Melissa Medvedich has always played by the rules—except when it comes to skincare.
As the grandchild of immigrants, she worked hard, first as a creative director for all sorts of luxury publications and, later, when she began to explore the beauty world. Entranced by the concept of “plant magic” and wanting to understand the therapeutic actions of clean ingredients, she studied aromatherapy and botanical beauty formulations at the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies.
Ultimately, she launched her line, Supernal (which means “celestial”), with one hand-blended, organic, all-natural product: Cosmic Glow Oil is packed with vitamin C and omegas 3, 6 and 9. And, true to her design roots, the face oil looks like some beautiful, transformative magical potion.
Here, Medvedich talks first facials, embracing fear and taking a chance on herself:
Live The Process: How did your background as a creative director help you in creating your skincare line?
Melissa Medvedich: The beginning of my career was mainly spent working as a print designer in magazines at a small New York City publishing company. During that decade-plus, I grew from graphic designer to creative director, working on and helping to launch a variety of different titles in a wide range of lifestyle categories. As those magazines evolved into digital media brands, we began collaborating with advertising partners on custom content creation, and I had the opportunity to work with companies such as Nike and Adidas and their respective agencies. My last stop in the full-time world was at StyleCaster, where I was brought on to help relaunch and redesign the website. Then, I went freelance and started to work on Supernal. All of my experiences in media and production helped me to see a more linear path to creating and launching a brand. I was essentially able to act as my own creative agency for all of the brand visuals and apply that same attention to detail to my aromatherapy and botanical beauty formulation studies—and, ultimately, creating my first product.
LTP: Why do you think you gravitated towards skincare and plant medicine?
MM: Growing up in an Asian household, the women in my family always placed a strong emphasis on protecting your skin and skin health, but skincare was just something that always fascinated and intrigued me. At 14 years old, I saved up my babysitting money to get my very first facial at the same shopping center where my grandparents had a store (that I went to every day after school). I went in secret because my family would have fully forbidden me from spending my savings on something so frivolous. It was probably the worst facial I have ever experienced, and it put me off getting too experimental with my skin again for a few years, but I remember thinking this would be amazing and so enjoyable with the right esthetician.
As soon as I graduated from college and started working, I put any extra money I had towards trying facial treatments and skincare products. My first job out of school was at Vogue and, all of a sudden, I found myself surrounded with any and every beauty product you could possibly imagine; and I really caught the beauty bug. As time went on and I started paying more attention to ingredients lists, I found that I was continually gravitating towards more plant-based skincare, mainly because I was finding it to be the most nourishing and transformative for my skin. Plants, in general, were also like family to me. I grew up watching my grandfather and father tend to their plants and gardens as a form of meditation. From as far back as I can remember, I have always associated plants with having healing and calming capabilities.
LTP: How did you come to launch Supernal and what makes it so special (aside from the beautiful design!)?
MM: When starting my own business, I asked myself, “What would I do, if I could anything in the world?” I knew immediately that I wanted to work in skincare, even if it was a departure from my career up to that point.
I feel incredibly privileged to even have the opportunity to make that choice: My grandparents are immigrants. At 14, I was trying facials; at that same age, in 1937, my grandfather came to America by himself. He was paid 7 cents an hour, working 70 hours a week and living in the back of a shop.
In my career, I had always played it safe, so taking a chance on myself and starting my own business was not something I took lightly. I dedicated myself to my studies and certification to create something I truly believed in—and I channeled all of my energy into one hero product to start. I chose a facial oil because that’s been my desert island product for the last few years, and I wanted to create my my ideal blend. I wanted Cosmic Glow Oil to be super nourishing, absorb deeply and induce a glow. That’s what led my formulation methodology. I have also been told it smells like a sexy expensive forest, which might be my favorite thing ever.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
MM: Sitting in an Adirondack chair beside my husband in the Catskills.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
MM: For me, it’s about learning to lean into and embrace fear. Honoring mistakes as much as victories. Remembering to be present, living in the moment and feeling gratitude for another day. Remembering to enjoy the journey.