A Day Well Spent With... Allison McNamara, founder of MARA skincare
The LA beauty queen starts and ends her day by writing in her gratitude journal, and plans to get an infrared sauna in her house
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Former beauty editor turned social media influencer Allison McNamara decided to create her own clean beauty range after discovering her skin reacted badly to synthetic ingredients.
After one too many break-outs, she turned to the ocean for inspiration and her range, MARA, was born.
Harnessing the power of plankton, algae and seaweed, her cult product, Universal Face Oil, is just the thing to nourish, plump and give skin a burst of hydration.
Here, we chat to the LA-based beauty guru about her wellness routine.
I start the day by spending a few minutes writing in my gratitude journal. I write down three things I’m grateful for, three things that would make the day great and a positive mantra that begins with “I am….” Starting each day with my gratitude journal helps me to stay grateful and mindful even on the not-so-good days.
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Next I'll have a large glass of room temperature water with lemon followed by coffee. I sometimes stir in Beauty Chef Gut Primer into my water if I had a heavy dinner the night before or feel bloated.
I do Pilates three-five times a week, I’m obsessed. I go to Pilates by Amanda and she’s really changed my body and strength. I’ve also been trying to do more cardio with hikes and long walks with my dog.
I don’t always wash my face in the morning - sometimes I just splash with water or spritz some Caudalie Beauty Elixir instead, but if I do cleanse I love Tata Harper’s Regenerating Cleanser, especially if my skin is feeling clogged. I follow up with Drunk Elephant’s amazing Vitamin C serum followed by MARA Universal Face Oil for moisture and glow. I wait a few minutes and then apply a clean face sunscreen from Coola or Pai. I believe in really simple skincare, sometimes I just use the MARA Universal Face Oil and SPF.
In a perfect world I would eat a large leafy salad with a light protein for lunch, but somedays I just have a smoothie or leftovers from the night before if we cooked at home.
At work I’m surrounded by crystals, which is lovely. My favourite is black tourmaline and a large selenite that I have right on my desk to help ward off negative energy and keep my focused. I do breathing exercises, usually more so around new product launches when things get crazy.
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Sushi is my favourite for dinner! I try and eat different proteins and veggies for every meal so I’m giving my body a mix of nutrients, so if I did chicken for lunch I might do an impossible burger or a grass-fed filet for dinner. I’m definitely a moody eater!
I try and only drink alcohol when I’m having a good time or celebrating. I rarely drink at home on a work night unless we have friends over or are entertaining or BBQing. I also have never been one to “need a drink when I’m stressed” or after a long day. I think it’s important to have a positive mindset when drinking alcohol so it’s not used as a crutch.
At night I love using a cleansing oil at night to slough off all my makeup and grime. Then I apply my MARA Algae Retinol Oildirectly on clean skin, and let it sink in for about five minutes. I use Algae Retinol Face Oil four-five nights a week and then on alternating nights I will use Sunday Riley Good Genes with Glycolic acid. I think a well rounded skincare routine has both retinol and acids, but used on different nights, of course. After the treatment step I apply MARA Universal Face Oil and focus on massaging it in around the eyes. I don’t really believe in eye cream to be honest, but sometimes I’ll through on an eye cream if I’m feeling wild and that’s it!
I try and stay off my phone at least 15 minutes before I get into bed and keep my phone on Do Not Disturb while I sleep. I write in my gratitude journal and then sometimes try and read a book. I also am a big fan of CBD and love Lord Jones gummies for when I really need to wind down. If I’m having a really tough time, I’ll pop an Olly Beauty Sleep gummy.
I take so many different supplements depending on how I’m intuitively feeling. I love Beauty Chef Gut Primer and Glow along with their Wellness Spray which I’m obsessed with. I love Ritual vitamins for overall health, Nutrafol Core for Women and their B Complex Tincture for hair/skin and always take Magnesium. I also love Moon Juice Vanilla Mushroom Protein powder with Aswhaganda when I need to chill the f*ck out.
I have monthly facials and laser treatments, bi-yearly botox. Facialist Sonya Dakar is a genius in LA and keeps my skin looking fabulous. I am newly obsessed with detox body massages and Cynthia Marie Franco is hands down the best – her Head to Toe Glow is life changing!
I am also really in love with infrared saunas and plan on getting my own at some point, I love to sweat it out. I do get botox a few times a year with Sari Hoban at Westside Aesthetics in Brentwood and have been getting into lasers and microneedling more.
I do acupuncture at least once a month at Vie Healing. They are amazing and they also have these acupuncture ear seeds that I love to wear. I’m very into alternative treatments and adore sound baths and Reiki is wonderful. I also really love Emma Goodman at Skin Worship for her Chakra Cleansing Facial – when I first got one with her the entire room turned pink when she opened my heart chakra, it was one of the most incredible experiences ever.
I am definitely more wellness focused since I entered my 30s, but I’ve always had a strong emphasis on clean living and healthy practices, perhaps that’s because I am from LA and we are just more health conscious here than other parts of the world. The internet and social media makes us go-go-go and connected 24/7 so I find myself reaching for ways to reset and recharge like sound baths and reiki that give you that moment to yourself.
Photo courtesy of Allison McNamara