When Manasi 7, a green beauty make-up brand hailing from Sweden, first landed on the UK shores, at Content Beauty emporium in Marylebone, I wasn’t fast enough off my mark. After all, many of us consider make-up to be somewhat secondary to skincare. But something drew me to the brand, like a puppy scratching at the door behind which his favourite toy is hidden. I marvelled at the packaging that was unlike any other I came across in the years I used the make-up. Then I got a chance to have a make-over with the brand founder, Susanne Manasi Persson, and everything fell into place, like the elusive key falls into the lock and leads to an adventure that initially was unseen.
Susanne is a beautiful woman, but its not what I found striking about her. There is inner confidence and wisdom behind her eyes, as she talks to you. Its her calm and warmth that you feel when spending time in her company. She looks at you, considering your features. She listens. She asks questions. And then she chooses the products and starts working on your face, like a true artist who wants to enhance, rather than diminish. Touching, applying, observing, mixing. Not too much, just the right combination of products for whoever sits in her make-up chair and gets the makeover. I have spent the most intimate 30 or 40 minutes in the midst of Content with Susanne this summer, as her husband was gently lulling their adorable baby boy to sleep in the background and the store was busy with the customers. And when I left, my face looked…well, like I just had a holiday and I was very happy. I got compliments on public transport. My husband asked, if I went for a facial. My kids said I looked ‘very pretty’. From then on I internally felt an innate connection with the woman that created a make-up brand, which helps women look great and feel more confident.
From summer onwards I played with the products that Susanne chose for me and that were a ‘perfect’ match for my complexion, even as I tanned and my colouring changed. I took only her make-up on my summer travels (a first, I must admit, as I am a magpie when it comes to my beauty packing still, whether its for a weekend getaway or a longer trip). I put the tricks that Susanne taught me during the makeover into practise and used Skin Enhancer, All Over Shine in Cristallo (one of my absolute favourite make-up products with skincare benefits now), Bronzelighter and All Over Colour in two shades (I will talk about each in more detail in another post, reviewing my current favourites). Since then I have added one more shade of All Over Colour to my make-up bag and the Strobelighter. Without them not only do I feel ‘naked’, I feel like something important to me is missing.
As Susanne and I exchanged messages and e-mails, she always found the time to give me personalised make-up tips. Always making sure that she ‘matched’ me to the product I was considering purchasing perfectly. And when I asked to do a Q & A with her, she said ‘yes’, much to my delight. Then I have sent her a VERY long list of questions and as soon as I have pressed ‘sent’, I wondered if she will be taken aback by its length and will change her mind.
Sometimes I have to wait not just weeks, but months (I kidd you not!) for answers to a lesser amount of questions. On this occasion I had everything I needed, including the images for this post, within 24 hours. If I was in a slight awe of Susanne before, now I felt immense respect and a bit of a girl crush. Uplifted that integrity and caring for customer isn’t dead or neglected. That there are still brands into the oversaturated and very loud beauty marketplace that genuinely place the customer at the centre. So without further ado, I present to you a formidable make-up artist, brand founder and working mum, Susanne Manasi Persson.
What inspired you to launch Manasi 7?
Susanne Manasi Persson: My profound interest in health, combined with my profession as a makeup artist, has made me aware of the important microbiome that exists both in our gut and on our skin. From this insight, I naturally developed a holistic mindset of living a conscious and healthy life.
For years, I had felt that a truly natural and organic premium beauty collection that delivered high performance was lacking on the market. And so, after a period of intense work and research to create the brand I was missing, Manasi 7 was born.
Why did you choose Manasi 7 as a name for your brand?
Susanne Manasi Persson: I was born in India, but was adopted by my Swedish parents when I was 10 months old and raised by them. Manasi is actually my Indian name and the number 7 stands for our Declaration of 7. To achieve the highest quality possible, I have created a manifesto to set the minimum requirements for the whole production cycle when creating a product or working with the Manasi7 brand. This is called the Declaration of (7). It is the foundation of our values, our vision, our responsibilities and our core building blocks. It includes our criteria for uncompromising quality and is based on my profound experience and knowledge as a makeup artist.
