We’re now well acquainted with the principles of the slow food movement –knowing where a food product was made, by whom and how, supporting small business – but can those same principles be applied to the beauty industry?
Suzanne Walker is certainly trying. Her skincare brand, Khloris Botanical, produces a range of liquid-spray facial toners made from hydrosols (or what she calls “distilled plant waters”). Each range is made on a seasonal basis, and ingredients are sourced from small-batch distillers locally and overseas. Running on the same philosophy, all packaging is handmade by letterpress in Melbourne.
As a former beauty writer for Vogue Australia, Walker has seen her fair share of skincare products. She wants to move back to a more natural approach, which takes care of both its users and of the environment. “Beauty marketing is all about worshipping youth,” she says. “There’s no story about life having its seasons. But we don’t last forever, seasons don’t last forever, flowers don’t last forever.”
Unlike a lot of hydrosols on the market, Khloris’ distilled plant waters are made fresh and without synthetics or preservatives. That’s why there’s a three-month use-by date upon opening, much like a food product (though they will keep for up to a year if kept in the fridge). It’s also why the prices are a cut above those at your local chemist.
As a beauty product, hydrosols each have different properties, depending on the plant. A common one is rosewater. Khloris’ current release features a variety of Damask rose, grown and distilled on a farm in Victoria, as well as frankincense produced in Oman.
“The beauty industry is very industrialised and encourages us to be detached from nature,” says Walker. “I want to make fresh products, and because of that, each batch will be slightly different depending on the year and season. It’s almost like wine.”