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Photos courtesy of Dirty Mermaid by Antonio De Lucci

Let’s for a second acknowledge that mermaids might exist. [Ed. note: No.] Or at least, humor the idea that the world (to say nothing of the galaxy) is too vast to rule out the existence of things we have yet to discover. I mean we’re constantly discovering new species of land animals and insects all the time, and the ocean remains widely unexplored. But no matter your stance on The Little Mermaid, the Hans Christian Andersen or the Disney version, the allure of pampering oneself with the ingredients found by sea and land, like a beach mermaid trying to be a part of our world, isn’t a new concept but rather a lifestyle that Dirty Mermaid Beauty embodies.

Dirty Mermaid, like most indie beauty collections, deviates from the commercial brands that advertise supple and glossy skin but fail to mention the long and even the short term effects of using their products. Beauty might only be skin deep in the physical sense, but factoring in our love affair with unregulated cosmetics brands, the outcome can lead to a less glamorous look and feel.

“There’s a lot of beauty brands that use a lot of these mysterious ingredients that are not disclosed, and there’s not a lot of regulation in the [cosmetic] industry. What’s frightening is there has been chemicals pulled by the FDA from our food but they’re still being used in the cosmetic industry,” Dirty Mermaid founder Leslie Mullin said. “People are concerned about what they’re eating but we haven’t been as concerned about the stuff we’re using everyday on our skin. Whatever you’re putting on your skin, your body is absorbing it. It’s safe to say you’re eating it. Whatever you’re putting on your skin is going to your bloodstream.”

Dirty Mermaid

Instead, Mullin positioned her line as a holistic beauty collection that encourages the revitalization of the soul and body through self nurturing, beauty and bathing rituals, The Dirty Mermaid hones in on sea ingredients that detox and replenish the body. Sea staples like mineral salts from the Dead Sea and seaweed are hand blended with other organic ingredients in their Brooklyn studio, like coconut milk in their Sea Kissed Mask and Body Wrap, or their Coco Love, a limited edition coconut milk bath sprinkled with Moroccan rose buds. By taking these “dirty” ingredients from the earth and incorporating them into a daily or weekly routine, where one can reconnect and detox their body from the day-to-day hardships, without failing into the “too crunchy and granola-like” style of other organic beauty brands that shy away from being sexy, hence the name Dirty Mermaid.

“Ultimately it is about making time for these nurturing rituals,” Mullin said. “And it’s ironic because I haven’t been making time for this myself because you just get caught living in the city, running from place-to-place that you don’t make enough time to yourself to be alone. So it’s about taking time each week, and if you can, daily, to spend time and care for yourself.”

At its core, the beauty collection is not another company feeding into our fascination with mystical monsters and the unknown–though Dirty Mermaid Beauty offers sea sponges and vintage shell dishes to drive in the mermaid experience– the collection is a reminder that self-love can be fun and an integral part of one’s everyday, whether your a mermaid, merman, or just an average human.


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