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We love Dirty Hippie Cosmetics values and ethics and are proud to have them at Flora & Fauna, so we caught up with Founder Danielle White, to talk skin care, natural beauty and being the first zero-waste geared beauty brand launched in Australia.
Can you please tell us a little about the Dirty Hippie Cosmetics journey?
Growing up on the far south coast, surrounded by some of the most untouched beaches in Australia, gave me a great appreciation of the ocean and its inhabitants. It also really brought home the dire consequences of plastic consumption and its subsequent pollution of our waterways. I moved to Canberra in 2010, chasing full-time work and dreams of travel, but when I return home in the summertime, it has been devastating to see the sharp increase in plastic pollution over the last 8 years, especially in relatively low foot traffic areas off a coastline like Merimbula.
I have always had an obsession with formulating skin care and beauty products, mostly due to having such sensitive skin, but also due to the sheer lack of all natural, eco-conscious skin care and makeup options that were available when I was a teen. I really started DIY’ing all of my own products and growing my own herbs and flowers for infusion when I settled here in Canberra as there weren’t nearly as many DIY skincare resources or eco-conscious product options readily available on the market.
I could often be found scouring the second hand bookshops and libraries for random herbalism, naturopathy and recipe books, which lead to lots of experimenting in the kitchen and often testing new formulas on family members. (They used to joke and call me their ‘Dirty Hippie Mad Scientist’).
My DIY and herbalism obsession is what ultimately lead me to undertake a course in natural skin care and cosmetic formulation, and after learning how to formulate safely and effectively I knew I could now begin to share my formulations with others. This slowly evolved into creating custom products for the different skin types of my family and friends, and then after plenty of testing and honest feedback, launching Dirty Hippie Cosmetics.
I started out with a few key products (our BB Creams, Toothpowders, Cleansing Nectars and Probiotic Deodorants) and some custom one off items, crafted from my wild foraging or my seasonal home growing adventures. Once I realised how big the gap in the market was for affordably priced, eco-conscious skin care and cosmetics I decided to take the leap and develop a more rounded and more permanent DHC range.
I am also proud to say that DHC is the first zero-waste geared beauty brand launched here in Australia. A really important part of the journey for me has been keeping the DHC business carbon footprint as low as possible as we’ve grown.
We are currently located in Googong NSW - the Green Building Council of Australia’s first ever five-star rated suburb in the ACT and NSW region and our lab is one of the most energy efficient buildings I have ever had the pleasure of working in. We run on green energy resources (a mixture of solar and wind) and we have a grey rain water system, so when we say our lab footprint is low it is seriously low. We've made sure to source as many plastic free, recyclable and compostable packaging items and raw materials as possible, with 9/10ths of our suppliers on board with refilling or accepting back their empty containers for reuse. We send our beautiful products out in 100% plastic free parcels comprised of 100% post consumer recycled paper boxes or envelopes. These boxes are padded out with old newspapers that we collect from other local businesses that were previously sending them to landfill.
We try as much as possible to keep our business practices aligned with circular economy practices and as of June 2018, we have saved over 20,000 plastic containers from being consumed so far.
The incredible DHC journey so far has connected me to so many like-minded eco-warriors from all over the world and for that I am so grateful. Through connections made on social media, at workshop events and plant and seed swap meet-ups, I have traded my products and my own knowledge, for new knowledge in permaculture, earthship building, composting and bokashi, I’ve also had the joy of trading for other people's products, plenty of fresh fruit, veggies, grains, clothes, shoes and even some cheeky spirits here and there. (Bartering is definitely one of the biggest perks of owning your own business and being a part of the wider Australian eco-friendly community).
The blends of the products smell and feel wonderful on the skin. How do you source the ingredients and what are your some of your favourite ingredients to work with?
We source our ingredients through a variety of reputable Australian growers and suppliers and a mixture of foreign fair trade agreements. Our coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and raw cacao powders are all sourced through fair trade - we think it is especially important that the workers who harvest these beautiful, exotic ingredients be paid and worked fairly. We have also checked each of our other ingredients all the way back to their sources to ensure that there is no child labour or animal used in the manufacture process of each ingredient and that crops are both sustainably harvested and farmed.
We get a lot of customers asking these kind of important source questions before purchasing from us and we absolutely love it. We wish more people would ask the important questions before consuming, the world would likely be a much better place!
I do absolutely love working with the Calendula flower; being sensitive skinned I tend to worship this beautiful flower for all of its antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties and have it infused into a tonne of our products for these medicinal, beneficial reasons.
If I absolutely had to pick one ingredient to rule them all though it would have to be pure, raw Shea Butter. You cannot beat it for its vitamin packed emollient properties, and its super low comedogenic factor and its very gentle SPF. It truly is a magical offering from mother nature the goddess herself that matches every single skin type.
With trying new ranges it’s always difficult to know which product to choose first - what would you recommend first?
This one is hard to choose!
Makeup - Lip and Cheek Tints - Good all rounders, amazing colour pay off and compostable packaging option, tick!
Skin Care - Raw Face Feed - Suited to all skin types, healing, nourishing and brightening with stellar reviews and feedback. (Tribe members often say their skin glows after just a few uses.)
Body Care - Pushup Probiotic Deodorants - No nasty aluminium salts! It’s time to put some good bacteria under your arms and smell the change. Compostable packaging made from post consumer recycled paper , what more could you want?!
Haircare - Shampoo Bar - Another all time best seller! A nourishing bar that requires little to no conditioning afterwards, replaces 1.5 bottles of shampoo and 1 bottle of conditioner - with no packaging involved at all - winner!
Your product packaging is beautiful and strongly focused on being planet friendly. Could you tell us more about this? Why was it so important to you?
I wanted to steer clear of as much plastic as possible when putting together the range, this includes, labels, bottle caps and even our parcel dispatch materials. It is important to me because I do not think it is necessary to create and use single-use plastic items when there are so many alternatives out there on the market. Back when I first started the business in early 2014 it was a lot more difficult to source plastic-free options within Australia but as time has gone on and the world is waking up to the plastic crisis it is getting easier and easier. (I believe that is it because companies like ours are leading the way in giving consumers another option, tipping the supply/demand scales).
What is the one motto that Dirty Hippie Cosmetics follows every day?
I would say my biggest motto is: ‘As long as its green we are on the same team’.
I truly believe that it doesn’t matter how small the individuals contribution is, so long as they are trying to improve the world in some way that is all that matters. Everybody has to start somewhere with their sustainability journey and the Dirty Hippie movement is, and forever will be, all inclusive and free from judgement. To any eco-newbies out there that are reading this welcome to the green side! Our Dirty Hippie world wide tribe is a pretty big one and we have plenty of sustainable tips and tricks amongst us so please feel free to join us on social media and get connecting with other like minded Dirty Hippie souls <3