Matthew Milèo has skincare down to a science.
Born with a passion for experimentation, he got his degree in chemistry, biology and psychology. It was that knowledge, combined with a skincare hobby, that ultimately inspired his career path: Milèo landed at Chanel Beauty and spent a decade there, doing everything for the illustrious fashion house from creating runway beauty looks to developing products to working as an in-house fragrance expert.
Ultimately, inspired in part by a desire to create a product for his ailing godmother, he left to develop his own eponymous brand—incredibly luxurious, but without chemicals or synthetics. Milèo is designed as an ultra sophisticated skincare range, a nurturing fragrance line and a beautiful set of objects, defined by its rare and powerful Elixir Oud collection.
Here, the creator talks about the definition of luxury and the beauty of the process:
Live The Process: What is it about science that interests you and how does psychology come into play?
Matthew Milèo: Growing up, I always had a huge fascination with science. As a kid, I loved playing with my chemistry sets and periodic table-themed toys and was an avid collector of all the different bug and flower species. I’m transfixed by both how things work and the beauty that they exude.
Psychology was more about self-discovery and understanding human behavior. I’m naturally empathic, with an affinity for taking on people’s feelings, as though they were my own. Understanding the inner workings of myself and others has helped me to find a greater expression of what I can give to the world—which is beauty.
But, in order to sell beauty, you have to know how to create it, scientifically: The chemistry and biology of my formulas are extremely intricate, all 100% pure from plants, but—to make it look, smell, and feel good (without cheating with chemicals)—is a whole other science in itself. Everything has come together to make me and my products what we are today.
LTP: How did that experience lead you to Chanel? What did you learn while there—about luxury, about branding, about notions of quality?
MM: During college, I worked part-time retail jobs to help pay off my student loans, as well to get “real world” experience. So, after I graduated, I figured, why not aim high? I put my science education and passion for beauty together and applied for a job at Chanel—the ultimate house of luxury.
Under their wing, I came to understand their mission statement and applied that when building my own brand: 1) uncompromising quality and quality control, 2) creating desire now and forever and 3) simplicity and design in many ways is luxury.
Case in point, I was captivated by how they’ve continued to grow their own private May rose in Grasse, France, for almost a century. It offers a unique point of difference; one that other companies can’t copy. That’s probably why I was so ecstatic to find a rare and unique ingredient like Oud, that takes 100 years to naturally age. And, although I don’t grow Oud myself, the 100-year process is just as impressive as growing your own unique flower for a hundred years.
LTP: What ultimately inspired you to launch Milèo?
MM: As much as I love luxury skincare and fragrance, I wasn’t loving the accompanying ingredient lists. My enthusiasm for health and wellness inspired me to create a luxurious, pure and powerful skincare line that is free from all the chemicals, fillers and zero-nutrient ingredients.
I also wanted it to be multi-purposeful with a unique point of difference— which is that it is a fine, natural fragrance too. I wanted every element to be fuel for the skin and body, instead of dead ingredients that sit in your pores like in a cemetery.
And, honestly, I wasn’t loving the natural skincare products on the market that aren’t a delight to use—and that you hide in the dark corners of your medicine cabinet because they are ugly to look at.
I want effective results; I want sensorial quality (feel and smell); and I want it to be visually appealing, proudly displayed on my vanity. I want it all in a product—and that’s why I created Milèo.
LTP: Milèo is a unique concept. Can you describe the range and how it works?
MM: Elixir Oud is a naturally-scented facial oil collection that features 100-year-old Oud, which is an agarwood resin that was used in the past for very fine fragrances in the Middle East because of its deep, richly exotic, balsamic woody aroma.
Scientific studies have shown that Oud protects against toxicity, restores cellular health and acts on all signs of aging. It has even been shown to eliminate dangerous components, like cancer cells.
I decided to release an array of products with Oud to satisfy all types of skin, since I don’t believe that one product fits all. Just like our DNA, our skin is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. There are four Elixir Ouds that are formulated for skin conditions: green for purity, blue for hydration, orange for brightening and gold for renewal.
LTP: What does happiness look like to you?
MM: Happiness, for me, is creation.
Whenever I have a vision, I’m at my most happy while completing the steps involved in making it a reality. Creating something physical from the constructs of my mind, to me, is bliss. Right now, I’m learning to find that same kind of happiness in the process of destruction—as that is sometimes also an essential step in the process of creating or, at least, making room for creation to happen.
LTP: What does it mean to you to “Live The Process” and how can we all do that more each day?
MM: “Living the process” is doing the work. Forget end results or goals; forget about what you can obtain and expectations therein. Whatever path one is on, there is happiness in every step. There are lessons in every moment on that path that give subtle clues to your own happiness. The trick is to listen, to be aware and mindful of what is going on around you. The universe will take you on a ride, but it’s up to you how fast you want to go.
Live every day simply doing your best—because your best is your acceleration. Some days, your best will be less; some days, you’ll surprise yourself with how powerful your best is. But always give your all and the universe will respond.
Sometimes, it’s easy to set a goal and do everything it takes to get there in the quickest amount of time. But what happens after that? We forget the best part of getting there is the process. Don’t forget to live it.