Lately I’ve been obsessed with Dr.Roebucks, an Aussie beauty company that totally ‘gets’ my good-for-you beauty jam. Run by twin sisters, Kim and Zoe, Dr.Roebucks is an all-natural based brand that uses minimal ingredients (translation: no parabens, BPA’s or bad-for-you-fillers, colours, scents and unnatural chemicals). PURE, the brand’s cult favourite, uses a secret formula courtesy of Kim and Zoe’s mom-and-dad (that’s Mr. and Mrs. Roebucks) who were both practicing physicians and looking for an effective and safe product to deal with the twins’ sensitive and eczema-prone skin. It’s currently the brand’s best-selling product. We spoke to Kim and Zoe—both moms—about the international appeal of Dr.Roebucks, and why Canadian women can’t seem to get enough of it.
Q: Why do you think Australian beauty brands have gained such a cult-like following in Canada and abroad?
KIM: It’s the athleisure movement for sure. There is a whole movement to living life to the best that you can. And to do that you have to be healthy and are more aware of what you put on your skin.
ZOE: Globally, Australia is also considered one of the purest countries in the world. For example in China you can buy Australian bottled air. I’m not joking! The regulations and standards for personal care products are quite strict in Australia. My background is in pharmaceuticals and they say if you can get through the regulations in Australia, you can get through regulations anywhere. People trust Australian brands because they are known to be more pure in their formulations.
Q: How do women in Australia view beauty?
ZOE: Although that healthy-look is a part of a global trend, Australian women are very much into that natural, sun-kissed, beach-y look. It’s quite popular wherever you are in Australia, whether it’s Sydney or Melbourne. The attitudes are more relaxed and there is an importance on being fit and healthy rather than skinny. Natural beauty such as freckles caused by the sun is not considered bad; hair is also left looking natural: a bit wavy, loosely pulled back or a very casual blow dry. I think Canadians are similar to Australians in this way of thinking.
It’s also not unusual to see a woman in a boardroom wearing no makeup. Wearing lipstick or eyeshadow during the day is not really an Australian thing. We’re more likely to put makeup on at nighttime.
KIM: Australian women are into skin health. They’re more concerned about long-term effects and aging gracefully than just getting a beautiful glow with something like a facial. It’s common to hear that someone is going to do a 3-month skin detox. People are focused on the idea that if I look after my skin now, it’ll look good later.
Q: Any Australian beauty tips to share?
ZOE: We like to use the surf as a part of our beauty routine. It’s a well-known thing in Australia that if your skin is looking ashy or tired, just go and jump in the surf. Your skin glows and your hair gets gorgeous, natural texture. For people who don’t have the option of being close to a beach, I would do a hot yoga class and sweat. You come out of there looking flushed and healthy. It’s about calming the mind as well. The philosophy about health also includes wellness and a yoga class will help bring you back to earth and calm the mind, which all ultimately contribute to healthy skin.
KIM: In Australia we also have easy access to great-quality, rosehip oil. If someone wanted to boost their skin they can get a 100 percent cold-pressed and organic oil, and that will do wonders for the skin. We use it in our new eye cream. Another thing I love to mix is Himalayan salt, coconut oil and a touch of peppermint for an all-natural body scrub.
Q: Any beauty tips you’ve learned from your customers?
KIM: We’ve had people tell us that they use PURE on their scalp for psoriasis. They leave it on their roots and scalp at night and by morning, their psoriasis is gone.
Other Australian beauty brands that you love?
ZOE: AESOP. They use all essential oils based and it’s amazing how he’s [founder Dennis Paphitis] executed that product. He’s an artist in everything he does. We really respect what he’s done.
KIM: I like Milk & Co, especially their kid’s products. They have beautiful, clean smelling products.
Q: Kim, has living in Vancouver given you any insight into Canadian women and their beauty routines?
KIM: Canadians and Australians are very much alike—both ethically and with regards to our values, and it makes it easier for us to connect with consumers here. Vancouver [where I live] especially is like Australia. The outdoors-y lifestyle and interest in fitness and health. But from a beauty perspective I feel that Australia is more innovative in leading the way with regards to healthy skin. I think it’s because that’s just the way we live. It’s amazing how quickly the healthy skin movement has gained ground here and Canadians love the brand.
Q: If you were left on a deserted island, what 3 things would you take?
KIM: PURE for sure—you can use it on your face, your body. Then, I would say my family and water. But if had to be only beauty products, it would be PURE, body wash and sunscreen.
ZOE: Are we on the island together? If I was alone then of course, PURE, and toothpaste and a vitamin mist that combines water and vitamins in it. That way I can drink it or put it on my skin.