Skin care brands have the potential to change the world. Many existing, older brands are making adjustments to their products to incorporate more ethical and sustainable product lines and practices, but the fact of the matter is, these companies never took the environment into consideration in the first place. So making these changes after the fact is an expensive, slow, and drawn-out process.
The “profit-first” way of thinking is an old corporation mindset. Thankfully, we’ve seen a shift in the industry, as many brands founded within the last five to ten years have established their companies with a “planet-first” mindset.
This is what M.S. Skincare founder, Anit Hora did.
Born in India, and raised in hustling, bustling New York, Anit, an independent, driven and creative soul, studied for an executive career in fashion. After working with cutting-edge independent designers and established design houses in New York, she realized she felt a disconnect, as though she wasn’t meeting her fullest potential.
She decided to take a sabbatical and travel through South America. Anit had the privilege of meeting people from all walks of life on this trip of a lifetime. It was here that Anit also rekindled her love and passion for her Indian heritage’s Ayurveda traditions.
Ayur = life; Veda = science or knowledge.
According to Anit, “This ancient system of wisdom and healing proposes that full health, vitality, and beauty, are the result of the dynamic integration between our mind, body and spirit.”
After 12 months of traveling, Anit came back to a life that was hectic and fast-paced. While she loved the city, she wanted to create space for calmness and peace. She wanted to draw from her heritage, use the teachings of Ayurveda, and incorporate it with modern Western Herbalism to create products that embodied the absolute best from both worlds.
Anit studied at Aveda Institute, where she learnt Ayurveda, Western Herbalism, and skincare. She became a successful holistic esthetician and herbalist, and started her line of Ayurvedic teas and tinctures from the confines of her small New York apartment. She blended her own formulas, trialling and creating concoctions for her own ailments, and selling them on Etsy. Eventually, her product’s popularity grew and requests were made for more range in her skincare line.
Anit’s nickname, given to her by her mother, was the little bird that hops around everywhere - Sparrow.
Mullein is a common genus of flowers used in Ayurveda medicine to treat an array of different conditions, one of them being asthma. In college, Anit’s teacher asked students to choose a plant from a basket without looking. Without knowing anything about this plant, Anit, an asthma sufferer, reached in and pulled out the mullein.
Mullein & Sparrow was born in 2012. The name was later shortened to M.S.Skincare to represent the brand’s simplistic and purist approach.
M.S. Skincare is the place where Ayurveda meets Western Herbalism meets the modern woman. Anit wanted to design a brand that embodied tradition, but that also fit in with a modern lifestyle. M.S. Skincare products are formulated using sustainably sourced, unique, and high quality ingredients from all over the world. Skincare that is backed by science and nature, and reflects the “knowledge and diversity of the interconnected world” we live in.
Anit believes in raising other women up in business, and in life. She is committed to supporting female founders, and all of her ingredients are sourced from international female collectives.
The ingredients at M.S.Skincare are thoughtfully and sustainably sourced. Anit personally curates each and every ingredient they use. Each ingredient is also rigorously tested and researched to ensure the highest of standards are met. They test for things such as fertility and hormone disruptors, carcinogens, and toxins. M.S.Skincare are completely transparent, and if an ingredient does not meet these high standards, they are not used in any of their formulations.
Banned ingredients include sulfates, phthalate, gluten, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, parabens, petrochemicals, PEG’s, hydroquinone, oxybenzone, triclosan, dimethicone, propylene or butylene glycols, petroleum, PEGs, TEA, DEA, GMO, silicones, pesticides, and carcinogens.
It’s not only the ingredients M.S.Skincare are fastidious about. The partners throughout the entire supply chain must also meet their requirements in order to collaborate. M.S.Skincare researches their suppliers before they partner with them to ensure that they are up to code.
M.S.Skincare’s packaging esthetic is minimal, meaning minimal impact on the environment. The packaging M.S.Skincare uses been thoughtfully selected for their products. To maintain the integrity of their products and our planet, bottles are sustainably made from recyclable glass.
Anit does not believe in using virgin paper, and ensures that the cartons are recyclable cardboard. While the tops are made from plastic, they are able to be recycled through programs such as Terracycle®.
M.S. Skincare’s range contains luxurious body oils, bath salts and perfume oils, all based on their Ayurveda properties.
Let’s talk a little more about some of the Ayurvedic ingredients used in M.S.Skincare’s products.
Gotu kola is a native water plant found in parts of Asia and the Pacific known for its cognitive healing benefits. It has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to help with mental and physical ailments, from anxiety and stress, to wound healing. You’ll find this power plant extract in many skincare products, including many of M.S.Skincare’s.
Holy Basil, or Tulsi, is one of Hinduism's holiest plants, and revered as the “Elixir of Life”. Tulsi is deeply absorbed by the skin, reaching all layers evenly and making it possible for purification and cleansing to happen on the surface and the epidermis. You’ll find this ingredient in M.S.Skincare’s cleansers.
