I’ve done my rounds with skincare and beauty brands over the years. A follower of trends and a tryer of anything beautifully marketed and packaged. Years ago, I would pour hundreds of dollars into buying product. SK-II, Clarins, Shu Uemura, even a sample pot of La Prairie made it into my regime. I didn’t quite get to the heights of La Mer (though believe me, I wanted to).
Budgets, clean beauty and an introduction
Eventually, my budget caught up with me and I did a backflip to cheap and cheerful brands. I used Simple, Neutrogena and legendary Oil of Olay (used by both my grandmothers who had beautiful skin). I thought they did the trick, but that special feeling you get when pampering yourself was gone.
Recently, the natural beauty trend really caught my attention. I truly believe that clean is better. Also Sunaina Patel shared some great insight with her wonderful articles on this topic. So while trying out a few clean beauty lines like Neal’s Yard Remedies and a gorgeous brand named Embalm Skincare (naturally handcrafted in Tasmania, Australia), I also found myself using higher-end mainstream products as well.
When I first met Keith Codling and Dawn Koh, partners and founders of Alexiares & Ani, it was through a friend who was a fan of their products. We were set to meet at a cafe. When they walked in, I remember thinking how nice it was for a young, “millenial” couple to set up their own skincare line. I was a bit in awe when I found out that they were, in fact, a few years older than millenials. I won’t be the one to divulge how much older.
What’s in a name
Alexiares & Ani (shortened from Anicetus) were twin demi-gods born from the goddess of youth, Hebe. Keith and Dawn chose this name because the twins had the powers of youth, passed down from their mother. They were guardians of Mount Olympus, along with their father, Heracles (also known as Hercules) and their mother was a cupbearer who served the Greek gods ambrosia. The consumption of this food for the gods was reputed to bring immortality and eternal youth. Perhaps a crumb of ambrosia has found its way into the formulation for Alexiares & Ani’s skincare line.
Keith and Dawn
Our chat with founders of Alexiares & Ani turned into two enjoyable hours, like talking to long lost friends. Both are extremely passionate about their business and incredibly knowledgable about skin and how it works.
Keith, born in Malaysia to globetrotting parents, and Dawn, Singaporean began their journey with this home-grown brand, Alexiares & Ani, when they “got to an age where they could see that their skin wasn’t looking its best.” Months of research ensued.
They started at retail outlets but couldn’t find enough information to satisfy. This led to more research, poring over books, articles and references on the topic. Eventually, they came to the conclusion that aging is caused by inflammation. If they could just find a way to treat inflammation and balance the skin, they would have a winning formula. A winning formula that they have indeed found!
A colourful past
Keith and Dawn actually began their careers in completely different fields. Keith began a degree in architecture before moving to interior design. Dawn excelled in the culinary arts, doing the hard yards at a restaurant in London by renowned chef Jean George (who recently opened The Dempsey Cookhouse & Bar here in Singapore).
Years ago, they bought and renovated a house in the UK and in this process discovered that Dawn too had a flair for interiors. When the couple moved back to Singapore, they started their own interior design business and still continue with this as well. I think you catch a glimpse of their aesthetics and creativity in the beautiful packaging and thoughtful names for their skincare products.
Both prefer to remain behind the scenes and perhaps this is why Alexiares & Ani was not well-known to me. Their clientele consists of extremely loyal customers, some of whom have tried other products but keep coming back to Alexiares & Ani. After trying their range myself, I can see why.
A beautiful, powerful yet gentle combination
For Alexiares & Ani, quality is of the utmost importance. Their products are produced in small batches from the highest quality ingredients, organic if possible. None in their range will contain harsh sulfates, parabens or phthalates and they do not test on animals.
Everything they do is based on their in-depth knowledge about how the skin actually works. Keith and Dawn have been known to work directly with their customers, talking them through their skincare woes and working out the best approach with their line of products. Almost everything, they say, comes down to inflammation or blockages of the pores. Balance is the holy grail for them and sometimes you need to be patient to achieve that balance.
The Alexiares & Ani website and blog named Pilgrim and Pony has so much information about skin and all they have learned in their journey. I highly recommend reading more about How to Assess your Skintype.
Alexiares & Ani and Me
I was most grateful to be gifted Alexiares & Ani products, personally selected for me by Dawn. She and I are kindred spirits, both with a self-confessed “lazy” skincare regime. While I love the idea of spending the time and forming a daily ritual, I am usually too busy, lazy and forgetful to stick to an overdrawn process. She selected for me:
- The Siren – their hydrating, soap-free foaming gel cleanser for use morning and night
- The Rascal – a gentle, foaming exfoliating scrub to be used as and when I need to
- The Tempest – an antioxidant toning mist to use after cleansing or whenever I want a refresh
- The Botanist – the ultralightweight hydrating lotion and moisturiser for use morning and night
- The Twins – their serum containing vitamins C and E, both powerful ingredients to reverse damage and to be used when I need to (daily is preferable)
It has been almost a month to the day that I met Keith and Dawn and started using Alexiares & Ani. My obsession over their products has just about reached addiction level. I am beginning to plan my next order because running out would be a disaster! From the very first wash to now, my skin’s texture has improved and kept improving.
Addicted, plain and simple
Their recommendation was to give it at least six weeks to acheive balance but I could feel the difference after the first day. I love the beautiful, gentle scent of their cleanser (The Siren). My skin feels clean but not tight after a wash. The Rascal (with natural palm seed and jojoba exfoliants) buffs off all my rough spots when I need it. Actually, when I think about it, my skin remains so smooth most of the time, I might only need it once every fortnight. But I do find excuses to use it every other day. I adore their toning mist because it is SO easy to use. In the heat of Singapore, it is an amazing refresher.
When it comes to moisturising, I am super picky. I’ll skip this completely if I don’t have a moisturiser I like. My perfect moisturiser must be light, absorbed easily and it should not smell too strong. This is exactly what The Botanist is! Everything I have dreamed of in a moisturiser and more. I use it morning, night and in between.
Serums have recently become the biggest skincare trend and I use The Twins every night. I also dab it onto blemishes when I need to. Sometimes I skip The Botanist moisturiser after because The Twins are just packed so full of goodness, I don’t feel like I need it.
I also love feeling like I’ve actually looked after myself. And I’ve managed to do this quickly, simply and without any fuss. Trust me, most days are like a juggernaught of survival for me. Wake up, kids, kids, kids, work, work, work…zzzzzz. Where is the time to look after me? Can I say that I’ve found it in these bottles of beautiful Alexiares & Ani products? Perhaps. But I think you’ll need to try it for yourself to believe it.
SALE ALERT! Alexiares & Ani will be starting their online Summer Sale on the 17th of June with discounts of up to 30% off on selected items! I’m going to stock up on my faves (and try a few extras). Sale on only until the 2nd of July.
For more information, visit alexiares-and-ani.com.
Thank you Keith and Dawn, for such a lovely conversation and your gorgeous products! I’m a fan for life.
Images provided by Alexiares & Ani unless otherwise credited.
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