Inspiring People

Why Face Oil Inspired This Malibu Lawyer to Quit a Successful Career

Karisma Skincare CEO Lisa Mazzarella Interview on a blue couch

Despite the plethora of beauty products available on the market, it can be hard to find exactly what you’re looking for. This need for a specific item is the origin story for many beauty entrepreneurs — including Karisma SkincareTM founder Lisa Mazzarella, who was compelled to develop a clean, non-toxic face oil. But unlike many beauty entrepreneurs, Mazzarella doesn’t have a background in skincare, beauty, or even consumer goods at all. In fact, for her entire career, the 51-year-old Huntington Beach, CA native was a lawyer — a partner at a law firm and general counsel for two multinational corporations.

Her transition from attorney to beauty founder, formulator, and CEO was a slow one. “I continued to practice on a consultant basis up until about four months ago,” she admits. “I was very scared about giving up my career, my income, all I knew for so many years. It was my identity for most of my adult life.”  

Despite being worried about losing her life savings, Mazzarella committed to building Karisma Skincare, a clean, luxurious line (prices range from $70 to $185) that includes facial oil, face polish, a honey mask, and more. And, as it turns out, her background practicing law was extremely helpful in starting her company. “I know how to really dig into a subject, and I don’t stop until I have a 360-degree understanding of it,” she explains. “I did a very deep dive into the skincare industry itself, which affirmed there was a white space for Karisma.” 

For Mazzarella —a long-time beauty junkie who has an early memory mixing a raw egg with avocado and olive oil to make a DIY mask in her youth — one of the most important facets of Karisma would be the ingredients, which she insisted would be both simple and easy to understand as well as clean and of the highest quality. “I relentlessly tested ingredients,” she says, “and uncovered what country and area [of it] produces sustainable and the most pure and effective ingredients,” she says. Her hard work paid off: The brand soft-launched in January 2020 with positive feedback. Not only did the brand get EWG Verified (meaning that the formulas are free from questionable chemicals and other ingredients), but luxury retailer Neiman Marcus® picked up Mazzarella’s collection. Keep reading to learn more about the Malibu-based entrepreneur’s inspiring career change, the key to success in the skincare industry, and how she keeps her skin soft and wrinkles smooth.