Men’s Health Week 2021: For Grown Alchemist, good health is the ultimate drip

When it comes to matters of health, the last thing ‘clean beauty’ pioneer Jeremy Muijs wants to do is keep it in the family.

This year, from June 14-20, health services, community groups, publications and brands alike will take the opportunity to celebrate Men’s Health Week. But the average Australian who identifies as male won’t - and it's an opportunity that, all too often, is tragically missed.

Because in his lifetime, the Australian male will experience a higher incidence of illness and accident, as well as a significantly shorter life expectancy than his female counterpart. He’ll be statistically less likely to seek help for any grievances relating to his health, physical or mental, and the numbers paint a sobering picture – Australian men take their own lives at four times the rate of women – one that’s significantly worse for marginalised demographics.

In light of a year that has prompted a radical shift in thinking about ideas of health – of the individual and as it relates to the greater public good – how do we talk about the health of men?

Of its physical, mental, interpersonal and spiritual manifestations; of its relationship to work and productivity; of its relationship to constructs of masculinity, ageing, self-care and the body?

For the Melburnian co-founder of Grown Alchemist, Jeremy Muijs, it’s evident that internal health is inseparable from external beauty. Muijs, who founded his business with his brother over a decade ago, bases every element of his business practice on that central tenet. From the “ultra-purified air” of their “raw, industrial bio-lab retail space” to their 100% natural, certified toxic-free, cruelty-free products bottled in 100% recyclable glass and premium PET plastic, there’s no distinction for Muijs between the importance of the interior and exterior self.

Herewith, Muijs reflects on his radical new approach to health - one that mightn’t be so new after all.

What has your approach to your own health and wellness been like, historically speaking? Have you always been intentional about your health through diet, fitness or your mental wellbeing? Or has your attitude and approach changed over the years? If so, how?

I’ve always taken my own health and wellness very seriously throughout the years. What we do with our health hasalways, ultimately, reflected on our skin and our body. I am conscious about what I eat and drink. I definitely exercisereligiously and have taken time to look after my mental wellbeing. The same applies to Grown Alchemist. We’re built on the simple but profound truth that health equals beauty.

How is the ongoing experience of the global pandemic reframing your ideas of health and wellness?

Through an increasing availability of very well-researched information, consumers are awakening to the responsibility we [all have] to ensure future generations have access to the same healthy and natural resource abundant planet we have now. COVID-19 has also allowed the majority of us to slow down and focus on other areas of our life we previously may have neglected, such as diet, exercise and connectivity with each other. Thishas overwhelmingly led to consumers making positive changes to their beauty routines, [as well as a] newfoundapproach to health and hygiene. The demand [for ‘clean beauty’] will only continue to grow.

What effect has a public health crisis had on the way you conduct your business, as someone operating in a business that’s adjacent to the health and wellness space?

The pandemic has really shifted the way people approach health. Last year, we [implemented] the skin support program in Australia, and later the US and Europe. The message was that we don’t want our customers tocompromise their health and their skin health during this crisis.

Therefore the program, in which customers have the chance to choose their percentage-off of the products, up to50%, is about giving the customers the opportunity to access clean skincare, haircare and body care products of their choice. We also have offers for frontline hospital staff, as well as those whose jobs were affected during this crisis such as airline staff. [It’s] our way of showing our commitment and supporting our community.

The health status of males in most countries, including Australia, is generally poorer than that of females. In what ways, if any, has being Australian shaped your approach to health and wellbeing?

Australia would have to be one of the most health-focused countries in the world. The climate encourages a moreactive lifestyle. We tend to spend more time outdoors. We also have access to beautiful fresh produce all year round [...] to nourish our bodies the right way. As the pandemic turns out to be a lot longer than what we [anticipated], it’s more important than ever that people start focusing on what they eat, and what they use on their body and their skin.

Compared to women when it comes to buying beauty products, men may be still a long way behind, however, we are seeing a greater proportion of millennial men using and buying skincare products than ever before.

In some ways with Grown Alchemist, you anticipated the eventual shift in consumer demand for natural, clean beauty over a decade ago. What do you envision will be the next great shift in the beauty industry, and how do you see Grown Alchemist evolving to complement it?

Consumers' demand for natural and clean beauty will only continue to grow and consumers will become more stringent when choosing what products they want to use as they are more and more aware of the underlying health issue of using products that contain harmful or toxic ingredients. Ingestible beauty supplements are seeing a great uplift as people are more conscious about inner health and looking after their bodies from the inside-out.

Your life and work is inseparable from that of your brother. How has your fraternal relationship helped shape your attitude or actions toward your own health and wellbeing?

Although we’re very different, we understand how to play to each other’s strengths and have respect for what the other brings to the table. Another benefit of being family is the trust between us. It’s one of the things I value most about our working relationship. At times, this familiarity can be challenging in the workplace. Sometimes we can be more blunt with one another than if we were just business partners, which is okay from time-to-time but can wearthin after a while, so we often must remind ourselves at work that we are colleagues first and family second.

We’ve arguably entered a new age of ‘woo-woo’ – new age health treatments – which, while they might be considered dubious by some, can impact our health and wellbeing. Have you had any profound health experiences with alternative remedies?

Drip therapy is the one I cannot recommend enough. I think we are entering a new era in beauty where topical treatments are combined with new innovative therapies to leverage the powerful biological responses of the body. Drip therapy provides nutrients straight to the bloodstream, aimed at detoxifying and aiding the skin and maintainingthe skin.

Some 70% of a man’s overall health is controllable through lifestyle factors - the rest is genetics. If you could offer a piece of actionable, insightful advice relating to improving one’s health and wellbeing, what would it be?

The circadian rhythm is an internal 24-hour ‘clock’ that plays a critical role when we fall asleep, as well as when we are awake. This is particularly important when it comes to the skin. The circadian rhythm of your skin follows a very precise biorhythm: it defends itself during daylight, while it renews at night. But the lack of sun exposure or sleep, fatigue or stress can desynchronize cutaneous internal clocks. In the daytime, skin's natural defenses weaken:wrinkles set in and skin loses its youth. Assisting the skin with a nighttime ritual that aids in renewal and a daytime ritual that fortifies the skin barrier can support the skin's natural healthy processes and optimise its function.


This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.


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