Beauty Boss: How Melanie Grant Became Australia's Skin Whisperer to the Stars
In our Beauty Boss series, we’re highlighting individuals who are owning the beauty space and turning it upside down in innovative ways. You’ll be able to get an exclusive look at their very personal journeys to success as well as hear their advice for anyone wanting to follow in their footsteps. Today, we’re chatting with skin whisperer and official skin expert for Chanel Australia, Melanie Grant.
I'm not the first to come off evangelical when talking about Melanie Grant, and I doubt I'll be the last. With a client list that reads like a red carpet roll call, Grant is hot property in fashion and beauty circles for her ability to transform tricky skin into a flawless, filter-free masterpiece. In social groups where beauty secrets (skin-centric ones in particular) are often spoken of only in hushed whispers, I've found the opposite to be true of Grant and her work. "Your skin looks amazing!" I told an influencer a few weeks ago. "Melanie Grant!" she squealed back, as we exchanged knowing nods.
The first time I walked into Grant's eponymous clinic in Double Bay I was overwhelmed by how chic my surroundings were. An oasis of black and white, the space was (and is) decorated with images of iconic '90s supermodels, lush flowers and flippable coffee-table books (like Selfish by Kim Kardashian, $21). There was nothing clinical about it. On meeting Grant herself I was struck by how incredible her skin is in person (it's arguably her best advertisement), but also by how kind, personable and passionate she is. During that appointment, we talked skin, supplements, and life, and by the time I left, I was hooked. Since then, I've been a regular visitor, and can say without hesitation that my skin has never looked better. The woman knows her stuff.
Considering she's responsible for some of the glowiest skin you'll ever see (feat. Lara Worthington, Nicole Trunfio, Nicole Warne, Erin Wasson, and more) I caught up with Grant to quiz her on everything from her first high-profile client (you'll never guess who) to the one skincare product she believes every woman should own.
Keep scrolling to learn Melanie Grant's secrets to success!
Byrdie Australia: What’s your first-ever memory of beauty?
Melanie Grant: As a child I loved to do facials on myself at home. I would experiment and try out ingredients and routines I'd read about in magazines. I'd use things like egg whites, honey and cucumbers. I’d also put lemon juice in my hair before going out in the sun. I was probably about seven years old. Clinique’s 3-Step Cleanse, Tone and Moisturise routine was my first proper skincare—I was around ten or eleven when I started using this.
B: What sparked your interest in skin in particular?
MG: I just love skin—it's all I've ever wanted to do as a profession. When you know, you know.
B: How did you first start dealing in skin health?
MG: I first started incorporating lasers and IPL into my work around 2002, and I immediately loved this aspect of treating skin. It really excited me for two reasons; used properly the technologies delivered true results, and said results could be produced relatively quickly. My career developed in this direction and I moved more into clinical roles alongside cosmetic doctors and surgeons for around ten years. I really enjoyed working within results-oriented clinical environments, however the seven year old in me missed the beauty aspect. I always saw value in both disciplines. My experience, as it developed, also told me that together they had something unique to offer. This is where my idea of clinical beauty began.
B: What do you think it is about your approach that sets you apart from other therapists?
MG: There is no one thing that sets us apart. For me, clinical beauty means understanding that good skin is about lifestyle rather than purely managing skin problems as clinical health issues. That means we consider everything, including diet and lifestyle, that can positively impact a treatment outcome. Building a clinic around clinical beauty has meant challenging a few assumptions and forever maturing as a business.
B: What was the impetus behind creating your own brand and space?
MG: Simply, I wanted a space that I would want to visit as a client. There was nowhere I could go that would look after my skin, my way, with a focus on great results in the short-term and great health in the long-term. Starting the clinic I wanted to take the best of two worlds—the clinical and the beauty—and make something that was (in my own small way) special for my clients. A place that truly had their best interests at heart.
B: You’re known as the celebrity skin whisperer, do you remember your first high profile client?
MG: Absolutely. Mrs. Watson from next door. She was my first client actually—I was 10. If I recall, it was a Melanie Grant x Clinique Bespoke Facial with a complimentary cup of tea included. With someone coming to me for a facial… I thought I was amazing!
B: You’ve worked with some incredible models and celebrities, are there any that stand out as favourites?
MG: It's quite impossible to have favourites. I'm so lucky to have such great clients—no matter their walk of life.
B: Which skin issues do you see most often in your clinic?
MG: Where do I begin!? We see everything—from pigmentation, adult acne and ageing skin through to rosacea, acne scarring and coarse skin texture. We also simply help maintain clear, healthy skin. I've always treated a lot of hyperpigmentation. While sun and environmental pigmentation has always been an issue for us in Australia, I'm now seeing a big rise in hormonal pigmentation. This type is really hard to treat, and is where having a holistic approach and great network really pays off for clients.
B: What are the most common skincare mistakes you see women make?
MG: Using the wrong products for their specific skin type and condition. Using too many active products thereby causing sensitivity and dryness—your regime needs to be a balanced combination of active as well as calming, nourishing products that feed and protect the skin. Also, having an overcomplicated regime with too many products; this will almost always result in inconsistency as it becomes too hard.
B: Which clinic treatments do you perform most regularly?
MG: We perform a lot of laser and corrective treatments as well as lots of collagen and light therapy facials.
B: What’s the best piece of skincare advice you’ve ever received?
MG: Keep out of the sun and wear an SPF every day.
B: Any commonly believed skin myths you hear from clients you’d like to debunk?
MG: SPF in your foundation provides sufficient coverage—the more products you use the better.
B: Which are your three can’t-live-without products and why?
MG: A great cleanser with AHAs to cleanse and exfoliate; an antioxidant serum to protect from free radicals and environmental damage; and a good quality, simple moisturiser to keep my skin supple and dewy.
B: If you could recommend just one product to every woman, what would it be?
MG: Sunscreen. Hands down.
B: Do you take any skin-boosting supplements?
MG: So many! I take vitamin B with coq10, vitamin C, a probiotic and high-quality fish oil. I also try to eat really well and drink lots of bone broth.
B: Do you believe diet is important for amazing skin? Any tips?
MG: Yes of course, it’s everything! Keep it simple and add salad to both lunch and dinner. I eat lots of white fish and salmon (which is so easy to prepare), and avoid too much sugar, dairy and processed food. Also try and drink a cup of bone broth each day, it really is so good for you. I buy it from Star Anise Organic Wholefoods. Amazing.
B: What’s your favourite energy-boosting trick?
MG: Sleep and sublingual vitamin B spray.
B: What would you consider your career highlight to date?
MG: I’ve had so many! I think it would have to be opening my first clinic.
B: How do you use social media to build your business?
MG: My approach to business is to focus on word of mouth—do a good job, a special job, and that person will tell someone else. When your work is your marketing strategy, social media works for you. I like Instagram. It’s very visual, makes it easy to present my work, and it's a great platform for word of mouth. I just have to remember to take more photos and post regularly. As for all of the other stuff, I have no idea—Snapchat freaks me out!
B: What advice would you give to aspiring businesswomen in the beauty space?
MG: When you're putting together your business, always start by considering your client. The client always comes first.