This local skin-care line promotes healthy and moisturized skin from the inside out.

By Emily Esleck, Photos courtesy of Olive + M

Mariska Nicholson takes a farm-to-table approach to skin care with her olive-oil-based line, Olive + M. Rich in vitamin E, olive oil can hydrate, plump and calm irritated skin. Although using oil-based skin-care products is new to some, for Nicholson, it has become an integral part of her routine and the basis of her business model.

In 2010, Nicholson began experimenting with making her own skin-care products in her kitchen. She had one condition for the ingredients, though: They couldn’t be made in a lab and everything had to be 100 percent naturally derived. After four years of research and experimentation, Olive + M was born.

Olive + M sells both face and body products, all of which are created using the finest Texas Olive Ranch cold-pressed olive oil, which leaves skin fresh and soft. When Nicholson was first working out of her kitchen, she noticed using olive oil dissolved unwanted facial oil and dirt without stripping the skin of its delicate balance of moisture.

“Olive oil is very close to your skin’s natural sebum molecularly,” Nicholson says. “When you put it on your face, your skin recognizes it and thus, it penetrates deeper.”

In addition to the olive-oil base, some of her products contain rosemary, raspberry seed, hemp seed and cranberry oils. One thing that is noticeably missing from her line’s ingredient list, however, is water. Nicholson explains using water actually promotes bacteria growth, and the antioxidants from the oils act as natural preservatives, eliminating the need for other chemical-based preservatives.

As the demand for more natural products has grown, Olive + M’s line is perfect for those looking for a more holistic approach to skin care. Most people don’t think about what they put on their skin in the same way they think about what’s going into their bodies, says Nicholson, but the two go hand in hand.

“If you’re reading an ingredient deck and it has some toxic ingredients on it, you wouldn’t take a big spoonful of that and ingest it, so why would you put it on your skin?” Nicholson says. “It’s the same thing. It’s just going into your body a different way. You’re not swallowing it, but your skin is absorbing it.”

As the founder of Olive + M, Nicholson believes her business is about more than creating healthy products. She’s contributing to an overall lifestyle movement.

“We only source our olives from local Texas farmers, so we know we’re getting beautiful, pure olive oil,” Nicholson explains. “The farmers we choose only use pesticide-free practices and good harvesting methods.”

After living in New York City for eight years and then Los Angeles for another eight, Nicholson now resides in Austin, where Olive + M is based.

“I am an Austin girl,” Nicholson says. “I think that Austin has a really dynamic entrepreneurial spirit, and it’s a place where dreams come true. It’s full of creative, hardworking people that want to support you in your ideas.”

In the years since she founded Olive + M, Nicholson has learned some invaluable life lessons.

It’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people who possess strengths that you do not,” Nicholson says.

She has learned to prepare for the unexpected, to roll with the punches and most importantly, the power of being flexible.

For more information about Mariska Nicholson and Olive + M, visit


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