Grazia rare ingredients

With a commitment to sourcing ingredients from organic family farms, native land owners, and boutique crops in Australia, New Zealand and the islands of the South Pacific, skincare company Lewin & Reilly is making a name for itself for its use of rare, sustainably wild-harvested organic skincare ingredients. 

Red and green native New Zealand seaweed, white cypress, Kakadu plum, Tahitian vanilla, and frangipani are just a handful of the many rare ingredients incorporated into the collection, with the Lewin & Reilly skincare brand a result of a serious passion for local botanical extracts by husband and wife team Kim and Andi Lewin-Reilly.

But just why are organic rare ingredients important in skincare and just what makes them ‘rare’? To find out, we tracked down co-founder Kim Lewin-Reilly to discover everything there is to know on the topic.

Credit Instagram: @lewinandreilly

Why was it important to include rare ingredients, such as white cypress and native seaweed, in the Lewin & Reilly skincare range? These exquisite, rare ingredients have incredibly potent skin benefits. But because they’re expensive to formulate with, they tend not to get used as much (or in such large quantities) by other companies and brands. For us, provenance is key. We source from organic farms and companies that work with native landowners in regions that are close to where we’re based: New Zealand, Australia and the islands of the South Pacific. The reason being that the ingredients are “fresher” (having not been shipped from the other side of the world, or placed in storage for months or even years!). Hence they deliver greater nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants to our customers’ skin. Basically, if we eat as locally-grown as possible, why not apply that same philosophy to the skincare ingredients we formulate with?! 

How did you source the rare ingredients? Research, research, research! We spent a good year studying plant extracts we felt would be extremely beneficial for our customers.Then we began investigating boutique farms, organic crops and companies that work with native landowners that grow these incredible crops. Google was definitely our friend at the time, especially pages 20-50 where most of these small suppliers could be found! Once we secured a few key suppliers, they would give us recommendations as to other companies, growers and families that were producing other crops we were looking for and it all just grew “organically” from there. Having recently returned home to Waiheke Island, New Zealand, we started the process again last year of finding some amazing small producers and organic/bio-dynamic farms throughout the country. There is some truly incredible stuff out there if you’re willing to put the time, effort and focus into creating from the best you can possibly find.

Why are the ingredients you have used considered rare? A lot of the ingredients from New Zealand, Australia and the islands of the South Pacific are rare because they’re endemic (i.e.; are not grown elsewhere). They’re grown in relatively small quantities and in some instances such as the kakadu plum and cacao butter that we source, the plants grow in the wild. They are then sustainably harvested, so as you can imagine, there’s a limited supply of them. Lastly, ingredients such as our frangipani absolute can take thousands of grams of blossoms/petals to produce only hundreds of grams of the oil, making it extremely precious.

Credit Instagram: @lewinandreilly