Interview with the co-founder of Pestle and Mortar Cosmetics Sonia Deasy
If there is anything I appreciate in a person it is the ability to commit and successfully pursue their goals. Even if it doesn’t seem like a conventional route into success. Sonia Deasy, is the co-founder of one of my favourite brands Pestle and Mortar Cosmetics, and she proves that hard work DOES pay off. But what do you need to do to get there? That answer is a lot more specific and differs for everyone but the key is to find something you’re passionate about – something you think is missing and bring it. Sonia did just that with her simple but effective skincare range.
A lot of people have heard about Pestle and Mortar but not so many have heard about its fabulous founder, how would you describe yourself?
Thanks for referring to me as fabulous! I would describe myself as passionate, curious and driven. I’m also a little messy and I don’t like over-organising my time. I just get up and do what needs to be done as I go. I like to be flexible.
How did you get started in the beauty industry?
Whilst working alongside my husband in his portrait photography business, I noticed how dry and dull a lot of the subjects’ skin looked close up. I was also travelling a lot at the time, and I was frustrated that there didn’t seem to be a simple and effective skincare range on the market. Coming from 7 generations of Indian Herbalists, the obvious solution for me was to research and develop my own brand of skincare. Hence Pestle & Mortar!
How would you describe Pestle and Mortar Cosmetics?
Pestle & Mortar is a skincare brand dedicated to delivering simple solutions for beautiful skin. We have a less-is-more ethos and we are committed to combining nature and science to produce skincare products that are effective, easy to use and beautiful to look at. We aim to simplify the mystery surrounding cosmetic formulations and to de-code complicated skincare routines.
I have tried and tested (and even done a giveaway of) your Pure Hyaluronic Serum, what was the process in creating it like?
Long! Pure Hyaluronic Serum was my first product. I researched, consulted and sourced for months before finally, I was happy with the formulation. It was very important to me that the product felt right on the skin – not tacky or sticky – and that no skincare nasties were used in the formulation. Pure Hyaluronic Serum is now an iconic product in our range and continues to be one of our bestsellers.
I also think it is great for my dry skin, what routine would you recommend for dry/combination skin?
For any skin type, I always start with recommending double cleansing. If your cleansing routine is not right, everything else that goes onto the skin thereafter is starting off on the left foot. So, I would recommend that you double cleanse at night using a balm to firstly remove make-up and then a gel cleanser to polish the skin. Make sure that you are using products that are moisturising and nourishing – nothing harsh or abrasive. Follow with a hyaluronic serum and a lightweight moisturiser that preferably contains a natural moisturising factor. Don’t be afraid to use a night oil – a well-blended night oil with a key active such as retinol will re-balance your skin while you sleep. Above all, be consistent with your skincare routine. Consistency is key to seeing results.
What has been one of your proudest moments as a co-founder of such a fast developing, successful brand?
There have been many proud moments but one that stands out is our sell-out launch on QVC USA. In just 7 minutes on air, we sold-out of Superstar, our retinoid night oil. Appearing for the first time on TV and in a high-pressure environment was absolutely nerve-wracking but I did it! I was chuffed.
What 3 qualities do you think you need to get to where you are now?
Ambition, patience and commitment.
What is the most difficult part of developing a business/ running Pestle and Mortar?
Just keeping all the balls in the air! There’s so much to co-ordinate and think about, from product formulation through to packaging, branding, marketing, sales and logistics. Luckily, I have built a strong and dedicated team who support me, understand the goals and work accordingly.
How do you juggle running a family and a business?
I have a great husband! This is crucial, as we have the same goals for the business and for the family. Also, I don’t work from home – when I’m home, I’m home.
Does your busy life impact your beauty routine, I know when I am tired I skip at least 3 steps, how do you keep it efficient and effective?
By keeping it simple! And really, that is what Pestle & Mortar is about – keeping it simple without compromising on results. I don’t skip because I have built a routine that is not a chore. Rather, it is ritualistic – something I look forward to.
What is more important, eye cream or eye serums?
I don’t think that there is a definitive answer to this. For me, an eye cream is required twice daily, and it needs to be lightweight and formulated to combat fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness. An eye serum is something that might address a specific concern and you might choose to introduce it periodically into your routine depending on your needs. It comes down to personal choice and your personal requirements.
What is the one product out of serums, day creams or night oils, would it make sense to spend the most money on?
Night Oil. The skin rejuvenates during sleep and while you are resting, the right product can have amazing benefits. Definitely worth the investment.
You have amazing skin! (As I have seen from stalking your Instagram @soniadeasy). How do you keep your skin looking so young?
Pestle & Mortar of course! And fresh Irish air…
How often would you recommend someone exfoliate?
If you are double cleansing and using a gentle polisher as your second step, you will have less need to exfoliate. Personally, I think that now-and-then exfoliation should be unnecessary if your skincare routine is well thought- out and includes a range of key steps and key actives.
Lastly, what is the best bit of beauty advice/tips/tricks you have in your arsenal?
Caring for your skin should be a holistic process which combines skincare products, lifestyle choices and diet. I’m a firm believer in that so the advice I would give would be to look at the overall picture as opposed to trying to find quick fixes. Having said that, I can advise that you carry a bottle of Pure Hyaluronic Serum in your arsenal – it’s a fantastic multi-tasker that I use as a serum, a make-up primer and (very often) for in-flight hydration.