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I was on vacation in Hawaii with my family when it all started. A nature lover, I had returned to a beach that had been a favorite on previous trips and was appalled to find it had become an ugly mess. Heaps of plastic had washed up and destroyed this once-beautiful Hawaiian shore.

Of the 9.1 billion tons of plastic produced since it was first introduced in the 1950s, most has never been recycled—with far too much ending up in the seas, finding its way into fish and killing coral reefs. I decided to help change that.

Other industries have made steps toward eliminating plastic, but the beauty industry is still far behind.

It was a challenge, I admit, to come up with products that don’t use plastic containers, yet are also highly effective. I didn’t want to sell any makeup or skincare items I wouldn’t use myself or in my work. My makeup clients often ask if they can buy a product I’m using during an appointment. If I sell a product, I want to be sure I know it inside and out.

So the products I chose had to meet several criteria: Be made of natural, non-chemical ingredients that are good for your skin, offer effective performance under a range of conditions, be designed to last for a good amount of time on your shelf, and contain low or no plastic.

Within the selection, I offer products designed for different skin needs and ones that offer specific types of performance at various price points. If I feel a client can get reasonably similar results from one product rather than two or three, that’s the solution I typically recommend.

Now that’s how I define sustainable beauty—as a holistic, mindful approach to sourcing, choosing and using products.

When you ask me or one of my makeup artists for advice, you can feel confident we are pointing you towards a product that’s not only eco-friendly and good for your skin, but one you can trust to work well for your needs and also use on a regular basis rather than gather dust at the back of your bathroom cabinet.

The name Ola happens to be my nickname in Polish, but in Hawaiian, “ola” means well-being and thriving. In a nutshell, Ola Beauty is about skincare, body care and makeup you can feel good about in every way.

And about not taking anything too seriously either. After all, all this is just to help us look more beautiful—how important can that be?

My story

I grew up in Poland in the 1980s, when the country was gray and Communist-controlled, and beauty wasn’t a concern for anyone. But it was there that I got my first look at Western fashion magazines and began to make beauty my life’s work.

After landing in the United States, I studied at the Make-up Designory in New York and was immediately turned on by the fantastic energy of the school and the city. Opening my own studio as a professional makeup artist for fashion and events clients has been a dream come true. The fashion world offers so many possibilities for artistic expression, and I find it delightfully removed from real life. I like to be challenged and push boundaries and am drawn to projects that help me grow as an artist.

My work includes makeup for print, television, runway, and bridal parties. My clientele include celebrities, actors, models, and sports figures, and in 2017, I was named Best Makeup Artist by Philadelphia Magazine.

Now, I’m taking another step forward in the beauty world by opening Ola Beauty, a boutique in Philadelphia’s City Center, to offer mindfully sourced beauty products to my clients and anyone who wants to be more aware about what they’re putting on their skin.