Five Rules For Life: Dineh Mohajer, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Smith & Cult

If you grew up in the ’90s, Dineh Mohajer was pretty much responsible for your entire digital aesthetic. She created Hard Candy while completing her senior year as a pre-med biochemistry student at USC. Who could forget the infamous photo of Alicia Silverstone sporting “Sky,” a pastel blue, making it an instant must-have? Mohajer led the nail lacquer and glitter eye makeup craze, thanks to her ability to create trends. She later joined forces with Jeanne Chavez, an accomplished cosmetic veteran, and the two sold Hard Candy to LVMH in 1999. After Hard Candy, Dineh and Jeanne created Disney Couture and most recently, Smith & Cult. Here, I tapped Mohajer to share her 5 Rules For Life, in her words.

  1. Stay relevant and informed. 

I am forever searching for what’s next and always looking at what’s creeping up behind me. It takes real effort to keep your fingers on the pulse of the rapidly changing world of technology, music, art, social media and of course, beauty. Having been a pioneer in the cosmetic industry, I understand what it is to follow your instincts while at the same time looking at what’s happening around you creatively and feeding off that inspiration.


  1. Work like you don’t need the money. 

Having worked in the beauty industry for over two decades, I’ve learned that if you are motivated by money you will most definitely either fail or compromise your creative goals, the latter frequently leading to the former. Against the advice of many people around me, I started Hard Candy when I was a biochemistry student. I dove into what I was passionate about. Money was not the motivation. Multiple beauty brands later, I am still operating from a place of creative devotion. I firmly believe that if you create vulnerably with your only goal being to put something out for people to embrace and appreciate, your payback will never disappoint. This applies to all artistic expression, not just beauty.


  1. Forgive yourself. 

Whether it be business or relationships, I’ve learned that the mistakes I’ve made are only proof that I am learning. All the mishaps personally and professionally have either taught me a new skill set and/or provided me with inspiration that ultimately leads to creativity. Forgiving myself opens up so much space that can be used for future endeavors and simultaneously keeps me anchored in the present.


  1. The sun is not your friend. 

Trust me on this one! Having spent the majority of my life on the west coast, I obviously have a relationship with the sun, but it’s a relationship with very big boundaries. Understanding that your skin is the canvas that all beauty products play on means you must respect the canvas or nobody has any fun. I swear by SkinMedica Broad Spectrum Sunscreen and, of course, follow the golden rules: drink tons of water and moisturize. I guess you could say my relationship with the sun is pretty superficial, however I use Smith & Cult’s Book of Sun Blush/Bronzer Duette which makes it appear that I am still involved with the sun.


  1. Family first. 

First let me say that family comes in many shapes and forms. Outside of my immediate family, I consider my close friends as family (framily), especially my business partner of 22 years, Jeanne Chavez. Failed relationships in both love and friendship have taught me that when you find either a life partner, a work partner or a tried-and-true friend, they are priority. I respect the energy I put into my relationships and don’t take for granted the love I receive in return. In the end, I will always put my family first.


Thanks, Dineh! Stay tuned for more Five Rules installments.

“Five Rules,” is a series on Rouge18 in which I ask others to share their five rules for life about anything and everything. You can learn a lot about a person by reading which five things govern their actions, no? 

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