Why I’m pro-ageing youthfully and not anti-ageing, by skincare expert Maleka Dattu
March 7, 2015 | By:
In our series on women at the top of the beauty industry, this week the founder of Merumaya reveals her top beauty tips and why she is trying to rethink skincare. By Fiona Embleton
Skincare and beauty secrets. Maleka Duttu founder of Merumaya

Maleka shares her haircare heroes, make-up must-haves and favourite fragrance

The inspiration for me to create my brand

Eight years ago I noticed a change in the way women thought about ageing. Rather than the pressure of ‘anti’ ageing, the focus shifted to ageing youthfully and preventing and perfecting the signs of ageing. I found myself increasingly thinking about creating a brand that would resonate with women and their shifting thought process. I couldn’t allow myself to get to my rocking chair years and not at least have tried!

So I left my job and started work on Merumaya. I call my brand ‘integrative skincare’ because it doesn’t fall simply into either the natural or the high-tech camp. Each product is a mini treatment with multiple active ingredients sourced for their efficacy – be that from scientific innovation, natural or nature-identical sources – and at highly concentrated levels so you get the best results.

I also wanted a beauty regime to feel less like a chore and more of a pleasurable experience. So I scented each product with the rose-like fragrance of Rhodiola Rosea, which induces beta-endorphins, sometimes known as the ‘molecules of happiness’, to give you a feel-good, confidence boost when you apply your products.

And, importantly, the brand was conceived, created and made in Britain. I think it’s important for all of us to try and support our own economy as we create jobs when we buy British-made products.

My best beauty advice for women in their 50s

Take pleasure from how you look right now because one thing’s for certain: in ten years’ time you’ll wistfully look back at photographs of yourself in your 50s and wish you could recapture that vitality. ‘Laugh often’ is my best-kept beauty secret and always remember that life experience, and the confidence that brings with it, is very sexy.

When it comes to your beauty regime, thorough yet gentle cleansing is the cornerstone to healthy skin. With age, your skin’s oil production slows down so the last thing you want is a harsh cleanser that strips away what little oil is lubricating your skin. And, of course, superb hydration and protection will always keep it looking youthful.

My skincare regime

I use my own products – every single last one of them. People constantly remark on how good my skin looks and I only have to compare my skin with my mother’s at the same age to know that while genes play a big part, skincare can dramatically improve its texture.

I cleanse morning and night with our Melting Cleansing Balm (£14.50) and use the Skin Brightening Exfoliating Peel (£19.50) two to three times a week to buff away dead dulling skin cells and reveal the fresh ones underneath.

I still marvel at how bouncy and dewy my skin feels in the morning after using my Iconic Youth Serum (£34.50) with Overnight Recharge Night Cream (£33.50) layered on top. The serum is our hero product as it contains echium oil, a natural source of omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids to reduce lines and wrinkles, improve elasticity and participate in barrier repair.

It also contains plant stem cells to increase radiance and enzymes from deep sea bacteria, which survive in extreme temperatures, and when used in skincare can help to protect the skin against the ageing caused by free radicals from pollution and UV rays.

My make-up must-haves

Mascara is my desert island must-have. I like a lot of the high street brands such as Max Factor and Rimmel. They work just as well as more premium versions at giving me full, feathery lashes.

I’m a huge fan of nude pink lipstick. I always wore it when I was in my 20s but now that I’m getting older I find I need to be careful that the tone doesn’t leaving me looking washed-out. The New CID i-Pout in Dusk (£16.50) is perfect as it still has warmth to it.

I recently discovered the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush (£28) and that gives the most wonderful glow to the face. I’m still on the hunt for the perfect foundation so I’ll let you know when I’ve found it!​

My favourite fragrance

​Amouge Dia (£270) is my signature scent and I’ve never tired of it over the decades. Its notes of fig, cyclamen, rose oil, peony, white musk, frankincense and sandalwood feel feminine and sensual. They combine eastern and western olfactory palettes and always get comments. Dia is classified as an ‘extrait,’ one of the most concentrated forms of fragrance, as it contains at least 15 per cent perfume oil, so lasts for an exceptionally long time on the skin.

That said, I like to have several fragrances on the go at once. Sometimes if I want to light up I’ll spritz Hermes Eau de Pamplemousse Rose Eau de Cologne (£75) for its fresh citrus notes. I also love the smell of my own rose-scented Confidensual Handwash (£12.50), which I actually use as a shower gel.

My hair heroes

I constantly switch between budget and high-end hair products. One massive favourite is Elasticizer by Philip Kingsley (£28) – a hair-strengthening pre-shampoo treatment that you work through wet hair and leave on for three minutes before washing your hair as normal. Nothing beats it and when I’m on holiday, I comb a large dollop through my hair after my morning swim and leave it on all day, allowing the heat from the sun to help it absorb deeper.

For professional styling I go to Urban Retreat in Harrods. Mattia keeps my colour lovely and rich, Crystal does my cut and Josh is a favourite for a blowdry and laughter!

The next big thing in beauty is:

I think our buying habits will evolve fairly quickly towards evidence-based skincare vs marketing spin. I hope we will see less ‘greenwashing’ and more emphasis being placed on what is in the product that makes it effective rather than seeing natural products as better simply because of what’s been taken out.

Connection is also a big buzzword in our modern world. The rise of Facebook, Twitter and other social media is testament to that. I think we will apply that same need for connection to our beauty products. We’ll look to brands whose message resonates with us and encourages us to be happy, feel confident and appreciate the ageing process more.

See Maleka’s products on Merumaya or on John Lewis