Sonia Deasy

“Standing out in a sea of serums”

Sonia Deasy with her father

Text: Martina Hošková, M.Zisso; Photo: Archive

Driven by the belief that skincare shouldn’t be complicated, Sonia Deasy created a line of simple, highly effective skincare products. Almost 10 years ago, she launched the brand in her home country of Ireland with a single product: Pure Hyaluronic Serum. “I believed I could make a product that stood out in a sea of serums,” she says. “Some people thought I was crazy. There were hyaluronic serums everywhere. But here’s the thing: I didn’t like any of them.”

Who is Sonia Deasy?

I’m Irish of Indian origin, 48 years old, and mum to five children. When I started Pestle & Mortar in 2014, they ranged in age from 10 down to 4. As cofounder, my husband works closely with me in Pestle & Mortar, and, before establishing our company, we also worked together in our portrait photography studio. So, we continue to live and work together in Kildare County, Ireland.

What made you think about going into the skincare business?

As I said, I was working alongside my husband Padraic in our portrait photography studio. During my work with the models, I noticed that many of their skin problems came to light under the camera lens – mainly dryness and flakiness. These girls, women, and mums, were busy, busy people, and they cared about how their skin looked – but they just hadn’t figured out a simple skincare routine to suit their lifestyle and pocket.

My skin often suffered the same fate, especially when I was travelling, and I grew frustrated with all the complicated options sitting on skincare shelves that I couldn’t understand! I wanted simple skincare that worked – and I just couldn’t find it.

“I decided to create skincare products that would be simple to use, easy to understand, and highly effective.”

Can you recall the moment of actually deciding, ‘yes, I will start a new skincare business’?

The breakthrough moment for me was this simple realisation: Many women had the same problem as I did.

They didn’t know what skincare products to choose, and felt confused by the industry and its marketing. Expensive products left them feeling frustrated because they didn’t always work. A dull, lifeless complexion affected their confidence, and they didn’t feel comfortable with their natural skin. So, I decided to create skincare products that would be simple to use, easy to understand, and highly effective.

You dared to launch your brand with just one product. What was the reasoning behind such an unusual decision?

In a single sentence, my driving motivation was ‘skincare shouldn’t be complicated’. And to this day, Pestle & Mortar is known for its less-is-more ethos when it comes to caring for your skin.

Yes, almost 10 years ago, I launched the brand with a single product: Pure Hyaluronic Serum, now a cult-favourite beloved by beauty influencers far and wide. Launching a skincare brand with a single product is unusual – in fact, some might say it’s insane! And some people really did think I was mad – I was intending to launch a skincare brand with a single product, AND it was a product with which the market was already flooded. I mean, there were hyaluronic serums everywhere.

But here’s the thing: I didn’t like any of them.

Sonia Deasy, National Enterprise Winner 2019

How did you create your now globally successful skincare routine?

I was determined to create a hyaluronic serum that provided instant results and didn’t feel sticky or tacky on the skin. I spent 18 months getting the formulation right and researching the market.

I believed I could make a product that stood out in a sea of serums, and I knew the story behind my brand would connect with people. The remarkable success of our first product, Pure Hyaluronic Serum, catapulted the brand onto the global stage. Fast forward 10 years, and we are now proud to offer a comprehensive line-up of straightforward, yet exceptionally effective skincare products.

At Pestle & Mortar, we combine high-performance active ingredients with healing natural extracts to create simple skincare that works. My heritage informs our formulations, and that is why they are unique. I come from six generations of Indian medicine men. Medicine men in India use ayurvedic wisdoms to mix food-based medicines to cure common ailments – I grew up with ayurvedic food philosophies and a back-to-basics approach to beauty and wellness rooted in Indian Natural Healing philosophies, and that’s what inspires my formulations. I was taught that if you are healthy, you look beautiful, and that natural beauty is best. At Pestle & Mortar, we create simple solutions for beautiful skin by combining natural healing ingredients with cutting-edge scientific active ingredients.

If you could share one thought with your customers, what would you tell them?

My passion runs deeper than just wanting to fix skin concerns. I believe everyone is beautiful. At Pestle & Mortar, we’re not just about making effective skincare. We want to empower women to care for their natural beauty properly, so they can look and feel their best every day.

Sonia Deasy, is co-founder and CEO of Pestle & Mortar, an Irish skincare company launched in 2014. As a busy mother-of-five, Sonia understands how difficult it can be to find a daily skincare routine that is both simple and effective. Pestle & Mortar’s philosophies are rooted in Sonia’s Indian heritage in Natural Healing. For six generations, her family have practised as medicine men in India. Pestle & Mortar is now stocked in 21 countries across 3 continents, and the brand has been endorsed in some of the most prestigious international magazines including Vogue, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times. Customers in the Czech Republic can buy her top-quality cosmetics at, among other places.