What comes to mind when hearing “skin care regimen?” Is olive oil included on that list? More than likely, it’s not. Olive oil is supposed to be for cooking, right? Well, what if there was a skin care product out there whose main ingredient was olive oil, as well as many other natural ingredients? Would you try it? Mariska Nicholson, Founder of Olive + M, just might change your mind.
Having been born and raised in Austin, Mariska decided to move away from home after high school. She found her way to New York City, where she studied design and worked with the likes of Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. After eight years of the “Big Apple” life, she moved to Los Angeles where she worked as a wardrobe stylist and costume designer for 10 years. She then found her way back home to Austin and decided to attend the Texas Culinary Academy. Mariska
explained, “Fashion, food, beauty and art. I enjoy all things visual and tactile, and to me, these things are all intertwined. In 2010, I took my culinary experience and began experimenting with food for the face and body.”
“We are handcrafted in small batches right here in Austin. We are all about Texas and local!”
Mariska’s experimentation would pay off. “I had been using oils on my skin forever and so one day, I was at the end of a bottle of oil I was using from Italy and I thought to myself, ‘Hey, what’s in this stuff? Why can’t I make my own?’ So, I did a ton of research on plant-based, unrefined oils and their properties, and I began mixing blends in my kitchen,” recalled Mariska. She shared her blends with friends and family who were curious as to how she kept her skin so fresh and youthful-looking. People loved the results from using Nicholson’s homemade products, so she thought, “Why not make more?” And that’s exactly what she did.
Mariska’s fervent curiosity and passion for introducing something new and unique in the world of skin care sparked the beginnings of what would become Olive + M. Established in December 2014, Olive + M was created with one thing in mind: to create unadulterated, nutrient-rich, all-natural and olive oil-based skin care products. “My mantra over the years as I worked on my formulas has been, ʻNone of the ingredients in these formulas were made in a lab. They were all made by Mother Nature.ʼ” With her product line including face, cleansing and body oils, Nicholson remains steadfast in keeping her word. She uses simple ingredients, such as red raspberry seed oil, pumpkin seed oil, pink grapefruit seed oil and hemp seed oil, just to name a few.
“My mantra over the years as I worked on my formulas has been, ʻNone of the ingredients in these formulas were made in a lab. They were all made by Mother Nature.ʼ”
Not only does Nicholson keep her ingredients simple, she also keeps them local. She uses local Texas olive oil from the Texas Olive Ranch. Mariska proudly boasts, “We are handcrafted in small batches right here in Austin. We are all about Texas and local!” When asked about the target demographic for Olive + M’s products, Mariska said it is surprising. “We have devoted clients from sorority girls all the way through to women in their 60s with more mature skin, looking for the hydration, restorative and nutrient-rich properties the oils provide.”
Nicholson has had a streak of praises from a number of customers who love her products, and their popularity continues to grow. The proof is in the reviews. As one customer stated, “The other day someone came up to me and said,ʻYour skin is looking so fresh and glowing!’ I was proud to tell them about Olive + M. I am so enjoying this product — fresh, clean, light and pure. I have also been using it on my toddler’s chapped cheeks and nose. He doesn’t seem to mind me applying it to his face, and it has made a world of difference.”
Olive + M’s products have really started to take off, and Nicholson hopes to keep up the momentum. “We plan to focus on a carefully curated list of Austin stores first, and gain some traction here in our hometown. Our goal is to build an iconic Austin brand,” said Mariska enthusiastically. Future plans include broadening the women’s line with products like exfoliating scrubs and hydrating masks. Nicholson would also like to introduce a line for men. She added, “We also have a line for the little ones in development, which will be called ʻSebi + Des by Olive + M,ʼ introducing gentle oil cleansers for babies’ skin and scalps with softening oils to soothe skin after a bath.”
“Olive oil is especially soothing to sunburn and can help prevent peeling”
Also in future development is partnering with a nonprofit that is working to save the honeybee in a give-back program. Mariska detailed, “All the ingredients in my products are commodities. Honeybees are responsible for the pollination of the majority of the food crops that we have come to rely on, so without them…well there is no without them!” With summer in swing, we all know that the Texas heat can be brutal, but Nicholson said not to worry when using her products. “The oils are good for the skin year-round! Whether your skin is feeling dry and chapped or has had too much sun, they will hydrate, repair and renew!…Olive oil is especially soothing to sunburn and can help prevent peeling,” explained Mariska.
With Mariska Nicholson’s unique and fresh approach to creating her products, she is proving that she and her company will soon be a true force to be reckoned with. At Olive + M, they believe that opportunity favors only the prepared mind. So it’s important to “be curious, be helpful, come prepared, share the love and always look for the silver lining. If you think it’s not there, look closer.”
For more information call 512.632.9991 or visit www.oliveandm.com.