Photo Credit: Mario Kimball with his wife Takako
Living in Japan and learning about the traditional Japanese healthy and conscious lifestyle inspired Mario Kimball to create Valia Skincare, a brand that combines natural topical ingredients and supplements to promote beauty. The line’s premise is that skincare is not just about what you put on your skin, it’s about living your best life. Valia products use alternative ingredients like enzymes and minimal chemical agents to reduce their environmental impact. Here, Mario tells Beauty in the Bag about his experience in Japan and his product philosophy.
The origin of Valia has a very interesting story beginning with you living in Japan. Where are you originally from and how did you come to live in Japan.
If you have a pleasant experience eating something you have never tasted before, your life will be lengthened by seventy five days. Better than a feast elsewhere is a meal at home of tea and rice. I remember in college, I had the opportunity to work with a classmate at her house, she was Asian. We were working on our college thesis together and her family offered me dinner. I had never had a home cooked Japanese meal before, the food was so different then what I usually eat on a daily basis. I felt a cleansing in my body, from that point, I was always interested in Asia.
I had an opportunity to work in Japan, so I moved there and was able to truly experience the culture. Their way of eating was totally healthy and their thinking was completely opposite to what I thought.
To make a long story short, I met a beautiful Japanese lady, who became my wife. We talked a lot about health, beauty, and fashion. The idea of Valia started developing through the stories she told me about her family; her grandparents were farmers. They had a love for everything natural and also I was taught the secret of their beauty and what they use to maintain their beauty. We wanted to incorporate these ideas into something we could share with people. We wanted to bring those ideas to the US through health and beauty so we created Valia.
We also collaborate with Marc Ching, our founding herbalist; he oversees all our supplements and helps carry out some of our skincare preparation.
What is the beauty philosophy behind Valia Skincare?
There is an aesthetic definition of beauty in terms of ideals and proportions that most people agree upon. We believe in subtle but significant improvement in each person’s unique appearance. Our Founding Herbalist Marc Chin incorporates this idea using ingredients from the mountains, the oceans, and the earth that are inspired from Japan.
Is Valia a natural or organic skincare line? How does it differ from other skincare lines in its category?
The plant and mineral substances used to make Valia skincare products are 100% natural and carefully chosen based on several factors, including effectiveness and ecological impact. Extra care is taken to ensure that each product supports your skin’s natural balance and function. Later this year, we will be extending our line of products to cover masks, body washes, eye creams, hand and foot creams, shampoos and conditioners, and also baby lotions and baby body washes, each made with the finest ingredients.
The difference between Valia and other brands is identified in our tagline: Beauty in Bloom. We believe in nurturing our bodies from the inside out as a lifestyle, and in developing natural skin care as well as supplements for total health, beautiful skin, and weight management. Our supplements are free from wheat, gluten, soy, synthetic colors, flavors and sugar.
Can the Valia 3-step regimen be used with more aggressive anti-aging products, like ones that contain retinol?
Retinol is a component of vitamin A and is known for its ability to dramatically improve the appearance of skin by smoothing away wrinkles, decreasing fine lines, even out rough spots, and bringing back a natural color and tone to the skin. Based on a person’s skin, if it is oily or dry, and the seaso, retinol can be used with the Valia regime. Layering the products can be helpful to ease dryness and using them once in the morning and at night before bed will better balance the skin.
How is your mission of sustainability represented in the range?
In order to ensure environmental sustainability, we strive to protect ecological systems, encourage economic development, and maintain community wellbeing.
Our products are inspired by traditional Japanese remedies that focus on holistic healing. We believe beautiful skin is created from the inside out. We carefully craft our formulas using these remedies and back them up with scientific research. As a result, our product development includes only the purest, plant-based ingredients and essential oils that promote radiant, youthful, and healthy skin. Our formulas are free from GMO ingredients, alcohol, artificial colors, fragrances, and animal by-products. We believe every person has the potential for naturally healthy, beautiful skin.
Our packaging is made with only low-impact recyclable materials. Our bottles are 100% recyclable and manufactured with an amber color to protect products from direct sunlight and extend their shelf life. Our boxes are made from environmental folding board that is FSC certified with 100% post-consumer fiber and free from chlorine. Packaging and labels are printed with vegetable-based ink.
We believe in the ethical treatment of animals and use only 100% natural, plant-based ingredients. Our products do not contain parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, phthalates, MEA/DEA/TEA (ammonia compounds), artificial colors, fillers, alcohol, or fragrances.
What’s next for Valia? What would you like to be doing in 5 years?
In the next few months, we’ll be extending our supplement line and will have 10 more natural health supplements. Later in the year, our skincare line will increase—caring for the body, face, and hair. We will also launch a baby line, mid to late 2015, which will increase our premium supplement line. We are hoping to open our first Valia store in late 2015/2016.