Katia, a beauty and skincare enthusiast and founder of Mirra, shares her passion for deeply researched skincare topics, clean beauty, and self-care via informative weekly emails to women. We asked her about her entrepreneurial journey, her personal skincare routine, and some tips on how to decode skincare!
Tells us about how you started Mirra! Why is skincare so important to you?
"I felt that the beauty industry has sort of a
'bullying attitude' towards consumers."
I studied Science Technology and Society at Stanford, and have always been really interested in the intersection of technology and skincare. When I was working in venture capital, I had my eye out for an interesting skincare company to join, but never found anything that I thought really took the confusion out of shopping for skincare. After temporarily taking over one of the venture capital firm’s portfolio companies, I finally decided to venture out and create the skincare brand that I’ve always been searching for.
I’ve had acne and very sensitive skin my whole life. I’ve tried everything under the sun, and have spent countless hours and dollars on products that have ultimately left me worse off. I also felt that the beauty industry has sort of a “bullying attitude” towards consumers; I always thought it was my fault for having dry patchy skin and that it was my fault that I had acne. I was craving a brand and product that a) actually works and b) that spoke to me as a human being.
Katia's #shelfie is goals.
What does your typical day look like?
I usually wake up really early and enjoy getting a workout in before I start my day. I like getting in some tough cardio or attending a bootcamp to get my day started, which helps to get into a positive mindset. When I have time, I like to make a kale smoothie with adaptogenic herbs.
I work a lot, but I’m really excited and obsessed with what I do, so it doesn’t feel like work. There’s no separation of “work” and “life” for me, and I’m not a big believer in “work and life balance,” as long as you have the luxury to love what you do. I think it’s really important not to fully turn off, because very often when I’m at a gym or taking shower, that’s when I have my lightbulb moment. It’s in everyday life that I find the greatest inspiration for Mirra.
What are your tips to consumers looking to decode the natural skincare space (i.e. someone looking to get into the natural space but doesn’t know anything about green beauty)?
I personally don’t like using the term “natural skincare.” I prefer “clean” or “non-toxic.” There are a number of brands that promote themselves as “natural” but their products contain ingredients that do your skin and body more harm than good. So clean and non-toxic is personally a better framework to evaluate skincare.
I’m also really obsessed with ingredients. It’s really important to understand the role of common ingredients in skincare so you that you can make informed decisions about what you put in, and on, your body. Understanding how to read ingredient labels give you a huge leg up when deciding what to buy --- I believe understanding ingredients is a necessary investment in yourself. A big part of what we do at Mirra is decode skincare and because it can be really overwhelming to navigate on your own. Our current product is a weekly skincare newsletter that breaks down skincare into easy to digest content.
Simple, informative, and easy to understand. Thanks, Mirra!
What’s your morning routine? Get specific! :)
I’m obsessed with skincare, so no matter how busy I am, I never skip my skincare routine in the morning or at night. I don’t really like to think about brands, because in reality I think we should be a lot more focused on ingredients than anything else.
In the morning, I use a gentle cleanser, and then follow up with an antioxidant serum to protect my skin from free-radicals damage. Then I use a peptide lotion, followed by sunscreen.
Throughout the day, I reapply sunscreen religiously! I literally get anxiety if I leave my house without bringing my sunscreen with me. I can’t emphasize this enough -- sunscreen is an absolute must if you want good skin in both the short and long term. You can’t change your genetics, but you can change how much sun exposure your skin gets.
During the week I normally don’t wear makeup, except for maybe some eyeliner. At night, I double cleanse, use a foaming cleanser to get rid of all the dirt, sunscreen and makeup on my skin, and then follow-up with a gentle exfoliating cleanser. Then I use a leave on AHA serum to exfoliate. I’ve been having a bad reaction to retinol the past few years so I’ve been using glycolic acid. I then usually follow up with rosehip oil and maybe a peptide cream depending on how dry my skin is.
What’s one skincare product you can’t live without?
Interview conducted by Yuri Hirama