How is Manasi7 different from other ‘natural’ make-up brands?
Susanne Manasi Persson: We create timeless and multi-functional products that last for a while. We focus on contemporary design and high-quality products that are made in small batches. The products are made with skin-caring ingredients combined with great colour pay-off, staying power. They are also produced at a slow pace. We want to work to bridge the gap between effectiveness of conventional beauty products and the nourishing and healing properties of natural, wild-harvested and certified organic ingredients; by understanding the good of both systems and showing how they can work together, complementing each other and creating balance.
A lot of beauty trend reports say that women are placing more importance on skincare nowadays, many forgoing make-up. Why do you enjoying using make-up & why did you become a MUA?
Susanne Manasi Persson: I have always had a great interest in aesthetics – my father was a photographer and my mother was interested fashion. I began studying to become a makeup artist in 1995. After finishing my education I went on to assist other makeup artists for a year, building my own portfolio along the way. In 1997 I signed up with an agency. Up until 2010, I worked full-time as a makeup artist and after many years in the business I found myself wanting to create my own products.
I do not follow trends, I only listen to my own gut feeling. But I think that if the trend is pointing in that direction, our products are a perfect fit, since the products can be considered skin care combined with colour pigments, as they contain a high percentage of certified organic, natural and wild harvested ingredients with nourishing properties for the skin. I think that colour is always going to be popular, and if you can have colour combined with skin care in one product, it is the perfect combination!
What was the first product that you launched & which of Manasi 7 products do you use the most yourself?
Susanne Manasi Persson: I actually launched my base collection consisting of 23 skus all at once at Content beauty in London. Myself, I use the Bronzelighter Roseate, Skin Enhancer Beechwood, All Over Shine Cristallo and All Over Colour Ikura the most from the collection.
If a person is new to your brand, what product would you recommend to start with?
Susanne Manasi Persson: It depends, if they are new to makeup or just my brand. But if it were just new to my brand, I would say start with the Strobelighters, All Over Colours and Skin enhancer. Our textures are different from other brands and the colour pay-off is high, so you will only need a small amount to achieve a great result. The Skin Enhancer is such a versatile product – it can be mixed and matched to your own perfect shade and customized for your preference of coverage. Used alone it is a full coverage concealer, which stays put all day long. If you mix in All Over Shine Cristallo, it turns into a beautiful glowy foundation.
You have 5 min in the morning before you go to work – what products would you use and how would you create a quick make-up look?
Susanne Manasi Persson: I would use Skin Enhancer mixed with All Over Shine Cristallo as a sheer foundation all over the face. Then, apply the All Over Colour of choice on lips, cheeks and eyelids. Follow up with Bronzelighter Roseate as a cream bronzer on cheekbones, under the chin and bridge of your nose to create a healthy sun-kissed glow. Finish off with curling your lashes and applying the Precision mascara on eyelashes.
What skincare products do you use on your skin that are also a good base for your make-up products?
Susanne Manasi Persson: I create my own DIY skin care products, so it can be different, depending on what type of oils I am experimenting with. Right now I am using my DIY balm made of Apricot Kernel and Jojoba oils, Shea butter and Coconut Oil. I use it morning and night and also as a makeup remover.
Can you share some tips that can help a customer choose a shade of your blusher (all over colour) or skin enhancer when they are new to the brand & shopping online?
Susanne Manasi Persson: You can wear many shades; it is usually just a matter of taste and preference. It is also a matter of how you apply it. For example, our All Over Colour Fuchsine is beautiful when dabbed gently on someone with fair skin tone. It creates that perfect flush of rosy cheeks, but is also wonderful when applied in layers on someone with a deeper skin tone. If you prefer nude and neutral shades, I recommend Chamoisee, Bisque or Etruscan. Kobicha is a great neutral brown for deeper skin tones. Densuke is a soft coral and Sanguinello is a stronger summer coral. Fuchsine, Ikura and Heliotrope are modern versions of pink, red and purple. Alizarin is a red with blue undertones and Kuranberi is a deep cranberry red. For the Skin enhancer I recommend to purchase the one matching your skin tone best, together with either a darkener (Jamocha) or a brightener (Eburnean). In that way you will have the perfect shade for your skin all year around that you will be able to ‘customize’ yourself, instead of buying 3-4 different shades during the year. We do offer online colour matching, so we can help with any colour suggestions, if customers e-mail us an image of themselves without makeup.
