Happy Australia Day, my fellow Aussies! I hope you're all enjoying this public holiday off in the sun while sipping back on some drinks, listening to Triple J's Hottest 100 Countdown. In celebration of this day, I thought I'd share with you my favourite beauty brands that come from a land Down Under. I was tempted to use a jar of Vegemite (let's just settle the debate here once and for all, it is better than Marmite) as a prop for my photo, but in keeping with my photography theme of all things aesthetically pleasing and not at all weird looking (still damn tasty though), a Rifle Paper Co. notebook with swans on it and a few Frankie and Russh magazines were Australian enough for me! While I love jet-setting off overseas and exploring new cities, there's nothing like coming home to a country like Australia. There are so many wonderful things about living in this great southern land (I've linked you to my Australia Day jam, just so you know) and while we don't have access to a few international beauty brands (get your butts down here, Urban Decay and Kevyn Aucoin!), there are some amazing ones that have originated here in my sunburnt country.
Bringing us skin, hair and body products using both high quality plant and laboratory-based ingredients, Aesop (pronounced ee-sop, not aye-sop) was founded by Dennis Paphitis in 1987 in Melbourne, Victoria. Rich in anti-oxidant properties, I've used a few products from their Resurrection line, including the Aromatique Hand Balm, Rinse-Free Hand Wash and my latest addition, the Aromatique Hand Wash. The Hand Balm is honestly the most rich and hydrating cream I've ever used as nothing has ever combatted my dry elbows quite like this. The hand sanitiser and hand wash don't dry out your skin like others can, and with that beautiful lingering, earthy, herbal fragrance, yes, I am definitely taking care of those hands of mine. My love for the Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream is well-documented on my blog now and has become a staple in my nighttime skincare routine. I've tried their infamous Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque in the past, though I haven't bought a tube of it myself... yet! Housed in amber glass bottles (which preserves the shelf-life of the product), the packaging is minimal and shares an inspiring quote with us, all chosen by Paphitis himself. From what I've tried, it's no wonder that this cult botanical beauty brand has gone on to become a global success.
Unhappy with what was on offer in the market, Michelle Doherty created Alpha-H, which after twenty years, is still proudly 100% Australian owned and operated. Manufactured on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Alpha-H dedicates itself to providing the skin with the ultimate experience of replenishment and rejuvenation. Liquid Gold is perhaps their most famous product and having used it for over two years now, it's not hard to understand why. This skincare treat has two main active ingredients, Glycolic Acid and liquorice extract, which helps to diminish wrinkles, pigmentation and sun damage, making the complexion appear clearer, brighter and more youthful. Applied after cleansing the skin as an overnight treatment, Liquid Gold is fuss-free and perfect for those lazy nights. It's a concentrated formula with no filler ingredients, something that the brand prides itself on with all their products.
Not only is Becca an Australian brand, but one that gets extra praise from me for starting out in my home city of Perth, Western Australia. Woo! Nothing cool ever originates in Perth. Rebecca Morrice Williams began her career as a makeup artist and frustrated she couldn't find the perfect foundation, she decided to create it herself. The brand's philosophy is about "creating a natural, flawless look" and while I haven't tried any of their foundations, I've been using the Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl, which I love using underneath or together with the foundations I already do own. On first application, I was amazed by just how much radiance it provided. The skin is left dewy, fresh and glowing from within. It can be used as a highlighter, also, and I'm really keen to try more from this Aussie gem.
Sourcing ingredients locally whenever possible and manufactured right here in Australia, Grown Alchemist was founded by Keston Mujis and co-founded by his brother, Jeremy. With headquarters in Melbourne, it was formerly known as Grown, but was renamed to reflect the science behind the brand. This botanical brand sought out to create a healthy range of beauty products when a friend of theirs suffered bad reactions to others on the market during her battle with cancer. Grown Alchemist produces organic skin, body and hair care without any harmful chemicals and debatable amongst the beauty community, believes in the importance of natural ingredients. My first foray into Grown Alchemist was with their Vanilla & Watermelon Lip Balm, which on the surface, doesn't seem like anything special, but one applied, it sinks beautifully into the lips, leaving them nourished and shiny. Containing heaps of good stuff such as vitamins, essential fatty acids and shea butter, the lip balm protects the skin structure and against moisture loss, as well as boosting cell renewal. They're definitely right when they say, "it might read like a page in a chemistry book" and with cosmetic chemists based in London, Paris and Australia, these guys are definitely bringing it when it comes to organic beauty.
