Editor’s Spotlight

Beauty startups from Oceania are going global

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / (mastersky)
© Getty Images / (mastersky)

Related tags New zealand Australia Indie beauty

Cosmetics Design recently predicted that ‘all things Australian’ will be good for the personal care and cosmetics business this year. Before this trend fully catches hold, here’s a look at some of the indie brands from Australia and New Zealand that are already making headlines.

Brands developed in and with ingredients unique to Australia and New Zealand are capturing the attention of consumers around the world. Te Manna, for instance, a New Zealand–based brand formulates its skin care products with “BioRestore3Plus [a]…trio of native red and green seaweeds (Codium fragile subsp.novae-zelandiae and Aeodes nitidissima and Mamaku – New Zealand Black fern gel),” ​according to the Te Manna site.

The proprietary ingredient said to be “abundant with naturally occurring polysaccharides and peptides, that help to enhance skin’s barrier function, protect against water loss and act as a powerful antioxidant.”

And it’s this sort of local ingredient technology, often coupled with a naturals story, that seems to be resonating in the global market place.

Local naturals

Macadamia nut farmers Ann Leslie and her husband Andrew are behind the Australian skin care brand Pure Nut. A local, natural ingredient strategy is key for the brand: “Personally I think it helps make the brand more credible,” Leslie told Cosmetics Design​ last spring. “Knowing where my ingredients come from and the quality makes it easier to stand confidently behind my brand,” ​she says.

Maria Prosperi-Porta’s New Zealand – based brand Beenigma is all about local sourcing too. “What makes Beenigma and its products unique are its key ingredients, bee venom and Mauka honey, which can only be found on New Zealand,” Cosmetics Design reporter Amanda Lim explains​.

Australian indies

Independent Australian personal care brands have been featured on the Indie Beauty Profile column over the years. Claire Mitchell, for instance, founded ECO. Modern essentials nine years ago now. And in the intervening years, she’s grown it into a truly international business with distribution in the US, Canada, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, China, Japan, and more.

Like the brand’s mentioned above, ECO. Modern essentials is an Oceania brand with a natural ingredient story: “ECO. Modern essentials are the specialists in natural and organic oil formulations for face, body and wellbeing,” ​Mitchell says in her Indie Beauty Profile​. “Our products range from healing face serums to nourishing body oil, to pure essential oils, to a certified organic baby range.”

Michelle Matthewman’s brand Caim & Able is taking a wellness approach to personal care as well. This brand is all about the topical benefits of magnesium.

“Our products are formulated with a mixture of Australian plants, therapeutic minerals and completely natural ingredients,” ​explains Matthewman in her Indie Beauty Profile​. “With ingredients such as virgin coffee beans [and] magnesium salts is combination with organic plant oils, [our products] help one feel nourished, polished and protected inside and out, not to mention replenishing vital magnesium to optimum levels.”

And speaking of inside and out, the Australia-based supplement brand Tonik has been getting quite a bit of attention recently too. In this video interview with Cosmetics Design​, brand founder Pip Summerville discusses the natural ingredients and wellness-first approach to beauty that is central to so many indie brands from the region.  

New Zealand indies

Brianne West founded Ethique in 2012 and formulates her products with naturally derived ingredients but is intensely passionate about being a plastic-free brand. The full collection of Ethique products are made in solid bar form. Going well beyond soap, Ethique makes facial serum, shampoo, sunless tanner; a full spectrum of skin care and body care in bar form.

“We’re the world’s first zero-waste, zero-plastic beauty brand,” ​says West in her Indie Beauty Profile​. “We’re also the first to develop an entirely solid product range.”

Ao Skincare, a New Zealand–based brand led by Dr. Mark Gray, launched in 2015 and just last year rebranded in an effort to attract a more global consumer. “The company sources it key ingredients from New Zealand and manufactures a portfolio of six facial skin care products here in the States,” ​reported Cosmetics Design in a brief item accompanying this video interview​ with Gray.



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.





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