Why was it important to you to create a natural, instead of mainstream, make-up brand?
Susanne Manasi Persson: I am deeply committed to living a healthy life. I am very strict in terms of what I put inside and on my body, and I put emphasize on eating natural, non-processed and organic whole foods from an evolutionary perspective, taking care of my gut and microbiome. Since the microbiome exists both in our gut and on our skin, the natural option for me was to create a collection based on that. It needed to be something that I would myself put on my skin and use.
As a make-up artist you work with women of different ages & skin colours. Any common mistakes that we all make that are easy to avoid?
Susanne Manasi Persson: I would say that applying the products little by little and building up ”your face” until you reach a good result. I always do that when I do makeup. Instead of applying too much at once, I work with enhancing people´s best features and letting the face shine through.
You website has incredibly beautiful visuals & your packaging – exterior & interior is as unique, as it is striking. What inspires you visually & fuels your creatively ?
Susanne Manasi Persson: Thank you so much. The branding and packaging design is made by my extremely talented graphic designer Olof (also my partner in life and father of my son). He has a long experince in Art Direction and Design, as well as a unique sense of quality. When I create the texture and shades, he works on the graphic design – these two combined become the perfect product for our brand.
Many teenagers are riveted by make-up & start using it earlier than we did. What worlds of wisdom would you offer to young women when it comes to using make-up?
Susanne Manasi Persson: I would say instead of buying tons of different products, buy less, more multifunctional products and with better ingredients. Your skin will thank you later on.
Many women don’t have the time to correct their make-up during the day. How can you make make-up last longer?
Susanne Manasi Persson: It is usually a matter of using products that give good colour pay-off and spending a little more time ‘prepping’ in the morning and applying products in layers. For example, a base of concealer/foundation and setting powder is a good base for powder eye shadow. Our All Over Colours have such good colour pay-off, so they usually last during the day without having to be re-applied.
You products are generally fragrance-free. Why was that important to you?
I personally do not like ‘overscented’ products. But it was quite a challenge, because on one hand, if you do not use fragrance, the scent from the raw materials can be quite different than what customers are used to. Usually it is the natural colour pigments that can have a minerally scent. The only product that has a fragrance is our All Over Colour that has a subtle vanilla fragrance, since you usually use that product on the lips and I wanted it to be a more pleasant in terms of smell/taste.
Why are ‘reduce, reuse & recycle” are important to you, as you felt compelled to integrate them into your packaging, as well as brand’s business model?
Susanne Manasi Persson: I believe that as a company we need to be a disruptor and set an example to do the best we can for the environment, as we only have one planet. When producing a product, I want to do it in the best way possible and thus offer people better buying options.
What do “eating consciously and leading a healthy life’ mean to you?
Susanne Manasi Persson: I focus on eating whole foods from an evolutionary perspective. I don’t like labelling my lifestyle and follow a specific diet, since I think that we all have different needs. I have read a lot about epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study of inheritable changes in gene expression that do not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence. DNA methylation is specifically interesting. Epigenetic change is a regular and natural occurrence, but can also be influenced by several factors, including age, the environment/lifestyle and disease state.
From this insight I listen to my body and eat mostly organic nutrient-dense foods, such as vegetables and greens, fermented foods, grass-fed meat, wild-caught seafood, healthy fats, like coconut oil, ghee and olive oil and fruits in season. I avoid sugar and grains as much as possible and do not eat gluten, as it can cause a leaky gut. I also did yoga and kickboxing before having my son, but now it is less training and more long walks. I also get acupuncture and reflexology to keep my system in balance.
Now that you are a mother, as well as a brand founder, what are you tips for better balancing between work and family?
Susanne Manasi Persson: Actually with the limited time I have, I focus only on eating well and spending time with my family and working. Other things have to come later, when there is more time for other things.
For more insights into Manasi 7, please click here to go to brand’s website (the link is NOT sponsored)