Hossay Momand

Face Value

10th September 2010

To see her now, you’d think she’d never had so much as a blackhead in her life… but when she was 18 Hossay Momand developed serious acne. It rocked her confidence, made her anxious and unhappy and very self-conscious. Hossay’s not alone – but her response is unusual.

Mary Linehan asks her about coping with the problem – and about setting up her own newly-launched skin care range: Yllume.

What drove you to to set up your own brand?

Desperation! I knew first-hand just how few natural, calming alternatives there were for skin such as mine. I’m certainly not unusual in having an acne prone skin that’s sensitive. By my 20s, I also had some scarring. I was determined to find a solution to a problem I knew if ignored or didn’t treat properly and quickly could be permanent. I remember watching my skin slowly deteriorate, which was extremely distressing. I just decided I needed to help myself. I researched endlessly until I finally came across an ingredient called colourless carotenoids. I learnt what I could about it, and became convinced this was my saviour and only hope.

What is Yllume?

Its full name is Yllume Ultimate Illuminating Skin Care, and it’s a scientifically advanced, natural two-phase system – a cream moisturiser for the face for morning and night, complemented with a daily supplement. The key components are the colourless carotenoids, which we’ve combined with carefully chosen ingredients that really brighten the complexion and even out skin tone. All the signs of aging – brown spots, lines, and, if you have skin like my own, acne scarring – are targetted. Excitingly, the complexes are exclusive to Yllume, too, so they’re in no other brand on the market currently. The skin needs plenty of vitamins and minerals to be healthy. As well as delivering these topically, with all the moisture the skin needs on a daily basis, it makes sense to treat it at a cellular level, which is why I wanted the supplement too.

What were the biggest challenges?

At first, to be taken seriously. Then finding funding. Skincare is a competitive and crowded market and investors want to know, understandably, what’s different about your brand! Getting the formula I wanted has been tough. I was adamant there should be as many active ingredients as possible, in the highest possible levels to get results, which is why Yllume is a prestige brand. Nobody wants to create a product that doesn’t work, but it has to be safe and has to be commercial. It has to be just the right texture so that it is lovely to use.
I also didn’t want any of the usual ingredients associated with brightening formulas – kojic acid, liquorice and hydroquinine, which can be highly irritating. I wanted Yllume to be as natural as possible, so insisted there were to be no drying alcohol, no parabens, and no mineral oils.
I’m sure I’ve been a pretty big challenge to work with as I am a perfectionist, but finally, three years and hundreds of samples later, I have a formula I’m happy with and that I know works. And we have the clinical trials to prove it.

What drives you when the going gets tough?

Remembering my bad, sensitive skin! Although Yllume has been a challenge and at times overwhelming, each little step is a great driver. That and the chance to help others with skin problems. Daily, my wonderful circle of family, friends and colleagues support me. No cream and supplement in the world can do anything for your wellbeing if you don’t have a strong support network.

What have you learned?

A lifetime’s work in 3 years! Certainly, I’ve learned much about the skin and about cosmetic science and marketing and packaging, but also, I hope, humility. There are so very many talented people I’ve been fortunate enough to be working with on Yllume. I’ve learnt to be strong to keep hold of my values. That, and maybe to back down a little and heed advice from those around me who know so much more!

Who do you think are great beauties?

Elizabeth Taylor, Angelina Jolie, Sophia Loren – and my mother.

Do you have a hero?

I admire achievers, people who follow their dreams. I also admire people who aim to make a difference in the lives of others for the better.

And finally, a best Beauty Tip to share?

Chilled green tea as a toner. Amazing!

Yllume Ultimate Illuminating Skincare is available online at www.yllume.co.uk
Ultimate Illuminating Cream for the Face is £115; Illuminating Supplement is £54.

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