We've profiled plenty of amazing, noteworthy ladies since our Real Girl, Real Beauty column debuted, but Farah Malik, 32, is on a special level of cool. As the founder and CEO of A Peace Treaty, she's responsible for getting her killer scarves and jewelry collections into stores, and into your hands. But Malik's focus is on more than just accessorizing your seasonal wardrobe. By channeling her background in international and community development into a "trade not aid" business model—paying independent artisans a fair wage—her company helps talented craftspeople, in countries facing socio-political upheaval, continue their work. "Everyone shops," she explains, "so, why not make their purchasing power create change, too?" And, since she's on the road around six months a year (think: dusty villages with no electricity), having her favorite beauty products along for the ride offers a sense of comfort and joy when she's far from home. Plus, she knows a thing or two about making beauty tricks work on the fly—not to mention, finding cool products along the way. Here's to getting inspired by this girl's style, beauty tips, and entrepreneurial do-good desire.
Do you use any special tricks to combat hair issues like frizz, tangles, or limp hair? Do you have any secret hairstyling weapons?
"Pure Argan oil from Morocco that I usually buy in France. I oil-massage my hair regularly with olive, almond, or coconut oils (in the Pakistani fashion). Recently, I discovered Hair Milk Original Curl Definer from Carol's Daughter. I love that Carol's Daughter is a homegrown, feel-good, ethical company just like mine. It's a woman-run business and I'm all into supporting that, rather than the 'Big Daddy' corporations. Plus, from what I know, the products are natural and don't have all those cancer-causing chemicals, like most stuff on the market—sooooo much laboratory-fake-gunk. I do not need alcohol all over my hair, thank you very much."
What's something you'd NEVER try in the beauty/skincare realm?
"Tanning beds. Brazilian hair-straightening—naturally kinky, wavy hair is underrated!"
What type of beauty girl are you? Are you minimal on the makeup, obsessed with skincare, all about hair, or a tried-and-true beauty junkie?
"I'm a skincare-obsessor. Skin is our largest organ, and I think healthy, glowing skin is such an indicator of happiness and of a good soul. I also inherited a lot of cultural obsession with skincare (Pakistani women spend half the day getting massages, facials, waxing, and whatnot), but I barely have the time or the budget for spas, so I need to bring the spa home to me."
Products on Farrah's bathroom shelf, including some homemade ones, varieties of argan oil, and various organic products.
What's the craziest beauty mishap you've dealt with lately?
"I overdid the homemade herbal masks and broke out in hives. It's funny how the chemical-infused products sometimes really protect your skin from allergic ruptures!"
Is there a makeup or hair look you think should be retired or, on the flip side, one that should be resurrected?
"The secretary topknot needs to go. It's become too much of a ‘Hey, look, I'm cool and listen to Florence + The Machine’ signifier."
Farrah wears A Peace Treaty jewelry.
What's your signature makeup look?
"I always line my waterline with black kohl (kajal) eyeliner that's available only in South Asian countries like Nepal, Pakistan, or India. I also swear by Givenchy bronzer and coral lipstick. I usually layer YSL Rouge Volupte in Faubourg Peach with Make Up For Ever lipstick #201, or I just wear Beauty Is Life lipstick in orange on its own."
Do you switch your makeup looks depending on how you wear your hair?
"I switch my hair to match my outfits and switch my makeup to match my outfits. If I'm doing a '70s flared-pants thing, my hair would be inspired by the same look (flipped à la Farrah Fawcett or half-up). And if I'm feeling more avant garde in asymmetrical or voluminous oversized clothes, then I wear my hair in a less classic, more grungy style."
Two of her favorite scents are Prada Infusion D'Iris Perfume and Trish McEvoy No 9 Blackberry and Vanilla Musk Eau de Parfum.
What's your dream hairstyle?
"Brigitte Bardot in the posters for Contempt."
Left: Farrah loves layering YSL Rouge Volupte 30 in Faubourg Peach with Make Up For Ever 201 for a unique color.
What do you think your beauty look will be when you're 70?
"Lots of silk headscarves."
What are your favorite makeup and skincare products and why?
"Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist and Korres Milk Proteins Foaming Cleanser, both chemical-free products, because I'm trying to use more organic and natural products now. I still melt over drugstore brands like Biotherm and super chi-chi brands like La Prairie, though."
What's your favorite quick-fix beauty trick?
"Cream blush in a coral shade. Filling in my eyebrows with a pencil and blended with Q-tips to add depth and texture."
Left: Farrah accents her look with personal pieces like this Bing Bang statement cuff (in addition to plenty of A Peace Treaty jewelry, of course).
Where do you get your makeup and hair inspirations? Do you have any icons?
"Penelope Cruz's hair is always immaculate. I also love Monica Bellucci's coquettish look in some of her earlier Italian films. I'm usually inspired by 1970's beach-bum editorials in old magazines for the corals and golden-bronzy tones."
Photographed by Mark Iantosca