Rugged Beauty

Certified cosmetic chemist Christina Mercy Mahar is the incredible Tucson entrepreneur behind Sía Botanics, a skin care company that harvests the moisture-hoarding ingredients from our own Sonoran Desert for creams, cleansers and serums sold in Whole Foods Market and at

Working with an herbalist and making formulations for at least 20 years, Christina went on to earn her MBA in business management and launched Sía in 2012. “I love what I do,” says the blonde, radiant-skinned CEO. “It’s because I really believe in this line, it has the best of anything I can put into it.” Our desert is one of the harshest, most extreme environments on Earth, with our temperature swings and rain-starved climate. Hence, cacti, especially the prickly pear, have winning survival tactics to trap and keep moisture within and they know how to concentrate their nutrients in an efficient way.

Indeed, the prickly pear cactus contains the highest level of betalains of any plant—super antioxidants that help nourish skin cells and fight free radical damage, Mahar says. Jojoba, aloe and white sage also find supreme purpose in Sía products. Christina’s prime focus is on premium ingredients, constantly testing them to assure quality. “I’m picky,” she explains. “It has to be the ingredient that I want and sourced from where I want.” She also teaches classes with estheticians to increase that level of product understanding for their clients. “Part of my passion is education,” she says. “I hope to help them look at skin care differently, in terms of both beauty and health.”


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