With Galeries Lafayette roping in the biggest names in the market, DR. MARYAM ZAMANI recently visited Doha to launch her skincare line MZ Skin and our local editor ANUSHAY TAIMUR KHAN talked about the secret to perfect skin.
At what point did you feel like a skin care line is the perfect addition to your profile and why?
I actually didn’t plan for this at all. I’ve trained as an oculoplastic surgeon in America and then I shifted to London after I got married to my husband. There, I did an extra fellowship in facial plastic and reconstruction. I was actually trying to convert my board certification from the US for UK standards when I got to know that we are shifting. The news of the shifting and my pregnancy came the same week as I received the certification! Even though I knew this was temporary, I decided to do dermatology which was a compliment to my fellowship. I worked with hyaluronic acid which is found in our skin cells and is the main ingredient used in fillers, that are used to plump and hydrate the skin. That’s when it started to dawn on me that the journey is not about coming to me and having something change with surgery. It is about what you put on your skin and put in your body as well. You must exhaust all options before trying something surgically.
Tell us how the idea of a skin care line came into being.
My mother gave me my first moisturiser, which was a tinted moisturiser, and that is the first time I feel like I discovered skincare. It became a part of my ritual to have a proper skincare routine and that’s how it began at the age of 14-15 for me. Even my friends told me I always talked about skincare. Fast forward to a few years later and I was all in for this skincare regime. I tested a lot of creams in the market and I kept trying new brands. I couldn’t use certain brands because they felt like medicine that I was applying something that strong to my skin.
So, I started experimenting with other brands and started adding my own ingredients to certain products. Then, I took it a step further to which my husband encouraged me to take some for my office too. It started off that organically and it took almost 2 years to work on my products. I was introduced to a buyer at Harrods who loved my concept. It was all about revealing, enhancing and protecting the skin and I was approached even before I started proper production. That was a huge boost in my confidence! I wanted to be free from any gimmicks and I wanted an environmentally friendly product. I wanted to be practical and simple, irrespective of loving the ritual. I had all these points in my mind that I wanted to achieve and that’s exactly how I made the products.
I wanted it to be girly, so I chose pink and golden packaging, I wanted it to be the perfect size so that the product did not go to waste either, and since I faced pigmentation issues, that was my prior concern for this skincare line. I made sure that I wasn’t using compositions just for the sake of it and have clinically proven products. My Cinderella moment came in 2016 when I officially launched at Harrods! We are 3 years old this month and this launch at Galeries Lafayette comes at the perfect time of celebration.
What is the one beauty/skincare trend you are not in favour of ?
For me, the most important thing is to have informed decisions. I love influencers and that title itself has a lot of weightage. But everyone needs to have a responsible source feeding you the right information.
I am not too big on the ‘do it yourself ’ technique that is widespread now because of this reason. I am also in favour of education, so the one thing that worries me is when people say that they would not go for a certain product because it is not natural but to be fair, anything that lasts more than 10 days in your cupboard has preservatives. So, you need to be educated on this topic.
In our digital world, certain trends will keep being promoted and as a doctor, this worries me a lot. We are all looking for ‘the cure’ and we are willing to accept things that are not even true just to find ‘the answer’. Another trend I do not like are subscription boxes because that is not the way to go about skincare. Not everyone has the skin that will take any product and do wonders. You end up paying more eventually and you need to know whatever you are putting on your skin is suitable or not.
You tackle various issues for skin on a daily basis – which is your most trusted secret go-to product?
Truthfully, all of the products have something special to offer. Since our motto is to reveal, enhance and protect the skin, we have products that focus on all of these ideologies. Since our products are animal cruelty free, we have two non-vegan products which are Rest and Revive and Non-Replenish & Restore. These two have placenta stem cells from sheep and plants. I felt like placenta stem cells would be tricky for my consumer but we found out that people who tried it cannot live without it! That would be the first and the second one would be the Brighten & Perfect which is a 10% vitamin C capsulated, that doesn’t cause irritation but decreases the pigmentation almost 40% when its used twice a day. It is a power-house ingredient for sure!
How does it feel to have the biggest names in the industry like Gwyneth Paltrow, Arizona Muse, Selma Blair and Princess Charlene of Monaco, endorse your skin care brand?
I feel incredibly honoured to have and see the patients that I have today because it means that they trust my opinion and I am absolutely humbled by it. I work really hard and try to provide the best that I can and actually make a product for myself first before creating for the market. It is my passion that I try to bring to life. So, I feel like when you make something with a vision, no matter how small, it definitely shows you the best results.
What gives you the edge in the local market in Qatar by introducing your line here?
For here, because of the humidity and heat, it is important to make sure that you do the reveal and protect part of the process really well. I have a trio, that includes a cleanser which will help to remove the oil, pollution and debris on the face without drying the skin. The second product would be the Vitamin C Brighten & Protect because it protects you from the sun. There is a myth that says you should not use vitamin C in the sun and I would like to debunk that because it is a shield from UV damage and I highly recommend everyone to use it. Then, the third step is a treatment, which you can perform at home, called the Radiance & Renewal, which is packed with different types of acids that lightly exfoliate and de-clog pores. So, I think these few things should be used by all of my consumers in Doha because it is the best treatment for the weather here. As a bonus, you should always use a moisturiser with SPF in it so a minimum of 30 SPF or if you go for my recommendation, you should go for 50 SPF.
Why did you choose Galeries Lafayette Doha as your partner in launching the brand in Qatar?
It is so beautiful and iconic worldwide! It has been well thought out and it has a reputation of being the best. I have a lot of Qatari patients who see me in London, and I think this establishment that speaks for the standards that Qataris want. The beauty department itself is stunning – from the shelving to the floors as well. The VIP suite is out of this world because it is so exclusive! I feel honoured and privileged to be here.