Homegrown Healing with Ochre Sun
Georgia Beard unearths the healing properties of native botanicals found in Ochre Sun’s sunscreen, formulated by empowered First Nations communities to restore our skin.
As the cosmetics industry bottles a tainted formula of mass production, exploitative supply chains and synthetic ingredients, we must return to the roots of skin health.
Skincare practices are embedded in ancient relationships between the medicinal flora growing on country and the Indigenous communities seeking their benefits.
Breathing life into memory, First Nations groups continue to harvest native plants and activate their healing properties with traditions passed down through generations.
It’s an abundant source of knowledge too long untapped by our mainstream cosmetic houses – a source which also demands indigenous respect and autonomy.
As a proud Waanyi Kalkatungu woman from North Queensland, Alana Kennedy has empowered Indigenous community members in the supply chains of Ochre Sun.
Her multi-tasking sunscreen revolutionises skin protection with native botanicals, extracting a rich history of holistic defences against our climate’s harsh conditions.
As stewards over the land, Elders in northern New South Wales and Northern Territory use cultural practices to supply plants such as the Gukwonderuk (Sneeze Weed) and Gumbinge (Kakadu Plum).
The materials are transported to an extraction facility to isolate the plant active, which then reaches the contract manufacturer to infuse the SPF50+
Broad Spectrum formula.
“We have chosen these plants because these ancient traditions have been used for thousands of years in their raw form prior to now,” Alana says.
“What we’re bringing back is the transparency around our supply chain. Our responsibility to our clients is to give them the best quality in product by harnessing the raw plant potential.”
Understood for centuries as a cure-all botanical, flavonoids found in the Gukwonderuk work as anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial
and anti-allergic agents.
Rich in Vitamin C, the Kakadu Plum was eaten as bush tucker by First Australians and even then, they knew it served better as medicine than as food.
“We use Sneeze Weed to combat inflammation and damage caused by the sun and free radicals in a powerful cell recovery support mechanism,” Alana says.
“We then use Kakadu Plum as a powerful ally in the fight against free radicals, cell damage, skin scarring and redness. This botanical helps to not break down the activity in each ingredient.”
The unique formulation is light-weight, sweat-resistant and fragrance-free, creating a barrier over the skin’s surface not just to absorb UVA and UVB rays but to heal damage from burns.
Ochre Sun also cleanses the skin of harmful bacteria, increases hydration and elasticity, reduces wrinkles and improves overall skin texture.
“Because we have the most arduous climate, we need to be smart about skincare all year round,” Alana says.
“That’s why sunscreen is an essential. It’s not a summer product – it’s an everyday product. Even driving to work, you’re at risk.
“If you’re not familiar with skincare systems, the best place to start with skincare is sunscreen.
“Now we’re moving back into that space where people care more about the authenticity of the ingredients, and I think that allows space for the elders to amplify their voices.”
By employing First Nations consultants and contractors in all stages of production, Ochre Sun not only promotes an Indigenous Circular economy but sows a sustainable approach to sun protection.
“We don’t need anything more the predestined creation, which is the land. It’s always given us what we needed,” Alana says.
“We want to raise the profile of culture and help to educate people about just how beautiful it is to have everything we’ve ever needed in the land.”
As Ochre Sun trailblazes the movement towards organic, authentic and ethically-sourced materials, Alana is giving power back to Indigenous women caught in the cycle of domestic abuse and homelessness.
“We want to acquire land and focus on social housing so we can offer holistic healing and employment options for women in crisis,” she says.
“Our human commitment is to give them some of our hope when they don’t have any and to share a solid purpose so they can be raised up in the business.”
Ochre Skin is transforming skincare with a new formula for healing – the elevation of Indigenous voices, environmental stewardship and passion for product. That’s something we should all get behind.
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