Rethinking skincare, Mokosh applies simple principles of science to formulate products that are entirely free from synthetics
When scientist Dr Marion O’Leary began looking into the skincare products she was using on herself and her family, she was “shocked to see how many potentially harmful synthetic ingredients were used as standard, from preservatives to emulsifiers. The more I looked into it, the more concerned I became, because many of these synthetic ingredients are considered to affect our overall health.”
From then on, her life changed. She started experimenting, using her medical science and research background to create completely plant-based, synthetic-free products. “I became obsessed with working out how to make quality products that would optimise skin health, using only the most nutritious botanical ingredients. As I researched and refined my products, my skin started to feel amazing. It was glowing.”
That was the beginning of Mokosh, a revolutionary skincare company that Marion founded in 2006. Unlike traditional skincare brands that dilute their formulas with around 80 per cent water, Mokosh products are completely water-free. Removing water from the equation makes the formulas stable without the need for preservatives, palm oil, emulsifiers, fillers and synthetic ingredients. Instead, they include only certified organic botanical ingredients, such as antioxidant-rich matcha green tea, and oils like sesame, baobab and rosehip, which have high levels of skin-fortifying omega-6 fatty acids. “Because there’s no water, our products are highly concentrated and more potent,” explains Marion. “People tell us their skin starts to feel calm when they use Mokosh, and they get so many more compliments. It makes sense, because for the first time they’re using highly nutritious products that are free of the synthetics that can upset the skin’s natural balance.”
Marion’s research led her to discover that preservatives in water-based skincare can disturb the skin’s microbiome, which in turn can affect the body’s immune system. She also found that emulsifiers, used to help blend oil and water in standard moisturisers, can alter the skin’s protective, natural lipid barrier. “They’re essentially detergents that sit on your skin all day.” Mokosh face cleansers are also free of detergents. “Many people think their skin should feel squeaky clean. Detergent-based cleansers have this effect but can also strip away the skin’s natural barrier. Everything the skin needs to be healthy can be found in nature – that is the principle behind what we have created.”
Mokosh products are applied to wet skin, thereby replacing the water typically used in skincare. “Nutrients are activated at the time of use, instead of slowly degrading in the jar.”
Advocating for a minimalist lifestyle, the range is deliberately streamlined and the products multifunctional. Better for people and the environment, “it’s about buying fewer products, but higher quality ones”. In addition, the range has organic certification, suits all ages and is Leaping Bunny approved, meaning it is not tested on animals. The company runs a tree-planting programme, a container return scheme in Australia to implement zero waste, and sources fair trade where possible. “Everyone expects luxury skincare to include quality ingredients, but we believe it’s equally important to exclude the harmful ones,” says Marion.
“To me, Mokosh is an example of how ‘the natural way’ can be both scientifically sound and better for our bodies and our planet. Getting closer to nature can only be a good thing – we have so much more to learn.”