You'll probably know Maya Jama best for her work on TV and radio, and for being CEO of keeping it real on social media. But over the past few years, she's also become known for something else: her love of face masks. No, not the face masks that help to protect against coronavirus, we're talking about good old sheet masks and eyepatches that aim to hydrate every inch of your face.
In fact, Jama's dedication to face masks runs so deep, she decided to create her own. Not just in collaboration with another company — she made an entirely new brand of her own. Introducing: MIJ and its motto, "Your skin having a lovely time" — that's definitely something we can get on board with.
We caught up with Jama to find out all about MIJ Masks and her love affair with face masks.
On Maya Jama's Inspiration to Create MIJ Masks:
"I can remember my mum was really into them when I was in school, so I'd already be using her skin care and things like that," Jama told POPSUGAR. "In the last four years or so, I became obsessed with sheet masks and flinging them on, mostly because I'm not very good with my skin in general. Well, I didn't used to be anyway. A face mask was always my go-to; my kind of skin saviour." She would wear her favourite brands of face masks everywhere, and we mean everywhere. Think: planes, trains, and walking along Oxford Street (see here for evidence).
"People would always ask me for face mask brand recommendations, so I thought, 'Why don't make my own, if I know I'm the consumer anyway?'" Jama said. "It's been a long process over two years and now it's finally here!"
On Why MIJ Masks Are Different From Other Mask Brands Out There:
"I knew I wanted to do a hydration mask first, because that's the one I use the most," she explained. Hyaluronic acid was an ingredient at the top of Jama's list during the planning stages. "I'm a minimalist on the face wash and then extra on the hydration products," she added.
"I always feel I get knackered eyes from not sleeping enough, that's my problem area," Jama said. "So I wanted to make a good eye mask that I know actually stays on your eye, and doesn't dry out straight away." Jama's top tip might not be groundbreaking but it definitely does work: "I always put them in the fridge so then when I have an early morning the masks are colder, which helps to depuff."
As for the face masks, a proper fit was important to Jama. "I've got quite a small head, so I've never had face masks that would fit or feel like they were covering my face properly. I wanted masks that didn't hang over my face," she said. "The whole kind of mantra behind MIJ Masks is that I want people to just be able to wear them wherever."
On MIJ Masks and Sustainability:
Jama admitted that making face masks sustainable is difficult, and we agree. MIJ Masks are made from biocellulose, a biodegradable natural fibre made from coconut, meaning that aspect of the product is environmentally friendly. And the outer cardboard packaging is made from FSC card. However, single-use plastic packaging still encases the masks. "We've done basically everything we could make them as recyclable as possible," Jama explained.
On the Future of MIJ Masks:
"To start with, I just want to focus on the face masks. I'm trying to not be too ambitious and just focus one thing at a time," Jama said. "But hopefully everyone loves them just as much as I do, then maybe we can do more products." She also spoke about extending the colour choices. "This is just the first colour — the pink tone — I think after this first drop if they do well, which hopefully they will, then there'll be other types of masks other than hydration."
MIJ Hydrogel Eye Patches (£14 for a pack of two sets) and MIJ Bio-Cellulose Face Masks (£16 for a pack of two) are available from 6 Dec at mijmasks.com.