The Washington Post

Face Time: Marla Beck


Marla Beck’s business card should probably read “Fountain of Youth Builder.” The Bethesda resident and co-founder of the Bluemercury apothecary/spa chain ( spends her time researching anti-aging creams and skin-perfecting cosmetics. Last year, she launched M-61, a skin-care line that draws on the company’s 13-year history. We sat down with Beck just before she opened her 50th outpost.

You have five shops in the D.C. area. Do you notice any trends in the local markets?
Color is not as strong in makeup in D.C. as in Philadelphia and New York, but fragrance has always been leading-edge here. And we sell more candles at the Dupont location than any other store in the entire company.

What makeup trends are you anticipating for the holiday party season?
The red lip continues to be popular. I think that will translate to holiday for people. This market doesn’t really wear a red lip unless they’re going out.

How does M-61 differ from other skin care?
We married medical-grade-strength ingredients with natural ingredients because it was important to our clients. We did over a million facials last year. We know skin from a spa perspective and from a makeup perspective. The M-61 products are meant to be used under cosmetics.

What’s something every skin-care routine should include?
Exfoliation. As you age, the cells don’t  turn over as quickly, so the dryness on your skin comes from the dry skin sitting on it. If you exfoliate, you bring out the new skin. It’s counterintuitive, because you’re being abrasive to your skin.

Is there one thing we can do today to improve the quality of our skin?
There are a few: Don’t touch your face. It’s bad for your hygiene and skin care. Everybody looks better with their brows done. And don’t ever go to bed with makeup on.


Holley Simmons is the dining editor of Express. When she’s not reporting on local restaurants and tastemakers, you can find her sewing a dress from a 1950s pattern or planting a windowsill herb garden. Contact her at



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