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Hillary Wilcox of MAAEMO Skincare

The multi-hyphenate millennial on her latest venture as an organic skincare brand founder, how to properly treat acne spots and the pursuit of conscious beauty.

Hillary Wilcox is a force to be reckoned with. At the tender age of 22, she’s a certified naturopath, herbalist and practitioner of natural medicine. She’s also the founder and creator of her own organic skincare line, MAAEMO Skincare, proving that millennials indeed, do it all.

Maaemo means ‘Mother Earth’ in Finnish and served as the inspiration for Hillary when she was conceiving her brand. In 2016, at the student wellness clinic she was working at, Hillary witnessed skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis being effectively treated by formulations packed with herbs and wholesome ingredients. Blown away by the effectiveness of these natural solutions, Hillary cleared her beauty shelf of all of her favourite products which contained ingredients she couldn’t pronounce, let alone recognise. She also learnt, to her horror, that many labels listed ingredients that were linked to toxicity and were associated with cancer speculations.

But the clean alternatives which were available on the market were either too expensive, not certified or not suitable for women her age. And so, MAAEMO was born.

Hillary says: “I wanted to create products that I’d recommend to my own patients, as well as my friends and family. The idea is that each product is full of phytonutrients, so we’re not simply cleansing or hydrating the skin, but also delivering completely organic, essential nutrients and botanical properties required to improve the overall vitality of the skin!”

Since her epiphany, Hillary has already created three products: a face cream, gel cleanser and face oil. But it’s only been a year since. Judging by what she’s achieved so far, we expect a bright future for this Australian beauty.  

MAAEMO Skincare’s Purifying Gel Cleanser is a foam formula that’s good for dry skin types

“Each product in the range is designed to service the skin in multiple ways.”

At 22, you’re very young to be the founder of your own organic beauty brand. Where did you find the courage and determination to embark on this journey?

I’m one of seven children in my family so I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have always had an amazing support network and a group of loved ones behind me. My older brother and older sister have always been huge role models in my life. They each run their own businesses so I think seeing their incredible work ethics have inspired me to be ambitious. Seeing them do what they do gave me the courage to go out and start my own business.

I also have an incredible father who always told me that I can achieve whatever I have my heart set on as long as I was well educated, worked hard and had utter faith in myself.

There are a number of excellent organic, non-toxic and clean skincare collections on the market. What is unique about MAAEMO?

MAAEMO is unique in so many ways. I think what distinguishes it as a brand stems from my background as a naturopath, as well as my holistic view on health and well-being.

I’ve treated various skin conditions nutritionally and herbally first-hand, which has given me a clear understanding of how certain botanical extracts and nutrients work with the skin. My experiences as a naturopath give me a unique perspective, which I’ve been able to utilise while developing the range.

When I had patients present with skin conditions, one of the first things I’d look at was their skincare routine. I knew exactly what ingredients I wanted my patients to be applying on their skin but I struggled to find anything I could recommend.

I’ve created my products to be what I would recommend to my own patients suffering from skin conditions like acne, which is something I wasn’t confident doing with other brands in the past. Each product in the range is designed to service the skin in multiple ways. I’ve designed them to be incredibly nourishing to improve the overall health of the skin, while also fulfilling their overall purpose of cleansing and hydrating.

What is the formulation process like?

The formulation process is the most challenging but one of the most exciting parts for me. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to something I’m creating so it can take a really long time to get a product exactly how I’ve imagined it. But when it finally turns out right, there is nothing that makes me happier!

When I get an idea for a product, I start by asking myself what I want the product to achieve. Then I break it down to the mechanisms of action and identify which nutrients or botanical extracts will help to achieve that action. I extensively research every ingredient to make sure it has a specific purpose within the product, and will add to the vitality of the skin in a unique way.

What is one of your favourite organic skincare brands?

 Of course, MAAEMO is my favourite brand but I’m also a big lover of INIKA Organic! They have a really special makeup range that features exclusively certified organic products. I really value their ethos as a business and think that they are a great example of what an ethical beauty brand should be like. I really struggled to find a good certified organic skincare company but these guys are great!

How do you treat acne spots?

I’m a firm believer in identifying the cause in order to treat the condition! Acne can be caused and driven by such a broad range of factors which can make it tricky. It could be anything from a complicated case of hormone imbalance, or it could be as simple as having dirty makeup brushes. I recently blogged about some of the common mistakes people make on a daily basis that are highly likely to cause acne. You’d be surprised by how people could be avoiding breakouts by making simple lifestyle changes like washing your pillowcase more regularly.

Maaemo Hydrating Face Cream

The Hydrating Face Cream has a sweet citrus, chamomile scent

What is your preferred post-acne scar treatment?

The Vitalize Face Elixir! I may be biased but this is honestly a key product for acne and repair treatment. The reason this product is so great for scarring is thanks to its unique blend of certified organic oils. The formula is highly anti-inflammatory, has rich sources of antioxidants and has high levels of essential fatty acids. The collection of oils is well recognised and studied for their ability to improve scarring, collagen production and support skin cell regeneration!

“You’d be surprised by how people could be avoiding breakouts by making simple lifestyle changes like washing your pillowcase more regularly.”

What is your daily skincare routine?

I cleanse every morning and night with the Purifying Gel Cleanser and wash it off with an organic cotton face cloth. I then apply the Vitalize Face Elixir by massaging it into my face and neck. I often use it all over my body too because I love the hydration and glow it gives me!

Then I tend to alternate layering with the Hydrating Face Cream depending on how my skin feels at the time. I think it’s important to listen to your skin and notice what its needs are.

As we’re coming into spring in Australia, I’ve been keeping it light, using the Elixir in the morning and then the Cream at night. I’ll bring back the layers come summertime when my skin needs the extra love!

What does conscious beauty mean to you?

To me, conscious beauty considers the health and wellness of every being on earth. This should include consideration towards the health of our environment, animals and ourselves. For such a long time, the beauty industry has compromised the health of the world around us in so many aspects but I definitely feel that there is so much movement away from this now.

The beauty industry is evolving and with more and more ethical businesses emerging, I feel quite proud to be a part of an industry that is making such a change.

Hillary Wilcox Apres Avant

“To me, conscious beauty considers the health and wellness of every being on earth.”

Images courtesy of MAAEMO Skincare