If you live in the UAE, you’ve probably heard of Salama Mohamed. Whether on the news, on social media or YouTube, it’s hard to miss the affable Emirati woman with a big heart and a big sense of humour.
Mohamed and her husband, the popular Emirati content creator Khalid Al Ameri, have been a massive presence online for years, making people laugh with their humours skits about married life, or inspiring followers with their heartwarming tales from visits to new countries. Most recently, they probably had fans shedding tears as the couple documented their trip to Uganda to attend the wedding of their former house help Sarah Nasanga.
Even while being a busy fixture on the social media circuit, Mohamed has been working hard on a project that has finally reached fruition. Her skincare line Peacefull, made up of an initial three products, has been two years in the making and saw the mum of two travel all the way to Korea to get involved in the process of formulating the brand from scratch.
“I still feel like we haven’t started yet… we’re still in the process. It’s been an amazing journey for the past two years to create [the brand],” she told Gulf News over Zoom. “Imagine flying to Korea, a one-woman show, going all the way to the best factories in the world to pitch that we in the Middle East need a skincare brand catered for all of us, for every single human being living under the GCC sun and the Middle East sun.”
“I’ve been personally involved from the get-go in the creating of the formulas, the packaging, trying to bring innovative Korean skincare to the Middle East… and it’s very important for us to proudly say that we are an Emirati brand, made in Korea and catered for everyone here,” she added.
While it’s not lost on her that she’s an Emirati woman launching a skincare brand that’s distinctly Emirati, Mohamed says she wants to share the victory with others.
“I’m still in shock. I’m so proud of us. It pretty much feels like it’s not mine, like it belongs to everyone,” she said. “I can’t even take that credit from everyone and say my name is attached to it. It’s for all of us and that’s why I very much insisted on calling it Peacefull because it’s filled with peace. It’s for all of us to be at peace with our own selves and our own skin.”
Mohamed knows firsthand about finding peace with oneself. She has been open about being “blessed” with the skin condition vitiligo, which causes skin to lose pigmentation in patches. During her interview, and whenever else she talks about it, Mohamed has been careful to avoid referring to it negatively, instead promoting a positive outlook about loving her skin the way it is. It was, after all, what inspired her new venture.
“It’s been a journey with my vitiligo and due to my vitiligo I have super sensitive skin. So I have tried every skincare product… from high-end to low-end and everything in between. And everything irritates my skin,” she said.
“My vitiligo has influenced the whole brand and the whole process of creating the product. It wasn’t just my vitiligo. My sister has psoriasis, my other sister and her kids have eczema. So as a family we do have skin conditions. I wanted to create a product to include all of us, people with sensitive skin, people with skin conditions,” she added.
Her journey to discover what worked for her skin led her to Korean products and the popular 10-step routine.
“I swear by the 10 steps. Due to that 10-step routine, well… 10 in the morning and eight in the night, I have discovered the healing powers of active ingredients. It’s not about how fancy it is, it’s about the active ingredients,” she said.
Mohamed says it has not only changed her skin but her confidence and the way she looks at herself.
“That’s why the vision of Peacefull was born,” she added.
Each and every product is unique in its own way. That’s how rewarding it is to be involved in everything to just bring my crazy dreams to reality.
However, when developing the brand she understood that not everyone had the time or interest in pulling out and applying 10 products every day.
“How do I bring in the active ingredients, the healing power, in [as few] steps as possible with the least amount of time? That’s how the three products came along,” she said.
Peacefull’s three products are the Mugwort Clay Mask Cleanser, the Endless Purifying Toner and Ever Glow Moisturizer. Mohamed wanted to develop a product line that would serve as a solid routine and produce real results.
“That’s where the face wash came along, and then the toner and moisturiser,” she said. This easy to follow three-step routine has been around for years but Mohamed wanted to make sure her line would pack a punch in terms of ingredients.
“It was a dream of mine to have an essence-like toner, which is what we’ve created. I wanted to bring multiple steps into one product. The face wash, for example, it’s a clay multi-purpose mask. It’s a face wash, but it gives you the effect of wearing a mask,” she said. “Each and every product is unique in its own way. That’s how rewarding it is to be involved in everything to just bring my crazy dreams to reality.”
Asked what it like coming up with these three products, she said it was a rewarding experience but not without its challenges.
“I felt sorry for my factory. They were going crazy because I was against using [certain] ingredients… for example, they recommended a synthetic perfume and I was against that,” she said with a laugh. “I wanted it to be as green as possible. It took me a whole year to find the right scent due to the selection of flowers that I have, because it’s naturally harvested.”
Calming and healing ingredients that are popular with Korean skincare brands also feature prominently in Peacefull’s line-up.
“We’re using mugwort, which is an excellent plant for eczema and psoriasis, and as well for rosacea. And our cica is a wounded healer,” she said. “I wanted to give people the healing powers of active ingredients…. we’re not healing eczema and psoriasis, but we’re here to give you a skincare product that will not irritate you but will calm your skin down.”
Mohamed believes that skincare should a part of life and not a special addition, and that’s reflected in the simplicity of the routine.
“That’s the essence of Peacefull Hya Centella collection; it’s three little steps that will not take you more than five minutes,” she said. “You wash your face, you use a toner and a moisturizer for you to actually see an effect and to see the difference in your face. Skincare to us is not products, skincare to us is a hygienic lifestyle. It’s like waking up and brushing your teeth and taking a shower.”
So how does she juggle all these different roles: being a mom, wife, social media influencer and now a brand owner?
“To be honest, I have no idea. I don’t know what day it is today. [Laughs] I’m just living day by day. But I have to give credit where it’s due. I am surrounded by an amazing supportive family. I am surrounded by an amazing supportive team,” she said. “I am not alone in this journey. I have the most incredible people that actually believe in Salama and believe in Peacefull and that’s how I go day by day by day. Just being surrounded by support and love.”
“All of our products sat in a heat chamber for three months at 50 degrees Celsius just to mimic the Middle East weather and that’s why we’re very confident when we say we are so far the only skincare products that is made for the Middle East,” she said. She says they conducted that treatment to make sure the formula, texture and scent don’t change with the heat.