With a cult following and a client book filled with celebrities, skin whisperer Melanie Grant is now opening shop in Melbourne. She talks social media, signature results and Linda Evangelista with Tracey Withers
Run a search on Melanie Grant and Google will tell you she’s the skin whisperer Jessica Gomes and Nicole Trunfio will fly home for. You’ll see holiday selfies of her in New York with devotee turned friend Lara Worthington. But when you meet Grant, 35-year-old celebrity facialist, you realise hype has little to do with how hot she is right now. “I’m flattered by the buzz, I’m grateful and I don’t mean to sound aloof, but buzz doesn’t run a business,” she says. “I can only trade on being great at skin for my clients, celebrity or not.”
“There’s always a lot of noise — the latest, greatest — in this industry, and I’m a beauty nerd who [distils] all that. I don’t use modalities that aren’t clinically proven; I’ll research stem cells and growth factors. I’m extremely conservative.”
Conservative can also be ballsy. When Grant hung her name above the door of her first clinic, in Sydney’s Double Bay, back in 2012, offering only bespoke, upscale skin treatments, she was an outlier on a scene choked with coupons from beauty-plex salons cranking out waxing, facials, brow tattoos and Botox, all inside a lunch hour.“I had 13 years of experience just in skin. I’d trained in traditional-school massage and ritual facials; I’d learnt technologies like laser under some of the best skin doctors, but there was nobody combining those two worlds.When I wanted to see someone like the facialists I love in New York or Paris or London, there was nobody here,” she says.“I realised success could not be about competing with the crowd — it had to be about valuing my craft.”
As it does now, the Melanie Grant Skin Health menu spanned light, laser and radio frequency as well as organic detox and French gommage facials. No injectables, because Grant isn’t into that. No upselling. “We make something like laser, not usually pleasant, feel more of a luxury experience, but doing a serious Fraxel on a 25-year-old for ‘general rejuvenation’? Absurd,” she says.