No doubt you’re reading, listening, educating yourself and doing all the work to decolonise your mind and become and anti-racist ally. The next step? Supporting black and Indigenous-owned brands.
Within the beauty world, cult brands like Glossier and Anastasia Beverly Hills have launched grant initiatives to support budding beauty brands launched by people of colour to support the black community and take steps towards rectifying inequality within this space.
And closer to home, Centennial Beauty, a beauty news platform run by Sydney duo Lauren Meisner and Jordyn Christensen, has announced free advertising space on their “Renegade” podcast for beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands owned by people of colour.
But we as consumers also have an obligation to show our support for these brands, whether that be through buying products or amplifying the brands through our social feeds and to our friends and family. Here, 15 Indigenous-owned brands that will elevate your daily routine and help change the face of Aus beauty as we know it.
Main image via @willowcoorganics & @walaanskin
- BUSH MEDIJINA
Based on the island of Groote Eylandt in the NT, this sustainable, independent enterprise was created to strengthen the community’s wellbeing and support it’s women, culture and future. The enterprise is run by an all-female board (we love to see it!) and combines traditional knowledge with modern technology to create a range of balms, body butters, scrubs, hair care and soaps that showcase native ingredients. You can shop, donate and read all about the program via their website.
Bush Medijina accepts donations to help combat high crime and domestic violence rates and low health and socio-economic statuses , and improve the lives and wellbeing of the local Warningakalina women
The brainchild of Carissa Nyalu, this beauty and wellness brand heroes native ingredients and essential oils to nourish your body and your mind. It’s hero product, the Face Serum, combines organic Jojoba Oil, organic Rosehip Oil and Vitamin E oil with a bunch of essential oils to rejuvenate and nourish your skin. Nurtja is based on Boonwurrung Country in Victoria, with all profits being used to create healing roller blends that are donated to local elders. Community engagement with a side of wellness — we love to see it.
Barri Beauty was born in 2018 when founder Kashana began handmaking her own skincare products. Since then, she has incorporated her knowledge of ingredients and nutrition to create a line of natural skincare free from silicones, artificial colours and fragrances and sulphates to promote beauty and wellbeing. Barri’s cleansers, serums, oils (beard oil included) and pink clay masks incorporate organic native ingredients as well as skin-loving acids and enzymes for that next-level glow.
From hair care to skincare and everything in between (read: facial treatments, smoking sticks and herbal teas), this 100 per cent Aussie made and Indigenous-owned brand will leave you with that fresh-from-the-spa feeling. Each product is sustainably harvested and created from native botanicals and organic ingredients such as wild rosella, vitamin C-rich Kakadu plum, Quandong and Tasmanian kelp. Whether you want to nourish and plump or exfoliate and rejuvenate your skin, Li’tya has got you covered from top to toe.
5. KETAHLI BEAUTY
Natural, organic and vegan — oh my! This luxe skin, hair and beauty brand offers a cruelty-free range that has received rave reviews since its launch in late 2019. You’ll love the considered skincare ingredients like ylang ylang, lilli pilli and calendula to target skin concerns, and the faux mink lashes will perfect your weekend glam. The brand also carries two hair care lines — nourishing or hydrating — that include native ingredients like waratah, nettle and Tasmanian blue gum. And the minimalist pink branding? Major heart-eye react.
Fusing skincare with self-care and wellbeing, this mind and body brand takes wellbeing to the next level. Treat yourself to a luxurious bath bomb packed with jojoba oil, rose petals or native emu bush, or indulge in a dried botanical gemstone candle. The brand’s signature all-purpose Black Magic Balm offers a healing, nourishing and calming balm for all skin types (bebés included) that’s also rich in my holy grail ingredient, vitamin C.
7. SMOKE AND OCHRE
Based in Shepparton, Victoria, this brand is owned and made by three generations of Indigenous women. From balms and aromatherapy sprays to soaps and cleansing smudge sticks, Smoke and Ochre products feature modern iterations of traditional bush medicines. Each product is ethically sourced and made using native hand-picked ingredients in Latje Latje & Yorta Yorta country (think emu bush, lemon myrtle, red gum eucalyptus and tea tree). Bonus points for glass bottles and re-useable tin packaging.
