Paperbarklove is an Indigenous owned, cruelty free, handmade skincare brand. Amanda, the owner, is a proud Kungarakan woman. Historically, the Kungarakan people were known as the “Paperbark People” and are the custodians of the Finniss River region in the Northern Territory. If you want to know more about the Kungarakan people, take a look at the Kungarakan Culture and Education Associate website. Amanda takes inspiration from her Kungarakan heritage to create her handmade products by using natural and simple ingredients. Paperbark is used abundantly in the ceremonies of the Kungarakan people, and Amanda sees Paperbark trees as a reflection of the inner beauty the everyone posses. All Paperbarklove products are handmade by Amanda in small batches to ensure authenticity and quality. I originally featured Paperbarklove in my Cruelty Free Indigenous Beauty and Wellness blog post, along with many other brands, but today I have a dedicated review of a couple of their products for you.
Some interesting information that I learnt from Amanda is that each generation of Kungarakan people are given names that are significant to them. Amanda is known as Niyoor, which is Kungarakan for bandicoot, and her sister is known as Weydjoo, which means possum. Their children have been given names that start with the word Tjoodah, which is Kungarakan for paperbark. Amanda sees it as a great privilege to be given a name from her elders, and I thought it was lovely way of highlighting how much country and culture mean the Kungarakan people.
The skincare products that are available on the Paperbarklove website include soaps, lip balms, body butter, body lotion, body mist, body scrub, hair butter and a range of gift packs. You can also find totes, lavender eye pillows, and face washers with unique Aboriginal prints. I have confirmed that Paperbarklove is cruelty free, none of their products or ingredients are tested on animals by the brand, suppliers, third parties or where required by law. The current products that are vegan are the soaps, body lotion, body scrub and body mists. Amanda is working on making the balms vegan friendly, and is experimenting with beeswax alternatives like soy and candelilla wax. You can follow Paperbarklove on Instagram if you want to stay up to date on any new launches. If you live near the Stanthorpe area in Queensland, then you may be able to meet Amanda at some local markets, you can find which markets she attends on the stockists and markets page.
The four Paperbarklove products that I have are the Kakadu Plum Handmade Soap, Rose Geranium Body Lotion, Honey Suckle Body Butter Balm sand a Natural Lip Balm. I have been told by my Immunologist to not use any sort of soap bar product at the moment as my immune system is severely deficient, so I can’t review the soap for you, but it does smell lovely. Soap bars aren’t a problem for most people, including those who are immunocompromised, I’m just very deficient in too many areas right now.
The Paperbarklove Body Lotions come in a 100ml squeeze tube, with 4 scents to choose from – Rose Geranium, Lavender, Honeysuckle and Peppermint. Some key ingredients in the body lotions are glycerine, stearic acid, almond oil and apricot kernel oil. The glycerine and stearic acid are both plant derived. Glycerine is one of the best humectants there is, it can draw moisture into your skin which will make your skin feel more hydrated and softer. Stearic acid can reduce the amount of water your skin loses, and almond oil and apricot kernel oil can help to moisturise and soothe your skin. The Paperbarklove Rose Geranium Body Lotion is easy to use, quickly absorbs and doesn’t leave any sticky or greasy residue on my skin. I noticed when writing this review that the bottle says it can also be used as a body wash in the shower, I haven’t tried it that way yet, but I will in future.
The Paperbarklove Body Butter Balm comes in a 14g stick, that twists up just like a lip balm stick. There are three scents available, Honeysuckle, Peppermint and Sensitive (which is scent free for those who are sensitive to essential oils). The Body Butter Balms contain olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and local beeswax. They’re small enough that they can be carried around in your handbag for easy access whenever you need it. They can be used on areas of the body where you get extra dry, like elbows and knees, but I have been using it as a cuticle balm. My cuticles are where I have the driest skin, and the extra handwashing with Covid has only exacerbated that. So I have enjoyed using this as a quick way of giving my cuticles more moisture. I simply rub the stick on my cuticles and then rub it in with my fingers. It’s really quick and easy, so I have been using it more than I would a tub. You could use it as a hand cream if you wanted to, but it does leave a very slight balmy feeling on the skin, which is great for moisturisation, but I know there are some people who don’t like any product residue on their hands, so it will depend on your preference.
The Paperbarklove Lip Balms come in two scents, Natural and Rose Geranium. There are multiple sizes available – 4.4g tube, 5g tube, 10g tin and 100ml jar. The lip balms contain calendula infused olive oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and vitamin E. This formula is designed to moisturise the lips whilst still feeling light. The lip balm leaves a nice natural sheen on my lips and is very light, so I don’t really notice that I’m wearing it. My lips are extremely dry, so I need something thicker at night, but this is great for daytime use for me.
I have enjoyed using these products from Paperbarklove. I love the meaning behind the brand, and I love the branding and packaging. I have found Amanda to be kind and authentic with me, she has been happy to tell me all about her products and her heritage, and I have appreciated that. The Kungarakan link to paperbark is really special, and she has obviously put a lot of time and effort into making these products. As she explains on the website, she spends early mornings, late nights and weekends making these products, because she loves doing it. I think my favourite product is the Body Butter Balm stick, because it’s so hard to come buy a very moisturising balm in a stick format, and it has worked really well for me on my cuticles. If you want to support this small Aboriginal owned business, then head to the Paperbarklove website. If you’re looking for more Indigenous beauty brands to support, then you can also check out my Indigenous Beauty blog post. I have finished university for this year, so I will hopefully have more blog posts coming soon. If you want my new blog posts sent to your inbox, then sign up for email updates. You can also find me on social media – Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
Have you tried anything from Paperbarklove? Which product sounds the best to you?