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Pink Sea Clay Cleanser and Mask from Mermaid Cove Organics
Photograph: Supplied/Vegan NSW

Five pampering products to soothe you in lockdown

Spoil yourself with these gorgeous goodies while supporting Sydney and regional NSW-based businesses

Written by
Alannah Maher
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We could all use a little tender love and care right about now, not to mention some respite from the innumerable stresses of lockdown life. Is anyone else finding their self-care and usual beauty maintenance rituals have gone out the door along with any semblance of our regular routines? 

Establish some time for self-pampering and support a business from Sydney or regional New South Wales while you're at it with our tried and tested product suggestions. Our list focuses on ranges that hero natural and native ingredients, and that are as gentle on the earth as they are on your body. Go on, you're worth it.

Recommended: How to deal with ‘maskne’ and other pandemic-prone beauty bothers.

NSW's best spa products

Rejuvenating Lip and Skin Balm from Folkologie
Photograph: Supplied/Folkologie

Rejuvenating Lip and Skin Balm from Folkologie

When you have tired of the temperamental nature of your supermarket pawpaw ointment and the half-used sea of lip balms scattered through your handbags, come over to the light side and try the Rejuvenating Lip and Skin Balm ($10) from Folkologie on for size. Founded by a duo looking to bring something quirky, creative and ‘folk-y’ to Aussie consumers, Folkologie is a store flogging handcrafted gifts, furniture, homewares and skin and beauty products in the tiny township of Rylstone on the fringe of Mudgee – shipping all over the country. You can’t really understand how addictively smooth, soothing and delicious this handmade balm is until you get your hands on your own jar. A restorative salve for rough, dry and cracked lips and skin, it is concocted from a blend of hemp oil, sweet almond oil, sunflower oil, lanolin, calendula infused oil, olive oil, grape seed oil and beeswax and lightly scented with lavender, geranium, and frankincense. You can also slap it on any mossie bites or skin irritations. The 50mL jar is surprisingly large for a lip product and you’ll find that even if you’re smearing a finger in the yellow ointment several times a day for months, you’ll barely make a dent. Talk about bang for your buck. If you’re looking for something else to pop in your virtual trolley, the ‘Rylstone Soak’ Bath Salts ($26) are a great mood enhancer to whisk you away to a country escape. Soak your feet or immerse your whole bod in the scents of rose petals, lavender and cedarwood, mandarin, patchouli and rosewood essential oils. 

Dreaming Essential Oil Blend from Indigiearth
Photograph: Supplied/Indigiearth

Dreaming Essential Oil Blend from Indigiearth

Founded by Sharon Winsor, a Ngemba Weilwan woman of western NSW who is a qualified chef amongst a range of other achievements and talents, Indigiearth is a showcase of beauty and food products developed with native ingredients like Kakadu plum, emu oil, lemon myrtle, and wild berry. Peruse the website and you can easily assemble a a well-rounded pampering and care bundle with native loose leaf teas, soy candles and a range of skin products. The essential oil blends are an excellent starter product, with four 100 per cent pure earthy, heady blends ($18.50 each). Our pick of the bunch is the dreaming mix with invigorating orange, cedarwood and juniperberry and grounding lavender, patchouli and cinnamon bark. You can use it in a vaporiser to scent the room, add a few drops to some massage oil, or simply dab on your pressure points for a pick-me-up. Indigiearth’s Quandong Facial Treatment Oil ($44.95) has also been receiving rave reviews, brightening the complexion and reducing dark circles around the eyes with infusions of sandalwood, palmarosa, Australian sunflower oil, Vitamin E and more. All products are packaged in environmentally friendly bottles and recycled materials, and where possible they use ingredients purchased from Aboriginal communities to ensure employment, income and education stays within the community. When getaways to regional New South Wales are possible, Sharon’s Warakirri Dining Experience in Mudgee is an incredible meeting of native ingredients, fine dining and culture that should be at the top of your post-lockdown to-do list.

