Grown Alchemist Skincare Review
Something major happened in the beauty space over the last few years – plant-based brands quietly took over the shelves at Sephora, drugstores, and department stores, sprouting a new age of excitement about skincare among the younger consumer base. What was once a niche hobby for folks over at r/SkincareAddiction is now a massive, well-oiled marketing machine and it’s here to stay. Not going to lie, I myself was pretty enchanted by this new-to-me world of natural beauty at one point. Those of you who still remember my nosedive into clean beauty back in 2015, probably need to know that I no longer subscribe to a lot of the unregulated marketing spiel that accompanies this market, including the questionable “free of” lists. However, that doesn’t mean I think natural products are just empty hype. On the contrary, I’ve discovered some incredible brands that I would never have tried otherwise, if not for the trend.
Here’s where Grown Alchemist comes in. I’ve seen mentions of it sprinkled across my Instagram feed for quite a while now; a well-placed tube of hand cream here, a chic bottle held up to the sky there, in messy bag spills, and on carefully organized shelfies. The aesthetics of their branding is 100% my thing, too, – who wouldn’t love those classic, weighty dark bottles and metal tubes? It reminds me of Aesop, May Lindstrom, and Oille with their minimalist black & white packaging.
Grown Alchemist was founded by the brothers Jeremy and Keston Muijs in 2002 in Melbourne, Australia from the idea of developing plant-based beauty products that are 100% compatible with human skin. By marrying the cutting-edge research with holistic herbal remedies, Grown Alchemist aims to help their customers achieve balanced, healthy skin and hair through science-backed botanical formulations.
A few weeks ago I finally had the opportunity to try some of the best-sellers from this cult Aussie brand, and now I have some new favorites in my routine!
Balancing Toner ($34) – This is an interesting one! Have you ever seen an astringent toner that is also moisturizing, soothing, hydrating, and brightening? Thanks to its unique combination of botanical extracts and safe lab-made classics such as Lactic Acid, this all-in-one solution targets multiple skin concerns and can work for different skin types, except very sensitive. On the skin, it feels like a watery essence or a very runny serum, leaving it looking slightly dewy after the application. The toner has a refreshing citrusy fragrance that reminds me of Pixi Glow Tonic.
Ingredients: Aqua, Heptyl Glucoside, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Lactic Acid, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Phytate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Geraniol, Citronellol.
Age-Repair Eye Cream ($69) – I love a good eye cream, to me it’s all about the texture and how well it plays with my makeup & sunscreen – this one aced both! Lush, rich, and milky, it may look a little heavy straight from the bottle, but the skin drinks it up right away plus I never experienced any pilling issues when layered with other skincare and makeup products. This formulation boasts some really interesting botanicals [Khaya senegalensis bark, anyone?] and the ingredients we all know and love: seabuckthorn oil, rosehip oil, aloe vera, centella, camellia oil, peptides, plus many others. This eye cream feels soothing and calming, moisturizes the skin thoroughly, and keeps the area feeling protected without looking greasy. There is some fragrance present but the scent is so faint that if you told me it was totally unscented, I’d believe it.
Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Polyglyceryl-6 Distearate, Jojoba Esters, Polyglyceryl-3 Beeswax, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Khaya Senegalensis Bark Extract, Maltodextrin, Oligopeptide-1, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Phytate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Xanthan Gum, Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Centella Asiatica Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil, Linalool.
Antioxidant+ Facial Oil ($55) – Not every skin type can tolerate a beauty oil, but those of you with dry and dehydrated skin will appreciate this blend of unique antioxidant-rich plant oils that help fight off free radicals and nourish the moisture barrier. A few drops mixed in with your daily moisturizer will give it a nice boost of vitamins and create a beautiful glow. Unfortunately, this oil was too rich for my combination skin to use daily, but I re-purposed it for my weekly gua-sha treatments and it works wonders! Again, there is some fragrance in the formulation so it might not be suitable for people with sensitivities.
Ingredients: Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn Berry) Fruit Oil, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia (Macadamia) Seed Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil, Linalool, Limonene.
Matte Balancing Moisturizer ($69) – Speaking of combination skin, this lightweight moisturizer was designed with oily and combo skin in mind. It has a thick, creamy appearance but the product sinks in almost immediately, leaving the skin with a semi-matte finish. It did a really good job keeping my skin hydrated without looking or feeling sticky. I don’t get to enjoy that lovely finish for long though, since I also apply sunscreen multiple times during the day, but it layers beautifully! The formulation contains a plethora of botanical extracts rich in skin-friendly fatty acids and vitamins. It also utilizes a blend of Linoleic acid-rich “dry” oils such as Grape seed and Sesame seed oils which help to balance oil production. For more info, check out my in-depth post explaining which oils work best for different skin types.
