• Maryse O'Donnell portrait

    “I feel like so many beauty brand campaigns are so glossy and retouched, so I wanted something that felt less constructed.”



    Maryse Beauty products
  • A Dialogue

    Maryse O’Donnell

    Interview by Yasmine Ganley

    Paring skincare back to the most necessary and potent ingredients, Maryse harnesses the healing properties found in New Zealand’s native botanicals. Frequently hand blended in small batches from her studio in Auckland, natural beauty specialist Maryse O’Donnell creates a concise range of unique formulations, naturally infused with earthy fragrances and ingredients such as ground manuka leaf, New Zealand sourced clay, and kiwi seed.

    • —What has been your motivation to start your own skincare range?

      M: After being in the beauty industry for a long time I had worked with so many skincare brands but felt there was a lack of really effective natural and organic products out there, and if there were they were pretty underwhelming, so I decided to develop a collection myself using highly concentrated, botanical ingredients. I formulate and produce everything myself here in Auckland.

    • — Can you tell us about some of your hero ingredients, where they are sourced, and their benefits?

      M: One hero ingredient I work with is manuka leaf. It is wild crafted and harvested from the native manuka tree here in New Zealand. From there I have someone who takes the leaf and finely mills it into a fine powder, which becomes the base for my manuka leaf exfoliating polish. It is highly antibacterial and really beneficial for the skin due to its detoxing properties. Each individual product in the collection is formulated to have concentrated, highly nutritive properties.

    • — How does living in New Zealand inform your work?

      M: There is a really amazing selection of native, botanical extracts and ingredients to work with here in New Zealand. I use locally sourced ingredients wherever I can in my products.

    • — Your campaign images are so beautiful, what were some of the ideas you and Harriet were exploring here through a visual medium?

      M: I feel like so many beauty brand campaigns are so glossy and retouched so I wanted something that felt less constructed. We’re playing with the idea of the feminine in nature, but subverting its usual clichés by keeping everything relatively untouched and undone.

    • — When you talk about your love of nature, what are some of your most favourite places in New Zealand to experience this?

      M: I grew up in the South Island so some of my most favourite places to visit are there, especially the West Coast. Its untouched, raw landscape is so beautifully wild and I feel so grounded when I am in those surroundings. It also inspires me to find new native ingredients to use in my formulations.

    • — What does your own beauty regime look like?

      M: I have used many products over the years but I have found that by paring back my skincare regime and using only specific ingredients to maintain and nourish my skin works best. My approach is minimal, using highly concentrated ingredients. I like to follow my skincare regime (using my own products) with a little blush, brow gel and my mineral dew skin gloss each day for a subtle look.

    • — I’m interested in your idea of paring back, only using the essentials, this notion is prevalent in your skincare, but does this idea translate into your home or lifestyle too?

      M: I try to embrace the notion of simplicity whether it be the clothing I buy, beauty products I use or objects for my home. I prefer to use less but make sure they’re higher quality - something that I’ll still want around in 5 years. This is why I like things that are made by hand and not mass produced - something that has a story behind it and where someone has taken time to physically make it. This, of course, follows the same approach I take with my own skincare collection.

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