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Pink Sea Clay Cleanser and Mask from Mermaid Cove Organics
Photograph: Supplied/Vegan NSW

Pink Sea Clay Cleanser and Mask from Mermaid Cove Organics

First, black charcoal facial masks were all the rage, but then hot on those heels came along pink clay masks to steal their thunder. Apart from being an cute aesthetic look for a lockdown selfie, what are the benefits of these smooth-to-crumbly skin treatments? And how do you know the product you’re buying is made ethically and from genuinely natural, good-for-your-skin ingredients? Enter the luxuriously soft and gentle Pink Sea Clay Cleanser and Mask from Mermaid Cove Organics ($15.50). Founded and formulated by Sydneysider Sara, this boutique brand seeks to demystify the overcomplications of the beauty industry and offer simple and functional products that are also natural, ethical and sustainable. Perfect for dry and sensitive skin alike, the Pink Sea Clay comes as a dry powder so you can blend it with water to create the right consistency for either a mask or cleanser. With traces of geranium essential oil and Roman chamomile essential oils, this stuff smells like a spring day in a jar. If you’re game to get a little experimental you can also sub out water for a substance for your skin’s particular needs, like rose water for dry skin or witch hazel for oily or combination skin. This biz is listed on Vegan NSW’s Vegan Directory, so you can also be assured that is 100 per cent plant-based and cruelty free.

Ultimate Hand and Body Lotion from Clémence Organics
Photograph: Supplied/Clémence Organics

Ultimate Hand and Body Lotion from Clémence Organics

It was a combination of pandemic-prone skin issues, the looming prospect of my thirtieth birthday and a skincare budget that can stretch slightly further than chemist aisles that made me realise that it was time to get serious about my skincare regime. Not because I need to, or because society perpetuates effed-up ideals about ageing and beauty, but because I’m worth it, and besides, a twice-daily skincare routine is an excellent way to tether yourself to a mindfulness practice, especially when it involves pretty smells and the outcome of supple, soft skin. After having a consultation with Bridget Carmady, who is the founder of Blue Mountains-based skincare brand Clémence Organics as well as university-trained naturopath and complementary medicine specialist, I started a routine involving a low-foaming cleanser, a misting toner, a repairing serum and a protecting and clarifying lotion. Within a week I was already getting comments about my “glowing” complexion (mostly via video meetings, but I digress). These products aren’t flashy, but they are gentle, soothing and lightly scented with nourishing natural ingredients like Kakadu plum and green tea extract. Everything is Australian-made, environmentally friendly, bottled in recycleable packaging and not tested on animals to boot. Put simply, I’m ready to enter a monogamous relationship with this skincare range. But if going all-in on investing in a new product range feels like an overwhelming commitment for you, then I would suggest dipping a pinky finger into the world of Clémence Organics with the product that saved my chapped and over-sanitized hands, the Ultimate Hand and Body Lotion ($49.98). Lightly scented with regenerative ingredients like organic rosehip and shea nut oils and infused with aloe vera to soothe inflammation, this lotion absorbs quickly without greasy residue. Lather it on after showering or washing your hands in order to repair from daily wear and tear.

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Detox Charocal Natural Soap Bar from Nude Naturel
Photograph: Supplied/Vegan NSW

Detox Charocal Natural Soap Bar from Nude Naturel

In a world that has largely converted to shower gels and plastic-y mesh puffs, be an eco-friendly soap bar. Nude Naturel is a small Sydney-based business selling handmade soaps and shampoo and conditioner bars, all handmade in Manly by Delphine. But while the soap maker is a Belgian expat, all the 100 per cent natural ingredients that go into these soothing bars are sourced exclusively from Australian suppliers. When Delphine embarked on a journey to make healthier choices for herself and the environment, she realised that her favourite commercial shampoo and body wash were full of chemicals and non-sustainable ingredients like palm oil, in addition to being packaged in plastic bottles. All the products in the Nude Naturel range are completely vegan and plastic-free, using organic base oils and butters like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and shea butter; clays or activated charcoal for natural colouring; organic dried flowers like calendula petals and lavender buds; and essential oils rather than artificial fragrances. The Detox Charocal Natural Soap Bar ($8.50) comes in three varieties so you can select the ideal version for your skin type, all are formulated to absorb and draw out oil and toxins from the skin while nourishing it. The ‘dry’ skin bar incorporates Australian pink clay, the ‘oily’ skin bar uses Australian olive-green clay, and the ‘normal’ skin bar is spliced with Australian ivory clay. You can also find scent-sational soap flavours in the online shop like Energizing Caffeine and Hemp ($9.50) and Relaxing Lavender ($9.50) that will give the Lush products you found under the Christmas tree a run for their money. 

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