The Beauty Rebel – Sharon McGlinchey
For 23 years, Sharon McGlinchey has been on a quest to create organic, natural skin care with an honest and transparent approach. The founder of MV Skintherapy thinks of herself as a passionate chef, blending the world’s most powerful, precious and pure ingredients – all of which work holistically to transform skin and nourish our senses. To this day, Sharon still works closely with naturopaths and complementary health practitioners to help people achieve radiant and healthy skin, naturally. Sharon is a powerhouse with a purpose that comes from deep within. This is her story.
“You could say my journey has been a labour of love and one with no compromise. My no-compromise approach and the very high self-imposed standards I set for myself and my company are the reasons I believe MV has survived and thrived. In fact, survived and thrived in one of the world’s most competitive industries and, with the emergence of private-label skincare, one of the world’s most saturated markets.”
“MV’s core values haven’t changed in 23 years. The products are still made small-batch from the finest and purest ingredients I can source – even going direct to farms where possible. Put simply, the products must work so the ingredients must be exceptional.”
You’re a bit of a beauty rebel when it comes to saying it how it is … More is not more … Less is more. When it comes to the products we use on our skin, why is it important to remember this?
I started MV almost by accident while helping a client who’d reacted badly to a new moisturiser. I was very mindful that I should add minimal ingredients and that those ingredients should be very high quality. I felt this approach would minimise the chance of another reaction and ultimately help heal her skin. That first cream was so successful that I decided using fewer ingredients but in higher concentration was a darn good idea. What this means is that the skin is receiving a therapeutic dose of plant and essential oils, so you get a therapeutic outcome in the form of speedy and impressive results.
I also believe in “less is more” in your bathroom cabinet. For me, achieving more with less is logical, and I do this by creating concentrated and multi-functional products.
When it comes to the health of the planet, why is less more?
Showing restraint with both products and packaging is challenging because, when you own a skincare company, everyone is telling you to keep launching new products year in, year out. Partly to appease consumer demand because, let’s face it, we’ve been turned into mega-consumers! But also to provide continual marketing material as it’s rare to secure ongoing media exposure without a steady stream of new products.
Then there’s the fossil fuel industry and all of its associated by-products. When I created MV 23 years ago, very few people were talking about the state of the planet. However, in 1998, before I launched MV, I had a huge shift in consciousness when faced with confronting information about petrochemicals and petroleum by-products including common cosmetic ingredients and plastic packaging.
I knew then that I was not going to contribute to the growth of the petroleum industry but my so-called “disruptive” views on petrochemical toxicity and phthalates (hormone disruptors) found in plastics were met with raised eyebrows within the beauty industry. I was seen as a troublemaker by many and a visionary by only a few! Those few who spurred me on began referring to me as a Beauty Rebel and it stuck.
The Beauty Rebel in me knew that a small succinct range – the opposite approach to the mainstream – was exactly what was needed. I set about creating everything I believed I would need to achieve a great salon result and, for my clients, an impressive at-home result. My background as a Beauty Therapist meant approaching salons with my capsule range was a natural and logical step. However, MV was rejected by almost every salon I visited because it was “too small” and the words kept echoing, “how can you possibly achieve everything you are saying with so few products?”
I explained repeatedly that they could educate their clients, as I had done, in the art of minimalism, the power of less is more, the logic of multi-functionality and the benefit of concentrated products that last far longer than commercial skincare. This was not well received – in fact, doors closed on me left, right and centre.
I also came up against resistance to my choice of packaging and was asked often why I had not chosen glass or plastic. Plastic was out of the question as I couldn’t unlearn what I now knew about plastics and glass was heavy to ship, breakable and was rarely recycled because it was cheaper to keep creating virgin glass. Aluminium on the other hand is infinitely recyclable and uses far less energy to recycle than glass. My bathroom used to be chock-a-block with all kinds of skincare and personal care products but once I created my own capsule range, I realised how wasteful and unnecessary a lot of these products were and how much better it is for the planet and our skin to embrace a less is more philosophy.
