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How this UAE skincare brand is innovating the beauty space in this region

February’s – ‘The Future Issue’ – Download Now

Founders of Juana Skin, Yann Moujawaz Martini and Juana Martini are leading the way in skincare, harnessing the power of CBD oil as an innovative ingredient.

We spoke to the founders to find out what separates them from the rest of the industry and how they’re making increasing significant headway whilst retaining quality at every level.

What do the first 30 mins of your day look like, your morning routine?

Juana: Each step of our morning routine is indispensable and pivotal to providing us with positive energy and focus. I like to start my day by preparing a fresh green detox juice, including celery, green apple, cucumber and ginger. We then perform our prayers and sit through a few minutes of focused meditation – we cannot leave the house otherwise. I then proceed to my quick beauty routine, applying a powerful combination of Juana Skin: the Brightening Day Cream and the Face Oil. I also make sure to practice some kind of physical activity –they vary throughout the seasons from skiing, swimming, or walking.

You’re a family-founded brand, how did launching a skincare brand originate?

Juana: The concept of wellness derived from botany was passed on to me by my father, as I basked in our olive fields in Syria when I was growing up. I loved helping him make Aleppo soap by pressing olive oil and bay laurel. That inspired me to experiment and create my own herbal formulas. Later on, as a mother of three, I always looked to natural remedies, rather than allopathic treatments, to address any skin or health issues that would come up. Naturally, a while ago, when we were on a family road trip throughout California, I was enticed when I saw “CBD oil” everywhere and was intrigued to find out what it was.

Yann: I was aware of the benefits of CBD and had my father, a surgeon in France and Switzerland, provide me with even more information about its medicinal properties. Seeing my mom’s interest in CBD’s healing properties flipped the switch for me: we could use CBD to combine her life-long dream of having a beauty company with her passion for herbal treatments. Mind you, at the time I was a principal at the Boston Consulting Group and my stress levels, were at their peak. I was on a quest for wellness too.

What is at the core of Juana Skin, the DNA and how has it grown so quickly?

Juana: Juana Skin was born to disrupt the luxury wellness market with a farm-to-skin approach. Our goal is to nurture and treat the skin’s microbiome, the ecosystem of bacteria on the skin’s surface, with EWG (Environmental Working Group) certified products, rather than to cover it up with toxic chemicals. We have clinically proven that it is possible to create high-performing formulas without compromising performance and cleanliness. The result is an earthy look and feels that will rewire your skin and allow it to glow from within.

Juana Skin

There is an education piece around Juana Skin- can you tell us more about educating customers about the ingredients used and the quality differentiation of these ingredients throughout the industry?

Yann: We’re bearing in mind the need for education and the building of a solid foundation which does take some time. We have a blog on our website entirely dedicated to providing accurate information on CBD, clean beauty, luxury wellness and understanding labels, so consumers know how to recognize the good, the bad and the ugly.

There are three key points to keep in mind when choosing your CBD products:

Are you really buying CBD, i.e., a product richly infused with cannabinoids?

Check the potency. That is the amount of CBD milligrams a product contains per millilitres. It shouldn’t be too little (less than 2-4 mg per ml) or too high.

Check the soil in which the hemp strains are grown and make sure that they are ethically sourced from registered farms.

You’re direct to the consumer. Why did you decide to retail in such a way from the outset and retail what have been the challenges scaling this globally?

Yann: We decided to start as D2C (direct to consumer) because we wanted to fully understand and get more personal with our clients.

At this stage, our main challenge is in the decision-making process, as various opportunities present themselves to us and we have to decide whether or not they are aligned with our vision for the future.

How do the research and commercial sides of the business work together and do you feel particularly drawn to one side of the business?

Juana: I am passionate about the research and development of products and I let Yann handle the commercial side of the business.

Yann: Both aspects are complementary; there is no point in creating a product that has no commercial value. So, we are constantly studying the market in search of innovation with a value proposition.


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What has been the largest challenge since launching the brand and how did you overcome it?

Yann: The biggest challenge was how we break the barriers in the Middle East. As a pioneering CBD brand in the region, it is a responsibility we are ready to assume since we are quickly becoming a trusted source of information on the topic, thanks to the support of key local voices.

Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what has been the best advice they have imparted to you?

Yann: Along the way, we’ve been impacted and supported by countless people. But there is one mentor who I’d like to highlight.

10 years ago, when I was a student at the London School of Economics & Political Science, Mr. Jacques Attali, a top economic advisor to the French president, sensed I had the DNA of an entrepreneur, based on a project I presented. Too young back then, I did not feel equipped to jump on the entrepreneurial bandwagon and decided to pursue a career in top strategy consulting at the Boston Consulting Group. Jacques, now my mentor, advised me that acquiring skills in consulting would be highly valuable, but advised me to eventually reconsider entrepreneurship and here I am,

Where do you stand in terms of investment? Would you advise entrepreneurs to avoid asking for investment at the outset of their business and is it important to remain in control of the vision?

Yann: We have bootstrapped the majority of our financial needs for the last three years. We went through a limited, exclusive pre-seed round a few months back to build our credibility from a valuation standpoint–– it was oversubscribed in 48 hours.

I see having investors onboard as a healthy stimulant – it keeps you disciplined and structured. Also, keep in mind that it is not just about the money, it is about having interesting people with knowledge and influence.

The last year was a time that saw brands change strategy. Have you had to pivot as a business?

Yann: Considering that we started the brand during Covid times, our initial strategy already took into consideration the changing market, especially in terms of consumer behaviour.

Which is the Juana Skin hero product?

Juana: I swear by the combination of the Ultra-Rich Night Cream and The Face Oil.

Yann: I am a heavy user of Juana Skin’s Body Butter.

What effect do you see social media having on the growth of the brand?

Juana: We see social media as our main tool to educate people on the natural healing powers of CBD as well as a medium to connect with our customers worldwide.

This is The Future Issue – what do you think is the future of the beauty and wellness industry and how do you see yourself being part of that?

Juana: Love the question. We believe the future of beauty and wellness is balanced. Beauty comes from the inside first, so your skin will only truly glow if your mind, body and soul are aligned. We see ourselves as a wellness movement rooted in hemp and powered by science. The future is literally green.

February’s – ‘The Future Issue’ – Download Now

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