I Didn't Think a 'Clean' Serum Would Actually Work... Until I Tried This Smoothing One

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Consider me an unimpressionable sceptic.

So much so, I remember a close friend getting mad at me after going to see some five-star movie that, by all objective measures, was brilliant. I said it was OK.

Maybe that’s why before working in beauty, I had a pretty basic skincare routine. Could a skincare product really change the texture, tone and lines of my 30-something-year-old skin, sun kissed (damaged) by the Queensland sun? I wasn't sure.

Six months after my first day at Adore Beauty and a few empty bottles of Vitamin C serums later, and I’m an impressed cosmeceutical devotee.

Why? Because I have actually noticed a change in the appearance of my skin. Now, my skincare MO is: give me the actives, give me the strong tingly sensation, give me the $220 serums!

Then, we launched clean beauty brand Grown Alchemist, including the brand's hero serum. And yep, those familiar feelings of scepticism started coming back.

Could a 'clean' serum really get me the same results as my cosmeceutical products? To find out, I did what any good sceptic would do and put it to the test. Here's how that went.

Who is Grown Alchemist? Here's a Quick Recap.

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Grown Alchemist is a clean beauty brand that focuses on the biology of skin. What does that actually mean? They're research and science-led in creating innovative skin and body products that use natural active ingredients to directly improve skin cell health. 

The fact this brand sits in Adore's clean category means all Grown Alchemist products are:

  • Cruelty free

  • Paraben free

  • Mineral Oil free

  • Phthalate free

  • Polyethylene (microbead) free

  • Formaldehyde free

Many of the brand's products are also vegan and certified organic, plus they’re made in Australia and are 100 per cent recyclable.

Oh, and they're chic as hell. With their minimalist packaging in the dreamiest of colours, they’re the products you want to have on your bathroom countertop. See?

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Meet the Grown Alchemist Instant Smoothing Serum.

Grown Alchemist Instant Smoothing Serum 25ml was the first clean product I ever tried.

This clean serum is an innovative anti-aging product that promises to immediately hydrate and plump the skin, smoothing the surface for an instant priming effect.

How does it do this? The product's key ingredient is Tri-Hyaluronan Complex, a natural form of hyaluronic acid from plants that can hold 1,000 times its weight in water. Juicy.

To get sciency for a second, the 'tri' part means there are three forms of hyaluronan molecules in this complex: high, medium and low weight. The combination of different molecular weights in the one product allows the active ingredient to work its magic on different levels of the skin.

For example, molecules with a low molecular weight can penetrate and hydrate the deeper levels of the skin, while the heavier molecules sit on top of the skin's surface for that aforementioned instant smoothing and plumping effect.  

My Grown Alchemist Serum Review.

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Sexy packaging aside, the first thing I noticed about the Grown Alchemist Instant Smoothing Serum 25ml was how soft my skin felt after putting it on my face.

The serum is very lightweight, isn’t scented and doesn’t dry tacky or leave your hands feeling sticky. I’ve use some hydrating serums before that pill (ball up on your face), but I haven’t experienced this with the Instant Smoothing Serum. 

While I’m not one for Insta-filters, Teddy, Grown Alchemist's Head of Retail, said this serum was like an Instagram filter in real life. And after just one week of using it, I had to agree because my skin texture looked more even, and my redness reduced.

Applying this serum to my oily but dehydrated skin really does feel like the skin version of chugging down a big glass of water. I've been using it now for six weeks or so, and when I finish my routine, I swear my forehead lines don’t look as deep or defined. 

Here's a before and after comparison showing the immediate effect of the product on my skin.

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I use the serum every day in the morning after my vitamin C serum. Then, once I’ve applied moisturiser, I follow with the Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF30 50ml to protect and lock in moisture, and Grown Alchemist Prebiotic-Peptide, Anti-Pollution Primer 50ml to mitigate that midday sheen.

So, will I give up on cosmeceutical skin care and only ever buy clean beauty products from now on? I wouldn’t go that far. But am I still a clean beauty sceptic? Definitely not.

In fact, this experience has only made me want to try more clean products, so I'd say I’m a skincare flexitarian.

And yes, I will 100 per cent be repurchasing this smoothing serum in my next staff order.