Less is also more when it comes to the oversaturated market of skincare companies. Of every 1,000 new skincare companies that start up each year, only around 80 of those will survive. You’re one of Australia’s first natural skincare pioneers and you have a 20-year-old very successful business. Please talk to us about what sets you apart. Why and how did you make it?
MV’s core values haven’t changed in 23 years. The products are still made small-batch from the finest and purest ingredients I can source – even going direct to farms where possible. Put simply, the products must work so the ingredients must be exceptional. That’s why MV still has devotees from the early to mid 2000s and also why thousands of these women all around the world were embracing the art of self-care through MV rituals long before a global pandemic made these phrases part of popular lock-down language.
You could say my journey has been a labour of love and one with no compromise. My no-compromise approach and the very high self-imposed standards I set for myself and my company are the reasons I believe MV has survived and thrived. In fact, survived and thrived in one of the world’s most competitive industries and, with the emergence of private-label skincare, one of the world’s most saturated markets.
From sourcing single-origin French lavender in a high-altitude area in Provence, visiting a quarry in France to source the most pure and refined clay you could find or buying rose oil direct from Bulgaria, you will only use the highest quality products. Please tell us why this is so important to everything you do at MV Skintherapy?
Quality and purity equal efficacy and efficacy equals happy customers. That’s why MV enjoys a 75%+ return rate and why our stockists love MV so much. Our formulas have not been diluted over the years, and if there have been tweaks to products it is because I have found a better version and this is all part of the on-going research at MV into ever-cleaner and more sustainable ingredients. MV must be good for the planet as well as our skin!
What is one thing we can do for our skin health?
Switch from washing our face with soaps and foaming cleansers to steamy compress cleansing with a cream-based cleanser. It’s a game-changer!
If we are to be our own beauty detectives, what should we look out for and avoid?
Look out for greenwashing! When I started out, the term “green beauty” didn’t exist and neither did private-label skincare. You could count the number of new skincare brands launching annually on one hand but there are now thousands, and the big players also want a piece of the green-beauty pie. These big players often lack substance and rely heavily on expensive marketing campaigns to draw you in. This makes it harder than ever for the consumer but, regardless of the type of skincare you are interested in, always start by researching who is behind a brand, check out their story and check ingredient lists to be sure a company really is as “green” as its claims. And if “green” is not your thing, make sure you are supporting a company that is making significant efforts to become more sustainable. Look for genuine user reviews too as sponsored or paid ads are simply not authentic.
You’ve successfully treated skin sensitives such as eczema, rosacea and acne and more. Lots of your clients receive lasting results from using your skincare products, tell us, how does that make you feel?
Incredibly satisfied and proud. It’s why I get out of bed every day and head to the office. I love hearing about the latest web reviews and reading emails and DM’s on Instagram thanking me for the beautiful products I have created. That’s why I started MV, to help solve a problem for one desperate person and now I solve problems for thousands of women all around the world.
You offer a capsule collection of plant-powered therapy. What’s next in the pipeline? You mentioned active marine mist …
Yes, a new product is indeed on the way and it’s been a long time coming. So many distractions and then COVID-19 but finally the Active Marine Mist is close to launching.
In the early months of COVID-19 we forged ahead with MV’s long-awaited rebrand and, to everyone’s surprise, made the launch date! After 21 years as MV Skincare it was time to differentiate MV with a clear emphasis on the word “therapy”. For the rebrand in 2020, we launched the Native Power Serum and the Active Marine Mist should have followed close on its heels. However, because no one really knew at that time how long the pandemic would go on or how it would impact businesses and the global economy, we decided to place our Active Marine Mist product launch on hold.
With the emergence of Australian natives and their powerful skin-enhancing properties, I decided to include the multi-faceted and hard-working Tasmanian Ocean Kelp extract as well as skin-supportive Niacinamide (B3). We’ve also included Sandalwood Hydrosol from Western Australia which is really the cherry on top. It smells divine and is the furthest thing from “just another mist”.
For more, visit mvskintherapy.com