Few facialists have built a roster of clients as impressive as Sydney’s Melanie Grant.
Her exclusive regime – one that blends clinical techniques and modern methodology with a holistic approach to health – has earned fans from Sydney to Paris, and now, after breaking into the notoriously competitive French skincare game, she’s opened her first overseas “skin health studio” in Los Angeles.
“Good skin is not achieved simply through a skincare regime or treatment plan in isolation,” Grant says. “Rather, it’s the result of a 360-degree approach that incorporates diet, lifestyle and preventative measures.”
Her studio’s signature “glow” is all about looking bare faced and natural.
Grant opened her first studio in Sydney’s Double Bay in 2012 and followed up with a Melbourne location in Armadale in 2016. That same year, French fashion and beauty house Chanel asked Grant to be its first and only official Australian “skin expert”. Grant had been in Paris for fashion week, offering facials to existing clientele (such as Australian blogger Nicole “Gary Pepper Girl” Warne) and new Paris-based clients.
“Australian beauty has a lot to offer everyone – not just Australians,” says Grant. “I see my work as representative of Australian beauty. It’s grounded in a lifestyle-positive approach to skincare. Australians are relatively laid-back, warm and friendly, and value simplicity and authenticity. This translates into an uncomplicated and effective approach to treating the skin.”
Her new Los Angeles salon on Melrose Place in West Hollywood counts the Olsen twins’ flagship Row boutique as a neighbour.
“I’ve always loved LA. It’s diverse, vibrant, dynamic and, of all the American cities I’ve visited, it has the most ‘Australian’ feel,” Grant says.
Despite being tailored to its Californian surrounds, the new studio’s interior has the same Parisian influence as her Australian locations, inspired by the apartments of her favourite European city. An ornate French staircase dominates the entrance hall. The floors are covered in Parisian-style parquetry. Treatment rooms are minimal and white, accented with fresh flowers and pale blue quilted blankets on the beds. Naturally, Chanel products line the bathrooms.
The Los Angeles location offers the same treatments as those in Australia. The cult “camera ready” facial – which involves a deep cleanse and exfoliation with ultrafine diamond microdermabrasion, followed by a custom antioxidant peel, hydration infusion and firm French massage techniques – is already popular.
Social media platforms like Instagram – and, importantly, the celebrities who use them to champion their favourite products, people and brands – have helped Grant expand into overseas markets. Kim Kardashian, with her 137 million followers, has posted about Grant on Instagram, and Victoria Beckham is a constant and vocal advocate. Those endorsements triggered a rush of Australian fans: models Lara Worthington, Jessica Gomes, Nicole Trunfio and Phoebe Tonkin included.
“For small Australian businesses like ours, the tyranny of distance that has kept us a secret has been conquered with technology and social media,” Grant says.
Luckily, Grant’s expertise isn’t limited to those with access to her salon. Her own Instagram account features a wealth of how-to tips and personalised advice for skincare enthusiasts or those simply wanting to learn more about how to look after their visage.
“I understand the responsibility, as an expert in my field, and I do not take this lightly,” Grant says. “My aim is to provide a reliable and credible source of information for anyone who wishes to educate themselves further.”
“We’re returning to a more natural look, where a healthy and vital complexion is the cornerstone,” she continues. “The vast majority of my clients want to maintain radiant and clarified skin – skin they feel confident in without the need to conceal and cover up.”
What’s her non-negotiable tip for healthy skin?
“As with many things in life, consistency is certainly key when it comes to ensuring your complexion is optimally functioning,” she says. “It’s one thing to achieve good skin and another to maintain it. It’s important to adhere to your skincare regime – and, most importantly, a preventative approach to skincare will negate the need for expensive correctional treatments down the line.”
However, for Grant herself consistency can sometimes be difficult to achieve.
“Being 24-hour busy is a load that takes its toll,” she says. “Combine this with a near constant flow of new products that I’m trialling for work, and you can rest assured that me and perfect skin are barely on speaking terms.
“So sometimes looking after my skin is just plain hard work. I’m careful to tailor my regime to match my lifestyle, and I’m constantly reassessing my routines. Tending to my own skin has never been a chore – on the contrary, it’s where I find some peace and relaxation, a bit of me time.”
Melanie Grant’s Los Angeles salon is now open at 8438 Melrose Place, West Hollywood. In Australia, you can find her studios in Double Bay, Sydney, and Armadale in Melbourne.
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on May 9, 2019. Some details may have changed since publication.