Venice’s M. Steves Beauty Cottage: Natural Beauty Nestled in Cozy Digs

M. Steves Beauty Cottage Venice

Mally Chakola, founder of M. Steves Beauty and M. Steves Beauty Cottage in Venice

When Fashion Trends Daily recently got invited to the new M. Steves Beauty Cottage in Venice we — admittedly — found ourselves wondering what exactly goes into the creation of a so-called “beauty cottage.” Would there be little bluebirds chirping and happy singing coming from within?

Well, darn close. The singing might have been coming from us, because this little slice of heaven on the West Side instantly brightened our day. Think of the beauty cottage as a modern, beautiful bungalow where people can gather for beauty treatments, lounging and shopping.

M. Steves Beauty Cottage Venice

M. Steves Beauty Cottage Venice

“When my friends first walked in here they said, ‘Oh it looks just like your house!’ which is exactly what I wanted,” said owner and founder Mally Steves Chakola, who opened the luxe, relaxing, hideaway this past April.

Chakola, who launched the M. Steves beauty line in 2012, had been living in New York and working as an attorney before moving to California. Frustrated with the quality of the beauty products she bought, Chakola set out to create her own.

“My great-grandfather in India was an Ayurvedic doctor,” Chakola said. “And so much gets passed down. It’s a way of life. I grew up with things being put in my food to make my skin softer and my aunts making hair masks from things in the garden.”

So with her Ayurvedic background, much research and the help of an FDA-approved lab specializing in natural ingredients, Chakola created a line of five products, which have been hot sellers since the line’s launch 18 months ago. The products, which are carried at prestigious beauty emporiums around the country — from Shen Beauty in New York to the newly relaunched White’s Apothecary in East Hampton (formerly White’s Pharmacy) — are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, petrochemicals and other nasties, and are not tested on animals.

A retail location was a natural next step, but Chakola wanted to create something more intimate. The heart of the cottage is a gorgeous, huge dining table which forms the focus of the main room, where clients can sit and enjoy treatments such as eyebrow threading by brow guru Glen Alianza for a mere $15. Clients can also opt for a private area if they choose. A bottle of rose champagne chills in a bucket in preparation for the evening’s guests, adding to the welcoming effect. Fluffy rugs offer a cozy contrast with the floor-to-ceiling windows leading out into a elegant patio bursting with beautiful potted plants and giant photographic posters of Chakola’s family, who influenced her move into the beauty industry.

M Steves Beauty Cottage

M Steves Beauty Cottage

While munching on chocolate brownies ordered in from Zinque restaurant next door, we went to town trying out all the products. The Multi-Benefit Moisturizer smelled truly incredible. “It contains tangerine and grapefruit oils, which are natural anti-bacterials,” Chakola explained. “Guys love this moisturizer too, so ladies beware!”

Another favorite of ours was the Reviving Exfoliator, billed as ‘a facial in a jar’, which did give us a nice glow. “It’s truly unique,” Chakola said. We had a first layer applied and then gently massaged to help exfoliate. Then, another thin layer was added to let it sit while the glycolic acid and fruit enzymes do an extra level of work. We were sold.

But we think the real jewel in the M. Steves crown is the Ultra-Nourishing Boost, which features mega doses of rose hip seed oil, an ancient ingredient that forms the basis of Chakola’s beauty recipe. An antioxidant-packed dry facial oil, this anti-aging gem can be used alone as a moisturizer or added to almost any other product to enhance it.

M. Steves Boost

M. Steves Boost

“It’s an extremely potent dose of omega fatty acids, vitamin C and A,” Chakola said. “So it becomes a super-healer for the skin. I personally healed a 20-year-old keloid scar that was dark and raised in two weeks.”

We can’t speak to the scar-healing properties of the products first hand, but at 35, Chakola’s perfectly firm and apparently pore-less skin made us eager to start using them too.

Indeed, after just two days of adding a couple of drops of the Ultra-Nourishing Boost to our regular moisturizer, we can see a definite difference. Our skin is smoother and firmer and this was after a late night and a few glasses of wine! (FTD confession: We just went online and bought the entire M. Steves product range.)

Best of all, a mini facial at the M. Steves Beauty Cottage is just $50, or free when you spend $50 or more.

For more information and a full list of events and services, check out M. Steves Beauty Cottage at

Chakola also sent us on our way with a delicious-smelling mint plant and the recipe for her favorite breakfast smoothie, which we couldn’t wait to share with our dear readers:

Mally’s power-packed green smoothie:

1 generous handful spinach
3 stems of kale, deveined
1 small handful curly parsley, de-stemmed
1 small handful mint leaves
1 banana
½ cup frozen wild blueberries
½-1 cup almond milk
Chopped fresh ginger to taste
Dash of turmeric powder

Add ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.

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