Ingredients: Aqua, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Calcium Silicate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil, Euterpe Oleracea (Açaí Berry) Fruit Oil, Sodium Phytate, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Solanum Centrale (Bush Tomato) Fruit Extract, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil, Linalool.
Hand Cream Vanilla & Orange Peel ($24) – Perhaps, one of the most iconic products from Grown Alchemist, and the one I see most often on my Instagram feed. It promises to moisturize the hands without making them all sticky and oily, and that’s pretty much what it did. Was it extraordinary? Not really, but it works just fine to prevent my hands from drying out from the constant hand-washing. The packaging is beautiful and so instagrammable, no wonder all the fashion girls use it as a prop! I also really enjoyed the sweet citrusy fragrance, it reminds me of my own custom blend that I add to room diffusers: a few drops of vanilla extract, a couple drops of sweet tangerine oil, and a couple drops of jasmine absolute.
Ingredients: Aqua, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Aloe Barbadensis Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn Berry) Fruit Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Vanillin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Sodium Phytate, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Linalool, Limonene.
Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser ($39) – I was shocked to find out that this cleanser received very lukewarm reviews online, because I thought it was absolutely phenomenal! It has the potential of being one of the most perfect foaming cleansers in my collection. It features gentle surfactants and has a slightly acidic pH to nourish the skin’s protective acid mantle. The formulation is highly efficient so I only need a tiny pea-sized drop to wash my entire face making one bottle last a very long time, plus it smells incredible, too! I use this cleanser on its own in the morning and as a second step after a balm or an oil cleanser in the evening. I like that it leaves my skin looking radiant, soft, and supple – never dry or tight. This is my new favorite Grown Alchemist product!
Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Coco-Glucoside, Cellulose, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Salix Alba (White Willow) Bark Extract, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Peel Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Sodium Phytate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Linalool, Limonene, Geraniol, Citronellol.
Roll-On Deodorant ($27) – I enjoy classic roll-on deodorants, they remind me of my teen years in Russia. Back in the late 90s and early 00s our drugstores stocked only spray deodorants and roll-ons, so I would always buy the latter. This one smells amazing and features an interesting blend of odor-fighting anti-bacterial botanicals. Unfortunately, something in it was not compatible with my skin and caused my entire underarm area to break out so I had to discontinue use. The fragrance is very strong and you’ll catch whiffs of it throughout the day.
Ingredients: Aqua, Diatomaceous Earth (Mineral), Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Extract, Heptyl Glucoside, Cellulose Gum, Carageenan, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Sucrose, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Cetraria Islandica (Iceland Moss) Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Liquorice) Root Extract, Sodium Caproyl/Lauroyl Lactylate (Plant/Salt Complex), Triethyl Citrate, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil (Sage Complex), Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Oil, Santalum Spicata (Sandalwood) Wood Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Peel Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Sodium Phytate, Citric Acid, Silver Citrate (Mineral), Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Citral, Citronellol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.
FRAGRANCE & SENSITIVITIES:
One thing I noticed about Grown Alchemist formulations is that most of them use fragrant essential oils for an enhanced aromatherapy experience. I’m an olfactory person so I love it most of the time, but sometimes it can be too much. Natural EOs and their fragrant derivatives are very potent and may be irritating for people with allergies and scent sensitivities, so I highly recommend patch testing before using anything on your face. I myself have an odd relationship with Geraniol in particular – in some products it’s okay, but past a certain threshold it gives me breakouts and sometimes a headache. I wonder if that’s why my skin reacted to the deodorant, since it’s a leave-on product that contains both Geraniol and Geranium oil fairly high on the ingredient list. The cleanser also has both, but because I always wash it off immediately, my skin didn’t react to it at all.
STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES:
Grown Alchemist products will work best for people looking to maintain a healthy skin that requires minimal corrections. If you plan to address deep wrinkles, breakouts, or moderate to severe hyperpigmentation, I’d recommend looking into more traditional derm-approved brands that feature clinically-tested ingredients for each of those concerns. Grown Alchemist’s strengths lie in their potent antioxidant blends which can be easily incorporated into any beauty routine, as a topical skin supplement of sorts. The brand also perfected the product textures – they are all cosmetically elegant and don’t have any weird issues with pilling or smudging.
Trends come and go, but I’m certain that well-formulated, plant-based beauty products are not just another beauty fad and they deserve a place in the spotlight just as much as the traditional derm-approved classics. Having more choices is a wonderful thing and competition drives innovation. For every 10 brands that tout miraculous results through shady marketing there’s always one that actually delivers on its promises, and I believe Grown Alchemist is one that’s worth putting on your radar. I especially enjoyed Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser for its gentle non-drying formula and Age-Repair Eye Cream for making the skin around my eyes feel so comfortable and nourished! I’m also impressed with the ingredients in Antioxidant+ Facial Oil, it’s packed with amazing antioxidant rich oils that can enhance any skincare routine.
Have you tried anything from Grown Alchemist?