Jurlique was founded in 1985 by German couple, Jurgen and Ulrike Klein, who migrated to Australia. He a biochemist and she a botanist, they grow their herbs and botanicals on a farm in Adelaide, South Australia, where the products are also manufactured. The brand's name is a phonetic combination of the founders' names, whose philosophy is to "formulate and manufacture the purest skincare products available based on the healing properties of nature". Free from synthetic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and insecticides, from what I've tried, their products work a treat. I've been using the Rosewater Balancing Mist for about a year now, which provides natural anti-oxidant protection and leaves the skin feeling refreshed and soothed. Of course, with roses being my favourite flower, it was only natural this would be the first product I try from the brand. I've also been using the Purely White Skin Brightening Cleanser for a few months and while it doesn't leave a silky touch to the skin like with other cleansers I use, it's a small qualm I have with the product as it isn't at all drying and really does deliver the results for a brighter, clearer complexion.
Poppy King was only eighteen years old when she set out on a quest to create her own range of lipsticks. Hailing from Melbourne, she was unable to find her perfect lipstick and now, twenty years on, the brand devotes itself to finding that perfect lipstick for "every mood, every occasion and every outfit" for women. I am yet to try any of Lipstick Queen's actual lipsticks, but I have been using the Invisible Lip Liner for quite some time now, which I love that I can use with any of the vast array of lipstick colours I have in my collection. When applied, the product seems to sort of matte the lips, yet it's not drying and instead, the colour really adheres to the lips. It prevents feathering and as it's invisible, there's no horrible outline around the lips, which let's be real, has never been a cute look.
Lucas' Papaw Remedies
You'd think my mum telling me stories of her using Lucas' Papaw Ointment on her sore, breastfeeding nipples and my nappy rash as a baby would be enough to put me off this product, but no! The brand behind this cult classic product is Lucas' Papaw Remedies and founded by Dr. T.P. Lucas, I don't know any Aussie girl who doesn't own a tube of this stuff. Dr. Lucas was a botanist and a medical practitioner, who became interested in the papaw plant, even stating it as "the world's greatest healing agent". An all-purpose product, this bright red tube can be used as a topical treatment on a number of skin ailments such as sunburn, cuts, insect bites and of course, dry lips. It's not the most pleasant smelling product, but it gets the job done. Lucas' Papaw Remedies still operates and produces the ointment right where it all began in Brisbane, Queensland and even after over 100 years, the formula of the ointment remains the same to this very day.
Jo Horgan is the brain behind Mecca Cosmetica and after travelling to various cities from London, Paris and New York for two years visiting various beauty boutiques, she was on a quest to bring what was on offer overseas to Australia. It was about luxury beauty and being able to shop for various brands, rather than favouring a particular one at a counter. In 1997, the first Mecca Cosmetica store opened in the suburb of South Yarra in Melbourne and having visited Mecca Cosmetica's new flagship store on Toorak Road since moving here... oh my! I am a kid in a candy store. In addition, Mecca owns sister stores, Kit Cosmetics, which focuses on more indie beauty brands with a youthful vibe, as well as Mecca Maxima, which is one your one stop shop for all your favourite high end brands. Mecca Cosmetica is the name of the store's in-house brand (Kit Cosmetics have their own brand, also) and while I've only tried one product from their range, I can just tell the signature line is just as good as all those other dreamy brands they stock. The To Save Face SPF 30+ Facial Sunscreen is one I've talked about recently on my blog, but definitely deserves another mention as the best sunscreen ever. For my foreign friends and fellow beauty aficionados, if you're ever travelling down to the Australian shores, definitely pay a visit in store and check out this range because Mecca Cosmetica is what dreams are made of.
Beaut indeed. What are your favourite Australian brands and products you've tried?