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When Mila Moursi arrived in L.A. in 1979, there were facialists but it was a lacklustre scene. As an enterprising young French aesthetician trained in traditional European therapies, hydrotherapy and cosmetic chemistry, she seized the opportunity. Setting up her salon in Beverly Hills, Moursi imported a hydro tub and began offering treatments that were at the forefront of skin science. “We did treatments with the tub, cellulite massage, body scrubs and seaweed wraps. Back then treatments like these were cutting-edge,” she says.
It wasn’t long before Hollywood’s biggest names, both male and female luminaries, started flocking to the salon. “It was the right place and the right time,” she says. “I had Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck, Robert Stack, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner. Some of them I’d watched as a school girl in Paris, like Roger Moore!” A decade later, the name Mila Moursi was passed to a new generation of fresh-faced actors. Courtney Cox and Jennifer Aniston are long-time devotees, as are Ellen DeGeneres, Charlize Theron, Rashida Jones and Chelsea Handler.
“It’s not easy to keep a celebrity client because they are always looking for the next miracle,” Moursi says. “It’s an industry where appearance is closely tied to booking their next job, so they can become insecure. I don’t do quick fixes, so sometimes they leave, and sometimes they come back when they realise the quick fixes don’t work. Generally, our clients stay with us for years and years, we’re lucky that way. I commit to the client and give them the best product, equipment and service. So, it’s luck, but it’s also earned.”
Almost 40 years on, Moursi keeps up with the latest industry advancements while standing by European traditions; her nourishing, beautifying and anti-ageing skin care collection is, to this day, made entirely in France. There are many standouts in the range. Refining Lotion blends glycolic and lactic acid with soothing botanicals to gently exfoliate, speed up skin’s natural renewal process and diminish the appearance of wrinkles and pigmentation. Dual Action Serum, meanwhile, is a godsend for anyone looking for a plumping, smoothing elixir without the heaviness. It’s a mix between a serum and cream, so it’s light and ideal for combination or oily skins. All the products that keep A-Listers hooked are now available through MECCA Trove. Moursi, who visited MECCA HQ recently, shared some of her wisdom with us.
Products that deliver: “I’ve sold my product in my spa for 25 years as a regime for clients after treatments. I teach them that great skin is a team effort, you can’t just come to me and then do nothing yourself. For that reason, it has to be a product that works. So, we have a real high-performance product, not an empty promise.”
Not all ingredients are equal: “The key to great skin care is to have the best ingredients possible. There are so many different qualities. The best neroli oil might be $50,000 a kilo, and the lowest grade might be $20, but they both get called ‘neroli oil’ on the label. That’s why my products are on the expensive side. I don’t want them to be expensive, but I need them to perform and I respect the ingredient. If I’m using a new peptide, and the clinical reports say it needs to be at nine percent to be effective, that’s what I do. I’m not going to just put it in at two percent just for marketing. I’m in the services business, so I need results.”
The product she wishes everyone was using: “Rejuvenating Serum corrects and prevents. It works with all skin types to diminish fine lines, it’s really incredible. It has three different molecule sizes of hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin. The smallest goes deep into the skin to boost moisture, while the larger ones stay on the outside to hydrate the top layer and hold in that moisture.”
Why you can’t skip toner: “So often people cut it, but toner completes the cleansing. Even if you wipe off your cleanser with a warm washcloth, you have a bit of residue. The toner removes it and it’s also a delivery product. It makes the skin more receptive to the serums and creams that follow, so it’s saving you money too.”
What makes good skin: “Lifestyle is really important. If you’re not taking care of yourself from the inside, I’ll be working for nothing from the outside. Before you start a regime or seeing an aesthetician, you have to be exercising, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water. Skin care is really miraculous today, you can achieve incredible results and age so gracefully, but you have to do it from inside and out.”
Beauty from top to toe: “I was always amazed at how people only worry about their skin from the face up. Your skin is one organ. Your largest organ. At our spa, it’s a head to toe service. Two hours, two technicians, and we work on the skin on your whole body.”
On beauty from within: “I started telling my clients that they needed to be good on the inside for them to be beautiful. Then I thought I should probably stop saying that! But I do believe it. Your wellbeing and mental state come through. If someone is negative or dark inside, you can’t see their beauty.”
Interview by Alexandra WhitingAugust 2018
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