Our 20’s are supposed to be carefree and fun right? … unfortunately not for all.
Meet Alexandra Meek , the founder of online store Maruko Beauty.
Alex was diagnosed with Lyme disease when she was 22 years old and left with never-ending fatigue and brain fog to the point that she couldn’t even watch TV. You can read about her TOUGH 7 year journey and why it was necessary to switch to clean beauty during this time below.
What do you do for work?
I am currently the founder and director at Maruko Beauty. We are an Australian owned online shop for high-performance natural, organic and clean beauty. We stock a range of Australian and International brands with a focus on brands and products that actually perform.
How did you get into clean beauty?
It’s quite a long story! I suffered with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for many years before I was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease, due to this I had to radically change my entire lifestyle, including my diet and eventually the beauty products I used. Because of illness my skin became very sensitive, and I developed some chemical sensitives as well, which meant I physically couldn’t stand the fragrances in traditional beauty products. With my whole lifestyle focused on health this also prompted me to consider and be more conscious of the ingredients not only in foods, but in what I was putting on my body as well.
Eventually my love for this space lead to the launch of Maruko Beauty, as I was spending money on natural brands and products that I didn’t love. At Maruko we have strict standards with ingredients, as well as the actual performance of products. I truly believe there is no compromise when swapping to natural beauty when the right brands are selected.
How would you define clean beauty?
This is a tough one, as there is no clear definition, and in some ways it is a marketing term, and many disingenuous brands use the terms “natural”, “clean” or “eco” in their marketing which can reflect poorly on the brands that are doing this well.
Here at Maruko, for a product to be considered clean beauty, it must be free from known toxic ingredients that are harmful to health. This means it doesn’t include a long and ever-evolving list of ingredients that have been linked or suspected of being linked to poor health outcomes. This list contains over 1000 ingredients and includes parabens, PEGs, phthalates, synthetic fragrances and formaldehyde. It’s about a greater focus on transparency, with a focus on what ingredients are in products as well as where they come from.
I also think it is more than the ingredients, and the brands we stock are also more conscious of their environmental impact, as well as their social impact when sourcing ingredients, and focus on being a positive change in the world. I also love that the brands are usually small with passionate founders who have poured everything into their brands, I love being able to support that.
What have been the benefits/rewards from switching to clean beauty?
Well for one, no feeling nauseous from artificial fragrances which is always nice! Knowing that I am not going to react to products means that my skincare routine is very much about self care, and taking time for myself, which means it almost becomes a daily meditation.
I also noticed that once I swapped to a natural beauty routine I started to get more compliments on my skin. With makeup in particular, most clean beauty brands are full of skin-loving ingredients, which means my skin is left feeling clear and not clogged by heavy makeup. Some brands my skin feels better the more I wear it. E.g. The Suntegrity BB Cream doubles as moisturiser, and the Gressa Foundation also doubles as a serum. Having less breakouts meant not having to cover up so much with heavy foundations, and this is when I noticed people complimenting my skin more.
Another benefit was eye makeup, I have quite sensitive eyes that would react to mascara and eyeliner, it’s obviously much more enjoyable being able to use products that don’t cause any reactions.
Any tips on switching to clean beauty?
I’d just say to start slowly, and be gentle with yourself, don’t strive for perfectionism. Researching the brands and buying from places that cross-check and have knowledge in this area can also help in navigating in this space.
What's your favourite clean beauty product?
That’s a tough one when I stock so many different brands, I am going to have to choose 3! Of course SPF is a non-negotiable and Mother SPF is right up there with my favourites.
For skincare, I’d have to say the Josh Rosebrook Daily Acid Toner, my skin has never felt better, when people try to say clean beauty isn’t as efficacious I tell them they need to try this product!
My favourite makeup product at the moment would have to be the Alima Pure Bronzer, it’s a lovely matte finish that looks very natural on, the perfect amount of glow for my skin.