Photo Credit: beautyinthebag.com
Born in India and raised in Canada, TV Personality and STELLAR Founder Monika Deol spent many hours in makeup chairs. Session after session, she grew frustrated over the lack of makeup choices available to flatter her medium skin tone. In 2017, Monika took matters into her own hands and launched STELLAR, making high-quality makeup accessible to ALL women.
BITB spoke with Monika about her inspiration behind the brand, what she’s most proud of launching the company and her go-to products for every day use.
1. Tell us who or what inspired you to create STELLAR?
I was born in India and raised in Canada. While studying at university in Winnipeg, I got a job as a Club DJ. After that I had a short stint as a singer in my own band. I went to Toronto to try to land a record deal, and instead, was offered an on-air job at CITY-TV and MuchMusic (like Canada’s MTV). I hosted five shows simultaneously, four of them live. Television was really good to me and led to occasional acting and modeling gigs on the side.
All of this involved thousands of hours in make-up chairs, and the frustration of never finding an actual match in foundation, concealer or powder! I used to get them custom blended, which was fabulous, but costly.
After moving to Vancouver to get married, I anchored news for a couple of years. Then while having my four children, I decided to focus on a family life and left on-air work altogether. Flash forward, and my two oldest daughters buying grad make-up with their friends and finding the same problem. Too many times they’re hearing, “You’re between these two colors.” Or it’s perfect and it’s $65. They’re young and saying, “Really?!” That’s when my life-long obsession with make-up became a mission. I thought it’s time for a clean line of high performance, accessibly priced make-up that delivers to all skin tones, and actually over-delivers to medium skin tones. And so, STELLAR started.
Why emphasize medium skin tones? Because we’re two-thirds of the world’s population and the fastest growing demographic in North America! Latino, Hispanic, East Indian, West Indian, Filipino, Chinese, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, racially mixed… the list goes on. We are a demographic that is emerging culturally and financially. We’re in the room, we’re at the table. Let’s make our colours! We deserve quality and we deserve choices.
2. What are you most proud of when you think about your company?
We are a truly independent, family-owned brand surrounded by multi-national conglomerate owned established brands..that we love and adore! We launched in Sephora North America in March of 2017, and it’s been a wild, challenging and rewarding ride. I am so happy that the beauty world has given us a chance.
I’m proud of the fact that most of our products are vegan, gluten-free, and not tested on animals. STELLAR is free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, fragrance and most of it is mineral oil-free.
I’m really happy that people love the products because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about – fantastic products that perform. We work hard on developing our formulas and trying to be innovative. Our colours are based on undertones, instead of the traditional light to dark, and warm and cool. It’s so much more complicated than that. Our Limitless Foundations address the most common shades, light to deep, and offer various undertones within each shade. They’re based on real people and real life skin tones.
The Limitless Concealer is also based on undertones. For example, S01 and S02 are both for lighter skin tones, but S01 is a yellow undertone and S02 is a pink undertone. We are introducing a shade extension in the Spring of 2018 because clients have really responded to the natural, luminous look and long wear. They were telling us on social media that we need more lighter and deeper shades, so we’re doing it! Being able to respond quickly is one of the advantages of being a small, personal brand.
Our client is a global citizen, and I feel like we get her because we know the issues. We get the industrial strength dark circles, different colours on different parts of our face, hyper-pigmentation. I get it! I get the market because I’ve lived the market. I am the market. First and foremost, I’m a beauty junkie and in love with make-up!
I love when people tell me that they are amazed to find a foundation that matches. That’s the best feeling. It’s been wonderful to grow as a company, and actually create jobs. It is important to scale our business at a responsible pace.
3. As a beauty expert, you surely take great care of your skin. What’s in your cosmetic bag and on your bathroom vanity?
I believe very strongly in STELLAR products. From the beginning, I was clear that if I won’t wear it every day, I’m not interested in selling it, and I’m very particular because I’ve used so much makeup.
So, in my cosmetic bag, it’s all STELLAR. It has been for three years. I use the Brilliant Primer every day. It gives skin a gorgeous brightened look, and makeup looks fresh and is ultra-long-lasting.
Our Cosmic Face Lustres are loose powders that are buffed on sparingly as a finishing powder after your whole face is on. They have a super blurring and perfecting effect-literally like an Instagram filter in a jar, but they have the subtlest shimmer. It just gives you a radiant, flawless glow and your skin looks pore-less. I use the Lustre or Haze every day. I’m all about luminous complexions!
I’ve always been obsessed with skin care. Your skin is yours forever, and you have to look after it. When clients ask me about what works and doesn’t work in makeup, the first thing I talk about is skin care.
And here’s a big surprise, I love my lotions and potions! I love the ritual of Eve Lom cleanser. Peter Thomas Roth has an Irish Moor Mud Cleanser that’s great for quick cleansing. Vivier has some amazing serums, and I love the SK-2 Treatment Essence. Right now, I’m a faithful user of La Prairie moisturizer. Yes, it’s expensive, and yes, I feel extra that I go there, but I feel like I need that level of performance right now. I work a lot, travel a lot and have a very full-on family life! That brings me to sleep and eye cream; it’s everything, and La Mer is very effective on my skin, but I think it’s absolutely true that you need to sleep eight hours a day if you can.
Masks are an extra boost that I believe in strongly. I’m always walking around the house with a mask on, scaring my dogs and children. I use SK-2, and a Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask.
Skin care is a very personal thing. My Mom used Oil of Olay her whole life, and her skin is beyond awesome. So, I don’t believe expensive means better. My strategy is cleansing my face every night, no matter how exhausted I am, and applying the products… I spent a fortune, so I better use them!