Greenwich ‘mom-preneur’ launches healthier skin care line

Maura Mandell shows off part of her line of organic skin care products at a launch party at her Greenwich home. –Kirsten Sanchez

Maura Mandell shows off part of her line of organic skin care products at a launch party at her Greenwich home. –Kirsten Sanchez

Just because a product says it is organic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you. Greenwich mom Maura Mandell learned that the hard way.

Once a lawyer and now a self-described “mom-preneur,” Ms. Mandell said she learned what it meant to truly read a label to find out what is exactly in a product after her third son, now 8 years old, was born with life-threatening food and skin allergies.

“This all started really as a passion project,” Ms. Mandell said, referencing her son’s allergies as the inspiration for what is now a growing business she created. “He could not use any commercial projects on his skin, so I had to learn how to really read a label. It was so confusing with all the names on there, and I didn’t know what any of the ingredients meant or what they were, so I joined a bunch of support groups and went to a bunch of medical meetings to learn how to read a label.”

Ms. Mandell said that after she learned how to read a label, she was horrified to learn that many commercial skin and beauty products actually contain loads of toxic chemicals yet are still labeled as “organic.” And thus began her quest to create #MPWR, which stands for “empower,” because that’s exactly what Ms. Mandell said she’s trying to do for consumers.

“That kind of started my mission to really educate people, and teens specifically, because they are at such a vulnerable age where they are so susceptible to marketing that they should really learn how to read a label to really make a choice about what to use on their skin,” Ms. Mandell said.

Ms. Mandell said she started the project about five years ago, and took about three years to come up with the formulations that would pass U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards.

“That’s something I felt really strongly about — getting that USDA seal,” she said. “We believe that’s really the only way you can guarantee that your product is actually organic, because in the personal care industry there are no regulations, so you can put anything you want on your bottle. You can say it’s organic and it can be filled with all kinds of toxic chemicals, but the USDA gives you a strict protocol of what can’t be in your products to be able to use their label. Our products are incredibly clean, beyond food-grade clean. Two of the products are USDA certified 100% organic and the other two are over 97%.”

the products can help kids a lot and several area children came with their mothers to have a chance to try them out. –Kirsten Sanchez

the products can help kids a lot and several area children came with their mothers to have a chance to try them out. –Kirsten Sanchez

Although the products Ms. Mandell offers are currently available only for pre-order through a website, Mpwrskincare.com, she said they will soon be available for purchase in stores. The products were designed to keep skin clean and hydrated as well as keep blemishes under control. The skin care line includes four different products to be used in four steps.

Step 1: “Go Wash Your Face!” gentle cleanser ($22) contains organic ingredients such as papaya extract, argan oil, and chamomile extract that exfoliate, soothe and nourish skin while removing dirt and makeup without disturbing the skin’s natural balance.

Step 2: “Mist Off” refreshing deep cleansing spray ($18) is a gentle conditioning blend of botanical extracts such as witch hazel, ginseng, and sea buckthorn that nourish and tone the skin, leaving it fresh and clean.

Step 3: “Recharge” nourishing moisturizer ($28) is a complete supplement that provides skin with a daily dose of nourishing organic ingredients such as glycerin, grape seed oil, aloe vera juice, sesame seed oil, and shea butter.

Step 4: “Zip, Zap, Gone” spot treatment ($22) is a highly concentrated antioxidant solution made of ginseng extract, white willow bark, evening primrose, and cinnamon extract that works to dry and soothe blemishes.

Ms. Mandell said the four-step cleansing system is just a jumping-off point, and the company will be developing more products to enhance what it can do for skin care while also allowing people to live a healthier life. As part of the #MPWR launch party held on Nov. 15, Ms. Mandell showcased a chart of popular skin and beauty products that contained toxic chemicals including phthalates, used as a fragrance and solvent, that have been associated with cancer, and parabens, used in 75% to 90% of cosmetics as an antimicrobial, antifungal and preservative but is also a known carcinogen. Other products on the list included toxins like formaldehyde.

Overall, Ms. Mandell said, what the whole experience has done for her is really open her eyes and made her look into what she is putting into her body and on her skin as well.

“My son is 8 now, and what he has really done for our family, by making me be able to understand what is in products, has made him live a much more normal life,” she said.

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