This Professional Makeup Artist Etched Herself a Career in Cosmeceutical Skincare. Meet Mx Skincare

Allison Pickering – the name behind up-and-coming Australia cosmeceutical brand, Mx Skincare, shares her journey with Hannah Gay.

The story of Mx Skincare began seven years ago when, in 2016, founder Allison Pickering decided to jump back on the beauty tools after taking time off to focus on motherhood.

The former professional makeup artist had always had an interest in beauty, particularly skin. Her early days were spent occupying department store counters, educating customers on makeup application. To coincide, Allison trained with esteemed makeup artist, Franklin Chaloner – an experience she “loved” given the opportunity to work with both men and women, and to practice special effects makeup.

It was a time where substantial developments in the skincare market were happening. “I’ve loved skin, skincare and makeup since I was a very young girl,” Allison shared. “My grandmother was a nurse and she used to make her own skincare. She had beautiful skin when she passed well into her late 80s. She instilled in me to look after your skin because it’s got to take you from the day you’re born until the day you go; it’s our face that we take to the world every day, so protect it because it’s a very precious organ.” 

Allison admitted to taking on a multi-step skincare routine in her teen years, and could see that her skin was in “great condition” as a result. Later on, the introduction of active ingredients further piqued her interest. “I can still remember when Elizabeth Arden launched their very first ceramide product… it was groundbreaking stuff!”

While she was drawn to the industry, Allison opted to take time off work entirely to raise her family. In a desire to “turn [her] business brain back on”, Allison took the leap and commenced an entirely new project in skincare brand development. “I was struggling at this time to find active ingredients that were in a really good delivery system, that didn’t just sit on top of the skin,” and that adequately retained actives without being packaged in an open jar. “What started out as something small has grown into something massive,” Allison said.

After four years in development, Allison officially launched Mx Skincare in 2020. The name, she admits, reflects both a play on the brand’s use of active ingredients (as though to mimic a chemical element), as well as her desire to engage all genders (much like her makeup training). The brand’s online mission statement reads: Time for skincare that doesn’t discriminate by age, gender, ethnicity, skin type or skin colour.

Allison Pickering

Mx Skincare is Australian made, owned and packaged because it’s important to Allison to “know exactly what’s going in it.” Formulations infuse biocompatible natural and synthetic ingredients. All products are omitted of parabens, SLS’s, artificial fragrances and animal derivatives. Allison has so far released nine hero products, which can also be purchased in curated sets for ease.

Satisfied with her choice in supplier, the brand underwent trials before final formulations for each product were chosen. “Because I wasn’t wanting to produce 10,000 units of every SKU, I had to find someone that could handle a boutique brand in smaller unit quantities,” Allison adds. “It takes a bit of time to find the right person that understands your vision and what you’re wanting to achieve, [while] also understanding that you’re a brand-new company, not a big multinational with millions of dollars to throw away.” In addition, Allison remarks on the “balancing act” she’s faced as a new business finding its groove. “You’re having different spurts of growth with different products.”

According to Allison, products from the range work at a cellular level, whereby visible results are seen and felt in the skin. Seemingly, every one of her nine products tells a unique story. She found success in treating her own psoriasis by using the brand’s Vitamin B3 + serum – a formula she likens to  “an antibiotic for the skin.” The coconut oil-based Foaming Cleanser is a hit with Allison’s husband and son, who enjoy it while shaving for its soothing properties. Exfoliate + – a clear gel exfoliator – contains a low percentage lactic acid to minimise skin irritation, while deeply cleansing the skin.

“Being a mother, it’s that five minutes you have to yourself morning and night with a skincare routine that gives you confidence and makes you feel good when you look in the mirror to start the day, then that reset at night before you go to bed,” Allison adds. “That five minutes of self care is so important in everybody’s lives.” Allison deliberately developed the Hydrating Masque + and Exfoliate + in clear to allow users the flexibility to run errands, minus the green face. 

Despite its luxurious look, feel and ingredient line-up, Allison has made sure to retail the range at an accessible price point. Prices start at $49 for the cleanser, and run up to $99 for the Vitamin A Serum. “It’s a very small market that can afford $450 for 100ml cream.” In hopes of getting the product “to as many people as [she] can,” Allison believes she’s made the right move in keeping costs down with the current state of the economy. “It’s impossible and not effective to put every ingredient that you want into one product,” Allison says. “I just want the very best active ingredients available on the planet, and I don’t mind spending extra… not all vitamins A, B, Cs are created equal.”

Allison is looking ahead, with hopes to expand further in Australia, as well as overseas, with trade marks obtained already in Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. “I wanted to conquer the world straightaway!” Allison admits. The reality is that it takes time… you do need a lot of money when you start [looking abroad].” She notes that the range is particularly suitable for use in post-cosmetic and non-invasive procedures, and foresees the brand performing well in a professional salon/clinic setting.

“2024 is going to be huge for us. I feel we’ve gathered huge momentum on [brand] awareness and in building our customer base this year.”

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