Hailing from Chile, Mane Velasco started her career as an emergency room nurse, gaining firsthand medical experience, an understanding of skin injuries and the process of healing. It’s something she would use as the foundation for all that followed. From there, she jumped to Cosmetology and founded her first medical spa in 2001.
Fast forward 10 years, and Velasco had moved her base to Shanghai, where she began to study Traditional Chinese Medicine, combining her science-based knowledge of skincare with unique and ancient Chinese wisdom.
After completing her master’s degree in neuroscience, she founded Allelique, a skincare brand based on the concept of taking a holistic approach to health and beauty, utilizing the science of beauty, from a medical point of view.
We caught up with Velasco to learn more about her background, journey and skincare brand and Allelique.
You began your career in nursing, hold a master’s degree in neuroscience, are working on a PhD in biology and you have studied Traditional Chinese Medicine. How do you apply this unquestionably deep medical background to the world of cosmetology?
The two worlds are one and the same to me. While I do have a medical background, I have always specialized in skincare. For example, as an ER nurse, I worked in the skin department, helping people with skin injuries – like burn victims – to regenerate the skin.
As I’m working on my PhD now, it’s in the field of epigenetics, which is the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. This is closely aligned with the same principles of TCM that focus on how the environment and seasons effect one’s health.
In my opinion, health is beauty and beauty is health – they are all interconnected.
What spurred you to make the jump from working in the medical world to the cosmetic/skin care industry? What challenges did you experience during this transition?
I have always had a strong business sense and opened a medical spa as a side business. I knew that staying in the medical field indefinitely, for me, was not what I wanted, because it’s very hard for women who want to have a family. So eventually, I made the transition out of the medical field and turned my side business into my full time job.
While every day brings new challenges, this is exactly what keeps me motivated; I love to study and continue learning more about my field to ensure I offer the best and most up-to-date products, but the most difficult part when owning a business is continuing to develop the science to continue improving your products while also applying business knowledge to keep the company running smoothly.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the time to keep everything balanced.
Explain your approach to cosmetology and skin care from more of a holistic medical standpoint rather than just an exterior physical appearance standpoint? And why is it so important for people to consider all aspects of their health as a part of their physical image?
My passion runs much deeper than the beauty industry. Skin conditions and treatments are related to our own sense of well-being. Emotionally and psychologically, a woman has the social pressure to look perfect, and this is a lot to carry if your skin – especially your facial skin – doesn’t look as perfect as it needs to validate your success.
While holistic can mean something quite different in different cultures, for me it’s all about looking and feeling your best in all aspects of your life – physically, emotionally, mentally. And this comes from having a balanced and happy body.
In medical terms, in the Western world, we don’t put as much emphasis as we should on the relationship between blood circulation and wellbeing. With simple techniques, we can keep blood circulation and detox running together in perfect harmony for our skin.
How are Allelique products different from other skin care products on the market?
All of our products are based on ingredients that help improve your health, like various vitamins and minerals that are lacking in many of our lives.
Our spa line of shampoo, body gel, lotion, etc. is based on magnesium, a mineral that benefits all the functions of the body. Even though our bodies do create it naturally, for many in today’s world, we are lacking.
Magnesium is extremely important because it helps regulate mood, digestion, and skin regeneration, among so many other bodily functions. By including magnesium, alongside other essential vitamins and minerals in our formula, it enters the body through skin absorption, improving our health by using it.
The right product, created through experience, can craft perfection of mind and skin
Tell us about the ingredient formulation for the Allelique skincare products, how the ingredients were chosen and what added benefits they provide users.
We do product formulation in Paris. We start out by taking all the things that aren’t proven for improving one’s health or that don’t align with the core concept of improving health – like preservatives – and remove them.
Then we analyze what necessary vitamins and minerals most people are lacking, and we incorporate them into our various product lines.
For example, Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that helps build cells in the skin while also protecting them from environmental stresses, such as sunlight, pollution and toxins. It can help reduce acne and improve skin texture, so we have included that in many of our facial washes and creams.
Fullerene is another ingredient we use for its antioxidant properties that are suitable for preparation of skin rejuvenation cosmetic formulations.
For our spa product line, if used as a routine, it can – through absorption – give users a boost of energy and help restore mood while balancing hormones. It can combat depression, support healthy blood sugar levels, prevent and help against migraines, act as an anti-inflammatory, and so much more.
You are working on a PhD, own a brand, run a business and are a mother and partner – what advice do you have to other busy, working women who want to prioritize their own self-care regimen but must juggle it with other responsibilities?
As women, we always feel guilty when we take even the smallest amount of time for ourselves, because we feel we aren’t giving enough attention to other aspects that compete for attention in our lives – family, career, studies, friends, etc.
However, it’s important to look in the mirror and remind yourself you’re doing a good job. Don’t over-judge yourself; trust that you’re doing the best you can.
In regards to self care, one of the things that impact my view about life itself is how people suffer, especially women, from how their skin and face look. Many people who feel ashamed about acne or skin conditions are embarrassed to leave their home.
It’s important to pay attention to the skin – the biggest organ in the human body – because it has such an impact on people’s mental health and well-being. It’s really important to pay attention to the health of your skin as much as you pay attention to the health of other aspects of your body.
What does the future hold for Allelique?
First off, we are going to launch a new skincare product line specifically for men.
Fifty percent of our clients are men already, so we want to provide easy-to-use and easy-to-understand kits of face washes, lotions, creams, etc. that provide a complete routine so men can understand how to use each product, in what order, what to use at different times of day, and so on. The set will include tips on how and when to use each product and how much to use. This will launch in the next few months.
We are also about to open a medical spa in the former French Concession where visitors can try our products and book treatments. It will be an Allelique institute to learn more about improving one’s own skincare routine.
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[All images courtesy of Allelique]
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