The Clean Routine – Claire Ralston
Merme Berlin Founder
“My grandmother always said: Never forget your neck.”
I came to Berlin from Australia about two and a half years ago. The plan was to only stay for 10 days before a modelling contract in Paris, but I never made it to Paris and have called Berlin home ever since. I didn’t even have a suitcase because they of course lost it, but with the vibe of the city that didn’t matter and I knew I was in the right place.
This might sound strange but MERME Berlin was founded for myself. I wanted to access the pure plant ingredients from producers and tested countless ones for the best oils. I’m originally from Australia where you can find great oils in any drug store. Here in Germany that isn’t so easy and you’ll often have to pay a lot of money.
The Facial Beauty Elixir (vegan) was my first product. It took a while until I found the perfect Rosehip oil. I use it in the morning and in the evening, even mixing it with my foundation or using a small drop as a glossy eye shadow and highlighter. I love the effect that Rosehip oil has on skin especially when you can feel it becoming firmer overnight. Pores become finer and the whole appearance of your skin improves over time.
Berlin has inspired me in my quest for fewer things around me. In Australia I had dozens of products and steps in my skincare routine, a typical characteristic of the beauty culture there. I find people are less interested in the ingredients and more influenced by the possible effects and advertising. In Germany however, I see people paying more attention to the quality and wanting minimal ingredients. For me that was really interesting and reminded me much of my time with my grandmother Merme on her farm. Her lifestyle inspired me and I rediscovered much of it in the Berlin ‘slow movement’. That’s why the name of the brand had been so obvious from the start.
Merme had a wonderfully big garden and we drove out of the city as often as we could to go visit her. She lived off the land, cooked and ate everything for herself and knew everything about every plant; what it’s good for, if you could make tea from it, if it’s right for pressing flowers. When we were sunburnt for example, she would always cut off a big leaf of Aloe Vera to treat the burns. She also gave me a beauty tip that I stay true to until this day: “When you use your sunscreen, never forget your neck. For Australians this is especially important due to the harsh sun. You should never apply perfume on your neck either as it makes the skin more susceptible to burning which accelerates freckles and ageing. To this day, sunscreen is still super important to me and I wear an SPF 50+ every day by Aesop.
In the evening I massage the Nourishing Body Remedy (vegan) into my neck, breasts and hips. Not only does this stimulate blood circulation, but makes the skin wonderfully soft and firm. In winter I use it to treat extremely dry areas like my elbows or knees. I’m also a great fan of dry body brushing, I just rarely find the time to do it. That’s why I just bought an exfoliating glove from the pharmacy so I can use it at the same time as my shower. I really have to exfoliate regularly because if fake tanning! For the body I use one by Eco Coco (vegan), that friends bring me from Australia and for my face I go for Soft Glow Gradual Tan (vegan) by Oy! by Green People. I usually apply it under my foundation.
My make-up is still dominated by conventional brands but I’m in the process of changing this as soon as they run out. It’s pretty minimalistic anyway. I use foundation and a lip stain on the lips and cheeks along with a strong lip or a bold eye shadow. I only wear mascara on the weekends! Then I love that strobing trick with a highlighter on my cheekbone and cupids bow – it really makes the lips appear fuller.
Once a week I’ll do an intensive hair care with my Revitalising Hair Treatment (vegan). I distribute it evenly throughout my hair when it’s damp and let it work over night. The next morning I’ll wash it out then only apply 4-5 drops into the ends before I blow-dry. My hair is pretty damaged from dying it blonde so I’m letting the natural colour grow back at the moment. This technique is working well for me in this repair stage.
Aside from topical oil treatments I think no one should forget good oils and fats in your diet. I try to include avocados and nuts into my meals every day. Before breakfast I always stir a small glass of Spirulina into a paste and eat it with a tablespoon of coconut oil. My mum used to always make us have Spirulina each morning too. The algae is a real all-rounder and has amazing benefits for the brain, blood and is even a great internal natural anti-ageing agent. I buy it by the kilo these days.
I’ll also have a spoonful of coconut oil in the evening when I get hungry but don’t want eat a huge meal before bed. I start and finish each day with oils and am convinced that they’re the best way to get nutrients, inside and out. In a few weeks the MERME Berlin product line will grow. I’m working on a mask, eye serum and pimple treatment.
Photo: Powder Paper