In Conversation with Rodial Founder Maria Hatzistefanis
Maria Hatzistefanis, the founder of luxury skincare brand Rodial, talks Snake Serum, success and suitcase essentials. Thought you didn’t have time for a beauty routine? Read on…
19 November, 2020
Rodial's award-winning skincare is one of our go-tos and its founder, Maria Hatzistefanis, is among our most-loved beauty gurus.
Born in 1999, her now wildly successful skincare group, Rodial, has branched out into two brands: Rodial (best known for its cult products such as Dragon's Blood and Snake Serum) and Nip + Fab, the millennial-focused label.
For the so-called "Mrs Rodial" (whose Instagram following currently stands around 880k), success was built on a trove of luxury skincare which targeted specific concerns and offered consumers an alternative to injections and plastic surgery. The snappy names helped too, as did a savvy blend of online and offline retailing.
Shining a (ring) light on Rodial's innovative products and triumphs to date, we chatted high-tech skincare, three-minute beauty routines and not taking travel for granted.
Where are you from and how has your background shaped you?
I was born on a remote island in Greece and I was always fascinated with style. I remember going to a newsagent and getting the monthly issues of Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar - they were my bibles and formed my sense of style and love for beauty and fashion.
What is your first make-up-related memory?
I remember my grandmother used to mix lipstick with face cream to create a cream blush- she was ahead of her time!
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Minimal, structured, classic.
Where is your office and what does it look like?
My office is in Chelsea, London. It is open-plan, white with hints of slate grey.
Talk us through the inspiration behind three of your favourite beauty products…
Rodial Banana Lowlighter - I travel a lot for work and I am an early riser, which takes its toll on skin and dark circles. I wanted to create a product that would open and lift my eyes and give the effect of eight hours of sleep.
Rodial Dragon's Blood Jelly Eye Patches - Everyone suffers from dark circles and puffy eyes. I wanted to fuse hyaluronic acid with a coral-pink shade of patch to make skincare more fun and Instagrammable.
Rodial Vit C Brightening Cleansing Pads - These are designed to tackle breakouts and uneven skin tone in an easy-to-use style packaging. Everyone needs vitamin C in their skincare, period.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Honestly, everywhere: fashion, social media, travel, my circle.
What does the Rodial client want?
The Rodial client wants fast-acting, effective products with high-tech ingredients and luxury packaging.
What does the Nip + Fab client want?
The Nip + Fab client wants effective and affordable skincare that works hard to target specific concerns such as breakouts.
Does travel influence your work?
I didn't realise how much travel influenced my work until we started staying home! Travel is essential to everything I do; it inspires me and it allows me to operate my business to the best of my ability, with regards to meeting with clients, stores and buyers. Before the pandemic, I travelled at least once a month. I miss New York the most.
What key pieces do you always take with you when you travel?
My Givenchy Antigona bag, Celine sunglasses and Rodial Snake Jelly Patches.
Tips on downsizing on products when on the road…
Try to invest in a travel-sized range of skincare; it will save you tons of space and you will be able to carry them onto the plane if you don't check in a bag. I created travel versions of Rodial essentials, such as Dragon's Blood, to be used on the road.
Which countries do you think are leading the way in terms of beauty innovation?
Korea and Japan.
If there was one destination you could go back to immediately it would be…
What do you think makes a good hotel?
Twenty-four-hour service. I travel a lot and therefore I'm often jet-lagged and awake at unsociable hours. I like to stick to a routine and be able to use the gym or order room service even if it's 4am.
Your favourite weekend escapes include…
Country walks and lots of Netflix.
What are you reading at the moment? What's next on your reading list?
I'm reading a lot of vegan recipe books as well as The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra.
Podcasts to download now…
Casefile - I love a true-crime podcast
Where's your next adventure?
As soon as life returns to normal, I'll be on the first flight to New York.
What's your take on souvenirs?
I love buying local spices and tea.
What are your beauty essentials?
Rodial Banana Lowlighter, Pink Diamond Cleansing Balm and Booster Drops.
One piece of travel advice…
Never ever take travelling for granted again.
What is your make-up manifesto?
If it's going to take longer than three minutes I don't want it.
And finally, what's in your SUITCASE?
Black Khaite knitted tops, Wardrobe.NYC leggings and Bottega Veneta shoes.
Maria Hatzistefanis' Pocket Guide to Mykonos
EAT: Beefbar, a brand new restaurant with an elevated take on gyros.
DRINK + DANCE: Alemagou, especially during sunset.
SHOP: Linea Piu boutique that somehow seems to stock all the Chanel shoes and bags that have sold out everywhere else in the world.
DO: Visit the Rarity Gallery, an exhibition space with installations and international artists. The owners are charming and will offer you a glass of wine and a friendly chat while you browse.