Madara Cosmetics have a belief that natural ingredients are the best protection for our body and mind. Created by four young, passionate Latvian women, Madara aims to create a cleaner, greener, safer and more beautiful life for us all. We adore the gentle, natural ingredients used in every product, so we delved deeper with founder Lotte Tisenkopfa-Iltnere to discover more about the ingredients taken from nature, where she finds inspiration, what beauty means to her and so much more.
What inspired you to start Madara?
My first ultimate skincare experience was in Japan, when I visited bathrooms of my Japanese study mates – there was a whole new world of textures – emulsions, essences and lotions I had never tried before. I used to spend hours on cosmetic floors of Tokyo department stores. These Asian products developed my sense for perfectly textured cremes and fluids – rich and hydrating, yet lightweight at the same time. Big was my disappointment when I experienced skin reactions from the products I loved so much. After examining the labels and understanding the list of synthetic ingredients that they “hide”, I set my skin on a totally organic “diet”. It inspired me to create Madara – a brand that combines heavenly textures and scientifically proven effects with being totally natural, organic and certified.
Where do you find inspiration now to move the brand forward?
I get so much inspiration from customers of Madara. To be honest, most of the new product ideas originate form customer requests. Another source of inspiration is nature – it still hides so many fantastic ingredients that wait to be discovered. It is important to me to work with innovative ingredient research to develop sustainable and effective products and prove that there is a safe way to look good. There are thousands of tons of cosmetic products manufactured each year in Europe, and there are tons of chemicals effecting our bodies and the environment.
Superseed Facial Oils; what do we need to know about these?Superseed Facial Oils are rare and precious oils pressed form tiny seeds of unique northern herbs and arctic berries: cranberry, blueberry, cloudberry, lingonberry, oats, parsley, sea buckthorn and much more. These tiny unique seeds contain small amounts of oils with extremely high concentrations of essential fatty acids Omega 3 and 6, powerful antioxidants and oil-soluble vitamins, like vitamin E. Superseed oils are effective nutrients that work to enhance the skin’s barrier, protect it from free radicals and UV-induced collagen break-down, improve skin tone, and revive dull skin. Face oil can be easily integrated into any skin care regimen and blended with almost any product – just add a drop of face oil into your day or night moisturiser to maximise skin nutrition or spread a few precious drops over your clean face. Superseed oils are “dry”, which means that the molecular structure of the oil is small, and it is absorbed by the skin very quickly. Even if you have an oily skin type, you will be surprised how good it feels after application. A drop of oil might be all you need, regardless of your skin type, age and skin condition.
Where are the herbs & plants used in your products sourced and harvested from?
I was born in Latvia and so was Madara –a country on the coast of the Baltic sea, with a harsh northern climate. Forests take 60% of the territory and there are large wild and protected coastal areas which have preserved nature and the soil is very clean. Many unique wild plant species can grow there. When developing the first Madara formulations together with the Professor of Pharmacology at the Medical University of Latvia, we were stunned by the activity and nutrient content of plants that grow in this northern climate. Over thousands of years of long winter periods of cold and darkness, have evolved plants with extraordinary properties. Historically those deep roots, bitter leaves and gnarled barks have healed wounds and saved lives. We harvest our pure and unique ingredients in the forest, meadows and lakes of Northern and Arctic region – rejuvenating birch water, vitamin rich Arctic berries, mineral-rich fossil mud, antioxidant-packed herbs, roots and rejuvenating seed oils.
How important is the blend on natural ingredients and scientific research to Madara?
Nature offers the widest menu of safe and amazing ingredients yet there is little scientific background behind using many natural ingredients in skincare. Healing plants have been around us for thousands of years, yet we don’t understand how exactly they work on the skin. This is something that we at Madara want to change. Whenever we develop a product for a particular skin problem, like skin dehydration or wrinkles, we dig deep to the cellular level to find truly working ingredients. With the help of in-vitro testing we check how ingredients impact the cells of dermis and epidermis, how they influence cell regeneration, collagen production, free-radical protection. After we have screened an array of ingredients in cellular research, we pick the most effective ones and proceed with dermatological testing to make sure that there is a significant and measurable impact on real people, like increase of collagen quantity in the skin. It is a long research process but it yields products we are confident about.
