My Melbourne Skincare Haul

I’m working on a little project that requires a bit of venturing into a new category—skin care and body care products.

It’s both exciting and challenging at the same time for someone like me, who’s always had sensitive skin. As a kid, I was allergic to OFF! Insect Repellent and Safeguard soap (rashes and hives broke out all over my body). This worried my mum, so I was only allowed to use baby soaps and Dove for my body (even until now). Then when I eased into my teens, I had horrible acne breakouts, but Pond’s, St. Ives Apricot Scrub (the one with Salicylic Acid), and Cetaphil helped. So, really, it’s been an odd mix of skincare products that I’ve been using my whole life! Now that I’m in my mid-twenties, I’ve been looking at using more organic and natural products. I realised that I can’t use anything with peppermint and coffee (sadly!) because I get red and itchy and stingy all over.

So, on my recent trip to Melbourne, I purchased a few products, but concentrated on a skincare line called Grown Alchemist. Their philosophy revolves around Botanical Beauty, using technologies that have revolutionised the traditional approach to skincare, body care, and hair care. As the brand implies, it goes back to good ‘ole chemistry class (molecular structures and all), but being really considerate about each formulation’s ingredients, keeping them organic, all-natural (with tons of anti-oxidants), and without harmful chemicals and preservatives.

As a result, Grown Alchemist products are free from harmful chemicals and preservatives; they not only fight free radicals that are damaging to the human body, but also minimise them by not creating the rejection in the first place. All packaging used is also made from recycled materials, which is awesome.

So, here’s my haul!

1. Soothing Body-Gel Lotion – Allantoin, Azulene, and K+MG Aspartate 200ml (AU$39.95)

Soothing Body-Gel Lotion – Allantoin, Azulene, and K+MG Aspartate by Grown Alchemist

The first Grown Alchemist product that I’ve actually tried. Made with Allantoin, Azulene, and K+MG Aspartate—no idea what they specifically do, but a quick Google check says that they’re natural topical chemical compounds that have moisturising and calming abilities—this is a highly absorbent, fast-acting hydrating gel that’s made to soothe and restore the skin. It’s ideal for the Singapore climate (and Manila’s, too!) because its lightweight texture makes it great for skin that’s overexposed to sun, especially in humid weather.

The only disclaimer, I guess, is that it smells like feet (haha!). But wow, I’d totally buy another bottle of this. I apply it after I take a shower before I go to bed, and I don’t get as much dry patches on my skin as I used to. Definitely a great buy. I wish I had this with me during my past beach trips as it would make a great after-sun gel.

2. Intensive Body Exfoliant – Inca-Inchi, Pumice, Activated Charcoal 200ml (AU$44.95)

I’ve yet to open this, but I’m looking forward to trying it out. I’m currently finishing a bottle of Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser, which I got as a present from my ex-colleagues.

Intensive Body Exfoliant – Inca-Inchi, Pumice, Activated Charcoal by Grown Alchemist

Inca-Inchi, also known as the Inca Peanut (found in Australia), is an amazing product with lots of health benefits that include Omega 3 fatty acids—this was what made me so drawn to getting it! Inca-Inchi helps regulate the production of oil, keeping the skin elastic and hydrated while protecting it against sun damage. Pumice and Activated Charcoal are also very potent ingredients that are used in purifying and breaking down cellulite deposits, so it should smoothen and even out the skin. Can’t wait to try this out!

3. Hydra-restore Cream Cleanser – Olive Leaf & Plantago Extract 100ml (AU$44.95)

Hydra-restore Cream Cleanser – Olive Leaf & Plantago Extract by Grown Alchemist

This was a freebie, and I haven’t tried it out yet as I’ve been finishing my tiny bottle of Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser and a sampler packet of Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple. I find Aesop’s products to be generally too heavy on the skin and fragranced excessively, so I’ve been using Purity Made Simple more, which is lighter and leaves my face more hydrated and supple.

This Hydra-restore Cream Cleanser seems to be good for my sensitive skin because olive leaf is great for delicate facial skin, while plantago extract comes packed with soothing properties.

4. Tiny Tubes and a Body Cleansing Bar!

(L) Camellia & Geranium Blossom Hydrating Cream, Vanilla & Watermelon Lip Balm, Vanilla & Orange Peel Hand Cream (R) Geranium, Bergamot, & Patchouli Body Cleansing Bar; all by Grown Alchemist

I also got a travel set of Grown Alchemist products. The Vanilla and Orange Peel Hand Cream smells like a delicious orange creamsicle as you would expect. I love how it doesn’t feel greasy on the hands and dries softly. The Camellia and Geranium Blossom Hydrating Cream is a godsend! Some moisturisers I’ve tried left my face with a shiny slick and oily-looking, and when mixed with sweat caused quite a disaster. This one, though, dries up just right, keeping my face quenched especially during really hot days in Singapore. Lastly, a delicious Vanilla and Watermelon Lip Balm that does the trick of making my lips look glossy, while keeping them super-silky and nourished thanks to other ingredients in this balm such as sweet almond, rose hip, and jojoba oil. Kudos to this formula as it kept my lips from chapping the whole day during the Australian winter (we were outdoors the whole day and my lips weren’t drying out!).

I also have a Body Cleansing Bar made with Geranium Leaf, Bergamot, and Patchouli, but I think I’ll give this to Andre because loves Patchouli more than I do.

5. Kleins Perfumery: Surfer and Two Girls Hand Cream 75ml (AU$27.95)

Ha! You’d think I bought this just for the packaging, eh? Well, kinda. In fact, I saw its cousin, Working Girl, first in a restaurant bathroom, tried it out, and made it a quest to purchase a tube before we flew out. When I found a small shop in South Melbourne Market selling Kleins products, I decided to go with Surfer and Two Girls Hand Cream instead.

Surfer and Two Girls Hand Cream by Kleins Perfumery

Why? Because apart from the cool packaging, this hand cream smells insanely good, and feels buttery-soft on the skin. Made with Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Vitamin E, and an extract of Tasmanian Pepperberry, this cream quenches and smoothens hands in a jiffy. Next time in Melbourne, I’ll definitely make time to visit Kleins Perfumery at Collingwood. Also, its made from sustainably sourced, vegan-friendly ingredients. What a plus!

6. Other Knick-Knacks

Sweet Honey Hand Cream from Wild & Wolf’s Folklore Collection—got this in a random paper store at Emporium. It’s made in Bath, UK, and smells amazing! This will do as a quick moisturising fix when needed.

(L) Sweet Honey Handcream by Wild & Wolf UK (R) Cinnamon Virgin Coconut Oil Lip Balm by Cocokind

One of my favourite finds also from Melbourne is Cocokind Organic Lip Balm made with VCO in Cinnamon. It combines two of my favourite things—Coconut and Cinnamon! I swiped this at a drugstore, and I’ve been using it as a lipstick primer because apart from its moisturising qualities, it surprisingly keeps my lipstick on for a good amount of time. I love it loads.

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I’ve been researching and experimenting with various natural and organic skincare products lately, as well as essential oils and fragrances, so I’ll be writing about them soon. Do let me know what skincare products you swear by and why. Have you tried any of the products above as well? How did you like them? I’m curious!

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