Skin Deep

ABOUT FACE: Allison McNamara

by Carissa Zadwarny

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Skin Deep

ABOUT FACE: Allison McNamara

From red carpet host to skincare CEO, clean beauty founder, Allison McNamara spills all her secrets.

Instagram: @allisonmcnamara
Location:
Los Angeles
Astrological Sign: Aries, Virgo Rising
Book that changed your life: Sapiens by Dr. Harari
Podcast you can’t stop listening to: Goop
Instagram account you love to follow: @devinbrugmann, @nikkideroest, @jenatkinhair, @futureearth, & @prettylittlefawn are probably my faves
Beauty product (or treatment) that changed your skin: MARA Algae Retinol Face Oil

If you scroll through Allison McNamara’s Instagram, you’ll find an index of effortlessly glowing selfies that, even if you possess only the slightest interest in skincare, will make you want to ask all the hard-hitting questions. Like — What products does she use? And the obvious — How can I get MY skin to glow like that?” 

Her secret (which has never really been a secret at all), lies in a stylishly packaged dropper bottle by the name of MARA Universal Face Oil, and she’s not trying to keep anyone in the dark. In fact, she’s on a mission to share her clean beauty power product with virtually everyone. It was her growing interest in seeking out clean ingredients, coupled with her frustration for not being able to find a face oil that lived up to the hype, that ultimately catapulted her into beauty entrepreneurship. 

CZ

What was your first job?

AM

My first job was at a store in Manhattan Beach called Girl Mania when I was 16. My first job after college was an internship at Who What Wear, but my first post-college paying job was a Media Assistant in the Media Center at E! Entertainment. I was basically a tape librarian and would deliver tapes to producers for them to cut segments from for E! News and The Daily 10!

CZ

Tell us a little bit about how you started MARA Beauty. What was the inspiration?

AM

I had been using face oils well before they hit the mainstream market, but still wasn’t satisfied with what was out there. I loved the idea of incorporating sea ingredients like algae and plankton into a clean face oil with unique exotic ingredients and stumbled upon the name MARA while in Istanbul on the Sea of Marmara, which also happens to be the last four letters of my last name. The whole brand took shape really organically and thoughtfully – I’m so happy with how it turned out.
allison1

CZ

What does being a woman in business mean to you?

AM

I was lucky enough to have parents who always made me feel like I could do whatever I wanted to do in life, regardless of whatever glass ceilings were in place. That being said, I am very proud to be a female owned and founded brand and hope to inspire other people to follow their passions and carve out something meaningful in business for themselves. Working shouldn’t feel like a chore.

CZ

Best way to cope with imposter syndrome in the workplace?

AM

Still haven’t figured this one out haha! It’s so easy to let our insecurities take over and feel like we don’t belong. Although, I felt the plagues of imposter syndrome more when I was hosting to be quite honest. While I loved being on-camera and am so proud of the body of work I created, I feel much more at home dreaming up beauty products and building a business more than I did in the anchor chair, even though I do miss the hustle and bustle of being on a news set from time to time.
allison2

“Good things take time, deadlines will be frequently missed, and you can’t please everyone.”

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CZ

Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs that want to pursue a similar path?

AM

Don’t rush things – good things take time, deadlines will frequently be missed, and you can’t please everyone. Allow yourself to create and dream because that’s how brands are born. Also, celebrate the small wins.

CZ

How did you get into clean beauty and why is it important to you?

AM

I got into clean beauty when I was still hosting because the everyday makeup was wreaking havoc on my skin. I started researching the ingredients in my makeup – and the ingredients in products I had grown up using – and was appalled at the myriad of filler ingredients that made up most of the INCI lists. It really was a downward spiral from there, I would say my routine is 98% clean.
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CZ

What was your first ever coveted beauty product?

AM

A small travel size Navy perfume my dad gave me. I thought it was the fanciest thing in the entire world.

CZ

Biggest beauty myth?

AM

That you need to be doing a 10 step skincare routine.

CZ

Favorite way to get your body moving?

AM

Reformer Pilates! Pilates by Amanda and Pilates Platinum are my go-to’s.

CZ

Describe your ideal Sunday situation?

AM

It really depends. My fiancé and I love brunch, the farmer’s market, going to open houses in our neighborhood and hanging out in our backyard or at a friend’s house.
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CZ

Name one go-to travel destination and one that’s on your bucket list.

AM

Go to: Amalfi Coast, Italy
Bucket List: Budapest, Hungary

CZ

What’s your self-care power move?

AM

Taking a bath.

CZ

Describe beauty as you see it, in a few words:

AM

Confidence and simplicity.

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