It's The 'Sanest Skincare Out There' by Bethan Cole
"It may sound counterintuitive but a modicum of vanity is indeed commensurate with - and even a requirement for - sanity. If you think about your lowest days, days when some people can’t get out of bed, or even accomplish simple acts of grooming and self-care such as brushing hair or brushing teeth – a basic urge to look in the mirror and beautify is concomitant with good mental health.
Even professional therapists are now suggesting that we use skincare, and even make up (if we are up to it) as a kind of mindful self-care ritual, to help restore the self when we feel a little (or a lot) broken. Focusing on feel good gestures such as cleansing and moisturising and even incorporating breathing techniques, can help us get our spirit/mojo back when life’s hurdles seem a bit too big to jump.
Vanity and sanity is a very interesting one. Because whilst some vanity is definitely part of being mentally well, taken too far, vanity can also have a very destructive impact on our psychological equilibrium. Witness, for example, what has been dubbed ‘compare and despair’ syndrome. Looking at images of perfected ‘normative’ celebrities or selfies on Instagram, where the person in the picture may or may not have had tens of thousands of dollars worth of cosmetic enhancements and spent, say, six hours in the hair and make-up chair, prior to being photographed and even then added some kind of beautifying filter. Then comparing to yourself, looking in the mirror, stuck at home with none of this wealth or expertise to hand. It’s enough to make anyone’s self-esteem hit rock bottom.
Where vanity is the only goal and the all-consuming narcissistic drive, sanity will suffer. This is why I don’t post on Instagram and have never taken a selfie and publicly posted it. This is a culture of self-obsession where everything is predicated upon appearance. I don’t want to be evaluated, lauded or otherwise, solely in terms of my appearance and I’m sad that many people still do. I want to be known for my personality - and hopefully - my intellect. This for me is sanity rather than vanity.
I’m not talking about all selfies here. It should also be acknowledged that there are people doing great things on social media to diversify and question what is considered beautiful/the accepted norms of beauty – in terms of age, race, body size, gender and disability. Consider the revolution of those people posting selfies of their acne for example, which such a large proportion of teens and twentysomethings go through. This is where sanity prevails over vanity.
Which brings me back to Merumaya. Not only is it a lovely efficacious brand to use in your mindful beauty routine which will help keep you sane and radiant simultaneously, but in general I like it because it’s a name putting the sanity back into vanity.
Merumaya says ‘be true to yourself’ – and if that means wearing blue lipstick or purple hair, or posting a pic of your pustule – so be it! I have certainly done two of these three things and am proud of it (as I said earlier I don’t post pics) “Be the person you are meant to be, have the confidence to be that,” says founder Maleka Duttu. Merumaya is about embracing joyous individuality and not all being a homogenous mass of sameness. Sanity comes from remembering that it is physically impossible for us to transmogrify into someone else. Sanity comes from realising that no beauty product in the world has the power to make us look like someone else. Skincare should be about making you more you – just a better more soft, smooth and glowing version.
These aren’t products predicated on fear – fear of looking older, fear of looking different to the norm, they are products designed to fill you with confidence. Again – sanity.
With Merumaya the philosophy of ‘beauty has no age’ replaces the harsh and negative insanity of anti-ageing culture which encourages denial – rather than celebration - about growing older.
Likewise perfection too is where vanity and insanity collide. Merumaya is a brand that allows us to be our perfectly imperfect selves. A wrinkle or a spot doesn’t make you unattractive, it’s a sign you’re alive and that your skin is functioning. Cover it up or let it flourish, but never ever let it stop you feeling happy or feeling like you.
I use Merumaya because I think it’s the sanest skincare out there and I like a good dose of sanity with my vanity."
By Bethan Cole
An award-winning beauty journalist and a self-published author.
Bethan Cole has worked in house for British Vogue and Sunday Times Style where she was Beauty Director 2002-2007. She has also written for Vogue Japan, Glamour, Red, FT How To Spend It, The Independent, The Guardian, The Times and The Telegraph.
In her spare time Bethan likes to read, watch arthouse movies, walk a Labradoodle named Molly and bake cakes.