Relatively recently, “natural beauty” has taken on a second meaning. No longer just a term for those among us blessed to roll out of bed looking impossibly stunning, now organic labels and stores – such as skincare line Lesse, all-natural Fitzroy store Saint Francis Place, clean-beauty bar Onda, and natural-beauty hub Bond Clean Beauty – have adopted the phrase and are out in force, reflecting our demand for products with more natural ingredients and fewer chemicals.
In December, local beauty label Grown Alchemist will join the troupe, opening its global flagship store in Carlton. The label is by Australian brothers Keston and Jeremy Muijs, who believe synthetic materials can do more harm than good.
“The heart of our brand is really simple, it’s all about skin function. Beauty is really derived from function,” Jeremy Muijs tells me over the phone from Singapore. “As much as some skincare companies would love you to believe, beauty just isn’t going to come from this magical pot of cream. Those active ingredients are great, but an active ingredient on a skin cell that isn’t functioning well is pointless.”
Located in the King & Godfree precinct, Grown Alchemist Carlton will stock “clean” skincare products and supplements, and you can also book in for LED-light treatments, IV drip therapy, facials and oxygen treatments. It’ll also have a “clean room” pumped full of purified air.
“The store itself is designed to deliver a skin-boosting space through an ultra-purified environment which creates a pure oxygen exchange with the skin,” says Muijs. “So the longer you spend in the store, the better your skin looks and functions.”
The redesign of the old Victorian cottage – next door to Agostino, Johnny’s Green Room, Pidapipo, King & Godfree Deli and Espresso Bar – is a collaboration between GA’s in-house design team and Herbert & Mason Architecture. Stainless steel and glass nod to the environment the products are made in – it’s like a research lab, only more chic.
“What we’ve done is we’ve kept the entire brick structure, which was falling apart, and we’ve reinforced it. We’re treating it like a ruin we want to preserve – there are big cavities and holes and all over,” Muijs says. “There are no doors, there are just gaps where the windows used to be. It’s quite pure, but a little bit playful as well. It’s a nice play between the old and the new.”
Grown Alchemist’s team produces organic skincare in its labs in London, Paris, Switzerland, Spain and locally, using ingredients such as white tea, olive leaf, pink grapefruit, ginkgo and rosehip to create cream cleansers, serums, masks, toners, intensive moisturisers and more. Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan of its watermelon and vanilla lip balm, and Alexander Wang’s models have walked the runway after tailored Grown Alchemist skincare regimens.
Beyond topical skincare, the label has a beauty supplement range called Nutricosmetics. It includes probiotics, tablets to support hair growth, and an oral powder that contains collagen and vitamin C, to support smooth skin.
Grown Alchemist has had counters at Myer in the past, but is now moving to David Jones – outposts are in the works for the Bourke Street and Elizabeth Street stores, and the label is currently stocked online.
Grown Alchemist Carlton is set to open in January 2020 at 226 Faraday Street, Carlton. This article was updated on November 19 to reflect an update to store locations.