Q+A with Esthetician Mila Moursi
Mila Moursi on her passion for product development and chemistry, the importance of creating products that truly transform the skin, and more.
Based in Beverly Hills, Mila Moursi is known as one of the most trusted estheticians in Hollywood, with an A-list clientele singing her praises to prove it. Mila is certainly a pioneer in the skincare space, utilizing signature practices like dry contouring and sculpting massage to naturally sculpt and highlight the face's natural structure. The innovation doesn't stop there either, as she's also gone on to create her own product assortment — the Mila Moursi Advanced Skin Care Collection. Read on to hear more about Mila Moursi's impressive four decades in the industry!
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your journey in the skincare space and how you got started?
I was a licensed esthetician and was also intrigued by product development and chemistry. I decided to take a hands-on internship in a cosmetic chemistry workshop for one year, studying under Dr. Louis Renaud, who provided formulas to well-known prestige brands. Afterward, I chose to use my knowledge of cosmetic chemistry to do product development in the United States. I wanted to create results-driven products and provide some exclusivity for clients in my spa.
There are many beautiful skincare brands on the market, but unfortunately some make promises they don’t deliver. As an esthetician and a formulator, I wanted to offer products that were developed according to Dr. Renaud’s teaching because I knew they would deliver results.
With my knowledge in cosmetic chemistry, as well as my background as an esthetician, I know the combination of different actives that work in synergy to deliver results. I know how to combine nature with science — and so my own skincare brand was born. Because I deal with clients directly at the spa who are paying a lot of money for results, having powerful products that really work is very important.
As an esthetician, I was dealing with skin firsthand, and I worked with the state of mind of the client and the client’s needs, not just a marketing story. My goal is to create products that truly transform skin, without the marketing fluff and promises of miracles. When a skincare product truly works, it helps a person feel more confident and beautiful, inside and out.
Q: What do you love the most about what you do?
I am honored by the trust that my clients put in me and their trust in my expertise. It’s wonderful to see the twinkle and happiness in their eyes when they start to see results. I also love giving to my clients and experiencing their loyalty, because when you give, you receive. That’s what led my business to survive so long and still be here after 40 years.
I also have many incredible people in Europe and in the United States that are amazing mentors and advisors. My motivation and inspiration are really my entire team, including my chemists, estheticians, and my clients.
Q: What is a myth about skincare that you want to debunk?
There is no miracle product. Try not to get confused by conflicting information you may see on social media. Good skincare is a synergy of products and self-care, for an overall sense of well-being that shows in good skin.
Also, there is no single best regimen. Focus instead on a simple, common sense regimen that is appropriate for YOUR skin type. All skin is different, and everyone responds differently to different regimens.
Finally, no matter what skin type you have, your skin benefits when you get good sleep, eat a balanced diet, get exercise, breathe mindfully, hydrate inside and out, and nourish and protect skin throughout the day.
Q: You’ve worked with some of the world’s most famous names. What are some ways that you can advise people to try to achieve an A-list glow at home?
For me, I believe beauty starts from within, so it is important to keep skin hydrated inside and out. Hydration is the number one thing. Drink flavored water — add lemon, cucumber, or mint to it. Hydrate the face as well, with a natural mist that has hydrating factors like hyaluronic acid. Mist the face several times throughout the day to keep the skin hydrated, and then apply sunscreen to keep the skin protected.
Facial massage with a curated blend of natural oils is very popular, and very beneficial to a “celebrity glow.” Facial massage improves microcirculation and leaves you looking more relaxed. Skin conditioning oils such as geranium, jojoba, and frankincense contain omega fatty acids and vitamins that deeply moisturize, condition, and protect the skin from dehydration and oxidative stress, while smoothing fine lines and leaving a youthful glow. Here’s a simple facial massage that can be done at home: Massage Mila Moursi Aromapure Moisturizing Oil onto your skin. Start with little circular movements and massage up and outward, moving toward the ears with long, gentle strokes. Jojoba and squalane oils nourish skin, while essential oils such as neroli revitalize skin, Roman chamomile soothes skin, and lavender calms the mind and mood. Be sure to take more time daily and weekly to make your daily facial massage a bit longer. Taking time to massage your facial muscles and creating lymphatic drainage eliminates impurities from the skin.
One product treatment ritual that is popular with celebrities is the Rejuvenating Ritual, which incorporates Refining Lotion and is meant to exfoliate, renew, and brighten skin.
Another all-time favorite is the dry-brushing ritual, because taking care of your skin doesn’t stop at your face. Dry brushing two-three times a week helps exfoliate dead skin cells, accelerates the release of toxins, encourages cell renewal, combats cellulite, and leaves skin healthy and glowing. You will feel energized, as if all of the cells in your body are alive and singing.