Fresh Birch Water containing minerals, amino acids, enzymes, proteins and polysaccharides.
Birch water is named the next super drink and the new coconut water by The Guardian and The Telegraph. Madara uses birch water as the key ingredient in anti-aging range. What is special about it?
Birch water is huge in Nordic countries. On the outbreak of spring, birch trees across the northern hemisphere prepare themselves for blossoming by running an energising liquid - birch water, sap or juice - throughout the tree from the roots to the buds. It happens jut for one or two weeks in April. Harvesting of birch water is an ancient tradition of nations living in the Nordic hemisphere. It is used primary as a health drink to detoxify the body, loose weight and improve health. In Latvia, almost everyone knows how to drill a tree and tap birch water and literally everyone drinks it in the spring. It is so common.
Fresh birch water looks like crystal clear liquid. It containing nutrients (minerals, amino acids, enzymes, proteins, polysaccharides) that promote the growth of young leaves. Inspired by this powerful regeneration process of the tree, we were curious how birch water would work on skin. After 3-years of long research, we were amazed by the discovery that birch water has strong antioxidant activity on skin cells, reducing environmental damage and reversing damage done to the skin cell’s DNA. Birch water literally makes skin cells younger by speeding up dermal cell regeneration, and reducing the ageing markers. Birch water has powerful anti-age activity, therefore we use it massively in our Time Miracle range, where we substitute all common water with birch water, such as the Time Miracle Day Cream or Time Miracle Serum.
Inspired by nature; Lotte Tisenkopfa-Iltnere
Lotte, what did beauty mean to you growing up?
When I was a little child, I spent my summers living at my grandmothers countryside house, surrounded by hilly forests. My grandmother always had some bits in the drawers of her dressing table. Kohl eye colours, pomades – all that adorable old-fashioned stuff. She also had knowledge of traditional healing herbs that grow in forests and meadows, this serves a lot as inspiration.
Which products do you reach for every morning?
A lot. I love skin care layering. This is how I can get that super hydrated skin glow.
I apply moisturisers in layers in the following sequence– first Time Miracle Serum with birch water, then Superseed Soothing Hydration Oil, then a Deep Moisture Fluid, and top with a Moonflower Tinted Moisturiser. I wait at least 5 minutes before applying the next layer. In the evening I love a power cocktail that helps tired and thirsty skin have a very intensive beauty sleep. I mix a serum and oil together and pap it gently into the slik oil provides that richness and protection, while serum provides intensive regeneration. Skin looks radiant the next morning.
What are your number one beauty and wellbeing essentials?
A good cleanse is very essential for the skin. My favourite is Madara Micellar Water with soothing northern peony root and hyaluronic acid. It removes all sorts of make-up, is very functional and can go in a cabin bag. It is a winner of the Daily Mail Micellar Water test. Serum, facial oil, and Madara tinted moisturisers are products that I never part with. And as a little treat for myself and my house, I burn perfumed candles. Only soy or beeswax that are scented with natural perfumes.
What is your tip for a happy work/ life balance?
Do things that you love. My passion became my job, but I still think of it as a passion. Of course, there are plenty of stressful situations, because we are a producer, and have quite a big factory to manage. Madara produces all products on our own, we never give anything to private label manufacturers. Passion and dedication provides energy to overcome problems more easily. People around me contribute a lot to my work/life balance. I have a fantastic team that has grown to 79 people now and an extremely supportive family. My husband and sister actually work at Madara, they are the directors of the enterprise. I love people around me and that makes me extremely happy.
If you're feeling inspired by Lottes' passion for natural beauty, shop the range here: Madara