Turmeric is known as the Holy Powder in India, due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial benefits. This powerful ingredient is known to treat acne, psoriasis, stretch marks, hyperpigmentation, prevent fine lines, wrinkles, skin irritation and inflammation, and is great at balancing oily skin.
Neem Oil has been used in India for at least 2500 years. This ingredient is fungicidal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-aging, and has skin rejuvenating properties.
Our favorite way to use M.S.Skincare’s products is in a complete regime. Try this:
Morning Cleanse: Mantra Skin Perfecting Cleanser.
Formulated with Holy Basil, Neem, and Turmeric, this gentle cleanser purifies and hydrates without disturbing the skin’s natural barrier. Holy Basil is the superstar ingredient, as it reduces acne and hyperpigmentation, and is a natural anti-inflammatory. Neem contains essential fatty acids to promote healing, while Turmeric is also antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, boosting the skin’s natural healing abilities, and soothing red and irritated skin. Red seaweed, rose oil, and aloe are also key ingredients for antimicrobial and soothing properties.
Evening Cleanse: Santal Dual-Action Enzyme Cleansing Powder.
Work this powder into the skin with water and leave on for a few minutes to act as a gentle exfoliant-cleanser-in-one. Bromelain is the key ingredient for inhibiting platelet aggregation (found in skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis). It has anti-inflammatory properties, promotes skin healing, and interferes with the growth of malignant cells. Papain helps remove acne-causing bacteria and damaged keratin cells. Sandalwood is an effective astringent, while also helping with pigmentation.
Weekly Treatment: Enlighten Retexturizing Glycolic Treatment.
Glycolic acid is a powerhouse ingredient, as it eliminates uneven skin texture, fades dark spots, minimizes enlarged pores and supports collagen production. Sandalwood and Turmeric are anti-inflammatory and brightening for the skin. Use this every 3-4 days for a boost in your skin’s natural cell turnover.
Weekly Treatment: Jaipur Brightening Enzyme Mask.
Containing Glycolic Acid and Pumpkin Enzymes, this powerful but gentle exfoliating mask “eats” through dead skin cells, while repairing and smoothing skin’s texture. Neem is an effective anti-inflammatory, while lemon and orange peel extracts are rich in vitamin C, adding a brightening and toning effect. Use this mask on different days to your glycolic treatment, every 3-4 days to facilitate your skin’s natural sloughing of skin cells.
Moisturize: Illume Radiance Enhancing Moisturizer.
Formulated with coconut oil and jojoba seed oil, this luxurious cream calms and nourishes tired skin. Rose water soothes and alleviates irritating skin conditions. Neem, Gotu Kola, and Turmeric are all anti-inflammatory with skin brightening, collagen-boosting, hyperpigmentation-reducing benefits. Rosemary for brightening pigmentation and reducing any swelling or puffiness. Seaweed for its antioxidant properties, firming and toning the skin.
Yoga & Meditation.
Anit’s Indian heritage instilled in her the Ayurvedic values she holds true to her heart - and to her brand. But that isn’t the only thing Indian culture has influenced in M.S.Skincare’s foundations. Yoga and meditation have both been an Indian tradition for over 5000 years, and Anit practices both regularly in her daily life. So it was only natural that M.S.Skincare’s products were inspired by these rituals. From the product names - like Mantra, Enlighten, Ritual, Kapha, Aum - to the way you use the products - like this Ancient Ayurvedic Ritual using M.S.Skincare’s body oils. Adding even just one of M.S.Skincare’s products to your regime is sure to give you a truly immersive and meditative experience.
Mind, Body, Spirit, Planet and Women.
Brands today are becoming more inclusive and more thoughtful in all that they do. Fait avec Coeur celebrates these brands that are built on the beliefs that humans and the planet are intrinsically and inherently connected to one another. Not just brands that acknowledge our connection to our Mother Earth, but brands that honor women as equals, as the life-givers, breadwinners, founders, wives, lovers, sisters, friends, and nurturers of this world.
M.S.Skincare’s foundation of supporting female founders, and lifting women up to the podium to join their male counterparts at the head of the table is one of their most admirable values. To level-out the playing field, and do so in a sustainable, ethical, kind, and incredibly humanistic way.
The beauty industry is in dire need of compassionate innovators who are disrupting the status quo. People who make bold and thoughtful decisions based on ethics rather than their bottom line. We would like to thank Anit Hora for her remarkable contribution to the beauty industry. Your work is admirable, and we are so blessed to have you on board with us at Fait avec Coeur.
Emma Masotti is an Australian now living in Austin, TX, and has been a trained esthetician for over 15 years. She is a sustainable skincare writer, educating and building awareness around proper skin health that doesn’t cost the earth.
Some of the products promoted in our blog are from our online store. Many others are brands we have researched and found to be great examples of sustainable, ethical, and innovative brands in their field, and we don't make any profit from mentioning them in our blog. #CollaborationOverCompetition