BY DESIGN : The Faces of Success : Oats. Apple juice. Powdered milk. Using raw ingredients like these, three L.A. skin care chefs have cooked up products that are winning fans. October 13, 1994
Call it the Eastern European connection. Helena Rubinstein, who was born in Poland, admitted to a biographer that “lots of Romanians and Hungarians–clever with skin–taught me masses.”
A native of Romania, Mariana Chicet studied cosmetic chemistry and skin care for two years at a Bucharest college, then immigrated to Los Angeles in 1979 at age 27. Tucked among her belongings was a 100-year-old formula for what would become Bone Marrow Cream, an “anti-wrinkle” emollient that is now her bestseller.
Chicet started her career here by giving facials and invested those earnings into electric mixers, she says. “One gallon, then five gallon, then 10.” Her signature product line was born.
Today, the bottles line the window of her small eponymous store on West 3rd Street in Los Angeles, where three full-time aestheticians perform 85 facials a week. Chicet is too busy doing skin consultations and visiting her lab near Cal State L.A. to do much hands-on work these days.
Chicet is candid about her “secret” ingredients. A local meat packer supplies the beef bones (“they have to be fresh”) from which workers extract the oil for Bone Marrow Cream. The seaweed in her Fresh Sea Plant Mask is imported from Japan and crushed gently in a special mixer. Moisturizers such as collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid come from a Swiss pharmaceuticals firm. Prices range from $7.50 for Emollient Cleanser to $25.50 for Day and Night Revitalizing Concentrate.
Every couple of months, Chicet and her husband, who oversees the lab, order small production runs–350 jars of Bone Marrow Cream, 600 bottles of Nutrient Milk Cleanser–to fill demand. Although they could expand the business through outside investors and boost their $200,000 in annual sales, “investors cut corners,” Chicet says. “They would say, ‘Why do you use so much collagen, 33%, in your Day and Night Concentrate?’ ”
So she does it her way. With a celebrity clientele that includes Linda Evangelista, Kyle MacLachlan, Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Nicole Kidman, Judy Davis, Stephanie Zimbalist and Lara Flynn Boyle, she must be doing something right.
Mariana Chicet/Natural European Skin Care Products and Treatments; (213) 651-0979 or (213) 651-0291.
Article courtesy of LA Times: http://articles.latimes.com/1994-10-13/news/ls-49782_1_skin-care-products