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Indigenous-owned Lowanna Skincare keeps selling out of its products

WORDS BY TARIRO MUKANDO

There’s a strong demand for Australian natives right now.

During lockdown, when many of us turned to updating our skincare routines for improved post-isolation skin, Sinead Vandenbroek was preparing to launch her new endeavour.

On May 14 Lowanna Skincare was live and, within days, Sinead had already sold out of her first product, the Everyday Moisturiser.

“Then, when I restocked for the first time, that was when it sold out again in two days!” she exclaims. “I obviously knew that it was going to take time to build our customer base and build our audience, but [I] didn’t expect it to be this quick.”

We can of course speculate as to why Lowanna was met with such immediate success. The skincare market is undoubtedly crowded and tough to crack; there’s no shortage of Australian products out there, with most of them bottled up in various shades of millennial pink or other Instagrammable hues.

But the thing that first catches your eye about Lowanna Skincare is not its packaging. It’s the ingredients within. Every ingredient is sourced in Australia with traceable origins, and each has an extensive write-up on Lowanna Skincare’s website, so you know exactly what it does and how it does it.

By harnessing and educating consumers on the power of native plants, Sinead has introduced something exciting into the market – her sales prove it. But her reasons for prioritising native ingredients weren’t strictly sales-focused.

Indigenous Australians have been using plant-based medicines to treat a variety of health concerns since time immemorial. Creating a skincare brand that centred around the use of native plants was a way for Sinead to celebrate her Narrunga heritage.

“I know that these ingredients – and so many native plants – have been used by Indigenous people for so long, so I wanted to explore that. They’ve been used for [centuries] and are still being used, so obviously there’s good reason.”

It also gave Sinead an opportunity to educate others on the use of native plants in Indigenous cultures, and to encourage more people to ethically enjoy native botanicals.

“I want to be able to celebrate Aboriginal cultures through the business. There are plenty of people who do want to educate themselves – and will go out and proactively look for Aboriginal educational resources – but there are plenty of people that don’t do that too much. So I wanted to be able to share Aboriginal culture through my business to educate my audience.”

Now a few months intro trade, Lowanna Skincare currently offers four products: The Everyday Cleanser, Everyday Moisturiser, Everyday Eye Cream and the Green Clay Exfoliating Mask, as well as a sample pack to trial all four. All products consistently boast five-star reviews. They are vegan and cruelty-free, and have been designed by Sinead to suit all skin types.

“I wanted to formulate the products to suit all skin types because it is possible,” she says. “I wanted them to be really gentle so they can suit sensitive skin, but also have those active ingredients that will cater to people with problematic skin. [I was] just really focusing on ingredients that are safe for everyone.”

There is such a wide spectrum of skin types and conditions that a product serving everyone sounds, admittedly, a little too good to be true. But Sinead has done her research to determine which active native ingredients do, in fact, work for everyone.

Take ylang ylang, an ingredient found in Lowanna’s Everyday Cleanser and the Everyday Moisturiser. “The oil from the flower naturally regulates your oil production,” she explains. “If you have oily skin it’ll actually decrease your oil production but if you have dry skin it’ll stimulate your oil production, bringing it back to that optimum level.”

Other actives within the Lowanna range include kakadu plum, known for its antibacterial properties and high concentration of vitamin C; green clay, known to stimulate skin cell regeneration and healing; and lemon myrtle that acts as an astringent to increase skin firmness and tighten pores. Lowanna’s formulations are powerful, yet still gentle on the skin.

As consumers grow more conscious about what they’re putting on their skin, it’s an opportune time for Lowanna. The days of chemically-enhanced apricot scrubs, sulfates and parabens seem to be just about over, and as Australian native ingredients only grow in global recognition, Lowanna’s future is looking bright.

lowannaskincare.com

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