8. BUSH BALM
This social enterprise, run by Purple House in Central Australia, produces a range of rubs, moisturisers, balms and soaps. Each product heroes one of three hand-harvested plants — Irmangka irmangka, Yawirriyawirri (native lemongrass) and Arrethe — that have been used to treat skin irritations, aches, muscle pain, inflammation and cold and flu symptoms for generations. Bush Balm products were originally made by and for Indigenous dialysis patients, and are now available to the public via their website or from local retailers across Australia.
9. WILLOW & CO ORGANICS
Inspired by traditional remedies, this organic vegan beauty brand modernises ingredients such as ochre, clay and charcoal to deliver a considered range of essential products. Think activated charcoal teeth whitening, ochre body scrub and pink clay masks alongside a range of soaps, face serums, salt soaks and healing balms. Willow & Co also stocks raw Australian-sourced ingredients so you can whip up your own skincare concoctions or bask in the healing benefits of ancient elements.
Founded by proud Kamilaroi woman Julie Okley, Dilkara embodies her connection to culture and the Australian landscape from which the brand’s hero ingredients and inspiration are sourced. The considered range of hair and skincare products feature native ingredients including Kakadu plum, quandong, eucalyptus oil and native peppermint oil to cleanse, nourish, protect and hydrate. Plus, it’s all paleo, vegan and Australian-made — what’s not to love?
11. WALAAN SKIN
Walaan, meaning “brave” in the language of the Ngiyambaa people, inspires authenticity and strength — two qualities embodied by the brand through it’s war mask-inspired logo and natural ethos. Proudly First Nations owned and operated, Walaan Skin utilises 100 per cent Indigenous and sustainably sourced superfruits, botanicals and wild crops. Their first two formulas — a day and night serum — are phytoactive, meaning they are derived from plants and maintained within their natural molecule state which makes the binding process easier with skin cells. These serums are yet to be released, but you can sign up to the waitlist to be the first to know when the products are launched.
So scrunchies are *technically* a fashion accessory, but honestly they’re a beauty necessity (read: kink-free, tangle-free locks all day long). Kykoe offers the most stunning range of scrunchies and intricate butterfly clips splashed with artworks by female Indigenous artists. Each style is available in limited numbers, so you’ll want to be following the brand’s Instagram and Facebook to purchase.
13. WANGKATHAA BEAUTY
Launched in March 2020, this cosmetic brand is owned and operated by 17-year-old entrepreneur Kinta Rose out of Kalgoorlie, WA. If you’re a lash fanatic, you’ll be mesmerised by Wangkathaa Beauty’s cruelty-free and vegan faux mink duo, Aries and Angel (the volume will take your look to a whole new level). Although lashes are currently sold out, there’s a brow serum in the works alongside a luminous lip serum packed with jojoba, coconut and vitamin E oils to perfect your pout.
14. EARTH BLENDED
Founded by proud Gumbaynggirr Nyami, Jame Telfer, this brand delivers traditional and alternative approaches to wellbeing and beauty. Alongside a range of healing aromatherapy oils and sprays to improve your health, wellbeing, energy and sleep, Earth Blended also carries a maternity body oil designed to rejuvenate the post-baby skin. Jame also sells her original artworks and prints that tell stories of womanhood, motherhood and the importance and influence of matriarchs in the community — a true embodiment of empowerment.
15. LOWANNA SKINCARE
Translating to both ‘girl’ and ‘exquisite beauty’, Lowanna perfectly encapsulates the individuality and beauty that lives within us all. Founder Sinead, a descendent of the Narungga people of the Yorke Peninsula region in SA, set out to create a line of natural, Australian-made skincare that showcases ethically sourced native ingredients alongside cult faves including hyaluronic acid (the OG). Since the brand was launched in April 2020, it’s amassed over 5,000 IG followers (yours truly among them, duh) and provided an empowering and informative source to gather all your skincare tips and inspiration. I’m already obsessed.