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Bush Medijina products
Photograph: Supplied/Bush Medijina Bush Medijina

Beauty products by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses

These companies are using traditional ingredients to give back to local communities

By Rebecca Russo and Alannah Maher
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These four beauty brands are using centuries-old Indigenous ingredients in their body bars and shampoos. You'll find skin, hair and body products that feature modern and traditional botanical extracts. Each business is owned and operated by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and many give back to communities from around Australia. For more pampering, check out the best spas in Sydney.

First Nations-owned beauty brands

Bush Medijina products
Photograph: Supplied/Bush Medijina

1. Bush Medijina

Founded by elders of the Warningakalina community, Bush Medijina uses traditional knowledge and bush medicine practices to make a range of modern skincare products that are all harvested, produced and packaged by hand in the Warningakalina community. This remote community is located 600 kilometres from Darwin on the Groote Eylandt Archipelago islands. The products – which include balms for the lips and body (from $14), clay and ochre scrubs ($12), body butter ($22), soaps ($12) and hair oils ($35) – are created with traditional methods and knowledge passed down by generations of mothers, aunties and grandmothers. Every product is infused with hand-harvested native botanicals like the leaves of the Dumburumba tree, which have been used for their skin soothing properties for centuries, and the Mamaburra (wild peach tree) whose rich red bark gives many products a ruddy, earthy colour. Governed by an all-female board, Bush Medijina does not just create jobs, the business is part of a wider mission to support women, girls and elders and create positive change for the entire community.

2. Indigiearth

Founded by Sharon Winsor, a Ngemba Weilwan woman of western NSW, Indigiearth is a showcase of Australian native products. Packaged in environmentally friendly bottles and recycled materials, Indigiearth’s skincare range is handmade, all natural and where possible they use ingredients purchased from Aboriginal communities to ensure employment, income and education stays within the community. Products like body lotions, massage oil, clay face masks and shaving gel use ingredients such as Kakadu plum, emu oil, lemon myrtle, wild berry. A bottle of body custard will set you back $28, whereas a chunky textured soap with desert lime, Qandog and wattleseed is only $5.

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3. Juddarnje Skincare

Juddarnje is a chemical free skincare business based on the Sunshine Coast. It’s run by the Slockee family whose roots run through the Bundjalung country of Northern NSW. The Juddarnje journey started with a batch of original handmade soaps (which you can buy for $8), and has since expanded to include creams (from $17), lotions (from $25) and cleansing milks (from $25), all created with the same ‘keep it natural’ philosophy. All Juddarnje products are free from sodium lauryl sulfates and parabens, and instead use natural oils, botanicals, clays and essential oils.

Bottles of Dilkara beauty products
Photograph: Rachel Houlahan

4. Dilkara

Kamilaroi woman, Julie Okely founded Dilkara Essence of Australia – the first range of hair care products utilising native Australian ingredients. With a background in hair styling and salon management, Okely has sourced ingredients in collaboration with local Indigenous communities to strengthen and invest in the produce supply chain, using eucalyptus blue gum oil, native peppermint oil, Kakadu plum extract, lilly pilly berry quandong and lemon myrtle. Dilkara means ‘rainbow’, and the name describes colours present in the products. A bottle of conditioner infused with Kakadu plum extract and green tea will set you back $8.95 for 50ml.

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