As someone with super-sensitive skin and a chronic dermatitis to boot, there’s nothing that annoys me more than getting beauty advice from someone with a genetically blessed, near-perfect complexion. What I want is the inside scoop from those who’ve been through it – who’ve experienced acne and eczema and rashes and breakouts – and figured out how to deal.
That’s precisely why I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with Australian skin-care brand Dr Roebuck’s. Founders Kim and Zoe Roebuck both struggled with eczema, redness, and dry skin for years as children. “This prompted our parents, who are both doctors, to team up and concoct a one-of-a-kind formula that totally changed our skin for the better,” the founders tell Business Insider. The original skin salve became something of a cult-favorite in the Roebuck family’s hometown of Bondi Beach, and served as the inspiration for today’s extended line of Dr Roebuck’s products.
“We’ve definitely evolved a lot since the original formula,” Kim says – which is an understatement of epic proportions. What started out as a single, homemade eczema ointment is now an internationally successful beauty company with 18 products on Sephora shelves, and two more coming in June.
“That said, we always stay true to our Australian roots by sourcing clean, natural, native ingredients and spotlighting them as the main actives in our products,” Zoe adds. This philosophy is known as “A-Beauty,” an emerging trend in the skin-care industry that stands in contrast to the complicated 10-step routines of K-Beauty.
“A-Beauty, or Australian Beauty, embodies a laid-back, simplified approach,” says Zoe. “We might be a little biased, but we think it’s the next big frontier in the beauty sector as consumers now seek an effective way to get back to the basics. Our approach to formulation is ‘minimal ingredients for maximum results.'”
That’s actually the tagline that sold me on my first Dr Roebuck’s product, the Bondi Hydrating Mist ($25). I love the idea of major results from minimal ingredients. To me, that simply means there are fewer potential irritants per bottle, so my skin is less likely to have an adverse reaction.
I tested this theory with the Mist and had no issues at all – on the contrary, its blend of Tasmanian spring water and Australian kakadu plum extract is soothing and glow-ifying. I spritz it on my face morning, night, and multiple times in between. It’s even a great finishing touch on top of makeup.
“Vitamin C is the key ingredient in kakadu plum and certainly something that helps skin maintain that glow,” Dr. Devika Icecreamwala, a board certified dermatologist, explains to Business Insider. “It also contains gallic acid, which will help with redness, inflammation, and any irritation.” After having such an excellent experience with the dermatologist-approved face mist, I felt confident testing the rest of range.
Next up: No Worries Hydrating Face Moisturizer ($45). If you have dry skin, you need this in your life. (OK, “need” may be hyperbolic, but you know what I mean.) With a thick-but-not-greasy texture and the loveliest hint of lavender, No Worries is the ultimate hydrating, redness-reducing daily moisturizer – and in traditional Dr Roebuck’s fashion, its power comes from a native Australian ingredient.
“Macadamia oil, found in No Worries, is an essential fatty acid that works to heal, nourish, and hydrate the skin,” the founders explain. “Rich in Omega-6, it smooths fine lines, provides a youthful glow, and has been proven to be successful in treating extremely dry skin and eczema.” Also featured are hyaluronic acid (a superstar ingredient that helps skin cells hold onto moisture) and vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant).
A few times a week, I’ll apply Perky Collagen Boosting Serum ($60) underneath the No Worries moisturizer to add some anti-aging power to my routine. Its light, bouncy texture sinks into my skin almost immediately, so it wears well underneath other products. As far as ingredients, Perky also includes plumping hyaluronic acid – because, really, you can never have too much moisture – alongside more firming substances like squalane, pullulan, and inca inchi oils.
Perhaps my favorite Dr Roebuck’s products, though, are the face masks. I routinely use two – the Byron 2-in-1 Mask + Scrub ($30) and the Tama Healing Mask ($28) – and switch them out every other week to keep my acne-prone pores free from dead skin cells and product buildup.
The Byron Mask detoxifies and exfoliates without irritating my reactive skin, and in my book, that’s nothing short of a miracle. All credit goes to the gentle jojoba beads and Australian kaolin clay inside. “Kaolin clay is perfect for those that have dry, sensitive, and mature skin,” Dr. Icecreamwala says. “Unlike bentonite clay that dries out the skin, kaolin clay is better suited for calming down rashes and irritation.”
In addition to (lightly) scrubbing and soothing, Byron 2-in-1 Mask + Scrub has a refreshing, energizing peppermint scent. I like to use it first thing in the morning help me wake up.
If my skin’s going through a rough patch, whether from a bout of acne or dry skin, I reach for the Tama Healing Mask. It’s packed with two of my favorite skin-care ingredients of all time – turmeric and Australian Manuka honey – which work together to neutralize redness and stimulate the skin’s wound-healing response. After a 20 minute session, my complexion always looks noticeably calmer and clearer.
As anyone with sensitive skin knows, what’s not in the products can be just as important as what is in the products – and unsurprisingly, that’s another area where Dr Roebuck’s shines. The brand has earned the coveted Clean at Sephora seal, a marker of ingredient safety.
“Our formulas are free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, gluten, synthetic fragrance, harmful chemicals, dyes, petrolatum, mineral oil, detergents, propylene glycol, MEA, DEA, TEA, EDTA, BHA/BHT, triclosan, and silicones,” Zoe shares. In other words: There are no ingredients in Dr Roebuck’s formulas that have been shown to have harmful effects on human health.
As of right now, all of Dr Roebuck’s products cater to those with dry, sensitive skin. But in mid-June, the brand is set to launch the Kibosh Weightless Foaming Cleanser and the Stoked Weightless Facial Moisturizer, its first offerings made for the oily and blemish-prone.
“Kibosh is our first foaming cleanser,” Zoe says. “It’s sulfate-free and infused with Tazman pepper and Australian wattleseed to soothe the skin while managing oil production, improving radiance, and promoting luminosity.” Stoked, on the other hand, is a light-as-air moisturizer “to help improve radiance, while keeping the skin moisturized.”
Both will be available on Sephora on June 15 – and I, for one, will be sending the links to all of my oily-skinned friends and family.
As always, I have to add a little disclaimer: While my skin loves Dr Roebuck’s products, that doesn’t necessarily mean yours will. Everybody’s skin is unique, so check with your dermatologist before adding anything new to your sensitive-skin regimen. And if you do decide to experiment with the brand’s native Australian ingredients, it’s a good idea to introduce new products one at a time, so you can pinpoint what works for you (or what doesn’t).
As Kim says, “Take things slow – that’s the beauty of Australia.”
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