Thanks to a bout of flu Maya Jama has turned off her video on Zoom. “Why bother doing a full hair and makeup look when I’m ill in bed?” she says. I couldn’t agree more. “Video call fatigue” is very much a thing in 2020 and I’m all here for Jama admitting that she feels rubbish and would rather not turn on her camera. It's this honesty that’s part of Jama’s charm. I hesitate to use the word “relatable,” but that’s really the only way to describe her.
If you’re not already in love with Jama, you’re probably the last person who isn’t. It might sound sycophantic, but that doesn't mean it isn’t true. Just go over to the TV and radio presenter’s Instagram page, click on any image and you’ll see plenty of people professing their love for her. Yes, we go to her page to see what she’s wearing and where she’s going out, but she's also notoriously good at not taking herself too seriously. She'll just as happily post pictures of herself with a swollen neck (such as when she thought she had mumps) as well as those sassy red carpet looks she's perfected.
It’s her Instagram account and her followers (almost 2 million of them) that partly inspired Jama’s decision to launch her own brand of face masks, which is why I’m talking to her today. Longtime fans will remember how she often posted herself using sheet masks on planes or on the way to work. In fact, it started to become a bit of thing with her fans on Instagram, she tells me, with her followers posting up similar selfies of themselves using sheet masks and tagging in Jama. So she decided to create her own as she was trying on so many and promoting so many other brands that it made sense to take the best bits out of the ones she’d tried and create her own.
“If I’ve just had two hours sleep, I’ll put on a face mask and it’ll feel like everything’s okay, even when it’s not,” she tells me. I'm sure everyone in the world right now relates to wanting to feel like everything's okay, even if it's just for 10 minutes. The MIJ masks launch today, and from the reviews doing the rounds on Instagram already, I’m in no doubt that they’ll sell out very quickly. Here, I spoke to Jama on everything to do with face masks, beauty and fashion. Keep scrolling for more.
Photo:Courtesy of MIJ
Thanks to trying out so many masks, what did you decide you wanted in your own? What ingredients were you desperate to include?
“I don’t think I’m being biased, but my mask is like the ultimate mask of all the ones I’ve been trying. Hyaluronic acid is in both the sheet mask and the eye masks as I knew I wanted that ingredient in both as it’s super hydrating.”
You often use face masks when you’re travelling, what other tips do you have for keeping your skin in check when we can go on holiday again?
“Always have a face mask. If it’s an extra-long flight I’ll constantly be putting on night cream. When I’m on holiday I’ll use seawater to get rid of spots—especially on my back. Generally, I just douse my skin in moisturisers and let it all soak up.”
Which are your favourite skincare products?
“I’ll do Sudocrem for a last-minute spot and Bio Oil on my skin as soon as I get out of water. And on my face, I’m just basic. I use Nivea face and body. When it comes to actual face wash and face creams I’m quite simple.”
Photo:Courtesy of MIJ
What are your ultimate desert island beauty products?
“Definitely leave-in conditioner from Aussie. I feel like if you’re on a desert island you can wash in the sea and it would dry it out but then you'd have the conditioner to help look after it. Also, concealer. I don’t know who I’m trying to impress on the desert island but since school, I’ve used the same one: MAC cream concealer. I use two of them blended together, concealers NC42 and NC45. Even when I’m ill that concealer saves the day.”
Over the pandemic, has your skin changed and have you changed your routine?
“I’ve definitely used more face masks and in general I’ve spent more time on skincare. Usually, everything for me is super dashy—running around the place, a real last-minute Lisa. But I’ve taken a lot more enjoyment with it as a process rather than having to do it because I’m knackered and I drank 10 bottles of wine yesterday. Now I’ll make an evening of it and have a bath and put a face mask on.”
Other than face masks, what else you want to create, skincare-wise?
“I love my job, but I don’t know how life will go on, so I might not want to do it forever. I might want to have kids and just disappear for a bit. Who knows? So I wanted MIJ to be something that can go on without me having my face to it. Next up, though, I think I’ll do a night cream."
Maya Jama at last year's BRIT awards
Talk us through your beauty regimen.
“I don’t really sleep that much. And I notice the difference in my face if I’ve only had three or four hours sleep. I don’t remember the last time I got eight but just putting myself to bed whether I get eight hours or not is the most important thing. De-puffing stuff really helps too—I’ll use super cold masks that I’ve put in the fridge in the morning. If I’m super puffy, I’ll put a tea towel in the fridge and hold it over my face. I also use eye drops nowadays as it makes such a difference brightening your eyes in the morning.”
Any beauty regrets?
“I used to use olive oil to help tan but now it's all about reversing the damage I did to my skin when I was a teenager! Trying to wash my makeup off most nights is still my biggest downfall as I’ll just get in from somewhere and go to sleep with it on. But using SPF, that's more the thing that I’ve changed as an adult.”
On evolving, do you feel like your style has changed over the years?
“Definitely. I go through stages with style. Some days I just want to wear loads of baggy stuff and try and do a bit more of a cool edgy look and then other times I just want to look hot. It depends on what the event is and what’s going on, but I’ve definitely become a bit more to open to ideas and style. When I first started going to events I wouldn’t wear black because I was so slim but I’ve put on weight and feel happier with my body. Now, it’s less about rules, and will just have ideas for outfits, like ‘I want to look like summer in the ’90s.’”
Have you got any favourite red carpet looks?
“I loved last year’s BRITs one. I didn’t want to wear black for so long and that was my first gown in that colour. It was the ultimate princess look.”
Now keep scrolling for Maya Jama's MIJ masks and her favourite beauty products.