And remember to oxygenate — just as you need to breathe, so does your skin! Oxygenate your skin by going outside early in the morning. Think of it as giving yourself a big bowl of oxygen for breakfast, by completely breathing in and breathing out. It is said that every time you breathe in, your skin consumes 7% of the absorbed oxygen, which breaks down to 4% for epidermis and 3% for dermis. Oxygenation also helps with microcirculation and improves hydration and color.
Q: What is one product everyone should be using, no matter what their skin type?
Serums are the champions of your skincare regimen. They provide global anti-aging solutions for every need. Small molecules penetrate quickly and deeply for cellular renewal. Large molecules prevent moisture from escaping to protect the skin barrier. The lightweight, smooth texture applies smoothly, and the high concentration of actives helps improve firmness and smooth fine lines.
Refining Lotion has been a best-selling, hero product for over twenty years. It has the reputation of being “the gateway to good skin care,” since it exfoliates and texturizes so that skin breathes more, and treatment products can absorb better and perform better. It contains a powerful blend of natural fruit acids, soothing botanical ingredients, vitamins, and antioxidants to help promote gentle exfoliation of dead skin cells and speed up the skin's natural renewal process. Glycolic acid gently exfoliates the skin while clariskin II instantly brightens and refreshes the skin’s surface. The antioxidant properties of vitamin E fight environmental stress on the skin.
Q: You are known for inventing dry contouring and sculpting massage. Can you share with us how those practices came to be and how they’ve changed your relationship with skincare?
During my studies and experiences in Paris, I took the best of each technique and modality I’d learned from around the world to develop my technique of dry contouring and sculpting, which has been our own technique for 40 years. This technique focuses on muscle toning and sculpting without the use of machines for those clients who prefer treatments without machines or possible contraindications.
In addition to dry contouring and sculpting massage, we also specialize in “dry brushing” due to its numerous benefits for skin. As a full body exfoliating treatment, dry brushing is performed with a soft-bristled brush that is stroked against the skin in slow, circular motions, starting at the feet and hands, then moving toward the heart. The brush loosens and sweeps away dead skin cells, naturally exfoliating the skin surface. As debris, dirt, and excess oil are cleared away, skin becomes smoother and more toned. The exfoliated skin surface can then more effectively retain moisture and absorb nutrients from topical body care products and treatments.
Dry brushing also offers the benefits of massage by energizing the skin, improving microcirculation, and relaxing the body. Just as important, since much of the lymph system lies immediately underneath the skin, dry brushing stimulates lymph flow, helping the body rid itself of toxins. Dry brushing also helps reduce the appearance of cellulite by smoothing out dimpled skin.
Q: Your skincare line is rooted in the synergy of science, nature, and skincare expertise. We’d love to hear about the development process of your formulas and what was important to you as you built your brand and product offerings.
I do research and travel quite a bit, so I am always on the lookout for the most recent innovations in ingredients and technology. I focus on finding and incorporating the purest ingredients this industry has to offer for all of our products.
For our serums and creams, the anti-aging, youth-preserving technology is MM-5 Complex, a carefully calibrated system of plant-derived stem cells, peptides, collagen, elastin, amino acids, and innovative ingredients. The complex is regenerative for mature skin as well as protective for younger skin.
In the development process of my formulas, we try different blends of innovative active ingredients. We had to experiment with different blends as well as different concentrations to come up with the most effective synergy between the ingredients. For example, it took two years of experimenting and testing before we discovered the ideal balance of the five main ingredients in MM-5 that treat so many different conditions of aging skin.
All of my formulation-forward, uniquely designed products create a skin-perfecting fusion of science and nature to precisely target and address specific conditions for skin OF ALL AGES. What is important to me as I built my brand and as I continue to work on my product offerings is my personal philosophy: Skincare doesn’t stop at the face. Beauty consists of inside and outside, working in synergy.
Rapid Fire Round
Q: Worth the splurge:
The Face & Body Treatment combination at Mila Moursi Skin Care Institute and our Intensive Renewal Booster.
Q: Favorite drugstore or budget find:
SPF products by French brands like La Roche-Posay.
Q: Latest beauty empty:
Mila Moursi Hyaluronic Acid Restorative Elixir.
Q: Recent discovery:
Organic eau de parfum fragrance from Austrian brand MECKIIE.
Q: Product you can’t leave home without:
Sunscreen and a bottle of alkaline water.
Q: Brand you wish more people knew about:
Mila Moursi Advanced Skin Care and Sensai, a very good Japanese brand.
For more of Mila's favorite products, check out her shop below!