Last week I had the opportunity to meet with Ms. Nathalie Rohlf, who is the international trainer for Mavala while she was in Montreal. For those of you who are not familiar with the brand, Mavala is a Swiss beauty line specializing in skin care, nail care and makeup, and is today present in 120 countries. I was first introduced to the brand when I got to try two of their products, namely the Oil Seal Dryer for touch-dry nails as well as the Double-Lash growth treatment (reviewed here and here). We got to chat about the history of Mavala, as well as the products they offer. At the end of the interview I also asked Ms. Rohlf about her career path, as I was curious to know more on what enticed her to work in the beauty industry.
Here are a few of the questions I had for the Mavala expert:
By who and when was Mavala founded?
Nathalie Rohlf: Mavala was founded by a lady named Madame Madeleine Van Landeghem in 1958, but was later sold to Monsieur Jean Maute in the early 1960s, who is still today running Mavala with his daughter. The brand came to be after Madame Van Landeghem created the Scientifique Nail Hardener in 1959, which was formulated to heal flaking, splitting nails, and right from the start this product was a huge hit, and is still to this day the #1 best-selling product of the brand.
What 5 products would you recommend to someone who has never tried the brand before?
N.R.: First off, both the Mavala Cuticle Cream and Cuticle Oil to maintain good-looking cuticles. I would suggest trying the Hand Cream to keep the hands nice and moisturized and also Mavala 002, a protective base coat that prevents both yellowing of the nails and that makes the manicure last longer. Colorfix is also another great product, it is basically a glossy-finish top coat. Finally, I would recommend the Cuticle Remover, to be used once a week to roll back the cuticles.
What is your favourite product from Mavala and why?
N.R.: For hand care, I will have to say Mava + Hand Cream, which we call our SOS cream because it is extremely beneficial for super dry, cracked and chapped skin. It also helps with any redness on the back of the hands, which is most often due to the skin being dehydrated from environmental factors such as the cold and wind. It really leaves the skin soothed and well-nourished, and is also perfume-free, so it is great for both women and men who suffer from eczema. For nail care, I will have to go with Colorfix top coat. It contains acryl, making the nails super shiny and glossy while also providing flexibility to the nail colour, giving the manicure chip-free, long-lasting results.
What do you think makes Mavala products stand out from other brands?
N.R.: We are the leading nail care specialists, and we really answer to nail problems. We have 55 years of research and development backing up all of our products, which are catered to repair and improve natural nails.
What are some of Mavala's best seller products?
N.R.: The Scientifique Nail Hardener (mentionned earlier) and Double-Lash, a product that lengthens and strenghtens the eyelashes in just under 30 days of use. The Nailactan Nail Cream, Mavala 002 base coat and Colorfix top coat are also among our most popular products.
How are Mavala products tested?
N.R.: No animals are harmed during testing - Mavala actually won a British award in the 1980s for being one of the first beauty brands to cease animal testing. We now test our products ourselves and also have a group of women around Geneva (who are in no way associated with the brand) be our "guinea pigs" to have an unbiased opinion on how the products perform. We also have a single formula for all 120 countries Mavala products are sold in, which is a testament to our products' formulation being in-check with each of these countries' cosmetic regulations, including those who are very strict when it comes to cosmetic ingredients such as Canada, the United States, Japan, and most European countries.
What are some key ingredients that are found in your products?
N.R.: In our face care and makeup line, our most common-base ingredient is mallow extract, a plant that grows in the Alps at high altitude. Regarding our nail care line, it is more complex to define as the ingredients vary greatly from one product to another.
Where can Mavala products be purchased in Canada?
N.R.: Mavala's largest product selection can be found in most pharmacies with the exception of Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmaprix, as well as certain aesthetic clinics. Our products can also be purchased online, although the selection isn't as complete as the products that can be found in stores.
I then had a few questions relating to Ms. Rohlf's professional background. Here are a few of the questions I was eager to have her answer:
You have quite the impressive professional biography, having worked in cosmetic training and marketing, on top of being a licensed aesthetician. What would you say has been your favourite position so far?
N.R.: My most interesting position has been working for Mavala as an international trainer for the last 5 years, although I've been working for Mavala on and off for over 20 years now. I got my beauty therapy diploma in London, England, and was first introduced to Mavala during my first job at a beauty salon where my boss carried Mavala products, and right away I loved the philosophy behind the brand and their products. I also got to work in Canada as a project manager and trainer, which were also jobs I loved. With my current job, I get to travel and train the trainers, that is, the sales representatives and professionals, which I find very rewarding.
When did you realize that you wanted to work in the beauty industry?
N.R.: After moving to England at a young age to perfect my English, I found an ad in a job center from a lady in a beauty salon who was looking for some help, and even without any experience or a diploma in aesthetics she gave me a chance. The owner trained me for 3 months, so I had practical knowledge, but no knowledge on the anatomy of the skin. So I would perform tasks and she would correct and guide me on the right techniques to use. So after working there for one year and loving it, I knew I had found the right career path, so I continued working full time for her and attended beauty school during the evenings and on Saturdays to get my diploma and be able to work for other beauty salons. Since then, I've never looked back as it has become my passion. For me, it isn't a drag to come to work, I love it!
Who is the most influential beauty idol who has inspired you in your career?
N.R.: Not so long ago I reread a biography on Helena Rubinstein, a beauty pioneer of the late 1800s and early 20th century. It is a biography that I had first read many years ago, even before I started working in the beauty industry. She built a cosmetic empire out of nothing, which is very different from how it works today. She is very inspiring as she was a very dedicated woman, as were many other beauty pioneers of her time.
What beauty tips would you recommend to someone who is just starting to get into skin care, nail care, and makeup?
N.R.: Good cleansing, morning and night, and using the right products for your skin, but again the best advice for wrinkle prevention is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize - and that you should start even before you hit your 20s. Taking care of your skin and having a well-hydrated base to work with is most essential for proper nail care maintenance and to achieve the best makeup application. Removing your makeup before going to bed is also of utmost importance, followed by applying a good night cream.
The beauty industry is very large, and there are so many career opportunities. What would you suggest to someone who would like to venture into the industry but doesn't know where to start?
N.R.: I would recommend to first get a base of knowledge by getting a diploma in beauty therapy, and then of course you can pursue higher diplomas to specialize in a particular field of beauty. So you can become a beauty therapist, but you can also become a sales representative, a trainer, a makeup artist, the sky really is the limit! With this type of language - beauty - you can travel the world: a manicure in Rio, Tokyo, or Paris is always that, a manicure.
I would like to thank Ms. Rohlf once again for agreeing to meet with me and providing us with her personal insights on the Mavala brand and all things beauty!