economic downturns or as many product lines started to cut corners on ingredients, I remained true to my original formulas, while continuing to update them with new cutting-edge actives as beauty science has advanced.
As far as relevancy, beauty trends come and go. My philosophy doesn’t support quick fixes. Our clients understand the discipline and benefits of sticking to a lifestyle regimen and the supplementation of routine treatments. The results speak for themselves. Word of mouth has always been our best advertising.
What’s been the most profound change in the beauty industry in the past 39 years and how has it impacted your business?
The idea of the quick fix. In the US we are always looking for how to do it fast and furious. Our European-based philosophy with skincare is to invest physically and mentally into your daily regimen—it’s about synergy between your lifestyle and your beauty routine.
The rise in plastic surgery has really made it possible for shortcuts, sending the message that you could possibly put day-to-day skin maintenance aside. The result is often a very unnatural one. Aging gracefully is really true beauty—freezing a face in time can often be just that.
Spa technology has advanced in the past 39 years to now allow very non-invasive treatments such as micro-currents and radio frequency to deliver more natural, firming, lifting, and sculpting results.
Also, cherry-picking between product lines. This can be counteractive as one can often be mixing actives that are not meant to go together and can really confuse skin.
You’ve become the go-to for representing and launching indie brands in the US market. What do you attribute to your success?
We believe in integrity every step of the way with our products and services. We try and link everything back to our core philosophies. Our core team remains very small, and we have maintained the intimate size of our main spa in Beverly Hills so that clients continue to have a very private, personal experience.
Looking back, what was the industry like when you started?
In the US, treatments were seen as more elite. In France, treatments have always been a part of a skincare routine, but that didn’t quite take in the US until later.
The role of a specific AM/PM regimen incorporating cleansing (and toning!), exfoliation, and nourishment wasn’t followed all together—it was more of a carefree commitment back then.
Most department store facials are simply product application. How have you managed to replicate the experience of your skincare services in the treatment rooms off the sales floor in Barneys?
At Barneys, our technicians are trained personally by me in all of our treatment protocols. Treatments are customized to each client, and we believe in activating the skin through our dry-contour massage technique to naturally lift the face. It’s never just about applying a product—our treatments are an experience where your individual skin needs are addressed.
Can you share your formulation philosophy and why you’ve chosen to manufacture your product in France?
My philosophy for restoring and maintaining radiant skin is rooted in the synergy of science and nature, and has evolved through 39 years of experience with Mila Moursi Day Spa & Skin Care Institutes and my Advanced Skin Care line at Mila Moursi. We believe in a dedicated daily ritual of manually connecting with your skin to enhance our products’ top-performing actives that encourage a natural, healthy glow and keep skin firm and supple.
Our Mila Moursi Advanced Skin Care line offers customized, nourishing regimens to revitalize and protect skin from the five key factors responsible for accelerating the aging process of skin cells:
- free radical damage
- fine lines
- dark spots / uneven skin tone
Remember, skincare doesn’t stop at the face. Our daily rituals must address maintenance of our beautiful bodies as well. As skin is affected by our daily habits, stress, and environmental pollutants, lifestyle also plays a significant role in aging gracefully. Living a healthy lifestyle includes regular face and body treatments to maintain the skin texture and address any concerns, along with diet, proper hydration, and plenty of oxygen and nature.
I use a lot of plant extracts and amino acids and peptides in my product formulations. However, I only choose to use THE HIGHEST quality of ingredients for any of my products, as that makes all the difference in the quality and penetration for maximum effect.
What do you believe is essential to be successful in the beauty category today?
Sticking to your philosophy. Not bending with trends to “fit in” with the new marketing buzzword, and possibly compromise your vision or quality. Also, staying one step ahead with all of the wonderful scientific developments in the industry.
What lessons have you learned and what advice would you share with entrepreneurs contemplating the launch of a beauty brand?
Surround yourself with a loyal team who truly help embody the brand’s ideals.
Don’t expand too quickly and spread yourself too thin. Again, quality over quantity.
What excites you about the future of the beauty industry?
The scientific leaps we are making with actives that can allow us to continue to craft products to help clients day-to-day nurture and revitalize their skin without having to consider surgical alteration. As well, as treatment protocols continue to expand, they can become more affordable for everyone so that clients are able to incorporate monthly head-to-toe spa treatments to supplement their daily product regimen.
What’s the biggest change you’d like to see in the beauty industry and what are you doing to address it?
I maintain that one should choose quality over quantity. Of course it does depend on skin type and budget, but there are a lot of “empty” products out there promising you hope in a jar for half the price. They often use the buzzwords in skincare ingredients but in the end the concentration of the actives they have in the product is miniscule. It should be about performance of a product—often products can have a higher price due to the high percentage and quality of anti-aging actives such as hyaluronic acid, peptides, and amino acids. So one true multitasking product may have a higher price point, but could equal that of several lower-priced products with lower percentages of individual actives.
We incorporate the best of science and nature into our formulas—we never skimp on quality. I am very involved in the clinicals in my R&D, and rely on strong delivery systems for the actives as that can really propel the product to maximum penetration and performance.
What is in store for the future of Mila Moursi?
I love seeing the brand grow and am excited for more individuals in different countries to have access to the brand! There is a lot of growth planned for this coming year, so very exciting.
Also philanthropy is very important to me and I would love to expand my personal philosophy and the brand’s philanthropic outreach—especially for organizations aiding animal preservation and underprivileged communities worldwide.
Photo: via Mila Moursi