I came across Australian natural skincare brand Grown Alchemist years ago and had one of my dear friends ship it to me as, back then, it was not available in the UAE. Then, upon their launch in the region last year, I had the huge pleasure of sitting down with co-founder Jeremy Muijs. Suddenly the brand made such sense to me. I somehow tend to enjoy products even more if I like and understand the person and philosophy behind it.
When you talk to Jeremy, you see this powerhouse of energy in front of you. This stylish, chic and smart man lives and breath a healthy lifestyle, he doesn’t seem to compromise with ingredients, no matter if it concerns beauty products or food. One of the stories he told me was about embarrassing his partner by actually bringing his own prepared food to dinners at a friends house! A little bit of a control-freak, but in a very charming way. But this story reflects Grown Alchemist so well, because all of their products are developed not only with love but with a hands-on approach to every single little detail possible. I often see natural or organic products that are fine enough, but lack the in-dept understanding and devotion for real and proved science. With GA the control-freak approach is ever present and you can feel it as soon as you open your product.
With research- and development labs on three continents, GA pride themselves of only employing the best chemists and formulators in the world. A costly process and a bold move to compete with some of the industry’s giants but Jeremy and Keston Muijs seem determined to accept the challenge. It took the brand over 10 years to develop their new haircare range (!) which we finally can enjoy here in Dubai. Using Liposome technology to make the ingredients bind and bond to the hair shaft for optimal penetration, they have found the perfect crossroad between chemistry and biochemistry to let natural ingredients be elevated into the optimal performance driven products for your hair.
Packaging first: GA is known for their monochromatic and stylish design. For Jeremy, I got the feeling that the outside seem to be as important as the inside; the connection between the two is inevitable when creating a lifestyle brand, because that’s what it is. There is no coincidence that GA has been involved with the Mercedes-Benz Fashion week or offered in first class on certain high-end airlines. This is organic and classy beauty flying high to attract consumers with a certain conscious lifestyle. I got to try the smaller travel kit and as you can see from the picture, these bottles come with a flip-top. The full size bottles are equipped with a user-friendly pump and I can tell you right here that I prefer the pump! Also, printed on each bottle, is not only the boring inci-list but more description on the effect on certain ingredients. The carton for the kit also features the entire scientific background to each active ingredient! That’s pretty unusual and of course it speaks to me as the control-freak I am.
Range next. 10 years in the making but when GA launched their hair care range, they did so with a bang. With six different pairs of Shampoo and Conditioners they have made sure not to leave anything out. Consumers can choose between Nourishing, Colour Protect, Anti-Frizz, Detox, Strengthening or Volumising systems and if I would have picked for myself, I would have opted for the Detox Duo. However, I was sent the Volumising Duo to try and test and I’ve done so with care.
Grown Alchemist – Volumising Shampoo 0.4
The entire range is created to be equally good for both the hair and the scalp. To prevent premature ageing the ingredients are chosen for their ability to reverse any negative effects we experience. Dryness and dullness as well as itchiness and flaky scalp – there is something to treat all conditions. For the Volumising Shampoo, the advanced ingredients are like hair nutritions:
- Biotin – Vitamin B7: promotes hair health and growth, it boosts the hair shaft’s diameter which creates volume.
- Positively Charged Guar Gum Bonds: with liposome delivery, these bond to the naturally negatively charged hair shaft and increase thickness.
- Althea Extract: provides detangling Cationic proteins which assist in the easy separation of thick or unruly hair.
- Calendula: rich in Flavonoids it reduces the signs of ageing while nourishing and conditioning the scalp. A healthy scalp is the best solution for accelerating hair growth.
- Plant-derived Liposomes: for safe and deep penetration of the shaft and to optimize the delivery of active ingredients into the cortex of the hair.
I find the shampoo to be very gentle and rich. I need at least two washes to rinse my scalp with this formula, hence thinking that the Detox Duo might be more suitable for my flakey scalp. The product foams up nicely and the scent is quite “apothecary”; giving me a sense of its roots in nature. If you are into products that smells of fake strawberries, candy and unicorns, this range might not be for you. I however, truly enjoy the shampoo and to show you exactly how mild and beautiful it is, I actually even used it on my cat. With great results! (Maybe not to officially recommend though, as I have no idea whether its been tested and approved for this purpose).
Grown Alchemist – Volumising Conditioner 0.4
As for the conditioner, this is a tricky one for me. You see, I personally rather use hair masks than normal conditioners. I like the product to stay a little bit longer to treat my hair and close all the cuticles. With conditioners I’m scared to get it near the scalp but if only applied 6cm away from the scalp, my roots and baby hair gets impossibly frizzy. I have this issue with all conditioners and brands.
The Volumising Conditioner follows its Shampoo partner in regards to ingredients but also hold its own kind of high-tech actives:
- Biotin-Vitamin B7: see above.
- Pracaxi Oil: very rich in Lignoceric Acid, a saturated fatty acid known for its hydrating and conditioning abilities.
- Flavonoids from Brahmi Extract: will increase the hair resilience by successfully supporting the protein matrix of the hair.
- Althea Extract and Plant-derived Liposomes: see above.
The Conditioner also holds glyceride, sunflower-seed oil and Ylang Ylang which makes the shower smell like a high-end spa. The only thing I don’t enjoy with is is the texture. The Conditioner’s viscosity is incredibly dense, making it almost impossible to dispose from the bottle! I imagine this issue will not be as prominent with the full size pump dispenser, hence my recommendation to skip the smaller travel kit.
All in all I’m super excited to see Grown Alchemist extend their brand to also include hair care and there is no doubt that the technology used show us just how great, active natural ingredients can be when done right. I personally congratulate Jeremy for once again being brave and passionate enough to create products that are beautiful, sustainable and result-driven. For someone with naturally thick and unruly hair, the duo made it even more wawawoom without being hard to detangle or style.♥