You drink natural wine, you’ve ditched plastic bags and you buy organic groceries. Now there’s another area of your life you can give a mindful makeover.
Bond Clean Beauty is a new online store selling local and international natural beauty products – that is, without harsh chemicals, preservatives and particles.
It’s the creation of Sydney-bred, Blue Mountains-based hair and make-up artist Clare McGrowdie, who has worked across film, fashion and TV for more than 20 years. She’s had red carpet, runway and fashion editorial experience (she was involved with the Chanel No. 5 commercial featuring Gisele Bündchen), and worked with filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and costume designer Catherine Martin, travelling with the pair for the Oscars, the Met Ball and Cannes Film Festival.
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In 2012 McGrowdie was diagnosed with a series of autoimmune diseases, which led her to research wholly natural beauty products. It inspired a passion for finding high-quality products – without harsh chemicals, preservatives and particles – that delivered the same professional results she was used to. “I went into health-food stores looking for natural products and it wasn’t the standard or experience I was used to,” says McGrowdie.
“Doctors told me repeatedly I would have to leave my job because of the chemical exposure I was in contact with directly and indirect [inhalation]. I was also told to change my household items, such as dish soap, cleaning products, personal cosmetics, shampoo and perfumes. Eight months after making these changes my blood work showed significant improvement and my physical symptoms subsided,” she says.
Bond Clean Beauty is like rummaging through a beauty expert’s vanity. And while all the products are beautiful, the performance of each is also essential for McGrowdie. “It had to be that I could use it for a red-carpet look, at editorial photo shoots and in a salon,” she says. Plus, she adds, the “natural” beauty market is confusing and this is a good way to navigate what's actually natural and what isn't.
"It's one of the reasons I started Bond Clean Beauty. Too many companies were claiming to be natural and after researching their ingredients I found they were anything but. [It would be] products with one natural ingredient and the rest of it filled with harmful chemicals.”
The online store stocks brands from Australia and abroad and sells make-up (from concealers to high-pigment lipsticks), hair care, fragrances (for the home and yourself) and skincare. “To me, these products are more luxurious – every single ingredient in [them] does something and is highly potent – there are no fillers or preservatives,” says McGrowdie. “They are organic or wild harvested and have high potency. The brands we stock are incredibly transparent with where their ingredients are sourced, how they have been harvested and how they are created.”
Brands include MV Organic Skincare (an Australian skincare range that recently won in multiple categories at the 2018 UK Beauty Shortlist Awards); In Fiore (small-batch products that target conditions such as acne and rosacea, which is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition); Agent Nateur (a aluminium-free deodorant); and Vapour (McGrowdie says its liquid foundation competes with Giorgio Armani, Chanel and Dior’s).
Along with the natural ethos of the products’ ingredients, each brand is also sourced with sustainability in mind. “They have ethical sourcing at the forefront of what they do – so how [the ingredients] are harvested and how it impacts the community where it’s from,” she says.
One perfect example is lipstick company Axiology. It claims to be 100 per cent natural, meaning it’s vegan, palm oil free and cruelty free. Its packaging is sourced from a Balinese co-op that recycles excess paper from hotels and big businesses, which is then boiled down, pressed and hand folded.
For now Bond Clean Beauty is only online, but there are plans for a store in Sydney’s Paddington later in the year. When it opens it will host talks, yoga, meditation and other events.