Having spent the last year and a half in Australia, I’ve learned a thing or two about their beauty regimen. Full disclosure: it wasn’t hard, because it’s specifically designed not to be. As I prepare for my more permanent move back in a few weeks, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned and what I’ll be packing for my trip back.
The world is waking up to clean beauty. People are becoming more aware of what they put on their skin, understanding that it’s nearly – if not equally – as important as what they eat. Even big business is stepping up: Sephora launched their “Clean at Sephora” category last year, where consumers can shop products that are free from ingredients deemed harmful for health or the environment.
But while the clean beauty wave seems to have just started rolling in, it’s been in the water elsewhere for… ever. A collective eye-roll is probably taking place Down Under at our newfound obsession with clean beauty products. (Though shout-out to India, who’s been stocking the shelves of IRC with products that are cruelty-free and fall within the spectrum of ‘natural’ beauty – meaning they’re good for your body and won’t harm the planet – since opening in April 2016).
A-beauty is everything you’d expect from Australians: no-fuss, natural, laid-back. Australian culture prides itself on healthy lifestyle choices (e.g. most people are on a trail or in the ocean by 6am every day and having coffee by 7 – a lifestyle I’m fairly certain I’ll never adapt to). So it follows that for Australians, beauty is synonymous with being healthy. It’s all about skin that looks like it’s glowing from within, a natural flush from a day spent in the surf, and untamed waves whose salt-spray is really just the sea breeze.
A-beauty is virtually the opposite of former craze K-beauty, a 10+ step routine originating in Korea. Not only are the products cleaner, but there’s less of them. Think one product that does six things, rather than six products. ‘Multi-use’ is a cornerstone of A-beauty. There’s no time to waste when the beach is calling, and no space to spare when hitting the road for a weekend camping trip.
The other cornerstone of A-beauty is natural ingredients. With a country so biodiverse and rich in botanicals, it makes sense. More than 80 percent of Australia’s flowering plants aren’t found anywhere else in the world.
Australia’s indigenous peoples have been harnessing the power of active botanicals for far longer than the beauty industry has existed. But Australia is unique in that it’s industry seems to have grown with this ethos as its foundation. Australian beauty companies look to their backyards for efficacious seeds, leaves, and fruits; healing mineral clays; and natural alternatives to harsh chemicals. Expect A-beauty products to be free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates (and usually PETA-certified). Instead, they’re packed with native Australian ingredients like:
- Vitamin C-rich (fun fact: it has the highest Vitamin C content of any fruit in the world, 100x more than an orange)
- Packed with antioxidants
- Treats hyperpigmentation
- Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral
- Put it on your face and eat it
- Naturally occurring AHA exfoliant
- Packed with folate, potassium, and Vitamins C and E
- Speeds up cell turnover and creates a fresh glow
- Great for hydration
Australian White and Red Clay
- Draws out impurities, soothes irritation, and gives skin a deep cleanse
- Detoxifying and gently exfoliating
- Balances without sucking out all of the skin’s moisture
- White clay: ideal for all skin types, it gently draws dirt and buildup out from underneath the surface of the skin and absorbs any access oil
- Red clay: best for sensitive, mature, dry and dehydrated skin, it very gently exfoliates while reducing irritation and inflammation
Other common ingredients include rosehip oil, olive leaf extract, eucalyptus, calendula, and Tasmanian pepper leaf.
Here’s a list of products that I’m pretty certain would be A-beauty Approved.
Vintner’s Daughter Active Treatment Essence
Phyto Radiance Infusion isn’t exactly ‘no-fuss,’ so let Vintner’s Daughter do it for you.
At the heart of this multi-corrective hydrator is Phyto Radiance Infusion, made from 13 of the world’s most nutrient-rich botanicals, coupled with a unique fermentation component (5 weeks!) to amplify absorption. The Essence contains 30+ powerful botanicals and was formulated using advancements in natural science including vitamin C, micro and mini hyaluronic acid, probiotics, plant stem cells, marine microalgae, and micro-exfoliating acids and enzymes.
Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum
Feels like putting the whole world’s biodiverse botanicals on your face in 2 drops.
This powerful active face oil contains 22 of the world’s most nutrient-rich botanicals and essential oils that deliver the most optimal concentrations of nourishing phytonutrients, balancing minerals, age-defying antioxidants, strengthening phytoceramides and amino acids, replenishing fatty acids, and brightening vitamins to deliver intense skin nutrition in one step.
Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30
SPF is a must anywhere, but especially in Australia (I learned this the hard way). PS – this is also multi-use. And uses active botanicals. I’ve said it before, but this really has it all.
This multi-action day cream performs as a regenerating moisturizer, a broad spectrum sunscreen and light make up. Colour adjusting earth minerals correct and brighten skin tone while plant oils and herbal synergies assist in skin transformation and repair via anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, fatty acids, and vital phytonutrients.
Agent Nateur Holi (Glow) Ageless Eye Serum
Possibly the only eye cream that isn’t just an eye cream.
This eye serum is the answer to dry, tired eyes, and dark circles. The perfect remedy in the morning and evening, this cooling gel-like texture leaves the skin hydrated, yet glowing. It contains chamomile and calendula to soothe and calm the skin, cucumber to nourish and moisturize, and heaps of other non-GMO, food-grade ingredients. TIP: it’s super multi-functional - apply underneath the eyes and on the outer corners post-makeup for a lit-from-within glow, and apply excess to lips and hands.
Jao Brand Goe Oil
An Aussie’s ultimate beauty product. Use it for literally everything. Except maybe cooking.
Goe Oil is made of 28 plant, flower, and fruit oils and butters. It’s lightly fragranced with Tahitian Monoi. As a semisolid oil, it absorbs quickly into the skin to provide longer-lasting hydration. It honestly does everything. Apply to dry heels, elbows, knees, and cuticles to soften. Massage between hands to liquefy the product then apply over the face as a moisturizing oil. Apply over the eye contours to remove makeup. Use over the body to hydrate and smooth. Add shine and tame flyaways by applying to hair. Apply to chapped lips and nose to heal and soothe.
Ilia True Skin Serum Foundation
Active botanicals in makeup? Please.
Weightlessly delivers buildable, light-to-medium coverage with a velvety finish while nourishing skin with a powerful blend of active botanicals for a flawless complexion. Aloe leaf, rosehip, jojoba and marula oils soothe irritations and tame redness, plump fine lines, and ensure the formula effortlessly melts into skin for a more even, luminous appearance.
Ilia True Skin Serum Concealer
This is how you harness natural resources.
This lightweight, creamy concealer delivers medium coverage with a silky, serum-like texture that blends seamlessly into the skin. Enriched with stabilized vitamin C, aloe leaf, and albizia julibrissin bark extract, this concealer protects the skin from free radicals and environmental damage while helping to firm, soothe and nourish the skin’s surface. Mastic, a resin from a tree that grows on the Greek island of Chios, works to mattify and refine skin throughout the day.
MANASI 7 All Over Colour
The ultimate multi-use makeup.
This creamy and nourishing formula can be worn alone or mixed together for a custom shade. Use the all over colour on lips, cheeks and eyes for an endless variety of results. It goes on beautifully when applied with the fingers, especially gently dabbed on your skin or lips. It contains castor seed oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter, apricot oil, and non-GMO vitamin E.
Kosas Colour & Light
Nothing says time-saver like a two-in-one.
These blush/bronzer and highlighter duos feature optically blended colors designed and chosen to cultivate naturally radiant, lit-from-within luster on a range of skin tones for a universally flattering effect. Weightless, buildable formulas inspire intuitive application, with effortless blendable layering and soft, smooth finishes.
Cream Formula: Enhanced with nourishing face oils including marula, rosehip seed, grape seen, green tea, and myrrh.
Pressed Formula: Mattifying without drying, jojoba and moringa oils, rice bran, and rosemary extract.