Courtesy Kamamak Cosmetics
First Nations (Nuxalk Nation) singer Crystal J models Kamamak Cosmetics eyeshadows in Satin, Brown Beauty and Moccasin, and blush in Brown Sugar.

All-Natural Beauty: 7 Indigenous-owned Skincare and Cosmetic Lines You'll Love

Lynn Armitage
5/19/14

Long before moisturizer could be purchased at convenience stores, or anti-wrinkle eye cream cost upward of $100, Indigenous people created their own skincare and cosmetic products with minerals, oils and plants harvested from Mother Earth.

For centuries, Aborigines in Australia have used emu oil as a natural sunscreen, and today scientific studies prove it soothes skin and reduces inflammation thanks to its essential fatty acids. Aboriginal women also first discovered the ability of yarrow extract to prevent stretch marks. Now yarrow-based hydrating creams are marketed to pregnant women to rub on their bellies. Many ingredients in modern day beauty and makeup products, like the Aloe Vera used in makeup remover, the jojoba in face moisturizers, and the Yucca used in firming facial serums were discovered (and used) by Native elders hundreds of years ago.

RELATED: 5 Ancient Native Beauty Secrets to Use on and off the (NYC) Runway

Generations later, the Indigenous beauty secrets of our ancestors are still proving effective. Thus, Indigenous-made skincare and cosmetic products deserve a place in our makeup bags and medicine cabinets. Here are 7 of the biggest and best Native-owned beauty companies worthy of global attention.

 

1. Native Touch

A line of award-winning soaps, scrubs, bath salts, moisturizing rubs and lip balm created by husband and wife Joseph and Laralyn RiverWind, nationally acclaimed NAMA-winning recording artists. Native Touch makes skin-care products for men, women, pets and tattoos, and according to the website, are 100 percent natural and vegan (no dyes, perfumes, beeswax or preservatives). Co-founder Laralyn, an herbal biologist who formulates Native Touch products in Andrews, North Carolina, said: “Our elders teach us that if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it on your body. … the philosophy that inspires us to make quality, affordable, natural products you can feel safe to use.” (shop.nativetouch.us)

Joseph & Laralyn RiverWind, founders and co-owners of Native Touch and Native American Music Awards (NAMMY) winning recording artists in the band The Blessed Blend. Laralyn is an herbal biologist; Joseph serves his tribe as the War Chief of the Jaguar Clan for the Ma'Oconuco Taino Indian Nation. (Courtesy Native Touch)

Native Touch Desert Treat Gift Set, ideal for soothing the roughest, driest skin. The set includes Rooting Bear Rub, Blue Corn Sugar Scrub, Morning Song Soap, and Lip Lick. (Courtesy Native Touch)

 

2. Sister Sky

Owned by real-life sisters Monica Simeon and Marina TurningRobe, Sister Sky makes herbal lotions, shampoos, conditioners and body washes on Spokane tribal land in Washington. They write on their website, “Our vision is to share Native American herbal wisdom in an authentic and respectful manner, promoting health, wellness and sustainability for ourselves, our communities and our planet.” Products are made with a variety of curative, healing plants used in ancient Native American medicine, such as sweet grass, cedar, yarrow, chamomile and hibiscus. (www.sistersky.com)

Spokane Sisters Marina TurningRobe and Monica Simeon, founders of Sister Sky (Courtesy Sister Sky)

Sister Sky Sweet Grass Hair Care Gift Set (Courtesy Sister Sky)

 

3. Medicine of the People

In 1995, Virginia Boone (above) and Leonard Marcus started Dine Be Azee (Medicine of the People), using traditional knowledge of plants passed down to her by her father, Sam Boone. (Courtesy Medicine of the People)Inspired by her Navajo father who taught her how to gather and prepare medicinal herbs, Virginia Boone and her partner Leonard Marcus started Medicine of the People in 1995. They sell herbal balms, lotions, teas, massage oils and tinctures made from native plants to help heal a variety of conditions, such as burns, cuts, arthritis, sore muscles, stress and eczema. Their products are sold mostly at powwows, Native American conferences, museums, casinos and health food stores. “People are starving for this, they’re starving for a connection to the earth,” Boone said. “Medicine of the People makes them feel there’s somebody out there who has that connection. It’s a healing for their spirit.” (medicine-of-the-people.myshopify.com)

Medicine of the People's Piñon Sap Salve, a natural antiseptic that relieves pain and promotes healing. (Courtesy Medicine of the People)

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